John Stewart at Portsea: Convicts & Salterns
By Peter Dickson (Edited + additions by Dan Byrnes) (Received first on 24-9-2021)
One family connects Portsmouth to a transatlantic trade that stopped abruptly with the American Revolution - convict transportation. (On the history of the Anglo-American convict transportation scenario 1718-1775, see Note 2 below.) But another connection, far less expected, was salt.
A memorial tablet in St. Mary's Church, Portsea, records that Rev. John Vanderstegen Stewart (c.1794-1878), a son of John Henry Stewart (d.1838) and vicar of St. Mary's for forty years, was buried there in 1878.
Sixty six years earlier, The Monthly Magazine for August 1812, noted the death of Amelia Stewart, the vicar's grandmother. She, born in 1726, had died at Great Salterns, an extra-parochial Crown Estate on Portsea of some 550 acres, that included 70 acres of salt pans east of Copnor. She was eighty five, and Salterns had been her family's home for well over half a century; her husband, John Stewart, had died there forty years before, in 1772.1
It may be unremarkable for successive generations of a family to appear in one location but merchant John Stewart's main trade was anything but unremarkable. Upon his marriage to nineteen-year- old Amelia Vanderstegen, sister of William Vanderstegen (1737-1797) of Wanstead, Essex, a man of considerable means, Stewart was recorded only as residing in the parish of St. Olave, Hart Street, London in December 1756. By then, however, he already had a burgeoning business transporting English convicts on regular voyages to Maryland, a colony he had visited in 1749 to set this up.2 It is in this context that Gazette notices in Maryland and Virginia during the next two decades published his name, which was a constant, and those of more changeable associates and agents in England and America. But the main business name he used was JS&C - or, John Stewart and Campbell, used to include his junior partner, Duncan Campbell (1726-1803).
London merchant Andrew Reid (d. 1764) and John Stewart had operated jointly in this trade since 1748 and both had shared in a convict-shipping partnership with fellow merchants James and Andrew Armour since 1752. (The Armour brothers were raised in Edinburgh evidently; and the English, or rather the London-based, convict contractors seem to have mostly been Scottish originally.)3 Reid was key to the profits of this enterprise, holding the only government warrant awarding a subsidy for each convict carried overseas. Before 1756 was out, however, he and Stewart were the only surviving members of the group, both Armour brothers having died. (By 1753-1756.)4 In 1756, too, Stewart's brother Alexander (d.1768/1769 at Baltimore, Maryland), master of the convict transport Greyhound, settled in Maryland to establish a family presence at the American end of a business in which he continued to oversee for the next thirteen years.5
In 1757, John Stewart engaged another London partner, mariner-merchant Duncan Campbell.6 Andrew Reid retired but Stewart retained the Treasury warrant - the shipping costs of convicts at £5 per head being paid by government, leaving neat profits to be made from the sale of convict "servants" on arrival in their American colony. In this new arrangement, Campbell managed day-to-day minutiae from a company premises at Tower Hill, London, while Stewart fell into a non-executive role, living with his young family at Great Salterns, overseeing salt-works on the estate until his death in 1772. His widow's brother, or, his own brother-in-law, William Vanderstegen, then took responsibility for the commercial aspects of salt production, allowing his sister a degree of financial independence.7 For the next three years, Campbell continued the convict trade alone, the last consignment of 120 "servants" being sold in Virginia in October 1775.8 Ten years later, changing circumstances in the convict overseership scene would mean Campbell would bring convict business directly to Portsmouth.
was not the only convict contractor with an interest in salt
production on the Hampshire coast. Andrew Reid had owned several pans
at Copnor salt-works in 1749. He had an associate, John Campbell RN (see Note 9 below),
who acquired further saltings between Cosham and the Hamble, including
the works at Fareham and Porchester, in addition to those on
The Royal dockyard at Portsmouth was a ready market but salt produce also found its way
around the country and even overseas. Great Salterns estate, with a
large acreage for salt production, was therefore a prize asset: but when
and how it was taken up by John Stewart are questions yet to be
answered, although he certainly used Maryland connections to procure
timber for maintenance at the works.
A younger Stewart relation, Matthew Ridley (1746-1789), whom he had sent to Baltimore on personal and business matters, had written privately to Stewart on 24 August, 1770:
“I have endeavoured to procure the plank and posts for you against [Captain] McDougall's sailing10 but could not get any plank seasoned and good such as I liked and as I thought would suit you. Cedar posts (good) are scarce but I have now engaged some plank and posts and if the man does not deceive me shall send them by [Captain] Reed.11 I am told that Locust posts are equal to if not better than cedar and I shall be glad to know if you will have any of them.”12
Although the owners of salt-works habitually complained of poor returns, especially as the Excise duty increased during the French wars in the last decade of the century, it is unthinkable that Reid and Stewart, astute merchants both, would have ventured money on anything unprofitable forty years earlier. William Vanderstegen, while managing matters for his sister, also complained vociferously – but of fraudulent practices by unscrupulous lessees and customs officials as taxes rose. Salt extraction continued into the first three decades of the next century but after a long period of dilapidations, rising production costs, and small margins, the Stewarts quit the estate in 1829, just four years after extending the lease on 'Great Salterns Farm' for a further thirty one years; it realised £11,100 for the Crown when auctioned in 1830.
Portsmouth's link to convicts became more substantive after John Stewart's death. In 1776, his former partner Duncan Campbell had been contracted by government to house those whose transportation was suspended by the American war. It was a wholly private concern, Campbell laying out money and the Treasury settling his claims. Prisoners were lodged in adapted ships permanently moored on the Thames off Greenwich, an old "Stewart & Campbell" ship, Justitia, being the first put to this use, but as numbers rose, more anchorage was called for.
Campbell chose Langstone harbour on Portsea's eastern shore, familiar with the secure and sheltered location during his long friendship with John Stewart. On 7 December 1785, he wrote to his deputy there, Captain James Hill, to say that the first prisoners would arrive from Newgate on the eleventh but remain aboard their transport until Fortunee, the hulk being readied, was "fit to receive them".13 Local victuallers, ship's chandlers, other tradesmen and doctors, addressed directly or mentioned in some three hundred subsequent letters from Campbell's offices to Portsmouth, welcomed new business opportunities. Local clergy, too, were paid a salary to attend the hulks. Prisoners, however, may not have appreciated the irony of a view of Great Salterns had they known it was occupied by a family that had once prospered by convict transportation and whose erstwhile business partner was their present gaoler.
While Fortunee's people were intended for labour at Fort Cumberland at the harbour's mouth, some were soon listed for a new government scheme to send the condemned and unwanted overseas. Among others from hulks on the Thames, they were assigned to the "First Fleet" of convict transports that sailed under Royal Navy escort from Portsmouth in May 1787, reaching Botany Bay, New South Wales, in January 1788. (fix maybe cite Sturgess book as forthcoming). Duncan Campbell's involvements with the hulks and transportable prisoners ended in 1801 and he died in 1803. More berths at Langstone, including a hospital ship, continued to house convicts, additional moorings also being made off Gosport.14The Lion was the first ship there in 1787.
Of John and Amelia Stewart's family: their eldest son Sherborne, commissioned a captain in the life Guards in 1787, married a "Miss [Ann] Mason of Portugal Street", London, in 1789; no surviving successors are recorded.15 He had no success recovering large pre-war debts owed to his father by Marylanders, an offer of help from relation Matthew Ridley, latterly domiciled in America, never materialising.16 Before the end of the century, his mother had been indebted to her brother for an amount unspecified but Amelia Stewart and her family had been "unable to pay" anything.17 William Vanderstegen died intestate in 1797 and a sum of £3,000, payable in instalments plus interest, was agreed as the debt. When his widow, Elizabeth [nee Brigham] died three years later, the full amount remained outstanding. A Freemason, Sherborne was Provincial Grand Master for Hampshire from 1795 to 1819 but lacking either business acumen or personal funds, financial circumstances grew more parlous. In an 1817 letter apologising for the delay in repaying a debt to the Freemasons, he proposed raising funds from his "estate near Portsmouth" if "disappointments" continued.18 By 1825, however, Great Salterns was in his younger brother's name, an extension of its lease at £700 per annum being granted to John Henry Stewart.19
In 1839, Sherborne Stewart was eighty when predeceased by the younger brother who had enjoyed better fortune and left him an annuity of £40.20 When the family left Great Salterns, John Henry had moved to South Ockendon, Essex, having inherited, in 1816, all the real estate there of John Goodere, a cousin, the son of Hannah Elisabeth Vanderstegen, his mother's sister.21 His sister Sarah Amelia, a lesser beneficiary in the same will, died unmarried in 1840. His son at Portsea, John Vanderstegen Stewart, vicar of a church just three miles from his childhood home and former family estate, witnessed, in 1868, the end of convict transportation to Western Australia – convict transportation having been the principal source of his grandfather's lost fortune a century earlier.
1John Stewart was raised in Pembridge, Herefordshire. His father, Captain (J.) Stewart had married Katherine Sherborne, a daughter of the Rev. Nicholas Sherborne, Rector of Pembridge. The Stewarts leased Middlebrook Farm in the village from Katherine's uncle, Essex Sherborne II of Pembridge Court, who died in 1725.
26 September, Maryland Gazette, Stewart returned home aboard the
Thames, a merchant transport in which Capt. James Dobbins
had sailed from London in 1749 with a shipment of convicts. See also titles such as: Dan Byrnes, ‘Commentary’, to Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1990.
Charles Campbell, The Intolerable Hulks: British Shipboard Confinement, 1776-1857. Bowie, Maryland, Heritage Books, Inc., 1994.
The Duncan Campbell Letterbooks, ML A3225-3230 are held as: ML A3225, Vol. 1. of Business Letterbooks, March 1772-October 1776; ML A3226, Vol. 2 of Business Letterbooks, 13 December, 1776-21 September, 1779; ML A3227, Vol. 3 of Business Letterbooks, September 30, 1779-March 9, 1782; ML A3228, Vol. 4 of Business Letter books, March 15, 1782-April 6, 1785; ML A3229, Vol. 5 of Business Letterbooks, December 1, 1784-June 17, 1788; ML A3230, Vol. 6 of Business Letterbooks, June 20, 1788-December 31, 1794. Some ML Blighiana is also relevant to Campbell. The breaks of dates which are noted between Business Letterbooks are not in all instances covered by letters entered into Private Letterbooks, ML A3231, comprising three volumes of same (of physically smaller volumes).
(Assistance in compiling and annotating the complex Campbell genealogy and related material (now lodged online) has been gratefully received from Rev. Richard Borthwick, Perth, Australia. Edward Linn of Sydney. Miss Marion Campbell (now deceased) of Kilberry, Scotland. Mr Alastair Campbell of Airds, Chief Executive, Clan Campbell, Inverary Castle, Inverary, Argyll, PA32 8XF. Scotland. Mr Diarmid A. Campbell, Editor, Journal of the Clan Campbell Society of North America, 284 South Sly, Foxway, Denver, Colorado. 80135, United States of America and also PO Box 4428, Denver, Colorado. 80204, United States of America.
For further on convict transportation to North America, see for example: Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775. Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. Peter Wilson Coldham, Emigrants in Chains. Phoenix Hill, Far Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire, Allan Sutton, 1992. A. Roger Ekirch, 'Bound for America: a profile of British convicts transported to the colonies, 1718-1775', William and Mary Quarterly, Series 3, Vol. 42, No. 2, April 1985., pp. 184-200. A. Roger Ekirch, Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718-1775. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1987. A. Roger Ekirch, 'Great Britain's Secret Convict Trade to America, 1783-1784', American Historical Review, Vol. 89, No. 5, December 1984., pp. 1285-1291.
Kenneth Morgan, ’The Organisation of the Convict Trade to Maryland: Stevenson, Randolph and Cheston, 1768-1775’, William and Mary Quarterly, Series 3, Vol. 42, No. 2, April 1985., pp. 201-227. Abbot Emerson Smith, Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labour in America, 1607-1776. University of Carolina Press, 1947. Gloucester, Mass., Peter Smith, 1965.
3The earliest reference to Reid and Stewart acting together on convicts is in 1748; The National Archives, Kew, QS13.2.16.
41753: The National Archives, Kew, will of James Armour, PROB11.799.19. 1756: will of Andrew Armour, PROB11.824.388./p>
51756: 3 May, Archives of Maryland, Provincial Land Records 1749-1756, Vol. 701, pp. 683-684, record of a Power of Attorney from John Stewart and Andrew Armour to Alexander Stewart; Armour died only four months later, about the time Alexander would have arrived in Maryland. A third Stewart brother, James, was a wine merchant in Oporto in the firm of Croft, Stewart & Croft. Alexander died in Maryland in 1769, James in Oporto, Portugal in 1772.
61759: 15 February, Maryland Gazette, a notice for John Stewart & Campbell (JS&C). Stewart's new partner would have arrived in the Chesapeake (Maryland and Virginia) in 1768. Much information about Duncan Campbell can be found on Dan Byrnes' website book, The Blackheath Connection, easily available online; and his various items written after the completion of the Connection in late 1999, on his profile on www.academia.edu. Campbell in 1776 became Overseer of the Thames Prison Hulks and so his career is one of the few that can directly join the history of the American Revolution with the general English penal history that traditionally is regarded as the origin-point of modern Australia via Britain's penal colonisation of Australia from 1788.
27 May, The Rectory, Steventon, Hampshire; William Vanderstegen stood godfather to Francis William Austen (1774-1865), younger brother of Jane Austen (1775-1817). Jane Austen's reputation generally seems still rather fractured by the unwillingness of her genealogists to wrestle with some "new facts" about her family and some of her own friendships as well. (Some of these "new facts" include material uncovered by the researches of one of this website's sponsors, the London historian, Ken Cozens, who has tackled the surnames Fitzhugh and Lance as connected to Jane Austen.) Jane's aunt Philadelphia (1730-1792), was first married in India to Dr. Tysoe Saul Hancock (1710/1711-1775), EICo trader, friend of Warren Hastings, surgeon-extraordinary to the Calcutta garrison, then to Warren Hastings (1732-1818) as he was a one-time Governor of Bengal, later rather famously impeached when he returned to London, but never convicted. And what the Austen genealogists seem to find inconvenient is the question rather fudged at his impeachement: did Hastings single-handedly begin the India-China opium trade, or not?
Jane's brother, Francis William Austen, joined the Royal Navy, reached the rank of Admiral, and was buried at Wymering, Portsmouth. In the previous year (1773) Vanderstegen had sent his son, also William, to be schooled by Rev. George Austen at the Rectory; Cassandra Leigh had known Vanderstegen socially before her marriage to George Austen (1731-1805).
8The number of felons (people) transported to America by John Stewart and his various associates in the twenty five years prior to 1775 is estimated cautiously at 8,000-10,000.. In 1787, Campbell stated that, on average, 547 convicts were transported annually in the four years before John Stewart died. A lower mean is used for the 25-year-period on the assumption that efficiency increased over time. With transportation costs subsidised and convicts auctioned on arrival at, say, £12 per head, about £100,000 would have been netted (about £13 million at today's value).
9There is little mention to date of salt import into Colonial American colonies. One rare mention of John Stewart and salt import is in Farley Grubb, 'The Transatlantic Market for British Convict Labor', Journal of Economic History, Vol. 60, No. 1, March 2000., pp. 94-122. Published by Cambridge University Press. (Farley Grubb was Professor of Economics, University of Delaware; Grubb declares that 25% of British emigration to mid-Eighteenth Century America was as a convict.) www.salthistory.yolasite.com ... See the website by Professor Jeremy Greenwood giving a detailed, historical account
of salt production on the Hampshire coast. Captain (later Admiral) John Campbell (1719/1720-1790)
became a vice admiral and Governor of Newfoundland, and also naval CinC there; and as such he had control of one of the few naval stations that the Royal Navy maintained outside England; he circumnavigated the Earth in 1740 on Centurion with Anson, was an astronomer who "invented" the sextant, and died in 1790 when at Charles St., Berkeley Square, London. He was married but his wife's name remains unknown. But amongst his executors were his banker Thomas Coutts; and John and Alexander Pitcairn. This John Campbell possibly had a brother a Naval Commissioner? - William (born 1754?), married to Ann Pitcairn (born 1746? a sister or other relative of John's executors?, where her brother Alexander seems to have married a daughter Elizabeth of John Stewart's junior partner, Duncan Campbell and his (Campbell's) second wife, Mary Mumford) - William, who as a Commissioner of the Navy was helpful to Duncan the convict Overseer, but it seems new information that this John had anything to do with salt, or was rewarded by the profits from any salt made near Portsea. This John was son of the Kirkbean minister Rev. John Campbell (who unfortunately has no further genealogy on the Net) and his wife Mary Michelson.
It is currently thought (though this could be wrong) that the relevant "Stewart" genealogy proceeds from King James Stuart V (1512-1542) of Scotland) to his (natural?) son Robert (1533-1592/93), Earl of Orkney; to his son John Steward/Stuart (1574-1645/1646, born in Eday, Scotland, created first Earl Carrick) who was given rights to manufacture salt in Scotland, who was a favourite of James 6 (of Scotland), the Ist of England, who gave him rights to salt production in England; except that he had only one daughter, Margaret, who married a Scots/Kentishman, Sir Matthew Mennes (d.1648, originally named Menzies [orig. pron: Mingeees]) - thus there are unfortunate breaks in and for this Scots Stuart/Stewart lineage which finally seems to lead nevertheless to the father of the convict contractor, John Stewart, died 1772.)
10Dougal McDougall was then captain of the convict transport Thornton for JS&C.
11Christopher Reed was then captain of the convict transport Scarsdale for JS&C whose ships typically left London with manufactured goods in addition to convicts and returned with tobacco and iron ingots.
121770: Letter, 19 July, Matthew Ridley to John Stewart, Matthew Ridley papers at Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Ridley signed off the letter naming the Stewart children and a 'Miss. Vanderstegen', Amelia's unmarried sister (Mary). In the MHS collection are the accounts of a salt mill at Portsmouth attributed to John Ridley, Matthew's father, husband of Frances Sherbourne, daughter of Essex Sherbourne II of Pembridge Court. Matthew Ridley's first son by his first wife Ann Richardson was named Essex Sherborne Ridley, who died in 1777 aged 12.
131785: The Duncan Campbell Letter Books, State Library, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Letter, 7 December, Duncan Campbell to Capt. James Hill. [Digital images of Duncan Campbell's letters about convicts at Langstone and suppliers in Portsmouth were given to the Portsmouth History Centre in 2019].
141788: the frigate Hornetwas adapted to provided a hospital at Langstone.
15Sherborne Stewart is referred to as Colonel Stewart in documents after his appointment as brevet Lt. Colonel on 1 January, 1800. He resigned his commission in 1809.
161782: The Duncan Campbell Letter Books, Letter, 8 March, Matthew Ridley to William Vanderstegen. Ridley, already heavily indebted to William Vanderstegen, the State of Maryland and sundry Americans creditors, demanded a 25% commission on the collection of debts to SJ&C. After Ridley died at Baltimore in 1789, all debtors sued his estate. Vanderstegen was the largest creditor with £5,000 owed him for 17 years.
171800: The National Archives, Kew, will of Elizabeth Vanderstegen, widow, PROB11.1343.37.
181817: Museum and Library of Freemasonry, Freemasons Hall, London, Letter, 3 September, Sherborne Stewart to the Freemasonry Board of General Purposes.
191825, 6 May, 'The Fifth Report of His Majesty's Woods, Forests and Land Revenues' pp. 86-87 in UK Parliamentary Papers.
201839: The National Archives, Kew, will of John Henry Stewart, PROB11.1908.314.
211816: The National Archives, Kew, will of John Goodere, PROB11.1584.549.
1763: Hannah's mother, Engeltie Vanderstegen, (nee Boon) names grandson John Goodere in her will at The National Archives, Kew, PROB11.890.152.
1758: General Evening Post, London, announces the marriage of 'Rev. [Richard] Goodere of Wanstead and Miss Vanderstegen' [Hannah, by elimination].
Dear History Friends, It’s a red letter day today (2-5-2019) for history researchers, more so for those interested in convict transportation to North America (1718-1775). Peter Dickson (UK) has now proved from letters by Matthew Ridley (1746-1789) that Capt. Alexander Stewart of Baltimore, Maryland, was indeed a brother of the London -based convict contractor John Stewart (died 1772), who since 1758 had had a junior partner, Duncan Campbell (1726-1803). (This Duncan Campbell is subject of Dan Byrnes’ website book The Blackheath Connection – placed on the Net by mid-2000).
Peter Dickson has since about 2017 been going over questions unanswered and even unasked by Dan Byrnes and others before 2000, as these questions were too numerous and before 2000 it looked like there was far too little information available in Australia for answering them.) Some proof as it turns out is in the form of little-known letters from Matthew Ridley in America (Baltimore, Maryland) to John Stewart died 1772 in London, dated 5 June, 1771 and 17 November, 1772. Some of the issues can be captured by genealogy. We proceed then to re-analyse a revised scenario.
A little-known Captain John Stewart, probably born in Scotland, had married to Katherine Sherborne (born 1696) and also to Sarah. This Katherine Sherborne was daughter of Rev. Nicholas Sherborne/Sherburne at St Mary’s Pembridge, and Mary van Hugen van Menheir (died 1701). The fact that both Captain John (probably an army captain, not a mariner) and his son John the convict contractor had both married migrant women from across the English channel possibly indicates that these Stewarts were unpopular in England, and perhaps, even less popular in Scotland; and here, Dan Byrnes for example is unsure. By Katherine, Captain John Stewart had the convict contractor John (died 1772 and married to Amelia Vanderstegen (1726-1812); the Oporto (Portugal) wine merchant James S. (died 1772) was of the firm Croft, Stewart and Croft; and Captain Alexander Stewart (mariner of Baltimore, born 1709 and died Maryland 1768/1769 ), who married first to Sarah Bowley and Maryland and secondly to Sarah Jane Lux (1738-1817 died Baltimore).
Sarah Bowley has parents still unknown but Alexander Stewart was once of Furley Hall, Baltimore, which was built by Daniel Bowley II (1745-1807), the Bowleys being a well-known mercantile family of Baltimore. Sarah Jane Lux was a daughter of the well-known and Baltimore-based convict contractor Darby Lux (c.1695-1750) and Anne Saunder/Sanders (died 1784). Sarah Jane Lux had two children; Anne Stewart (born 1758) married to US Senator Daniel Bowley Jnr. (1745-1807 the builder of Furley Hall), son of Captain Daniel Bowley (1715-1744/1745) and Elizabeth Lux (1725-1793); and John Stewart married to Catherine Hare (no information) who had about 5 children, of whom only one, Charles Augustus Stewart, had a marriage, he married Mary Anne Bloise (no information yet).
Now we leave Baltimore in Maryland America and return to London, England, the source of convict servants handled by the Luxes and Captain Alexander Stewart of Baltimore, as transported by John Stewart and Duncan Campbell (who were known to fellow-traders in both colonial Virginia and Maryland, America and London, as “Js&C”). John Stewart (died 1772) had married Amelia Vanderstegen, a daughter of London merchant/tavern keeper Henri V. (died 1754) and his wife, Engletje Boon (died 1763), Henri/Henry being son of the Amsterdam burgher Dirck Vanderstegen (died 1711) and Unknown. The Vanderstegens are supposed to have accompanied William III of Orange when he took the English throne in 1688 (The Glorious Revolution). But mysteriously, this John Stewart (died 1772) was connected also with salt production on the southern coast of England, a fact (discovered by Peter Dickson) which has never been discussed because it was not known about, re John Stewart’s convict contracting career (1758-1772 if not earlier), as a Scots-origin, London-based convict contractor.
Here, details are sketchy, and it is not known what kinds of salts this Stewart was involved with; table salt as used in England (and by the armed forces?), or as used in American colonies or on Jamaica via the relatives or other clients of Stewart’s partner, Duncan Campbell.) Or, bulk salts as used in other areas of life; food processing (fish or beef?), or in tanneries (leather/hide industries), or other sorts of industries/factories. But it is known that Amelia Stewart by 1778 was a major supplier of the London salt market,
The son of John Stewart and Amelia V., John Henry Stewart, (died 1838 and married to Sarah Desborough [daughter of Henry Desborough died 1829 at Clapham, of the British Post Office]), seems to have been connected with salt production.
And about salt we find that Portsea (had 54 salt pans) near Portsmouth; the Portsea works used salt pits fitted with windmills and the name arises, Copnor salt works. The philosopher John Stuart Mill had described salt works at Portsmouth. One Celia Fienes (sic) by 1700 had written about salterns (salt works) at Lymington, re salt sold to the British navy. (A later Lymington name was Charles St Barbe, who was a relative of John St Barbe, the Blackheath name and neighbour of the Enderby whalers who lived at Blackheath, whaling investor, insurance broker, the same John St Barbe (died 1816) who sent a few convict ships to early Sydney after 1788.) … And this John Henry Stewart when he died in 1838 was of the Portsea area.
This John Henry Stewart was brother of the spinster Sarah Amelia Stewart (died 184) and of Colonel and Freemason Grandmaster of Hampshire, Sherbourne Stewart (no dates except he was active c.1797) who married Ann Mason (Of Portugal St., Grosvenor Square, London.) As a Masonic grandmaster, Stewart was preceded by the noted Mason Thomas Dunckerley (1724-1795 and said to be an illegitimate son of George II by Ms Dunckerley) and succeeded by Sir William Champion de Crespigny (1765-1829), Bart 2. Matthew Ridley meantime was a relative of the Stewarts.
Now, Duncan Campbell’s own Letterbooks make it look as though when Campbell had first despatched Matthew Ridley in 1770 from England to Maryland to act as agent for JS&C, that Ridley was an independent discovery by Campbell and not any relative of the Stewarts. The facts are quite different; Ridley was related to the Stewarts, so his connections to Campbell were via the Stewarts, not via Campbell’s independent activities. This means that when John Stewart had died in 1772, anything that Ridley did (evidently for Campbell or for Stewart’s widow Amelia Vanderstegen) was also in Ridley’s own interests, and less so in Campbell’s interests. This is new information, and has not as far as we know, been in the possession of US historians writing about Ridley as an American sympathizer and a minor diplomat of the American Revolution. (See for example, Herbert E. Klingelhofer, 'Matthew Ridley's Diary during the Peace Negotiations of 1782', William and Mary Quarterly, Series 3, Vol. 20, January 1963., pp. 95-133.) There are other implications of Ridley’s role vis-a-vis these Stewarts. The full facts of Campbell’s relationship to the Stewarts (and/or to Ridley) have not been known to historians interested in convict transportation 1718-1775. Where those historians have been from the US, they have tended to be more interested in questions relating to the legal status of transported convict servants (as compared to the diminishing rights of black slaves), than to merchant politics or to convict transportation seen as maritime history. We find also that US, UK and Australian historians have NOT tended to see the convict contractors to North America through the lenses of genealogy, as the case of “JS&C” now indicates would be highly appropriate.
The situation was that the major convict contractors operating between London and the North American colonies – such as Andrew Reid – and quite legally - could and did sub-contract some of their convict contracting activities to interested parties – such as John Stewart. Stewart, and/or JS&C, in turn incurred debts with a wide range of colonial names of Maryland or Virginia because of their sales of convict servants to interested parties in colonial Virginia and Maryland, also because of their backloading of American tobaccoes. (One customer of JS&C [for a convict servant gardener]) was none other than the wealthy Virginian, George Washington, who owned the plantation Mount Vernon. The convict-gardener was, rather ironically, named Freeman.)
And in fact, Peter Dickson’s related researches on the debt-collecting activities of the estate of John Stewart, often done by Mathew Ridley, in turn unearth a great number of colonial names for Virginia and Maryland, the names of a great number of Patriots and Loyalists as well as American debt collectors. All these people existed and they need to be explained. US historians then, in particular, seem destined to jettison any tendencies to Triumphalist (Revolutionary) History and to adopt, perhaps, a view that convict transportation could also usefully be seen as a variety of Anglo-American maritime history.
Dan Byrnes (as at May 2019).
Andrew Reid: There is a will for one Andrew Reid who died in Charleston, South Carolina in early 1782 while it was still in British hands. He clearly has property in Britain (unspecified) but there was an inventory of his British assets in 1784. This, too, is in the archives but not accessible remotely at present (frustrating, as it may come to nothing but…). He names a son, James, under 21 but no other relations or connections; where this James may have ended up, who knows?
There are also EIC records of one Andrew Reid sailing as "supercargo", 1733-35, to China together with a surgeon, James Bonner; both later accused of attempting to smuggle diamonds into the country on their return.
The will of Reid’s partner in buying saltings around Portsmouth, Vice-Admiral John Campbell [d.1791] is interesting. His wife had clearly died so is not mentioned by name, but they appear to have adopted a girl who took the surname Campbell. However, he appointed two of the same executors as Duncan Campbell - Dr David Pitcairn and his brother William, so he clearly moved in the same circles.
Amelia Stewart: Appears in the records at The Salters Company, London, in notebooks by Thomas Weston from 1778 as a major supplier of salt to the London market. There may be references to William Vanderstegen for Thomas Weston, in 1794, refuted the charges of corruption in the trade (as far as the Salters Company was concerned) made by W.V.
The following (as researched 2017-2019 by Peter Dickson) consigned tobacco to Duncan Campbell on current account
[From Duncan Campbell Business Letters, Vol. 1, 1772-1775, p. 555]
Gavin Lawson, Falmouth, Rappahannock River
Burgess Ball, Lancaster County
Moore Fauntleroy, Rapphannock River
Austin Brockenbrough, Near Leedstown
Coll. Francis Thornton, Stafford County
Williamson Ball, Rappahannock River
Hon'ble John Page, Virginia
Rodham Kenner, Northumberland County
Peter Presley Thornton, Northumberland County
William Fitzhugh, Somersett
John Cook, Gloucester County
Coll. Wm Brockenbrough, Richmond County
Wim. Fitzhugh Marmion, Stafford County
John Corrie, Rappahannock
Richard Lee, Naval Office, Potowmack
Baynham & New, Caroline County
Benjamin Grimes Jnr., Caroline County
Charles Grimes, Caroline County
Mrs Charlotte Thornton, Northumberland County
Hon'ble John Tayloe, Virginia
Clement Pittman, Mount Carmel, Essex County
Coll. Henry Fitzhugh, Stafford County
Coll. William Fitzhugh, Stafford County
William Edmonson, Hobbs Hole, Essex County
John Reynolds, Hobbs Hole, Essex County
William Champ, King George County
Burgess Smith, Lancaster County
Maryland [From Business Letters, Vol. 1, 1772-1775, pp. 45-385] Major Henry Ridgley, Mrs Rachel Ridgley, Aron (Aaron?) Gartrell, Joseph Whyte, James Riggs Robert Ryan Adam Shipley Richard Stringer William Sydebotham Peter Jeves Edward Hewit Alexander Melvell Jonathan Molyneux Michael Dorsey Charles Worthington James Dell Robert Marshall John Musgrove Samuel Owings Sarah Gartrell Aaron Gartrell William Byall, Thomas Dorsey, Lux & Bowley, Richard Hull.
Debtors named by Lawrence Berry, 1805-1819
Debtor Defendant / Rep. Outcome Burgess Ball (dec.) Sampson Ball Kentucky land assigned to John Rose, 1794; land sold 1813 Henry Fitzhugh (dec.) Attorneys Judgement 1806 principal & interest. John Page (Est. of) William B Page per Thomas Swann (Atty.) Compromise agreed – cash payment + purchase of remaining debt John Tayloe (Est. of) John Tayloe III Payment by instalments Sampson Matthews Assigned Kentucky & Ohio land to Lawrence Berry George Matthews Geo. Matthews Jnr ditto Samuel Love Charles Love (executor) Unknown (but estate sold in 1803 Andrew Leitch (dec.) Land assigned to John Rose (1794) Hugh Stuart Alex. Stuart Payment by instalments & debtors due assigned to Rose Thompson Mason(d. 1785) John T Mason (son) Debt to Hugh Stuart assigned to John Rose. Paid in full by J T Mason in 1813, balance completed by Judge Archibald Stuart Spence Monroe (dec.) Joseph Jones (exor.) Payment by instalments Alex. Stuart/G. Lawson (dec) Land taken in Bodetourt Co. sold in 1817 Richard Philip Judgement for full amount of principal & interest Richard Green Ditto Moses Green Ditto Jonathan Green Ditto Philip Peed Unnamed executor Ditto William Thurston (dec.) Ditto Alex. Spotswood Final resolution due in 1819
The following who appeared in the 1775 list of Thomas Hodge are recorded in Fredericksburg court case from 1796
Debtor Defendant / Rep. Outcome John Cook (dec.) John C Cook Judgement for full amount of principal & interest William Pollock William Pollock Ditto William Thurston (dec) Nicholas Talliaferro Talliaferro as administrator Job Shedrick (dec) Arculus Hawkins Hawkins as administrator David Blair David Blair Ditto William Blythe (dec) Joshua Mc Williams
J. Mc Williams as son-in-law
Ridley's letters from Baltimore June 1770 to June 1771 are exclusively about JS&C business – including financial affairs of the late Captain Alexander Stewart.
Most significant are two letters of June 5, 1771; one is to Campbell in London, the other a private letter to Stewart at Portsea, both on the same subject – future of the agency in Maryland.
To both he writes that William Russell is resigning to concentrate on his West India business and to expand into others. He therefore puts himself forward as the replacement, although he suggests that Russell should be employed as necessary on older matters that he is more familiar with. To both he asks for a line of personal credit to be used in any promising commercial opportunities that might arise. He then diverges.
To Stewart he adds that he and Russell are to become business partners in a potentially profitable rum store at Elk Ridge; he undertakes not to deal in cargoes to the West Indies, nor dry goods - “bad trade” - in his words.
There are no more letters until October 1772 when he returns to the Chesapeake (after several months at home, in England) as Duncan Campbell's agent. He has credit for a private account with Campbell to which proceeds of his personal business are supposed to be paid and he also has, as we now know, the £5,000 loan from William Vanderstegen.
The undertakings made to Stewart were only words – Ridley tries to trade in dry goods with merchants in Cadiz, Barcelona and Oporto. He also deals in dry goods with the West Indies (Kingston, Ja.) On the subject of rum, he dives straight in and orders a vast quantity from a company in Barbados. It cannot be fulfilled at the price he expects so he tries another merchant but is surprised at the amount of the invoice.
The trade in dry goods, mostly flour and "indian corn", also does not come up to expectation. In 1775, he writes only half the number of letters [that he usually writes] to DC. His own affairs abroad become more distracting and frustrating. His partnership with Russell had expanded with the addition of Daniel Bowley and William Lux.
The list of of Ridley's correspondents abroad includes:
Messrs. Bewickes, Timmerman & Romero – Cadiz
Messrs. Philip Lytcote & Co. - Barbados
Messrs. Ford, Curtoys & Co. - Barcelona
William Potts – Barbados
Wallace, Davidson & Johnson – London
Daniel Major – Kingston, Jamaica
Mr. Cadwallader Morris – Kingston, Jamaica
Messrs. Nash & Hitchcock – Figuera, Spain
Messrs. Stafford, Cooper & Co/ - Oporto, Portugal
On Duncan Campbell business there are odd letters to the usual: Thomas Hodge; Somervell & Gordon; Hugh Lennox; John Campbell Saltspring; Francis Somervell.
Returning to London in December 1775, Ridley is most put out by Campbell's “imputation” that he has put more time effort towards his own interests than to the business for which he was agent. He writes of his grievance over this to William Russell and to Mark Pringle (who has been mentioned in letters to others but who seems to have been something of a "gopher"). To Pringle he writes that the time spent on Campbell's affairs has effectively cost him money! The other complaint that Campbell makes is that Ridley has left financial papers with Russell instead of giving them to Thomas Hodge (of Leedstown, Virginia) as he had been instructed.