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George Moore's first ship, Swift 1: Matra-esque problems: army contractors and Loyalists in North America: Further mutiny on George Moore's ships: George Moore's ships:


George Moore's first ship, Swift 1:


In April 1783 Salmon wrote to George Moore under the impression that selling convict labour to Marylanders had been a good business. Salmon was confident of his political connections and promised he would be far from leading Moore into a scrape. ([1]) Somewhere along the line, James Cheston in Maryland, a connection of the former Bristol convict contractors, Stevenson, Randolph and Cheston, was watching, though with little sympathy. ([2]) Unwisely, Salmon was unconcerned about convicts not being permitted to land in Maryland, although he certainly was aware of earlier opposition to their importation and the growth of anti-British sentiment during the Revolution. Because of the outcome of the revolution, no Maryland law yet existed to prohibit the trade in felons, and Salmon intended to exploit this loophole. But caution suggested that operations with George be disguised. Salmon and Moore agreed to market the ships' people as indentured servants, to rename the vessel, and to announce in London that Nova Scotia was to be the destination. Once at sea, the ship's master, Thomas Pamp, would sail for Baltimore. ([3])


By 23 January, 1783, after consultations with officials, Campbell in addition to his other hulks had begun keeping the 600-800 ton hulk, Censor, an ex-French man o' war, as a depot for about 250 transportable felons sentenced for America. On 3 April, Campbell gave Lord North an account for the furnishing of the vessel, to 886/6/-. William Bligh meanwhile on 9 March, 1783, had arrived from Liverpool to Douglas on the Isle of Man, on half-pay as a junior lieutenant, on 2/- per day, at the close of hostilities with America. At home Bligh found an ordinary domestic situation, a wife with a child irritable from teething. On 7 April, Bligh sat to write to his naval friend Francis Godolphin Bond, inquiring amongst other matters: if Bond had written to Campbell's clerk, James Boyick, on minor business? ([4])


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The following month, Bligh (to Bond) felt there was a good chance Campbell would employ him in the mercantile and thereby save him from "a ruinous period on half-pay". ([5]) Campbell's ship Orange Bay had been damaged in the hurricane over Jamaica in August 1781. Limping home with her, Capt. Ross lost his convoy early in 1782, and had then sought to compensate his employer by taking a prize ship, a mistake, as this was illegal and the owners sued Campbell. Ross was demoted and sailed later as mate under Bligh. The difficulties with Orange Bay and Ross's actions contributed to Campbell's losses, so that he had complained by October 1783 that losses, delays and Jamaican storms had recently cost him up to 15,000. Possibly, Orange Bay was sold or broken up, and Campbell experienced trouble in raising the price of a vessel to replace her? So, Bligh for lack of a ship was forced to wait longer for Campbell to be able to employ him?


About August 1783, Campbell bought from the navy the ship Lynx for 2300. ([6]) Lynx had originally been built for the merchant service and was unfound when Campbell bought her. Bligh was installed on her for his first voyage in the merchant service, with which he was unaccustomed. As he admitted himself, Bligh was an unsuccessful merchant captain. With Bligh on Lynx, as explained earlier, was Duncan's son John, to be trained as a ship's captain, and he apparently was a good student. Lynx left from Newcastle, where Bligh had gone several times before proceeding for Jamaica (presumably for coal?). John relished his better situation, and wrote his father that Bligh treated and taught him well, but that Bligh himself was "a stranger" to the mercantile line. The mate on the voyage was the earlier-disgraced Capt. Ross.


Shortly John and Bligh were in the company of Dugald on Saltspring, which Dugald was now learning to manage. ([7]) Bligh and Dugald, about six years younger than Bligh, were firm friends. Long later, Bligh [died 1817] was to list Dugald as executor of his estate, although as it happened, Dugald predeceased Bligh. Bligh continued to sail for Campbell between London and Jamaica, still teaching John the ropes. Bligh thus met Campbell's correspondents at Lucea (where Campbell sent goods to Archibald Campbell). Once, Bligh made a map of Lucea Harbour. Perhaps he was just keeping his hand in, or, the map was for naval purposes? But there had been hurricanes in 1780 and 1781, and perhaps features of the harbour had shifted so radically it needed remapping? Whilst Campbell's Lynx was under Bligh's command, Campbell had his interest in shipping to Jamaica taken by a document - about 16 October, 1783, a deed of sale of 727 acres at St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, a matter connected with John Campbell, son of the late Hon. John Campbell of St Elizabeth. ([8])


And from April 1783 the hulk Censor was used for the temporary reception of convicts for Africa, (Moore's ship Swift took convicts from her). ([9]) On 19 October, 1783, the prison reformer John Howard visited the hulks and noted there were 194 convicts: 22 were in the hospital; 137 were on Censor "for our settlements". Except, there were no settlements.


* * *


George Moore's first convict ship George was ready to sail with 143 prisoners within weeks after 12 July, 1783. The ship was renamed Swift I, the name by which government officials knew her, ([10]) so that London newspaper coverage of convict movements would not alert Maryland. The following reconstruction of Moore's efforts to transport illustrates the peculiar linkages that existed between merchants desiring to transport, government, officialdom, foreign policy, and a variety of mercantile factors. ([11]) Moore's engagements in convict contracting had only passing interest for overseer Campbell, who only ever entered two letters, one to Evan Nepean, on Moore's activities. Campbell himself saw that transportation to America by now was practically impossible.


* * *


Ekirch continues the story... by July 1783, "North had enlisted George Moore, a London merchant whose vessel the George was ready to sail within weeks with 143 prisoners... Moore had been promised 500 by the Treasury plus whatever profits the convicts fetched as servants." These convicts were eventually dumped in Maryland. The convicts had to be imported by means of an "elaborate hoax" and with "the secret assistance of one of Maryland's prominent merchants, George Salmon". Salmon made enemies, including Matthew Ridley, and possibly, the Bristol convict contractors, Stevenson, Randolph and Cheston. It is a complicated story, and Ekirch says that Salmon's scheme, so much laced with duplicity as it was, became "a colossal failure, which discouraged the revival of transportation to America and forced Britain to find a new location for much of its criminal population". ([12]) If so, George Moore was partly and embarrassingly instrumental in the first British settling of Australia!


* * *


Matra-esque problems: army contractors and Loyalists in North America:


In order to understand certain matters associated with George Mackenzie Macaulay, and also the early provisioning of NSW, the following details on routine London life are useful... A Bill was presented for regulating insurances on Ships, Alderman Harley would carry the Bill to the Lords, Alderman Hammett reported from a committee regarding the British Assurance Co.; met at the Queens Arms Tavern in Newgate Street, ([13]) testimony by Christopher H. Bullock and Mr. Joseph Potter. The Bill would be read a second time ([14]) In 1783-1784, expired the contract for the bankers, Messrs Harley and Drummond's as deputy paymasters for the British army at New York.


Some contractors to the British army in North America (December 1783 to December 1784) were William Mills 221, John Burke 5658, Neave and Aislabie, 3554. ([15]) Alderman Watson was interested in a better regulation of watermen on Thames. A reimbursement went to Evan Nepean of 34,918/17/-. Augustus Alt for raising troops received, 219; ditto Brook Watson, 602. The army agents Cox Cox and Greenwood were reimbursed regarding the 88th Regiment Foot in 1779-1781, some 1181/14/-. ([16]) Francis Baring had gained a supply contract for 20,000.


By 18 July, 1783, Lord North and George III were aware that convicts might not be welcome in America, and agreements arose that Moore could land them in Nova Scotia if not in the US. ([17]) By then, the coalition ministry of North and Charles Fox, "alarmed by a crime wave in London and much of the countryside, resolved to revive transportation". ([18]) Although, as Ekirch says, American opposition to the trade was longstanding, and the Treaty of Paris, concluded by Townshend himself, was yet unratified. (Townshend was raised to the peerage because of his diplomacy with the Americans. So, inspired by his cultural obsession about convicts as he was, in wishing to see convicts sent to America, George III was ready to spoil a new treaty, despite the treaty with the United States being yet unratified!


Swift remained under the command of Captain Pamp, who once cleared at sea would sail for Baltimore. About 28 July, 1783, James Matra advised Joseph Banks on a plan to settle the Pacific south seas. ([19]) It is unknown if Matra knew about a convict ship sailing for Nova Scotia, where some Loyalists languished. ([20]) Matra during August 1783 continued to promote his scheme ([21]) to settle an area of the Pacific with Loyalists left restless after the American Revolution. He once suggested that such a scheme might "atone" for Britain's loss of the American colonies. Broadly, along with recognition of the behind-the-scenes roles taken by Joseph Banks, ([22]) it is now felt by historians that Matra and his colleagues, who included John Call, had some influence in the later settling of New South Wales, even if it was that after hearing Matra's ideas, and possibly to Matra's chagrin, Lord Sydney quickly suggested that such ideas could be allied with a convict colony created in the region. ([23])


Sir John Call, Bart. (1732-1801) was a military engineer, a man of wide interests. On 15 May, 1800, he complained at Old Burlington Street to Sir Joseph Banks that the timber in the Royal Forest was being wasted. He recalled the recommendations on Crown Lands of 1782, which he had helped develop, and desired to give to Banks the 17 volumes of that report. Call in 1771 was High Sheriff of Cornwall and lived the life of a country gentleman interested in politics. Lord Shelburne in 1782 had appointed him to inquire into the state of the Crown Lands and Forests. Sir Charles Middleton (comptroller of the navy) was Call's fellow commissioner in 1785 when the appointment was renewed. Call in 1784 became a member of the banking firm, Pybus and Company, and member for Callington. Created a baronet in 1791, Call had links with Pitt and Shelburne, and was also an associate of Sir George Young, later admiral, and promoter also of Matra's hopes to colonise the Pacific. One of Young's ideas was that a settlement at Norfolk Island might provide hemp for use as naval cordage in the East Indies. That proposal was derided by Alexander Dalrymple, FRS, hydrographer to the East India Company, in a letter to the Court of Directors of the East India Company on 13 July, 1785. During 1785, Young and Call jointly had contacted the East India Company directors about their hope for a Norfolk Island settlement, since, technically, the Island lay in waters under Company jurisdiction. The Company never was interested. Call was also a noted creditor of the Nabob of Arcot, whose debts were both enormous and notorious. ([24]) Interestingly, Dalrymple was also a golfer at Blackheath.


Meanwhile, by 3 August, 1783, Campbell's former agent, Marylander Matthew Ridley, wrote that the (London) tobacco merchant Molleson was pushing Ridley hard for debt repayment. ([25]) But with Moore's ventures, there seems to be no reason to assume that Ridley might have suspected that Duncan Campbell was re-entering the business of selling convict labour. Unfortunately, it is not known if Ridley at this time was communicating with Campbell about anything.


George Moore by August 1783 was almost ready to despatch Swift I. ([26]) On 12 August there was to be delivered to overseer Campbell a warrant ordering him to deliver the bodies of 56 convicts for North America. Two days later some 87 convicts were taken from Newgate. Some convicts were delivered to Capt. Pamp of Swift I, by 16 August, in charge of the ships mate, Thomas Bradbury. By 12 August, and in the weeks coming, unhappy English county officials were prompting London to resume transportation. Gillen writes, ([27]) "It was a plan bearing all the hallmarks of hasty improvisation to deal with an irritating problem that continued to interrupt government's concentration on matters considered to be of vaster importance". Lord Sydney on 12 August 12 wrote to Gov. Parr of Nova Scotia that a contractor (Moore) would transport 150 felons to be disposed of as usual. From this, (and given Ekirch's research in Secret Convict Trade), unless Sydney was deliberately wishing to use official paper to tell lies, it seems that Sydney had swallowed Moore's story the convicts would go to Nova Scotia. At the time, most of the transports had been sentenced for America-at-large, since the magistrates could be no more precise in the matter. In late 1783, provincial authorities supervising gaols clogged with transportable prisoners were prodding government to take some action. ([28]) By 12 August, Campbell had received a warrant to deliver 56 convicts to Moore and Swift I Capt. Pamp, from Censor and Justitia, under sentence to America. On 16 August, some 87 convicts came from Newgate "for Nova Scotia", also to be sent on Swift I, a total of 143. Mutinies were to bedevil Moore's ships.


The elaborate Salmon/Moore subterfuge is why the Australian historian, Cobley ([29]), in his rather confused report of the evidence given after the mutiny on Swift I, suggests some ships officers were lying or otherwise misleading the court! Ekirch meanwhile writes, "Hardly had the ship ... Swift ..... cleared the Thames in late August before the convicts rebelled and ran it aground off the Sussex coast". ([30]) On 17 August, Moore's Swift I had moved from Blackwall to Galleons Reach to trans-ship prisoners from hulk Censor. (Galleons Reach was a "piece of water" terminating a little below Woolwich Reach). It was usual for a junior ships officer to sign for a delivery. One of the prisoners delivered was David Hart, tried the previous April. One of those delivering him to Swift was John Owen, who later gave evidence in court on matters arising from the mutiny on Swift I. ([31]) All told, 143 men and women had been delivered to Swift I, intended for either Halifax or America. One prisoner taken from Censor was William Blatherhorne, who had the distinction of participating in both of the mutinies on Moore's ships; he ended as a First Fleeter to Australia. ([32])


As Moore and Salmon hatched their plans... By late August, eleven convicts had died in Ilchester jail from fever. Fever also killed 14 convicts at Gloucester, where the jail was an old castle by the river. When released, convicts had allegedly spread disease outside the castle walls. ([33]) (By 23 August, Mr. Roberts had given an estimate on the cost of transporting felons to New Holland, 9865.) ([34]) On 24 August, Lord North wrote to Campbell asking him to take 200 convicts on board the hulks pending their transportation to America).


On 28 August, Swift I left the downs. At 6pm on 29 August, 1783 her convicts rose, securing the captain and some of her crew of 18, and making for fire arms. Convict Peter Duncan was given command of the ship. Some of her convicts went ashore near Rye, Sussex. One quarter, about 48, escaped; a few drowned in the melee to get away. A few were executed only days later for returning from transportation. Later the crew of the ship regained command, arguing to their captors, who had been drinking, that the wind would turn the ship into a dangerous situation. Finally they brought her into Portsmouth, where she stayed for a month, the responsibility of the port admiral, while the escapers terrorised the area. ([35])


The Secretary of State was informed by Monday, 1 September. (Some of the escapers were heading for London). Gillen records, 18 men and boys found lurking about the London docks were apprehended and held in the Poultry Compter till they were cleared of any part of the Swift I debacle. Three escapers were caught in London, not until after a fight involving knives, a poker, a shovel, a cutlass, and a few women helping the escapers, who ended in Newgate. Exemplary punishment was promised for prisoners returning from transportation.


Moore's plans aroused strange passions indicating how unrealistic was Salmon's confidence in his political connections. On 22 August, 1783 Joshua Johnson, a merchant in London, wrote to John Jay in Paris, who then informed Matthew Ridley in Baltimore, about the convicts coming on Moore's ship. Ridley here has also been described as an American merchant in Paris with close friends in business in Maryland, who alerted Governor William Paca to the scheme. Dates on Ridley's movements are scarce. ([36]) Joshua Johnson was influential in the tobacco trade, with the firm Wallace, Davidson and Johnson, and he was one of the top seven London importers of tobacco. ([37]) By mid-September, Ridley had already blown the whistle and warned Governor Paca of Maryland. Ridley provided all details including news on the mutiny. Meanwhile, as earlier noted, in Maryland, William Molleson's business had been taken away by the Annapolis firm of Wallace, Johnson and Muir, partners of Robert Morris. After 1783, Wallace had revived links with Joshua Johnson in London). ([38]) It appears then, that Johnson and Ridley's quickly-conveyed warnings to Maryland put a stop to George Moore's ambitions in the former American colonies and so thrust Britain deeper into the morass of her "convict problem". But there is little information arising from the study of tobacco trading which can assist development of the story.


Convict William Bradbury was on 1 September, 1783, charged with being found at large without any lawful cause having returned from transportation. Earlier, during 1782, Bradbury had misappropriated some bank notes. On September 10, Bradbury was before Mr. Deputy Recorder at the Second Middlesex Jury, to receive firstly a sentence of death, then to receive His Majesty's pardon of transportation for life at the end of the September sessions. On Wednesday, 10 September, David Hart was before Mr. Baron Hotham at Justice Hall, Old Bailey. Hart had to remain there until the sessions ended on 23 September. ([39]) Reports vary: some 21-29 of the Swift I escapers ended at the Old Bailey on 10 September, 1783 (Linebaugh conveys, the Old Bailey "could be approached only by a single alleyway", which must have made entry to it even more forbidding for the prisoner). The Old Bailey sessions opened on 10 September, 1783, with captured Swift I mutineers before the court.


One prosecution witness was the mate of Swift I, Thomas Bradbury. One convict said that it was uncertain where the convicts were to be landed - if not America, then perhaps Africa? Such uncertainties were an early indication that government had little idea what was really happening with transportable convicts. On 17 September, 1783 Campbell wrote to provincial John Wallis about procedures regarding transportable convicts, indicating there was a lack of instruction from the Home Office.


Campbell Letter 118:

Transcription - On September 17, 1783, Duncan Campbell wrote to provincial John Wallis of Dorset, Dorchester, "I received your letter of the 15th Inst in answer to which I beg leave to inform you that I cannot enter into engagement for the Transportation of Convicts to America without an order from the Secretary of State."


This information might have been novel to a provincial. There appear to be no other letters from the overseer to provincials on matters of transportation at this time.


Eighteen of those condemned for returning from transportation from Swift I were offered pardon on condition of transportation for life. On 19 September, 1783 (is one report) some 20-29 of the Swift I mutineers were sentenced to death for returning from transportation. Six were hanged at Tyburn on the 21st. ([40]) The rest had been sentenced for transportation to life, one to transportation for seven years. Reports vary as captured escapers met the fury of a frustrated legal system from 10 September, 1783. It might be noted, the keeper of Newgate, Akerman, earned a lesser sentence for one John Murphy, while the Deputy Recorder of London took special punitive interest in the case. ([41])


The last public hanging at Tyburn was on 7 November, 1783. Hangings thereafter were at Newgate. ([42]) ([43]) In the 1780s, Wilkes oddly enough defended public executions and death sentences on the bizarre (or bizarrely patriotic?) grounds that they fitted Englishmen with a suitable contempt for death. ([44]) But if Linebaugh is correct, it was not a reaction against public sadism which led to abandonment of the public hangings, it was realisation, since the 1780 Gordon Riots, that public hangings did not deter "the mob" as had once been hoped. Tyburn's public hangings were abandoned as they were judged ineffective as a deterrent. Other, more subtle deterrents were to be sought.


Before 1700 at Tyburn, hangings had been in batches. Prisoners had made a procession from Newgate, up Holborn Hill and along the Oxford Road. An assessment was made of the popularity of the prisoner with the crowd, and a stop at a tavern at St Giles allowed the prisoners' traditional free bowl of beer. Then the procession went to "the tree", where, as Dr Johnson believed, the crowd loved the spectacle, and this love supported the condemned in their hour of trembling. ([45]) After 1783, since there were no more public executions at Tyburn, members of the public wanting to see an execution had to go to Newgate itself. And so, as a spectacle presented by Ideology, Tyburn's public hangings ceased only as Britain was ready to capitulate on the question of refraining to send her convicts to North America - three years before she decided to send them to Australia.


On 27-30 September, 1783, Campbell wrote to Akerman concerning a list of male convicts in his custody under sentence of transportation to America, and their removal from Newgate. ([46]) Campbell wanted to get the vouchers ready for the removal from Newgate of those listed, as he was ready to receive them on the hulks. It seems these felons were meant for Mercury, not the final departure of Swift 2.


* * *


Some of the reprieved mutineers were soon on the Woolwich hulks, where, still fractious, they began to take off their locks and collars and threaten vengeance. Three were shot by militia. William Blatherhorne, who had earlier tried to stab a sheriff, Sir Robert Taylor, in a riot in Newgate, was shot in the neck, but survived. And it seems, about eight weeks before Christmas 1783, Moore got his ship away successfully, as Swift 2, to deliver her prisoners. Then, undaunted, Moore began organising another ship, Mercury. Meanwhile the captain of Swift 2 told authorities at Portsmouth he had Nepean's permission to sail (presumably to Nova Scotia) by 22 September. He got other permission to sail by 3 October, and did so, for Baltimore, to arrive on 24 December.


By about 14 October, 1783, controversial new deals were being made between associates of Robert Morris such as John Holker and Daniel Parker, which may also have kept Matthew Ridley busy. Parker and Co. were the new chief contractors for the US army, and were linked with Le Couteulx and Co., Morris' banker and agent in Europe. Another Morris partner and agent was John Swanwick. By 17 July, 1783 Morris was dealing with a Dutch firm, Willink, Staphorst and Co. (Wilhelm and Jan Willink, Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst). Morris was now interesting himself in banks and marine insurance, ([47]) and in time, he and his associates would develop a plan to purchase the American debt, almost as though they suspected they could, in a word, buy the United States! Whether Matthew Ridley had close connections here is unknown. Morris would also help initiate US trade to India and China!


Swift 2 finally sailed again after 3 October, not for Nova Scotia, but Baltimore, Maryland, arriving on 31 December, 1783. ([48]) Gillen records that on 17 November, 1783, Swift 2, sailed from Blackwall, and had taken convicts from Campbell's Thames hulk, Censor. But by 29 November, the Swift 2 and her crew of eighteen were in the hands of the convicts, partly due to slack security and misjudgement on Capt. Pamp's part. The ship was brought in near Rye, and many prisoners made off, a few drowning in the hurry. Ninety stayed on board, were persuaded to free the crew, and Capt. Pamp took the ship into Portsmouth, where HM Perseverance brought her to the port admiral. Some of the escaped convicts frightened Rye, plundered a little, then took off for London; some of these were highwaymenned by their fellow escapers.


Capt. Pamp on Swift 2 had sailed with over 100 convicts, not to Nova Scotia, but to Baltimore, landing about Christmas, 1783, as recorded by the clerk of the county court there, William Gibson. ([49]) Pamp told authorities that shortage of provisions had prevented him sailing to Nova Scotia. But the authorities knew everything already, and regarded the Moore-Salmon operation "a fraudulent plan". Later, an American assembly was persuaded to vote against any reception of British convicts. ([50])


More prisoners were still intended to be sent out. Campbell on 10 October, 1783, wrote to Evan Nepean that Mr. Whermann had sent him a list of 85 convicts...


Campbell Letter 119:

Mincing Lane 10 Oct 1783

Evan Nepean Esq.


Mr. Whermann has sent me a List of 85 Convicts under sentence of transportation to America in which numbers are included 18 of those who escaped from the Swift. I understood Mr Moore, & indeed I thought you had corroborated the idea that this ship was to take those on board, & I humbly submit if sending as many by that conveyance as she can receive would not be an accomodation to the Gaols as well as saving a considerable Expence. I wait only to receive your Commands on this head before I execute the Bonds which will be done this evening. With greatest respect and regard I remain ([51])



Whermann was only ever mentioned once, and may have been on Akerman's staff. Those 85, all for Moore, included 18 of the Swift I mutineers. Campbell had seen Moore, and "indeed", Nepean had "corroborated" the idea the ship Swift was to be used a second time. (Undoubtedly, Nepean had meant there to be a second venture into resuming transportation). Campbell suggested to Nepean that as many prisoners as possible be sent by Swift II, to thus provide an accommodation to the gaols as well as a pecuniary saving. On 10 October the overseer was ready to execute the necessary bonds that very evening, and he waited only on Nepean's decisions. (There is then a gap in the records). Gillen reports, Nepean said that after the Swift convicts had been admitted by the American states, "we tried it a second time and they would not receive them".


* * *


On 5 November, 1783, Lord North asked the Treasury to pay George Moore the 500 owed him for transporting 143 felons to North America (on Swift 1-2), plus other monies. ([52]) North's view was that any incidents had not been Moore's fault, therefore he had to be paid. It was in this period that the Australian historian, C. M. H. Clark, has suggested that between September 1783 and March 1784, with the circumstances between Britain and America so weary, wary and pained, "the contractor, Duncan Campbell, admitted defeat and added his own name to the tiny band of philanthropists and interested parties who were pestering the Government to consider a permanent solution to the problem of what to do with the felons sentenced for transportation," "agitating" for government to find a permanent solution of what to do with the felons sentenced to transportation. ([53])


Clark's remark is tosh, and has no basis in information on Campbell's career. Campbell never pestered government for anything other than the money it owed him, and when considering policy he never pestered. During that period, the only merchant interested in transporting convicts was George Moore. Campbell no longer had any personal, commercial use for the practice of transporting convicts, not to America, certainly not to Australasia. Campbell was certainly not interested in re-establishing himself as a convict contractor, probably because he knew government was in a variety of untenable positions. Campbell by 1783 was merely a government functionary who was sometimes asked for advice in backrooms; or otherwise he was sometimes requested to depose evidence at committees of inquiry. Campbell gave his advice freely enough; but not as Clark has stated.


Campbell's activities were limited to delivering convicts to ships, as he was directed by the Home Office. If he had known about Moore's disasters, Campbell would probably have merely smiled in amused contempt at such amateur and misguided efforts. He knew trade, he knew much about bankruptcies after the American War, and that he was at risk. ([54]) As Olson reports, pre-war London firms that could not survive new business situations went down in two waves. A number sank in the crises of 1784, and 1785, while some survivors failed during the next seven years. By August 1784, "five great American traders tumbled in the City of London, one to the tune of 140,000". Sensible merchants had far more to think about than convict transportation!


* * *


In November 1783, severe fever at Somerset jail carried off several prisoners, the jailer, his wife, and a local doctor. ([55]) Some details of Moore's attempts to land convicts in North American had been published in the Maryland Gazette on 13 November. The Maryland legislators were incensed at this "British move", although they complacently did not enact a ban, and Salmon did succeed in selling some "servants". Salmon then advised Moore that another shipment of felons should be received before the next sitting of the Assembly, in mid-April 1784, and that a more elaborate hoax should be conducted, a routing of prisoners through Ireland.


On 24 December, 1783, Swift 2 finally arrived in Baltimore Harbour, to meet new problems. ([56]) Capt. Pamp said a shortage of provisions was the reason for not going to Nova Scotia. (Maryland lawmakers had received word from abroad.) Shortly, Swift 2 was stuck in ice. Sales were slow, and Salmon began thinking of setting the convicts adrift. Swift 2 was finally freed from ice and could be loaded to return home, but Moore and Salmon suffered losses. Salmon finally wrote Moore to "send no more", but by the time Moore got this advice, Moore was staging his second try with the Mercury Capt. Arnott. About then, Moore was audacious enough to offer to the government that he would transport criminals for ten years. ([57]) The idea was not seriously considered, which makes it mysterious why government allowed Moore to go as far as he had already!


* * *


Further mutiny on George Moore's ship:


Ekirch reports that Salmon as he wrote to Moore was alarmed that someone had written to the governor of Maryland "giving an Exact discription of the Ship the Masters name and who she was Consigned to in Baltimore". One of the informants had been Matthew Ridley! Swift 1 under her officers had again gone to Portsmouth, where she stayed a month; then she sailed to Baltimore, as Swift 2, arriving 24 December, 1783 with 100 convicts. On 31 December, 1783, W. Gibson, clerk at Baltimore, Maryland, examined convicts arriving on (probably) Swift 2. ([58]) But Gillen says Gibson's list is incomplete and inaccurate, containing the names of several prisoners who were later First Fleeters to Australia, and omitting many known to have been on Swift. Pamp told the authorities, who knew beforehand of his game, that shortage of provisions had prevented him sailing to Nova Scotia.


In December 1783, as Lord Sydney was grappling with hulks problems, as the 1779 Hulks Act was coming up for renewal, the Solicitor General remarked that no place has yet been found for the convicts. James Matra chimed in again with a proposal, and Sydney implanted in his mind the idea of a convict colony. Matra avoided discussing the costs of transportation. By August 1784, Matra still trying to promote this idea, with Fox, then in Opposition. ([59])


By Christmas 1783, when Swift 2 did arrive, Salmon initially was able to sell some prisoners without fear. ([60]) On 31 December, 1783, Salmon wrote to Moore, anxious since the Swift had arrived at not being able to go through with a sale. The legislature had heard about the hoax and was incensed. But within days, no law being enacted, Salmon had sold about 20 convicts, for up to 35, even though it was known they were transported felons. So Salmon on 31 December wrote again to Moore, saying more convicts should arrive before a new re-convening in mid-April 1784, and he wanted an even more elaborate subterfuge, to route the convicts through Ireland, disguised them as Irish servants. Salmon was afraid if Maryland found out the scheme, a law would soon be passed prohibiting such deals. There would be no mail aboard for Annapolis, the idea was to sail by Halifax, touch at Cork, change the ship's name at Cork. ([61]) Moore was to say the ship was bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sales for the Swift's convicts slowed, heavy winter kept buyers in their homes. Then Swift became trapped in thick ice.


Salmon and Capt. Pamp ended before a grand jury for questioning on their plans. By mid-January, 1784, only 30 of 104 convicts had been sold and as hard currency was scarce, Salmon had to extend credit. Some convicts aboard were ill. ([62]) By early February 1784, weighed down with ill convicts, Salmon was becoming tired of the enterprise. By mid-February 1784 he had cold feet and wanted nothing more. Swift 1-2 was freed from ice and could be loaded to return home, but Moore and Salmon suffered losses. Salmon had even considered turning the convicts loose. By spring, most had been sold, the ship was free.


In Britain meantime, one outcome of Moore's disasters was the establishment of a new hulk at Plymouth, Dunkirk, the first sign that government would need to enlarge the hulks establishment. On further voyages being planned, Moore was prepared to use greater stringency with the convicts to prevent their rising. He discussed the matter with the master of the ship, of the barricades he wanted to put between the prisoners and the crew, through which the sailors could aim to fire on any mutiny. "But," ordered Moore, "be attentive to their health, and keep them clean." ([63]) Despite precautions, there was yet another mutiny on board Mercury, Capt. Arnott. Steward of Mercury was George Holt, who gave confusing evidence indeed concerning her voyage, and was very distressed after the convict rising which occurred on her in late March and early April, 1784. ([64])


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[Finis Chapter 26]

Words 6026 words and footnotes 7465 pages 13 footnotes 64


[1] Salmon to Moore, 30 April, 1783, 3 October, 1783, cited in Ekirch, `Secret Trade', p. 1287, Note 10; items from the Woolsey and Salmon Letterbook.

[2] Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', p. 1287, Note 10; in 1785, the Maryland merchant James Cheston, a onetime trader in convicts, described Salmon as a "Very high Whig" in a letter to William Randolph on 18 Feb., 1785. (Cheston Galloway Papers at Maryland Historical Society, Ekirch, p. 1285.

[3] All as cited in Ekirch, "Secret Trade", p. 1288. See Joshua Johnson to John Jay, 22 Aug, 1783; Matthew Ridley to William Paca, 12 Sept, 1783, James Cheston to William Randolph, 23 Feb, 1784, 18 Feb, 1785. Salmon to Moore, 30 April, 1783, Library of Congress, Washington, Peter Force Collection, series 8D, Woolsey and Salmon Letterbook, WSLB. Note 8, p. 1287-1288, four Salmon/Moore letters dated 11 June, 29 June, 20 July 20 and 17 Aug., 1783, are only referred to, but are otherwise unavailable.

[4] Mackaness, `Fresh Light', part 2, pp. 16, 17, 20 and Notes 26-28 thereto. Bligh's salary seeming much too high at 500; Gavin Kennedy, Bligh, p. 14.

[5] Bligh waited until 4 June, when Campbell broke his forced inaction by suggesting Bligh should be in London by August or September, and advising him to apply for leave from the navy. By 8 July, Stephens at the Navy had informed Bligh the Lords of the Admiralty had no objection to his being engaged in the merchant service, and so Bligh was ready at any moment to quit the kingdom and serve Campbell. But from Campbell's point of view, why the wait? Perhaps Campbell then had no ship for Bligh to sail? Mackaness, Life of Bligh, Vol. 1, p. 65, a letter Bligh to Campbell of 10 Dec., 1787.

[6] Duncan Campbell to the Commissioners of the Navy, 15 August, 1787, re Lynx, which he now wanted to sell back to the navy.

[7] Rebecca's brother John had married Ann the eldest daughter of Mrs. Mary Launce of Jamaica, and sister of Mr. James Launce.

[8] Notes of WDC.

[9] By October 1783 there was a hospital hulk, visited by John Howard that month.

[10] Gillen, Founders, earlier cited.

[11] A great deal of this reconstruction is owed to Gillen's research. See her `His Majesty's Mercy', pp. 60ff.

[12] Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', p. 1285. George Salmon's letterbook is with the Manuscripts Division of the Library of Congress. Salmon's letters to Moore are candid about subterfuges to deceive state authorities.

[13] House of Commons Journal, Vol. 40. 1784-1785., p. 1069, p. 1077.

[14] House of Commons Journal, Vol. 40. 1784-1785., pp. 1084, 1105.

[15] House of Commons Journal, Vol. 40, 1784-1785. pp. 785ff.

[16] House of Commons Journal, Vol. 40, 1784-1785, pp. 798-805; Cox Cox and Greenwood, p. 800.

[17] From A. Roger Ekirch, `Secret Trade', pp. 1287, Note 10; Fortescue, Correspondence of Geo III.

[18] A. Roger Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', pp. 1285. Ekirch, Bound for America, p. 233. Also, O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 115ff. Oldham, Britain's Convicts, Ch. 5, variously.

[19] 1783: On Matra, see A. Giordano, earlier cited, especially pp. 85-87.

[20] Mackay, Exile, p. 28. One of Matra's assistants here was Lord Mulgrave.

[21] Matra's Proposal For Establishing A Settlement In New South Wales, 23 August, 1783, is in Ged Martin, (Ed), Founding, earlier cited, pp. 9ff. Ekirch, Bound For America; Dan Byrnes, Commentary to Wilfrid Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 251ff. F. H. Schmidt, `Sold and Driven'. cited earlier; A. E. Smith, Colonists In Bondage, earlier cited.

[22] H. B. Carter, His Majesty's Spanish Flock: Sir Joseph Banks and the Merinoes of George III of England. Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1964; Dawson, The Banks Letters; Charles Lyte, Sir Joseph Banks, 18th Century Explorer, Botanist and Entrepreneur. Sydney, AH and AW Reed, 1980.

[23] Matra in Martin, Founding, op cit, p. 14: Lord Sydney observed in August 1783 that "New South Wales would be a very proper region for the reception of criminals condemned to transportation". A. Giordano, Matra, earlier cited, pp. 85-87. On any idea that US officials had awareness of any plan to settle convicts or Loyalists at Australia, transmitted per Shaw, US consul at Canton, see Norman Bartlett, Australia and America Through 200 years, 1776-1976. Sydney, Ure Smith, 1976., p. 17. On why US officials would be unaware of what was in London newspapers? see pp. 28-30. Bartlett suggests that the English East India Company ruined British efforts at Nootka Sound, so that US ships picked up trade.

[24] On John Call: Alan Frost, `The Choice of Botany Bay - A Scheme to Supply the East Indies with Naval Stores', Australian Economic History Review, Vol. XV, No. 1. March 1975., pp. 1-21. Also, Alan Atkinson, `Whigs, Tories and Botany Bay', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 6, Part 5, March 1975., pp. 288-310.

[25] Ridley Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, as noted in Jacob Price, `One Family's Empire', p. 198, Note 130.

[26] HO 13/1; T1/590, Lord North to Treasury, 5 November, 1793. See also, O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 115ff; Shaw, Convicts and Colonies, p. 45.

[27] Gillen, `His Majesty's Mercy', pp. 61ff

[28] Gillen, `His Majesty's Mercy', p. 75.

[29] John Cobley, Crimes; A. Roger Ekirch, `Great Britain's Secret Convict Trade to America'; Kenneth Morgan, `Stevenson, Randolph and Cheston'.

[30] Gillen, `His Majesty's Mercy', p. 62.

[31] Cobley, Crimes, introduction, and entry for Hart.

[32] Cobley, Crimes, p. xii.

[33] Mackay, Exile, p. 17. On concern in Gloucester about transportable convicts, Ruth Campbell, `New South Wales and the Glocester Journal, 1787-1790', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 68, Part 3, Dec. 1982., pp. 169ff.

[34] Matra to Sydney, HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, pp. 1-10.

[35] Gillen, `His Majesty's Mercy', p. 63. A. Roger Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', pp. 1287.

[36] Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', p. 1289, Note 15; Morgan, `Stevenson, Randolph and Cheston', p. 204. Jacob M. Price, (Ed.), Joshua Johnson's Letterbook, 1771-1774: Letters from a Merchant in London to his Partners in Maryland. London, 1979.

[37] See earlier mentions of Joshua Johnson circa 1774 and the tobacco trade, as mentioned in Jacob Price, `One Family's Empire', p. 189.

[38] Olson, Making the Empire Work, p. 175.

[39] Cobley, Crimes, entries for convicts Bradbury, Hart; Linebaugh, The London Hanged, p. 75.

[40] Cobley, earlier cited. Also, O'Brien, Foundation.

[41] Gillen, `His Majesty's Mercy', p. 72. But see Linebaugh, London Hanged, p. 352, with mention of Akerman's servant at one time actually being a convict returned from transportation.

[42] O'Brien, Foundation, p. 60. Linebaugh, The London Hanged, p. 363.

[43] Williams, Whig, p. 129.

[44] Colley, Britons, p. 108.

[45] Burke, Streets of London, and see p. 89. On public hangings, see Hughes' remarkable section in The Fatal Shore, pp. 31ff.

[46] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks, ML A3228, p. 238.

[47] Ferguson, Purse, p. 173 and Note 66; p. 129, Note 14; p. 121, Note 30.

[48] 3 Oct., 1783, Salmon to George Moore, see Note 8, Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', pp. 1287-1288.

[49] Gillen, `His Majesty's Mercy', p. 65.

[50] Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 45, from which it seems the cost was being borne by the gaol keepers and the clerks to Assize, not Treasury.

[51] Note to Campbell Letter No. 119: The letter refers to the situation having arisen from the mutiny aboard George Moore's transport Swift on 29 August, 1783. After that debacle, Moore arranged a second transport, Mercury. Moore later claimed he was badly used by government (i.e., Nepean) which he was. Cobley, Crimes; Gillen, `Botany Bay Decision'.

[52] Gillen, `His Majesty's Mercy', p. 65. 5 Nov., 1783 - Re Swift and warrant for Campbell, etc. Cobley, citing HC/13/1. TI/590, Lord North to Treasury, 5 Nov., 1783.

[53] C. M. H. Clark, A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie. Vol. 1. Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1962; C. M. H. Clark, `The Origin of the Convicts Transported to Eastern Australia - 1788-1852', Historical Studies, Vol. 7, No. 25-28, in two parts., p. 121, p. 314; C. M. H. Clark, `The Choice of Botany Bay', in Martin, Founding, pp. 63-76.

[54] Olson, Making the Empire Work, p. 183.

[55] Mackay, Exile, p. 17.

[56] Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', Mercury Capt. Arnott? Voyage I arrived at Maryland on 30 Dec., 1783.

[57] Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', p. 1291.

[58] The citation is: Maryland Hall of Records, Record of Convicts, Baltimore City Court 1783, Vol. 1772-1774, 1783 pp. 383-389).

[59] Mackay, Exile, p. 29.

[60] 1783: 20 December: George Salmon to George Moore, Salmon Letterbook, Library of Congress, Washington DC US. Ekirch, Bound for America, p. 99, Note 1.

[61] Ekirch, `Secret Convict Trade', p. 1288.

[62] A. Roger Ekirch, `Great Britain's Secret Convict Trade to America, 1783-1784', American Historical Review, Vol. 89, No. 5, December 1984., pp. 1289, Note 15.

[63] Wilfrid Oldham, The Administration of the System of Transportation of British Convicts, 1763-1793. Ph.D. thesis. London University. 1933., p. 73.

[64] Cobley, Crimes, Introduction, and entry for convict Peet.

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