Helmsman graphic Monitor graphicHelmsman graphicThe Cozens/Byrnes Merchants Networks Project - Updated 29 November, 2022.

The Merchant Networks Project, 1760-1860 by Ken Cozens and Dan Byrnes

Questions rule, ok. Not presentations. Not the building of nation states ... just questions. Is it time for this history to be revisited ... ?

Why won't the USA reasonably discuss its colonial intake of convicts from England to 1775, up to 65,000 people ... Who owned/insured the convict ships to Australia 1786-1868 and why is it that Australians still don't ask about them? Did the convict contractors know each other or know of each other? Surely, we would imagine that the descendants of the 162,000 or so convicts - men, women and children - sent to Australia - would want to know who sent/took their ancestors to the Australian colonies, but the question seems to have no takers. It's very mysterious and maybe needs looking into as a blank spot in history, an omission in history ... ??? Do the owners of the convict ships escape scrutiny because the owners of slave ships also still mostly escape scrutiny?

Most recent updates for this website

We are proud (from later 2022) to be able now to present files for what this Merchants Networks website has sometimes been about - convict transportation to Australia. (The same could be done for other empires.) Go soon to Pathways. Re: Convict Contractors (often marine insurance underwriters) chartering their ships to the British Government to transport convicts to Australia. Seldom has such information been presented before.

Prof Gary L. Sturgess is now running an informative, "occasional" newsletter about new research on the First Fleet of convict ships to Australia. It is now at Issue No. 2, issued On 28 November, 2022. Issue No. 2 is concerned with "a biographical dictionary" of the First Fleet ships, as ships, with a long-range view on their entire career being implicit. Issue 1 was concerned with a little-known, little-written-about topic, convict messes as used on the First Fleet. A periodic newsletter publishing new research into early Australian convict transportation, by Gary L. Sturgess, Sydney, Australia. +61 (0)419 734180. Contact him now at: gary@sturgess.org

September 2021: Appearance on this website of a new, four-page article - perhaps for the first time in the world, ever - by Peter Dickson - On convict contractor John Stewart and salt production (near Portsea/Portsmouth), in Southern England. (Was some of this salt later exported to American colonies?) See John Stewart at Portsea: Convicts & Salterns, by Peter Dickson ...
As edited by Dan Byrnes of this website.

2021: Various webpages changed here due to the completion of a new book by Dan Byrnes and Ken Cozens, Merchant Networks: North America, Britain, India and Colonial Australasia, 1764-1864, which will become available soon, in 2022.

Late 2016: Dan Byrnes in Australia and Peter Dickson (UK) are looking anew at John Rose in Virginia, died 1802-1803, a lawyer employed by London-based merchant Duncan Campbell (1726-1803) to collect Campbell's debts due to the American War of Independence. The debts were worth about 8000 pounds sterling by 1787. This work in time became an addendum for the book Merchant Networks. From 1803, John Rose's role was taken over by a relative of his in Virginia, Lawrence Berry. The work of Rose and Berry has probably never before been inspected by serious historians and it will be fascinating to see what surfaces here - so work continues. Ed

By 10-11-2015, updates on files for the Anglo-American bankers who also appear as an addendum to the book Merchant Networks.Lane, Son and Fraser, which merchant bank failed in England in 1793. (Some new files on these matters were sent to Maine, USA, by 2019 -Ed.)

29 January 2013: Sydney historian (Prof.) Gary Sturgess laments the fact that the spot on Sydney Harbour where Gov. Phillip landed in January 1788 is now marked with, of all things, a portaloo. How to honour the spot more appropriately? is his question. See: Sturgess here.

28-9-2012: A review by Dan Byrnes of Dr John Jiggens, Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp: Hemp, Sea-Power and Empire, 1777-1815. Australia, Jay Jay Publishing, 2012. Paperback, 285pp. ISBN: 978-0-9578684-3-4. At HEMP, Critical, very: not a complimentary book review at all.

Updated 28 October 2012: Pages devoted to the Convict Contractors chartering their ships to the British Government to transport convicts to Australia. Seldom has such information been presented before, as in a series called Pathways, and the product of many years of research; material as has not been seen before by Australians. We commend it to you. - Ed.

Files on genealogy are being continually updated/improved. For a list of lineages we've inspected go to Genealogy and Contents

A work-a-day file to this website is on problem names and problem people, merchant names proving frustrating, on which we find that insufficient information is available for our purposes. See also a second file on problem people at the file: Problem names - Ed

Genealogies of Colonial American families (before 1775-1783).
Curiosity about the ship Rapid Capt. Dorr (1811, an American ship which sank off n/w Western Australia, supposedly with some interesting money aboard).
Question about Hemp. Rival merchant networks in the 1600s. Planter names various on Caribbean sugar islands.
On NSW Reformer Caroline Chisholm, late 1840s. Names of East India Company personnel in India 177-1850. Bibliography items on maritime history and/or slavery 1600-1900.
Names of individual convict transports (that is, ships, and their connections), 1786-1865.
Ships owned by Duncan Dunbar II.

THIS WEBSITE used to be a major excursion beginning with examinations of Merchant Networks in the general context of The British Empire during its first and second foundings. The outlook is international/imperial, though not exactly global.

Or, more generally, merchants operating in the English-speaking world ... from the 1680s to about 1900 but more likely 1760-1860 ... All to be seen in a more detailed way than ever attempted before on the Internet ...

Note 1: Of 21 March 2010: Announcing an update to the first upload of a new set of files for this website, a concerted attack on the ways in which US "paranoid conspiracy theorists" active on the Internet since 1997 or so, have been dabbling with Economic History in order to confuse the more ignorant members of the US electorate. Chief of the metahistorian "theorists" to be countered is Lyndon LaRouche, one of the most virulent of such US commentators (he by 2019 is now deceased). For this series, the directory and filenames concerned are gathered under the umbrella-heading of "gaps" in history. Go now to the first file: gaps.htm where files follow in numeric series.

Note 2: From February 2010, the The Merchant Networks Project will be unveiling a new set of Timeline files on shipping movements during major periods of European activity. The series of seven files so far begins about 1600 and will proceed to near 1900. That is, it will finally treat aspects of the transitions from the use of sailing ships to the use of steam-powered ships. These files are simple HTML webpages and will be searchable only via alpha-numeric queries in your searcher/word finder in your browser. The files will list ship voyages by date, with entries often being findable by shipowner, captain name, ship name. (The original listings were begun by being built around normally-available data on convict ships sailing to Australia 1788++) Listings on eg, trans-Atlantic shipping in different timeframes, or European shipping to China will be added in due course.

See: files beginning at the following URL:Shipping Timelines

Click here to read a new promotional page for this website translated into Chinese

The two writers/researchers behind the Merchant Networks Project are Ken Cozens (in London) and Dan Byrnes (Australia).

The Cozens/Byrnes team formed in late 2005 after prolonged e-mail discussions to pursue the idea of historians working on Merchant Networks. Not work on merchants as individuals, more on the networks they are part of ...

Note: Material presented on this website is researched, compiled/recompiled and written by Ken Cozens and Dan Byrnes, unless otherwise indicated. Formatting and style of information delivery is © Kenneth J. Cozens (London) and Dan Byrnes (Australia) 2006=2008.

(Where " -Ed" is referred to in the text in various files, it mostly refers to Dan Byrnes as the Webmaster for this project)


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This website was relaunched on the Net in April 2019 at: www.danbyrnes.com.au

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About the authors:

Pictures: Kenneth J. Cozens and Dan Byrnes (with camera).

Ken Cozens

Ken Cozens (at right) has had a long interest in Thames-side history and British maritime history. He gained his Masters degree in History at Greenwich University in 2005 (at Greenwich Maritime Institute), He has lately become more interested in using a variety of website technologies to promote his interests in history.

Dan Byrnes has a deep interest in the history of convict transportation from England/Britain to both North America and Australia. He gained an Honours degree in History from University of New England (Australia) in 1995/1996.

Dan Byrnes

And so ... this website is a contemporary Anglo-Australian production ...

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Webmaster of the Merchant Networks Project, Dan Byrnes, is the author behind The Blackheath Connection, a major work on the history of the transportation of convicts from England to North America and then Australia, 1717-1810.The Blackheath Connection website logo

Website history: Please note: This website was first launched on the Net by 20 May 2006 as a subset of a personal website from Australia. It was re-launched as a website on its own domain at its present URL on 4 July 2006. - Ed

Tech update: From early 2019: This website is lately made with open source web editor kit Bluefish and produced with a Linux Mint system V18 ...

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