Monte Video – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ Mark 1

London – 4 July 1782: Lord Sydney inherited the office of Home Secretary from William Petty, Lord Shelburne, along with a mountain of unfinished business.  Included were the bare bones of what became known as the Dalrymple Plan. See: Proximity not Tyranny of Distance

Whitehall – House of Commons:  In March 1782 Lord North had resigned as Prime Minister. He was succeeded by Lord Rockingham who died in July 1782 when the position  passed to Lord Shelburne. He held the office for a year, until July 1783.

The Dalrymple mission aimed to launch marauding hit and run raids on Spain’s colonial territories firstly Monte Video, present-day Uruguay, then onto  Buenos Aires, present-day Argentina,  on the Atlantic Coast of South America.

Brazil: Lord Sydney tasked Lieutenant Arthur Phillip RN design a strategy that would achieve this end. Phillip had spent nigh on three (3) years in Brazil seconded to the Portuguese Navy.

Rio: Phillip was an exceptionally effective spy. Based in Rio, fluent in French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew and Portuguese, he had access to a myriad of anti-Spanish dissenters ripe for rebellion and reported directly to Lord Sandwich at the Admiralty.

1783: Britain, driven by the humiliation of defeat and the loss of her ‘Empire in the West, the thirteen (13) American ‘middle colonies’, was determined to penetrate Spain’s ‘treasure‘ colonies in South America.

San Juan: Phillip’s plan sought to redress the glaring errors inherent in the hit and miss planning for the earlier San Juan (Dalling) Expedition of 1779-80 that; ‘cost the lives of more than 2500 men, making it the costliest British disaster of the entire [American] war’. John Sugden, Nelson: A Dream of Glory 1758-1797, Henry Holt, New York, 2004 

Monte Video- Buenos Aires : To maintain utmost secrecy Lieutenant Phillip planned only four (4) vessels would sail from England. After rendezvousing at sea with a larger group sailing from the East Indies, sorting the logistics, the combined force would proceed to mount marauding raids on the two (2) locations.


Portsmouth – 16 January 1783: Captain Phillip HMS Europa 64 guns, HMS Grafton 70 guns and a supply frigate HMS Iphigenia 32 guns, under overall command of Sir Richard Kingsmill HMS Elizabeth 74 guns, departed Portsmouth in mid January 1783.

Paris: The expedition had to be abandoned in mid-ocean when it became known terms of a peace treaty between Spain and Britain had been settled.

This was first of a series of agreements forming the Treaty of Versailles. Signed off in September 1783 the Treaty brought a formal end to the American War of Independence 1775-1783.

Versailles: Did the 1783 Treaty bring lasting peace? Some modern military historians regard the ‘brittle and precarious’ outcome more truce than treaty. It served as a mere breathing space.

‘There were plans to use the corps in expeditions against Panama, Peru and the Philippines, but nothing eventuated’. Dr.Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788 -1870, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, 1986

Time to sort out alliances, organise, refit, re-arm and re-position for further conflict. The invasion of New Holland falls within the planning arc of the next global war 1793-1815. See: Why New Holland – Britain + America + India + France + Spanish South America = European Australia


London – Court of St James:  ‘We reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, courage and experience in military affairs, …under the Great Seal of Great Britain [do] constitute and appoint you Governor and Commander-in-Chief of our territory called New South Wales….according to the rules and disciplines of war’. King George 111 to Arthur Phillip, 25 April 1787. Historical Records of New South Wales Vol. 1 See: Botany Bay – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & Christopher Robin – Mark 2

Invasion 1788: Britain’s conquest and occupation of Australia’s Sovereign First Nations’ Peoples’ lands, fits neatly into the hiatus created by the Treaty of Versailles – 1783 – and must be considered contemporaneous with the American War of Independence. See: Shelburne and the Treaty of Versailles (pending)

‘The troops sent to garrison the Australian colonies participated in the great struggle at the heart of the European conquest of this continent…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 of southern Africa’. Stanley. ibid. 


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

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