[Previous page Chapter Twenty Six ] [You are now on a page filed as Chapter Twenty Seven - (/blackheath/thebc27.htm] [Next page Chapter Twenty Eight ]

Click the logo to go back to the main page The Blackheath Connection  logo gif - 31481 Bytes

Confusions of the year 1784: Pitt and the East India Co. problem: The mystery of Sir George Young and unnamed merchants in 1784: Slavers out whaling or sealing? Rewriting the legislation in 1784: Pepper-Arden's inane first draft, March 1784: `Mr Campbell does not think himself authorized':


The Blackheath Connection

Chapter 27


Confusions of the year 1784:


The confusions attending George Moore's efforts to transport rippled through consideration of other matters. In 1784, Matra had continued to promote settlement in the Pacific. Another promoter of Pacific settlement, Sir George Young, put an unspecified plan into the hands of unnamed merchants. Years later when Young commented, he implied the plan had been acted on by these still-unnamed merchants. In March 1784 the legislation on transportable convicts was rewritten, newly enacted, then withdrawn and re-enacted in August. So, the year 1784 is confusing since the administration of transportable convicts was sent into confusion on several levels, while the issues have never been associated by Australian historians with London trade experiences of the day. And if Australia was an acquisition of strategic usefulness to Britain, if trade followed military strategy, it remains difficult to see the Imperialistic logic in all that was to follow.


PayPal preferred graphic

PayPal - safe and secure

If you value the information posted here,
and the projects of these websites in general,
you may like to consider making a donation
to help reduce our production costs?
It would be greatly appreciated.
Options include:
paying via PayPal which this website uses - Ed

* * *


Pitt and the East India Company problem:


It is possible that Pitt's India Act of 1784 may have inspired the unnamed merchants who acted on Young's plan, and from late 1784, inspired the slaving firm Camden Calvert and King, who had expressed interest in carrying convicts to Africa, to look to India. In short, situations were in such upheaval that almost anything could have happened. As it was, 1784 finished with government considering a crazy plan to establish a "convict republic" on African soil. In merchant circles, an air of secrecy set in, that has sidetracked historians, resulting in a sidelining of maritime history. Clearer information on maritime history enables the situation to be clarified.


By about December 1784, Frost argues, reports had convinced Britain that the French would attempt to drive Britain from India, curtailing trade. Dundas ([1]) told Lord Sydney in November 1784 that India was the first quarter to be attacked, and by year's end, Pitt was considering the Das Voltas scheme for convict transportation in conjunction with such an overview... Frost says, a far-reaching review of Britain's situation in the East might have included: building a new harbour in Bengal, occupation of Diego Garcia, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, creating a factory at Achin on Sumatra, and the colonisation of New Holland; and Britain pursued these schemes through 1785, so the India Board instructed its staff to survey the Indian Ocean islands. Frost says, the inquiries (into convicts) of 1785 approved of all this, if energy could be restored to the execution of the law, and contribute to the interior policing of the Kingdom, as well as contributing to purposes of future commerce of a future hostility in the South Seas. Das Voltas was later so endorsed, ([2]) when the administration sent Thompson to survey that area found so barren. ([3])


It is said that William Pitt the Younger remained grateful to the East India Company for its support during a political struggle, but this seems not the whole story. Pitt desired to discipline the Company with his 1784 India Act; ([4]) which Act was a great reform, with a board of control set up consisting of six privy councillors nominated by the king, changing as ministers changed, to have sight of all papers of the Company, to issue orders to directors of the Company, which they were bound in practice to obey. ([5]) So here, Britain's ministers must have surmised how situations would pan out with New South Wales vis-a-vis the Company, and the South whalers. Whether Company servants in India would lead a more austere life is a related matter.


The East India Company in 1784 included among its directors: Deputy Chairman William Devaynes. plus Richard Atkinson, William Bensley, Edmund Boehm, John Hunter, George Livingstone, Stephen Lushington, John Michie, John Motteux, Joseph Sparkes, Samuel Smith Jnr, George Tatem, Samuel Smith Jnr, Francis Baring, Charles Boddam, Richard Hall, Hugh Inglis ([6]), Paul Le Mesurier, John Manship, William Mills, Thomas Parry, John Smith, Laurence Sullivan, John Woodhouse. Secretary was Thomas Morton. Deputy secretary was William Ramsay, Master Attendant of shipping was Capt. John Oliver. ([7])


By now, the East India Company was governed by about 2000 stockholders and 24 directors. A stockholder needed 1000 worth of stock to vote in a ballot. Fifty stockholders had stock of over 10,000. Almost all of them lived in London, and the directorships were virtually a closed circle. Among the directors, Francis Baring was one of the dominant. ([8]) Government cut the duty on tea from 50 per cent to 12 per cent. Soon Pitt introduced his India Bill. The Company once more owed money to the government, and was obliged to accept a Board of Control which could command the directors themselves. The Board would have its own office in Westminster, and was a "dual control" between Crown and Company, newly tethering the Company to home politics. ([9])


So, is it true that between 1785-1789, Lord Hawkesbury by facilitating the processes by which Enderbys redeveloped British whaling in Southern hemisphere, eventually broached many Company rights, just as the India Act of 1784 had asserted the powers of the Crown against the Company in India? ([10]) History books do not normally convey clearly, that, partly to conduct its measure of establishing a colony in Australia, senior ministers had earlier, quite deliberately, collaborated in breaching the charter of the East India Company. Clarity on this question has long been missing.


* * *


The mystery of Sir George Young and unnamed merchants in 1784:


By 1784, Sir George Young had formulated a plan concerning settlement in the Pacific which he possibly put it in the hands of London's whalers, men of The Blackheath Connection. What prompted Young to formulate his views is unknown. Perhaps he was prompted by the rewriting of the legislation on convict transportation? ([11]) By 1793, both William Richards and Alexander Davison had for different reasons decided that something peculiar was going on with convict shipping to "Botany Bay". Davison was shrewder than Richards and managed to get close enough to some "real story" to contact Sir George Young. It is mysterious that Young's reply to Davison about these enigmatic matters actually made its way into Historical Records of New South Wales. ([12]) By 1793, a government supplier, Alexander Davison, who had already supplied a few ships to Sydney, had become suspicious about the nature of merchant dealings to Sydney, and made inquiries of Young. ([13]) In his reply, Young informed Davison, who lived at Chelmsford, ([14]) not Blackheath, that unnamed merchants had received a plan. Young referred to events that both he and Davison knew about. Young said, he would not animadvert on activities, except that the East India Company had expressed a "dog in the manger" attitude... Today, some historians feel that by 1784, with the ([15]) establishment of the Board of Control, dominated by Henry Dundas, there occurred "A softening up of the East India Company and limitation of its monopoly was an essential part of Pitt's overall imperial reconstruction". If this is true, what is germane here to "the Botany Bay debate". Who were the merchants Young did not name?


* * *


Slavers out whaling or sealing?


Some whalers as listed in The Samuel Enderby Book are...


S. Enderby and Sons, London, Swift, Capt. P. Pease


S. Enderby and Sons, London, Sandwich, Capt. H. Delano


S. Enderby and Sons, London, Saville, Capt. M. Gage


S. Enderby and Sons, London, Experiment, Capt. W. Goldsmith


S. Enderby and Sons, London, Yorick, Capt. J. (T?) Locke


Calvert and Co., London, Hunter, 235 tons Capt. J. Brown


St. Barbe and Co., London, Stormont, Capt. J. Bennet


Calvert and Co., London, Camden, 350 tons Capt. A. Swain


Hammett and Co., London, Hammett, Capt. B. Clark


T. Newby, London, Shark, Capt. F. Gardner


T. Macy, London, Mary, Capt. S. Coffin


Meader and Co, London. Queen, Capt. J. Meader


Gibson and Co., ???? Capt. W. Folger, lost


Meader and Co., Favourite, Capt. C. Gardner, no oil, Mediterranean Sea


Meader and Co., Nancy, Capt. T (F?) Clark, no oil, Medit.


Meader and Co., Prince Royal, Capt. not given, no oil, Medit.


In 1784, members of the Africa Company included... Anthony Calvert, Gilbert Ross, Charles Cleland for Bristol, Justinian Casamajor for Bristol, John Taylor Vaughan, Thomas Farr for Liverpool, Henry Blundell, Richard Camplin. John Owen Parr, Thomas Rutherfoord was Secretary. ([16])


Historians have never emphasised that Calvert and Co. from 1784 were also whaler/sealers, therefore associating from time to time with the promoters of the Southern Whale Fishery, Enderbys. ([17]) This seems to be the only explanation for the later facts arising from 1789, when Calvert and Company and South whalers, especially Enderbys, were jointly sending convicts in their ships to Australia. The earliest references to Thomas King of Camden, Calvert and King have been researched by Sydney historian Michael Flynn. ([18])


Flynn regarded Camden Calvert and King in 1791 as one of London's largest slaving firms, as they sent out five of London's 25 slaving ships that year. ([19])


By December 1792, according to the later notes of Thomas Evans looking into the Second Fleet mortality, it had been found that in 1771 Thomas King ([20]) of CC&K had been charged in the Admiralty Court with the murder of a crewman on a slave ship he commanded. King was bailed out by Anthony Calvert, who later made King a partner in his slave shipping and trading firm. ([21]) ([22]) When he died aged 69 in 1813-1814, Thomas King lived at Russell Square, London, a pleasant address. He left property of shares and 28 houses, plus thousands of pounds.


Anthony Calvert's entry "in the business" began in 1783-84, when as a director of the African Company he had decided to assist Lord Sydney, who desired convicts be sent to Africa. Records indicate he was the only merchant so interested in convicts between 1783-1786, and that he and his partners were the only Africa Company merchants to engage in convict carriage to anywhere. Calvert was an active slaver, but there has never been an indication he had any genuinely civic interests in London, apart from being an Elder Brother of Trinity House.


* * *


Rewriting the Legislation in 1784:


Parliament by 1 March, 1784 needed to consider the impending expiration of the Act of 1779 governing the hulks system and the punishment of hard labour. The old legislation needed extensive surgery. Leave was given on 1 March for the crown's law officers to draft a Bill providing places for the temporary reception of convicts reprieved from death or otherwise sentenced to transportation. ([23]) (This then followed discussion of Matra's plans and Moore's debacles.) In 1784 the Penitentiary Act was to expire, so on 1 March, a temporary Bill was brought in "to authorise the removal of prisoners in certain cases and to amend the laws respecting the transportation of offenders" pending the result of an investigation into progress, or lack of progress, of penitentiary houses. ([24])


The preamble mentioned usual difficulties in transportation, fullness of gaols, remedy of hulks mentioned and time spent of them as part of sentence of transportation. This Bill, given Royal Assent on March 24 as Act 24 Geo III c. 12 then went on to empower the courts to agree (as with the system prior to 1776) with contractors for the transportation of offenders, and to order them (that is, the convicts so sentenced) to any place they (those sentencing) might think proper. This was an optional power which caused great confusion - and the fact it was even contemplated showed that whoever wrote this Bill had little understanding of the realities of transportation.


On 11 March, 1784, while Moore reeled from his debacles with convict mutinies, but still planned more, Pepper-Arden rose in the House to give some details on the necessity for changes to this legislation. ([25]) Even by 24 March, the Bill still contained a curious provision which theoretically could have allowed the courts to designate the location(s) to which a convict might be transported. ([26]) Had that provision been retained, the magistrates and/or the justices could in theory have pre-empted the King in his exercise of his prerogatives in the matter. As it was, the justices avoided the issue and any such pre-empting by sentencing felons to transportation-at-large, a quite unsatisfactory destination. Britain had little if any sovereignty over places where convicts could be shipped.


So, the first reading of Act 24 Geo III c.12 was inane. Solicitor-General Richard Pepper-Arden had written the first draft as though overcome by nostalgia for a lost era, he included a provision that magistrates could contract with any merchants for transportation.


One feature of the revised legislation was that the ownership of the property in the service of the convict was to remain state property, and the ownership of this property was never again returned to private enterprise operators. This for one thing made it clear that the disposal of convicts would create less risk of a diplomatic incident due to Britain's having insufficient sovereignty over a place where transported convicts would serve time. But when it was understood the king-in-council could find a destination, certain provisions caused uneasiness. Arden dispelled this by giving Sydney a paper showing a law for the purpose had existed in England from 1597 to 1714. ([27]) Previously, the property in the service of the body of the convict had devolved from the crown to the sentencing Judge or magistrate - most formally from the agency of the Royal Mercy by respite, pardon or benefit of clergy - to legal officials, (at which point the crown formally resiled its jurisdiction): to a private contractor willing and able to declare a convict effectually transported, formally, then to colonial officials, and then to a convict servant's private master, until the property was voided by completion of the sentence, transportation meanwhile assumedly having been "effectual". ([28])


Under this system, a convict could in practice buy out their own property in the service of their own body. The new legislation - Act 24 Geo III cap 12 - which revised all former legislation on convict transportation - was proclaimed in March 1784, withdrawn, then re-enacted in August, cap 56. ([29]) In fact, the August 1784 re-enactment represented the "origin" of the convicts sent to Australia. O'Brien in his Foundation greatly emphasised this 1784 Act, and was perhaps the Australian historian placing the most severe emphasis on the legislation on convict transportation. ([30])


Australian historians have been much concerned with the "origins" of the convicts, and so they have examined allegations of a crime wave after 1783, and more crime waves later. They have complained of a harsh penal code, of injustice, of social conditions widely misunderstood by the establishment of the day, of too great a respect for property in the Rule of Law, of people transported for trivial offences, such as minor shoplifting; whether or not there was an actual, organised "criminal underclass" in Britain which had to be combated by legislation. The deeper issue has been, the extent of "real criminality" amongst the convicts first sent to Australia, and beyond that the question: is criminality hereditary? In all, Britain's penal experiments in Australia demonstrated that criminality is not hereditary.


There is the revealing case of young Mary Reiby, later a noted trader at Sydney, whose career became associated with the creation of the Bank of New South Wales. ([31]) Dressed as a boy, Mary had taken a horse for a ride one night: the modern offence would be joyriding in a stolen motor car. But the convicts sent to Australia were merely people who had misbehaved in lesser or greater degree. Their "origin" as convicts was not in their misbehaviour. Their origin as convicts was in being unfortunate enough to be energisers of a legal entity, the property in the service of the body of the convict, a legal entity with few if any civil rights, with which (or whom) the government could do precisely as it liked. In this sense, it is pointless to try to establish the proportion of real versus alleged criminality in the numbers of convicts sent to Australia, as far as analysis of their origin was concerned. Their origin was in the legislation regarding "the property". So, if there was an injustice with transportation to Australia, it was not an injustice created piecemeal by a gradual tightening of the ideology of the Rule of Law, applying transportation to more and often trivial offences. It was one great single injustice perpetrated with one Act, the re-enactment in 1784 of Pepper-Arden's piece of nonsense as rewritten by Selwyn. It was Act 24 Geo III c.56.


So, the ridiculous provision of version c.12 that the courts might order transportation to any place they thought proper was shortly repealed. Although, O'Brien comments, "the contingency that the Privy Council and the judges might have different ideas on the proper destination for convicts does not seem to have been thought of". O'Brien adds, that version c. 56 had defined three classes of convict for transportation (1) those convicted of any offence liable for transportation (2) those convicted of non-clergyable offences who had been pardoned on condition of transportation by the courts and with subsequent approval of a Principal Secretary of State (3) those allowed to transport themselves voluntarily.


Expired legislation came relatively seldom to government's attention, and so the mere fact of the Act being given extensive attention spoke of determinations that the matter had to be clarified. The form enacted as Act 24 Geo III c.12 was so unhelpful, a cynical observer might have thought it a veiled plan by government for the abandonment of any plan to resume transportation and for the proliferation of the hulks system. Provisions were for: a prisoner's time on the hulks being in lieu of any term of transportation; any court being empowered to order an offender to be transported to any place thought proper and might agree with contractors for the carriage of prisoners so sentenced. In general, the first form of the Act c.12, was, with amendments, to provide places for the temporary reception of criminals under sentence of death, and respited during His Majesty's pleasure; or under sentence or order of transportation; and also of sick prisoners. This Act was presented on 1 and 2 March, enacted on 3 March, and only later did Pepper-Arden defend it in the House. The early form of the Act gave emphasis to the expectation that more prisoners would be sent for hard labour than might have been expected from a House so presumably willing to have transportation resumed.


* * *


Pepper-Arden's inane first draft, March 1784:


Pepper-Arden arguing for the Bill disagreed with Luttrell about the convicts being used for hard labour, saying he thought it better if they were worked, as none had died on the hulk where the convicts did work, whereas 60 of 200-300 had died on the reception hulk Censor, where they were kept idle in anticipation they would shortly be transported from the kingdom. Pepper-Arden's point was possibly compassionate, but he seemed confused and even hypocritical. Some of his discussion seemed designed to confute reason, as when on 11 March 11 he informed the House that Duncan Campbell had contracted to carry 260 convicts to America, even though it was well understood Campbell's contract could not be executed and was made solely to clear the gaols. (my italics.) ([32])


The point was contradictory and unclear. What could the point have meant, except that the hulks were being filled? A cautious parliamentarian might have observed that no transportation was occurring in useful numbers, and that what was being proposed marked fulfillment of a dangerous precedent - an expansion of the hulks system. Pepper-Arden's logic was impossible, in fact; and he possibly misunderstood, or thought that George Moore had "subcontracted felons" from Campbell, or some such.


Hussey, the MP for Salisbury, in March 1784 vainly suggested convicts be sent to New Zealand. (In time there was even a suggestion that English felons be sent to Siberia!) ([33]) Whilst government worked out that it had no useful position on the matter, magistrates avoided problems as best they could by sentencing felons to transportation-at-large, else they pre-empted any prerogatives of the crown or of government. Legalistic details can be tedious, but the 1784 Act and its re-enactment are important since they governed transportation considered as part of the legislative basis used during "the founding" of Australia. Government's uncertainties were revealing. The first form of the Act, disclosed in Vol. 35 of Sessional Papers, p. 427, was, with amendment, to provide places for the temporary reception of criminals under sentence of death, and respited during His Majesty's pleasure; or under sentence or order of transportation; and also of sick prisoners. It was presented by Solicitor-General Richard Pepper-Arden (1 a 2 March othp as amended 3 March 1784 Enacted 24 Geo III sess i, c.12). The first form of the Act was poorly adapted to government's stated determination to resume transportation. Government was perhaps buckling under the strain. Shortly the first form of the Act was withdrawn and the matter handed to Townshend's cousin, Selwyn, for reconsideration. ([34])

Those responsible were not the magistrates applying often unjust laws. Those responsible were the men in Parliament who voted in Selwyn's rewrite of the legislation while George Moore's debacles were in progress. After 1788, since the crown had the keeping of the property, formerly a marketable value and commodity, this legal entity would live amongst the innumerable squabbles, argument, and some corruption in the colony at Sydney. Free settlers and government officers, notably the officers of the NSW Corps, competed for opportunities to benefit from the labour of convicts. That such behaviour was not anticipated in England during 1786 and 1787, before the First Fleet left, was a distinct moral and practical oversight made by the Home Office and the Privy Council. For when convicts were transported to NSW, Selwyn's new version, Act 24 Geo III cap 56, was incorporated into the legislation concerning the colony.


Selwyn gave less emphasis than Pepper-Arden to hard labour, therefore more emphasis to transportation. The Act in its emphasis on hulks overseers receiving the property of convict service, also could in theory have allowed for a proliferation of the hulks system, an echo of Duncan Campbell's idea about navigable rivers (plural) in 1776. Selwyn also as he rewrote the Act clarified on the matter of the property in the service of the convict. This matter was assured to remain the province of any overseer of hulks, whether he handled convicts for hard labour or for transportation. So, Selwyn's revised Act continued the hulks system, and reduced "the several statutes concerning transportation into one Act of Parliament; to authorise the removal of prisoners in certain cases; and for other purposes..." As the editor of Historical Records of Australia noted, 24 Geo III c.56 authorised the King-in-Council "to nominate the places or places, `either within His Majesty's dominions or elsewhere out of his Majesty's dominions,' to which such offenders should be transported." When the Act was passed, eastern Australia was not precisely a dominion, it was a possession claimed by Cook, and so far, nothing had been done with it. ([35])


* * *


'Mr Campbell does not think himself authorized':


The confusions engendered by inabilities in 1784 to frame a clear and useful act affected Campbell. ([36]) O'Brien quotes Pepper-Arden, Solicitor-General, observing that as of August 1783, Campbell had "contracted to carry 260 convicts to America, though it was well understood his contract could not be executed, and was made solely to clear the gaols". This irrational remark may have stemmed from Pepper-Arden confusing Campbell with George Moore? The legislative hiatus in 1784 between the trouncing of c.12 and the acceptance of c.56 gave overseer Campbell a problem: did he actually have the power to receive and hold a convict? For in one of his letterbooks is a form letter, admittedly undated, but it is difficult to see to what other situation it might have applied - ([37]) About mid-1784 he entered into his books a form letter, apparently designed to be a disclaimer for any exercise of some of his duties as overseer while the legal situation was unclear:


"Mr Campbell does not think himself authorized by law to receive the Convict from the Quarter Sessions of - [blank in the original] he [the convict] being convicted on the - [blank in the original] which Mr Campbell apprehends was subject to the expiration of the Act which empowered the Quarter Sessions to order Convicts to hard labour on the River Thames".


Might Campbell have felt that between March and August 1784, with legislation in hiatus, he needed to draft a disclaimer that in fact allowed him to refuse to take any new prisoners onto the hulks? However, it is unknown if he ever actually sent out any such form letter to anybody. By July 1784, Selwyn had made his way through the morass created by Pepper-Arden. He gave more thought to the role of the property in the service of the body of the convict than Pepper-Arden had.


The property via the exercise of the role of the overseer of the hulks was retained by the crown at all times. This is why most male convicts for Australia were embarked from hulks and were not simply brought from on-shore prisons: government had penned up its "properties" on hulks. The hulks overseer received, transferred, delivered the "properties" to ships captains as a routine matter. Selwyn's understanding of the situation may well have created the necessity to retain the hulks long after regular transportation had been resumed, to Australia. The hulks were to remain necessary not just for reasons of merely providing accommodation, but because the hulks overseer had responsibility for the "properties". In which case, since the hulks were loathed, Campbell was not to blame, Selwyn and Parliament were to blame. Selwyn's rewrite of the legislation proposed the hulks overseer would now hold two classes of prisoner, one class held for a period a hard labour, one for transportation.


And it was in July 1784 that another theme rose again, as the Jamaican, Hinton East ([38]) wrote to Banks in July, 1784, asserting the "infinite importance" of breadfruit to the West Indies. "The time is not very distant when measures will be taken by proper authority for bringing about this desirable event". ([39]) East hoped the Assembly of Jamaica would take steps to reawaken English interest in breadfruit again. (These matters will be taken up in following chapters). Interestingly, the same month, James Matra wrote to Banks about revolving ideas for a settlement in the South Seas for American Loyalists.


Implicit in Selwyn's rewrite was consideration of the hulks overseer's role. The Act (c.56) covered the greater part of England and indicated the government was waiting for the designation of some place beyond the seas. The final form of the Act also designated that the courts could deliver an offender to the persons contracted, whereas previously, a secretary of state or any three or more of HM Justices of the Peace could have ordered an offender to any such Overseer or Overseer as three or more Justices had appointed. In the final form of the Act, too, the courts were empowered to order offenders to be transferred to the use of any person, etc., who shall contract for the use of such transportation. As well, the overseer was by the Act given a Property in the Service of any order of transfer laid on an offender. Also, the secretary of state could signify mercy to a felon at the Assizes - which meant a prisoner could be respited or pardoned to transportation. The state then had its many pounds of flesh. Selwyn had understood far better what was to be accomplished by such an Act. The place of the property in the service of the convict was deemed crucial in that the overseer held the property in reserve as a decision of the crown was awaited on the matter of a place beyond the seas being designated. The Act had two potentials, one for assisting the resumption of transportation. By the provisions for convicts being kept at hard labour, another provision for proliferation of the hulks system, more so if transportation could only be resumed in a limited way. For, if transportation could not be resumed on a suitable scale, government would have had little choice but to proliferate the hulks system, or heed Jeremy Bentham's views and build prisons.


Had government decided to proliferate the hulks system (on any navigable river), there would probably have been brought to bear some political pressure for a scaling-back of the hulks system. There was soon to grow a groundswell of opinion for and against an African destination for convicts, but this did not appear until after August 1784, when Selwyn's rewritten Act had clarified practicalities. In practice, at no time thereafter could any private person contrive the sale, or purchase the labour, of a British convict; such labour could be procured, or assigned, or directed, by or from agents of the crown only. When prisoners were shipped to Australia, the property in the service of the convict moved from courts sentencing, to the deputies of hulks overseers, thence to the sole official with authority to make a contract for prisoner transportation, thence to the contract takers and his ships captain, and on arrival, the captain on behalf of the contract-taker transferred the property to the colonial governor. Which is why, in colonial Sydney, the names of convicts were always suffixed by the name of the ship which transported them.


Act 24 Geo III c.56 of 1784 became "an Act for the effectual transportation of felons and other offenders". It re-established the ancient system of transportation and remained its legal basis for 31 years. ([40]) By it the King-In-Council was authorised to appoint a place overseas in or out of the King's dominions; felons should be transported, the contractors were to have property in the service of the offenders, not as in the old American system, but now for the purpose only via the contract system of getting the prisoners to their destination, where "the property" would be handed over to proper authorities.


* * *


[Finis Chapter 27]

Words 5163 words with footnotes 6958 pages 13 footnotes 40


[1] Frost, Convicts and Empire, p. 212, note 212, cites Dundas to Lord Sydney, 2 Nov., 1784, PRO 30/8/157, f. 7. It is interesting that Frost notes that Laurence Sulivan expressed views here (p. 213, Note 2.) as early as 1781. That is, Sulivan, long-time East India Company director, the enemy of Clive of India. Sulivan with his long interest in establishing what became Penang can be regarded as an expansionist of the British East India maritime scene, but one has never seen any of his opinions on any convict colony at "Botany Bay".

[2] Frost, Convicts and Empire, p. 214, Note 4 cites Pitt to Grenville, 2 Oct., 1785, Historical Manuscripts Commission, Dropmore, I, 257.

[3] 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., p. 89.

[4] Also, from 1784, Pitt reformed the civil service, providing a change from a functionary's reliance on fees to a salary, basis of today's modern system, and reorganised some departments; Watson, Geo III, p. 284.

[5] Watson, Geo III, p. 275.

[6] Jacob Price, `One Family's Empire', pp. 215-217; Sir Hugh Inglis was a director of the Company from 1784.

[7] Source: The Royal Calendar.

[8] Brian Gardner, The East India Company. London, Rupert Hart Davis, 1971.

[9] Historians present contradictory evidence here on Pitt's indebtedness to the East India Company. Here we can assume Pitt felt little indebtedness. Instead, he had a desire to discipline the Company. But see Vincent T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire, 1763-1793. Vol. 2. New Continents and Changing Values. London, Longmans, 1964; See Anon (Typescript circa 1936, ML), a gratuitous and inconclusive offering on an "Influence of the East India Company in the colonisation of NSW", noting some of Harlow's early views.

[10] G. J. Abbott and N. B. Nairn, (Eds.), Economic Growth of Australia, 1788-1821. Melbourne, MUP, 1969., p. 55.

[11] The first prompts for any location after Act 24 Geo III c.56 had been enacted were ideas on Africa, to December, 1784: Mackay, Exile, p. 32. Cabinet looked at all locations for a convict colony including Botany Bay, Cape Coast Castle, Bencoolen, NSW. There was no mention by ministers of strategy or trade. Plans by Matra and Young were remembered. All schemes save West Africa were rejected. Act 24 Geo III c.56 guided the inception of NSW, not to be repealed until 1815 by Act 55 Geo III c. 156. H. V. Evatt, Rum Rebellion - A Study of the Overthrow of Governor Bligh by John Macarthur and the New South Wales Corps. Sydney, Angus and Robertson Classics Edition, 1975., Chapter xvii. Edward Thompson to Pitt, (Frost, Convicts and Empire, pp. 18ff, p. 203) for the Island of St. Thomas, off the West African Coast, during August, 1784; (2) there was reconsideration of the Barnes' plan for Le Maine, an element in control against the French over the Gambia. (Frost, vs. Gillen, English Historical Review, 1985 p. 310.) (3) John Call (Frost, Convicts and Empire, p. 23, and Note 10), recommending NSW or New Zealand. Call's ideas echoed those of James Matra. Bentham meanwhile promoted his Panopticon.

[12] Sir George Young to Alexander Davison, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp. 9ff. Alan Frost, Dreams of a Pacific Empire: Sir George Young's Proposal for a Colonization of NSW, 1784-85.

[13] Davison's freight to NSW is mentioned in the 1793-94 Navy Office Accounts, HRNSW, Vol. 1, pp. 39ff and pp. 220ff, and amounted to about 31,139.

[14] This is one address Davison gave after 1800 in correspondence unconnected with NSW matters.

[15] Margaret Steven, Trade, Tactics and Territory: Britain in the Pacific 1783-1823. Melbourne University Press, 1983., p. 11.

[16] On a meeting of Africa Merchants, 2 March, 1784 in London, regarding dismissal of the company's officers, see J. J. Crooks, Records Relating to the Gold Coast Settlements from 1750 to 1874. London, Frank Cass, 1973 ed. First pub., 1923., p. 73 Listings are from The Royal Calendar.

[17] Sealing is a shoreline or island-based activity. There would be few reasons why Calvert's men could not find natives to kill seals for them.

[18] In Flynn, Second Fleet, variously.

[19] Flynn, Second Fleet, p. 26. In 1784, Calvert and Co. had out Camden 350 tons, Capt. A. Swain. Anthony Calvert and his partners, Camden, and Thomas King, used send whaling ships about Africa and the Brazils at a time when the Brazils was being fished out. Also in 784, Calvert and Co. had out Hunter (235 tons) Capt. J. Brown, which Brown took out again in 1785 but was lost about Africa. Also during 1784, Calvert and Co. had out in the whale fishery, to Brazil, the Camden 350 tons Capt. A. Swain, already mentioned. In 1785, Calvert and Co. had other ships out in the fishery about Africa and the Brazils. Anthony Calvert: died 1809. He is peculiarly resistant to genealogical research and, as far as is known, he was not related to any other Calverts easily found in London in the period. Calvert by 1786 had partners William Camden, and Thomas King, well-known to the board of the Africa Company. CC&K are also listed as whalers placing ships in the South Whale Fishery from 1784, as listed in The Samuel Enderby Book (1770-1790). [There is a painting of one of King's ships circa 1820-poste, at the Guildhall Library, London]. About 1790, one Thomas King was listed in Lewisham land use records; it is not known if it was the Thomas King of CC&K. By 1800, John St Barbe and Thomas King (of CC&K) had assisted early moves for the establishment of the West India Docks, on the Isle of Dogs in the Thames River. [See Reports from Committees of the House of Commons, Vol. XIV, 1793-1802, and the index thereto. Reprinted in 1803., pp. 272]. Calvert and King were both Elder Brethren of Trinity House, Sources: Flynn, The Second Fleet. See especially, Herbert S. Klein, `The English Slave Trade to Jamaica', Economic History Review, Series 2, Vol. 31, No. 1, February 1978., pp. 25-45. Klein refers to Calvert's firm as a noted supplier of slaves to Jamaica.

[20] Information per Michael Flynn, pers comm.

[21] Thomas King's trial documents 1776 are: PRO HCA1/24/50 indictment; HCA1/24/53 (recognizance); HCA1/24/57 (depositions); HCA1/61 (Admiralty Court minutes of proceedings.

[22] Flynn, Second Fleet, p. 74.

[23] Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 45; O'Brien, Foundation, p. 96.

[24] O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 170ff.

[25] On this legislation of 1784 and the Bentham Plea of 1802-3, see Chapter XVII of Rum Rebellion by H. V. Evatt: `Legal Foundations of New South Wales'.

[26] Draft 1 of the legislation, of march 1784, Act 24 Geo III, cap 12, is in David T. Hawkings, Bound For Australia. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1988. London, Phillimore, 1987., pp. 249ff.

[27] Arden to Sydney, 13-18 August, 1784, HO 42/6:55. Frost, Convicts and Empire, Chapter 3, p. 202, Note 5.

[28] O'Brien, Foundation , p. 115.

[29] Overviews of the 1784 legislation are rare and are seldom by trained legal writers. House of Commons Journal, Vol. 38, p. 104, for a March, 1784, report on the laws needing revision. See also, Gillen, `Botany Bay Decision', p. 743; Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 126-158, 227; Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, pp. 45ff; O'Brien, Foundation, p. 118. Versions c.12 and c.56 of the legislation are in Sheila Lambert, (Ed.)., House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century, Vol. 35 Geo III: Bills 1782-1783, 1783-1784; c.12 is in Vol. 35, p. 427. c.56 in Vol. 46, the same series, p. 205. Act 24 Geo III c.56 guided the inception of New South Wales. Also, H. V. Evatt, Rum Rebellion, cited above. Evatt's Chapter xvii is entitled `Legal Foundations of New South Wales', and noted that the eastern coast of NSW could be declared to be a place within the meaning of this Act (for the disposal of convicts). This Act (c.56) was not repealed until 1815 by Act 55 Geo III c. 156. For a view (based on Jeremy Bentham's ideas) on the alleged illegality of convict transportation to Australia, see Bert Rice, `Were The First Fleet Convicts Bond or Free?', earlier cited, pp. 44-47. [Also, `Erasing the Convict Stain from Australia's Name', The Canberra Times, 29 June, 1985, Section B, p. 1].

[30] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 55ff.

[31] Nancy Irvine, Mary Reibey - Molly Incognita: A Biography of Mary Reibey 1775 to 1855, and Her World. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1982. See also, Nance Irvine, Dear Cousin: The Reibey Letters. Sydney, Janet Press, 1992.

[32] Campbell in any case would only have delivered convicts to Moore's ship(s), and at no time after 1776 do the Letterbooks indicate Campbell ever thought he himself was going to contract to transport convicts anywhere. House of Commons Journal, Vol. 39, p. 1040. Frost, Convicts and Empire, p. 15. Re 260 convicts: O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 96ff, 115-117. Campbell did not register the 250 convicts Pepper-Arden mentioned.

[33] Hussey is noted in Gillen, `The Botany Bay Decision', p. 743.

[34] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 126-158 and p. 227 has a useful overview of this peculiar legislative situation, on which Eris O'Brien also commented acidly. House of Commons Journal, Vol. 38, p. 104 provides access to the March 1784 form of a report on the laws for the punishment of felons. Valentine (British Establishment, Vol. 2, p. 780) has a note on William Selwyn (1732-1817), of Boxley, near Maidstone, Kent, second son of Henry Selwyn of Westminster, first cousin of Thomas Townshend, at Lincoln's Inn from 1749. He usually followed Carlyle's political line, opposed the coalition ministry, supported Pitt, addressed the House only once, on legislation to discourage burglars.

[35] Watson, HRA, Series 4, Vol. 1, introduction.

[36] O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 96, pp. 115-117.

[37] O'Brien, Foundation, p. 118.

[38] On Hinton East and other interested parties, Dawson, The Banks Letters. Also, Glynn Christian, Fragile Paradise, pp. 53ff; Owen Rutter, Turbulent Journey - A Life of William Bligh, Vice-Admiral of the Blue. London, Ivor Nicholson and Watson, 1936., pp. 76ff.

[39] Kennedy, Bligh, p. 15 mentions Hinton East meeting Banks in London in 1786. Glynn Christian, Fragile Paradise, pp. 53ff; Mackaness, Life of Bligh, Vol. 1, pp. 48-49.

[40] Act 24 Geo III c.12 later c.56 is printed in House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century, which disclose c.56 as:- "A Bill for the effectual transportation of felons and other offenders, and to reduce the several statutes concerning transportation into one Act of Parliament; to authorise the removal of prisoners in certain cases; and for other purposes herein mentioned. Presented by William Selwyn, 1 a othp 3 Aug 1784 Enacted 24 Geo III sess 2 c.56." Sessional Papers, Vol. 35, Geo III, Bills 1782-1783, 1783-1784, in the series edited by Sheila Lambert, and in Vol. 46 of the same series. Page 205 of Vol. 46. O'Brien, Foundation, p. 169, p. 193.

View these domain stats begun 18 December 2005