Botany Bay – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ – Mark 2

Rio de Janeiro – 3 September 1787: ‘Dear Nepean, this is my last letter, as I hope to sail [for Botany Bay] tomorrow. You know how much I was interested in the intended expedition against Monte Video [1783], and that it was said that the Spaniards had more troops than I supposed’. Arthur Phillip to Evan Nepean Under Secretary to Lord Sydney, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. 1, Parts 1 & 2.

Brazil – September 1787: As the First Fleet ‘bound for Botany Bay’ prepared to sail from Rio for New Holland via Cape Town, Captain Arthur Phillip RN ‘Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy’ was able to supply Evan Nepean, his long-time ‘handler’ at the Home Office, with vital information.

Skin in the game; to further understand Phillip’s ‘interest’  – not only had he drawn up Mark 1, the strategic plan for the failed Monte Video expedition, he had captained HMS Europa in the 1783 expedition under overall command of Sir Richard Kingsmill.

‘The combination of French and Spanish naval power had proven fatal for Britain in the American War 1775-1783]…as Lord Sandwich admitted frankly’. Lord Sandwich cited R.J. King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, Sydney, 1990

Kingsmill’s ‘failure to act’ in 1783 had robbed the Royal Navy of much needed ‘glory’. That failure rankled. Phillip was determined to make amends. The conquest of New Holland, now Australia, would go a long way to restoring ‘lost glory’.

If Phillip succeeded he knew he would have an opportunity to prove Spain’s ‘treasure’ colonies on the Pacific Coast of South America were  vulnerable to attack by the Royal Navy via the Southern Oceans.

Rio – September 1787:  Phillip then went on to provide Evan Nepean with up-to-date intelligence ‘obtained from a person who was there [Monte Video] all of the war [1775-1783] on the number and disposition of troops, ‘and I am certain that the account is exact’. Phillip to Nepean, 3 September 1787. Historical Records. op.cit.

Strategically New Holland was all about global warfare. The invasion, dispossession of a Sovereign Peoples was about stealing stuff. See: Why New Holland – Britain + America + India + France + Spanish South America = European Australia

‘French and Spanish naval power had proven fatal for Britain in the American War.’ R.J.King. op.cit.

Chesapeake:  Defeat of the Royal Navy at Chesapeake by a French squadron led by Admiral de Grasse,  at the Battle of the Capes September 1781, starved General Lord Charles Cornwallis of artillery support and tipped the scales in favour of Washington’s Continental Army.

Yorktown: A month later – 19th October 1781 – the surrender of 5000 survivors Cornwallis’ men to equal numbers of French Regulars and American Patriot militia sounded the death-knell for the British campaign in the American Revolutionary War.

London:  Lord Frederick North, King George III’s Prime Minister since 1770, resigned in March 1782.

Charles Watson-Wentworth – Lord Rockingham – succeeded but died four (4) months later in July 1782.

William Petty, Earl Shelburne relinquished his position as Home Secretary to take over the Prime Ministership as Lord Lansdowne.

Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney replaced Lansdowne and was appointed Home Secretary in July 1782.

Lord Sydney inherited the Monte Video so called Dalrymple Plan. He turned to Captain Arthur Phillip RN to bring it to life and salvage some honour after the ignominy of the Omoa and San Juan disasters circa. 1779-80.


‘It will be asked why, when we [Britain] have as great if not a greater, force than we ever had, the enemy are superior to us. To this it is to be answered that England till this time was never engaged in a sea war [1779-83] with the House of Bourbon [France and Spain] thoroughly united, their naval force unbroken, and resources, and having no other war or object to draw off their attentions and resources’. Lord Sandwich cited R.J. King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, Sydney 1990 

Jamaica- Omao: Major William Dalrymple, while based at Jamaica, had in September 1779, sailed from Kingston Harbour to attack Omoa a Spanish fortress at Honduras on the coast of Central America.

Britain also maintained settlements along the Mosquito Coast. Occupied in the main by white overseers of slave labourers who felled the mighty giants to satisfy the United Kingdom’s rapacious thirst for mahogany to fill the fine dining, drawing and bedrooms of wealthy Georgians.

Omoa: Although the Spanish vastly outnumbered the English in the area of attack Dalrymple’s raiders managed to take the Spanish by surprise. They captured the main fort at Omoa on the 16tn of September 1779.

Disease, dysentery yellow fever and malaria, overtook them. The British managed to hold onto the fort until November 1779 when it was lost to a Spanish counter attack.

The naval contingent of three (3) vessels did better. It managed to seize two (2) treasure ships laden with loot – gold bullion to the tune of three million (3,000,000) Spanish dollars.

London: For home consumption the ‘victory’ was overblown. Medals were minted. Paintings, engravings, books, a plethora of print articles screamed ‘gold’.

Jamaica: So it was not difficult for Dalrymple who had survived Omoa to suggest another attack on Spain’s rich South American territories.

Dalrymple’s subsequent San Juan proposal had the backing of General John Dalling, Governor of Jamaica and, from far-off London, the support of Lord George Germain, secretary of state for America.

Westminster: However Shelburne, then Home Secretary, was not so impressed by the spin put on Omoa.

Sir John Dalrymple a prominent member of the influential Scots ‘Dalrymple Dynasty’ took up his younger brother’s cause.  While treaty terms were still under negotiation at Versailles Shellburn approved the ‘Dalrymple Plan’.

In July 1782 Shelburne became Prime Minister on the death of Lord Rockingham.  Lord Sydney, now Home Secretary, inherited the ‘Dalrymple’. See: Monte Video – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ Mark 1

‘Hush hush whisper who dares’. A.A. Milne, Vespers, When We Were Very Young

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