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Protesting about affairs in India: The "first bank at Canton": Questions of the opium trade: The Boston Tea Party Revisited: American grievances: Radical tactics and financing the American Revolution: Death of Rebecca Campbell:


The Blackheath Connection

Chapter 15


Protesting about affairs in India:


Before the Revolution broke out, one lone American, using rhetoric against British interests, and in a striking use of conscience, lambasted the East India Company as blameworthy in the matter of the Bengal famine, circa 1769-1773. It was John Dickinson. ([1]) The background is horribly fascinating. James Mill estimated that between 1757 and 1766, the British took from Bengali and other princes of India, almost 6 million sterling! This sum did not include what Clive of India himself got (a jagir). ([2]) The East India Company directors admitted: ([3]) "We think the vast fortunes acquired in the inland trade have been obtained by a series of the most tyrannic and oppressive conduct that ever was known in any age or country"...


One part-result of the rape of Bengal during 1757-1764 was the Bengal famine. The British had engrossed the grain trades, when formerly, excess grain had been stored in underground pits as a guard against famine. This famine destroyed perhaps one-fifth to one-third of Bengal's population. ([4]) The Company also raised land taxes from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. At the time, the Company owed 6 million, but raised its dividend at home from 6% to 10% in 1767, to 12.5% in 1772. ([5]) The Company had to postpone payments of its agreed annual 400,000 to the government and begged a loan of 1 million from government, which raised an alarm that was resolved with the 1773 Regulating Act. ([6]) This was the financial climate in which Fordyce had been speculating!


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Warren Hastings had made a revolution in "property rights" in Bengal, making them more resemble English rights, putting Bengali customs into consternation. ([7]) About one third of Bengal went into the control of Banians answering to Englishmen who could exercise English-style legal rights over land. Here, with money dealings, the year 1760 was probably the watershed, and Chand feels that this Indian money provided "the necessary stimulus to industrial production in the initial stages of the Industrial Revolution", allowing more flexible and rapid movements [of capital]. ([8]) Is this is all why the Industrial Revolution occurred from 1760-1770, and not before? Chand suspects that the flow of wealth from India helped Britain substantially in her economic development in the initial stages of the Industrial Revolution (but I have not found this proposition provable as far as merchant and business names go).


Is this here is part of the social history of capitalism! How could such fantastic debts could have arisen after Capitalism-Colonialism-Imperialism had formed, solidifying supposedly rational trading, accounting and financial practices, when profits from Asian trade generally could range from a modest 10 per cent, as on short-term bonds (4) to 300 per cent on opium. The Bengal famine of 1770 (as mentioned by the Americans) involved one-third of people perishing in Purneah. Company servants were regularly unable to describe the suffering, it beggared description. But no Company servant is reported to have given any money back to Indians. Notwithstanding the loss of one-third of a regional population, net collections for 1771 exceeded those of 1678, a result which has been attributed quite blatantly to violence, when under Clive, the Company used the cover of the Nawbab's authority for its operations. ([9])


Other financial matters from 1773: "the first bank at Canton":


There is another difficult matter stemming from about 1773 - the establishment of the English East India Company's "first bank" at Canton. More a kind of financial clearing house, and an innovation for its time, this "bank" could not have succeeded without profits from opium sales in China, which increased after Clive's military successes in India. Morse notes an unfortunate hiatus for East India Company records 1754-1774, so (for about 1773) he is unsure just when England's Canton supercargoes began issuing Bills on London, but he feels, a few years before 1775. ([10]) This was novel financial procedure - the English were finding more effective ways to send money home. The procedures had much to do with finding and dealing in the silver that India and China preferred to British goods or manufactures. In 1775, the Company issued Bills worth 546,820 Spanish dollars to country traders from India; and in 1775 the Supercargoes at Canton were expecting to receive bullion from Manila, about which "foreigners" [unspecified] were glad. The Spanish at Manila, officially, forbade dealing in their silver dollars. But the amounts handled were relatively modest, so Morse thinks the practice was recent. Though it is not clear how procedures developed, this new Company "bank" at Canton, or, the Canton Treasury, obviously handled Spanish dollars from Manila. Something perhaps may have been due to non-English traders - traders flying the flags of European countries more friendly to Spain than England? Some such traders were English, deserting the British flag for the flags of European powers desiring an eastern commercial presence. A few key names after 1800 began trade links with Britain's new colony at Sydney.


Questions of opium dealing:


Gull marks 1773 as a turning point for Britain's fresh emphasis on opium dealing. He writes: the year 1773 was the earliest recorded for British merchants importing opium into Canton. ([11]) Before 1773, the Chinese had taken about 200 chests of opium per year into China; by 1773 the volume increased to 1000 chests per year, and "it provided an acceptable substitute for silver" in balancing the trade with China. But one can only imagine in this case that the Chinese had other sources of silver to allow them a trade balance in opium; and this silver must have come from non-British sources, which places an emphasis on both the supply and role of silver dollars in the economy influenced by Canton's Hong merchants. Wallenstein, meanwhile, notes that "Only the expansion of opium production had NO (my emphasis) direct link with shifts in production elsewhere in the world-economy but was a function rather of the [East India Company's] needs in the China trade." Prakash describes the coerciveness visited upon the peasants producing opium; while it should be remembered, the peasants as land-users later paid revenues which went to the Company as well. (At times, the rate of interest charged on advances to Bengali opium producers might be 24 per cent).


The beginnings of Britain's new "Canton Treasury" should not be judged surefooted, let alone over-confident. The new system had to grow on its own financial merits. ([12]) In 1780 there were only seven "private English" at Canton, that is, non-East India Company Englishmen. The only one left by 1783 was John Henry Cox, son of a London maker of automatons of which the Chinese were especially fond; and Cox with Daniel Beale from 1782 began a firm which later became Jardine Matheson. ([13])


An Indian historian, S. B. Singh, emphasising the year 1783, suggests that notable India agency houses took a decade from 1773 to aggregate capital enabling them to become the Indian merchant bankers they became, as the East India Company slowly began to stem the drain of silver to India and turn it to British benefit. ([14]) Thus, the "Canton Treasury" linked disparate Indian ports with London and China, and via the Company at home, with London's short and long-term money markets. This was not achieved of course without the parliamentary influence of "Nabobs" who had returned their fortunes and themselves to England before 1773, who would have known what a boon an institution such as the Canton Treasury could have represented.


The year 1773, then, proposes watersheds other than the Boston Tea Party. Given the operations of British merchants, 1773 presented watersheds also for India and China. As well as for silver dealers from various European nations who kept an eye on Spanish dollars from Manila as well as the East India Company's "first bank at Canton". Offloading excess inventories of tea was not the only problem the Company had in 1773.


The Boston Tea Party revisited:

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In 1773, the whaling investor Rotch may have been linked to the following merchants involved in tea deals which became victim of the Boston Tea Party, but it is unclear whether these names were Americans or Londoners: James Hall, Hugh Williamson, John D. Whitworth. These all finally contacted the Privy Council. ([15])

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The whaling connections in both America and London involved in the notorious 1773 tea deal are fascinating. Historians usually mention only the problems the East India Company had in offloading huge tea inventories, not the ideas that several merchants had, of carrying tea between London and America and sending whaling products from America to London as a regular trade, and a linked trade.

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There is a legend - mischievous - that the cargoes of tea dumped into the sea at the Boston Tea Party had belonged to Samuel Enderby, who at the time was only beginning his career as a whaler. ([16]) This legend is incorrect, but its inaccuracy does not completely divorce the history of English whaling from the event which helped provoke the American Revolution. ([17]) By 1775, when the Revolution fully broke out, Enderbys, with the Rotch family of Nantucket ([18]) and London alderman and underwriter, George Hayley, ([19]) (brother-in-law of the radical, Wilkes) ([20]) were backing a new venture, a South Whale Fishery, distinct from all other whale fisheries and operating in the South Atlantic. ([21]) The American Revolution inconvenienced Enderbys and associates by ruining this venture. It seems that links between Enderby, Hayley, the whalers Rotch of Nantucket, and possibly the American "patriot" merchant, John Hancock, a Freemason, ([22]) are the inspiration for this legend that Enderby had any connection with the Tea Party.


The Boston Tea Party took place at Boston Harbour's Griffin's Wharf on 16 December, 1773. Americans dressed as "Mohawks" destroyed 90,000 pounds of tea. ([23]) Though all their owners cannot easily be traced, the ships were all American-owned. The ships were:


(1) Dartmouth, Capt. Hall, owned by the whalers William, Joseph and 23-year-old Francis Rotch, ex-Nantucket Island, of Dartmouth, Massachusetts (and thus having no direct connection with Lord Dartmouth as the ship's name might suggest);


(2) William, captain unknown, owned by Jonathan Clarke of Boston;


(3) Eleanor, Capt. Bruce, owned by John Rowe, "a moderate" Bostonian; and,


(4) Beaver, unknown captain and owner.


It has been suspected John Hancock owned an undisclosed portion of one of the tea ships. ([24]) From information on Hancock's whaling connections, one would suspect, Dartmouth. ([25]) The house of Hancock had long been involved in smuggling cheap Dutch tea into Boston for sale at prices undercutting legal and dutiable English tea. Both John Hancock and Thomas Hutchinson, governor of Massachusetts, were involved in importing legal British tea. These two men headed camps with opposed views on the right of the British Parliament to tax the Americans, and the place of force in resolving the issue. Hancock and Hutchinson both in different ways were also secretive and provocative, and this did nothing to ease the conflict that was bound to break out.


Something is gained by knowing that Hancock's ship Hayley, Captain James Scott, came into Boston Harbour from England, in November, 1773 with the provocative news that vessels with dutiable East India Company tea were on their way. Captain Scott had by September refused to take any Company tea under the terms proposed to him in London. (American historians suggest that Hayley had left London at the same time as the controversial tea ships). Aboard Hayley was Jonathan Clarke, a young Boston merchant who had in London obtained a tea cargo for his family firm, evidently carried on the William. By late September, Rotchs were expecting to ship whale oil back to London on Dartmouth's return trip, then to load London spring goods for Boston. ([26]) Many indications suggest that once the original complicated tea deal had been made in London, Hancock and his whaling associates in London and America may have been planning to regularly ship English East India Company tea to America, and send whaling products back; providing, in Hancock's view, that England gave no offence by imposing tea duties.


Merrill Jensen estimates that the 1773 tea deal involved an ultimate 600,000 pounds of tea in 2000 chests, worth over 60,000, to be sold at 6 per cent commission for the American consignees, dutiable. ([27]) Other writers suggest that the handling of the bills of exchange would also have financially disadvantaged the Americans. Jensen valued the loss of tea at the Boston Tea Party at between 7521 and 10,994, depending on the valuation of the wreck of the brig William. The London tea dealers were chiefly the directors of the East India Company, and their functionary, a clerk at their warehousing committee, William Settle. Chairman of the court of directors was Crabb Bolton. The Company's warehouse committee had made a short list of American firms said to be interested. Final decisions on the participants in the deals were made between 4 and 20 August, 1773. The London merchants were then to book space on ships bound for America.


As noted, Richard Reeve became concerned about duties and wrote to Lord North that the terms of the deal - especially the time by which the tea duties were to be paid and other monies remitted to England - might be regarded as inflammatory in the colonies. Alderman George Hayley offered space on the ships Dartmouth and London, which was also American-owned, at Charleston. By early September the shipping was organised. ([28]) Boston firms involved in the tea deal included the Hutchinsons of Boston, namely the governor's two sons, Thomas and Elisha (and, secretly, the governor himself). Governor Hutchinson had been writing to the London merchant, William Palmer, for some months. Also involved also were Richard Clarke and Sons. (Thomas Hutchinson Junior had married the daughter of Richard Clarke). By late September, another Boston consignee was Joshua Winslow. ([29])


After the Tea Party (22 December, 1773), the Hayley left Boston for London, arriving in late January, 1774. In London, Benjamin Franklin's first reaction to the news of the Tea Party was to suggest that Boston reimburse the tea merchants. The directors of the East India Company are said to have remained calm, and kept in touch with Lord Dartmouth. Dartmouth's secretary, John Pownall, ([30]) was embarrassed that Dartmouth had not even known of the East India tea shipments. One of the London merchants' go-betweens with Lord Dartmouth appears to have been the Philadelphia merchant Gilbert Barkley. ([31]) The London merchants made no bitter demands that the Bostonians be punished, and by March, 1774 were still confident that Boston would make reparations. Lord North did not appreciate their views, and when approached by merchants such as Champion and Dickinson, ([32]) Hayley and Hopkins, and Lane Son and Fraser, dismissed them, as he dismissed an offer by London's Lord Mayor that the City would cover the losses. In The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson, ([33]) Bailyn suggests that the Bostonian George Erving was used as a go-between about July, 1774, arranging for a private group of Boston merchants to repay the Company for the loss of its tea - to a value of up to 16,000, some 6,000 or 7,000 above its value - if the then-imposed Act closing Boston Harbour was withdrawn.


Given alderman George Hayley's original role, it is curious that by January, 1775 ([34]) he came to represent London merchants who were petitioning that the English merchants were threatened with ruin, since in view of the risk of hostilities there were serious doubts as to their ability to collect the large debts owed to them by American planters. All were exporters and importers, and/or handled Britain's manufactures, and some handled imports from the East Indies. It was estimated that North America owed the City 2 million sterling "and upwards".


Later, clearly from 1790, if not before, Samuel Enderby deliberately waged maritime war on the East India Company - and as far as rights to sail the Pacific Ocean are concerned, he won. ([35]) The whalers' strategy is evident both in the record on the deployment of shipping, and in successive Acts of Parliament governing which waters the whalers could sail. The origins of the English South Whale Fishery stem from about the time of the Boston Tea Party. There is no necessary connection between the Boston Tea Party, the outbreak of the American Revolution, Hayley's role as a whaling investor, Enderby's career as a whaler and the deployment of shipping to early New South Wales. Yet Enderby lived side-by-side at Blackheath with other merchants who had lost more heavily than he had by the American Revolution. ([36])


If Samuel Enderby lost money, reputation, or prestige when his hopes in 1775 for the development of a South Whale Fishery were dashed, it may have been that he remained resentful, not only at the rebellious Americans and their revolutionary war against England, he may also have carried a grudge against the East India Company. Certain aspects of his career appear to flesh out such a surmise. He was however not the only one of the Blackheath merchants under consideration here who lost by the American War. Campbell after the close of the American Revolution developed a habit of lobbying government about the debts he and other merchants had seen repudiated by the rebellious Americans. British merchants disgruntled about their losses in America during 1782-83 formed the Committee of Merchants Having Traded to America Prior to 1776. (The British Creditors)... (who are later treated in some detail here...) ([37])

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* * * *


Radical tactics and the financing of the American Revolution:


Between 1773 and 1775, the American radical in London, William Lee, and others using Wilkesite tactics had succeeded in splitting the political unity of London's American merchants. The historian of these machinations is Alison Olson, who has traced the political outlook of London's merchants trading to the tobacco colonies, from say, 1720, earlier than the eclipse of the career of Micajah Perry. ([38]) Olson terms the most influential Londoners, the "core group". Campbell became one of them.


By 1778, Olson writes: ([39])


"Gradually the North American mercantile lobby came under the leadership of Duncan Campbell... who had abandoned the camp when it momentarily fell under Wilkesite leadership in 1775. Of a total of seventeen, Campbell was one of six Virginia signers of a petition to Parliament in 1778 requesting that, if negotiations for peace were begun, the Americans would be required to pay their debts in full, and another of 1782 requesting the same of the Earl of Shelburne. Legal mechanisms in the US for addressing the Creditors' debt matters did not exist till July 1790, and from the Creditors' points of view were slow to adjust to use."


Olson seems mystified as to why Campbell dropped out of London-American merchant politics during a crucial period, late 1774, and apparently ignored his fellow merchants? The reason was that his first wife, Rebecca, died on 7 December, 1774, leaving him with a motherless new-born, "Little Duncan", and other young children. Campbell was also probably physically ill, apart from being emotionally devastated by grief. (He was an emotional man).


American grievances:


London Wilkesites in early 1774 began making lists of London-British merchants positive and negative to the American cause. ([40]) Meanwhile, Blackburn and Molleson kept in touch with Lord Dartmouth, who was more responsive and more inclined to listen to conflicting opinions than North. When merchants visited him with their opinions, North told them to return to their counting houses. ([41]) By May 1774 in Annapolis, merchants had met to adopt four resolutions about "American affairs", one of which was that lawyers should not prosecute debt cases for British creditors until Parliament repealed the Intolerable Acts. ([42]) (Only nine of Annapolis' seventeen leading firms of 1774 survived to 1783).


Campbell was glum about sugar prices and worried about his daughter Henrietta...

Campbell Letter 34:

May 13, 1774

John Campbell Esq Saltspring per the William Capt Whittle

I wrote to you on the 31 of March to which I refer - I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 12 March. Captain Millar is safe in the Thames your sugars by him is not yet all landed as soon as they are I shall draw them and give you any sentiment on their Quality. & as I have little expectation of the prices being better I mean to embrace the first favourable opportunity of Disposing of them - insurance per Tayloe 300 pounds and Union 260 pounds on the Green River 140 pounds

I am much pleased to find my conduct with C.C. meet with your approbation. I shall though the whole of that business endeavour to conduct myself as to avoid blame to you or me in case an amicable settlement does not take place ......


Mrs Campbell and I are somewhat uneasy at the repeated accounts of Henny's indisposition; perhaps she makes too free at her exercise at improper hours, as I am told she is very fond of the doing of a very bold Rider on Horseback which when a hot Sun may be too much for her constitution ..... John still is not well ... Dugald is fat and fair at Hawley .. ([43])


* * *


News travelled about personalities. In June 1774, Boston newspapers carried a story that Molleson had been among London merchants refusing to sign a petition for the redress of American grievances. (Thomas Contee acted in Maryland for Molleson). ([44]) It was another grim sign. Specific attention was being turned on the personal politics of London's American merchants as never before. It would have been appreciated by some that during his term as Sheriff of London, the American alderman William Lee made public his feelings by decorating his coach with a figure of Britannia holding a laurel branch to America. ([45])


Departing England in July 1774 was the ship Green Garland, as listed by Coldham; but probably it was Green Island, sailing for Campbell, Capt. John Ogilvy for America. After 3 July, 1774, Campbell was in touch with William Miles at Bristol about a bill on David Cunningham. By 15 July, Justitia and Tayloe were sailing, with tobacco from Burgess Smith and Col. Francis Thornton. On 15 July, 1774, Campbell wrote to Honble John Tayloe. ([46])


Charles Carroll of Annapolis owned almost 400 slaves in 1773, most of them kept in family units of parents and children. ([47]) By August 1774, become a Maryland radical and protester, Charles Carroll expressed in a letter to Europe ([48]) his views that the Empire was on the brink of ruin, due to "mistaken policy, an ill-grounded jealousy, or rather ye insatiable avarice or worse ambition of corrupt ministers intent on spreading that corruption thro America". ([49]) Of course, Campbell was one of those whom the Americans would have regarded as spreading that corruption. On 7 August, 1774, Burgess Ball was writing to Campbell what appears to have been a letter of good faith composed amidst troubles... ([50]) "you may rely that no private advantage shall be thought of by me, and I hope that matters will ee'r long be friendly determined."


And on 13 September, 1774, Campbell was writing to Peregrine Cust, ([51]) a conservative and well-connected man in London financial circles. ([52]) Situations deteriorated. By 1773 the merchants J. Dick and Anthony Stewart at Annapolis owed Buchanan in London some 6700. ([53]). The American historian Jacob Price reports that in 1773, Dick and Stewart of Annapolis were involved in the affair of the ship Peggy Stewart, an affair widely reported at the time. (It is not impossible that this man Stewart was related to the now-deceased Campbell partner, John Stewart). ([54])


James Russell was accused of criticising the Continental Congress, and during 1774, one of James Russell's correspondents "chastised" him for being politically inactive that summer. But it might have also been felt that this inactivity was calculated to serve some private purposes? James Russell in London with the American tea importers Wallace and Co., and Williams and Co., both of Annapolis, was directly involved in the affair of Peggy Stewart (hidden parcels of tea) in October 1774. Set ablaze, Peggy Stewart was owned by the firm Dick and Stewart of Annapolis. Amos Hayton in London had sold the tea to Russell, and at this time, one of Campbell's correspondents, William Fitzhugh, was in touch with James Russell. ([55]) ([56]) The Peggy Stewart incident was reported in The Maryland Gazette, 20 October, 1774. Involved were matters between a firm named Wallace and the tea importers, Williams and Co., both of Annapolis. After the stoppage of a John Buchanan ship in 1773, the Annapolis firm, Dick and Stewart, transferred most of their business to Buchanan. Russell was their representative in London, and he had decided to hide parcels of tea in Peggy Stewart.


As early as 1771, Joshua Johnson in London had warned his Annapolis partners Charles Wallace and John Davidson, that Russell and others were interested in shipping out tea. In 1774, Joshua Johnson again warned his partners about tea dealing, and Russell's moves, and this warning led to destruction of tea and the burning of Peggy Stewart. Wallace had played "an inflammatory role". In the aftermath here, Capt. Lambert Wickes of the Neptune had once refused to carry tea to Maryland sent by the same London merchant supplying the tea to Russell, Amos Hayton, to the same Annapolis house, Williams and Co.


It is interesting that Campbell never dealt substantially in tea to the colonies, not even to Jamaica, as far as is known. And incidentally, as a measure of how a reading of Campbell's letterbooks ties in with available American research, Campbell's colonial agent Thomas Ringold wrote to Samuel Galloway in 11 September, 1774. ([57]) Ringold has his own small presence in historians' overviews, as this, from the Australian Wilfrid Oldham in 1933... ([58]) The Maryland Gazette of 30 July, 1767, quoted an agent, Mr. Ringold, who was involved in the disposal of convict labour, as declaring that 600 convicts had been introduced annually into the colony for the preceding 30 years.


By October 1774, Capt. Ogilvy was taking in lumber for Campbell; the sugar market was glutted. In America, Tom Hodge remained on as Campbell's agent. By 5 October, 1774, Campbell by Green River Capt. Addis was in touch with Messrs Scott, Pringle and Co., about 80 gallons of best Madeira wine of the oldest vintage, to be sent by Green River to John Campbell, Saltspring, Duncan's brother-in-law. (She was a Jamaica-linked ship, not owned by Campbell, named for an area near Saltspring plantation). On 17 October, 1774, Campbell by his own ship Orange Bay Capt. Somerville was writing to Hugh White Esq., by desire of Peter Campbell Esq. (a planter of Jamaica, probably a relative of Rebecca's father, Dugald).


On 17 October, 1774, Campbell wrote to Messrs Abraham Lopez and Son (of Newport, Rhode Island?), re their favour of 14 June and a lading of 12 Terces of Sugar per Britannia. The sugar was of a mean quality, the market is glutted, Campbell grumbled. (These may have been the traders Lopez involved from North America in whaling projects, or sealing down to the Falkland Islands?)


And in November 1774, Annapolis merchant James Dick declared that the distressed situation of American now rendered the collection of debts very precarious. ([59]) In that precariousness, then, the old battle between Campbell and Colin Currie flared up again over Saltspring in Jamaica and matters allied. By 23 November, 1774, John Campbell of Saltspring had again had to deal with Currie. Currie had John's bonds, and there was mention of a long-time associate of Currie, Mr. David Shakespeare. (Inconclusiveness about Currie and Currie's point of view is a maddening aspect of Campbell's battle for control of Saltspring, but it is known that alderman John Shakespear, once master of the Ironmongers Guild, died on 18 May, 1775).


Campbell Letter 35:

Mincing Lane 30 Nov 1774

Colin Currie Esq

I have requested the favour of seeing you but in vain. Your Clark tells me Mr Shakespeare is to pay your Acceptance right he had resolved to the contrary. for Gods sake consider what you are about, do not be so obstinate, nobody wishes to hurt you or your Credit but if you will hearken to reason things may be still accomodated to your and my mutual Satisfaction if you will call upon me but if you will leave Town without seeing me or making provisions for your Bills it will be my duty to let them take their regular course, but you may rely nothing of this sort shall be done before two oclock by which time Mr Shakespeare will probably have made the provision you expect

I am yours ([60])


In December 1774, Campbell sent out his accounts. As was the commercial custom of the day, he usually closed and re-opened his books early in April each year.


Between December 1774 and January 1775, London's merchants met to consider the implications of the "American crisis" and to draft a petition to government. Molleson was involved in politicking from the beginning, and was one of three Maryland merchants elected to a steering committee. Molleson assured Lord Dartmouth, secretary for the colonies that he would remain as "commercial and non-political as possible". But like many people who became so involved, Molleson ended in playing a double role, partly since the whole range and philosophy of commercial relations was being politicised so rapidly and unpredictably. ([61]) Double roles and duplicity were the natural result of conflict of loyalties as well as the desire to protect existing or future commercial involvements. The ambivalences produced are well illustrated by the career, for example, of the Boston "patriot" merchant, John Hancock, earlier discussed. ([62])


* * *


Despite the colonial prohibition on felons being landed, Campbell nevertheless had a busy December in 1774 with his ships arriving back and then to be prepared for their embarkation of transports. He'd had a relatively safe year, commercially, until a crushing personal disaster brought his world crashing down around his ears. The information is:


Memorial Inscriptions of the Old Churchyard of St. John at Hackney, Society of Genealogists, Campbell of Mincing Lane died 24 February 1803 aged 78. His first wife Rebecca died December 7, 1774, no age given, the same day her son Duncan was born.


On 7 December, 1774, Duncan's devoted and motherly wife, Rebecca, had died, leaving him with seven older children, a newborn son Duncan Jnr needing a wetnurse, and a severe case of grief and depression which kept him from undertaking any business activity for some time. Rebecca may have died in childbirth. But there are hints in letters that Duncan may have shared an illness his wife had; some letters hint at fever, and faintly suggest his own life had been in danger. ([63]) Campbell's grief-stricken letters after this event suggest he had himself almost died from the undisclosed ailment which killed Rebecca. He was anyway incapacitated physically and emotionally, and was apologising almost tearfully to business contacts for his inattention and incapacity for some months.


Given Campbell's long experience as a convict contractor, had he almost died, say, of a fever, it would be hardly surprising that long later he thereafter avoided the risk of catching gaol fever by avoiding the hulks hospitals. Jeremy Bentham in January 1778 was inspecting the hulks in Campbell's company, and he noted how Campbell avoided any risk of fever by simply refusing to enter the hulks hospital. ([64]) But there may have been an implication here for London merchant politics in December 1775. If Campbell was indeed a merchant activist on the "American question", but both ill and incapacitated by grief at his wife's death, then his inability to contribute may have slowed down the reactions of the American merchants, at least the more conservative group - and the information is, the merchants did react slowly in December, 1775.


* * *


[Finis Chapter 15]

Words 5464, words and footnotes 8813, pages 15, footnotes 64


[1] Dickinson was from a leading Quaker family of the American eastern seaboard, and wrote a letter about the Bengal famine. Mukherjee, Rise and Fall of the East India Company, See also, p. 629, in the bibliography of A. M. Schlesinger, Colonial Merchants, citing C. J. Stille, The Life and Times of John Dickinson, 1732-1808. Schlesinger, `Uprising against the East India Company', p. 77. Jack P. Green and J. R. Pole, (Eds.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Blackwell, 1991., p. 715.

[2] Clive of India was replaced as governor by a Vansittart (Mukherjee, Rise and Fall, pp. 345-347). He was given a "present" of 58,333, but when he again left England he was a poor man. He later reported he had a fortune, but had exercised moderation. He said, "fortunes of 100,000 pounds have been obtained in two years". Something of course was gravely amiss with the developing system.

[3] Quoted in Tara Chand, History of the Freedom Movement in India. Vol. 1. New Delhi, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1970., p. 237. Chand took views from Mill and Wilson, The History of British India (5th edition), Vol. III, p. 279. Later, (Chand, pp. 237-240) it is estimated that almost 2 million passed every year in the form of tribute from the East India Company to the British government.

[4] On the Bengal famine: Linebaugh, The London Hanged, p. 283; as the 1769-1771 famine killed "millions" of Indians, the London working class rebelled, and later, the Americans rebelled. Linebaugh cites titles including H. P. Ghose, The [Bengal] Famine of 1770. Calcutta, 1944.

[5] Chand, Freedom Movement, p. 332 estimates the drain of monies from India after Plassey/Buxar, with, say, 17.2 million going to English banks, but he more agrees with Furber, in John Company at Work, speaking of, say, 1.9 million between 1783 and 1793. [It is still a great spread of estimate, and not been tightened up since, either].

[6] Chand, Freedom Movement, p. 245. Misra, Central Administration of the East India Company, pp. 18ff. The first constitutional version of government in India would have a supreme government with a governor-general and four councillors, controlling the presidencies of Madras and Bombay from Calcutta. The governor-general would rule in cases of war or peace and generally manage territories and revenues. But it implanted what had been arranged before statutory provisions for punishment and bribery/corruption had been arranged, in cases such as East India Company servants versus agents of the Crown. There had to be nothing repugnant to the laws of England. A supreme court of Judicature at Calcutta, Parliament had a right to regulate the civil and military affairs of the Company and territories in India. Defects of the 1773 Regulating Act included: (1) continuance of majority rule; (2) too vague a control of the subordinate presidencies; (3) ambiguity of jurisdiction regarding the Supreme Court and Supreme Council. Here with (3), regarding the original Mogul grant, and Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, views were unclear on how to deal with natives who were company servants. (The Diwani was an office, not a property.) Therefore, political authority was a little obscure, and the Company could treat Indian princes as it found expedient. There was an Amending Act of 1781.

[7] Chand, Freedom Movement, p. 248, p. 320. The British put the Armenian merchants out of business. Cornwallis, a Whig, had ideas of transplanting English landed aristocracy in India, including enforcement of a law of contract and reduction of the state's interference in economic affairs. He was ignorant of Indian conditions and customs and had a conqueror's sense of racial superiority. Some (unexplained) statistics on declining Dutch trade in this famine period are given in Om Prakash, The Dutch East India Company and the Economy of Bengal, 1630-1720. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1985.

[8] Chand, Freedom Movement, pp. 333-334. Chand notes a spate on inventions which were financed from 1760; the flying shuttle, coal replacing wood for smelting, the spinning jenny; from 1785 came Cartwright's power loom, in 1768 came Watt's steam engine. Chand feels the inventions did not cause the acceleration, they were propelled by the financial acceleration made possible by the influx of money from India, which went not into East India Company coffers, but into private hands via the men benefiting from Clive's Plassey and Buxar successes. Chand here cites Brook Adams, The Laws of Civilisation and Decay, nd, pp. 259-260. What is still unknown is, which banks may have handled such sums of money!

[9] Mukherjee, Rise and Fall, pp. 351-361ff.

[10] H. B. Morse, 'The Provision of Funds for the East India Company's trade at Canton during the eighteenth century', Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Part 2, April 1922., pp. 227-254. [Microfilm 950.05, Dixson Library, UNE]., here, pp. 237-246. This "bank" at Canton needs to be mentioned since by the time the Australian colony was developing commercially, merchants involved were probably using its increasingly sophisticated services.

[11] E. M. Gull, British Economic Interest in the Far East. London, Oxford University Press, 1943., p. 13. Immanuel Wallenstein, 'The Great Expansion: the incorporation of vast new zones into the capitalist world economy (1750-1850)', Studies in History, New Series, Vol. 4, Nos. 1&2, January-December 1988., pp. 85-156., here, p. p. 98. Om Prakash, 'Opium monopoly in India and Indonesia in the eighteenth century', Indian Economic and Social History Review, 24, 1, 1987., pp. 63-80. Tan Chung, 'The Britain-China-India trade triangle, 1771-1840', The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 11, No. 4, December 1974., pp. 411-431., here, p. 417, table 3. See Chung, p. 417, Table 3, regarding a 100 per cent rise in opium production in Bengal between 1771-1775 (the Bengal famine intervening for part of that period, but being commented as such by disturbingly few writers).

[12] Michael Greenberg, British Trade and the Opening of China, 1800-1842. Cambridge University Press, 1951., p. 22.

[13] As is treated in Asiya Siddiqi, `The Business World of Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy', Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. XIX, Nos. 3&4, July-December, 1982, pp. 301-304.

[14] S. B. Singh, European Agency Houses in Bengal, 1783-1833, Calcutta, Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, 1966.

[15] Labaree, Boston Tea Party, p. 259. Additional information on whalers' aspirations is found in Anthony Dickinson, 'Some Aspects of the Origin and Implementation of the Eighteenth Century Falkland Islands Sealing Industry', International Journal of Maritime History, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1990., pp. 33-68.

[16] "The Samuel Enderby Book": Whaling Documents 1775-1790. (Originals held at the Pennsylvania Historical Society, 1300 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA. USA.) Used by permission of director, James E. Rooney. No accession date. No provenance). Being a list of names of merchants placing vessels in the South Whale Fishery. Ships' names, masters' names, with some information on catches of whale oil, seal skins, areas fished, etc. Copies of these originals are with the Petherick Collection of Manuscripts, Ms 1701. Australian National Library.

[17] This legend was discovered in a book of popularist history containing eyewitness accounts of noted events. W. J. Dakin also misleadingly discussed it in the introduction to his book, Whalemen Adventurers in Southern Waters. Sydney, 1977. [Originally published in 1934]. The account here is particularly indebted to Labaree, Boston Tea Party, New York, 1964. Labaree drew heavily on Francis Drake, Tea Leaves. Boston, 1884.

[18] The role of the Rotch family also becomes ironic. Stackpole treats the Rotch family, and says that Francis Rotch with the death of George Hayley became associated with a new firm (a firm also investing in whaling), Champion and Hayley, and became the consort of Hayley's widow, Mary, sister of the London radical, John Wilkes. Stackpole, Whales and Destiny, p 7. Merrill Jensen also treats Rotch and the widow Hayley in The New Nation: A History of the United States During the Confederation, 1781-1789. New York, 1958., pp. 185-188.

[19] On Hayley: Beaven, Aldermen, op. cit.; Valerie Hope, My Lord Mayor, op. cit.; Stackpole, Whales, op. cit. Note 28: On Samuel Enderby and London alderman and underwriter George Hayley (d. 1781) and for the origins of the English South Whale fishery, see Eduoard Stackpole, Whales and Destiny: The Rivalry between America, France and Britain for Control of the Southern Whale Fishery, 1785-1852. Boston, 1972. Also, Byrnes, 'Outlooks'', op. cit.

[20] Wilkes' career is treated in Valerie Hope, Lord Mayor; and Beaven, Aldermen. An interesting view of Mary Wilkes' brother, the radical John Wilkes, is given in Richard Ketchum, The Winter Soldiers: George Washington and the Way to Independence. London, Macdonald, 1973., pp. 68-73. On pro-Americans in Britain: John Sainsbury, 'The Pro-Americans of London, 1769 to 1782', William and Mary Quarterly, Series 3, Vol. XXXV, January, 1978., pp. 423-454.

[21] Alderman George Hayley married Mary Wilkes, sister of John the radical London alderman. Hayley is noted as a London MP in Hibbert, King Mob, p. 167. Lord George Gordon after the riot accepted a nomination for Hayley's seat when Hayley died in 1781. See Wright and Fayle on Lloyd's, p. 100, Hayley presided over the development of Lloyd's first organised policy, which appeared in 1779. Kellock, `London Merchants', p. 129.

[22] On John Hancock's career: Melvin Maddocks, The Seafarers: The Atlantic Crossing. Amsterdam, Time-Life Books, 1981., pp. 55ff. The commercial connections of the Blackheath Freemasons and their links with colonialism as outlined here contrast interestingly with a variety of treatments of the history of Freemasonry in London in the late 1780s. Martin Short, Inside the Brotherhood: Further Secrets of the Freemasons. London, 1990. Short treats some historical English developments from the 1740s. In Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge. London, 1990., is a treatment of Freemasonry and the American Revolution, with extensive material on the Boston Tea Party, especially on the merchant John Hancock and Paul Revere as Masons. But see for example, John Hamill, The Craft: A History of English Freemasonry. London, Crucible, 1986., p. 87. Recently a list of Masons influential in early Australian history was published. (See The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August, 1988, Masons Still Have Secrets, an article by Tony Stephens). Much information therein was apparently derived from Mackaness and Kramp, cited elsewhere. The list included: Sir Joseph Banks, Masons unnamed on the First Fleet, convict architect Francis Greenway, Governor Lachlan Macquarie, W. C. Wentworth, explorer and publisher Hamilton Hume. Thus, at a level of Masonic influence too networked, or weblike, to ignore, Masons of varying respectability were influential in both London and at Sydney during the "founding" of Australia. Also, W. E. Hughes, Chronicles of Blackheath Golfers. London, 1897., p. 18. Robert Browning, A History of Golf: The Royal and Ancient Game. London, 1955., p. 40. Ian T. Henderson and David Stirk, Royal Blackheath. London, 1981., p. 53; Chapter 2 of Henderson and Stirk is entitled: "The Organisation by Scottish Freemasons of the Early Golfing Societies". A golf club had been established at Blackheath from 1766, the game then known as "goff". The club captain in 1766 was Alexander Duncan, "a Master Mason". The players formed the Blackheath Golf Club, mostly a summer-playing club. By early 1789, some keen golfers wished to play all year, and they established a winter-playing club called The Knuckle Club, which also became a Masonic Club. By 1989, at Blackheath and in golfing history, the Masonic aspect had given the Knuckle Club an enduring notoriety. According to a golfing historian, Browning, the Knuckle Club had a distinct "mystical element", which he labelled "puerile" due to the use of initiation rites and elaborate ritual. The present Royal Blackheath Golf Club has been shifted from Blackheath to Eltham in London. On the Masonic element in the disbandment of the Knuckle Club, Browning, p. 40.

[23] Olson, Making the Empire Work, p. 182. In Maryland, William Molleson's business was taken away by the firm of Wallace, Johnson and Muir, who were partners of Robert Morris. Molleson's career and various issues treated here are outlined in a masterly treatment, Jacob M. Price, 'One Family's Empire: The Russell-Lee-Clerk Connection in Maryland, Britain and India, 1707-1857', Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 72. 1977., pp. 165-225. I am grateful to Dr Prof. Alan Atkinson for drawing my attention to this model of genealogical research. Molleson was partner with the tobacco merchant, James Russell. Price however was apparently unaware of the many connections which can be noted in Duncan Campbell's career, especially connections to government officials, which he had due to his role as hulks overseer.

[24] A. J. Langguth, Patriots, pp. 178ff.

[25] Melvin Maddocks, The Seafarers: The Atlantic Crossing. Amsterdam, Time-Life Books, 1981. Labaree, Boston Tea Party, p. 34.

[26] Labaree, Boston Tea Party, p. 131.

[27] Jensen, The Founding of a Nation, cited above, pp. 437, 453.

[28] On Polhill: Alan Valentine, The British Establishment, 1760-1784: An Eighteenth Century Biographical Dictionary. University of Oklahoma Press, 1970., Vol. 2, p. 709.

[29] See also Samuel Flagg Bemis, Jay's Treaty: A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy. New York, Macmillan, 1923 [Bemis also advances views on the threat of the Nootka Crisis, which seem exaggerated]. Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, (Eds.), The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 1782-1786. Vol. 3. New York, Columbia University Press, 1962; Thomas Perkins Abernethy, Western Lands, ibid.

[30] Labaree, Boston Tea Party, p. 171.

[31] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 57.

[32] Champions were investors in the London-based South Whale Fishery by the late 1790s. On Lane, Son and Fraser, new information has been presented in Michael Scorgie and Peter Hudgson, 'Arthur Phillip's Familial and Political Networks', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 82, Part 1, June, 1996., pp. 23-39.

[33] Bernard Bailyn, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson. Boston/Harvard, 1974., p. 280.

[34] This petition is cited in Henry Steele Commager, Documents of American History. New York, 1973., pp. 87ff.

[35] Byrnes, `Outlooks', variously.

[36] From these sections, the Royal Blackheath Golf Club grows in interest. Robert Browning, A History of Golf: The Royal and Ancient Game. London, J. M. Dent and Sons, 1955. Ian T. Henderson and David Stirk, Royal Blackheath. London, Henderson and Stirk Ltd., 1981. W. E. Hughes, Chronicles of Blackheath Golfers. London, Chapman and Hall, 1897. Campbell, often named as a golfer, was captain of the club in 1783. Hughes (p. 6) records Campbell was on the committee in 1789. One William Hamilton was a captain of Blackheath Golf Club in 1788. On the Blackheath Golf Club in modern days, Sir Peter Allen, The Sunley Book of Royal Golf. London, Stanley Paul, 1989., pp. 50ff. Mitchell Platts, Illustrated History of Golf. London, Bison Books, 1988., pp. 12, 17, 25.

[37] Apart from his Letterbooks, there is only one other example of Campbell's lobbying about American debts. This is with the Melville Papers, William Clements Library, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan. I am grateful to Prof. Alan Atkinson for obtaining a copy of these papers. The Melville Papers information is apparently unique in its mention of Abel and Macaulay losing by the American War. Also, mention there of John Nutt and Campbell fits with another Blackheath link (recorded in Macaulay's Journal, 1796-1797) between G. M. Macaulay and Joseph Nutt a director of the Bank of England. Joseph Nutt and Macaulay associated often, Macaulay for example being attentive to the older man's birthday. On the British Creditors, Duncan Campbell Letterbooks, Duncan Campbell to Nathaniel Polhill, 1 April, 1782, ML A3228, p. 7. Per Duncan Campbell, a more important document is a printed Memorial from the Merchants Trading to Lord Carmarthen, dated probably 4 March, 1786 (ML A3232), although the precise date is uncertain, but could have been April, 1786. Two copies of the Memorial survive. Here, I have written, Dan Byrnes: 'A Bitter Pill: an assessment of the significance of the meeting between Thomas Jefferson and Duncan Campbell of the British Creditors in London, 23 April, 1786'. Self-published, Armidale New South Wales, 1994.

[38] Olson, 'London Mercantile Lobby', pp. 40-41. Of related interest is Edward Countryman, 'The Uses of Capital in Revolutionary America: The Case of the New York Loyalist Merchants', William and Mary Quarterly, Series 3, Vol. 49, No. 1, January, 1992., pp. 3-28.

[39] Charles F. Hobson, 'The Recovery of British Debts in the Federal Circuit Court of Virginia, 1790-1797', Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1984, 92, 2., pp. 176-200.

[40] Olson, `London Mercantile Lobby', p. 38. On popular sentiment and its effect on City politics, see also, Sainsbury, `Pro-Americans', pp. 433ff.

[41] William Molleson wrote to Dartmouth on 31 August, 1774; John Blackburn on 22 Dec., 1774; Dennys Deberdt, on 17 June, 1774 and later; Sainsbury, `Pro-Americans', p. 449.

[42] T. Thompson, `Personal Indebtedness', p. 23. Olson, Making the Empire Work, p. 179.

[43] Note to Campbell Letter 34: Transcript from ML, A3225, p. 356. Colin Currie, referred to variously as C. C., or Mr. C, who had an associate, Mr. Shakespeare, was a man who threatened the ambitions of Campbell concerning the Jamaican estate, Saltspring. The nature of the wrangling between Campbell and Colin Currie has remained as obscure as it was protracted.

[44] Jacob Price, `One Family's Empire', p. 191.

[45] Sainsbury, `Pro-Americans', p. 431.

[46] In December 1774: SRC of Bristol were using the ship William, see Ekirch, Bound for America, p. 129.

[47] Walvin, Black Ivory, p. 202.

[48] T. Thompson, `Personal Indebtedness', p. 25.

[49] Walvin, Black Ivory, p. 202, Charles Carroll of Annapolis owned almost 400 slaves in 1773, most of them in family units of parents and children.

[50] Emory Evans, `Planter Indebtedness', p. 530, Note 59.

[51] Peregrine Cust (1723-1785), Unm, was a proponent of slavery, a government contractor, a director of the East India Company. He was son of Sir (Bart2) Richard Cust Anne Brownlow. He is seen as an eminent city merchant. From 1747 he was a partner in Jones and Cust, Linen drapers. He was apprenticed in 1739 to William Smith, Aufrere, and Co., linen drapers in Cornhill. He was sent to Holland to work, and returned home a partner with 3000. He spoke on the value of Senegal and Goree, and spoke for the government on East India Company matters from 1763 in respect of the Clive/Sulivan squabble. He became one of the chief government contractors for Bute, and managed for the creditors in the 1772 matter of Fordyce, for which he was generally praised. He left a fortune including estates and 30,000. He was a delegate for Bristol on the Africa Committee, 1755-1765. FRS and MP. He was an East India Company director 1767-1769 and deputy-chairman 1769-1770. In 1782 he was on board of Greenwich Royal Hospital, and he was also one of HM Commissioners for the Lieutenancy of the City of London with Calverts and Richard Neave, Joseph Mellish. Duncan Campbell wrote to Cust in 1774. He had a brother, Francis Cockayne Cust (1721-1791) MP and legal counsel to the Admiralty. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage for Brownlow. Valentine, British Establishment, Vol. 1, p. 232. Namier-Brooke, The History of Parliament: House of Commons, 1754-1790, Vol. 2, p. 291 and Vol. 3, p. 681. Robert Selig, 'Emigration, fraud, humanitarianism and the founding of Londonderry, South Carolina, 1763-1765', Eighteenth Century Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1, Fall 1989., pp. 1-23., here, p. 13. The Royal Calendar. GEC, Peerage, Tyrconnell, p. 126. Peregrine Cust in 1782 was on the board of the Royal Hospital of Greenwich which trained naval men. Some other men on that board were : Sir Hugh Palliser, Alex Hood; auditor was Rt. Hon. William Eden. Clerk of works was Robert Mylne, with whom Duncan Campbell was to deal by way of organising work for the first hulks convicts in 1776.

[52] Ekirch, Bound for America, p. 53, citing Campbell's Private Letter Book, p. 312.

[53] T. Thompson, `Personal Indebtedness', p. 26;

[54] Some of the tea on Peggy Stewart had been ordered by T. C. Williams and Co. of Annapolis, see Schlesinger, `Uprising', p. 65. Olson, Making the Empire Work, pp. 156-157.

[55] These views are gained from Kellock's research.

[56] Jacob Price, `One Family's Empire', p. 192 and Note 94; Papenfuse, In Pursuit of Profit, variously.

[57] T. Thompson, `Personal Indebtedness', Note 88.

[58] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 24

[59] T. Thompson, `Personal Indebtedness', p. 23.

[60] Transcript from ML, A3225, p. 356.

[61] Jacob Price, `One Family's Empire', p. 191.

[62] Melvin Maddocks, The Seafarers: The Atlantic Crossing. Amsterdam, Time-Life Books, 1981., pp. 58-65.

[63] Rebecca's death: Duncan and Rebecca had eight children.

[64] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 201.

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