EYES WIDE SHUT – A MILITARY CAMPAIGN & ARTHUR PHILLIP

1790 – 13 December Sydney: ‘Bring in six [6] of those natives who reside near the head of Botany Bay; or if that should be found impractical…put that number to death…bring in the heads of the slain…bring away two [2] prisoners to execute in the most public and exemplary manner, in the presence of as many of their countrymen as can be collected’.  General Orders: Governor Arthur Phillip RN to Marine Captain Watkin Tench. Cited Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961.

1787 – 25 April – London: ‘Live in amity and kindness with them’; His Majesty King George III to Captain Arthur Phillip RN commander of a large armed squadron of eleven (11) ships – two (2) warships, six (6) troop transports, three (3) supply vessels, known in Britain as the ‘First Fleet’. See: A Riddle – When an invasion fleet was not an invasion fleet? When it’s the ‘First Fleet’.

Extravagant lies, none are more destructive than, ‘amity kindness’.

Did Britain invade New Holland? ‘Twenty-five regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between 1790 and 1870. They fought in one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire, and for the first half of their stay were probably more frequently in action than the garrison of any other colony besides that of southern Africa’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison,The British Army in Australia, 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press, 1986

Why did Britain invade New Holland? ‘From the coast of China it lies not more than about a thousand leagues, and nearly the same distance from the East Indies, from the Spice Islands about seven hundred leagues, and near a month’s run from Cape of Good Hope…or suppose we were again involved in a war with Spain, here are ports of shelter and refreshment for our ships, should it be necessary to send any into the South Sea’. Admiral Sir George Young, Plan [New Holland] to Home Secretary Lord Sydney, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. 1

Via the southern oceans, in time of global warfare (1793-1815), a permanent military presence and naval base on the south eastern coast of New Holland – Australia – would secure Britain alternate sea-routes to and from India, China, Africa, South America and could frustrate any effort to mount an effective economic blockade of island England.

‘In the first place, Pitt, Dundas, Castlereagh and other British ministers were to a great extent advocates of ‘maritime’ strategy as Dundas argued in 1801;

“From our insular position, from our limited population not admitting of extensive continental operations, and from the importance depending in so material a degree upon the extent of our commerce and navigation, it is obvious that, be the causes of the war what they may, the primary object of our attention ought to be, by what means we can most effectually increase those resources on which depend our naval superiority, and at the same time diminish or appropriate to ourselves those which might enable the enemy to contend with us in this respect”. Henry Dundas, cited Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Fontana Press, 3rd ed. London 1976

EPILOGUE

‘Appropriate to ourselves’ ‘New Holland is a good blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India’. Anon. Historical Records of New South Wales’

‘The pattern of conflict in Australia ran parallel to the pattern of settlement. From the early days around Sydney Cove the hostility of the Aboriginal Peoples to the depredations of the whites was clear to all’. Jeffrey Grey, A Military History of Australia, The British Period 1788-1870, Cambridge Press, 2001

In 2018 ‘the depredations of the whites’ are not clear to all’; ‘Dispossession” is a concept which has never reflected the actual circumstances at any time. Whites and blacks got along fairly well in the Sydney coastal region from the start…‘Robert Murray, To The Land, Boys, We Live In, Quadrant, January-February, 2018

 

 

The revival of Tudor ambition, the return to an ideal of trade…the search for a new Cathay led unexpectedly perhaps not to Nootka Sound as a halfway house to Canton or to a business deal between George III and the Emperor of China but to settlement in Australasia’. Vincent T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire 1763-1793, Vol 2. Longmans 1964

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply