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More on Robert Morris and tobacco: London merchants, 1775-1800: History and amnesia: More London merchants: The hulks, continued: Campbell's merchant leadership: Campbell's former agent, Matthew Ridley: War and hulks business: Transportation not to America, 1779: `Nests of pestilence': The Gordon Riots, 1780:


The Blackheath Connection

Chapter 20


More on Robert Morris and tobacco:


Johnstone the British peace envoy travelled to the US about June 1778, but he was distrusted by such as Robert Morris. ([1]) Doubtless, Campbell would have been interested in Johnstone's mission. There were to arise, squabbles over US paper money, which Quakers refused to handle as it had been issued for purposes of war. The attitude of the (Loyalist) Nantucketeers here was particularly resented; they committed "the accursed crime of refusing paper money", and they took a hardline moral opinion on the debt repudiation question. ([2]) To the end of 1777, the firm of Willing and Morris broke up, but this not announced in public till 28 July, 1778. ([3]) Willing wanted to wind up his English affairs; Morris disliked working with the French.


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Between 1778-1781, Morris was acknowledged as the premier merchant in the US. Now completely private, he continued dealing with Bingham, who was based at Martinique. Profit from privateering had tapered off, Capt. Ord went back to ordinary sailing. Morris soon teamed with a partner, Jonathan Hudson, who speculated in salt, then tobacco, then the two did business with tobacco, rum, plantations, lands. Hudson became rather impetuous, and was also linked to Peter Whitesides and Co., from July 1778. Hudson began buying, say, 2000 tobacco hogsheads at a time. Morris was also dealing extensively with and for the French merchant, John Holker, in Philadelphia, Virginia and Maryland. (There are forty volumes of Holker Papers in the Library of Congress). By early 1779, accusations were brewing against Morris, ([4]) resentment grew about his private dealing versus public capacity, more so in the case of the ship Farmer Capt. Dashiel from Baltimore, captured by the British,. (Ver Steeg does not think Morris was at fault in this controversial case).


By early 1780, American tobacco was to be requisitioned as a commodity to be accumulated and traded as payment for the import of necessary items which could not be furnished by the US' own resources. ([5]) By April 1781, the blockading of the Chesapeake made this almost impossible to succeed. After 9 November, 1780, ([6]) William Lee was mentioning the name of the Dutch banker, Van Berkel, and a contract. Sumner (p. 252) says that British knowledge of this contract became the immediate reason for the war between Britain and Holland! About then, the US had some 165 ships out privateering, with 6000 men aboard, especially from New England towns. ([7]) The year was quite a year for business confidence in the US, partly as John Holker purchased for the French forces in the US itself. The year 1781 was a peak year for American privateers, the number declined in 1782. ([8]) In the spring of 1780, Morris was dealing with William Turnbull and Co.; and Holker and Morris became partners with Turnbull here; the firm later became Turnbull, Marmie and Co. Holker taught Morris much about dealing with France, and allowed Morris to use considerable funds freely. Holker also furthered links with William Turnbull and Co., Benjamin Harrison Jr. and Co., and Stacey Hepburn and Co., trading in tobacco, indigo and rice. Hepburn sent some goods via St Eustatius. And in 1781, Morris sent his two sons, Robert, twelve, and Thomas, ten, to Europe for their education, in care of none other than Campbell's former agent, Matthew Ridley, commercial agent for Maryland. ([9]) The boys were at Geneva and Leipsic till 1788 when they came home.


* * *


London merchants, 1775-1800:


Despite Britain's travail during and after the American Revolution, there was at least stability in the City of London in the management of major trading companies and groups, and amongst the aldermen of London, despite the destruction of a great many firms who numbered themselves as British Creditors. This stability has never been examined in the context of Britain's founding a convict colony at NSW, with the result that the many commercial aspects of the measure have gone unnoticed. In fact, after 1788, most of London's noted merchants ignored new opportunities arising in the Pacific region. The careers of the merchants who did notice new Pacific opportunities have also been ignored. Lists of merchants active from 1778 are helpful in outlining these matters.


The Samuel Enderby Book lists the following merchants operating "To the Southward of Greenland Seas and Davis Straits" in 1778:


R. Coffin and Co., London, Dennis, Capt. H. Coffin, S. Enderby and Sons, London, Rockingham, Capt. W. Gardner, S. Enderby and Sons, London, Pitt, Capt. W. Goldsmith. Ships To the Brazils and Africa were sent by S. Enderby and Sons, London, Rockingham, Capt. B. Ray, S. Enderby and Sons, London, Pitt, Capt. T. Macy, S. Enderby and Sons, London, Neptune, Capt. R. Macy, S. Enderby and Sons, London, Experiment, Capt. W. Folger, S. Enderby and Sons, London, Palliser, Capt. W. Goldsmith, S. Enderby and Sons, Saville, Capt. W. Gardner, De Bond and Co.; Enterprize, Capt. P. Pease, De Bond and Co., Falkland, Capt. B. Clark, Provill (?) and Co.; Sidney, Capt. J. Locke, Harrisons and Co.; Beaver, Capt. J. Fitch, T. Rotch and Co.; Egmont, Capt. L. Witney, Mather and Co.; Dragon, Capt. A. Sheffield, Champion and Co.; ????, Capt. E. Pease, Brantingham and Co.; Elizabeth, Capt. T. Folger (Taken by Americans), Williams and Co.; Columbus, Capt. E. Clark (Taken by French), Price and Co.; Kesia, Capt. Jona Meader.


In 1780-1784: (A. G. E. Jones, Ships Employed in the South Seas) London sent 28 vessels into the fishery, Liverpool 1, Cork, 1. In the 1780s, according to Jones, the fishery was working the Brazils, Trinidad, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Norfolk Island (?). Fur seals came from Patagonia, the Falklands, Tristan da Cunha, some in US vessels. Skins were sold at Canton.


Note: John St Barbe, the later whaler investor, Ex-RN (1742-1816) married Margaret Galbraith. During the Revolution, he was a shipping contractor to the Victualling Board. Syrett names the major four contractors used by the Victualling Board during the American War as Cope and Smith, ship and insurance brokers of 4 America Square; Cope and Bignall (sic - also, Bignell), Ship and Insurance Brokers of 33 Seething Lane, Tower St.; John (and James?) Wilkinson, later Wilkinson and Co, Mews, New Broad-Street Building; Hubbert and Cornelius Donovan, Ships agents and insurance brokers, over the south side of the Royal Exchange. (David Syrett, 'The Victualling Board charters shipping, 1775-1782', Bulletin of Historical Research, The Institute of Historical Research, Vol. 68, 1995., pp. 212-224, here p. 214.) Contractors used less often than those four firms included (pp. 214-215 of Syrett) were Chapman and Elvard, Peter Mellish, Ord and Richardson, and William Trippel; and/or Ralph Keddy and/or Haskell Smith. (See PRO ADM 111/76, 28 April, 1776. Also, Sir Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of Geo III, 1957, pp. 45-58 on victualling matters. David Syrett, notes that the Victualling Board charters shipping included, (p. 220) re one John St Barbe in Jan. 1779 being a hoytaker (inspector of chartered ships) for the Victualling Board. Syrett for 1776 names the commissioners of the Victualling Board for Navy as Sir Roger Burgoyne, Bart, Robert Pett, J. Hanway, A. Chorley, Thomas Colby and William Gordon. John St Barbe's will is PROB 11/1577. People mentioned in St Barbe's nearly illegible will include William Matthews, Scrope Bouldorson, John Nichols? Everard Allan, Joseph B?, children of Caroline Williams, Edward Allan, Joshua Shortimus?, ?Mortimer?, Joseph John Nichols, mention of St Barbe's own sisters, Sarah Brown servant, Garrat? Martin, Allan and Edward Allan, per IGI computer version. St Barbe, Green and Bignell at 33 Seething Lane, were auctioning ships at Lloyd's Coffee House, Cornhill, e.g., June 1805, Admiralty, Promiscuous Series, Letter "S", Adm106/1624 XC 9751; Adm 106/1624 CX 9751; a series with same numbers. During 1804-1805, St Barbe's Tellicherry was about Ireland delivering equipment for an anti-invasion early warning signal system. On St. Barbe, see also, Edward Sargent, `The planning and early building of the West India Docks', The Mariner's Mirror, Vol. 77, 1991., pp. 119ff.



* * *

In 1780, some London Aldermen were ([10]): (names of interest in the context of the settling of Australia are asterisked)


1780 - The Lord Mayor was Brackley Kennett, City Father, Rt Hon Thomas Harley. Brass Crosby, Fred Bull, John Sawbridge ([11]), banker *Sir James Esdaile banker ([12]), James Adair, *Sir Watkin Lewes a noted Freemason, Nathaniel Thomas, Lloyd's marine underwriter and whaling investor *George Hayley Esqr of Goodman's Fields cordwainer, Nathaniel Newnham of Botolph Lane an apologist for transportation; an apologist for transportation Richard Clark of Broad Street, T. Woodbridge, Thomas Wright, Thomas Sainsbury, James Townsend; the radical and member of the notorious Hell-Fire club, John Wilkes, Sir Thomas Hallifax, Samuel Plumbe, John Kirkman, William Plomer, Robert Peckham, John Hart, Evan Pugh, Henry Kitchin.


Among the 1780 London common councilmen were John Bellett, William Gill, John Boydell, Joseph Mellish from the later whaling investor family, Mellish. (Source: The Royal Calendar)


In 1780, among East India Company directors were the Chairman, Sir William James Bart, Gerard St., Soho. Deputy Chairman, *William Devaynes who was chairman about the time the first convict ships were landing felons at NSW. Banker *Francis Baring ([13]), George Cuming, William George Freeman, John Harrison, John Michie, James Moffatt, John Purling, Henry Savage, John Stables, Nathaniel Smith, George Tatem, Charles Boddam, Henry Fletcher, Richard Hall, John Manship, William Mills, Samuel Peach, Thomas Bates Rows?, Joseph Sparkes, John Smith, Lawrence Sulivan (the enemy of Clive of India), John Woodhouse. (Source: The Royal Calendar)


In 1780 at the South Sea Company, which was what remained of the organisation behind the "South Sea Bubble" were: The governor, Geo III. Sub-governor was T. Coventry, deputy governor was Samuel Salt. plus Henry Berners, *Edmund Boehm Jnr, Robert Darrell, Thomas Lucas, *James Neave, *Robert Thornton; deputy cashier, William Richardson. (Source: The Royal Calendar)


In 1780 at the The Russian Company were: Edmund Boehm, Jnr Thornton. The Russia Company used an extraordinary number of ships, but one sees very little information on this company's operations. None of the merchants associated with it arise in any context associated with the "founding" of Australia, except in respect of the Bank of England.


In 1780, the directors Bank of England were: the governor, Daniel Booth; the deputy-governor, *William Ewer. And Samuel Beachcroft, *Samuel Bosanquet, Lyde Brown, *Thomas Dea, Peter Du Cane, *Roger Boehm, William Bowden, Richard Clay, George Drake, Peter Gaussen. Daniel Giles, William Halhead, *Richard Neave, George Peters, *Thomas Raikes, *James Sperling, Mark Weyland, Christopher Hake, George Hayter, Edward Payne, Henry Plant, William Snell, *Godfrey Thornton. The secretary, Robert Lewin, deputy-secretary Mr Martin. (Source: The Royal Calendar) The name Ewer is mentioned in Jacob Price's article in respect of West India trade and shares in ironworks about Baltimore. ([14])


In 1780 at the Royal College of Physicians, the president was Dr William Pitcairn. (Source The Royal Calendar) ([15])


* * * * *


History and amnesia:


In the interests of continuity, it is time now to introduce into the story the names of many London merchants whose careers spanned the period of the "founding" of NSW. The phrase, "history and amnesia" remains appropriate. For example, despite accusations and allegations about Duncan receiving undue aid from Neil in gaining the hulks contracts, I have never sighted a footnote by a London historian to the effect that Neil the inconspicuous clerk of ordnance had a conspicuous brother who managed the hated hulks. That is, the distribution of information used by London historians flows in the direction of loathing Campbell, not to explaining his entire career in London, nor his family or other relevant history, nor the full history of the handling of transportable convicts. Of course, London historians have also not read the Campbell Letterbooks - nor had their attention drawn to Campbell's letterbooks by Australian historians.


Debate on the roles of merchants in the "founding of Australia" has formed a subtext in the Botany Bay debate, but despite this, merchant careers have remained unexamined. ([16]) The lists presented have been drawn from Lloyd's Registers. (The names of merchants requiring examination in the present context are asterisked below.)


More London merchants:


Robert Molleson appears on a Lloyd's list of 1778 as a Lloyd's underwriter. James Russell was aged 70 in 1778. William Molleson in 1780 in London was made commissioner of Public Accounts, a reforming body set up by Lord North, and in 1783 he was rewarded for such work by being made Comptroller of Army Accounts. Molleson then became a member of the board for auditing public accounts, working with Sir John Dick, fellow army comptroller, and the banker, Francis Baring, who was to become deeply involved in his directorship of the East India Company, later to be knighted. ([17])


Lloyd's Register of 1778 lists the following as underwriters. Members included *Abel and *Macaulay, *Angerstein and Lewis, Thomas Bainbridge, *James Boydell, *James Bradley, John Campbell, *Alex Champion, *Geo Curling, *Peregrine Cust ([18]), John, Thomas and Simon Fraser, Peter Gausson, William Greenwood, London Assurance Co., *James Mather, Thomas Newnham, Royal Exchange Assurance Co. *John Shoolbred, Godfrey Thornton, *Brook Watson ([19]), *Robert Wigram. A new member was John Barnard.


John Julius Angerstein has been renowned as the "father of Lloyd's of London". James Boydell was an alderman of London. James Bradley may have been one of the Bradley brothers who after 1784 had contracts for prison hulks not on the Thames River. Alexander Champion was from a family business investing in the South Whale Fishery. ([20]) James Mather since the early 1770s had been a whaling investor; he placed a ship in the First Fleet. John Shoolbred was a long-time secretary of the Africa Company. Brook Watson was a London alderman, a highly respected merchant, much-relied on by government, whose name has at times been invoked in contexts where some historians believe that flax cultivation might have been a useful occupation for convicts at NSW or Norfolk Island. Wigram from the 1790s was part of an important dock-owning family in London which became involved in convict transportation to Australia. ([21])


From the 1778 Lloyd's list of ships in the service of the East India Company, the names of various ships husbands can be drawn. R. Neave, who sent a ship, Glatton on 3 February, 1778, Capt. R. Doveton, to coast and China, 761 tons. Neave and Aislabie were regular suppliers to the armed forces and suppliers to the early convict colony at Sydney.


In terms of merchants never before examined, interesting are John Turnbull, George Macaulay and Thomas Gregory, who may have had many contacts in Loyalist circles. These were all successful merchants and their names can be invoked in the context of early Australian history in various ways. In some cases, as with Brook Watson, sometime hemp merchant, we find that to date, Watson's name has been invoked in misleading ways. In brief, there were dozens if not hundreds of senior merchants in London who could have assisted government from 1786 in opening the Pacific to British shipping. The few who were interested in convict shipping should be examined more closely.


* * *


The hulks, continued:


2 February, 1778: a third contract for Campbell was dated from 1 January, 1778 to end 12 July, 1779; there was no third hulk to be added, since the tonnage of Censor exceeded the requirement, so all the convicts contracted-for were put in Censor. An MP, Mr. Whitworth, had seen the convicts and noticed their sickliness. There were debates in the Houses of Parliament; the Thames had 380 convicts, but pardons, deaths and escapes kept the situation in flux.


Branch-Johnson, abusing Campbell as he examined the hulks, was too kind to the government of the day. And of course, a proportion of the convicts on the hulks would have been familiar with prison conditions in the country, in the cities. The hulks prisoners had no opportunities to buy, cajole, or threaten, and to wend their way out to service in America, where they might by chance find a kindly master, and hope is always necessary for a suffering human being. "Hard labour as a form of punishment was particularly dreaded". "Warders walked with drawn cutlasses among the workers to prevent idleness". Prisoners feared mostly the isolation of the hulks. Campbell here was a kind of pioneer and innovator in the criminology of the day. In London's prisons, visitors came and went with abandon, food and hawkers went in and out, business could be conducted via friends and family, corruption with keepers and turnkeys was rife. By contrast the hulks were austere, hard-to-visit, isolated and distant from the noise of the city, with ultra-tight security.


The hulks were the end of the line. No further hope, just gaol fever, hard labour, a beating with a rattan cane if a man swore at his keepers. The British concentration camp had arrived as the nation had its back to the wall with American war. To some extent, the hulks were a political response to a drastic situation. Any viciousness on the part of the inmates, by definition unworthy men, would have been met with viciousness by the keepers Campbell employed, common sense would suggest. But it should be noted also that the hulks prisoners kept a watch on the legislation by which they were held in this novel form of incarceration. Prisoners on convict ships had always been prone to mutiny. On the hulks, initially, and at intervals afterwards, the prisoners inflicted a series of vicious if ill-fated series of mutinies on their captors and their new form of captivity. Some such mutinies occurred shortly after any legislation in Parliament had addressed the hulks. As far as is known to historians, prisoners of the normal class did not normally take notice of legislation governing their situation: the hulks prisoners did. (This suggests they also had access to newspapers?) The hulks prisoners watched the developments in legislation on their situation keenly, and via mutinies let their captors know their views. As they behaved so, Campbell got well used to it, and used to countering such responses, as a kind of game.


Since the 1776 Act had been passed for two years only, early in 1778 the problem of "crowded gaols" again came up for consideration. Burke wanted transportation resumed to Nova Scotia or Canada. Sir W. Meredith had originally been for the hulks, but he had changed his mind and now disapproved them as being much more severe than transportation and "totally repugnant to the general frame of our laws". A declared enemy of the hulks, Sir Charles Bunbury, quite unrealistically wanted transportation to America resumed. ([22]) Bunbury would have much to say about prisoners and transportation in years to come, but most of his remarks seemed inspired more by resentment at the loss of the old system of transportation than anything useful he could suggest. Townshend and Sir Richard Sutton agreed that the Act had not had the slightest effect on the number of robberies. Mr. Gascoyne, who had visited the hulks, thought the punishment on them very severe, and that too little value was got from the prisoners' labour (in which he was probably correct, closely-supervised labour is expensive to deploy). On the motion of Sir R. Sutton, a select committee was appointed to enquire into the working of the Act, to be headed by Bunbury. ([23])


Amid this disagreement, Eden took an opportunity to float more of his ideas on prisoner handling, including a suggestion that the prisons of the country be consolidated to 38 (presumably clean, healthy and properly supervised), and that the existing hulks could be integrated with this revised system. Here, he may have been taken with Campbell's not-so-bad suggestion that hulks be put on any navigable river, an idea which suggested there could be movable prisons - and experienced staff - anywhere there was water. Jeremy Bentham leaped at the idea of penitentiaries, and saw Eden about it. Eden however was negotiating with Americans between April and December 1778, and could not deal personally with positive reaction to Bentham's ideas. Penitentiaries were not seriously discussed again until 1779, when the hulks were being reviewed. And what is remarkable in the light of historians' disagreements later about why Botany Bay was colonised, Eden saw convicts as the main matter. New South Wales would be "an over-expensive and not very humane way of solving the problem of surplus convicts". ([24]) In 1806 when he became president of the Board of Trade, Eden still took little interest in the NSW colony.


* * *


On a visit to the hulks before the 1778 inquiry, John Howard questioned Campbell on why he didn't wash down the ship? Campbell said he was afraid the convicts would catch cold. Howard informed Campbell the most healthy gaols were those washed every day, and advised him to see Dr Heberden about it. Campbell promised to see the medico. But Campbell had other things to consider besides convict welfare. By 9 January, 1778, Campbell was writing to his attorney, Mr. Goodman, on another interminable matters associated with Saltspring, and Messrs Currie and Shakespeare, and their latest letter to the agent in Scotland of Duncan's brother-in-law, John. ([25]) (On 14 May, 1778 died of dropsy, Ann, the sister of Mary Mumford, Duncan's second wife. By 5 February, 1778, a child was born to Campbell and his wife, Campbell asked Mrs. Ann Newell to be godmother by proxy.)


* * *


Campbell's merchant leadership:


Olson writes of 1778: ([26]) "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." Campbell was one of six Virginia signatories (of a total of seventeen) of a petition to Parliament in 1778 requesting that, if negotiations for peace were begun, the Americans be required to pay their debts in full. Campbell wrote similarly in 1782 requesting the same thing of the Earl of Shelburne, who sympathised with this position. ([27]) He [Campbell] was presumably on a committee selected by a meeting of the merchants in August 1782 to discuss American debts with Shelburne. "By the end of the year, [1782] Campbell, William Molleson, a Maryland Merchant, and John Nutt ... [South Carolina], had become a triumvirate of mercantile leaders." But from late 1775, Campbell had not deserted the core-group merchants at all. He had merely been pressured into new directions, and no conservative or moderate core-group member could have reasonably held that against him. The belief in some circles in London at least was that the hulks were necessary - an Act had been passed to create them, after all.


One idea occurs about one direction in which Campbell may have been pressured. This notion is generated merely by the observation that whether he had the hulks contracts or not, he survived well for a merchant who had lost 35,000 by the American Revolution. Since he was dealing with so many merchants also aggrieved about American debts, since he knew the tobacco trade, it is not impossible he maintained some forms of tobacco dealing. He had dealt to 1776 for example with Speirs, French and Co., with whom Patrick Colquhuon was to team, backed by Alexander Speirs. During the Revolution, to about late 1780, Colquhuon's firm had generated a fascinating way to keep up what trade in tobacco they could, which has been researched by T. M. Devine. ([28]) In March, 1776, indicating the stress of circumstances and uncertainty about supplies, three of the Glasgow big five tobacco merchants, Colin Dunlop, John Glassford and James Ritchie cracked, and sold out early to the French agent, Sir Robert Herries, for a low price. Speirs held out for more, successfully.


Prices later rose, and Speirs had sufficient tobacco in store to benefit from higher prices. There was to develop a convoluted re-export trade in tobacco involving New York, the Caribbean, Holland and France, which Speirs' firms exploited after he decided to go in after 1778, when hostilities with the Americans seemed sure to continue. ([29]) In March 1779, a Speirs agent ex-Virginia, Robert Burton, went to the Caribbean with 10,000 credit to make purchases, which included sugar, cotton, rum and coffee, plus tobacco from Virginia and Maryland, through the neutral islands of St Thomas and St Eustatius (from Eustatius, continental gunpowder was being run to the American rebels). Within three years, Burton had become a considerable merchant in the West Indies, trading directly to Europe, using neutral vessels and involving up to 50,000 in transactions. Europe had condescended to pay higher prices for American tobacco. His ships were often from Spanish Flanders, flying Danish colours.


Handling this clandestine trade for Speirs' men were a Danish subject at Ostend, J. G. Martens, and Messrs Braumsters at Hamburg, who sent continental goods to Burton in the West Indies. But the entire operation was financed by Thomas Coutts and Co. in London, an Anglo-Scottish firm, charging to Spiers, Murdoch and Co., bankers in Glasgow. Meanwhile, two Spiers-related firms, Speirs, French and Co., and Patrick Colquhuon and Co., regularly sent two ships each year to Halifax, Nova Scotia and New York, while Speirs, Bowman and Co. had dealt in West Indian rum, as well as maintaining a prize ship which took prey of 1200 in 1781.


It was all a masterful plan, but given the contacts he had in London, Glasgow, North America and the West Indies, there are few reasons why Campbell could not have benefited by involvement in such a trading pattern - if he had chosen to, or had the capital spare? How much, hinges perhaps on his Continental connections? Between 1772-1776, Campbell dealt little on the Continent with European names, but he did deal amongst tobacco merchants with Samuel Athawes, James, Robert and George Buchanan, Charles Eyles, Henderson and Glassford, Alexander Speirs and Co., Speirs French and Co. After 1784-1788 he dealt on the Continent with - no names useful for this hypothesis. But before the revolution, Campbell had been dealing with some of the largest names in the tobacco business, not surprisingly in London, but surprisingly, those in Glasgow.


* * *


We shortly find what happened to Tayloe, a "hulk" with a short career. Campbell kept her. On 22 January, 1778, Campbell wrote to John Campbell Saltspring, "Copies of [by] the Tayloe and the Active. " This letter indicates Tayloe was returned to active commercial service to Jamaica. On 27 January, 1778, Campbell wrote to Capt. John Currie on Campbell's ship Tayloe, by first convoy offering for Jamaica, to Green Island at Jamaica, that Currie should apply to John Saltspring, or Peter Campbell. Campbell did not prefer "rum unless it is necessary". (Campbell seemed to personally disapprove of rum, as a drug, though he by no means disapproved of good wine).


John Howard when he visited the hulks in January 1778, found the hulks improved. During March 1778 a "nervous, putrid fever" rose in the hulks. Depression reigned. Campbell later denied a cause was the water supplied to the prisoners. In January 1778 also, Campbell had to contend with a visit to the hulks by Sir Herbert Mackworth, MP, who commented on the prisoners' food and their sickliness. When Censor had been opened, Campbell found that the convicts on arrival were seldom free of gaol distemper. Some 20-40 convicts from Newgate had been found to be suffering VD, and nor was Mackworth impressed with that. In January too, Howard returned to the hulks. Howard remained interested in Campbell's claim that prisoners brought up from the county gaols and Newgate were the ones who brought gaol fever into the hulks. Campbell denied the fever was already on the hulks. But the chicken-and-egg nature of the argument really hinged on the incubation period of the fevers the prisoners developed, and of course, once the fevers were aboard the hulks, it would have been difficult to eradicate them, more so if incoming prisoners brought more fever. Since medical knowledge was so primitive and the incubation periods of diseases were unknown, anyone could have believed what they preferred. Mostly it was preferable to blame Campbell's management. Probably Howard was the more correct; he had found the whole gaol system was riddled with fever and other "distempers", in all the counties and at Newgate. In Howard's opinion, after his experience of visiting European gaols, the hulks could only become more fever-ridden.


On 22 January, 1778, Campbell wrote (to the Treasury), "The fees to the Jury paid by me will be brought about in perhaps more properly with the other extra charge of Bounties prosecutions etc..." He was rather more worried by commercial matters.

Campbell Letter 57:

Mincing Lane Jan 22, 1778

Thomas Cheap -

... what had passed between you, Mr. Campbell & I relative to an Arbitration of my Brothers Affairs and my having agreed as his attorney .... the Bond in which I had joined for his appearance in England next Oct.

I may be enabled to give my Brother the Notice necessary for his not being obliged to leave the Island or on the Contrary that his Presence is absolutely required. The delicate situation on which I stand will I am sure to a Person of your Knowledge be a sufficient apology for my giving you this trouble. ([30])


Campbell Letter 58:

London 4 Febry 1779

Thomas Wickwar

Keeper of the House of Correction Warwick I received your letter of the 2 inst mentioning your having three Convicts ordered to hard labour on the River Thames. The Hulks at Woolwich being full there is no accomodation for them but as soon as there is you may expect to hear from --------- ([31])< /p>


Campbell Letter 59:

Mincing Lane 4 Febry 1779

George Moore

This morning I recd your letter of yesterday touching the purchase of some pilchers in which I am afraid you have made a mistake both as to time and Quantity I shall be glad to meet you at the Change that the same may be explained I am ([32])


Campbell Letter 60:

13 Feb 1779

Capt Erskine You will Deliver to Capt Campbell John Tolley to whom you will also give two Guineas to buy little necessaries, Equip him properly with Cloaths & tell him he will be allowed wages (?) landman on board the ship and that I hope he will conduct himself to as to Desire in the Indulgence given him & if you can get (???) a (?) ship do it but guard (?) Charge to keep him fast. Else he will escape Yrs ([33])


Campbell Letter 61:

Mincing Lane Feb 20, 1779

Mrs Campbell of Craig Court

Mr Campbell presents his most respectfull compliments to Mrs Campbell & begs leave to acquaint her that his Majesty has been pleased to remit the sentence of John Fowke Mr C- was happy to find this mans good behaviour enabled him to assist Mrs Campbell's wishes in that respect. It will be necessary that some of his friends call upon Mr C- who are likely to keep him from bad company & to such Mr C- will give an Order for his discharge. ([34])< /p>


* * *


Campbell's former agent, Matthew Ridley:


After 1779, Campbell's former agent Matthew Ridley became involved in a new importing business with John Holker Jnr. (who had made many enemies in France). A loose consortium existed - with Robert Morris, Jonathan Williams, Joshua Johnson (an associate in London of the American William Lee). Also involved was Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, a shrewd French businessman dealing with the Americans, Edward Bancroft, a doctor and a spy for the British at times; and sometimes Benjamin Franklin's secretary, Simeon Deane a merchant in Virginia; and others. ([35]) Klingelhofer says, John Holker Jnr. lived in France with his Jacobite father till he was sent in 1777 by the French Government to report on conditions in US. Later Holker was appointed consul-general in Philadelphia; he helped equip French men-o'-war in American ports and fit the French armies. Holker as an active or silent partner in many businesses made and lost fortunes. More so, he was a partner with Morris till 1784, when recriminations set in. ([36]) (One Thomas Digges meantime would be sent by Lord North on a mission to Holland to talk with John Adams on the idea of a truce, in March 1782). By 13 March, 1778, public fear had arisen about French intervention in the American war. This spelled the end for the cause of the Pro-American radicals in England. ([37])


Ridley entered a new phase when in March 1781 he was appointed agent for Maryland, meant to obtain a loan for the state in Europe. It was then he also took Morris'

two sons (Robert and Thomas), to Europe for their education. So Ridley went to France in November 1781. (At times, Ridley at times also dealt with Robert Morris' loyal friend, Gouvenour Morris). Ridley obtained no loan in France, but after dealing with John Adams in Holland he obtained a loan from Nicolas and Jacob van Staphorst in Amsterdam. Ridley was back in France in August 1782 and there became friends with John Jay. Few secrets were kept from Ridley, and about September-October 1782, when Britain and the US were negotiating, the terms of the Jay draft were learned in London by 8 October, 1782. Ridley knew of the animosity between Jay and Franklin, and from time to time he observed on the high level power-plays between France, Spain and Britain which threatened to swamp US interests. ([38]) By 28 August, 1782, Ridley was seeing Dr Bancroft. Robert Morris by then preferred to deal with the French financier Ferdinand Grand. On 31 August, 1782, Ridley was seeing John Jay and discussing matters such as Robert Morris' dealings with Ferdinand Grand.


By 3 September, 1782, Ridley saw Mr. Thomas Barclay of the Philadelphia firm, Barclay, Moyland and Co., where Barclay was also an American consul in France. On 12 October, 1782, Ridley dined with Mr. Richard Neave and Son (of London) who were complaining of Samuel Wharton, a Philadelphia merchant who had let them down. Neaves had backed a firm, Boynton, Wharton and Morgan, in a matter of 33,000 sterling. ([39]) Wharton was also a land speculator. Mr. Neave now failed, or at least, risked failure. Similar discussions were held with Neaves on 13 October, 1782. Ridley knew by 27 November, 1782 that Thomas Townshend (later Lord Sydney) and the Lord Mayor of London had been concerned to prevent speculation in the City about war news, and any "ideas" about negotiations with America.


* * *


War and hulks business:


Britain again contemplated Spain. In 1779-1780, Lord North's administration endorsed a scheme to attack Spanish settlements on the west coasts of America, which would, says Frost, have involved sailing via New Holland or New Zealand on the route pioneered by Cook. Frost adds, the East India Company added ideas of establishing bases on Mindanao and the Celebes, to gain access to spice-producing islands. ([40]) There also arose an idea for an expeditionary force to be sent to the River Plate settlements, taking arms to Inca rebels in Chile and Peru. ([41])


George III saw his country engulfed in war, and wondered how many ships should have been employed off Lands End, in the South Seas, coast of Africa, in the East Indies? He thought Britain had to have ships in many areas to be able to destroy the enemy, and he wrote, "As to the East Indies, I don't doubt but they [France and Spain] might in conjunction with those whom our avarice and oppression have made our Enemies drive us out of that country", ([42]) "Our Avarice and oppression"? George made no bones about it. He wanted to have the naval relaxation to be able to turn attention to "more remote, and distant objects'.


On 2 April, 1778, Campbell wrote to Colin Campbell, "My being very much Engaged in some publick Business for some days past prevented me from sooner acknowledging the Rect of your and Henny's Letters..." ([43]) This "publick business" was an inquiry into the hulks. Sir Charles Bunbury tended to be preoccupied with prisoner-matters almost as a form of slumming, for he had relatively little knowledge of either criminals or transportation. But once his inquiry gained momentum, his recommendations were original rather than inspired. (Bunbury in 1778 told Parliament in 1778, that even with 13 colonies in revolt, "we still possessed several places in America, to which felons could be transported"). ([44])


Branch-Johnson has claimed that evidence to Bunbury's committee came - with one exception - from those whose interest it was to present the hulks in a favourable light - from Campbell, his officers, from outsiders whom Campbell had paid, from Campbell's friends. ([45]) When Bunbury had Campbell before him, the first deponent, he gave the overseer rather a drubbing. ([46]) Campbell was ill-prepared for the Committee's lines of questioning, and gave some rather horrible answers as the truth was plucked out of him. Bunbury was rather too ill-informed, however, to be able to quite interpret what Campbell did allow to be plucked from him.


Bunbury learned... the convicts rose at 5am and were put down at 7pm. Erskine had a staff of 40, the work was decided by Trinity House and army ordnance officials. ([47]) Lord Townshend had granted Campbell's application of a pint of bitter a day for the shore workers. Chained men did 1/3rd the value of the work of free labourers. To about April 1778, Campbell in 18 months had secured pardons for about 60 offenders. He wished to recommend another 30 for pardons.


Stewart Erskine as deponent asserted Campbell was "not getting rid" of the sick, and mentioned how the rattan cane was used to keep prisoners from swearing. Thomas Powney to the committee estimated the value of the labour of the convicts at 6053, one third of the value of the labour of free men. To date, the ballast raisers had shifted 35,410 tons of ballast. If no double-handling was counted, as with the screening of gravel after ballast was raised, and if it was assumed that all ballast was raised from the river bed, there were approximately 1475 lighters loads at 24 tons per lighter. This may well have benefited navigation of the Thames. In 20 months from August 1776 to April 1778, there were 85 lighter loads per month, which seems a reasonable working rate, given work being interrupted by bad weather. Applying Powney's figures for the same period would at a conservative estimate provide a cost to government of 3/10/- per lighter load of ballast.


Dr Daniel Solander, friend of Sir Joseph Banks, when he gave evidence was only critical of the sleeping arrangements for the hulks prisoners. The convicts slept two-by-two on matting pinned to the deck. Campbell for that reason had been reluctant to wash the decks too often for fear of adding chill to the boards. The convicts overall were said to be more cheerful with the incentives given of remission for good behaviour. Campbell when he appeared was given his drubbing. He conveyed: the work of the convicts was decided by Trinity House and army ordnance officials. He paid government from any receipt for the ballastage, and government in turn reimbursed Trinity House for any loss the Houses discovered. Some convicts were disciplined with the cat-o'-nine tails. (Some of Campbell's power over felons also resembled traditional powers of a ship's captain to maintain discipline, which made him quite different to a landlubber prison keeper, probably to prisoner consternation.) Desperates who threatened to kill were ironed down heavily for a week or a fortnight. A Minister had come down voluntarily for a while, but not lately because of bad weather. (That was Rev. Charles Lorimer, whose services were rendered by the Lady Huntingdon, Selina Hastings, "the evangelist for Methodism amongst the aristocracy".


Campbell gave other evidence. Overall, the convicts feared the hulks. He had secured pardons for about 60 offenders, and desired another 30 to be similarly recommended. He continued to maintain that the gaol fevers and distempers were imported into the hulks from the county gaols; for as the committee questioned him, they were particularly anxious to know the death rates experienced on the hulks. Dodo Ecken also gave evidence along with Dr James Irwin from the Artillery. Irwin had recommended the convicts be given wine when sick and Campbell paid for that ... [to be reimbursed in his extra charges later made to government]. Irwin supported Campbell's claim on the origin of the gaol fevers, but his arguments on the incubation periods of the fevers seemed to indicate Irwin thought that the convicts from country gaols were delivered very soon after their sentencings, as was not always the case. As to Campbell, the committee was unwilling to trust him, and on balance, it is possible the committee was out to embarrass Lord North by attacking Campbell.


It is rather surprising to read the complete, much-quoted reference to the effect that Joseph Banks once suggested a convict colony might be created at some place... such as Botany Bay. In 1779, Banks was asked by a committee chaired by Sir Charles Bunbury a highly original question: "in case it should be thought expedient to establish a Colony of convicted felons in any distant Part of the Globe, from whence their escape might be difficult... and where, from the Fertility of the Soil, they might be able to maintain themselves, after the First Year?"... ([48])


Banks replied, possibly Botany Bay, which he described accurately, adding, that New Holland was "larger than the whole of Europe". Britain at war with America was hardly in a position though to rapidly mount expeditions to secure such a tract of land, however. The committee of inquiry questioned Banks. The surgeon visiting the hulks, Dodo Ecken. Thomas Perkins, who had for seven years been a trader at Yanimarew in Africa. The committee was extraordinarily concerned with the quite novel notion of the creation of a convict colony or colonies. They interrogated deponents closely; all deponents whom Branch-Johnson has suggested were all friendly to Campbell, in a conspiratorial fashion to the detriment of justice.


Possibly having been influenced by John Howard's views, Bunbury himself had recommended the convicts be set to sawing stones as they did in Europe, whilst they were at hard labour. Benjamin Crook, who was observed by the committee to have made various enquiries on the subject, recommended the prisoners make cordage. He felt the rate of use by the Navy of cordage would render the work of the convicts and their maintenance less a charge on government. He thought that one of the most hazardous articles, hemp, would be removed from the dockyards if his plan was adopted. There would be no injuries, it being easy enough work, easily supervised, and was a healthy manual labour. The material would not easily be wasted or spoiled by the convicts when they became grim, as prisoners do from time to time. He had safety forward in mind, whilst Bunbury, who knew very little about convicts, would have seen them issued with saws, wedges, chisels and all manner of implements of destruction for stone sawing work. Remarkable!


As it continued fishing for locations for a convict colony or colonies, Bunbury's committee of 1779 also heard evidence about African locations. John Roberts had been governor of the slaving depot, Cape Coast Castle, and suggested a site 400 miles up the Gambia River. He had "a copious plan for a convict colony". (The "African plan", as much as Banks' suggestion about Botany Bay, survived in the official mind until mid-1786). Sir John Irwin recommended Gibraltar, which might have been fairer to convicts wishing to return home after their time had been served. The committee shortly noticed their deponents had differed markedly in feeling an Africa location might be unsuitable. Some felt that excessive death rates would be imposed if debilitated felons were landed in the African climate. Botany Bay in 1779 received only one vote.


A heated debate arose between those for and against Africa. The committee moved from inserting their extraordinary line concerning "a convict colony or colonies", in their questioning, to inserting it into their summation. Perhaps it was Bunbury or some member of his committee who had waxed hypothetical on such a novel form of colonisation, and so intrigued Banks? Whatever, the last decision made by Bunbury's committee was that their report was to be printed in number sufficient for distribution to and the use of the members of the House. ([49])


Possibly the last word should be granted Blackstone ([50]) the legal commentator. Blackstone is alleged to have written some of the 1779 Hulks Act, which he thought would establish "a species of punishment in which Terror, Benevolence and Reformation are .... happily blended together" It is extraordinary that any human being, even a lawyer, could imagine terror being "happily blended" with any other human reaction, and it seems odd indeed that historians have for generations quoted such attitudes about prisoner-handling without also commenting on the psychological blindspots of the original speaker, while wondering more about the poor human nature of the prisoner than the unexamined human nature of the guard.


* * *


Transportation not to America, 1779:


Act 19 Geo III c.74 (1779). Since prisoners could not be sent to America, sentencing to Africa became the rule. ([51]) Transportation to America was restored in 1783. Of the 1779 Act, R. A. Swan notes that the Act provided for the despatch " ... to any Parts beyond the seas, either in America or elsewhere" of persons sentenced to transportation to America. ([52]) Eden estimated that each year, one thousand persons required punishment in lieu of transportation. This Act also provided for the erection of Penitentiary Houses for the confinement and employment of convicts. ([53])


On 5 May, 1778, summing up, Bunbury in his report recommended the continuation of the Act of 1776 till 1 June, 1779. The response from the hulks convicts came soon; about a newspaper issue later. On 7 June, 1778 they rose up. There ensued "a terrible battle"; 36 convicts rose, 20 escaped, and were recaptured, some by then committing fresh robberies. The Lord Mayor became agitated. (In September 1778 was more convict unrest. ([54]) On 10 July, 1778 Campbell wrote to Lord Suffolk (presumably John Howard (1739-1820), 15th Earl Suffolk) ([55]), presuming to enclose to his Lordship a letter Campbell had received from the Lord Mayor, to whom Campbell could only say that he would convey the letter to the Lord. ([56]) Concern about prisoner security flourished.


Campbell Letter 62:

London 8 Sept 1779

Nathaniel Coffin

I have repeatedly Called upon & sent to you touching to State Mr Colden Deceasd Account but was so unfortunate to miss you I shall therefore request the favour you will transmit the same to me here as your early hours & the Distance makes it rather inconvenient for me at present to have the honour of attending you in Pall Mall your Speedy Compliance will much oblige Sir


Campbell seldom mentioned convict mutinies in his letterbooks. In September 1778 was a major mutiny on the hulks when 150 prisoners rose up - three were killed and over 20 were wounded. ([57])


Campbell Letter 63:

London 16 Sept 1779

The Reverd Colin Campbell Glasgow

I had much pleasure in Receiving your letter of the 3rd Inst. You need not to make any new Declaration of your affection to me. I have had already many convincing proofs of your Brotherly kindness. I cannot blame your Son's endeavour to excite you to make a push at this time to get him a Company I only lament that in the Military Line I have neither acquaintance or interest to be of Service to him. I have a little knowledge of Col. Campbell whom he mentions. But his offers to raise a Highland Regiment has been rejected at least for the present, no more of that sort being wanted, this you may rely on as a truth, it gives me much satisfaction to hear that John has conducted himself in the army so properly. his daily experience will show the advantage of him persevering in that principle; I am afraid he speaks of raising men in London with more ease & less expence Than could be effected. However the Military is wholly out of my line of Interest. but if you see your way clear of every Difficulty but that the raising of the 500 pounds he says will procure him a Company, I will assist you with a part till you or he can manage your finances, But this I know is a much larger sum at all times in your Neighbourhood. I thank you for your Notice & information about Henny which I request a Continuation of my family all joins in affectionate compts to you & yours with Dr Colin

&c ([58])


* * *


`Nests of pestilence':


On 1 October, 1778, Campbell wrote to Suffolk about prisoners continually escaping from hulks. (For the first three years of the hulks, the mortality rate approached one in four, which might have been a motive for many attempted escapes. ([59]) Edmund Burke described prisons generally as "nests of pestilence", but he was as useless as anybody else in proposing anything effective. ([60]) In fact, he lived in days when being sentenced to any prison, even for a short time, meant the risk of death from gaol fever; as did dealing with prisoners as a turnkey or a magistrate.


Campbell Letter 64:

London 6 Oct 1779

Sir John Eden Bart

I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 29th last month but its being directed to me at Woolwich delayed it a day or two from my hands my residence being here.

John Smith als. Smithwaite whom you are pleased to mention was convicted for five years hard labour has been board the Hulk about nineteen months during which time he has behaved very orderly & I doubt not will make a very good soldier as he is a young man about twenty one years old. ([61])< /p>


John Howard visited the hulks again on 16 November, 1779, to find them improved as a result of parliamentary enquiries. A quarantine ship Reception had been provided, where the convicts were examined by a surgeon on arrival, and isolated for three days. Justitia had been converted into a hospital ship, with 20 patients on board. Of 526 convicts in the establishment, 150 worked in the Warren. ([62])


Campbell Letter 65:


Mr Campbell presents his most respectfull Compliments to Mr Rowe and being obliged to attend in person at Woolwich tomorrow in order to expedite the preparations making there for the reception of the additional Convicts has taken the liberty of inclosing a letter to Mr Robinson on the subject of his Contract now under the deliberations of My Lords of the Treasury which if upon perusal Mr Rowe approves of Mr C- will esteem it a particular mark of favour Mr Rowes presenting the same ([63])< /p>


* * *


The Gordon Riots, 1780:


As Sainsbury has it, the Gordon Riots further reduced the cause of the pro-Americans, partly as the Ministerialist party gathered more power amongst common councilmen and aldermen. ([64]) During the Gordon Riots the London mob went mad and fiercely attacked significant - that is, symbolic - London institutions. Strangely, Campbell did not refer to these riots in his surviving Letterbooks. Is it useful to ask: why didn't the mob attack the hulks, Stewart Erskine, or Campbell himself? No one has ever mentioned it, but during the Gordon riots, the mob did not harm the hulks, nor any of Campbell's family or property, and the hulks were his commercial property. The mob however destroyed many targets which symbolised authority - they destroyed the interior of the New Newgate Prison and damaged Bridewell, the New Prison in Clerkenwell, the King's Bench Debtor's Prison, the Clink in Southwark, Surrey Bridewell, and the Fleet prison, releasing all the prisoners.


Lord George Gordon (died 1793) was born 26 December, 1751 at Upper Grosvenor Street to an eccentric family. Ten fruitless years in the navy had frustrated him due to lack of promotion. His senior officers regarding him as meddlesome, emotional and too much a sort of bush-lawyer-of-the-navy on behalf of the sailors, complaining about poor food and other maltreatment. Gordon had a sense of justice which would have made him inescapably unhappy during any month of the entire Eighteenth Century! ([65])


The frightening riots began after Lord George Gordon headed an anti-Catholic mob demanding repeal of the Catholic Relief Act. However, even rabid anti-Popery cannot explain the stamina or ferocity of the mob, or the list of people and institutions it attacked. The mob seems to have been attacking institutions symbolic of the exertion of many different forms of social authority. Nearly 500 people died in a week of rioting. The mob early on stopped Lord Sandwich's carriage and treated him roughly, broke his coach windows and cut his face. Lurid tales have been told of the mob firing a distillery and people drinking flaming gin as it ran down gutters of the streets. The authorities were confused and finally helpless. It is said that George III finally lost patience and ordered in the militia, who ending in shooting-at-will to disperse the mob. Officials never bothered to properly count the dead.


It was a case of a city going mad. By 2 June, 1780 a Protestant petition had been put to the House of Commons. Watson calls the Catholic influence "a purely imaginary influence", in radical ward politics in London. Aldermen however were unwilling to confront popular feeling, as they usually enjoyed confronting executive power by way of a joust. Some anti-Irish feeling had been used to illogically fuel protestant association. Alderman Bull MP backed Gordon, while a linen-draper, Mr. Morris from the Minories, acted as a sort of mob organiser for shopkeepers marching behind Gordon. On 2 June, 1780, a sober crowd blocked the entrances to parliament while inside, Gordon, Bull, Lowther and six others moved to take their petitions into immediate consideration. Gordon remained excited, moving from the Commons out to the crowd and back again. Some ministers could not reach the house, others in their coaches were handled roughly, and it was impossible to clear the people away. Magistrates felt inadequate or unwilling to use force.


Early in the riot situation, only six members of Parliament had voted with Gordon and Alderman Bull on Gordon's motion about an enormous petition for repeal of the Catholic Relief Act. These were Sir Philip Jennings Clerke, Sir Michael le Fleming, Sir James Lowther, Sir Joseph Mawley, Mr. Polhill and Mr. Tollemache. ([66]) Mr. Polhill here was probably the Nathaniel Polhill contacted by Duncan Campbell from 1782 in respect of the British Creditors.


2 June, 1780


After dark on 2 June the crowds grew rougher and were swelled by wilder elements. The Sardinian Chapel (Catholic) in Lincoln's Inn Fields was destroyed. Then the demonstration lost its political if not Protestant purpose, and became mere mob. It shifted to London, not Westminster, and lit fires instead of merely shouting. Soon the troops were called out, and here the actions of Mayor and councilmen became important, as mistaken views of controversial laws on riot prevailed. An idea existed that the troops could not fire till the Riot Act was read as a warning, so the Riot Act would have to be read by the magistrates of the City of London. The Lord Mayor was Brackley Kennett. ([67]) Kennett had begun life as a waiter in a brothel, and he'd bought his own brothel before he was 30, after which he became a more respectable wine and spirit merchant. Kennett's famous quote about the Gordon Riots was made to Lord Beauchamp, who was remonstrating with Kennett about the riots, saying, "It is your duty to do something." Kennett replied, `The whole mischief seems to be that the mob have got hold of some people and some furniture they do not like and are burning them and what is the harm in that?" (It was probably the most mindlessly sanguine remark passed during the entire Eighteenth Century in London!).


This was when the house of Mr. Malo, an Irish silk-merchant entrepreneur, was being burned; Malo employed 1000 people, many of them Irish. ([68]) The Secretary of State, Lord Stormont, did not issue orders, he only warned Kennett there would be more riots. There was a view that the civil magistrates had control of the troops, but no one could find the magistrates, partly as they feared mob reprisals. Kennett mysteriously said there were "great people' at the bottom of the riot, and his later cowardice in standing by as buildings burned was condemned. ([69])


It was said that the house of the jurist Lord Mansfield was in flames; that Langdale's distillery lost 100,000 worth of stock, the mob raging drunk in Bloomsbury Square; Langdale's distillery was burned as he was a Catholic but Hibbert says that was not wholly why his distillery was destroyed. Thrale's brewery was saved as the manager, Perkins, with great presence of mind, gave the mob meat, drink and huzzahs, entertained and so distracted them. The mob went on, ringing a great bell and shouting they'd roast alive the archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Justice. The archbishop escaped. Lord Mansfield's house was plundered and a bonfire made in the street of his furniture and books. At one point, houses burned on every side, "the sky looked like blood". Later the mob passed the new Old Bailey, where the precinct became a scene of terror and riot. Lord Gordon in a coach with a mob of about 500 headed for Alderman Bull's.


By 5 June, private houses as well as private foreign chapels were looted, Burke's house was threatened, Sir George Savile's had been attacked. On 6 June, 1780, new riot violence erupted. The house of Bow Street magistrate, Sir John Fielding, was burned as he had attempted to use his powers to read the Riot Act; then the mob exploded the distilleries in Holborn and burst open Newgate prison. Released prisoners became rioters. The debtor's prison was fired open, convicts were released from Bridewell, New Prison in Clerkenwell, from Newgate, Kings Bench and Fleet, from the Clink in Southwark, and Surrey Bridewell. Then came attacks on the Bank and Downing Street. By 8pm one night the house of Akerman, the Keeper of Newgate, was in flames. Akerman barely escaped with his life. ([70]) Akerman was "a much respected man and an admired friend of Boswell", known for treating prisoners with polite-but-firm respect. His wife and daughters were in his house as it was being attacked. About 300 prisoners were let loose after entry to the prison had been gained via Akerman's house. Many rioters got drunk on wine and gin brought up from Akerman's cellar, which was presumably booty from the supply for the "Taps" that Akerman ran for the gaol. Newgate prison had its interior completely demolished, and repair would cost 30,000. When the Bank of England was attacked, it was defended by the radical Wilkes and alderman Brackley Kennett. ([71])


Meanwhile a proper view of the law on riot was being formed; the king wanted a proclamation calling on all to restore public order, and the magistrates had not long released some rioters earlier arrested. ([72]) On 7 June, 1780, the common council of the City agreed to petition the House of Commons against toleration of Catholics. Wilkes "insultingly" wanted to delay this, and later called for order. So far, Wilkes, alderman for the ward of Farringdon Without, had been passive, for he realised the City men would follow the Privy Council. More distilleries were being sacked, the streets ran spirits and the water supply of Lincoln's Inn was rendered alcoholic. Some rioters were burned as they lay drunk in ruined buildings. Troops began firing that evening; Capt. Holroyd defended the Bank of England. London being short of troops had to use the militia as well, and militia volunteers included barristers, coalheavers, even the Irish chairmen.


The poet William Blake saw the riots on their fifth day. Blake felt "an involuntary participation". He was evidently sucked in by mob feeling? That day, the crowd wrecked a Catholic mass-house in Warwick Street, Golden Square. There were tumults in Broad street, then the crowd moved to Leicester Fields (now Square) and smashed the house of Justice Hyde, along Long Acre. They went past Basire's house, where Blake was apprenticed, down Holborn, making for Newgate. Blake was caught up as a "witness [of] the storm and the burning of the fortress-like prison, and the release of its three hundred inmates".


Having seen this, Blake later made much of the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. One idea consuming the mob was that the king wanted to use the Catholics against the Americans, that Catholic armies would be raised in Canada, Scotland and Ireland. Was it just that Catholics might be armed? Nothing here seems rational. What did the mob think about the Hessian troops the king had used against the Americans? There was much talk of the rights of the people. Blake was impressed with seeing tradesmen, and even some criminals, in a great movement of people, with uproar, burning houses and prisons, "enormous exultation". ([73]) Can it be that Blake did not perceive the sheer insanity of the riots? That he applied to senseless mob violence his own political fantasies? This makes of Blake a decidedly unrealistic man.


On 8 June, 1780 the governor of the New Gaol in the Borough was obliged to stave off an attack by releasing prisoners. By 9 June, 1780, Kennett still pleaded with Amherst, in command of the military, to appease the mob by releasing prisoners, but by then the mob was beaten. But why didn't the mob attack the hulks, such ugly symbols of authority? Strangely, Campbell made no reference to the riots in his Letterbooks. There are no letters to his staff on precautions to be made. The mob may have planned to attack the hulks. Indeed, the guardians of the Woolwich Warren before 12 June had been worried by the number of suspicious people lately appearing in Woolwich, near the Warren, so General Bedford had ordered that no one but the Warren's inhabitants be admitted, and guns and men were moved every few hours to confuse any conspirators. It was feared the convicts would be freed, among other probably depredations, so perhaps London - and Campbell - owed it to Bedford's precautions that the hulks prisoners were not freed?


Another answer here may also be: that the hulks were waterborne. If they had been attacked, armed hulks guards could easily have picked off the attackers while they were on the river. But of course, little information was gathered after the riots, not even on the final death toll. Authorities agreed to simply forget the matter and it probably will never be known if the hulks had ever been on the agenda of the mob's organisers. ([74])


Gordon anyway ended put in the tower, London did not return to normal till 12 June. Some 458 people were killed or wounded, the count reaches to 850; 59 rioters were sentenced to death but only 21 were actually capitally punished. Gordon was found not guilty of high treason, and on the 29th, Aldermen Bull and Sawbridge presented a petition against tolerance for Catholics. Oddly enough, Wilkes became "respectable" for his peculiar stance on the riot issues, whilst London, hardly amused, modified its often rebellious stance now that things had gone much too far. Lord North was seen once again as a safe man. ([75]) It all became a triumph for conservatism, with, of course, a newly-educated fear of the mob contributing to even more fear of "the public".


After the riots? The London ropemaker Arthur Shakespear, who was probably the partner of Currie who was always bothering Duncan Campbell, was considered to be a juror for the trial of Lord George Gordon. ([76]) It was joked he would be prejudiced in any decision of the jury on a capital punishment, on account of his trade, ropemaker. Arthur Shakespear would have been related to alderman Shakespear the ropemaker, who was linked to some of Campbell's family. ([77]) Alderman John Shakespear (1717-1775) had married Elizabeth Currie, daughter of Ann Campbell, the daughter of Col. John Campbell of Black River, Jamaica.


* * *



Endnote1: On Pitcairn, Campbell, Bligh: A Campbell association with Pitcairns arose in February 1776 when a Mr. Campbell, clerk to the Checquer at Chalkham, had married Miss Pitcairn, the eldest daughter of the late Major Pitcairn of the Marines (Notes of WDC).

* * *


[Finis Chapter 20]

Words 10978 words and footnotes 13376 pages 25 footnotes 84

[1] Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, p. 201, Note 9.

[2] Sumner, Robert Morris, Vol. 1, p. 73.

[3] Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, pp. 28-31.

[4] Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, p. 22.

[5] Sumner, Robert Morris, Vol. 1, p. 239.

[6] Sumner, Robert Morris, Vol. 1, p. 252.

[7] Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, p. 51.

[8] Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, pp. 32-34.

[9] Sumner, Robert Morris, Vol. 2, p. 221.

[10] This list is taken from The Royal Calendar, published for the information of the upper-classes, a very handy, annually-issued, pocket-sized book listing who-was-who was London, a compendium of who was responsible for what, with lists of parliamentarians, aldermen, merchants, etc. Unlike The Annual Register, it contained no news digests.

[11] Alderman John Sawbridge, (1732?-1795) MP Hythe, member of the Society for Defence of the Bill of Rights, Lord Mayor London in 1775, four times a London MP. Watson, Geo III, p. 51.

[12] Banks - No 217, Esdaile Hammett and Esdaile, established 1780; L. S. Presnell and John Orbell, A Guide to the Historical Records of British Banking. Gower, A Grafton Book, Business Archives Council (England), 1985.

[13] Francis Baring: Philip Ziegler, The Sixth Great Power, Barings 1762-1929. Collins, London, 1988; On Cox Cox and Greenwood, House of Commons Journal, Vol. 40, 1784-85., pp. 798-800, p. 805. The Coldstream Guards' account was with Gray and Ogilvie.

[14] Jacob Price on Ewer: `One Family's Empire', p. 209.

[15] On Alexander Pitcairn: P. G. M. Dickson, The Sun Insurance Office, 1710-1960: The History of Two and a Half Centuries of British Insurance. London, Oxford University Press, 1960., p. 291. In 1830, Alexander Pitcairn of Serjeants Inn had 50 shares in the Sun Fire Office. On Dr David Pitcairn, see Dickson, p. 279. Dr Pitcairn began his practice in 1779. His father was the marines major killed at Bunker's Hill. Elected a Sun officer in 1779. Elected FRS in 1782. Constant ill health. His father-in-law was William Almack who had centres for London's fashionable society. Pitcairn Island was named after David Pitcairn's elder brother, Robert.

[16] Byrnes, `The Blackheath Connection', variously.

[17] Klingelhofer, `Matthew Ridley's Diary', pp. 101-103.Note 81: 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 lived in Wimpole Street. In 1793, Molleson was caught by Pitt borrowing money from persons whose accounts he was supposed to audit. Jacob Price, `One Family's Empire', pp. 197-199. Pitt did not expose him, but made him resign, an undignified end. When Molleson later died in Jan. 1804 aged 71 years he left his estate to a relative, Lord Sinclair. Kellock, `London Merchants', p. 135; William Molleson bankrupted by early 1778, and this news reached William Lee then in Paris. By July 1780 William Molleson was secretary and agent for the Audit Office.

[18] At Grantham, the Cust family co-operated with the Duke of Rutland to share representation. Watson, Geo III, p. 52.

[19] Alderman Brook Watson: House of Commons Journal, Vol. 40. 1784-85. Augustus Alt for raising troops, 219. ditto Brook Watson, 602 to Cox Cox and Greenwood re 88th Regiment of Foot in 1779-1781, some 1181/14/-. Alderman Brook Watson, (1753-1807), MP, Canada merchant, London Lord Mayor, originally from Hull, chairman at Lloyd's 1796-1806, married to Helen Campbell. For an early time he was a partner with Joshua Mauger, a former Halifax merchant. Watson had land on Nova Scotia. He was a secret service agent about 1775 in France and was against slavery in Dolben's time. He was director of the Bank of England variously 1784-1806. Watson became wartime commissary-general of the troops in North America/Canada. By 1792 Watson was dealing in minor amounts of whale oil with Americans, Capt. Micajah Coffin and his brother Thomas at Dartmouth USA, although Stackpole gives the London end of the operation the name of Brook, Watson and Co. (sic). Watson had been at Lloyd's since about 1772. Prior to the Boston Tea Party, Watson and his partner Rashleigh sent tea to America, Their address was Garlick Hill, London. In 1785 Watson told a Canadian correspondent of the great value of New Holland flax being introduced to Canada. In 1789 he told Lord Hawkesbury, he wanted specimens of the New Zealand hemp, but nothing came of such remarks. Valerie Hope, Lord Mayor, p. 133. Namier-Brooke, The History of Parliament: House of Commons, 1754-1790, Vol. 3, p. 611. Charles R. Ritcheson, '"Loyalist Influence" on British Policy toward the United States after the American Revolution', Eighteenth Century Studies, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1973-1974, Summer, 1974., pp. 1-17., here, p. 8. Stackpole, Rivalry, p. 145. Labaree, Boston Tea Party, p. 295. Frost, Convicts and Empire, p. 124. Wright and Fayle, Lloyd's, p. 100.

[20] Alexander Champion, whaler, merchant (died 1795), active by 1773, parents not identified, partner with Samuel Storke Jnr. Champion is noted as a founder of British whaling about 1775. Champion and Dickinson (Dickason?) sent tea destroyed at the Boston Tea Party. Champion retired in 1789. Kellock, `London Merchants', p. 120. Dickinson, `Falklands Sealing', p. 51. The Samuel Enderby Book. Labaree, Boston Tea Party, p. 295. His son Alexander Champion, Junior, also a whaler, a merchant active by 1784. By November 1784 he had accepted to deal with US whaler Francis Rotch and Mary Hayley, possibly to accept from Rotch sea otter furs from Nootka Sound. In March 1786 he lived at Winchester Street, London.

[21] Of the extensive Wigram family, the convict contractor to note is a whaling investor and Lloyd's name, Sir Robert Fitzwigram, Bart1, (1743/44-1830) of Blackwall Yard or of Wexford, son of Capt. John Wigram and Mary Clifford. Sir Robert married firstly Katherine Brodhurst, then Eleanor Watts, having 23 children in all. Notes on the family are treated more extensively in a later chapter. Burke's Landed Gentry for Arkwright of Sanderstead Court, for Wigram, for Long of Sydenham, for Smith of Shottesbrooke Park. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage for Hope-Dunbar. Stenton, British Parliamentarians, Vol. 1, p. 408. He is first noted by 1764. Chatterton on Mercantile Marine, pp. 94ff. A. G. E. Jones, 'Daniel Bennett and Company, South Whalers'. Unpublished paper, 1968. [Available at the Guildhall Library, London]. R. S. Fitton, The Arkwrights: Spinners of Fortune. Manchester, England, Manchester University Press, 1989. Ian Berryman, `Solomon Levey, Thomas Peel, and the Founding of the Swan River Colony', Journal of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, Volume 10, Part 6, 1989., pp. 463-475, here, p. 467. Byrnes, The Blackheath Connection, p. 97. Lloyd's Register, 1778.

[22] O'Brien, Foundation, p. 133.

[23] Bolton, `William Eden', pp. 37ff.

[24] Bolton's way of putting it, as cited above, p. 42.

[25] In 1778, Messrs Kerr and Burke were to be the arbitrators between John Saltspring and Colin Currie.

[26] Olson, `Virginia Merchants of London', p. 386.

[27] Shelburne's only dispute with America was treatment of loyalists and honouring of debts due from Americans to British. Watson, Geo III, p. 254.

[28] T. M. Devine, 'A Glasgow Tobacco Merchant during the American War of Independence: Alexander Speirs of Elderslie, 1775 to 1781', William and Mary Quarterly, Series 3, Vol. 33, No. 3, July 1976., pp. 501-513., here, pp. 502, 506, 511.

[29] T. M. Devine, `Alexander Speirs', p. 511.

[30] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Note to Campbell Letter 57: This letter refers to the long-drawn out wrangle between Campbell and others for control of the estate Saltspring in Jamaica. 29 Jan, 1778, Campbell to Saltspring, on the matter of the dispute with Currie, matters are before Wedderburn and another eminent council (sic) - Kerr and Burke were to be the arbitrators between John Saltspring and Colin Currie.

[31] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML, A3226, p. 317, Campbell Letter No. 58:

[32] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML, A3226, p. 317. Note to Campbell Letter 59: No evidence has been sighted equating George Moore this addressee with George Moore the merchant transporting convicts from England per the ships Swift and Mercury in 1783-84 and who suffered financial hardships after convicts mutinied. See Letters 139 and Letters 143. Articles by Gillen and Frost; John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts. Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1970.

[33] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML, A3226, p. 322. Note to Campbell Letter 60: By 13 Feb., 1779, Campbell was also issuing instructions to commercial ships captains, Capt. John Currie, Instructions to Capt. Daniel Campbell. Rev. Colin Campbell was brother or brother-in-law to Duncan. The two corresponded infrequently, mostly mentioning business matters. The son of Rev. Colin C was the later Lt. John Campbell who sought the influence of the Earl of Seaforth, Guernsey, for the raising of a regiment, and asked Campbell's help in that effort. John Campbell Jnr later went to Madras, where he was Barracks Major. He was the brother-in-law of Duncan's daughter, Henrietta. Kenneth Mackenzie, Earl1 Seaforth, (born 1744), was son of Kenneth Mackenzie, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, and Mary Stewart. He married Caroline Stanhope as first wife and Harriet (Powell) Lamb as second. GEC, Peerage, Seaforth, pp. 582ff.

[34] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML, A3226, p. 326. Note to Campbell Letter No. 61:

[35] Klingelhofer, `Ridley Diary', pp. 96-97.

[36] John Holker Papers are in the Library of Congress.

[37] Sainsbury, `Pro-Americans', p. 444.

[38] Klingelhofer, `Ridley Diary', pp. 101-103.

[39] Klingelhofer, `Ridley Diary', p. 119.

[40] Rear Admiral Dalrymple, was the first hydrographer to the East India Company, appointed 8 April, 1779. He remained in that same capacity with the Admiralty in 1795.

[41] Colonisation: Alan Frost, `The Colonisation of New South Wales', pp. 85-93, in European Voyaging Towards Australia, edited by John Hardy and Alan Frost. Occasional Paper No. 9. Canberra, Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1990.

[42] Alan Frost, p. 1 in The Colonisation of New South Wales, pp. 85-93, in European Voyaging Towards Australia, Edited by John Hardy and Alan Frost, Occasional Paper No. 9, Canberra, Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1990. Circa 1778. Frost cites notes made by General Lloyd of a conversation with Geo III, undated but c. 1778; PRO HO 42/6, item 19.

[43] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks, ML, A3231, Vol 2, p. 25.

[44] Ged Martin, Founding, p. 152.

[45] Branch-Johnson, English Prison Hulks, p. 9.

[46] At first, early in 1776 the convicts had not worked. Campbell found it was less trouble to keep them at work than to keep cleanliness. The prospect of a pardon had an excellent effect on prisoners. Sickness was often imported from gaols.

[47] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 126.

[48] House of Commons Journal, Vol. 37, pp. 306ff. L. Evans and P. Nicholls, (Eds.), Convicts and Colonial Society, 1788-1853. Stanmore, NSW, Cassell, 1976., p. 23 on Banks' views.

[49] 1 April, 1779; Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 46ff. Bunbury (1 April, 1779), Report of the Felonies Select Committee, to which Banks had recommended Botany Bay: Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 44. The hulks were continued in May by Act 19, Geo II, c.74. 1779. Bunbury Committee: House of Commons Journal, Vol. 36, pp. 926ff. C. M. H. Clark, in Martin, Founding, p. 275; Frost, Convicts and Empire, pp. 7-9. "Price of a felon": House of Commons Journal, Vol. 37, p. 311; p. 344 on 13,000 owed Campbell by government. On the 1779 inquiry, see R. A. Swan, To Botany Bay - If Policy Warrants The Measure - A Reappraisal. Canberra, Roebuck Society, 1973., p. 66.

[50] Some of this information on Blackstone is from an article by John Slee, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August, 1980.

[51] O'Brien, Foundation, p. 135.

[52] R. A. Swan, To Botany Bay, p. 67.

[53] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 46ff. R. A. Swan, To Botany Bay.

[54] O'Brien, Foundation, p. 94. Suggestions were heard in the Irish Parliament about convicts and transportation, and public labour on the Liffey, in hulks. See also J. Bentham, A View of the Hard Labour Bill. London, 1778., cited in Gillen, Founders.

[55] GEC, Peerage, Suffolk, p. 478.

[56] Branch-Johnson, English Prison Hulks, p. 6; Gillen, `Botany Bay Decision', p. 743.

[57] Mackay, Exile, p. 18.

[58] Note to Campbell Letter No. 63: It has been suggested by Mollie Gillen that Campbell's wife on 25 Feb., 1779 had twin sons, one stillborn.

[59] A. Roger Ekirch, `Great Britain's Secret Convict Trade to America, 1783-1784', The American Historical Review, Vol. 89, No. 5, December 1984., pp. 1286.

[60] For 1780, Ekirch cites V. A. C. Gatrell, Bruce Lenman and Geoffrey Parker, (Eds.), Crime and the Law: The Social History of Crime in Western Europe since 1500. London, 1980., pp. 155-189, David Philips, `A New Engine of Power and Authority: The Institutionalization of Law-Enforcement in England, 1780-1830'. Ekirch, Bound For America., p. 12.

[61] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML, A3227, p. 7. Note to Campbell Letter No. 64:

[62] 1779, 1 April: Ekirch, Bound for America, p. 53, Note 2, Testimony of Duncan Campbell to Parliament, Committee of Enquiry, JHC XXXVII, 310.

[63] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from Private Letterbooks Vol. 11 of a note on p. 24, dated 19 Dec, 1779. Note to Campbell Letter No. 65:

[64] Sainsbury, `Pro-Americans', p. 445. Sainsbury cites also, Christopher Hibbert, King Mob: The Story of Lord George Gordon and the Riots of 1780. London, Longmans Green, 1958. Linebaugh, The London Hanged, pp. 334ff.

[65] Hibbert, King Mob, pp. 10-11.

[66] Hibbert, King Mob, p. 56.

[67] Kennett had been a waiter at the King's Arms Tavern. He owned a tavern, became a wine merchant and a radical alderman, then Lord Mayor. Hibbert, King Mob, pp. 68ff.

[68] Timothy Tyndale Daniell, (Of Gray's Inn), The Lawyers, London, Wiley And Sons, 1976.

[69] Watson, Geo III, pp. 236ff.

[70] John Carey, (Ed.), Eyewitness To History. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard, 1988; section on the Gordon Riots, 8 June, 1780, report by George Crabbe, pp. 237-238; Hibbert, King Mob, p. 84.

[71] Valerie Hope, Lord Mayor, p. 129.

[72] Watson, Geo III, p. 238.

[73] Jack Lindsay, William Blake: His Life and Work. London, Constable, 1978., p. 14.

[74] The 1780 Gordon riots: fragmentary reports are also contained in R. R. Sharpe, (Ed.), Memorials of Newgate Gaol and the Sessions House. Corp. of London nd; A. Lloyd, The Wickedest Age: The Life and Times of George III. Devon, David and Charles, 1971; Timothy Tyndale Daniell, (Of Gray's Inn), The Lawyers. London, Wiley and Sons, 1976. The house of Sir John Fielding, Bow St. was also demolished. G. T. Wilkinson, The Newgate Calendar, Book One. Panther Books (Abridgement). London, 1962., p. 9; and Commotions in London (Commonly called Wilke's Riots) and The Riots in London, pp. 241- 246, 247-254.

[75] Watson, Geo III, pp. 238-239.

[76] Hibbert, King Mob, p. 148.

[77] J. Shakespear, John Shakespear of Shadwell and his Descendants, 1619-1931. Newcastle, 1931. There were also a merchant, David Shakespear, and one William Shakespear.

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