LOTTO AND LONGITUDE

August 9th, 2017

‘But by reason of the motion of the Ship, the Variation of Heat and Cold, Wet and Dry, and the Difference of Gravity in different Latitudes, such a watch hath not yet been made”. And not likely to be, either, he implied’.  Isaac Newton cited, Dava Sobel, Longitude, Fourth Estate, London, 1998

‘Not likely’ – not so – as early as 1736, on a timed voyage, England to Lisbon aboard HMS Centurian, H-1 a marine clock had shown itself a reliable time-keeper.

‘He [Harrison] succeeded, against all odds, in using the fourth – temporal – dimension to link points on the three-dimensional globe’. Sobel ibid.

Accurate time-keeping was essential to the calculation of longitude that gave a ship’s precise position at sea when beyond sight of land.

‘John Harrison, the man who solved longitude in 1759’. Peter Ackroyd, Revolution, Macmillan, 2016

Harrison was the carpenter from Yorkshire whose invention, the sea-going watch, solved the problem of longitude.

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THREE AMIGOS + ONE – THOMAS BARRETT

June 13th, 2017

‘The grand consideration seems to be, to get them [convicted criminals] out of Europe at all Events…simply landing these people in Africa., to let them shift for themselves’. Governor Richard Miles, Cape Coast Castle to Home Office, London. Cited in Mollie Gillen, Founders of Australia, Library of Australian History.

1781 – 30 May, London: Samuel Woodham and John Rugless, then aged about 16 years – described in court papers as ‘boys’ – appeared at the Old Bailey indicted for assault and highway robbery.

Found guilty of stealing a silver shirt buckle, a cotton handkerchief and 14 (fourteen) shillings in coin they were sentenced to hang. Reprieved both were commuted for a life-time of military service in Africa and lodged in London’s infamous Newgate gaol to await shipment.

1782 – 8 October, Westminster:  Thomas Limpus appeared at the General Quarter Sessions charged with theft of a handkerchief. Found guilty he was sentenced to seven (7) years exile in Africa.

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AFRICA: IN AND OUT OF AFRICA – THOMAS LIMPUS, JOHN RUGLESS, SAMUEL WOODHAM

June 13th, 2017

It is natural to infer that Government understands it is simply landing these people in Africa, to let them shift for themselves, and get their Board in the best manner they can’. Richard Miles, Cape Coast Castle to Home Office, London.

1782 – 6 November, England: Government chartered the Den Keyser to transport forty (40) or so criminals reprieved death from England to Senegal on Africa’s west coast.

They were to serve sentences of seven (7), fourteen (14) years or life at the fort settlements of Goree and Cape Coast Castle. In 1644 the English established a permanent foot-hold on West Africa when its  forces captured Cape Coast Castle, the main Dutch base in West Africa,captured from the Dutch in 1644 during the third Anglo-Dutch War.

Convicts Samuel Woodham and John Rugless were destined for a life-time of military service. Civilian prisoners like Thomas Limpus; reprieved to be ‘banished from this realm’ would be dumped and left to ‘shift for themselves’.

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A TALE OF TWO FLEETS

May 30th, 2017

WHEN WAS AN INVASION FLEET NOT AN INVASION FLEET ? WHEN IT WAS THE ‘FIRST  FLEET’.

‘In writing of the recruitment of criminals into the armed forces, Stephen Conway observed, ‘It was still found necessary periodically to clear both the putrid and congested gaols and the equally overcrowded and insanitary hulks’. Conway, cited in Alan Frost, Botany Bay Mirages, Melbourne University Press, 1994.

THE FIRST FLEET – AN INVASION FLEET – MORTALITY RECKONED @ 4%.

1787 – January, Portsmouth:  Between January 1787 and mid-May 1787 a large squadron of eleven (11) ships, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’, assembled at Portsmouth, England. One-half of its complement, 1500 souls, were convicted criminals.

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between marines and [male] convicts…the standard adopted was that of troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, 1993

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ABANDONED & LEFT TO STARVE AT SYDNEY COVE JANUARY 1788 TO JULY 1790

May 30th, 2017

1790 – July, Sydney Cove: The weekly ration ‘without distinction’ stood at ‘two [2] pounds of pork, two and a half [2½] pounds of flour, two [2] pounds of rice, or a quart of pease, per week to every grown person, and to every child of more than eighteen [18] months old. To every child under eighteen [18] months old, the same quantity of rice and flour, and one [1] pound of pork.

When the age of this provision is recollected, its inadequacy will more strikingly appear. The pork…from England had been salted between three [3] and four [4] years… a daily morsel toast[ed] on a fork catching the drops on a slice of bread, or in a saucer of rice…every grain was a moving body from the inhabitants lodged within it…flour brought from the Cape by Sirius [May 1789] soldiers and convicts used to boil it up with greens’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

1788 – 18 January, Botany Bay: At 2.15pm on 18 January 1788 HMS Supply, one (1) of a large armed convoy 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.

‘Notwithstanding all the care and attention [Phillip] bestowed on the preparations, it was found on arrival that many of the stores were short in quantity, poor in quality, or absent altogether’. Commentary, Historical Records of Australia,  Series 1, Vol. 1.   

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

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ALL THE KING’S MEN: ARTHUR PHILLIP & THE CRIMINALS OF THE ‘FIRST FLEET’

May 16th, 2017

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between the marines and [male] convicts…the standard adopted was that of the troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, ed. E. Hugh Oldham, Library of Australian History, Sydney 1990

1787 – 13 May, Portsmouth: The ‘First Fleet’ an armed squadron of eleven (11) ships commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN sailed from England to invade the island continent of New Holland.

Of an overwhelmingly male complement, 1500 souls, seven hundred and fifty (750) were convicted criminals. Its five hundred and eighty male (580) male convicts ‘fed as troops serving in the West Indies’ were available for combat. See: April Fools Day

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AUSTRALIA – BRITAIN BY A SHORT HALF-HEAD: CAPTAIN ARTHUR PHILLIP & COMTE JEAN-FRANCOISE LA PEROUSE

April 4th, 2017

‘From the coast of China it [New Holland] 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 the 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 sent any into the South Sea’. Admiral Sir George, Historical Records of New South Wales. Vol.1

Captain Louis Antoine de Bougainville’s A Voyage Round the World published in 1771; ‘raised the stakes in the race to see who would open up the Pacific first’. Arthur Herman, To Rule The Waves, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2005

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MISSING IN ACTION – HMS SIRIUS & HMS SUPPLY

March 21st, 2017

‘Dismay was painted on every countenance, when the tidings were proclaimed at Sydney’. Marine Captain Watkin, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L, Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

1790 – March 19, Sydney: ‘the tidings’; loss of HMS Sirius the ‘First Fleet’s flagship – ‘dismay’ all hope of a China rescue  gone.

Norfolk Island: Sirius was at the bottom of the sea off Norfolk Island and her crew, one hundred and sixty naval (160) personnel, now stranded along with 50% of the white population evacuated from Sydney to save them from imminent starvat1on.

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EYES WIDE SHUT – A MILITARY CAMPAIGN & ARTHUR PHILLIP

March 21st, 2017

‘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

1787 – 25 April – London: ‘Live in amity and kindness with them’. His Majesty George III, Instructions to Captain Arthur Phillip RN commander of a large armed squadron of eleven (11) ships – two (2) warships, six (6) troop transports and 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’.

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CAPTAIN ARTHUR PHILLIP & COMTE JEAN-FRANCOIS A BAND OF BROTHERS AND MORTAL ENEMIES

March 14th, 2017

‘All was set in the mid-eighteenth century scene, the contest between Great Britain and the Bourbon powers…different branches of the family of Louis XVI…for sea supremacy and oceanic empire, which was the background of the life of every sailor of Cook’s Age’. J.A Williamson, Cook and the Opening of the Pacific, Hodder & Stoughton , London 1946

The race for New Holland was on and Britain had missed the jump

1785 – August, Brest:In 1785 Louis XVI quietly sent the  Comte de la Perouse with two ships La Boussole & L’Astrolabe to survey likely spots for French settlements. Aboard were copper plates engraved with the royal arms to be used as permanent notification of French ownership’. Michael Cannon, Australian Discovery and Exploration, 1987

A Band of Brothers: Captain Arthur Phillip RN and Comte Jean-Francois La Pèrouse never met. On opposing sides in war and peace yet as men of the sea they shared a strong bond. Phillip knew a great deal about La Pèrouse and it is impossible to believe he did not admire the gallant Frenchman who had a deserved reputation for compassion.

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