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Questions on forcing convicts to labour at Botany Bay: Newspaper coverage of the First Fleet: Thomas Shelton and the Home Office: The lack of a contract for the First Fleet: The contract maker, Thomas Shelton: A strange preamble to an Act for transporting convicts: Gathering the First Fleet convicts: More on the role of Thomas Shelton: In the prisons: `so very undigested and very expensive a scheme': 10 January, 1787: a day of meetings: Arthur Phillip's reputation: London and Freemasonry after the First Fleet (From May 1787): A brief chronology: Payments to merchants: Arthur Phillip, governor of New South Wales: Endnotes:


The Blackheath Connection

Chapter 35


Questions on forcing convicts to labour at Botany Bay:


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After June 1787, the convicts bound for "Botany Bay" were to be considered servants of the crown, since the government paid for their transportation, and deployed the property in the service of the body of the convict. But it was not clear that the convicts were to be put to forced labour. Phillip's commission seemed to have an authority to pardon convicts, later interpreted as power to emancipate them and discharge them from their servitude. ([1]) All convicts were held to be assigned to the governor of NSW, and he had power of their labour usage. In NSW, local customs grew to view penal restraint as servitude and pardoning as emancipation. Convicts had only the rights of people in servitude, so in NSW, convicts remained much more under more government protection than they'd been in North America, their status was even more strictly defined. Atkinson notes, "the subjection of convicts in NSW was a direct result of the extension of empire" (one might add, of a particular kind). ([2])


What kind of an extension of empire is the difficult question. For example, could poverty-stricken Highland Scots be sent to Australia in an organised program of emigration? They later went freely to the US. In Gov. Phillip's additional instructions from George III of 20 August, 1789 the king and his ministers seem fully aware that people in the kingdom, or in George's dominions, might wish to emigrate to NSW - in which case, Phillip was to assist them as long as this was not expensive to the public. ([3]) ([4])


* * *


Newspaper coverage of the First Fleet:


With newspaper stories of the 1780s, the fact a story even got into the papers was more remarkable than the accuracy or otherwise of the story... more so if the story did not follow the government line. Many "Botany Bay" stories were inaccurate, but this hardly surprising when even a man so close to government and to proceedings as Campbell could be often mistaken with his information. But stories appeared in both pro and anti government papers. The Sussex Weekly Advertiser was excitable. On 3 October, 1786 it reported, incorrectly, "Each of the transport ships going to Botany Bay have two guns loaded with grapeshot pointed down the hatchway where the convicts are to be; and which will be fired on them should any riot or mutiny happen". This was fantastic. ([5])


Due to Phillip's practical approach, by October 1786 the NSW scheme was being formalised. Problems emerged with consideration of the legal roles of the governor, and Phillip began to look more like a day-to-day administrator. And, how was the governor to relate to the inhabitants? What kind of economic or social life was proposed? Cohabitation would become accepted. (Heney has called the transportation system a "large scale call-girl racket run simply to sweep an obnoxious section of offenders out of sight". ([6])


By 24 October, the secretary of state began to think on formal machinery for management of men and women. Some questions were resolved by November with thoughts of a judicial system. Government had been trying to join an unstructured community and a military government. But one reason to dwell on a legal structure was that the king had no power to deny his subjects a trial by jury, not apparently, even transported convicts. So, with an Act of Parliament soon thought necessary, a Bill was drawn up in January 1787, by which officers of army or navy could be empanelled, and a charter issued in April. And then, how absolute was the title of land to be given? There were no surveyors, no civil court to hear claims, so a procedure for granting land had to be developed. A surveyor was appointed in May, and Atkinson says, the effect was to control the power of the governor and enlarge the rights of the inhabitants. Phillip expected to make some convicts independent of government control soon after he arrived, but Phillip instead chose to keep his own control, and he regarded the convicts as servants of the crown until their full terms had expired; he kept them at labour. So in some ways, civil rights were curtailed more than Whitehall had expected. ([7]) Between October 1786 and April 1787, Phillip's commissions were written. An idea for a superintendent for the colony perhaps animated William Richards' ambitions? ([8])


By October 1786, Nepean wrote, regarding NSW, "The form of Government is not yet settled, though I rather think it will be a military one". But shortly there was talk of a colony and a civil government. ([9]) ([10]) By late October, 1786, Atkinson perceives new ideas coming into the task for Phillip, "almost a hidden engine at work", the views of Lord Sydney, like a ghost from a Whiggish machine.


Phillip's salary was doubled to 1000, a concern for convict rights became discernible. Sydney remained interested in the settlement and was more ready to spend money on it than other men in cabinet. Sydney, an old-fashioned Whig with a tendency to republicanism, loathed the union of power and ideology, and stood for a sensible link between the executive and the people. Sydney disliked the idea of convicts being made the slaves of government; he had objected to it when the hulks were first established in 1776. Phillip however saw convicts as long-term servants of the crown, a view more compatible with William Eden's ideas, and also with Campbell's existing day-to-day outlook for working convicts at hard labour. So that Atkinson concludes that between October 1786 and May 1787, Sydney's deep-seated dislike of despotism had been given more formal shape, so that less despotism was possible than might have otherwise been the case. ([11])


On 4 October, 1786, Nepean wrote to Sir Edward Boughton at Hereford, "The ships which are to proceed to Botany Bay... are intended to convey all the convicts now in the hulks to that settlement". Gillen adds, "country gaols could not be relieved until there were vacancies in the hulks". Practically, the hulks system "filtered" convicts for transportation, and also in respect of prisoner documentation, a matter which was to raise other questions of whether the colony was well or badly planned? ([12])


Campbell at this point had Jamaican business to attend.

Campbell Letter 150:

London 7 Oct 1786

Mr John Sherwin Enfield

Dear Sir,

Yr and My Late Bro in Law Mr John Campbell of Saltspring having left his Estate in Jamaica and a mortgage to me for a Very Large Sum and otherwise greatly Incumbered; A (?) is about being instituted in the Court of Chancery in Jama for a sale of all his Estate for the payment of the Debts and Incumbrances; and as your Wife is (?) under his Will I think it proper to give you this (?) With Compts to Mrs Sherwin I remain

Dear Sir ([13])< /p>


* * *


Sensationalism was used by The Sussex Weekly Advertiser, which on 12 October, 1786, said, "Whatever expense (and the highest calculation is not immoderate) the plan of sending the convicts may cost government, something must be done in the present alarming state of criminality in this country. A man ignorant of the fact is shocked to hear that in London prisons only there are always above a thousand prisoners for different crimes, and no sooner are fifty or an hundred disposed of then there are as many ready to be committed in their room. The frequency of commitments is astonishing". ([14])< /p>


Was this shock-horror journalism, pure propaganda, or a vain struggle to understand a social problem? Costs? Parliament began to have second thoughts about the cost of Botany Bay in 1793-1794, when an experienced Treasury official, George Rose, was asked specifically to look into the matter. One estimate of today says the First Fleet cost 84,000. It is known the First Fleet transportation cost over 54,000. ([15])


On 21 October, 1786 one newspaper reported "A letter from Portsmouth", that "orders had come there for the men to work double tides to get those ships out of dock which are to sail to Botany Bay". The newspaper was horribly wrong if it had visions of a those ships sailing shortly. The First Fleet sailed seven months later, in May 1787.


24 October, 1786, Pitt consulted William Wilberforce about a chaplain for the NSW expedition. Rev Richard Johnson is chosen and later visits the hulks, to find it a harrowing experience.


27 October, and most cloudy weather bade the day. Lady Penrhyn lay on the river awaiting delivery of her stores. Providing some suspense, the court of the directors of the East India Company were deliberating on their policy to be adopted about Botany Bay ships foisted on them by government.


30 October, 1786. Memorial of Samuel Enderby and sons et al to the Board of Trade. ([16])


30 October, 1786, Messrs Sparrow and Singleton corresponded with Nepean about New Zealand flax. ([17]) For a time there was an idea the proposed breadfruit ship could look into this, but nothing came of it.


On 30 October, the Board of Control (Pitt, Lord Sydney, Grenville) read over the East India Company minutes which had been sent to them about Botany Bay ships.


Then, by November 1786, SWA readers were told: "The plan of transporting convicts to Botany Bay is considered a lunatic scheme". Possibly the paper was riding the tide of public opinion, for by then, criticism of the Botany Bay scheme was mounting.


The convict ships to be fitted out for accommodation were being supervised at Deptford by Capt. George Teer, who did a workmanlike job. Teer incidentally in a routine report in December 1786 mentioned that the accommodation and provisions for Botany Bay "were better than any set of transports [he had] ever had any directions in." ([18]) His remark must be viewed as an expert assessment.


By 3 November, the Alexander Captain Duncan Sinclair was lying off the Red House, Deptford, before or after Teer's attentions. The expedition intended for Freetown, Sierra Leone, being organised by the anti-slaving movement assisted by the independently wealthy Zachary Macaulay was also shortly to leave London - some of the same suppliers provided goods to both expeditions - Messrs Harrisons, Gordans and Stanley, of 46 Lime Street. The marines for Botany Bay were supplied with Tenerif wine by Messrs Cadogan, Pollard and Cooper of Swithins Lane, City. ([19])


Suppliers of slop cloathing were James Wadham, John Yerbury, Wm. Goodman, Wm. Richardson. (There were later complaints the clothes were poor). There have been allegations the marines were under-supplied with munitions. ([20]) Messrs William Richardson and Borrowdale supplied one ton of hats. Some goods for the colony were: from William Goodman, two and a half tons of shoes; from James Wadham, 13 tons of slop cloathes; from John Yerbury, half a ton of woolen stockings; from Messrs William Richardson and Borrowdale, one ton of hats. (The name Borrowdale here may or may not be related to the ship Borrowdale of the First Fleet?) ([21]) Had Campbell ever dealt with these suppliers? Wadham had never supplied the hulks with slop cloathes. Campbell had usually bought from James Base at Gravesend. Campbell and other hulks overseers also dealt with Miles Rowe at Portsmouth and Francis Rowe at Stonehouse, Plymouth.


* * *


George Teer remained busy fitting out the ships.


November 2, 1786: Deptford, Nov 2, 1786. To the Honble Comm of the Navy

Honble Gentlemen, Be pleased to give me your directions with respect to the Number of Casks of Beef, Pork, Flour, Pease, Rice, and Butter, which are to be taken out of the Lighters by the conditions of the Contracts for the Provisions intended to be landed at Botany Bay, that you may be able to Ascertain the Warranty thereof(?) - year hence - And if to be deposited in the (?) house at Deptford, to give the express Orders to send for it and take charge from time to time as I may have opportunity [to] give it to them. I am Honble Gentlemen,

Geo Teer

To the Honble Comm of the Navy ([22])< /p>

Provisions retained at Deptford, being part of the Quantity Shipped for the use of the Convicts at Botany Bay to ascertain the Warrantee made by the Contractors

For the Fishburn, 1 Cask Stores marked GHW 1 Do [ie, ditto]

1 Tierce Beef 1 Do Pork

Golden Grove 1 Tierce Beef 1 Do Pork

Borrowdale 1 Cask Bread 1 Cask Pease 1 Firkin Butts

Lady Penrhyn 1 Cask Flour marked DG 1 Do 1 Small Cask Rice The Beef, Pork, Flour, Bread, Pease & Rice Warranted to keep Twelve Months and the Butter Six Months.


November 2, 1786: Deptford, To the Honble Comm of the Navy, Honble Gentlemen, Honble Gentlemen, Geo Teer To the Honble Comm of the Navy Info per Mollie Gillen. ([23])< /p>


Drollery was continued in the WEP (December 19) when it carried rhymes about Botany Bay. Satire was good fun, all at government expense. Despite the public buffoonery, on 4 November, John Fielding a printer of Pater-Noster Row published an Historical Narrative of New South Wales, with a general chart.


It was reported, 4 November, 1786, "An order is given out for making a list of the names of all the convicts that are to be sent to Botany Bay, with the year and day of their receiving sentence and the term they are to be transported for, which is to be delivered to the Governor, that he may know when their times are up, in order that they may have liberty to return to England by the first ships that arrive there with convicts". As prediction, this never came true. Strangely, Phillip when the First Fleet left did not have information on when the convicts' terms were completed. All of which rendered the First Fleet legally ineffectual, and about which too little has been said.


By 6 November, 1786: Messrs Harrisons, Gordans and Stanley at 46 Lime St were applying to the Treasury for freedom from duties and fees at the Customs House for goods supplied for Botany Bay. On 7 November, 1786: Unknown at the Navy Office wrote to Capt. George Teer at Deptford about the First Fleet ships. ([24])


Deptford the 7th [Probably 7 Nov., 1786], as documents are in series] - To the Honble Comm of the Navy - Sir, In answer to your letter of last night, with respect to the Marines intended to go in the Lady Penrhyn being increased to 32 with 4 officers, by desire of Capt Phillip, and the same number to be put aboard the Alexander, and Scarborough each: I had no other choice left, as the Friendship, and Charlotte(s), number could not be increased, (?) can I add men to the Alexr, or Scarborough, as they are as full as they can conveniently (?) The first ship has all the Female Convicts before the afterpart of (?) hatch (?), where there is another bulkhead fit for (?) .... should there be occasion from the middle of the main Hatch is filled with provisions, at least Twenty feet in length, then a slight bulkhead to keep the marines from the provisions - then - cabbins are proposed for 32 men, and between them & the Seamen, a grating bulkhead, to allow air draft ..... they have windsails as usual ..... - In following is the disposition of the Whole - Alexr 32 men 4 Officers - 36 /Provisions Water - Scarbro 32 Do 4 Do 36 /&c for Eight Months - Charlotte 24 Do 3 Do 27 / Per this number is - Friendship 24 Do 3 Do 27 / .... (?) (? - Lady Penrhyn 32 Do 4 Do 36 - The Officers I understand are Capts - Capt Lieuts, Lieuts, Surgeon, Surgeon's mate, Chaplain and Agent Thompson ..... (?) - Geo Teer - NB - The Whole of the Cabbin in each ship for them to hang up their Cotts: G:T: ([25])< /p>


The Daily Universal Register taking the government line on 13 November, 1786 reported that the Home Office was receiving "almost daily applications" from skilled tradesmen with no work in England. None were let go out.


On 13 November, the day Sussex Weekly Advertiser ([26]) declared, "The plan of transporting convicts to Botany Bay is considered a lunatic scheme", surgeon John White and Adair, surgeon-general of the Army, signed a list of articles for the expedition. Two days later, Phillip wished to discuss some "drawbacks" with Evan Nepean. The ship Friendship was hired of Hoppers of Scarborough and entered into government (Richards') employment. She was valued by Deptford officers at 3110. ([27]) Lady Penrhyn received 50 puncheons of bread for Botany Bay. The Navy Office on 20 November informed Treasury that Scarborough, Alexander, Friendship and Charlotte were all ready to receive goods from Messrs Harrisons and Co., but there was still need for a clarification of issues by a Customs Warrant. Sierra Leone and the expedition for the relief of the black poor was mentioned in the same letter.


There were some accurate newspaper reports. The Daily Universal Register (14-15 November, 1786) reported on movements of convicts. A newspaper report in late September had mentioned the tender being let for the Botany Bay ships, and that some of the ships would have charters to carry backloads of tea from Canton - all correct and interesting to merchants, and perhaps for that very reason worrying to the East India Company. There were also notes on Phillip being appointed first governor. On 16 November, 1786 Harrisons and Co. were writing to Treasury about ships ready to receive convicts and the matter of customs warrants, and mentioning their dealings also with government for the Sierra Leone expedition. On 3 December, the Excise Office wrote to the Treasury about shipping goods to Botany Bay duty free. By about 14 January, Richards was having further unexplained difficulties with the East India Company.


From George Teer...

November 19, 1786: - Navy Office, Nov the 19th, 1787. [sic] - Honble Commissioners of the Navy - Honble Gentlemen, Having delivered the provisions mentioned in my letter of the 4th Inst, which was kept at Deptford (?) (?) to ascertain the Warranty; (?) You will be pleased to Order the Bonds, to be delivered to each of the Contractors for their Provisions for Botany Bay, to be delivered to them as they pay the money here, for such Provisions as has been returned to them: - I am - Geo Teer ([28])< /p>


19th November [1787] Recvd from Messrs Reeve & Green ([29]) 6/19/10d. - Robertson 1/7/2d. (From Series of Letters, Geo Teer) Nov 19-20, 1787: - Adm 106/243 - 19-20 Nov 1787 - ..... [prices and amounts of provisions] - eg., 2 Tierces Beef 4/19/6d 19/19/0 - 2 Do Pork @ 5/13/4d 11/4/8d - Rice 1/3/1d Q 1.1 1/14/9d - Pease 1 Barrel Robertson 1/7/2d. - Butter 1 Firkin S [or T] Skinner (?) 1/12/10d. - 33/12/3d. - Recvs Reeve & Green 6/19/10d - Robertson 1/7/2d. - + two of illegible names - [the 33 total presumably went to Teer for payment into the Navy treasury?]


On 23 November, news arrived that duty had to be paid on the goods for the merchantmen for Botany Bay, but not the navy ships. This was countermanded. On 2 December, excise officers had informed from the Treasury that the shipping to NSW was to be duty free. On 2 December 2 Lady Penrhyn received ten pairs of irons for prisoners (she would take only women). Two days later she received two puncheons of rum for prisoners not yet aboard. Some ships had already proceeded downriver to receive the convicts being listed in the orders-in-council of 6 December. Government officers meanwhile were preparing orders-in-council for 6 December, then 22 December, ... these orders involved the compilation and consideration of lists of the names and offences of convicts.


The Daily Universal Register was used by government to disseminate propaganda designed to sway the attitude of the East India Company and its supporters. On 6 December The Register reported that the government had decided to enter Norfolk Island into planning for the expedition. "They thought that our East India possessions might have been supplied with hemp and stories from this place". ([30]) Again, on 6 December, the DUR gave the impression that real progress had been made when it suggested that senior ministers had with confidence decided against Botany Bay and had decided that New Norfolk (Norfolk Island) was to be the place. Escapes from there were impossible and East India possessions could find hemp (for rope) and stores from the island. This too was mere propaganda. Although, Norfolk Island was occupied shortly after 26 January, 1788 by Philip Gidley King.


On 9 December, Sirius, the fleet flagship, was ready to drop down to Long Reach, above Gravesend, for her guns and ordnance stores. That day, Capt. Teer at Deptford inquired of Nepean on the numbers of convicts expected. (An early estimate by the Navy Officer that the expedition would be sailing within six weeks was widely amiss because the embarkation of convicts turned out a more complicated matter than that of the marines or military). Soon, a Thames pilot Josh Card came aboard Lady Penrhyn to take her down the river, where she was to prepare for the reception of her female prisoners. Alexander lay off Woolwich waiting for her male convicts by 13 December. George Rose at the Treasury on the 16th decided that the tonnage of shipping was going to be insufficient. (Making one of the few instances of second guessing the matter). Rose had also given further thought to the number of marines necessary for the safe custody of the vessels, so that on the 11th and 12th, the related question of the numbers of convicts and marines was investigated.


On 15 December at 6am, Scarborough Capt. George Marshall had cast off from the Thames' Red House to sail for Portsmouth. On 16 December, provisions were ordered from Alexander Davison, a merchant friend of Admiral Nelson, Nepean and Sir George Young, and also a promoter of art whose soirees were visited by George, Prince of Wales. ([31]) Initially, Davison seems to have had mild enthusiasm for the new colony. But by 1793 he had become so frustrated, or mystified, about other merchants involved to NSW that he withdrew altogether, which suggests also that his original involvements had nothing to do with any improper influences due to his friend in office, Nepean. William Richards became active again, trying by 15 December to contact the directors of the East India Company on urgent matters. ([32]) On 21 December, 1786, Lt.-Colonel Stirling of HM 36th Regiment wrote to Lord Sydney, proposing to raise a Corps for NSW in Ireland, with enlistment for seven years, at no expense to the state. Stirling had seen East and West Indies service, his offer was not accepted. A commission to raise a special corps was later given to Major Francis Grose, who by this time was in the army recruiting service.


Then came a matter which can be mentioned along with allegations the First Fleet was badly organised. Someone - probably Campbell - had forgotten to order enough convict irons. Rank stupidity! Lt. George Johnston of the Marines on 18 December examined the Alexander's fittings and found her insecure. He insisted the handcuffs were not strong enough; and generally, it can be said that it was the legal system that was most unprepared for the expedition - as can be seen with the strange activities of Shelton, the official making the contracts for the transportation. ([33])


Otherwise, by mid-December, it was the disposition of the ships charterings for tea ladings which again concerned Richards. By mid-December, Scarborough was sailing in company with Friendship to Portsmouth. Lady Penrhyn on the 17th was receiving 18 half anchors for landing at Botany Bay. Charlotte did not arrive at Plymouth until early January. Despite the unpreparedness of the legal system, the Navy Office on 19 December still felt the convoy could be got ready in less than three weeks, but the navy was unaware of the legal problems which had to be solved in the writing of Phillip's Commission. By the 20th, Phillip was reporting a lack of accommodation for the marines - which means that Capt. Teer at Deptford, a competent man, had probably been given incorrect information on which to base his designs for refitting ships for the expedition.


About 30 women were then in Newgate having been sentenced during the December Sessions for Botany Bay. (Such a sentence would not have been possible before 6 December, when the first relevant orders-in-council naming NSW as a destination had been issued). Some writers have suggested that the female convicts (notably streetwalkers) were plucked from the streets as required for a ship to NSW. This very likely happened. And any number of prostitutes would have been added to by female shoplifters, petty thieves, and girls in service who fell into trouble. As Lord Sydney observed later in 1789, Act 24 Geo III c.56 did not apply to women: so the question of documentation for transportable female convicts becomes darkly fascinating. ([34])


Even for transportable male prisoners, to which the Act certainly did apply, the question of documentation is fascinating since by the time his "first farmer", James Ruse, had finished his time at Sydney, Governor Phillip found he had no information on when convict sentences were due to finish. Ruse had been somewhat unjustly transported, since he had been sentenced in 1782. By the time he arrived at Botany Bay he had almost finished his original sentence, yet he was 15,000 miles from Cornwall with little hope of getting back to England. The officials to blame for this wholly unjust oversight in making available the proper documentation on the expiration of sentences were Nepean, Campbell and Thomas Shelton, plus the various clerks of the Peace and the Assize. William Richards was also remiss.

* * *


Eris O'Brien conveys that the orders-in-council of December 1786 named 816 convicts, more than would actually be transported (The most up-to-date figures are given in Gillen's Founders of Australia. ([35]) It is unknown who compiled the lists of convict names to be presented to those in authority for scrutiny. But for example, further orders-in-council of 12 February, 1787 and 20 April, 1787 named yet more convicts besides the original 816 of December previous. Strict comparison of the convict indents of those transported with the records made regularly available by the hulks overseers (Campbell and Bradley) could provide some surprises as to the origin of the convicts. In fact, as Gillen's research has shown, convicts were batched here and there for a multiplicity of organisational reasons, making research on individual convicts a nightmare. Campbell as hulks overseer for example forwarded a return giving convict names for those males held on Ceres for 13 December, 1786, after as usual swearing an oath as to the veracity of his return before Robert Abington. ([36]) Comparison of such a list with returns or lists made by William Richards, or with convict indents later held in NSW would yield light on the handling of convict documentation overall. The fact so many prisoners were sent to Botany Bay without being accompanied by their files was yet another contribution to the injustice of the Botany Bay scheme.


Here too, the contractor Richards and his agent in NSW, Zacariah Clark, may have been remiss. It should have been simple for Richards to copy his final lists (made in May 1787) and give a copy to Zacariah Clark who sailed with the First Fleet as Richard's agent, even for Richards' own protection as contractor in case any allegations arose. But apparently this was not done.


However, it should be remembered, that except for George Moore's earlier debacles, transportation was being resurrected after its demise in 1775. A new generation of inexperienced legal officials were involved in London. This explains why the story of the First Fleet has its air of things being made up as officials went along, why Phillip discovered so many "drawbacks" to his expedition. On 22 December, orders-in-council were again examined, and with them, lists of prisoner names.


* * *


On 23 December, 1786, Stephens of the navy arranged with major-general A. T. Collins (father of David Collins) on the parties of marines to be deployed for the embarkation and those sent to NSW. Following the issue of the 22 December orders-in-council, other arrangements were put in train. Concerning bureaucracy and the handling of convict documentation, Oldham in 1933 wrote that Shelton, Clerk of Arraign at the Old Bailey, and answerable to the Home Office, had the duty of drawing the bonds for the contractor(s), making the contracts for transportation, and taking the sureties (deposits as to the intended effectuality of the transportation) from the contractor(s). But there were things which Oldham and O'Brien following him never knew about Shelton. ([37]) As noted earlier - it seems impossible to find any contracts made out for the transportation of Irish convicts to Australia. Therefore the shipowners involved cannot be examined. There do not even seem to be any lists or references to any set of such Irish contracts that might have once existed, yet Australian archives in 1988 were made a gift by the Irish government of comprehensive lists of Irish convicts transported to Australia. ([38]) The "Thomas Shelton problem" sits adjacent to several mysteries of disappearing information.


Thomas Shelton and the Home Office:


The only official after 1786 able to make contracts to transport felons, Shelton was a Home Office spy, often engaged in investigating or suppressing provincial dissent. ([39]) There was repression in Britain to 1800, its extent varying among different government departments as activists made efforts to organise the working class. "Violent democrats" were feared. Some writers on the repression of the working class saw government as employing agents of repression, deploying troops and spies to maintain a power they held with "no democratic legitimacy". The historian Emsley writing in Britain in 1979, however, saw the spy forces, agents provocateurs, and other means used by government as being far more fragmentary than the "terrifying proliferation" of agents that the critics of repression had suggested by the mid-1790s. ([40]) (And all this of course is reminiscent of John Creasey's novel on the creation of the British police force).


By 1800 the Home Office was "a tiny organisation", Emsley writes, with less than 24 people including cleaners and janitors. Beneath the secretary of state were under-secretaries such as Evan Nepean and John King, then William Wickham. Richard Ford managed London police matters. Emsley says however, incorrectly, the Home Office could not, and did not, administer programs of policies, it dealt with individuals. This was certainly not the case with matters pertaining to the colonisation of Australia.


One small secret service section was run by William Clark from 1782; he was possibly the same as a Bow Street officer of that name. Clark was succeeded by James Walsh from about 1792 in this secret service, and he made one trip to Ireland about 1792. (He may have been looking into arrangements for the transportation of Irish prisoners?]. ([41]) In 1792 had been the creation of the London police offices, and the Home Office often called on stipendiary magistrates to conduct investigations. Aaron Graham of the Hatton Garden office and Daniel Williams of the Whitechapel Office looked into the naval mutinies of 1797 (so did William Bligh). Graham in 1800 looked into disturbances feared by the Home Office in the Birmingham area. John Floud of the Shoreditch Office also investigated, and in 1798, Floud was sent to Manchester to look into the United Englishmen Societies. By 1803, Aaron Graham supervised the Thames hulks establishment, replacing Campbell.


The Home Office attended to the press. A later editor of the Morning Post, John Taylor, was a Home Office spy also working against The London Corresponding Society. Taylor was asked to join the LCS in 1794; he was paid secret service money from 1788 and in 1789 was editor of The Morning Post. By 1791 Taylor was being paid 191 per year for writing in newspapers, and he acted on government instructions as an agent provocateur in Scotland. ([42])


Some other spies were Thomas Mudge of Lincoln's Inn, William Metcalfe an attorney at the King's Bench and a clerk of the Tallow Chandlers' Company (Metcalfe may also have been a plant observing the whaling industry? Being anarchic, liable to sail anywhere, some whalers might well have been tempted to organise ways to evade customs duties?) Metcalfe also spied on The London Corresponding Society. John Groves was a solicitor at the Old Bailey, and one Reeves had a plan for a nationwide system of police.


Another spy was George Lynam, a Walbrook ironmonger with aspirations of dealing more to the East Indies, who took exception to the LCS, and later reported to Nepean, about 1793. He became an agent provocateur in the LCS, and he was once entrusted to post a letter from Maurice Margarot (one of the Scottish Martyrs) to Dundas. William Metcalfe and Groves (who was a solicitor) also worked against the LCS for the Home Office. ([43])


Emsley writes, "In the summer of 1793 Thomas Shelton, an attorney at the King's Bench, subsequently coroner of London and the borough of Southwark and clerk of arraign to the Admiralty, was sent to Manchester to assist the magistrates who were preparing a case of high treason against Thomas Walker." Shelton in that matter trod here more softly than the over-anxious local magistrates. And in all, Emsley in detailing Shelton's investigations observes that government had to know what was going on, more so as much information sent to government was unreliable or biased. During the 1790s there was a substantial increase in secret service expenditure, but no detailed records survive. Dundas and Portland spent about 11-12,000 annually, six times that spent by their Home Office predecessors. ([44]) Emsley says, the employment of spies was risky since if it were known, it might have caused disquiet and disgust; Gosling, Grove, Metcalfe and one Taylor all joined the LCS at roughly the same time. Further, Emsley says, there is no reason to suppose the Home Office enjoyed employing spies, but to Dundas and other politicians, the prospect of the new popular societies was frightening, While the Home Office had a mere 24 staff, there were less than one hundred police magistrates and regular constables in London, and no permanent police force. ([45]) The City of London, the aldermen, in particular resisted the establishment of a police force.


By 1794, magistrate Patrick Colquhuon had "spies" working for him. Edward Gosling later worked for William Wickham, who in 1794 was a magistrate working at Whitechapel. Gosling also infiltrated the LCS, and he once caught a suspect whilst armed with a letter from Dundas himself! ([46]) In 1795, the Home office spy Metcalfe wrote to Pitt offering the services of an American, a friend of Tom Paine, Joseph Gerrald (another Scottish Martyr), plus some leaders of disaffected societies. There is no record of Pitt taking up this offer.


Hugh Cleghorn, a semi-retired professor of civil history, was a semi-spy with international connections. He assisted the British conquest of Ceylon in 1796 by arranging for the Swiss Count de Meuron, earlier employed by the Dutch East India Company, to fight for Britain. Cleghorn was acquainted with another minor spy, Frederick Nodder, a botanical painter for Queen Charlotte, and an engraver for Sir Joseph Banks. ([47]) Emsley says Nodder reported on the LCS, but by 1797, Nodder feared his spying activities had ruined him and he was complaining so to Pitt. ([48]) And so the name Nodder loops back to Banks' work for Nepean's security forces. For botanist Banks also advised government on the handling of plants which could become useful commodities. If the above is a list of the names of spies, it may be no accident that William Bligh was sent to transplant breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies, then returned to that duty, was once asked to look into the organisation of the Nore mutiny, and later appointed governor of NSW?


* * *


Thomas Shelton died in 1829, by when, as a clerk of arraign for the Admiralty, not the civil arm, he had made out 228 contracts for the transportation of British convicts only to Australia. He did not make contracts for the transportation of Irish convicts. Shelton never once asked to be reimbursed for such legal work, a matter of which his nephew and executor, John Clark, was acutely aware. After Shelton's death, Clark therefore billed the British government for the amount owing Shelton's estate, over 22,000. ([49]) Government officials including Robert Peel (who in 1811 had suppressed Sir Joseph Banks' information on the first British possession of Australian territory) were so alarmed at this they even looked into the history of the use of the legislation governing the transportation of convicts, wondering what authority Shelton had been exercising. (Why they did not know Shelton's authority would have originally been under the King's sign manual is hard to understand.) Whilst the matter was concluded, Clark replaced his uncle as the sole official able to draw contracts for transportation.


Initially here, it might be thought that since Shelton was not paid for his work, he suffered a financial shortfall, or, Shelton may have been bribed by merchants wishing to get ships into the Pacific? But if Shelton was a Home Office spy, he probably was paid, and this reduces suspicion he might have been bribed by merchants. (If Shelton had been bribed, explanation of this would also entail explanations of corruptions of the tendering process for convict shipping, and also involve merchant names).


But by another turn of logical screws, all this implies that if Shelton's executor in 1829-1832 knew that Shelton was formerly a spy, and had in fact been reimbursed, the executor perhaps was morally committing fraud when he asked government for reimbursements for Shelton's estate per the contracts? Government would have had no sensible way out of it, and for government to make a fuss would have been to admit something untoward had gone on - so government had to be content with beating the executor Clark down by a percentage. So here, it is interesting that in Clark's letters to government, at one point he made a veiled threat to make the matter public. He (Clark) was then given Shelton's job - making out contracts for transporting British convicts.


Shelton as an Old Bailey and Home Office official was responsible for drawing the bonds and contracts necessary for the transportation of convicts from England to New South Wales and later, Van Diemens Land. Those contracts are held in bulk at the Public Record Office, at Kew, London, filed as papers handled by the Audit Office.


Here, they are termed Shelton's Accounts, AO3/291, the AO indicating papers which have been officially audited - and why audited? They are in two parts (boxes) which contain 228 contracts in sequence dated 1789-1829, for the carriage of English convicts to New South Wales. Each contract names the merchant(s) giving bonds and securities for execution of the contract. In Box 2 is a bundle of letters initially dated 1829 from Shelton's executor, his nephew John Clark, also a legal official at the Sessions House, the Old Bailey, to various officials at the Home Office and the Audit Office. Meanwhile, it is so far impossible to find the whereabouts of the contracts for the transportation of Irish contracts. These contracts were made in London, but it is not known if they were made out by Shelton. ([50]) That is, the present whereabouts of the evidence that it was legal to transport Irish convicts to Australia is presently unknown. But we can be assured that any London merchants taking such contracts were paid for their trouble. (The entire series of contracts has probably never been seen by one human eye. Only three London men are known to have written out contracts for the transportation of British convicts, Shelton, then Shelton's nephew, Clark, who was followed by one Peake).


* * *


The lack of a contract for the First Fleet:


It may never have been originally foreseen with the legislation of 1784, but to 1829, as a centralising matter, only one official was given authority to make bonds and contracts for the transportation to Australia of British convicts - Shelton. During the Australian Bicentennial, it was curious that no one thought to display in public such an interesting document as the contract(s) between Richards and government, signed by Shelton, for the First Fleet. If anyone had thought of it, they would have found, no such final contract exists, since Shelton never completed it. Several sub-parts of such a contract can be seen in copied documents at the Australian National Library in Canberra. Delving into why the full contract was never completed entails delving into Shelton's inefficiencies. The finding is that the First Fleet was ineffectual, but the only firm evidence concerning the matter is Governor Phillip's complaint that the documentation he had at NSW was inadequate.


* * *


The contract maker, Thomas Shelton:


Shelton about March 1796 met Lord Colchester, who thought he was "a very correct and intelligent officer", as Shelton had advised him on statutes with respect to the case of the transportation of "the Scottish martyrs", Muir and Palmer: ([51]) Colchester with the aid of Shelton's advice decided the "Martyrs" had been transported illegally. Information surviving on Shelton represents another case of History and Amnesia.


Shelton from 1801 held the Office of Clerk of the Peace for the City of London and Southwark, and by 1803 he also acted as the Coroner for the City of London and Southwark. In Shelton's Contracts is one staggering statistic: between June 1817 (Contract 63) and June 1829 (Contract 228) one Joseph Lachlan took 84 contracts for convict transportation. Lachlan continued taking a large number of contracts after Shelton's death. It is not known if Lachlan or his associates had any significant business links with Australian colonists. ([52]) That one merchant or agent should see only one official for the making of 84 separate contracts for convict transportation over 12 years, seems highly suspicious. Shelton however was not important enough to be listed in Sainty's book, Home Office Officials. Part of the Rex Nan Kivell Collection at the Australian National Library, MS 426, signed by Sidmouth, is a warrant authorizing Shelton to continue to contract for the transportation of convicts. The preamble to the warrant, dated 1 December, 1821, is peculiar. O'Brien with his keen interest in the legislation has remarked on an apparent oddity: that Colchester's surveys have since been ignored by historians.


* * *


A strange preamble to an Act for transporting convicts:


Square in vast sprawls of parliamentary concerns is a strange preamble to the warrant given to Shelton, authorising him to contract for the transportation of convicts, signed by Lord Hawkesbury, dated 18 December, 1805, and referring to an Act of 1788. ([53]) "Whereas by an Act passed in the 28 Year of Our Reign intitled An Act to continue several laws relating to the granting a Bounty in the Exportation of certain species of British and Irish linen exported and taking off the Duties on the Importation of Foreign linen yarns made of flax and to the preventing the committing of frauds by bankrupts and for continuing and amending several laws relating to the Imprisonment and Transportation of offenders it is amongst other things enacted that whenever we shall be pleased to give orders for the Transportation of any offender it shall and may be lawfull for us under our Royal Sign Manual if we shall think fit to authorise and empower any person or persons to make Contracts for the effectual Transportation"...


And so on. This strange verbiage referred to Act 24 Geo III c.56, named Shelton only as a person to make such contracts, and required Shelton to procure evidence that the landing of the said convicts in NSW ("Our Territory") had been effectually accomplished. If Shelton did procure such evidence, there would be fewer mysteries remaining about merchants taking contracts to transport convicts. The merchants saw Shelton, Shelton named them in the contract, the governor in NSW or his agents checked the convict names in the contract against the convicts effectually landed, and presumably the merchant name also, and sent such information back for Shelton's inspection, after which the merchant was presumably paid. But it has not been an Australian habit of curiosity to inspect the names and ambitions of merchants engaging in convict transportation.


* * *


Gathering the First Fleet convicts:

On 30 December, 1786 the crew came aboard the First Fleet storeship Fishburn. Capt. Teer at Deptford further queried Nepean for the second time on convict numbers. The same day, the Prince of Wales Capt. John Mason moored at Deptford. About then, Campbell sent to Shelton at the Old Bailey a list of convicts to be sent from one of the hulks to Alexander. ([54]) This suggests that either Campbell was first given the lists from orders-in-council, or that he or his staff helped compile them. Oldham in 1933 suggested that Campbell selected or recommended prisoners to be transported (or, alternatively, that some might be left on his hulks).


However, it is doubtful that Campbell could or would have gone too far against the listings he finally received with orders-in-council. Of course, few convicts with useful trades or skills were sent with the First Fleet, but the reason for them to be transported was in their sentence to transportation, not their possession of useful skills. To have transported skilled prisoners only because they had skills would have been unjust and against the intentions of the legislation, as well as against natural justice. Campbell however did intervene in the case of one hulks convict, John Irwin. By an old habit, Campbell kept note of useful skills his convicts possessed, as arose in the case of a semi-skilled "convict surgeon", John Irving, "Australia's first emancipist". ([55])


Also, Campbell knew that he could not coerce a hulks prisoner to work at his trade if the prisoner did not wish to work at it, although he could coerce a prisoner to work at general labour. Presumably the convicts knew this too. Therefore, there is no sure way of knowing if, when he first found he had few skilled prisoners, Phillip at Sydney had fallen victim to simple refusals by convicts to divulge that they actually possessed a skill.


Following the issue of the 22 December orders- in-council, the Clerks of the Peace and of the Assize were made immensely busy trying to place order on the chaotic question of convict documentation. Their duties denied some of them celebration of Christmas at home as they searched for the dates and details of prisoner sentencings so that Shelton could draw the final sets of bonds and contracts between himself and Richards, and/or between Richards and other Justices. (Ships captains also being mentioned in contracts). The Clerks may have had to search out documentation still lying in county archives, concerning prisoners already held by Campbell on the hulks, or even on Richards' ships.


* * *


More on the role of Thomas Shelton:


Extant Treasury Board Papers indicate the anxiety that legal clerks experienced in gathering the documentation. These are papers which ought to have been later entered into HRNSW, but they were not entered since they not compiled quickly enough for embodiment in a 1793 Treasury report on the costs of the new colony. ([56]) After Clerks of the Peace and Assize between 6 December, 1787 and March 1787 had rounded up convict documentation (before 13 May, 1787 when the First Fleet sailed), they collated their charges and sent them to solicitor for the Treasury, Chamberlayne. Chamberlayne did not present these charges to Treasury until up to five years later, an indication of the slowness of payments in the legal system at the time, and possibly a reason why corruption was not unknown amongst magistrates. Chamberlayne's Report ([57]) indicates the names of these legendary "cream" of the English magistracy.


About 4 December, 1786: orders-in-council were being prepared. ([58]) The orders long later provoked the production of Chamberlayn's Report, which was delivered to George Rose, Treasury, compiler of the 1793 Navy Office Accounts. ([59]) By mid-1793, parliamentary grumbles about the cost of the new convict colony prodded Rose to prod the navy for relevant accounts. Simply, Chamberlayn's Report based on the charges of the Clerks of the Peace and Assize as a relevant costing reached Rose too late for inclusion in the Navy Office Accounts.


Examination of Chamberlayn's Report also prompts re-examination of the gathering of documentation for the drawing of contracts and bonds for convict embarkations for the First Fleet transportation, since Phillip when he sailed was not provided with documentation on when convict sentences expired. ([60]) For decades, writers have expressed perplexity through to outrage on the matter, unaware also of the mysteries of Shelton's modes of contract making - and not asking for payment.


* * *


The legal clerks as they had searched documentations had reported to the Home Office and met with Nepean and Campbell for briefing sessions about still-unfamiliar system. The specific convicts for whom documentation was being searched for could have been in any of the various houses of correction, compters, in the Thames hulks, in the hulks at Plymouth, or deceased, depending on how long ago they had been sentenced. Their current papers could have mentioned America or Africa as their supposed destination - a matter which would have had to be adjusted concerning the destination, NSW. Some prisoners might have been dead, ill or insane, or subject to some other disclaimer about their being transported with Phillip. It has been claimed, in the winter of 1786, December, some 60 hulks convicts died, their bodies dumped in the river Thames. ([61])


The Clerks were searching gaol delivery books, various country and metropolitan registers, and possibly Campbell's and Bradley's hulks listings. They drew contracts and attended numerous long meetings at Whitehall with their colleagues, doubtless to assess bureaucratic problems they now had in common. They searched for convictions, visited other Justices and Clerks of Assize, recited His Majesty's orders, sent contracts to county gaolers or officials for signing, and made fair copy of a formidable array of documentation.


In short, to expedite matters for transportation to the Botany Bay so derided in the newspapers, they had to untangle upwards of five years preceding of the operation of the courts and the hulks system, during which time legislation had been changed, to be able to identify their convicts listed for embarkation in orders-in-council. And if a convict was dead, too ill, or too insane, they would have to start all over again with replacements. And finally, Shelton did not list William Richards as the sole contractor for the First Fleet; he made no such surviving contract as a single document. ([62])


* * *


Campbell Document/Letter 151:


George R.

Whereas a contract has been entered into for transporting to New South Wales, or some other of the islands adjacent, the several convicts now in your custody on board the hulks in the river Thames whose names are contained on the list hereunto annexed : Our will and pleasure is that you forthwith do deliver over to the contractors, Mr. William Richards, shipbroker, and Mr. Duncan Sinclair, master of the transport ship called the Alexander, the said convicts whose names are specified in the said list

To our trusty and well-beloved Duncan Campbell, Esq., Superintendent of the Convicts on the River Thames By His Majesty's command Sydney (Date ? December 1786?). ([63])< /p>


On 4 December, 1786, George Teer mentioned sub-contractors who have since received too little attention.

- 4 Dec 1786 - Capt Geo Teer, - Having been for a number of years conversant in the manufacture & Supply of Flour both for home consumption & Export, I trust .... a few general observations. - The whole of the Flour Shiped for Botany Bay on Reeve & Green's Contract is made from good Sound Corn, ..... In the first stage of fermentation, ... - G? Fell/Tell - Bush Wharf. ([64])< /p>


December 5, 1786:

Deptford, Dec 5, 1786

To the Honble Comm of the Navy

Honble Gentlemen,

I have recvd your letter of yesterday, desiring me to remit any provisions or stores Capt Phillip may desire to put into the Transports for Botany Bay, as soon as all the Treasury stores are stored, if no inconvenience arises in the Service they are intended for, which I shall be particularly attentive to:- I have taken the Liberty to inclose a letter from Mr Tell/[Fell?], who appears to me to have acted with an open honesty in the shipping and conducting of the Felons for Botany Bay, & has been strongly recommended to me by Mr George Cherry, for his uprightness in all his transactions with him in a similar Service before; which I hope may be useful to the Colony at Botany bay, if you should think it worthy of being communicated to Capt Phillips, and the Commissary going hither - I have .... to beg you would be pliant to give directions to Mr Shortland Agent for the Transports, to cause the matters on all ..... to endeavour to open the Hatches on the ...... to give Air & thatt .....

Geo Teer

Honble Comm of the Navy ([65])< /p>


From 6 December, 1786, the reason that Richards' ships were being prepared loomed even larger. Orders-in-council were being issued, changing to NSW the destination of many convicts earlier sentenced to America, for Beyond the Seas, or to Africa. ([66])


* * *


In the prisons:


Before 5 December, 1786, John Newman the Keeper of Ludgate Prison was writing a petition. He had been appointed in 1771, and reported on his incomes... that by an Act of 1784, gaolers were totally disqualified from selling beer, wine, spirits, and other liquors and from keeping any Tap for the sale of same ... the average profit from the Tap had been 72 annually. Now he was wholly deprived. Newman wanted to live in comfort and decency. Much the same had come or would come to aldermen's attention from other gaolers: Kirby the Keeper of the Wood St Compter for 25 years, Henry West, Keeper of the Poultry Compter, Akerman at Newgate. [NB: from the index, the salary of the Newgate Ordinary was 165. The Keeper's salary was 359]. ([67]) There was collusion here. As noted, many managers of prisons were lobbying government for replacement of the Taps.


On 6 December, 1786 were made orders-in-council changing the destination of convicts sentenced to America, those sentenced for Beyond the Seas, those for Africa, to NSW. On 9 December, 1786, Campbell installed on the hulk Firm Capt. James Hill, who had sailed for him to Jamaica in November 1784. ([68]) Thus, Hill became the third Campbell commercial captain to be put on the hulks since 1776.


* * *


"so very undigested and very expensive a scheme":


From the Duke of Richmond, from Goodwood, on 3 December, 1786 came a letter to Pitt wanting an estimate of the costings for Botany Bay, as Capt. Phillip had asked for some artillery, four 12 pounders, four 6 pounders and stores which will exceed 1,000... which "must be charged in our unprovided to parliament ... I feel with you how very unpleasant it will be to give up a Plan so far advanced, but indeed I think the Evil will be less than in pursuing so very undigested and very expensive a scheme! It strikes me that the wisest way would be first to settle a Colony upon the Plan of afterwards sending convicts there as slaves and institute the Government accordingly but that the convicts cannot well be conveyed there in the first instance." ([69]) (Richmond continued on the subject of hunting.)


Was Richmond wise here? It was absurd, and irresponsible, to send convicts to Australia without having a community of any kind into which to receive them? Creating a normal community might also have given legal officials extra time to think and helped ensure that the early colony was not unconstitutional. The Scottish highlands had excessive population. Energetic people were languishing in poverty and would finally go to America. One burst of Scottish emigration had occurred between 1740 and 1775, interrupted by the American Revolution. ([70]) Between 1801 and 1803, alone, Margaret Adam reports, some 23 ships left for America with 5399 Highland emigrants. That historians have overlooked this point seems to speak of the conviction that the Australian colony was always intended to be only a convict colony. If Britain wanted to create a useful strategic outlier in the Pacific, why would the outlier not be populated with such energetic people as Scots, or American Loyalists? Unless, of course, settling surplus Scots in Australia might have increased the costs of maintaining the Australian colony from the Civil List!


* * *


In the year the First Fleet left for Australia, men and women of sensibility in Britain were beginning campaigns against the British slave trade. One public campaign was launched by Quakers. ([71]) Olaudah Cugoano published Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery, (London, 1787) which was followed by The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. (2 Vols., London, 1789). A slave poem in honour of William Wilberforce was chanted:


Oh me good friend, Mr Wilberforce, make me free!

God Almighty thank ye! God Almighty thank ye!


Early in 1787 Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, no believer of propaganda, published a pamphlet criticising the Botany Bay expedition. Simultaneously, a settlement was planned for Sierra Leone, to accommodate the black poor of Britain. British slavers would attack its existence, a newly-created settlement for free blacks, quite as though its establishment was a pointed moral reprimand on the way they made their living. As the campaign to abolish slavery began, the continent of Australia would be visited with British prisoners sent into servitude-in-exile, to labour at various kinds of make-work in the service of the state.


* * *


10 January, 1787: a day of meetings:


The magistrates were following lists from orders-in-council dated from 6 December, 1786. Most if not all names on the lists had originally come from lists of hulks inmates originally provided by Campbell and his staff. Shelton at the Old Bailey, would also have handled the orders-in-council lists. The Clerks of Assize from whom Chamberlayn had collected information on relevant charges were: ([72]):


Western Circuit: John Tollett, drew with the Earl of Banbury and Harry Hammonds Esq., Justices, for Richards/Sinclair; Charges for fair copies. For part of a contract sent to Wm. White, Gaoler at Winton. Charge for research for times of convicts' conviction to be enabled to draw a contract. 25 Dec. at Southampton.


Oxford Circuit: Mr. Price. Price is noted as having been acting under from Nepean. Searched gaol delivery books. Drew some bonds/contracts for Richards/Walton and Richards/Sever.


Northern Circuit: Mr. Rigge. At Lancashire, 28 Dec. Justices were Dorning Rasbotham, Samuel Clowes: with Richards/Sinclair. Other justices - 29 Dec: Durham; Rev. Samuel Dickin, Harvey Hills. Dec. 30 Kingston Upon Hull; 1 Jan., at City of York. 31 Jan., Liverpool.


Northern Circuit: Mr. Rigge. At Lancashire, 28 Dec.. Justices were Dorning Rasbotham, Samuel Clowes: with Richards/Sinclair. Other justices - 29 Dec: Durham; Rev. Samuel Dickin, Harvey Hills. 30 Dec., Kingston Upon Hull; 1 Jan., at City of York. 31 Jan., Liverpool.


Norfolk Circuit: Mr. Berry [Bury], Fleetwood; Deputy Clerk. At Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bucker.


Home Circuit: Mr. Knapp. Drew bonds for transportation from Surrey, Sussex, Essex, Kent. (Each convict was distinguished by county). And Hertfordshire.


Midland Circuit: John Frederick Halditch. Deputy Clerk of Assize. Charged against numerous long attendances at Whitehall. Meetings with Clerks of Assize at different times and places. Meetings with Duncan Campbell and others. Writing letters to counties.


John Tollett drew a contract between the Earl of Banbury and Harry Hammond Esq. Justices, between Richards/Sinclair. 13/4d. One fair copy - sent one part of a contract to be executed by the Justices, another to Wm. White, Gaoler at Winton. Had to research for the times of conviction of a convict. 25 Dec., at Southampton searching for Wm. Richards and drawing contracts. 26 Dec., search for the conviction of Henry Lynch at Wilts. Drew with Henry Wyndham and William Bowles, Justices, for Richards/Sinclair. Dec 26, Tollett at Wilts, Southampton, 12 Jan., 1787, drawing contracts between William Richards and others, and reciting His Majesty's Orders-in-Council. Searching for convicts sentenced at Quarter Sessions. Drawing transportation bonds for Wm. Richards. 30 Jan., same, and looking for times of conviction. 24 Jan., at Wilts. Sending a contract into the country. 26 Dec., at Poole, contracts between Sam Bowden and William Spurries and Richards/Sinclair. 27 Dec., at Dorset, drew contracts with Richards / Sinclair and Justices George Gould and Warren Lisles. Visiting the Clerk of Assize. 25 Jan., at Dorset, for 36 convicts. 20 Jan., at Exeter, six convicts with Justices Joseph Elliott and James Crossing and Richards/Sinclair. Sending contracts to Exeter for the Justices. 23 Feb., at Exeter drawing for at least 20 convicts, 16 Jan., Devon, four convicts with Rev. J. Carrington and James Pitman. (Carrington and J. Pine are mentioned in Cobley's Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts has having committed some of the mutineers on George Moore's ships circa 1784). Overall, Tollett's charges totalled 233/7/5d.


The above listings of legal officials are merely indicative, not comprehensive. No preponderance should be attributed to any person or place. One of the largest single blocks of prisoners so treated was of 82, from Jerome Knapp of the Home Circuit. The second largest was 67, at Devon, 29 January, 1787, by Tollett of the Western Circuit. Any convict searched for could well have died on a hulk, been pardoned or discharged early, been ill, or found a good worker on the hulks and perhaps held back. Any such factor could be found to have intervened in a convict destiny, since no centralized repository of information existed. The first move to creating such a repository had in fact been the listings presented with orders-in-council. The workload in gathering the documentation was excessive, and even though no more experienced man than Campbell could have given advice, the operation was conducted sloppily. The chaos of the embarkation overall should not surprise. It was the largest single embarkation of transports Britain had ever envisaged, and it would have been unrealistic to expect the operation to run smoothly.


Now, we are here presumably speaking of intelligent men, law officers, who were speaking with Nepean and Campbell. If this number of intelligent men were meeting regularly to discuss prisoner handling, while the Navy Board and other institutions were looking after the shipping, the question of whether the First Fleet was sloppily organised or not comes into sharper focus. It has not been known before that these meetings of law officers took place with Campbell, because the documents, Treasury Board Papers, (Treasury Board Papers, T1/720ff) have been ignored. Nor have the law officers' charges been melded into accounting for the expenditure on the First Fleet.


By early January the first burst of meetings with the Clerks of the Peace and Assize at least was over. Nepean sent orders to Shelton, who would write the contracts with William Richards and the captains of the convict transports. ([73])


Under Secretary Nepean to Mr. Shelton

Whitehall, 1 Jany., 1787


I send you herewith attested copies of four Orders of Council, which passed on the 6th and 22d days of last month, fixing the destination of the several convicts therein named, now under sentence of transportation. These attested copies are intended for your use.

I understand from Mr. Campbell that you have already been furnished with a list of such convicts as are to be sent out in the Alexander, and as it is wished that they may be removed as soon as possible, from the hulk to make room for the people now in Newgate, I will beg of you to get the bonds and contracts (if necessary) executed with as little delay as may be. ([74])


From his chambers at Lincoln's Inn on 27 June, 1793, probably at the orders of George Rose at Treasury, who was then collating all fees and charges for the First Fleet for Parliament's inspection, the Solicitor of the Treasury, Chamberlayne, sent to the Treasury some charges he had collated arising from the Clerks of Assize who in December 1787 [1786?], and January 1788 [1787], had assisted in gathering convict information for the First Fleet embarkations. ([75]) Such a documents by rights ought to have been inserted in Historical Records of New South Wales or Historical Records of Australia. The charges variously were made for the execution of the following business: for making contracts and bonds for the transportation of convicts, mostly made between County Justices and various of William Richards and Duncan Sinclair master of the ship Alexander; Richards and W. C. Sever master of Lady Penrhyn; Richards and Walton, master of the Friendship. Similar documents are not available for all the private transports in the First Fleet, presumably as Shelton never provided them, as for Scarborough.


Convicts were also to be removed from the hulks to make room for more coming from Newgate. Campbell informed Shelton that a further list of names of convicts at Portsmouth would be got ready for the Scarborough. Nepean also informed Shelton the Lady Penrhyn on the river would receive all the female convicts sentenced for transportation, who were then in Newgate. The Scarborough next day was at single anchor in Stokes Bay.


* * *


Arthur Phillip's reputation:


McIntyre, author of The Secret Discovery of Australia ([76]), views Governor Phillip as a failure, his career "dismal, undistinguished, and unsuccessful" from 1755 to 1786. Phillip was a laconic, retiring and even lonely man who spent two thirds of his time unemployed, on half-pay, as the navy had no use for his services. Had Phillip not gone to NSW, McIntyre says, "he would today be totally forgotten, one of the most obscure and unsuccessful officers ever to have donned a British naval uniform". The Rebello Transcripts, which McIntyre was discussing, trace Phillip's employ in the Portuguese Navy. McIntyre says that the fact that Phillip did not fail with his virgin NSW colony is one of the miracles of history. My view however, is that Phillip was a successful spy for Britain, whose virtues have not been sufficiently appreciated due to the fact he was a spy. The fact Phillip was a success as the first governor of the NSW colony was not a miracle of history - it was because he was the ideal man for a very difficult job (and, one suspects, a trusted Freemason).


Captain Phillip on 3 January was graced with an interview with George III. About then, a warrant for overseer Campbell from Lord Sydney authorised the transfer of responsibility for convicts to Duncan Sinclair, master of Alexander, and William Richards. ([77]) From London, having seen the king, Phillip proceeded to Portsmouth to observe developments there with the transports Scarborough and Prince of Wales. Already he had begun to see more of the difficulties ahead of him. (One mad difficulty arising was slowness in making Scarborough secure to hold her prisoners). And oddly enough, maybe it was due to overwork, Campbell was ill each time a fleet was leaving for Botany Bay. Now he had a lame leg. With such orders, and warrants brandished, lists of felons from orders-in-council were probably being parallelled with available documentation on convicts.


Campbell Letter 152:

London 4 Jany 1787

Capt Erskine .... has received the King's Warrant for the deliveries of the Sundry Convicts as per the inclosed list .... You will forthwith acquaint the Master of the Ship Alexander that you have received orders for the delivery of the Convicts on board his Ship & that you are ready so to do as soon as he can receive the same ..... I have written a Copy of a Receipt to be given on the back of the Warrant which Capt Sinclair is to sign .... accomodate this business on Saturday .... the misfortune of being confined with a lame leg will prevent my being present at the execution of this business & I shall send Mr Boyick to give you any assistance you may want I am ([78])


On receipt of the warrant, Campbell informed Erskine on the hulks and ordered him to acquaint Capt. Duncan Sinclair to take delivery as soon as possible. James Boyick was to give Erskine any necessary assistance as Campbell could not, his leg had gone lame with gout. The business was to be conducted on 6 January.


On 5 January, 1787 The Daily Universal Register wrongly suggested convicts would go to Tristan Da Cuhuna to help the English southern whalers there. Incorrect, but the mention of the whalers is interesting. On 6 January, 1787, Phillip complained that the way the women prisoners came to Lady Penrhyn "stamped the magistrates with infamy". ([79]) Far too little notice was taken of Phillip's criticisms of prisoner handling procedures.


Presumably, similar warrants and orders were issued to the hulks overseers and deputy overseers as convict listings per orders-in-council were parallelled with other available documentation of convicts to be embarked: returns from hulks, the work the clerks completed as they travelled their circuits, new sentencings, and the drawing of contracts with Richards and others. At Plymouth waited Charlotte and Friendship. At Portsmouth waited Scarborough and Prince of Wales. On the Thames waited Lady Penrhyn and Alexander. On 6 January, 56 women were taken from Newgate to Lady Penrhyn. Richards was present at the delivery. The Alexander took 184 men, watched by Duncan Sinclair, Stewart Erskine and James Boyick. Each convict was given a bed; a keg and bowl was issued to each mess of six men. The warrant for the delivery came aboard Alexander on Sunday 7th for Sinclair to sign, James Boyick or Stewart Erskine attending him. Given that Campbell had known of the intended massive embarkation of prisoners since August 1786, and that he had seen Phillip earlier in January it is remarkable that by January neither he nor anybody else had not ordered enough irons for the convicts. That no one did so seems administrative madness. (And the situation was worse with the Second Fleet, so that the contractors ended in using slave irons on the convicts!) Campbell anyway wrote...


Campbell Letter 153:

London 30 Jan 1787

Capt Erskine


I have desired Mr Boyick to send you down the lists of the Convicts intended for the Scarborough in Number 194 & 25 for the Alexander & beg you will from time to time send me a state of the health of Both whether any of them have died; the Sooner and Oftener you advise me the better I am sorry to hear by your letter this day recd that the Justitia & Censor are more sickly than usual. I Request everything be done to check the disorder you mention from spreading .......

I see the Alexander is gone & taken your Irons but one cannot blame the Marine Officer circumstanced as he was. You did right however to take a (?) ... ([80])


Amazingly, Campbell had forgotten something important - sufficient irons for the convicts. Much later, convict irons for voyages would be shipped back to London for re-use.


* * *


Lt. Sharp of the marines came on Alexander with his luggage on Monday. He was as unimpressed with the security measures for the prisoners as Lt. George Johnston had been, and later he contrived to sail away with all Campbell's irons and bazels on the convicts, only because Campbell - or someone - had been too stupid to provide fresh irons. Phillip in the meantime proceeded from Portsmouth back to London weighed with problems of convict documentation creating so much delay. ([81]) On Tuesday, six more women with three children from Newgate were put aboard the Lady. On the Woolwich hulks, Stewart Erskine made up a fresh list of convicts for Campbell's information. ([82]) Questions about the number of convicts to be accommodated kept arising. Probably there were startling mismatches between lists that were circulating. ([83]) The marines were grumbling, some convicts were mutinous, and others in the middle of winter were ill with gaol fever, especially on Alexander. ([84])


On 10 January, Richards dealt with Shelton and began signing his contracts for transportation, relating to Alexander and Capt. Sinclair. ([85]) Other "short contracts" were with Richards and Capt. Sever of Lady Penrhyn. ([86]) Similar contracts had to be drawn with Richards, other ships masters and/or owners of other convict vessels, but not before the relevant convict papers had been scrutinised. The same day, (10 January, 1787) the Navy Board enquired of Treasury on the number of convicts.


Richards signed some contracts on 10 January. Arthur Phillip met overseer Campbell at the Adelphi on 10 January, possibly to discuss what to Phillip were the mysteries of convict documentation and various legal points, although they might also have discussed practical questions of the management of large numbers of convicts - such as a sufficient number of convict irons? Or, how convicts might be worked in the new colony? ([87]) ([88]) One question arising from knowledge of this meeting, which can only be gleaned from Campbell's Letterbooks, and must have been of an administrative nature is: why was Phillip allowed to sail without advice as to when convicts' sentences expired? ([89]) It is possible that their conversation took a different turn - practical points on actually employing the convicts at labour. If the two had such a discussion, it may have been that Phillip then reasonably assumed that relevant supporting information would all follow naturally - which it did not. The point is that Phillip at Sydney employed the convicts much as Campbell employed them on the Thames.


The way Phillip worked his prisoners resembles the regime for work and rest that Campbell had developed for the hulks inmates since 1776. Historians still debate the nature of the authority Phillip brought with him to "New Holland". ([90]) There were few other sources of advice or models for procedure that Phillip could have sought in London in early 1787, about how to manage his prisoners once he was at Botany Bay. It is too seldom emphasised, that separated by 15,000 miles, Campbell and Phillip were using different versions of the same legislation for their various purposes - which had the same basic purpose, the derivation from convict labour of value for the State. And concerning the nature of the authority Phillip brought to NSW? ([91]) It was said by 1910, Governor Phillip was more like one of the Judges of the Israelites than an English governor of the day!


Campbell Letter 154:

Adelphi 10 Jany 1787

Evan Nepean Esq

I have just now received by express from Woolwich the inclosed lists of Convicts intended to make up the compliment for the Alexander with which you will be pleased to do the needfull the People which composes these lists are now all in good health and the sooner they are shipped the better. If you are pleased to send these lists to the different Clerks of Assize without delay they may at least add them to the Bonds which are to be signed on Saturday, by that means the Capt may pursue his voyage, and the Contracts, if not then ready can be signed afterwards, as Mr Richards is on the spot. I would have called on you myself, but my leg is rather the worse of my yesterday's visit

I am

Is Shelton ready -

Could you with any degree of convenience look in upon me for a few minutes this evening? I think we should then put everything in a fine train. I ask this because I have seen Capt Phillips here today. ([92])


Campbell by 10 January had received an express list from the Woolwich hulks of convicts for the Alexander. He asked Nepean "Is Shelton ready?", possibly because, as he said, the bonds had to be signed the next Saturday. Then, since Campbell had a bad leg, he asked Nepean to drop in on him that same evening, as he had seen Capt Phillips (sic) at the Adelphi during the day, and he assured Nepean they could put matters in a fine train. But no record of the conversation between Phillip and Campbell was kept. Phillip on 10 January went his own way. Campbell that night saw Nepean. Certainly after 10 January, the Clerks of the Peace and the Assize were kept busy, searching out documentation.


There is still new information, arising before the First Fleet sailed, to be unfurled. Some involves Macaulay and a new interpretation of the voyage of Lady Penrhyn. ([93]) Some involves Shelton.



* * *


London and Freemasonry after the First Fleet (From May 1787):


Once Lady Penrhyn had finished her convict business at "Botany Bay", she was planned to voyage to Nootka Sound, then Canton, per secret orders with Lt. Watts aboard her from George Macaulay, friend of the owner, Curtis. ([94]) Watts' orders meant his ship had purposes linked to the ambitions of London's South whalers, who were neighbours of Macaulay. Men in one suburb of London were dictating orders which would affect the British maritime history of the Pacific!


* * *


The records on life in London become thin after the First Fleet departed, another indication the event had not been perceived as important. Other information can arise newly. In 1787, Baltic ports gave Britain wheat, iron, copper, tar, pitch, hemp, timber and masts. The dependence on one supplier, Russia, may have worried Britain, which was turning to Canada for similar stores. It was perhaps hoped that in time similar stores would be available from NSW, Norfolk Island and New Zealand. These hopes were always vain, partly as the East India Company men in both London and India disdained trade with the new colony.


In 1787, Britain had 286 ships in its whale fishery. ([95]) In 1787 the Governor of Madras was William Petrie, succeeded by Major-General Archibald Campbell, late governor of Jamaica, a distant relative of overseer Campbell. In 1787, Robert Wissett was secretary of the Warehouses Committee of the East India Company. In 1787, Freemasons joining the Grand Lodge of England included John Bunn, John Barnes (probably the Africa merchant), William Dunbar. In 1788, Ald. Sir Watkin Lewis, MP, City of London. In 1789 joined William Adam MP. In 1790 joined Peter Mestayer (sic) who later sent a few convict ships to Sydney. In 1794 joined Robert Gill. In 1804 joined Richard Francis Mestayer. In 1805 joined Benjamin Plummer. In 1807, joined James Mestayer. In 1819 joined Thomas Lempriere. In 1819 joined W.C. Wentworth (probably the son of the convict at Sydney, Wentworth, the noted Sydney lawyer/politician and rival of the Macarthurs, NSW sheep-grazing pioneers. Wentworth by 1840 wanted to acquire the south island of New Zealand to create his own desmesne). In 1833 joined John Dunbar. From 1846 a startling number of aldermen who were later Lords Mayor of London were senior Masons. ([96]) In time, Freemasonry too made its impact on the new convict colony.


Campbell apart from his golfing-Masonry connection at Blackheath was possibly a member of a City lodge - although certainty is impossible. One Duncan Campbell was a member of the Friendship Lodge No 3 (now No. 6). This man was initiated before 1788, and gave his address as Suffolk Street, Haymarket, and Upper Harley Street, Cavendish Square, his occupation, Esquire. In 1788 he became a grand steward. ([97]) On the modern London A-Z - Cavendish Square is north up Regent St, near Oxford Circus. Suffolk St is an easy walking distance from the Adelphi. Whether this Mason was the hulks overseer is unknown; probably not.


In 1787, Lloyd's Register listed members and underwriters including Geo Abel, Angerstein Lewis and Warren, Richard Buller and Co., John Campbell (doubtless not the son of Duncan Campbell since one John Campbell had been an original subscriber to New Lloyd's) ([98]), A&B Champions, Champion and Dickasons, Geo Curling, Mark Gregory, Rt Hon Thomas Harley, Paul Le Mesurier and Co., G. M. Macaulay (of Blackheath, with a ship in the First Fleet), James Mather (of Cornhill with a ship in the First Fleet), Nath Modigliani, John Motteux, Nathaniel Newnham, St Barbe and Green, Smith and St Barbe. Donaldson, Thornton and Donaldson.


In 1788 the whaler Emilia Capt. James Shields (like his mate Archileus Hammond, a Nantucketeer) was sent out by Cape Horn into the Pacific by Enderbys, a tactic too-seldom seen as being linked with the whalers' ideas to send ships past "New Holland" in a two-pronged move on Pacific waters. ([99]) Emilia's voyage might have meant, that if Lady Penrhyn got to Nootka, the whalers would have ascertained prospects for most of the western coasts of both North and South America, with Lt. Watts also assessing the fur market at Canton. As well, some information would have been gleaned about Australia's coastal waters, and the whalers already knew from Cook's work of seals at Dusky Bay, New Zealand. Tactically, the whaler's first explorations were simple, and effective. Britain's whalers beat the Americans to exploitation of the Pacific by about five years.


The Lloyd's 1787 East India Company lists included Mitford, D. Cameron (who was later a husband managing Duncan and John Campbell's East India ships), G. Macaulay with Pitt 755 tons Capt. G. Couper sailing 28 March, 1786 for coast and bay owned Macaulay, W. Chapman, T Curtis, T. Larkins. There sailed 21 February, 1787, ship Adm Barrington, 527 tons, Capt. C. Lindgreen, for China, French built 1781, husband being G. Thornton. Here, Barrington's tonnage matches the tonnage of the Third Fleet ship Admiral Barrington, as given by Bateson. It remains to be seen then how ships in the East India service came to be employed in the convict service to Australia, which the East India Company despised. Lloyd's Register for 1787 indicated Macaulay's Pitt was in the East India Company service that year. Other information to hand indicated that Pitt on her return from that voyage, which began on 28 March, 1787, took convicts to New South Wales, and from there went to India. Presumably, Macaulay brought back two China cargoes in 1788. One per Pitt, one per Lady Penrhyn.


* * *


A brief chronology:


11 March, 1787: convicts delivered from Dunkirk hulk at Plymouth;


13 March: Major Ross listed convicts on Lady Penrhyn, plus Alexander and Scarborough;


21 March: Major Ross listed convicts on Charlotte and Friendship;


29 March: Major Ross listed convicts on Prince of Wales;


31 March: William Richards listed convicts for Alexander, Scarborough, Friendship, Charlotte, Lady Penrhyn and Prince of Wales. ([100])


20 April: Orders-in-Council, changing to NSW the destination of convicts for parts beyond the seas or for America or Africa;


30 April: convicts delivered from Newgate for transportation.


* * *


Payments to merchants:


Because of the way Britain made and consulted accounts about 1790, it may be impossible to gain an accurate figure on what the First Fleet actually cost. In The Fatal Shore, ([101]), Hughes terms the book-keeping procedures "meticulous", which is ridiculous. (By 1999, the entire costs have still not been registered in published material). He suggests that by 1792, the new NSW colony had cost Britain 67,194, 15/4d and three farthings. Such a figure cannot possibly account for the cost of the first three convict fleets to NSW. The First Fleet alone cost over 54,000 to the shipping contractor Richards, the charges for handling legal documentation have never been counted yet. ([102]) Here, Hughes must be using figures which ignore the maritime history of a shipping-dependent colony, another indication of the European history of a geographically-isolated Australia being constructed from an ignorance of maritime reality.


All told, Richards received 54,418/16/1d as contractor, plus 12,685/9/2d for victualling. Neavis (Neave) and Aislabie had also received 12,658, for victuals, so it seems Richards had dealt with them for victuals, as the figures are so close. ([103]) Neavis and Aisleabie were respectable and well-known merchants, and it may have been that they and Richards had somehow gotten in ahead of the first merchants expressing interest in the First Fleet, Turnbull, Macaulay and Gregory.


It will be seen that for the First Fleet, there was relatively more money for the contractor with provisioning than with convict carriage, simply because of the stowage. This implies that with later contractors, more so if they did not carry many provisions, their profit levels were somewhat reduced at least on the outward leg of the voyage. Little is known of the usual occupations of the First Fleet ships. Several had maiden voyages, several later went on the London-Jamaica run, one went again to Botany Bay. Two owners were whalers, one an underwriter at Lloyd's, one owner in the case of William Curtis was an alderman/financier; some were men who usually put ships into service with the navy, and only two owners had regular East India Company connections, Curtis and Macaulay, whilst Richards was trying to develop links with the Company on a footing the Company did not appreciate.


* * * * *


Arthur Phillip, governor of New South Wales:


On 11 January, Phillip attended to Alexander, where convicts were slipping their handcuffs, and as Phillip complained, the complement of the ship was 184 on board, and she was already crowded, when 210 were intended for her. ([104]) Phillip appeared to be chafing, wanting the convoy to get away, but his patience was to be stretched to the breaking point before he sailed on 13 May. The Act for the establishment of the colony, for example, had not yet been passed. He also wanted the transports on the Thames to be moved to Spithead, where there was less danger from escapes, and the convicts could be allowed more freedom and fresh air. He warned Nepean there would be fatal consequences if the convicts were continually kept penned up. ([105]) (Incidentally, if Campbell had misinformed about the health of the male prisoners, much can be explained about the health problems on Alexander.)


The Daily Universal Register on 12 January reported the hulks after fumigation would continue to confine transports. This was not the only misinformation in newspapers. Notice was given in The Public Advertiser of marines being drafted for Botany Bay being sent to Portsmouth (correct). A misinformed correspondent assured readers the female convicts were to go to Botany Bay, while male convicts from the country gaols would go to Africa. At Portsmouth, on 12 January, a party of Kings Yard carpenters went aboard Prince of Wales to make her hatches fully secure.


Convicts were staying troublesome, hardly surprising. As transports on the Thames were getting ready to proceed, boats had to be rowed about Alexander to prevent escapes. She was ready by the 18th was ready to proceed to Long Reach to join HM Sirius. Even on that day, Campbell had to respond to urgency from Nepean about the list for the Scarborough, (then at Portsmouth). Campbell pointed out to Nepean the convict surgeon John Irwin, "the clever fellow I might mention to you". ([106]) By an old habit, Campbell kept note of prisoner skills. John Irving was convicted of larceny at Lincoln, 6 March, 1784.


Campbell Letter 155:

Adelphi 18 Jan 1787

Evan Nepean Esq

In answer to yours this moment recd I beg leave to inform you that in the list intended for the Scarborough you will see John Irwin als. Law who I think is the clever fellow I might mention to you, but as I am not perfectly certain I shall immediately write to Erskine to know if I am right & what other Surgeons he has on board & upon his answer will acquaint you without loss of time, I send the inclosed for your consideration the man in question was by you scratched out of the list & not put into the Kings Warrant, please keep this letter till I have the pleasure of seeing you tomorrow ---

I am ([107])


Campbell had noticed that Nepean had scratched Irwin's name from the king's warrant, and informed Nepean he intended to find from Erskine if Irwin indeed knew something of medicine. He would also have Erskine search for other "convict surgeons" amongst the hulks numbers. A small attention from Campbell then gave the colony at NSW her "first emancipist" as Irwin has since become known. (Irving had formerly not been noticed prior to 26 April, 1787 - except listed in Richards' April General Return). Strange and unlikeable indeed was convict destiny - and with both Campbell and Nepean playing with Irwin's name on lists was some justification for the old Australian legend about the convicts being handpicked by the cream of the English magistracy.


* * *


On 26 January, 1787, The Daily Universal Register virtually lied when it reported that government had been very assiduous in selecting convicts for Botany Bay "the most ingenious of every branch of English manufactures being amongst them". In fact, in mid-1787, Campbell as hulks overseer was offering the Navy the use of skilled men - stonemasons and carpenters. There is little evidence the Botany bay convicts were skilled, it would have been unjust to send a convict merely because he or she was skilled, though doubtless the colony would have been better off if those sent out had been skilled. ([108]) On the other hand, to send unskilled convicts to a virgin colony was absurd.


Charles Lyte ([109]) writing on Sir Joseph Banks states that little clothing had been let for the women convicts when the ships did sail, and there was no small arms ammunition for the marines and their officers, who had to bluff the convicts (500-odd all rebellious and resentful) until Rio De Janeiro where Phillip was able to buy 10,000 musket balls. Before he left England, Phillip complained that five dozen razors and six scythes were hardly sufficient, and, (wrote Lyte) there was a powerful lobby in Britain trying to scuttle the idea of a penal settlement... they conjured up visions of a nest of pirates preying on shipping in the South Seas and the Far East.


In January 1787, The Public Advertiser got it right when it said a party of marines had been drafted to go to Botany Bay, and wrong when it said a correspondent assured that the female convicts were in the first vessels to go, and male convicts in country gaols would go to Africa.


27 January, 1787: Alexander, of the First Fleet - By 27 January, John Tollett at Somerset, arranging for Ann Coombs and three others, with Justices Edward Phillips the Elder and John Old Goodford, for a Richards/Sinclair contract. ([110]) The contracts were sent to Mr Scalding, gaoler, Somerset. Tollett moved in January 1786 from Somerset, to Devon (Jan 16); Exeter (23 Feb.), drawing for Somerset convicts; Bristol (5 Feb); 30 Jan. at Exeter; 29 Jan. at Exeter; 25 Jan. at Dorset; 24 Jan., Wiltshire; 23 Jan., searching for Cornwall convicts. Tollett was Clerk to Assize, Western Circuit. But all the clerks were drawing for Richards and Sinclair - Price at Oxford drew for Richards/Sinclair, Richards/Walton, and Sever. Rigge by 30 Dec. was on the Northern Circuit, Lancaster. ([111])


In a nicely sensitive point, delivered a little late however, 1787 - Camden to Pitt, 29 January, 1787, Lord Chief Justice Camden recommended to Pitt that trial by jury be established in the colony as soon as "propriety allowed". ([112]) It was only now that Nepean wanted to be sure how many convicts were once transported from Britain. Campbell replied...


Campbell Letter 156:

Superintendent Campbell to Under Secretary Nepean

Adelphi 29 Jan., 1787

My Dear Sir,

It cost me some time to find out a paper which would enable me to answer your letter effectually, and which I have this moment laid my hand on, which caused my delay in answering yours sooner.

It appears by a calculation I made for the information of the House of Commons some years since that upon an average of seven years, viz., from 1769 to 1775, both inclusive, I transported 547 convicts annually from London, Midx., Bucks and the four counties of the Home Circuit, and that 117 of these transports were women. I always looked upon that number from the other parts of the kingdom to be equal to what was transported by me. With regard, &c.,

Dun. Campbell. ([113])


On 31 January, Lady Penrhyn received 22 female convicts, then she moved toward the Alexander. Prince of Wales, apparently with her stores taken aboard at Portsmouth, came round to enter the Thames and the Deptford Yard to be secured by Capt. George Teer. At 5pm on Thursday, 1 February, Alexander and the Lady came to the Nore. Phillip requested the Navy Board to send lighters to Spithead so the convicts could be taken off whilst the ships were fumigated. On 2 February, John Townsend (probably acting for magistrate Sir Sampson Wright) conveyed 100 convicts from Newgate to Portsmouth. He was hurt on the way by a light-horseman's mount, and later claimed his surgeon's bill of the Treasury. The waggoning was a six days' business, and he was replaced by William Badger, whose services had also been used before by Sir Sampson Wright. Badger's services cost 26/5/-. ([114]) About 9 February, 1787, Shelton, Nepean and Sydney met to discuss lists drawn from orders-in-council. On 9 February, the East India Company court of directors considered the Lady Penrhyn, authorising her retention in China till the following season if she was prevented from reaching there within the prescribed period and without extra expense being incurred for the Company. ([115]) And in only days, the West India Merchants would discuss the proposed breadfruit voyage.


* * *


Endnote1: On the ineffectuality of the First Fleet. Was the First Fleet legal or illegal? It is difficult to be entirely satisfied of the legality of the transportation of women prisoners to NSW, since by custom and under Act 24 Geo II c.56, the property in the service of their bodies was not held by hulks overseers, as was the intention of the Act with respect to male prisoners. Here, the major legal point is that under the 1784 legislation, whomever paid for the transportation of convicts held the rights to the exercise of the "property" represented by the convict's labour. This property was distinct with each individual transport since they had been individually sentenced into the form of the "property" by the courts.


With the First Fleet and subsequent convict shipping, the government (or the King?) paid for the transportation, temporarily assigning the "properties" into the custody of the shipping contractors and their agents, including ships captains, for the purpose of accomplishing the transportation. ([116]) At the destination, NSW, government agents (the governor or his agents) received the individually listed properties, in the form of convict names and information on duration of sentence. One result was that forever after, a convict's name remained attached to the name of the ship transporting them.


If this was all accomplished effectually, the British government in NSW then had the right to exercise the labour of the convicts, which was the general view taken by Governor Phillip. It was then up to government's colonial agents to supervise what labour the convicts performed. But if Philip did not, as he did not, have information on the duration of sentences, as in the case of James Ruse, then the transportation was legally ineffectual. In statistical terms, the British government did not know how many man-years of convict labour - sentences forming durations of properties in the service of the body of the convict - had been sent to NSW. Therefore it cannot be said the initial colony was rationally planned. To know how many man-years of labour were initially available should have been one of the first pieces of information used as a basis for planning, even as to food supply for the colony, let alone equipment.


In some senses then, the First Fleet was legally ineffectual, and the fault for this lay with many people: the secretary of state, Nepean, with Shelton who made out the contracts with Richards, and/or Richards' ships captains. With Richards' agent, Zacariah Clark. With Campbell for not foreseeing that such a difficulty might arise. Governor Phillip may have been remiss in not ensuring he had relevant information. Richards seems especially in error: he should have had relevant information from Shelton on the contracts he signed, and it should have been necessary that copies were made and handed in one up-to-date bundle to governor Phillip before the Fleet sailed.


It would be unfair to blame Governor Phillip entirely: with all his other "drawbacks", Phillip simply would not have expected to be let down the way he was. And so, because the copying of various lists had not been accomplished, the lists not sent till later to NSW, the First Fleet was ineffectual. It was not illegal, a general legal problem; it was ineffectual, a particular legal matter. Should the transportation have been ineffectual on the part of the contractor, he should have been fined up to 40 per landed convict for any ineffectuality in the business, since 40 had been the old fine for ineffectuality of transportation. (Campbell before 1776 had always been most particular to see that his ship's captains at British ports had always received all proper documentation from legal officials when convicts were delivered to his ships, so that he should never be fined for this very reason). And so it was an absurd situation, the British government, or parliament, should have fined the Home Office up to 40 per convict landed at NSW by the First Fleet, due to this ineffectuality in the transportation, later properly reported by governor Phillip. Views taken on this ineffectuality in London may have been some of the reasons Richards was given only three more contracts for transportation, when he wanted many more. Richards may have been, simply, punished for his inefficiency..


Endnote2: The rough chronological order in which various institutions were "activated" for various purposes of convict transportation 1782-1792 were: The Home Office, The Africa Company, and via Calvert's whaling activities, the South Whale Fishery; hulks and gaol administrators, the judiciary (before and after Act 24 Geo II c. 56), Parliament, as with Beauchamp's Committee, the aldermen of London (and alderman Macaulay), Cabinet, the Treasury, the Navy Board, perhaps the Board of Trade, ship insurers at Lloyd's of London, the East India Company, not initially consulted and miffed about it, which was coerced to co-operate by the Home Office and Treasury. And later Camden Calvert and King and, again, the South Whale Fishery. ([117]) At least until the Third Fleet, the mention of Calvert and Co., and the whalers from 1782 to 1792 makes the list rather a closed loop containing enormous political and commercial energy of an Imperialistic character.


Endnote3: Watson commenting on the reign of George III seems to follow Harlow, saying that Britain in the Pacific searched for harbours and collection or storage points which would then help open up trade and absorb manufacturers while helping increase and strengthen shipping and seamen. ([118]) This is mere generality. Pacific adventures early on harmed Richards' career and credit, aided the South Whale Fishery, and gave an unnecessary windfall to Camden, Calvert and King, while the negative attitude of the East India Company has remained unexplained in full. So few merchants were involved, it was impossible that trade and manufactures would benefit noticeably.


* * *


[Finis Chapter 35]

Words 16993 words with footnotes 20585 pages 37 footnotes 118


[1] In 1790 a larger power was given by an Act of Parliament (90 Geo III c. 47); and it appears there was a realisation that Phillip could not otherwise convey a power to pardon transported convicts. The later legal theorising of John Howard, William Eden and Jeremy Bentham was that penal restraint was meaningless or void unless filled with labour and good order.

[2] Alan Atkinson, 'The free-born Englishman transported: convict rights as a measure of eighteenth century Empire'', Past and Present, No. 144, August 1994., pp. 88-115, here, p. 112.

[3] HRNSW Vol 1, part 2, pp. 256ff.

[4] After 1800, settlers at Sydney such as the Blaxlands from Kent expressed resentment at the tone of life in the colony which was created by the prevailing legal systems necessary to manage convicts.

[5] Beatty, With Shame Remembered, p. 5.

[6] Heney, Founding Mothers, p. 5.

[7] Alan Atkinson, 'The First Plans for Governing New South Wales, 1786-87', Australian Historical Studies, Vol. 24, No. 94, April 1990., pp. 22-40.

[8] Alan Atkinson, 'The First Plans for Governing New South Wales, 1786-87', pp. 29-32 especially. Alan Atkinson, `The Convict Republic', The Push From The Bush: A Bulletin of Social History, No. 18, October 1984., pp. 66-84.

[9] Alan Atkinson, `The First Plans for Governing New South Wales, 1786-1787', p. 24.

[10] Alan Atkinson, `The First Plans for Governing New South Wales, 1786-1787', pp. 35-39.

[11] Alan Atkinson, `The Free-Born Englishman Transported: Convict Rights as a Measure of Eighteenth Century Empire', p. 109.

[12] Frost, Convicts and Empire, pp. 110-111. Gillen, `Botany Bay Decision', p. 752, p. 764. On the First Fleet generally: Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1989. A view of the First Fleet shipping contractor, William Richards Jnr, is in: Jillian Oppenheimer in G. Connah, M. Rowland and J. Oppenheimer, Captain Richards' House at Winterbourne - A Study in Historical Archaeology. Armidale, Dept. of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of New England. 1978., Ch. 5.

[13] Duncan Campbell Letter 150: Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from Private Letterbooks Vol. 2. Mrs. Sherwin was Deborah, Rebecca C's sister (Debie).

[14] Given in Beatty, With Shame Remembered.

[15] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 207.

[16] Stackpole, Whales, p. 57.

[17] Flax, 2 Nov, 1786: Alan Frost, 'Botany Bay: An Imperial Venture of the 1780s', English Historical Review, Vol. C, 1985., pp. 309-330., here, p. 322. Via alderman Brook Watson, Nepean received a recommendation of Dawes (enclosing Twiss to Watson, 29 Oct., 1786) that two free flax workers might go with First Fleet. One might observe that flax was as useful for whalers as for naval or any other vessels..

[18] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 141.

[19] Treasury Board Papers, Reel 3550.

[20] But see T1/638, No 2798, 28 Nov., 1786, Mr. Rogers of the Ordnance re arms, cutlasses and ammunition to be issued for intended settlement at Botany Bay. Lyte asserts the marines had no ammunition till Phillip purchased it at Rio de Janeiro, in Charles Lyte, Sir Joseph Banks, 18th Century Explorer, Botanist and Entrepreneur. Sydney, AH and AW Reed, 1980., a book claiming the First Fleet was badly organised. But see Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 145 on ammunition and general remarks on a well-organised fleet; p. 141 on George Teer's views.

[21] Details are drawn from HRNSW, variously.

[22] Information per Mollie Gillen, in litt; Adm 106/243, nd, but near 2 Nov., 1786, [End R14]

[23] George Teer, Adm 106/243.

[24] Adm 106/243 [149685].

[25] I am grateful to Mollie Gillen for gathering this item.

[26] Bill Beatty, Early Australia - With Shame Remembered. Sydney, Cassell, 1962.

[27] Dec. 1786: Shipowners Hoppers are listed in Treasury Board Papers petitioners with others letting ships to the Transport Board, T1/695, Reel 3553. They were the only shipowners letting vessels to NSW who were familiar with the Transport Board, a fact possibly meaning they already knew William Richards. Oldham lists Richards' ships, p. 207.

[28] Adm 106/243 [149685].

[29] Reeve and Green were connections of John St Barbe.

[30] Martin in Martin, Founding, `A London Newspaper', Ch. 23.

[31] 20 Dec., 1786: Davison, who turned over a total of more than 50,000 with business to NSW: Navy Office Accounts, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp. 38ff; similar accounts were added by 13 June, 1794, pp. 220ff. See also Sydney to Lords Comm, Treasury, 20 Dec., 1786, Treasury Board Papers, Reel 3550, ML.

[32] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 132ff.

[33] Nepean to Shelton regarding the first batches of First Fleet convicts, 1 January, 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, p. 42.

[34] Sydney on female convicts: Treasury Board Papers, Reel 3550, T1/661 to Lords Comm. Treasury, 20 Dec., 1786; 20 Dec, 1786 Sydney on female convicts, Treasury Board Papers, Reel 3550, T1/661 to Lords Comm. Treasury, 20 Dec., 1786.

[35] O'Brien, Foundation, p. 280.

[36] Campbell swore such an oath at quarterly intervals before his returns were to be checked by solicitor for the Treasury, Chamberlayn, before Campbell could be reimbursed. Not one of his returns was ever questioned as to its veracity. Campbell swore his oaths before such as Robert Abington, William Gill, Sir Sampson Wright. Gill in 1789 was London Lord Mayor.

[37] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 133.

[38] Inquiries in Australia and Ireland have not yet revealed the whereabouts of the contracts for the Irish transportations.

[39] Clive Emsley, `The Home Office and its Sources of Information and Investigation, 1791-1801', English Historical Review, Vol. 94, July 1979. pp. 532-561., pp. 536ff. I am indebted to Kate Thomas for drawing this paper to my attention.

[40] Emsley, Home Office [spies], English Historical Review, p. 532.

[41] Emsley, `Home Office', [spies], EHR pp. 532-535.

[42] Emsley, `Home Office', [spies], EHR, p. 548.

[43] Emsley, `Home Office', [spies], EHR p. 545-546. It is suggested in Katherine M. Thomas, 'A Biographical Appraisal of John Hunter RN, (1737-1821)'. Honours thesis. University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, 1992., p. 111, Note 88, that later, Maurice Margarot wrote an anonymous letter to under-secretary John King in 1801 which contributed to the downfall of John Hunter as governor of NSW.

[44] Emsley, `Home Office', [spies], HER, p. 539.

[45] Emsley, `Home Office', HER. p. 560-561.

[46] Emsley, `Home Office', [spies], HER, p. 550.

[47] Emsley, `Home Office', [spies], HER, pp. 549-550 .and Carter, Banks, re Nodder, p. 227, p. 336, Nodder illustrated (an engraving) of New Zealand flax, 304; Nodder, p. 336.

[48] Emsley, `Home Office', p. 549-550.

[49] Byrnes, `The Blackheath Connection', pp. 95ff

[50] T. J. Kiernan, Transportation from Ireland to Sydney, 1791-1816. Canberra, 1954. Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: A History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787-1868. London, Pan Books/Collins, 1988. P. Connolly, archivist, National Archives, Bishop St, Dublin 8 wrote to the present author on 22 January, 1992: "This office does not hold any contracts relating to Irish convicts transported to NSW and Van Diemen's Land in the early nineteenth century and I am not aware of the whereabouts of any such contracts. It is possible that they may have been among the Chief Secretary's Office which were destroyed by fire in 1922, though they do not appear on any list."

[51] On Shelton: Leon Radzinowicz, A History of English Criminal Law and its Administration from 1750. The Movement For Reform . London, Stevens and Sons Ltd., 1948., p. 21, Note 62. As usual, in noting the case of the "Scottish Martyrs" (1793-1794), the Australian Eris O'Brien, writing in the 1930s, paid close attention to the very legality of transportation. Leon Radinowicz observed that Lord Colchester in 1796 was examining the frequency of the expiry of legislation, with special regard to the case of the Scottish martyrs. Colchester had sought the opinion of Shelton, concluded the martyrs had been unjustly transported.

[52] One suspects that Lachlan sub-contracted for the large firm of convict contractors, known in their earliest years of activity as Buckle, Buckle, Bagster and Buchanan. Buchanan later left the firm and imported Australian wool, as entries in the Sydney Gazette for the later 1820s indicate.

[53] Hawkings, Bound for Australia, p. 13, citing HO 13/17; p. 136.

[54] Nepean at Whitehall to Thomas Shelton, 1 January, 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, p. 42.

[55]A. J. Gray, `John Irving, The First Australian Emancipist', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vols. 40-41, 1954-1955., pp. 316-330. Irving's destiny was altered by Campbell and Nepean in January 1787 at Campbell's instigation. Convict John Irving (Irwin) was convicted of larceny at Lincoln on 6 March, 1784, sentenced for transportation for seven years. Gray incorrectly suggests Irving was first mentioned in a return submitted by contractor Richards on 26 April, 1787. John Eastey the marine in his journal mentions having met (John) Erwin aboard Lady Penrhyn.

[56] Chamberlayn's Report: See Treasury Board Papers, T1/720ff, Chamberlayn's Report on legal costs, dated 27 June, 1793, shortly after George Rose at Treasury had collated information on all the costs of the venture to Botany Bay due to parliamentary complaints about the cost. Rose received Chamberlayne's report too late for Rose's deadline, which was dated 7 June, 1793. Rose's accounts are lodged in HRNSW, Vol. 2, part 1, 1793-94, pp. 39ff; and a second set of accounts dated 13 June, 1794, is in HRNSW, Vol. 2, part 1, pp. 220ff. These accounts will be dealt with in more detail later.

[57] Chamberlayn's report: as identified in Byrnes, `Emptying Hulks', p. 9 on Chamberlayn, solicitor to the Treasury.

[58] Legal work: Oldham, Britain's Convicts, pp. 132ff. Chamberlayn's Report, Lincoln's Inn, to Treasury, 27 June, 1793, Treasury Board Papers, T1/720ff.

[59] HRNSW, Vol. 2, 1793-1795, pp. 39ff.

[60] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 195.

[61] According to a TV program by Jonathan King, screened in 1987. (Jonathan King is a descendant of Gov. P. G. King). T1/637, unnumbered, Account, Coroner's Bills circa 1786 regarding convicts that died on the hulks.

[62] In 1789 Shelton did properly list George Whitlock, who, as mentioned by Bateson, brokered the Second Fleet contract for Camden, Calvert and King.

[63] Campbell Document/Letter No. 151: Transcript from HRNSW, Vol. 1, p. 44.

[64] Adm 106/243. Info per Mollie Gillen.

[65] Adm 106/243. Teer's Letter is per Mollie Gillen.

[66] Rep 191, pp. 42-54. I have earlier referred to the magistrates' work of handling documentation in `Emptying The Hulks', cited earlier, p. 9, under the heading of Chamberlayn's Report, T1/720ff.

[67] Reps :Corporation of City of London Archives. Index to Corporation Records c. 1786. Index to Repertories. Copy, Corp City London, Guildhall Building, London. Rep. 190, 1785-1786. Rep 191, 1786-1787.

[68] Campbell to Capt. James Hill, 15 Nov, 1784. Campbell wrote to Capt. Hill, at Portsmouth, 9 Dec., 1788, on letters between Hill and Nepean about convict handling. Campbell to Capt. James Hill, 15 Nov., 1784, ML A3228, pp. 420-421. The hulk Firm was a square-sterned barque of 290 tons, built Montreal in 1764, earlier owned by a Stepney coal factor.

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

[70] Margaret I. Adam, `The Highland Emigration of 1770', Scottish Historical Review, XVI., pp. 280-93. Also, Margaret I. Adam, `The Causes of the Highland Emigrations of 1783-1803', The Scottish Historical Review, Vol. XVIL, No. 66, January 1920., pp. 73-89.

[71] Walvin, Black Ivory, pp. 194, 304, 340.

[72] Chamberlayn's Report: Byrnes, `Emptying the Hulks', p. 9, Note 30. T1/731.

[73] Transcript from HRNSW, Vol. 1, (1788-1793), p. 42.

[74] Documents Richards attended to here are on microfilm M581 at the Australian National Library, Canberra., pp. 37ff.

[75] T1/720ff.

[76] This was noticed in an article on Macintyre's book, The Rebello Transcripts, in The Weekend Australian, 31 March-1 April, 1984.

[77] HRNSW, Vol. 1, p. 44, a warrant signed by Sydney with an attached list of convicts' names.

[78] Campbell Letter No. 152: Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML A3229. On 7 January came aboard Alexander a warrant to be signed for the delivery of the convicts to Botany Bay. Parts of that ship's log are reproduced in HRNSW.

[79] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 138. HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, pp. 58ff, Phillip to Nepean, 18 March, 1787.

[80] Campbell Letter No. 153: Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: From ML A3229, p. 262: The marine officer "circumstanced as he was" was Lt. Sharp, who boarded Alexander, Capt. Duncan Sinclair on 8 Jan., 1787, with his luggage. The irons in question were replaced by Thomas Downer Esq., who supplied 100 pairs of bazels with rings and chains at a charge of 22/10/4d., or 54 pence each His charge was dated about July, 1787.

[81] Arthur Phillip's movements in January 1787 included: 3 Jan., Phillip's audience with Geo III; 4 Jan., Phillip to Nepean, HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, pp. 45-46; Jan. 5, Phillip at Portsmouth, some embarkation of convicts; Thursday, 10 Jan., Phillip consulted with Campbell; 11 Jan., 1787, Phillip to Nepean, matter of convicts' custody and health; O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 144ff.

[82] Women convicts were delivered from Newgate to Lady Penrhyn on 6 Jan., 1787, 9 Jan., 16 Jan. and 31 Jan.

[83] An Order-in-Council of 12 Feb., 1787 changed to NSW the destination of convicts sentenced to parts beyond the seas, or for Africa or America.

[84] There came a warrant to deliver more male convicts to Alexander, 20 Jan., 1787; but a great many warrants were batching felons in January.

[85] 10 Jan., 1787: Sessions Gaol Delivery Minute Book, p. 231.

[86] Campbell's letters at this time indicate Campbell's chief clerk, James Boyick assisted Stewart with handling the convicts for Alexander. On this batch of convicts see Nepean to Thomas Shelton, 1 Jan., 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, p. 42.

[87] Campbell to Nepean, 10 Jan., 1787. Duncan Campbell Letterbooks, ML A3229.

[88] Nepean had asked Campbell for his figures on the number of convicts he had used to transport annually before 1776; about half those transported annually from the kingdom. Campbell to Nepean, 29 Jan., 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, p. 47.

[89] This question is noted for example in the case of Australia's "first farmer", James Ruse, who was sentenced in 1782.

[90] Alan Atkinson, Sunshine from Frost, [a review of Alan Frost's book, Phillip - His Voyaging], The Push From The Bush, No. 26, April 1988., pp. 9-23.

[91] The Historian's History of the World. Vol. 22. (25 Vols.) London, The Times, article by Ronald McNeil, p. 129. Also Robert J. King, `The territorial boundaries of New South Wales in 1788: the significance of the wording of the Commission or Patent appointing Arthur Phillip Captain-General and Governor of the Territory of New South Wales', The Great Circle, Vol. 3, Oct. 1981., pp. 70-89.

[92] Campbell Letter No. 154: Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML A3229: Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 132 reports that on 2 April, 1787, George Moore who had from 1783 engaged in unsuccessful ventures to transport convicts, transferred the rights and responsibilities his by virtue of his contracts taken in 1783 or 1784 to his nephew, Thomas Quayle. Quayle later transferred the same rights to the First Fleet contractor William Richards on 10 June, 1787. Some of Arthur Phillips' movements were: 3 Jan., audience with George III. 4 Jan., Phillip to Nepean, HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, pp.45-46, 5 Jan., Phillip at Portsmouth, some embarkation of convicts. 10 Jan., Phillip met with Duncan Campbell in London. Thur. 11 Jan., Phillip to Nepean, matter of convicts' custody and health; O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 144ff. A meeting between Campbell and Phillip is nowhere else recorded. What they discussed is not known, but it is here suggested that Phillip may have been concerned about documentation on prisoner terms of sentence and relevant documentation. On 10 Jan. in London, according to Sessions Gaol Delivery Minute Book for February 1785-February 1789, p. 231 (Corporation of London Records Office, microfilm at National Library, Canberra) was recorded:- London - Be it remembered that William Richards the Younger of Walworth in the County of (?) Ship Broker doth now here personally appear and contract and agree with this Court to Transport or cause to be transported pursuant to Law the several Convicts hereafter named who were ordered at the several following Sessions of Gaol Delivery of Newgate (?) for this City .... to be transported beyond the Seas for the terms hereafter mentioned to such Place as His Majesty with the advice of his Privy Council should think fit to declare and appoint John Henry Palmer at the Sessions (?) on the (?) day of January, 1786, ... and John Powes at the Sessions in ? December 1785.... His Majesty ..... New South Wales..... .... and the said William Richards doth now here propose and agree to give (?) therewith Duncan Sinclair Captain of the ship Alexander now lying in the River Thames on the Penal (?) sum of Eighty Pounds for the effectual performance of such transportation And this Court doth therefore now here transfer and make over the before named Convicts... And William Richards doth now here Contract and agree with this Court to transport or cause to be transported pursuant to Law and several Convicts hereafter named who were ordered at the several following Sessions of Gaol Delivery of Newgate holden for their City to wit John Walker... David Jacobs... James Holloway... John Westwood... [re] sessions 20th day of Oct 1784 .. Nicholas English, Benjamin Ingraham, James David, Edward Humphreys, George Francisco... 8 Dec 1784 at Sessions... Thomas Howard, William Moore, at Sessions 12 Jan, 1785, transported beyond the Seas for the term of Seven Years respectively to such Place as His Majesty... [some convicts had been sentenced to Transportation to America at dates: Sept. 1783; April 25, 1784; May 1784; July 7, 1784; Sept. 15, 1784; April 25, 1784; Sept. 10, 1783; 21 April, 1784; Sept. 10, 1783; some for the term of their natural lives. Some had been sentenced for Africa 23 Feb. 1785; April 25, 1784; [James Eyre, Justice; Baron Hotham both Barons of the Court of Exchequer] John Marshall master of the Scarborough Transport bound for New South Wales to be paid One Thousand One Hundred and Eighty pounds for the effectual transportation... Sarah Hall to be transported... [William Richards] proposes to join with William Crofton Sever of No 12 Princes Square, Ratcliffe Highway, master of Lady Penrhyn... 80... as a penal sum for the effectuality of transportation... to procure authentic... Certificates from the Governor or Lieut Governor... By the Court...

[93] House of Commons Journal, Vol. 43... In July 1788, pp. 333-337, for Jan. 1787, Turnbull, Macaulay and Gregory, total, 74,810.

[94] In early May, 1787, less than two weeks before the First Fleet left England, alderman Curtis came down to Lady Penrhyn, loaded with her female convicts, to discuss business with her captain, William Crofton Sever. The First Fleet then sailed and that leg of Lady's voyage is well documented. For dates pertinent to her voyage I have consulted Arthur Bowes Smyth, The Journal of Arthur Bowes Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn, 1787-1789, edited by P. J. Fidlon and R. J. Ryan, Sydney, 1979; and Lt. Watts' section in Phillip's journal, The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay. Sydney, 1970, edited by J. J. Auchmuty.

[95] Dallas, Trading Posts, p. 61.

[96] Notes from Charles Belton, Grand Master's Lodge No. 1: Record of Members from 1759 to 1895. London, 1895., pp. 45ff. Copy, BL.

[97] This information has been kindly provided per Mrs. K. A. Jowitt, assistant librarian, Library and Museum of the United Grand Lodge of England, Freemason's Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ.

[98] I am indebted to Anthony Twist for clarifying this matter.

[99] Emilia's voyage is noted quite proudly in The Samuel Enderby Book.

[100] Information per Mollie Gillen.

[101] Hughes, The Fatal Shore, p. 108.

[102] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 207 citing CO 201/5; Byrnes, `Emptying the Hulks', p. 11.

[103] Oldham, Britain's Convicts, p. 207.

[104] Sufficient irons for the convicts had not been thought of. Campbell wrote to Erskine on 30 January, 1987, noting the Marines had taken 100 pairs of bazels with rings and irons. (The replacements cost Campbell, then government, 22/10/-). Campbell wrote to Nepean on 20 March, 1787, about irons sent to Portsmouth with the convicts, to be returned or not, as it was difficult to receive new people on the hulks without those irons. The evidence here is of a mindless government parsimony.

[105] Gov. Arthur Phillip to Nepean, in Marjorie Eldershaw, Phillip of Australia: An Account of the Settlement of Sydney Cove, 1788-1792. London, George Harrup and Co., 1938., p. 36; O'Brien, Foundation, pp. 141ff; HRNSW, Vol. I, part 2, p. 46.

[106] Campbell to Nepean, 18 Jan., 1787, cited in A. J. Gray, `John Irving, The First Australian Emancipist', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 40, 1954-1955., pp. 316-331.

[107] Campbell Letter No. 155: Duncan Campbell Letterbooks: Transcript from ML A3229, p. 260: John Irving was convicted of larceny at Lincoln on 6 March, 1784, and sentenced to transportation for seven years. A. J. Gray, `John Irving, The First Australian Emancipist', cited above. Gray suggests that the first mention of Irwin (the convict surgeon) was in a return submitted by the First Fleet contractor, William Richards, on 26 April, 1787.

[108] I have discussed questions about convicts being chosen for their skills, or not, in Byrnes, `Emptying the Hulks'.

[109] Charles Lyte, Sir Joseph Banks, 18th Century Explorer, Botanist and Entrepreneur. Sydney, AH and AW Reed, 1980.

[110] Chamberlayn's Report, T1/728ff.

[111] Chamberlayn's Report, T1/728ff.

[112] Quoted in J. H. Rose, William Pitt, Vol. 1, p. 439; as cited in Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, p. 238.

[113] HRNSW, Vol. 1, p. 47. Cited in Ekirch, Bound for America, p. 24; 29 Jan., 1787, CO 201/2/209, PRO.

[114] Treasury Board Papers, by date, Reel 3550, ML.

[115] HRNSW, Vol. 1, part 2, p. 48. Bateson, The Convict Ships, p. 313.

[116] A serious legal dispute about responsibilities in this domain broke out with the Second Fleet between ships captains and officers of the NSW Corps, in which the military men were mistaken, indicating they had been insufficiently briefed on their responsibilities.

[117] Byrnes, `Outlooks', p. 90.

[118] Watson, Geo III, p. 18.

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