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William Richards considers Botany Bay: The First Fleet as a trap: The First Fleet misunderstood: Alderman George Mackenzie Macaulay disappears from history: America sends ships to China: West India merchants, slaves, Macaulay, Campbell, and ships to Tahiti for breadfruit: The role of William Richards: history and amnesia: Newspaper coverage: Gathering the First Fleet ships: Merchants and the "Botany Bay debate": East India Company distaste for "Botany Bay": The role of the evangelists:


The Blackheath Connection

Chapter 34


William Richards considers Botany Bay:


Having rejected the Macaulay offer for shipping by 1 September, 1786, government placed advertisements for the required shipping - 1500 tons - in The Morning Herald. ([1]) The offer was taken up by William Richards Junior, a little-known Navy broker. ([2]) No other tenders from merchants have been noticed, so it can hardly be thought that London merchants as a commercial class were excited by a new opportunity to explore the Pacific, and have the outward voyages paid by government as well. After all, Macaulay did offer, to be rewarded by being written OUT of the history books, a fate which, oddly enough, Richards has barely escaped. ([3]) Anthony Calvert evidently ignored First Fleet prospects. But to note this might not explain why his two partners failed to make an offer? By 1789, Calvert and Co. were interested enough in shipping convicts to Australia to mount half the Second Fleet and half the Third Fleet, meanwhile eclipsing William Richards.


Australians now see the First Fleet more as a carrier of personnel than as a maritime endeavour. This seems to have been for two reasons related specifically to convict transportation. Australian historians have felt constrained to combat both British and Australia prejudices about convicts and criminality - the "convict taint". ([4]) The conclusion reached is that criminality is not hereditary. Otherwise, increasing numbers of convict descendants and the new popularity after World War Two of family history has created a genealogical pressure, so that ships become the background to people inhabiting the environment of Crime and Punishment in England, and the pioneering of colonies, in Australia. Ships and their managers remain unquestioned.


With Richards' situation destined to become as exceptional as it would, the First Fleet, seen as a kind of business enterprise devoted to opening up the Pacific, takes on a new complexion. Commercially, it was a trap. Whichever unwary merchant first fell into the trap had to confront East India Company anger over any broaching of the Company's monopoly, plus take the financial risk of a major enterprise sailing into unknown waters, deal with sloppy government management of the project, and later be double-crossed by a parsimonious government suddenly frightened and later always resentful of the costs of the venture. After the First Fleet, government took up unrealistically low tenders from Calvert and his partners, who were determined to invade East India Company privileges.


Many views suggest that as a shipping enterprise, the First Fleet went somehow haywire and lapsed into virtual chaos, specifically in response to government inanition, budgetary illogic and lack of imagination, when the enterprise could have been logically and profitably organised quite splendidly. As a result, various information created by the fleet's progress, or carried by the fleet, then later written about the fleet, became unreliable. Today, many historians wish to see the creation of a convict colony at New South Wales as one element in an organised opening-up by Britain of new commercial and strategic opportunities available in the Pacific: stately Whig history. The evidence of the maritime record reveals that the view taken in London by merchants was not a well-drawn picture. It was more a collage of curiosity, of misplaced imagination, hope, commercial brutality, opportunism, aggression, badly-directed energy, fantasies, disappointment. And on the part of the East India Company, jealousy, pomposity, protectionism and negativity. Since from the first, government could have used more naval expertise and the goodwill of sensible shipping contractors, government missed an excellent opportunity to make a splendid new Pacific colony.


* * *


The First Fleet as a trap:


The First Fleet was a trap largely because, as an opportunity, it was composed of old elements or traditions in the psychology of British political life that were difficult to align with the actual location of Australia. These traditions included: (1) the old obsession with deporting undesirables, somewhat revised; (2) per Heads of a Plan, a concern with obtaining naval stores as cheaply as possible; (3) some respect for the financial solidity of the East India Company, which meant respect for its exclusive charter; (4) concern about supply of whaling products; (5) the old freebooting tradition and the plunder of Spanish mains, which stemmed from the time of Drake; (6) The brutality of the slave trade. ([5])


After the First Fleet, all these elements came into play, some of them muted, some prominent, some to become more sophisticated. The British public's hostility to Spain was to be demonstrated with the Nootka controversy, which was partly provoked by the very whalers, and their friends, who were considering shipping felons to Botany Bay and then exploring the Pacific. The elements of the slave trade and whaling surfaced in the Pacific in the form of links between the whalers and Camden, Calvert and King, all of whom were confronting the East India Company. Well aware of the unfortunate incidents these old traditions might provoke, the East India Company, obviously sensitive to international money-market considerations, fastidiously avoided considering Botany Bay, as far as it could. Here from the early 1790s, as director or chairman of the Company, the banker Baring exerted considerable influence. Meanwhile, William Richards was too humane a man to want to cope with such brutal old maritime traditions. He ended sunk in the squabbles.


* * *


From 1783, while Campbell and the British Creditors were attempting to recover their American debts. Francis Baring had a different view. Barings had successfully been developing new American business. ([6]) Baring thought India was not a British colony and God forbid it might be so. Surprisingly, he also recommended the Americans should trade with India. And after 1783, Robert Morris ([7]) of Philadelphia entered correspondence with Barings in London, along with the millionaire Senator William Bingham, a millionaire. Within twenty years Barings achieved pre-eminence as American merchants.


Baring in the late 1780s became one of the most powerful East India Company directors, and he remained disdainful of the "Botany Bay venture". If Baring represented new directions in thinking on finance after Britain's debacle with the American Revolution (and unknowingly, before the French Revolution), he probably left Campbell and other older merchants in his wake. On the other hand, Baring did not regard the Pacific as any interesting new opportunity. It may have been that he thought the virgin Pacific would be contaminated by action motivated by discredited old traditions - especially fantasies of plundering Spanish mains. If so, Baring was correct. By the late 1790s, the whalers Enderby were fantasizing about sending a force of convicts to harass the west coast of South America. It is even more likely, Baring could see the Company making no money from Botany Bay - rather, interests associated with Botany Bay might well make money out of the Company - and that would have been as undesirable as the convicts sent to Botany Bay.


* * *


What is most impressive about the First Fleet are the levels of navigational skill and daring, and the facts that so few ships were lost, so few people drowned, the food relatively good, that so much was accomplished despite government-inspired disorganisation. In the meantime, because of Lloyd's policy in the late Eighteenth Century, of keeping ship insurers' names a secret, it is now almost impossible to find which marine underwriter names insured the first ships sent to Australia. That is, it is not known which insurers developed a taste for Pacific risks. Meanwhile, many but not all the merchants who can be identified, behind the scenes inhabited by William Richards, are names from Blackheath.


Born in Dover in 1735, William Richards was son of a tailor. ([8]) By the 1780s he was wealthy in London, and had business interests in America which probably stemmed from ship broking experience during the American Revolution. It also seems possible that Richards moved in the same evangelical circles as did the comptroller of the navy, Sir Charles Middleton. If so, this would account for the idealism Richards expressed about managing convicts, and providing adequate food. It was his idealism and decency, perhaps, which made Richards' life a difficult one in the hard world of London shipping, the harder world of convict management.


* * *


Dalrymple and the East India Company admonish the world about the Botany Bay `thief colony':


By 3 September, ([9]) Alexander Dalrymple, hydrographer of the East India Company, had gotten wind of the Botany Bay scheme, possibly through contacts at the Blackheath Golf Club, where he played. Historians of older days have assumed that Dalrymple was easy to annoy about "Botany Bay", since before 1767 he had competed unsuccessfully with Cook for command of a voyage to explore the Pacific. But as well, the Botany Bay scheme was bound to invade the monopoly charter of the East India Company, a subject on which Dalrymple could presumably express himself without reference to Cook. Inflamed, Dalrymple wrote a document, dated 3 September, but not distributed till later, entitled, A Serious Admonition to the Publick ... on a Thief Colony at New South Wales, a quarto volume of 52 pages to which he annexed his letter of July 1785 in which he had derided the plans of Sir George Young and John Call MP to settle Norfolk Island. (Their plan had been distributed about the sitting time of Lord Beauchamp's committee of inquiry).


Dalrymple, a Fellow of the Royal Society, was a useful armchair explorer, but he was of course creating propaganda for the Company. He lacked some facts about the proposed "thief colony". He distrusted the scheme immensely, however, and some of his points were: (1) There was behind the motive for the settlement at NSW a political grandiosity acceded to by the present administration (2) Such a grandiosity was an idiocy where a government had been unable to keep old colonies in dependence (3) There was Wisdom in the East India Company charter (4) Enormous benefits were conferred on the state by the Company and its charter. All of which argued for the status quo and assumed the charter could not be revoked or significantly abridged. Government's revenue from the Company was in fact enormous.


It appears that government had not condescended to consult the Company, as Dalrymple's third paragraph read: "I shall not Enquire whether the East India [Company], legally, can make a transfer, of their exclusive charter, because, by all I learn, they were not consulted, or even by Ministers, made acquainted with this scheme, before the advertisements appeared in the newspapers, for Tenders to be made of Transports, to carry it into Effect". What too few historians have asked here, is: was the Company in fear of whoever might have tendered the transports, and their motives?


As we now know, three whaling investors, two being aldermen, placed ships in the First Fleet, but otherwise the shipowners involved would have been innocuous from a Company point of view - so long that is as the Company could trust the main contractor, William Richards. At least three whalers-sealers became involved: James Mather, experienced, alderman William Curtis, experienced, alderman Macaulay, in-experienced. Dalrymple in his Admonition called the hulks "The Woolwich University". Did he mean to be scathing? One thinks, not really. As a Blackheath golfer, he would have known Campbell. If Campbell had a sense of humour, he himself might have called the hulks, "the Woolwich University"! ([10]) After all, Campbell's father had been principal of Glasgow University! Was it that Dalrymple had simply picked up some casual golf-club gossip and turned it to his employer's political advantage?


Also in 1786, Dalrymple startled the world by announcing in a postscript to a pamphlet on the Chagos Islands that despite Cook's supposedly triumphant first discovery of the eastern coast of Australia, the first honour belonged to the Portuguese. Dalrymple had come across the Dauphin Map, and so now there seemed to be an implication that Cook perhaps fraudulently knew of the Dauphin Map. McIntyre even suggests the Dauphin Map named a place, Coste des Herbiages, which became Botany Bay, allegedly in honour of Banks' botanical endeavours, but really a reference to the earlier Portuguese work of exploration. All this was why with what seems undue modesty, Cook called his work about Australia, "not great"? ([11]) Dalrymple when he made his Admonition, says McIntyre, argued that as Cook was not the first discoverer of the Botany Bay coast, Britain had no right to plant a settlement there; he used his newly-acquired copy of the Dauphin Map.


If so, government seems to have taken no notice. In 1811, McIntyre says, Joseph Banks had been asked to write an introduction to Matthew Flinder's book A Voyage to Terra Australis. Here, Banks in a draft introduction remarked that the boundary between New South Wales (Eastern Australia) and New Holland (Western Australia) neatly coincided with the Line of Demarcation fixed long ago by the Treaty of Tordesillas between Portuguese India Medional and Spanish Australia. If the implications here are consistent, and they seem to be, one would wonder why Spanish commentators have never noted the same?, That is, if Britain had stolen territory from Spain, or outmanoeuvred Spain concerning a parcel of territory-plus-water?


Here, Banks also delivered his opinions also on Dutch discoveries. The Dutch had every right to colonise New Holland (Western Australia) if they so chose. But it seems Banks withdrew these remarks, or that they were censored by someone in authority, as he gave the manuscript to Robert Peel on 16 November, 1811. Peel (McIntyre says) was "horrified" at such disclosures, and Banks was asked to omit any reference to opinions remarking on how or why government from 1786-1787 and later had placed the western boundary of NSW. Peel also required deletion of the passage concerning Holland's right to colonise. All this discouraged Banks, and he decided not to publish at all. (That boundary then was Long. 130 degrees East of Greenwich, whereas Cook's original western boundary for NSW had been Long. 142 degrees East of Greenwich, so when Britain later fixed boundaries, it had taken an extra seven degrees of longitude, about 450 land miles westerly. And it seems, McIntyre says, that by 1811, Peel had in mind existing Portuguese-Dutch alliances. But in effect, Cook's original Commission had ordered him to take possession of Spanish Australia. So any claims made by Governor Arthur Phillip's Commission reiterated this. ([12])


Intriguingly, what the French observer, Peron, had called "a political masterstroke" was called by Dalrymple, an idiocy crackling with political grandiosity. ([13]) Both commentators however saw a largeness of conception behind the scheme. This is one of the peculiarly puzzling observations about this "protean" scheme. ([14]) There was a conceptual size behind a mere penal colony not-yet-born on land. The establishment of the penal colony was not regarded as especially important: what was important was getting rid of felons. But, if the Botany Bay plan was unimportant, why would the East India Company even notice it? No one has quite been able to make up their mind since Dalrymple first protested.


Still, something was up. What we still don't know is, if Dalrymple knew, or even guessed, as Sir George Young knew, that a group of merchants were interested in the Pacific. Those merchants were at Blackheath, and Dalrymple was a member of their golf club - which has not been known to history. If the merchants happened to be already-operating government contractors, there is no reason to be surprised. But the first question which would have been raised in the minds of the East India Company directors would have been: after convicts were unloaded, what then? Shipping outside their control would be loosed into the Pacific. Would the company now be regularly asked to subsidise shipping convicts to Botany Bay? In whose ships? Under what supervision? This was why the Company distrusted the scheme from the beginning. The seeming Imperial scale of the scheme had nil to do with convicts except for a necessary "long arm of the law" component, and everything to do with shipping. It is then curious that the shipping to early Australia has received so little scrutiny, more so from writers partisan to the Company. (Some writers have viewed the Company's position as "insuperable", but such writers cannot explain how whaling ships later dropped convicts at Sydney, then traded north of Australia in Company-controlled trading zones).


In Martin's anthology of historians' essays on the "founding" of Australia, there is scrutiny of every conceivable aspect of transportation to NSW except the connections of shipping used!! This is an extraordinary lapse in respect of a colony that was dependent on shipping, and it is not a lapse of which the earliest-working Australian historians can be accused. In fact, Richards, who would be paid almost 54,000 for organising the First Fleet, on 9 September, 1786, wrote a wonderfully excited, candid and confidently hopeful letter to William Pitt from 5 Queens Row, Walworth, Surry. ([15])


Sir, On Friday the 1st Inst. I read an advertisement in the Public Papers, from the Honble Comrs of His Majestys Navy, for a Contract, to carry Convicts to Botany Bay in New South Wales: I being desirous of having the contract if Posible (sic) endeavoured to find some means whereby it might ultimately serve my purpose & at the same time hold forth to all Parties such advantages that no dificulty (sic) would arise in procuring shipping for it - in consequence of which after having searched the Charts & found the Latitude & Longitude of Botany Bay I was clearly of opinion that if I could procure Freight for the Shipping from the India Company from China it was possible for Government near Four Thousand Pounds which having fully weighed & likewise consulted some friends on it I took the liberty of mentioning it to John Motteux Esqr. the Deputy Chairman of the India Company who after having surveyed my plan he found that my suggestions were right & gave me hopes of accomplishing it & promised that he would be Friendly to me in the Course of my Tender for the Freight accordingly I took the Liberty of waiting on Sr. Charles Middleton the Comptroller of the Navy who imedeatly (sic) saw the advantage & was likewise very freindly (sic) & promises his assistance in consequence of it the Conditions of the Contract were altered & the Ships to be discharged at Botany Bay after landing the Convicts which would not have been the case had it not been for my suggestion as they would have been kept in pay till their return to England no freight being to be procured in that part of the world except from the India Company I have had several conferences with the Navy Board in consequence and have the happiness to think that I understand the Business fully - The Advantage the India Company will receive will be great indeed as they at present pay 22 pTon for their shipping to China true they receive an advantage from the outward Freight but they are not in want of as much Freight out as they have home consequently my bringing the Teas home for 10 pTon would save them the remaining 12 pTon which in the 1500 Tons wanted would be a saving to them of full Eighteen Thousand Pounds which saving will answer the purpose of the Commutation Tax & which (?) Low Freight is the only thing to do. The Ships are equally advantaged by it as well as the India Company & Government.

The Reason I take this Liberty to you Sir is that as the Contract must be tendered for on Tuesday next I should be happy to have your approbation of the plan signified to the Navy Board as well as the Court of Directors Mr Motteux having informed me that before he can give me full promises he must hear from you is not being in Town this day is the occasion of my troubling you on the subject waiting your reply I remain Sr. Your most obedient Servt.

Wm. Richards Junr.


It is ironic, of course, that the contract for the First Fleet transportation was never finalized by Thomas Shelton - it may never have existed except in terms of sheaves of papers which Shelton might one day turn into a proper contract. And never did ([16])


* * *


By 14 September, 1786 the scheme was wider in public knowledge (although newspaper readership was not large in London at the time, due to high prices for copies and low levels of literacy). Comment was attracted from the full spectrum of political opinion, and ranged from approval to derision or despair at the madness of ministers. Parliament could not be blamed, everything had been arranged while Parliament was prorouged. Strangely, there seemed to be little admiration for the courage of those who would face such daunting tasks, except among clergyman who communicated privately. On 14 September, The Daily Universal Register (later The Times of London), virtually a propaganda sheet for the government line, described NSW and the discoveries of Capt. Cook, using the print as filler for some loose pages. Now began a campaign - armed with all the rough political energy ranged around the "convict problem"... with a secret plan to open the Pacific. Government flexed its muscle with the East India Company.


By 15-25 September, 1786, Richards and Fernie had offered the ships Scarborough, Brothers, and William and Mary to government. ([17]) By 15 September, Richards and Fernie were offering to the East India Company to backload tea from China with their chartered ships, after convicts had been landed. (Normal profit from a tea voyage ranged from 2000 to 4000). Both Lord Sydney and Evan Nepean wrote to the Directors of the Honble East India Company, backing up Richards' plans. ([18]) This was possibly even embarrassing for Sydney and Nepean, since they had not, as Dalrymple complained, earlier consulted the Company.


Presumably, the men for whom Dalrymple had spoken when he issued his "Admonition" in September 1786 had been these, the 1786 directors of the East India Company. The Chairman was William Devaynes of Dover St, deputy chairman was Nathaniel Smith, of Bloomsbury Sq. Directors included Francis Baring who later resided quite close to Blackheath at Lewisham/Lee, Edmund Boehm of Chatam Sq., Jacob Bosanquet, Thomas Cheap, Lionel Darrell, George Curring, Thomas Fitzhugh, Hugh Inglis, Paul Le Mesurier of Walbrook, Stephen Lushington, John Michie, James Moffatt, Thomas Parry, Samuel Smith, John Towson. George Johnstone. John Manship, Charlie Mills, John Motteux, John Roberts, Lawrence Sullivan (Laurence Sulivan, with not long to live). John Woodhouse. Secretaries were Thomas Morton and William Ramsay. Bengal goods were managed by Peter Corbett. ([19])


These then were the men who held it in their power to give the Pacific Ocean a different history, who held it in their power to create situations meaning that what is now Australian history could have been less dominated by the topic of convictism. They inhabited Britain's top echelon of merchants, and it is strange their negativity to opening the Pacific has never been seriously examined. From the list of East India Company directors above, only two names can be associated with convict transportation, and these only peripherally, if at all: Paul Le Mesurier as an alderman; and Abraham Robarts, a partner in banking with alderman William Curtis.


* * *


By 24 September, Evan Nepean had broken his collarbone in a fall from a horse. (The Navy Board to the end of the year was also shifting premises). Injury can have put Nepean in no better humour, and may explain why correspondence with naval authorities was perhaps slow. We do not know which was Nepean's writing hand, nor which bone he broke, but if his writing hand was constrained, this might explain why certain orders one might have expected to be given, were not distributed, or if distributed, sent out only slowly. By 24 September, Richards had taken charter parties with the owners of Friendship, Capt. Thomas Walton, who were Thomas, George and John Hopper of Scarborough, who may have been known to Richards from his usual business as a navy shipping contractor. It was ironical that Friendship would be scuttled on her return voyage. The later squabble over her insurance embroiled Richards in a good deal of wrangling with the Hoppers, and with government.


This new Pacific exercise gave the innocent Richards many ideas, and he later developed some fair-minded schemes that he dovetailed together in order to generate considerable "business" in supplying prisoners, food, stores, etc., to Sydney. He once suggested limestone be used as ballast in the transport ships, to be later crushed and used for agricultural purposes in a self-sufficient colony with, as was discovered, poor soils.


But Richards struck trouble very early. On 28 September, 1786, he wrote (again to Pitt?)...


"I have in the most respectful manner to thank you for the Honour of your kind Letter of the 10th inst. conveying me your approbation of my suggestions for conveying the convicts to Botany Bay, New South Wales.

I have to inform you that I have fully succeeded in my scheme & have agreed with the Honble the Navy Board for 1700 Tons of Shipping to be discharged there which will save Government full 6,500 as they would have been paid for returning empty.

I have likewise agreed with the Honble the East India for the same Quantity of Tons to load in China at 10 pTon which will save the Company full 25,000 I am further in hopes of succeeding with the Company to take up 800 tons more which will save them 11,000 & and the Government 3200. As I shall tender that Quantity more of Tonnage tomorrow.

I hope Sir this will meet fully with your approbation & countenance.

As the convicts will I suppose go out annually I hope that as I have been the first promoter of this plan of Oeconomy (sic) in transporting them you will be kind enough to let this be secured to me in the future.

I should esteem an answer an additional Honour & Favour conferred on

Sir Your much obliged humble Servant

Wm. Richards Junior. ([20])< /p>


Even by late September, a good many personal links have still not been traced. It now seems probable that William Richards and the comptroller of the navy, Sir Charles Middleton, were of the same religious persuasion, Evangelical. If so, they probably knew each other well. Richards after all had enjoyed a longish career broking ships for naval use. Late in the year, 1786, Sir Charles Middleton, (no date) reminded government that the First Fleet ships were all provided and equipped by private firms... and that prior to 1776, the men transporting convicts had retained an interest in the convicts once they were disembarked, as would not be the case to be with NSW, so the shipmen had no advantage but the freight and victualling, and they had to take the risks of the ships (no small risk) upon themselves. But this warning went unheeded by government. ([21]) Why was this letter written? It may have been due to a desire Middleton had to further Richards' interests. Richards had genuinely useful ideas for the new colony. ([22])


There are other personal linkages which have remained unexplored till recently. Two of Camden Calvert and King were Elder Brethren of Trinity House, where two other Elder Brethren were Middleton and prime minister Pitt. The Elder Brethren must all have met on some occasions per year; and Campbell was or had been a Younger Brother of Trinity House. There is the question of Arthur Phillip being a spy. Frost in his biography of Phillip suggests that Shafto, another spy who knew Phillip, may even have earlier been the one to recruit Phillip as a spy? ([23]) Frost also mentions another spy known to Phillip, Capt. John Blankett, a fellow naval captain who would probably have been Lord Howe's choice to lead the Botany Bay venture. Sydney told Howe that Phillip had been chosen as the new governor at the end of August. Howe disapproved. But it seems that the choice really was... a competition amongst spies who would be backed up by trusted firms who had earlier been government contractors, plus men in trusted positions at institutions such as Trinity House. ([24])


Further, Phillip was good friends with Philip Gidley King, who was friends with the Enderby whalers of Blackheath. No one has yet explored the idea that Enderbys would have profited by having an observer in the Pacific region, King. It has never been suggested that P. G. King's presence on the First Fleet was partly due to commercial influence. So the situation arose, government found that they already had a reliable part-time spy, Phillip, who was friendly with King, who was friendly with the whalers. Phillip also had experience in transporting Portuguese convicts. In this light, Enderbys could not have been luckier. Nor could government, in finding such a lucky conjunction of personnel, relationships, experience, and, on the part of the Enderbys, entrepreneurial flair. Phillip did his job well, he was an ideal man for the job. (By January 1789, Enderbys were writing to Chalmers, before anyone had any news back from the First Fleet ships on Botany Bay - and the Australian historian, Dallas, claims that Enderby, in mentioning "settlements", knew his friend P.G. King would be in command at Norfolk Island.) ([25])


Here, lack of a proper history of the South Whale Fishery remains a problem, and it is mysterious no British historian has ever written a history as a way of countering the success American have enjoyed with romancing their whale fishery. Out of that romance came Moby Dick. Maybe the reason no British historian has written on the South Whale Fishery is that with it came the new thief colony in Australia? Thus, it now seems that the shocking reputation of Calverts et al has overtaken all the other convict fleet contractors - Richards and the whalers - in the popular imagination. How has all this happened? Overlooking Richards' career, and the fact that no First Fleet contract ever appeared, are some reasons this has happened, bearing in mind, as both Jeremy Bentham and Frederick Watson have written, the entire exercise was quite possibly, unconstitutional. ([26])


The First Fleet misunderstood:


Concerning the writing of early Australian history generally, three observations can be made:


(1) When the convict dumping ground theory was popularised between the 1930s and 1950s, the role of commercial shipping was minimised, having earlier been balanced, given the knowledge of the day;


(2) When a new wave of theories was advanced, from the mid-1960s to the present, the role of commercial shipping was either overstated, or inflated, in an inconsistent way, while the earlier minimisation, and before that, balance, were overlooked; ([27])


(3) The roots of the negative attitude of the East India Company to "Botany Bay" have never been fully examined. The role of the East India Company has been over-glamourised to the extent that it has become almost impossible for the non-specialist in maritime history to know which ships were Indiamen, and which were not. Allied to this has been a downplaying of the quite-obvious role played by the English South whalers - a downplaying that leaves an unnecessary gap in the integrity of British maritime history, overall, between 1780 and 1800. This has also affected New Zealand maritime history.


It is necessary to step back from September 1786 and begin again. In August 1786, the Privy Council's committee for trade was reconstituted by Pitt as a permanent committee for trade. The president of the new committee was Charles Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury. One of his assistants was George Chalmers. ([28]) In August there was a "fever" of activity... "in 1785-1786... Hawkesbury guided and facilitated the process by which the firm of Enderbys and Sons [would] resuscitate British whaling in the Southern Hemisphere". This development, as noted by Harlow, eventually breached the East India Company's rights in the Pacific just as the India Act of 1784 had asserted the powers of the Crown against the company in India. Here, Stackpole remarks on Jenkinson and the Board of Trade... on a "breakthrough in the monopoly of the Honourable John Company...[a] scope... not to be realised for several years to come".


This followed representations from John St. Barbe, Enderby and Champions since January 1786 for help for the South fishery. ([29]) Then, the Navy was moving its offices, and earlier, Campbell had moved premises and presumably his convict records were also moved...

* * *


Alderman George Mackenzie Macaulay disappears from history:


Any London alderman wishing to be Lord Mayor had first to be a sheriff of the city. Macaulay was sworn a sheriff in 1789 and 1790. Given a somewhat unlikely background, Macaulay had been successful, though his ambition finally outstripped his opportunities. But the picture here is of an ambitious alderman publicly crowing that he was assisting in solving a knotty social problem, that of "crowded gaols", by lending his own efforts to government plans to establish a convict colony. How well he was accepted in East India Company circles is still difficult to establish. Macaulay was known as a man with considerable abilities. Like the pro-transportation alderman William Newman, (a contemporary document said), Macaulay was repeatedly passed over for the Mayoralty on account of his Whiggism.


Macaulay and his partners in making their offer of 21 August may have had many motives. The only motive we can be sure about is that some months later, Macaulay was interested in obtaining furs from North-West America, or, Nootka Sound; broadly, the coast of present-day British Columbia, Canada. At some time between September-November, 1786, by when alderman Curtis had let his ship Lady Penrhyn to William Richards, and early April, 1787, Macaulay recruited Lt. Watts, who had been a midshipman under William Bligh on Resolution, on Cook's last voyage of exploration. ([30]) Watts' mission was to bring furs from Nootka Sound for sale in China.


In early May, less than two weeks before the First Fleet left England, alderman Curtis came to the Lady, then loaded with her 322 (or more) female convicts, to discuss business with her captain, William Crofton Sever. Earlier, in 1786, Portlock and Dixon in two British ships called at Hawaii, intending to use Hawaii as a stopover in the fur seal trade, North-west America to Asia. They returned there in 1787. ([31]) Earlier, Bolts (sometimes at Mauritius) learned of sea-otter prospects at Nootka Sound and his ideas prompted a two-ship expedition. ([32]) ([33])

* * *


America sends ships to China:


America meanwhile had made a move in the Pacific seldom noted by Australians. Robert Morris in Philadelphia ([34]) had become interested in sending ships to China, partnering with Daniel Parker of Parker and Company who were also contractors for the US army. Their ship Empress of China sailed for Canton in January 1784 with ginseng, brandy, wine, turpentine, and $20,000 in specie. ([35]) Morris here invested some $60,000. Morris and Parker also outfitted two ships for Europe, but by the time these arrived home, Morris and Parker had split, partly due to a dispute between Morris and John Holker. The 1784 venture to China marked Morris's re-emergence into private trade. Morris with Tench Tilghman also assisted a new firm in Baltimore (Tilghman was an aide of George Washington), and this firm enjoyed the "almost vast" spread of Morris' connections. Morris meanwhile had left Turnbull, Marmie and Company of Philadelphia, and John Holker withdrew from Benjamin Harrison and Company of Richmond, Virginia. Morris and Harrison here formed a new firm, Harrison, Nicholls and Company and Morris also invested in a new firm in New York. Daniel Parker and Company were in severe trouble by May 1784 ([36]) owing money to a firm with Holker connections. Morris meanwhile in June 1787 fitted out another ship Alliance from Delaware for China, for an "out of season" voyage. Alliance sailed south of "the Cape of New Holland" and arrived at Canton in December 1787. Later the British Admiralty inquired into the track of the ship; ship men everywhere were surprised at this voyage. But it is not known if Morris was connected with any American ships later to express curiosity about Britain's new convict colony.


* * *


With government having placed an advertisement for a "first fleet" - 1500 tons - in The Morning Herald, Lt. John Shortland had been selected by the Navy Board as Naval Agent for the First Fleet, to see to the fulfilment of the contracts with William Richards the successful tenderer. Alderman Clark wrote to Jeremy Bentham, who was then in Russia, advising him where convicts would be sent. ([37]) What is notable is that after the rejection of the offer from Turnbull, Macaulay and Gregory, no other merchants besides Richards have been noted as interested in tendering for the First Fleet. By late 1786, merchant interest was very slight: mysteriously in the history of Britain's maritime might, the merchants most interested in entering the Pacific have been consigned almost to oblivion. Also in September 1786, the whaler Rotch returned to England after visiting France and discussing propositions he would find whales for the French from a Dunkirk base. Rotch was contacted by Rose at Treasury, and Rose gave Rotch liberty to make propositions to Pitt. But in Rotch's view it was too late. ([38]) He and his whalers had decided to locate at Dunkirk. It is probable that the Enderbys knew of these proceedings.


* * *


West India merchants, slaves, Macaulay, Campbell, and ships to Tahiti for breadfruit:


Walvin reports that in 1788, a leading Liverpool slave trader, John Tarleton, spent three and a half hours trying to convince prime minister Pitt that abolition of the slave trade would bring "total ruin". ([39]) The poet Coleridge described the anti-slaver Clarkson as "the moral steam engine... the giant with one idea" .. From 1787, three other writers besides Clarkson worked on anti-slavery, Rev. James Ramsay, Zachary Macaulay of the Clapham sect, the father of the historian, and James Stephen. (Macaulay had a personal interest in sugar being produced in India). Clarkson, who researched the slave trade, said the trade cost the lives of 2000 British sailors annually. ([40]) Eric Williams asks why it took until 1807 for slavery to be abolished? He answers, because of the French Revolution and the issues ranged round around St Dominigue. Meantime, the only English poet to write anything useful against the slave trade was Robert Southey, with his 1798 ballad, "The Sailor who had served in the Slave Trade", a psycho-drama finger-pointedly set in Bristol.


In the presence of new information, speculation also visits. Lady Penrhyn ([41]) was built on the Thames in 1786 for alderman Curtis. Her First Fleet voyage was a maiden voyage and after it she was bought by Wedderburns and placed on a regular London-Jamaica run. ([42]) She had probably always been intended for the West India run. Why did Curtis name her Lady Penrhyn? Lord Penrhyn once spent 30,000 in 1790 in an unsuccessful attempt to control Liverpool, his slaving port. ([43]) Richard Pennant, Baron Penrhyn, was the chairman between 1777-1783 of a powerful lobby group of West Indies merchants and planters, and it was presumably for his lady that Curtis had named his ship Lady Penrhyn? ([44])


By late 1786-early 1787, there had been an idea to detach a First Fleet ship and send her to Tahiti to take breadfruit to the West Indies, an idea Sir Joseph Banks would have known about.


The Institute of Commonwealth Studies at Russell Square in London holds microfilm copies of the minute books of the West India Committee, for Planters 1785-1822; and Planters and Merchants May 1785-December 1792. ([45]) When these merchants met (from May 1784), Lord Penrhyn was usually in the chair. Here, it is necessary to suggest that despite Bligh's fame and the notoriety of the mutiny on HMAV Bounty, Campbell's role in having his employee, Bligh, given command of Bounty, is not well understood, and indeed, has provoked few questions. ([46]) Was Campbell a powerful West India merchant? And did he know Joseph Banks?. Even if "yes" is the answer to both questions, a connection between the three camps - Campbell's, Banks', and the West India merchants - still needs to be proved.


As a West India merchant trading to Jamaica since 1753, Campbell was a loner. If his surviving correspondence is an accurate guide, he seldom dealt with other West India merchants in London; but his letters to correspondents on Jamaica itself were always effusive, for normal family reasons. Campbell's name does not appear in the West India lobby group's minute books as a result of his attending meetings, so the conclusion is that he was NOT influential among the London merchants who usually attended. ([47]) When they met in 1787, the West Indian merchants and planters discussed business such as intercourse with America, meetings with the Privy Council's committee for trade, free ports in the West Indies, duties on rum, competition from the import of foreign sugars. Campbell would naturally have been interested in such issues, but the records of the meetings between 1786-1787 do not mention his attendance.


The role of William Richards: history and amnesia:


William Richards was a genuine innocent with a grandiloquent imagination. He lived on Queens Row, Walworth, a "prominent" shipbroker, mostly for the Navy. He had probably earlier been trading to America, but little else is known. By 1786 he may like Macaulay been contracting to provision people and armed forces in Canada. ([48]) If Richards was from Southwark, he ought to have been familiar with prisons, as Hughes in The Fatal Shore says there were up to nine prisons in the area.


The Fatal Shore has been found controversial by some Australian historians. Hughes, an Australian art critic, has a stupendous vocabulary and is a deft and witty writer. His remarks about convicts clanking their chains in penumbral darkness are now well known. He was inspired by Alan Moorehead's earlier book, The Fatal Impact, a book about the "rape" of the Pacific by European shipping. But it remains a great pity that Moorehead's book, now a classic, did not contain more detail on the Enderby whalers.


Finding much to complain about regarding the treatment of the First Fleet convicts, Hughes writes, (p. 70): "To begin with, the fleet was undervictualled by its crooked contractor, Duncan Campbell. He had shortchanged the convicts with half a pound of rice instead of a pound of flour.." and so on. With just one sentence, Hughes disposed entirely of William Richards, and wrote him completely out of the history. Hughes however does not for example cite any references for the notion that Campbell as contractor for the First Fleet was "crooked". The problem is one of unawareness of the maritime facts in publishing circles, amongst writers, researchers, book editors and proof readers. With this one error, Robert Hughes wrote more British-Australian maritime history out of the window than he knew. In the interests of propaganda, literature, rhetoric, Imperialism and anti-Imperialism, maritime history has been transmogrified into social history. This is how and why it is so easy for a researcher to obliterate the First Fleet contractor. Thus, the First Fleet has become legend. This is a very hard way for Hughes to prove his own thesis, that Australia's convict history has been crippled by symptoms of amnesia!


Newspaper coverage:


William Richards had already struck trouble and he soon wrote to Pitt. Since 9 September he'd had several meetings with shipowners, but not enough time for full discussions, and he wanted an assurance from government that the Navy Board would pay (reimburse) if his convict transports missed the time for loading China tea. ([49]) He then wanted Pitt to influence the India Company, "some gentlemen have been employed to thwart every means". Unfortunately, Richards never named these enemies. He again mentioned his hopes of organising an annual transportation of convicts. ([50])


On 14 September, 1786 The Daily Universal Register presented useful information about New Holland and Cook's explorations. On 20 September, it could not resist joking that the notorious swindler, Semple-Lisle, only recently sentenced, was likely to command a garrison at Botany Bay,. Or, set himself up as a squire there. "Botany Bay" would continue to provide interesting copy: shock-horror stories, tales of colony-making, genuine, human-interest stories for a public with a well-educated taste for "crime writing", jokes about social status - and new information about a new continent and a new ocean. ([51])


On 17 September, 1786, surgeon Sir Charles Blagden wrote to Joseph Banks - "The scheme of sending the convicts to New Holland I think generally disapproved, very much from the apprehension of their being a nest of pirates". (It would appear Blagden was reacting to East India Company propaganda here.) ([52]) Pirates usually need ships, and there were never many ships in Sydney Harbour's earliest years.


Gathering the First Fleet ships:


By 15 September, William Richards has offered three ships to Government. ([53]) By 19 September, William Richards Jnr. and Fernie contacted the East India Company directors offering Scarborough, Brothers, and William and Mary, then Scarborough, Brothers, William and Mary, Britania (sic) and Brittania (sic). By 25 September, ([54]) the Company had surveyed at least three of Richards' ships, so that he could properly tender their use. The idea had increasingly taken hold that the costs to government - (perhaps to the king's Civil List?) - would be lessened by bringing home tea from Canton. (By 23 September, William Wilberforce had been responsible for recommending the Rev. Richard Johnson as chaplain for the new colony). ([55])


The shipowners Richards dealt with as he gathered the First Fleet included Leightons, Hoppers of Scarborough, William Walton and Co., the whaler James Mather and the Greenland whaler, alderman Curtis, ([56]) (but most of these merchants did not continue their involvements with the Pacific). Whether he realised it or not at the time, Richards would develop numerous worthy ideas about servicing the new colony's needs for shipping. But also whether he knew it or not, he was inviting the competition of merchants who wished to see the Pacific explored commercially. Richards' more idealistic ideas were inimical to their ambitions.


So Richards gathered ships: the Three Brothers, Friendship, Britannia, Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, later Alexander in lieu of Friendship, then Golden Grove in lieu of Three Brothers, and Borrowdale ([57]) in lieu of Young William (Young William may have been a whaler owned by the whaler Daniel Bennet, later of Blackheath). Later, Richards tendered Fishburne and another Friendship to complete his contract. ([58])


By 25 September the East India Company had surveyed at least three ships. If official documentation of the kind historians have usually read is taken as a guide, little more would be heard from Macaulay until late 1790. Except, as the English historian Ged Martin once complained, the Lady Penrhyn with other ships has been let "sail out into a void" ([59]) That void appearing was not Macaulay's fault, nor Richards'. Martin made his remark in an essay on the economic motives for the founding of Botany Bay...


Richard's ideas were well in line with government policy on the colony's purpose and likely development, and would have been useful if pursued. Government, as though in contempt of its own guidelines, first pulled the rug from under him by accepting tenders much cheaper than Richards' and allowing an atrocity to occur - the Second Fleet - then allowing a consortium of whalers and slavers - the Third Fleet - to organise more shipping than Richards could organise.


* * *


Merchants and the "Botany Bay debate":


Today, the problem of divining Macaulay's motives serves to generate one point about the involvement of merchants in transporting convicts after the American Revolution, in respect of "the Botany bay debate". The point is that many influential merchants, East India Company men or not, could have become involved. ([60]) They did not, and this fact bears on claims made that the settling of Australia as a convict colony (or an Imperial strategic outlier creating by use of a convict colony as a largely transparent pretext) was a matter of importance. If the venture was important, or offered real commercial incentive, one might imagine any of London's senior merchants, all of whom had capital, or shipping resources, or both, becoming involved in exploring what Englishmen had for so long termed "the great Southland". ([61])


Few merchants became involved. It is possible that aldermen Curtis and Macaulay became involved out of feelings of civic duty in solving "the convict problem" as well as an interest in seal fur from Nootka Sound. But if so, one might wonder why more merchants with an eye to civic duty did not become involved? Perhaps the interest of Macaulay - strong in the City's Whig faction - and Curtis - strong in the Tory faction - sufficed politically for the purpose?


But who paid for it all? It seems, the First Fleet transportation was paid for from the king's Civil List. Maxine Young, writes: "Before 1815, it was the practise to borrow money from the king's current Civil List revenues to pay the running costs of New South Wales and other expenses concerning the colony. The money advanced was repaid by parliament in the next Miscellaneous Supply Grants." Paying for the new convict colony from the king's Civil List might be the explanation for one striking feature of the exercise - it was consistently underfunded. If so, any notion of the new colony being an Imperial venture is given a slightly different complexion - a complexion suffused with the hues of royal outrage at the continued state of crime, at men unworthy to remain in the kingdom!


* * *


East India Company distaste for "Botany Bay":


Yet, it has often been suggested that the East India Company had some role to play with the creation and use of a colony at Sydney. ([62]) Such claims can be associated with few names of known East India Company men, and the names that can be associated - Company renegades - are also associated with Blackheath: Macaulay, his relatives at Blackheath, Larkins, and by association with Macaulay, Curtis. In general, the East India Company avoided contact with the new colony, or convict handling, as far as possible, to the point of angering government ministers with their attitude.


Recent government strictures on Company activities were one reason for Company resistance. Another was Government support for expansion of the sailing rights of whalers. Another was protection of Company trading privileges from further erosion by captains not subject to Company disciplines. In 1933, Oldham ([63]) suggested that the company did not wish to weaken its parliamentary power, and risked doing so if its senior men took contracts to carry convicts, because an Act prevented sitting MPs from benefiting by taking contracts with Government.


It is known that Britain has been interested in exploring the Pacific: that is why the name Cook is renowned. What happened when real opportunities arose? Only two firms responded by offering ships - TMG, rejected, and William Richards. There was hardly a bun rush. ([64]) After study of the Second and Third Fleets, and subsequent shipping, we must conclude that very few British merchants were interested in the adventure of opening the Pacific, and those who were interested have not been examined. This perhaps is formidable evidence of the power of convict transportation to taint those involved, a stigma powerful enough to corrupt maritime history. ([65]) Paradoxically, scientific history has flourished, mainly because Sir Joseph Banks chose to flaunt his connections with the early colony, not hide them. ([66])


Lady Penrhyn Apt William Crofton Sever was on the Thames by December 1786 and carried only women prisoners to New South Wales. ([67]) This distinction has distracted attention from the ship's voyage, which was the most unusual of all the nine commercial ships in the First Fleet. Stackpole, ([68]) records that by early 1786, newcomers to the South Whale Fishery were Timothy and William Curtis. (William was popularly known as "Billy Biscuits".) As the First Fleet was gathered, the still-innocent Richards came into contact with merchants such as Curtis and Macaulay, the whaler James Mather; and suppliers Reeve and Green, who later were partners with the whaler of Blackheath, John St Barbe. ([69])


* * *


Alderman Curtis ([70]) is less obscure than Macaulay. A Tory MP, deceased 1829, Curtis was a commercial friend of Enderbys and the South Whale Fishery, A merchant, Green, is mentioned in the letters of Capt. Teer, the navy official who supervised the fitting out to naval standards of the First Fleet ships on the Thames. Teer ([71]) once recorded: Recvd from Messrs Reeve & Green 6/19/10d. - Robertson 1/7/2d. When Richards began mounting the First Fleet the situation became populated by a loose cartel of merchants interested in the wider Pacific, not just in New South Wales.


Do questions of ship insurance provide any information? According to Lloyd's Register, the lists of Lloyd's subscribers in 1787 included: (the names of merchants interested in the Pacific are asterisked): Angerstein Lewis and Warren, Richard Buller and Co, John Campbell, A&B Champion*, Champion and Dickasons, Geo Curling, Mark Gregory, Rt Hon Thos Harley, Paul Le Mesurier and Co, G M Macaulay*, James Mather*, Nath Modigliani, John Motteux, Nath Newnham, St Barbe* and Green*, Smith and St Barbe*. Donaldson, Thornton and Donaldson. (Here, Angerstein was John Julius, the personal friend of George III.)


St Barbe and Green were ships husbands and insurance brokers at 33 Seething Lane. St Barbe was still there by 1799. A ship insurance broker, he was deeply involved in the South Whale Fishery, but by 1800 St Barbe had moved into regular East India trade. ([72]) Merchants Reeve and Green also had an address at 30 Canterbury Sq., Southwark.


One merchant supplying the First Fleet was Borrowdale, ([73]) a name resembling the name of the First Fleet ship, Borrowdale. Borrowdale however cannot yet be linked to any other merchants.


* * *


The role of the evangelists:


Evangelists in Britain abhorred idleness, not as insubordination, but as sloth. Their attitude to transportation ([74]) has recently gained a new currency. Roger Knight, an archivist with the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, in his 1988 paper, `The First Fleet, its state and preparation, 1786-1787', advanced suggestions that Middleton, comptroller at the Navy Office, 1786-1787, and therefore interested in transportation to "Botany Bay", was part of a clique of London evangelists. Knight, the first writer to properly research the First Fleet and its contractor, Richards, from the point of view of a naval historian, also suggests Richards may have been similarly interested in evangelism. It is known, Lady Huntingdon, the Methodist evangelist to the aristocracy, sent a chaplain, Rev. Charles Lorimer, to the hulks. Along with all other influences noted by historians, varieties of contact - even if made by via the agency of institutions - between London evangelists and convicts to be transported may well transpire to have been influential in raising the early transportation to Australia - by way of a hope the exercise would be humane.


* * *


The British historian Watson has written of the reign of George III .... in 1786 - the South Sea Company and the East India Company had vested interests in waters coveted by the South Whale Fishery. The South Sea Company resented outsiders sailing about Cape Horn, and the East India Company obstructed free enterprise in New Holland ([75]) (this is one of Watson's rare mentions of the region), New Hebrides, New Caledonia and New Zealand. Watson notes, there was some interest in the Great Southern Continent of legend. But he has misunderstood that interest. George III was the governor of the South Sea Company, the survivor of the South Sea Bubble, so it is hardly likely the South Sea Company would brook the king in any matter where his Civil List was going to pay for a new convict colony! It seems then that whatever the East India Company felt about its royal charter and monopoly, the South Sea Company would not interfere in Pacific shipping.


One of the first licences issued by the South Sea Company in October 1786, when new legislation of June 1786 governed some navigation over waters by whalers, had gone to whalers Alexander and Benjamin Champion for Prince of Wales, Capt. Samuel Moore, convict transport for Botany Bay. William Curtis applied to the South Sea Company in March, 1787, for a licence for Lady Penrhyn to proceed from Botany Bay to the South Whale Fishery; in fact to Nootka Sound. (And the date of the application can perhaps tie down the formulation of plans by Lt. Watts and Macaulay, since Macaulay had chartered Lady Penrhyn from Curtis). The South Sea Company was giving no trouble.


Richards however had struck trouble. He wrote on 6 October, 1786 [to Pitt] referring to a " ... certain set of gentlemen that are mateirealy (sic) affected by its adoption, have been employed to Thwart every means of its being obtained & whose interest will suffer on account of its being the means of the India Company, not taking up, any more ships this season; tho at the same time they have given their consent to it outwardly, fully convinced of the eligibility of it. In order fully to prove that there is time sufficient & that the plea set up by the ship owners is groundless ....." ([76])


The men here thwarting Richards were probably of the East India Company shipping interest, as distinct from the City or India interest, or, a consortium of ships husbands. They could have been a group of the directors. It's possible Richards' enemies felt he was endangering the usual freight rates, as well as a formerly uninterrupted Company monopoly.


On 12 October, 1786, Arthur Phillip was appointed governor of NSW. A now discredited theory is that the person most likely to have recommended Phillip was Sir George Rose, later treasurer to the Navy. At Sydney, Phillip named Rose Hill, later Parramatta, after Rose. In this view, Rose and Phillip were "probably" farming neighbours in Hampshire. But Nepean as manager of the secret service probably had more weight in recommending Phillip. So on 24 October, Governor Phillip, five feet eight inches tall, in naval ritual raised his flag on Sirius at Deptford yard. The same day the clergyman appointed to the expedition, Rev. Richard Johnson, a mild man, visited the hulks. He emerged "shaken and trembling", never again to go down into a hulk before he left England. Reverend Richard Newton, the hymn-writing former captain of slave ships, had warned Richards not to go down into the hulk. Reverend Henry Venn on 28 October wrote on this to his daughter, "I received a letter from dear Mr Thornton, saying he had last Sunday introduced Mr Samuel [sic] Johnson to 250 aboard the hulk at Woolwich". (Thornton was of the Clapham sect)


Rev. Richard Johnson had been introduced by either Bishop Porteus, Sir Joseph Banks, Wilberforce or Pitt (opinions differ on the matter, the names are all impressive). Catholic priests applying to go had been forbidden. A certain pious man named Bull intimated about Johnson's task, "It fills me with a thousand thanks that the Lord did not call me to that cross". Clergymen who later visited the hulks for various purposes in the 1790s consistently found their interiors to be apt and tangible metaphors for the hell they believed in. Campbell had equalled Dante in reality, not in mere poetry. No person of sensibility ever entered a hulk without trembling, from fear of the prisoners, from pity for them, or from fear of catching a gaol fever which could have killed them within twenty one days. Campbell himself always avoided entering a convict hospital. Some convicts had been recorded as resisting three bouts of gaol fever. One who had done so once wrote Evan Nepean a gloriously sarcastic letter mentioning the kinds of fortitude and stamina required for survival.


More senior men for the expedition were appointed on 24 October. Major Ross of the marines, who was to find his tour of duty disgustingly unprecedented. David Collins, surgeon John White and his assistant William Balmain. (Balmain became the first colonist to sell Australian land to an off-shore buyer, Gilchrist, a surgeon trader in India). Arthur Phillip about then began to hunt information on where he could begin to find the necessary supplies.


On 30 March, 1787, though we do not know with whom he had recently spoken, Banks informed both Lord Liverpool and Lord Sandwich that the plan of sending a vessel to Tahiti purely for breadfruit was more likely to be successful than an alternative one of detaching a Botany Bay transport. ([77]) By that date, the Botany Bay ships were only waiting for a few more convicts and official matters to be concluded. But here, the mystery of Lt. Watts and Macaulay chartering Lady Penrhyn remains. Banks was probably correct as to the inadvisability of detaching a transport, for by 30 March he could have found out the proposed routes of various ships after they would leave Botany Bay, whether they had East India Company charters to backload tea, or not. So it is probable that Macaulay, if he and Curtis had been planning to take some breadfruit from Tahiti, or been asked to do so, changed their mind about late March and decided to survey Nootka Sound, in which Curtis did continue interested. That is, if Lady Penrhyn had picked up breadfruit, the Bounty voyage may never have happened!


Months before Phillip had landed convicts on 26 January, 1788, at Sydney, the whaling investors in London had begun to advertise their interest in the waters surrounding the then-unknown Australian continent. Their entrepreneurial excitement may have been high - but the evidence of maritime history is that it was muted, more so by the negative attitude of the East India Company.


* * *


<Finis Chapter 34>

Words 10568 words with footnotes pages 24 footnotes 77


[1] Roger J. B. Knight, `The First Fleet, Its State and Preparation, 1786-1787', pp. 121-136. i.e., John Hardy and Alan Frost, Studies from Terra Australis to Australia. Occasional Paper No 6. Canberra, Australian Academy of The Humanities, 1988.

[2] See my commentary to Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 256, on the little study given Richards' ideas.

[3] The first available note on Richards' existence is brief: 17 January, 1780, Petition of New York merchant, from Wm. Richards and Sons. Treasury 2, Index, Letters R.

[4] See the entry, Convicts, in Australian Encyclopedia, Angus and Robertson, 1925, referring to "the amount of `convict blood' inherited by later generations" of Australians.

[5] On ideas that Lord Sydney in the face of such problems took concerted although little-visible steps to make the Botany Bay settlement plan more just and reasonable, see Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia, Vol. 1.

[6] Ziegler, Baring, pp. 59-61.

[7] Oberholtzer reports the Robert Morris' papers might have been lost if one General Read had not passed through a French country town and discovered the Morris papers, it is said, on a rubbish dump, to be taken to a paper mill. Later they were acquired by the Library of Congress. The history of the American Revolution would be much poorer if Morris' papers had been lost.

[8] This has been found by Flynn in Second Fleet, p.13. Earlier it had been thought that Richards as a broker chartering ships to the navy had inherited his business from his father, who was thought to have retired to Dorking. Another scenario may be relevant? Sir Thomas Dunk, Alderman, Sheriff of London (1709-1710), clothier of Tongues in Hawkhurst, Kent. (GEC, Peerage, Halifax, pp. 247-248, note a; Sandwich, p. 438) by one Miss Richards had an illegitimate son William Richards, an ironmonger, to whom he left his fortune. An "unspecified relationship" grew between this William Richards, Anne Dunk and George Montagu, second Earl Halifax. (Valentine, British Establishment, Vol. 1, p. 277.) GEC, Peerage, Halifax, p. 248, Note A; Sandwich, p. 438. Lord Privy Seal, Viceroy of Ireland, George Earl5 Halifax Baron3 Halifax Montagu (Montagu-Dunk) (1716-1771), married Anne (Richards) by 2 July, 1741. This Anne Richards was daughter of William Dunk-Richards, son of the London alderman, and an unknown woman. She had a fortune of 110,000 pounds. Baron Halifax's daughter Elizabeth (d.1768) became first wife of John Montagu, fifth Earl Sandwich. (GEC, Peerage, Sandwich, p. 438.) Baron Halifax's family by another wife later included William Bingham Baring (1799-1904), second Baron Ashburton, Paymaster-General, an investor in the New Zealand Company, and president of the Royal Asiatic Society 1862-1855. (Stenton, British Parliamentarians, Vol. 1, p. 22, Vol. 2, pp. 20ff. On New Zealand here, Peter Adams, Fatal Necessity: British Intervention in New Zealand, 1830-1847. Oxford University Press, 1977. GEC, Peerage, Ashburton, pp. 276ff; Northampton, p. 689.

[9] On 28 September, 1786, Pitt wrote to Wilberforce about Penitentiaries and a multitude of things depending. Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 44.

[10] Dalrymple's Admonition is reprinted in Evans and Nichols, (Eds.), Convicts and Colonial Society, 1788-1853. Sydney, Cassel, 1976. Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 50.

[11] McIntyre, Secret Discovery, pp. 195-196.

[12] McIntyre, Secret Discovery, pp. 190-196ff.

[13] Peron's views, quoted in R. A. Swan, To Botany Bay, earlier cited, p. 8.

[14] Linebaugh, The London Hanged, p. 37 refers to Proteus as the ancient one of the sea who eludes captors by assuming different shapes, a maritime reference well-suited for the sailor-pirate, and also the difficulties relating to "the Botany Bay debate".

[15] Chatam Papers, PRO 30/8/171.

[16] Flynn, Second Fleet, p. 14.

[17] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 125ff. I have remained unable to find anything further on Fernie, except, Fernie Williams and Co., brokers, 4 Clement's Lane, the only Fernie listed in Kent's 1792 Directory of London business].

[18] HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, p. 48. Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 126, pp. 134ff. Further details are contained in Oldham's original thesis, (pp. 324, 374, 414, 416); Wilfrid Oldham, The Administration of the System of Transportation of British Convicts, 1763-1793. Ph.D. thesis. London University. 1933.

[19] The Royal Calendar, 1786.

[20] Chatam Papers, PRO 30/8/171.

[21] Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 108.

[22] A suggestion about Evangelical links existing between Middleton and Richards was made in Roger J. B. Knight, `The First Fleet, Its State and Preparation, 1786-1787', pp. 121-136 in John Hardy and Alan Frost, Studies from Terra Australis to Australia. Occasional Paper No 6. Canberra, Australian Academy of The Humanities, 1988.

[23] Frost, Phillip, His Voyaging, p. 112, p. 142.

[24] Victor Crittenden, A Bibliography of the First Fleet. Canberra, Australian National University Press, 1982.

[25] Dallas, Trading Posts, p. 70.

[26] In Historical Records of Australia (HRA, Series IV, Vol. 1, introduction), the editor, Watson, part way through his editing, interrupted himself to write a lengthy essay to the effect that the entire colonial exercise in NSW was unconstitutional "in large part".

[27] Surveying the maritime, Flynn had addressed these issues generally in his book on the Second Fleet and provided some balance. Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1993.

[28] Dallas, Trading Posts, p. 65; Steven, Trade, Tactics and Territory, p. 10. Dallas discusses new measures for the encouragement of shipping, Geo III 26 c. 38.

[29] Steven, Trade, Tactics and Territory, pp. 69-72ff. Also on whaling: N. Nairn, 'The Selection of Botany Bay', in G. J. Abbott and N. B. Nairn, (Eds), Economic Growth Of Australia, 1788-1821. Melbourne, MUP, 1969., p. 55; Nairn with a Whiggish interpretation of events, see "a triumph of flexible pragmatism". Dallas, Trading Posts, p. 64; Stackpole, Whales, pp. 52ff, pp. 81ff.

[30] 1786: Timothy and William Curtis, biscuit makers, 236 Wapping (London Directories). Together with Richard Henry Clark in 1788 at the same address. Also, Curtis, William, jun., Esq., Alderman, 236 Wapping, in 1786: in 1789 at Southgate or 40 Old Broad Street, in 1795 at Old South Sea House, Broad Street.

[31] Glen Barclay, A History of the Pacific: From the Stone Age to the Present Day. London, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1978., p. 55.

[32] Notes from European Voyaging towards Australia, pp. 77ff, edited by Hardy and Frost., `William Bolts and the Austrian attempt to establish an Eastern Empire', by Barry Gough. Also, Holden Furber, "In the Footsteps of a German 'Nabob': William Bolts in the Swedish Archives", The Indian Archives, 12, 1958, pp. 7-18. Also, P. J. Marshall, East India Fortunes. Oxford, 1976. Also, B. M. Gough, entry on Charles William Barkley in Canadian Dictionary of Biography. Bolt tried various schemes to get ships to Nootka Sound. In November 1786 a renegade East India Company ship Loudon was re-named the Imperial Eagle Capt. Charles William Barkly, sailing from Ostend, for north-west America, owned by supercargoes in China in Company service and some Company directors in London, but she was outfitted by the Austrian East India Company, and was really, Gough writes, a poaching expedition organised by English Company servants to sail on waters or into ports controlled by the English Company, but Barkly ended in selling furs to an over-stocked Canton market.

H. Furber, Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient, 1600-1800. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, c.1976. Holden Furber, 'The Beginnings of American Trade with India, 1784-1812', The New England Quarterly, June, 1938., pp. 235-265. H. Furber, John Company at Work. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1948.

[33] Barclay, History of the Pacific: From the Stone Age, pp. 55-56. In 1787-1788: The American mariner Douglas arrived at North-west America, Nootka sealing with ships Iphigenia and North West America [It is not known if he was connected with Robert Morris], and in 1788 he called at Hawaii; and by leaving weaponry there he began an "arms race". In 1790 the Metcalfes visited Hawaii and conducted atrocities.

[34] Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, p. 189.

[35] Clarence Ver Steeg, `Financing and Outfitting the First United States Ship to China', Pacific Historical Review, XXII., pp. 1-12.

[36] Ver Steeg, Robert Morris, p. 191. Ellis P. Oberholtzer, Robert Morris, Patriot and Financier. 1903., p. 224.

[37] Byrnes, `Emptying The Hulks', earlier cited, p. 2.

[38] Stackpole, Whales, pp. 83-85.

[39] Walvin, Black Ivory, p. 302. Walvin, p. 349 cites B. Martin and M. Spurrell (Eds), Journal of a Slave Trader. (1788) London. 1962. See also James Rawley, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. New York. 1981; Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death. Cambridge, Mass, 1982; James Walvin, England, Slaves and Freedom. London, 1986.

[40] Eric Williams, From Columbus to Castro, pp. 256-261.

[41] According to Bateson, The Convict Ships, p. 95.

[42] Bateson, The Convict Ships, p. 118.

[43] Asa Briggs, The Age of Improvement, 1783-1867. London, Longmans, 1959., p. 104.

[44] Richard Pennant (Lord Penrhyn, DNB) is said to have once spent 30,000 attempting but failing to become MP for Liverpool.

[45] Microfilm, Reel 3, West India Committee Archives, West India Planters, 1785-1822: Planters and Merchants Minutes, May 1785-December 1792, held at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London. Douglas Hall, A Brief History of the West India Committee. Caribbean University Press, 1971., a treatment tracing the committee's change in role as it moved from promoting the interests of slavers and absentee landlords of the West Indies to examining the welfare needs of descendants of slaves.

[46] C. Knight, `HM Armed Vessel 'Bounty'', The Mariner's Mirror, Vol. 22, No. 2, April 1936., pp. 183-199.

[47] Such as Beeston Long, B. Vaughan, T. Boddingtons, George Hibbert, Mr. Innis, J. Wilkinson, Thornton, Chisholm, Douglas, General Melville, Milligan, Mr. Barnard, R. Maitland, Morant, Hutchinson, Baillie. Various correspondence Banks had with interested parties is reproduced in Warren Dawson, (Ed.), The Banks Letters; See also, Owen Rutter, Turbulent Journey, earlier cited, pp. 76ff.

[48] Byrnes, `Emptying the Hulks', pp. 6-7. Also, J. Oppenheimer in G. Connah, M. Rowland, J. Oppenheimer, Captain Richards' House at Winterbourne - A Study In Historical Archaeology. Armidale, Dept. Of Prehistory & Archaeology, University of New England, 1978. Chapter 5.

[49] Chatam Papers, PRO 30/8/171, including letters to Pitt from William Richards Jnr, 1786.

[50] Chatam Papers, PRO 30/8/171, Letters to Pitt from William Richards Jnr, dated 9 Sept., 1786, 28 Sept., 1786. "Thwarted": Richards to Pitt, 6 Oct., 1786.

[51] Bill Beatty, Early Australia: With Shame Remembered. Sydney, Cassell, 1962., with reference to newspaper reportage before the First Fleet left.

[52] Mackay, Exile, p. 1

[53] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 125ff.

[54] Bateson, The Convict Ships, p. 80. A ship named Prince of Wales owned by James Mather, a South whaler, built at Sidmouth, 1779, captained by a John Mason, was not the POW of Fleet 1. But the Mather-owned POW may have been the ship POW sent by John and Cadman Etches mentioned by J. H. Meares, but the second POW was also owned by Mather.

[55] Shaw, Convicts and The Colonies, p. 76, Note 2. Pitt to Wilberforce, 23 Sept. 1796.

[56] Byrnes, `Emptying The Hulks', Note 29. In 1793, James Mather, was of Cornhill, managing a wharf at Blackwall. Other whale fishery wharves were Paul's wharf, Mr. Lucas' wharf at Rotherhithe.

[57] Information for the name Borrodaile (Borradaile) is sketchy and indeterminate. William Borrodaile (died 1826) dealt in the Australian trade and became a member of the Van Diemen's Land Company; he was perhaps the brother of a woman who married into the Lloyd family of bankers? (George Sugden Le Couteur, Colonial Investment Adventure, 1824-1855: a comparative study of the establishment and early investment experiences in New South Wales, Tasmania and Canada, of four British companies. Ph.D. thesis, Sydney University. 1978., presents a list of members of the Van Diemen's Land Company, list of 1826. Broeze, Brooks, variously). William Borrodaile of Surrey was possibly the trader who had a first fleet ship? (Burke's Landed Gentry for Lloyd of Dolorbran.) He was of Bedford Hill, Streatham, Surrey. William Money was an East India Company shipowner, active 1790. (He was probably the one in Burke's Peerage and Baronetage for Boxall with a daughter who married William Percival Boxall and see also, for Chatfield, with a daughter of one William Money noted. (Chatterton, Mercantile Marine, pp. 94ff) Richard Borradaile Lloyd (1839-1913) was a London banker, son of Richard Harman Lloyd and Isabella Mary Borradaile; he married Catherine Jean Campbell Money. (Burke's Landed Gentry for Lloyd of Dolorbran. Julia Money (died 1902), was daughter of Rev. William Money, noted in Burke's Peerage and Baronetage for Ryder/Harrowby. In general, the Borradaile descent involves the later names, Money, Gurney and Lloyd the banking family. See also, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage for Wigram.

[58] Oldham, his original thesis: Wilfrid Oldham, The Administration of the System of Transportation of British Convicts, 1763-1793. Ph.D. thesis. London University. 1933., pp. 415, 430, 468, 430.

[59] Ged Martin, `Economic Motives Behind The Founding of Botany Bay', in Martin, Founding, p. 250.

[60] In 1785 the Lord Mayor of London was Richard Clark. Aldermen included Rt Hon Thos. Harley, James Townsend, John Sawbridge, Sir James Esdaile, Sir Will Plomer, Rbt Peckham, Thomas Wright, Henry Kitchen, William Gill, John Boydell, James Sanderson, Brook Watson an East India Company man, Brass Crosby, Sir Thos. Halifax, Sir Watkins Lewe, Nathaniel Newnham, Thos. Sainsbury, J. Barwell, William Pickett, John Hopkins, alderman Paul Le Mesurier. London common councilmen included William Curling, a name later known in whaling, and Macaulay - who did become involved. Directors of the Bank of England in 1785: governor, Richard Neave, with Samuel Bosanquet, William Coke Esq., Edward Darrell, alderman Brook Watson; and Francis Baring, a director of the East India Company. On Baring, see Edwyn and Joseph Birchenough, The Manor House Lee and Its Associations, Ed 2, London, Borough of Lewisham, 1971. Kellock, `London Merchants', informs that Christopher Kilby (1705-1771) of Boston, Massachusetts, married a sister of Richard Neave, in London by 1739 as special agent for Massachusetts, in firms Sedgwick, Kilby and Barnard, in the Seven Years War Kilby shared vittling contracts with Sir William Baker. By 1761, Kilby was wealthy enough to become "a country gentleman". His firm then became Barnard and Co., then Barnard and [Gilbert] Harrison, who dealt with Thomas Hancock and John Hancock in Boston, in 1766 in a "heady moment" young Hancock bought up loads of whale oil for these Londoners, and later Hancock dealt with George Hayley.

[61] Carter in his biography of Joseph Banks says Norfolk Island was a strategic outpost of some weight, p. 357. For an alternative view, see Ged Martin, `Explanation and Significance in Australian History: The Founding of New South Wales', in Australian Studies, No. 1, June 1988., published by the British Australian Studies Association.

[62] A notorious document in this context is Anon., The Influence Of The East India Company On The Colonisation Of New South Wales. Typescript (ML, Sydney). This quotes some early opinions of Prof. V. T. Harlow but it is not in itself a reliable document and one seriously questions the motives of its unknown writer(s).

[63] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 155. This point is in Maxine Young, `The British Administration of NSW, 1786-1812', pp. 23-41, see p. 26, in J. J. Eddy and J. R. Nethercote, From Colony to Coloniser: Studies in Australian Administrative History. Sydney, Hale and Iremonger. 1987. I am grateful to Kate Thomas for pointing out this article.

[64] On historic voyages in the early Pacific, see Colin Jack-Hinton, The Search for the Islands of Solomon - 1567-1838. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1969., especially on a voyage from Sydney north to the East Indies, pp. 311-325, mentioning Capt. Edward Manning and ship Pitt for owner Macaulay; Capt. Bond of Royal Admiral 11, Capt. Boyd on Bellona going by Macaulay's Archipelago; Capt. Wilkinson of Indispensable; Capt. Hogan of Marquis Cornwallis and Capt. James Wilson of Duff. Byrnes, `The Blackheath Connection', Note 14. On Pitt, see also, J. C. Garran and Leslie White, Merinos, Myths and Macarthurs: Australian Graziers and their sheep, 1788-1900. Canberra, Australian National University Press, 1985.

[65] In Byrnes, `The Blackheath Connection', pp. 52-53, on merchants only being involved if they diversified their portfolios by so doing. However, this conclusion might need to be modified by examination of American shipping calling at Sydney; here see Churchward, cited in 'The Blackheath Connection', p. 53, Note 12.

[66] For example, a record survives, 26 Sept., 1786. Mander-Jones, p. 515; S. Bacstrom to Joseph Banks asking to be sent out as a collector when convicts were transported to New Holland.

[67] As described in C. H. H. Clark, A History of Australia, Vol. 1, when Lady Penrhyn's women were first brought on shore, a night-long orgy occurred to which Gov. Phillip wisely closed his eyes until his charges - men and women - had exhausted themselves. Of late, Marian Aveling has doubted this orgy ever really happened. Marian Aveling, `Gender in Early New South Wales Society', Push From The Bush, No. 24, April 1987., pp. 31-32. I am indebted to Kate Thomas for pointing out Aveling's article.

[68] Stackpole, Whales, pp. 94-96.

[69] A bank, St. Barbe, Daniell and Co, was established in 1788 at Lymington. No later records exist. L. S. Presnell and John Orbell, A Guide to the Historical Records of British Banking. Gower, A Grafton Book, Business Archives Council (England), 1985. No. 520. I do not know if this was the same merchant, John St Barbe, but the name St Barbe was quite rare in London at the time.

[70] DNB; and see Valerie Hope, Lord Mayor.

[71] A note about a small financial adjustment: Adm 106/243 [149685] - 19th Nov [1787].

[72] St Barbe lost his ship Tellicherry in 1806 off the Philippines: she was his last ship registered in Australasian records. Bateson, The Convict Ships, p. 190.

[73] HRNSW Vol. i, ii, pp. 55, 166, 182 on Borrowdale.

[74] Roger J. B. Knight, `The First Fleet, Its State And Preparation, 1786-1787. in Hardy and Frost, 1988, pp. 121-136., in John Hardy and Alan Frost, Studies from Terra Australis to Australia. Occasional Paper No 6. Canberra, Australian Academy of The Humanities, 1988.

[75] Watson, Geo III, p. 17.

[76] Chatam Papers, PRO 30/8/171.

[77] Feb. 1787: Mackay, Wake of Cook, Ch. 5 treats breadfruit for slaves on Jamaica. Mackay conveys, Ch. 5, 30 March, 1787, Banks was pointing out the disadvantage of fitting a convict ship to go to Tahiti, citing CO/201/2/224, 9 March, 1787, after Banks in Feb. 1787 had suggested a convict transport go to Tahiti.

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