Posts Tagged ‘exploration’

New Holland +Britain + Independent America + India + France + Spanish South America = European Australia

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

‘As for India, it had to remain a strategical back-water while Britons had their backs to the wall in so many other vital theatres. The interventions of the French navy, in the Channel, off Gibraltar, in the West Indies, off Yorktown, had clearly played a considerable part in Britain’s failure to win the war in America’. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 3rd ed. Fontana Press, 1991 

Whitehall :Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for America since 1775 the beginning of America’s War of Independence (1775-83, despite General Charles Cornwallis’ defeat at Yorktown October 1781,spied from his vantage point in far-off London ‘a clear vision of victory’.

A Dictionary of British History, Secker & Warburg, edited by J.P. Kenyon.

Germain’s ‘vision of victory’ was based on many factors. Among them; .’rumours Vermont would declare for the British‘ – George Washington’s Continental Army was ‘on the verge of collapse....good reason to believe that France and Spain might end their involvement in the war’. Andrew Jackson O’Shaunghnessy, The Men Who Lost America, Yale University Press, New Haven, London. 2013 

Germain was wrong. Even after Britain’s disastrous defeat at Yorktown, a smallpox epidemic, a bitter winter, shortage of ammunition and  food, he urged Parliament continue a now manifestly un-winnable war.

‘Wthout the direct intervention of Britain’s adversaries, France and Spain, on America’s side, the colonies could not [have] hope[d] to prevail against the superior British army and navy to win their independence outright’. Larrie D. Ferreiro, Introduction, Brothers At Arms, American Independence and The Men of France and Spain Who Saved it. First Vintage Books Ed. New York, 2017

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A BAND OF BROTHERS & MORTAL ENEMIES

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

‘After delivering my message to him, he [La Perouse] returned his thanks to Governor Phillip, and made similar offers to those he had received’. Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King RN, First Fleet Journal, February 1788

Captain Arthur Phillip RN and Comte Jean-Francois La Perouse never met. On opposing sides in peace and war yet as seafarers they shared a bond like no other.

Phillip knew a great deal about La Perouse. It is impossible to believe he did not admire the gallant Frenchman who had a deserved reputation for compassion.

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MOON VERSUS MACHINE

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Compared with that of Banks, Mr. Green’s equipment was comparatively modest. On May 5th, 1768, at a meeting of Council of the Royal Society it was resolved that the instruments for the use of the Observers of the South Latitudes be the following:

Two [2] reflecting telescopes of two [2] foot focus…[1] brass Hadley’s sextant, [1] barometer bespoke of Mr Ramsden, [1] Journeyman’s Clock bespoke by Mr Skelton, two [2] Thermometers of Mr Bird, [1] Stand for Bird’s Quadrant, [1] dipping needle bespoke by Mr Ramsden’. H.C. Cameron, Sir Joseph Banks, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1966

Who was Mr. Green? Charles Green was former Assistant to Rev. James Bradley and Rev. Nathaniel Bliss, both Astronomer Royals of Greenwich Observatory.

Tahiti: After the Admiralty rejected Alexander Dalrymple, member of the influential Scots ‘Dalrymple Dynasty’, first choice of the Royal Society, that august body engaged Green to represent them at Tahiti. He would assist Lieutenant James Cook RN in observing and recording the Transit of Venus due to take place at Tahiti on 3rd June 1769. See: The Third Man

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

Why ten (10) years after the longitude problem had been solved was Harrison’s marine chronometer ‘H-4 bolted to a window seat in the [Greenwich] Observatory’ and not aboard HMS Endeavour when Green set off for Tahiti with Lieutenant James Cook. See: Captain Cook, John Harrison, Charles Green – Three Yorkshire Men Walked Into A Bar

‘H-4 [was] bolted to a window seat in the Observatory’.  Dava Sobel, Longitude, Fourth Estate, London, 1998

No doubt H-4 sat under the watchful eye of Rev. Nevil Maskelyne. Britain’s fifth Astronomer Royal. Maskelyne had been elected to that high post in 1765 on the death of Rev. Nathaniel Bliss. Maskelyne held a conservative stranglehold over the position until 1811.

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