Archive for March, 2018

A HATCHET JOB: HEADS OFF THE BIDJIGAL OF BOTANY BAY

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

‘In war the trophy head is a mark of supremacy and respect’. Frances Larson, Severed, Granta, 2015

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1790 – 13 December, Sydney Cove: ‘If practicable, to bring away two [2] natives as prisoners and to put to death ten [10]. That we were to cut off, and bring in the heads of the slain, for which purpose, hatchets and bags would be furnished’. Marine Captain Watkin, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhadinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

Can we know what drove Governor Phillip’s ferocity? Yes we can – simmering rebellion centred on ‘certain  officers’ of the newly arrived New South Wales Corps (June 1790) one in particular Lieutenant John Macarthur.

‘The author of this publication [Captain Watkin Tench] received a direction to attend the governor [Arthur Phillip] at head quarters immediately.

I went, and his excellency informed me, that he had pitched upon me to execute the foregoing command…infuse universal terror…convince them of our superiority…we were to proceed to the north arm of the [Botany] bay…destroy all weapons of war: no hut was to be burned: that all women and children were to remain uninjured’.  

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SMALLPOX – A LETHAL WEAPON- BOSTON 1775; ROBERT ROSS & DAVID COLLINS – SYDNEY 1789; MAJOR ROSS & CAPTAIN COLLINS

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

‘From time to time throughout history, peoples and governments around the world have used micro-organisms as efficient and cost-effective weapons of mass destruction’. Professor Dorothy H. Crawford, The Invisible Enemy, Edinburgh University Press, 2000.

BOSTON

In 1763, in the earliest recorded deliberate release of a virus, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, British Commander-in-Chief in North America, authorized the distribution of smallpox-contaminated blankets to native Americans who were harassing European settlers around the garrison at Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania’. Crawford. op. cit.

Britain & the North American Indian Wars:  General Thomas Gage served as second-in-command to General Amherst in the North American theatre of the (Seven Years War) 1756-1763.

 ‘We gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital, I hope it will have the desired effect’. Amherst, cited Professor Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana, The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, 2001

In 1763 General Gage was implicated in the distribution of blankets seeded with smallpox to local Indian tribes at Fort Pitt now Pittsburgh.

“This act had the sanction of an impressive array of British officers, including Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander in chief at the time, and General Thomas Gage, who replaced Amherst and signed off on reimbursements for the “Sundries” used ” to convoy the Smallpox to the Indians”. Fenn. op. cit.

America – 1718-1775: Convict transportation: Britain between 1718 and 1775 exported approximately fifty thousand (50,000) convicted criminals to America.

Tied twice yearly to Assize and County Court Sittings some convicts – reprieved death on condition of exile ‘from the realm’were sentenced ‘for transportation to America’.

They were sold to plantation owners at regular ‘slave scrambles’. Most were unskilled men who served their sentence labouring alongside African slaves shipped to America to work the tobacco and cotton fields. Most women prisoners were purchased as house-servants.

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SMALLPOX – A BIOLOGICAL WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION – 1789

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

‘The body of the [Aboriginal] woman showed that famine, superadded to disease, had occasioned her death‘It is true, that our surgeons had brought out variolous (smallpox) matter in bottles’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961

Botany Bay – January 1788: At 2.15pm on 18 January 1788 HMS Supply, first of a large armed expeditionary force of eleven (11) ships, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’ with a complement of 1500 souls,  one-half convicted criminals, anchored in the entrance to Botany Bay, New Holland now Australia.

Governor Phillip estimated local Aborigines numbered 1500, the fleet’s complement doubled the population.

‘The main battle was about having enough to eat’. The Story of Australia, Don Watson 1984.

Sydney Cove 1789:  Starving on the streets of Sydney and white survival.  In April 1789 viral smallpox wiped out 50% of Sydney’s Aboriginal families. See: Smallpox and Starvation Dead Aborigines Don’t Eat

‘Inexplicably, the epidemic did not affect the [invading] European population’.  People of Australia, Macquarie Series, Ed. Bryce Fraser, 1998

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ARTHUR PHILLIP – SPOOK & EVEN NEPEAN – HANDLER – A MILITARY CAMPAIGN HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

During Lord Sydney’s time as secretary of state, the Home Office was a clearing house. Its jurisdiction included overseeing of naval officers involved in trade regulation, secret service and special projects.

As a result Sydney crossed paths with three men who left their mark on history – Horotio Nelson, William Bligh and Arthur Phillip. Lord Sydney [the life and times of Tommy Townshend] Andrew Tink, 2011.

2020:  It is time to kill that old chestnut – Captain Arthur Phillip RN was ‘plucked from obscurity’ to command the First Fleet’.

Brazil: Key to the success of Britain’s Expeditionary Force, known as the ‘First Fleet’, had been laid nearly a decade earlier during Arthur Phillip’s three (3) year sojourn in Brazil.

Like ‘amity and kindness’ Australia’s foundation myth – benign colonisation; ‘New South Wales…peacefully annexed’ U.K. Privy Council [11] Cooper V Stuart [1889]’ nothing ‘plucked from obscurity’ does not pass the pub test.

Britain invaded New Holland on the cusp of ‘the greatest event of the late eighteenth century’ – the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars – February 1793 to June 1815.

New Holland guaranteed Britain domination over alternate sea routes to and from India , the Philipines and China. Via the Southern Oceans Spain’s South American Pacific Coast  ‘treasure colonies’ were vulnerable to attack.  See: Proximity Not Distance Drove Britain’s Invasion of New Holland

Rio de Janeiro: Seconded to the Portuguese Navy Phillip, fluent in Portuguese, established good relations with Viceroy Lavradio.  Based in Rio he reported directly to Lord Sandwich at the Admiralty.

When the fleet, en-route to Botany Bay put into Rio for supplies (August-September 1787), Phillip found Marquess Vasconcelos, Lavradio’s successor, held him in high regard.

In the race for New Holland Vasconcelos’ support proved vital to Britain’s victory over France. See: Britain By A Short Half-Head Arthur Phillip and Jean Francois La Perouse

‘The short term consequence [loss of America] were less dramatic than many expected. Though Britain’s eclipse as a world power was confidently predicted her economic recovery was swift and the colonial development of Australia, New Zealand, India and part of Africa went some way to compensating for the loss of the first British Empire’. J.A. Cannon, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, ed. Oxford Companion to British History.

 

‘In November [1784] Henry Dundas, possibly Pitt’s closest advisor, warned that ‘India is the first quarter to be attacked, we must never lose sight of keeping such a force there as well be sufficient to baffle or surprise’. Henry Dundas, cited Michael Pembroke, Arthur Phillip Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy, Hardie Grant Books, Victoria, 2013

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