Posts Tagged ‘Major Grose’

DARK MATTER – ‘McMafia’ MACARTHUR & ‘FIERY INDIAN RUM’ A TEETOTALLER’S DRUG OF RUIN FOR OTHERS

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

pt

A WORM-HOLE: RICHARD ATKIN’S DIARY & THE FIRST BLACK HOLE

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

‘You are also with the consent of the natives to take possession of convenient situations in the country in the name of the King of Great  Britain, or if you find the country uninhabited take possession for His Majesty by setting up proper marks and inscriptions as first discoverers and possessors’. British Admiralty Instructions to Lieutenant James Cook RN, 1768. 

1770 – August, Possession Island: In 1770 although Lieutenant James Cook RN wrote ‘the natives of the country [New Holland] live in Tranquilly which is not disturb’d by the inequality of condition’ in the name of His Majesty King George III of England ‘without consent’ of its Peoples, he marked a tree ran up a flag and named their territory New Wales. See: Captain Cook, Charles Green, John Harrison – Three Yorkshirmen Walked Into A Bar – Nevil Maskelyne

‘Military power was the most decisive fact about the early settlements; it was the frame within which everything else happened’. R. Connell and T.H. Irving, Class Structure in Australian History, Documents, Narrative and Argument, 1980.

1788 – 28 January, Sydney Cove: ‘At 6 am the disembarkation began’ a British army commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN, two hundred and forty-five (245) marines, two hundred (200) Royal Naval personnel, twenty (20) officials, five hundred and seventy (570) male criminals – ‘rationed as troops serving in the West Indies’, thirty-one (31) marine wives and twenty-three (23) marine  children disembarked from the ‘First Fleet’ at Warrane now Sydney Cove.

A further four hundred and forty (440) merchant-seamen made up the fleet’s complement of 1500 souls.

1788 – 6 February: ‘The day the convict women [one hundred and eighty-nine [189 – 22 free children] disembarked they landed by rowing boas between 6am and 6 pm’. John Moore, The First Fleet Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1986

See: Only Men ? Aside from Seagulls How Many White Birds Were On The Ground At Sydney Cove On 26 January 1788 – None

1788 – 7 February, Port Jackson: Captain-General, now Governor Arthur Phillip RN, raised the Union Jack . ‘Using a form of words’ he proclaimed possession by ‘effective occupation’ – conquest – of the island continent of New Holland, now Australia, for he British Empire.

The winner-takes-all mindset of Britain’s ‘original aggression’ – laid down in 1788 – was set in stone during two (2) critical periods of absolute military rule between 1792-1795 and 1808-1810.

1790 – June, Sydney: One hundred and fifteen (115) officers and infantrymen, first contingent of the New South Wales Corps raised specifically to replace the ‘troubled’ Sydney marine garrison, arrived with a second fleet  in June 1790 but without Major Francis Grose their commanding officer. See: ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’ – The Dead and the Living Dead

Grose remained in England and recruited to meet establishment requirements. The power vacuum was filled by Lieutenant John Macarthur, an ambitious, intelligent but unscrupulous junior officer.

At Macarthur’s urging officers pooled their cash morphed into powerful trading cartels and operated as both wholesale and retail merchants holding the infant colony in an economic strangle-hold. See: Machiavellian Macarthur

1792 – February, Sydney: Major Grose arrived at the beginning of February 1792 aboard Pitt a convict transport. One (1) of eleven (11) vessels contracted to a firm of slave-traders Camden, Calvert and King this third fleet brought one thousand eight hundred (1800) mostly male convicts and two hundred (200) additional troops. See: G is for Gender

Among a handful of free settlers was Richard Atkins. Atkins, the dissolute son of baronet Sir William Bower, kept a diary written; ‘in that uninhibited  fashion to which Georgian diarists were prone’. See: Boswell Goes Into Bat

In so novel and primitive a penal settlement Atkin’s polished upbringing and influential family connextions at once marked him as a privileged member of society, particularly as the colonists did not know the real reason for his coming. Journal, Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 52. Part 4, 1966

Atkins ‘made much of the fame of his [high profile] brothers’. In a colony almost entirely devoid of educated men, those in authority  failed to see Richard Atkins for what he was, a plausible con-man. Atkins was awarded positions far in excess of his abilities.

Governor Phillip accordingly appointed this virtual outlaw as a Justice of the Peace and sent him to Parramatta to augment the summary legal administration there’. RAHSoc. Journal. op.cit.

What of Richard Atkins the man? It seems, now as then, it is hard to find a good word.

Atkins; Addicted to liquor, immorality and insolvency he led a thoroughly dissolute life….The colony’s principal legal officer for years…when he was sober he was impressive enough to delude creditors and governor alike; but he was ignorant and merciless, an inveterate debauchee’. Australian Dictionary of Biography

Yet Atkin’s journal is a tardis; a wormhole into Britain’s toxic military occupation of Australia.

1838 – December, London: ‘You cannot overrate the solicitude of H.M. Government on the subject of the Aborigines of New Holland. It is impossible to contemplate the condition or the prospects of that unfortunate race without the deepest commiseration. Still it is impossible that the government should forget that the original aggression was ours’. Lord John Russell to Sir George Gipps, Despatch, 21 December 1838, Series 1, Vol. XX.

THE BACK STORY

1792 – 12 December: Governor Arthur Phillip RN returned to England after five (5) years of extremely stressful service as Britain’s first Governor of Australia (1788-1792). See: Phillip’s Algorithm

‘For the length of the interregnum [December 1792 – September 1795] the British government was greatly at fault. John Hunter, Australian Dictionary of Biography, J.J. Auchmuty

The Home Office failed to appoint an immediate successor so governance of the colony devolved to the military – the corrupt New South Wales ‘Rum’ Corps.     

‘No sooner had Governor Phillip left ye colony than I was convinced that the plan or measures of government were about to undergo an intire [sic] change’. [Atkins]

1792 – 15 December: The civil magistrates, within two days, received an order that their duty would in future be dispensed with, and from that time until your Excellency’s [Hunter’s] arrival [September 1795]…everything was conducted in a military manner’. Captain George Johnston to Governor John Hunter, cited William Foster, Journal Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 51, Part 3, 1965.

Major Grose, the Corps’ Commander, described as ‘unassertive, affable and easy-going’, was content to allow his greedy officers have their heads particularly; ‘the energetic Macarthur [who] became the real ruler of New South Wales’. op.cit.

The Atkin’s diary gives an insightful account of the British invaders and their guns, greed and grog- the tipping points of military rule – that changed forever ‘prospects [for] the Aborigines of New Holland’. 

‘Major Grose…has done more harm to this colony than it would be in the power of any govt. to do for many years…The more I consider the govt. of —  — the more it appears hostile not only to the British constitution but to ends for which all good government was instituted’. [Atkins – December 1794]

Major Grose, veteran of the American War, governed Australia from December 1792 until December 1794 when he departed for London. Captain William Paterson, Grose’s second-in-command, governed from December 1794 to September 1795.

‘We now have a commanding officer (Captain Wm. Patterson) for our Chief. I think it will not be approved of’. [Atkins – December 1794]

1795 – 21 March 1795: Captain Paterson having assumed command wrote to Home Secretary Dundas in London.

‘Having reason to expect the arrival of governor Hunter daily…I have made no alteration in the mode of carrying on the service which I found adopted at the Lieut.Governor’s [Grose] departure’. Captain Paterson, Administrator to Right Hon. Henry Dundas, 21 March 1795.

1795 – March, Sydney Cove: Brittania, a vessel chartered by officers of the New South Wales Corps on the say-so of Macarthur, a canny teetotaller sober among a sea of drunks, arrived at Sydney in March 1795 with 25,000 gallons of ‘firey Indian rum’.

‘We may expect Hunter in about 6 weeks….It is much lamented that the govr. [Hunter] does not arrive for every day adds to the debauchery and every other vice….The new settlement on the Hawkesbury is one continual scene of drunkeness.

It would be impossible to describe the scenes of villainy and infamy that passes at the Hawkesbury…a bottle of liquor for a bushell of corn and no questions asked is the common price’… since then drunkeness and robberys to a very allarming degree have taken place’. [Atkins – March 1795]

By 1795 over four hundred (400) ex-convicts, supported by the labour of serving prisoners, were farming ‘thirty miles along the banks on both sides of the Deerubin [Hawkesbury] river’. 

‘For the first twenty years, settlement in New South Wales was confined largely to the Cumberland Plain about Sydney….The Europeans explained  such [Aboriginal] resistance by referring to the Aborigines’ ‘Spirit of Animosity and Hostility’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press, 1986

Local Dharug Aborigines, denied access to watering places, hunting grounds and winter yam fields were placed under extreme pressure. They mounted hit and run raids; ‘plundering the corn’ to feed their hungry families.

‘As if the invasion of their land would call for any other response but armed resistance’. Stanley. op.cit.

In early June 1795 Captain Paterson, like Grose also a wounded veteran of the American War, took a decision that compounded difficulties on the Hawkesbury. He sent a detachment of troops to the river., the increased fire-power saw sporadic raids escalate into ‘open war’

‘It appears the determined resolution of the military [Paterson] to support the Despotism of the Lt. Governor [Grose] it is now carried on in a higher degree than in his time. They seem to adopt the Idea that the Natives can be made slaves of…nothing can be more false….they are as free as the air and Governor Phillip’s conduct was highly approved of for reprobating that idea’. [Atkins – February 1795] See: Convict Transportation – The Hulks Act & How the Mindset of Slavery Came to Australia.

1795 – 7 June, Hawkesbury: Captain William Paterson; ‘I therefore sent a detachment of two subalterns and sixty privates of New South Wales to the river, as well to drive the natives to a distance, as for the protection of the settlers.

It gives me concern to have been forced to destroy any of these people, particularly as I have no doubt of their having been cruelly treated by some of the settlers who went out there’. Captain William Paterson to Right Hon. Henry Dundas,15th June 1795.

1795 – 7 September, Sydney: Governor John Hunter RN, Britain’s second commissioned naval Governor of Australia arrived in September three (3) months after Captain Paterson ordered the Hawkesbury raid.

‘On this day Govr. Hunter arrives. ‘How happy is it for this Colony that we have at last a Governor who will make the good of the community at large his particular care, abstracted from all party and dirty pecuniary views’. [Atkins, 7 September 1795]

Soon after he arrived Governor Hunter travelled to Parramatta to stay with Lieutenant John and Elizabeth Macarthur. For this Atkins had one word ‘Ominous’. 

Atkin’s fears were allayed when it became clear Governor Hunter was not deceived by John ‘MacMafia’ Macarthur the slick, get-rich-quick wheeler-dealer.

‘Arrived from Bengal the Brig Arthur laden with spirits, tobacco, sugar etc. A ship from Britain [Ceres] laden with salt and slops’. [Atkins – January 1796]

‘recd. information from Govr. [Hunter] that the Judge Advocate [David Collins] was going home and that I am to succeed him’. [Atkins – 12 February 1796]

It seems after Atkins took up his appointment as Judge-Advocate he was too busy to continue with his diary.

1810 – May: Richard Atkins returned to London on HMS Hindostan in company with ex-Governor William Bligh RN – Britain’s fourth naval governor. Bligh had earlier described Atkins ‘a disgrace to human jurisprudence’.

1820 – November, England: Richard Atkins died ‘insolvent’ nevertheless he has left Australia an invaluable asset. His diary exposes the ‘what’s -yours -is-mine’ attitude inherent in Britain’s ‘original aggression’.

It was a mind-set entrenched by two (2) lengthy periods of absolute military rule firstly 1792-1795 and again 1808-1810.  The ‘Rum Rebellion’ a coup instigated by John Macarthur, by then a civilian agitator. See: Australia Day ‘Rum’ Rebellion

‘In 1837 the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Aborigines (British Settlements) recommended that as the whole land had been taken from the Aborigines in New South Wales…[had ] yielded on sale upwards of hundred thousand pounds a year…’. Barry Bridges, Journal Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 56, Part 2, 1965

EPILOGUE

‘At the end of the period of British control over native affairs the Aborigines had no stake in the soil of their native land beyond a few small reserves, and perhaps, the right to limited trespass on leasehold land’. Bridges. op.cit.

1992: Australia’s High Court’s 1992 Mabo decision found ‘terra nullius’‘uninhabited’the founding doctrine of Britain’s ‘original aggression’ – to be ‘legal fiction’.

There was however a sting-in-the tail of the Mabo ruling; ‘Native Title will be extinguished where the traditional holders lose their connection to land’.

Although The First Nations’ Peoples were removed willy-nilly from their country whose boundaries had been fixed for millennia, The High Court took no account of forced removal.

‘Where traditional holders lose their connection to land’ led to decisions such as that of Judge Olney: ‘the right to the occupancy of this [Yorta Yorta] land….have been washed away by the tides of history’.

Continuing connection an ‘institutional [reminder] of Empire’ has resulted in competing claims and the development of what some First Australians describe as ‘Native Title warfare’.

‘To believe that Britain can forget its history, is to believe that Russians should not discuss the crimes of Stalin or Germans the crimes of Nazism. There is a need for a re-writing of history, for the purging of some guilt by its contemplation.

There is not yet in Britain any institutional reminder of the guilts of Empire; the builders of Empire are still the great men of the history texts, and monuments still stand to them in London’. Donald Horne, God is an Englishman, Pelican, 1969.

2019 – Brexit: As the Union of Great Britain appears on a slippery slide to disintegration it is time to take a forensic knife to: ‘the original aggression’  ‘effective occupation’, ‘forced removal’ ‘the tides of history’ ‘the builders of Empire’ ‘the guilts of Empire’. See:  A Continuing Connection – But When The Bough Breaks?

‘An effective resolution will require what the British required as long ago ago as 1768 ‘the consent of the natives’. G. Nettheim, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Monograph No. 7, May 1994, ed. W. Sanders, Australian National University, Goanna Press, 1994

 

A BLACK HOLE – THE FIRST INTERREGNUM 1792-1795

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

‘Twenty-five regiments of British infantry…fought in one of the most prolonged 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

1788 – January, Sydney Cove: At Port Jackson in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip RN established naval and military bases and an open prison for England’s lowest common denominator, her convicted criminals. But criminals with a difference – all male convicts were combatants, rationed as British troops ‘serving in the West Indies’. 

Governor Phillip’s five (5) traumatic years as Britain’s first naval Governor of Australia were dogged by ill-health and after repeated requests for relief, London permitted his repatriation.

1792 – 11 December 1792, England: Phillip departed Sydney for England on the Atlantic in mid December 1792 but left a legacy that brought about the near destruction of Australia’s First Peoples. See: Terror – Phillip’s Algorithm

 ‘The orders under which I [Tench] was commanded to act [22 December 1790] differing in no respect from the last [13 December]…if six [6] cannot be taken, let this number be shot…cut off and bring in the heads of the slain…bring in two ]2] prisoners I am resolved to execute in the most public and exemplary manner in the presence of as many of their countrymen as can be collected.

I [Phillip] am determined to repeat it, whenever any future breach of good conduct on their side, shall render it necessary’. Captain-General  Governor Arthur Phillip, 22 December 1790. Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

(more…)

MISSING IN ACTION – HMS SIRIUS & HMS SUPPLY

Tuesday, 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 and ‘dismay’ gone all hope of a China rescue.

Norfolk Island: Sirius was at the bottom of the sea off Norfolk Island. Her crew, one hundred and sixty naval (160) personnel, were  stranded along with 50% of the white population evacuated from Sydney to the island to save them from starvation. See: Abandoned and Left to Starve @ Sydney Cove, January 1788 to June 1790

(more…)

MACARTHUR THE GREAT DISRUPTER

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

‘What is the most arresting thing in all these recordings is the way in which they perceive Aboriginal Australians on not exactly equal terms, but on terms of people who have a right to the occupancy of this land’. Dr Nicholas Brown,  Australian National University and National Museum of Australia, on inclusion of some ‘First Fleet’ Journals onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. AM Programme, Australian Broadcasting Commission, 15 October 2009

1790 – June, Sydney:  What went wrong? Lieutenant John ‘MacMafia’ Macarthur, the teetotaller who put ‘firey India rum’ into The New South Wales Rum Corps arrived with the second fleet in June 1790.

‘The great change came in the arrival with the Second Fleet of the first companies of the New South Wales Corps [among them] Lieutenant John Macarthaur – a central figure in the military ‘mafia’ which quickly established itself as Australia’s first governing and property elite’. Nigel Rigby, Peter van der Merwe, Glyn Williams, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Pacific Explorations, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London 2018

Lieutenant Macarthur was among the first contingent of British infantry raised specifically to replace the First Fleet’s four (4) companies of marines who had left England in the ‘First Fleet’ as long ago as the 13th of May 1787 to invade the island continent of New Holland, now Australia.

‘Macarthur’s haughty quarrelsome nature which manifested itself on the voyage was to provoke much more conflict after his arrival in New South Wales in June 1790’. Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet, Britain’s Grim Armada of 1790, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1993

1788 – 18-20 January: The ‘First Fleet,’ an armed squadron of eleven (11) ships commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN, reached  Botany Bay in mid-January 1788.

Botany Bay proved unsuitable for permanent settlement. After exploring adjacent countryside Sydney Cove nine (9) miles (14 km) to the north was chosen.

1788 – 26 January, Port Jackson: At dawn on the 26th of January Phillip with some officers and marines were rowed ashore from HMS Supply. The Union Jack was raised from a ‘hastily erected’ flagpole, a few shots were fired off and a loyal toast tossed down. See: Australia – Britain By A Short Half-Head – Captain Arthur Phillip & Jean Francois La Perouse

Britain had been stung by the recent loss of her ’empire in the west’ in the American War of Independence (1775-1783). The humiliating defeat had been due in so small part to French intervention. France had poured money, men and munitions into General George Washington and his Patriot militia of irregulars.

‘Raising the flag was one of the acts recognised as an assertion of a prior claim against other colonial powers eyeing off the same land. (Jean-Francois, de Galaup, Comte de La Perouse, was hanging around [at Botany Bay] with two ships)’. Larissa Behrendt, The Honest History Book, Ed. David Stephens & Alison Broinowski, New South Publishing, 2017

The remaining English ships were held up by bad weather. They survived a dangerous exit from Botany Bay and arrived at Sydney Cove to anchor alongside HMS Supply about 8 pm on the 26th of January.

1788 – 7 February: ‘Without consent’ of its First Peoples or seeking a Treaty  Governor Arthur Phillip, first of four (4) ‘autocratic uniformed naval governors’, formally claimed British sovereignty over New Holland, now Australia.

England abandoned the Robinson Cruscos of the ‘First Fleet’ leaving her fellow country men, women and children to starve 13,000 miles (21,000 km) from their homeland. See: Abandoned and Left to Starve, Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790  1790

1790 – January, Sydney: ‘No supplies…we had now been two years in the country, and thirty-two months from England…entirely cut off since the 13th of May 1787…the day of our departure from Portsmouth…the misery and horror of such a situation cannot be imparted, even by those who have suffered under it’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961  

Major Robert Ross commander of two hundred and forty-five (245) marines, the military arm the Royal Navy, did not find it difficult to inculcate a spirit discontent and rebellion.

‘No one in the colony caused Phillip more trouble than Major Ross. Of all Phillip’s problems, including those of the terrible famine of 1789 and 1790, probably none was so harassing as the persistent antagonism, both covert and open, which Ross pursed against him’. John Moore, The First Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1987

1790 – 6 March, Norfolk Island: Governor Phillip rid himself of Major Ross by appointing him Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island some 1650 km to the west of Sydney.

In order to stymie La Perouse, in mid-February 1788, a satellite settlement had been established there. In March 1790 Phillip evacuated 50% of his starving ‘people’ to the island. See: Dead Aborigines Don’t Eat Smallpox & Starvation 1789

1790 – June, Sydney Cove: ‘No one in the colony caused Phillip more trouble than Major Ross’. This statement held true until June 1790 when Lieutenant John Macarthur landed from Suprize one (1) of second fleet’s three (3) death ships.

Major Robert Ross, the Corps’ commander, remained in London to recruit numbers sufficient to satisfy establishment requirements. War  with France was hanging in the air so recruitment proved difficult task and Grose sourced some ‘derelicts and delinquents’ from the Savoy military prison.

Lieutenant Macarthur a ruthless junior officer driven by over-arching personal ambition moved swiftly to fill the power vacuum created by Major Grose’s absence. Macarthur was quick to pick-up on the  existingantagonism’ and made it his own.

Governor Phillip with a wealth of experience could not have failed to recognise in John Macarthur a ruthless enemy not only to himself but to King and Country.

And the stakes were high.

‘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 Cape of Good Hope…or suppose we were again involved in a war with Spain, here are ports of shelter and refreshments for our ships, would it be necessary to sent any into the South Sea’. Admiral Sir George Young’s Plan to Home Home Secretary, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol.1

Britain’s invasion of New Holland was remarkably prescient. First came conflict with Spain then, in February 1793, Republican France declared war on England.

‘That the fighting against France in what was originally and essentially a European war should have spread so swiftly to the tropics was a result of many factors, most of them predictable. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 3rd ed. Fontana Press, London

‘Predictable’: There can be no doubt the pre-emptive positioning of a military presence and a naval base in the southern oceans had figured prominently in Prime Minister William Pitt’s plans.

Parallel to, and dependent upon, the Anglo-French duel for command of the sea went their struggle for overseas bases and colonies; here too, the culminating point in a century-long race was reached, with Britain emerging in 1815 with a position so strengthened that she appeared to be the only real colonial power in the world’. Kennedy. op.cit.

If Phillip failed to hold the line against Macarthur and ‘certain’ of hisofficer’ cronies Britain’s chances of retaining the undoubted strategic advantages of; ‘stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales’ would be lost.

‘New Holland is a good blind, then…stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales…when we want to add to military strength of India’. Anon. Historical Records of New South Wales.

In June 1790 when the second fleet reached Sydney the harbour was empty of English ships. Governor Phillip had no naval support he was completely isolated in the midst of very hostile soldiery.  See: Missing in Action HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

HMS Sirius was at the bottom of the sea off Norfolk Island and her crew, one hundred and sixty (160) Royal Navy personnel were stranded on the island.

HMS Supply was at Jakarta to buy tons of supplies and medicines.. Her captain Lieutenant Ball was authorised to charter a Dutch vessel [Waaksamheyd] to bring them to Sydney as soon as possible.

‘Phillip was authorised to see to the defence of the colony’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Australian Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

That authorisation applied when ever, from where ever and from whom-so-ever such threat arose.

In 1790 the threat to Governor Phillip came not from the Bidjigal people of Botany Bay ravished by smallpox the previous year (1789) but from within military ranks. See: A Lethal Weapon – Smallpox: Boston 1775 – Sydney 1789

 xxxxxxxx

Following the second fleet’s arrival well documented animosity surfaced between Phillip’s ‘people’ of 1788 and one thousand (1000) mainly male new comers, most fresh from the teeming streets of London and widespread fear gripped the newcomers.

And given the dire circumstances that fear was completely understandable; ‘per week to every child of more than eighteen months old and to every grown person without distinction…two pounds tof pork, two pounds and a half of flour, two pounds of rice, or a quart of pease…the public stores contained salt meat until…2d July; flour…20 August; rice, or pease in lieu…until 1st of October’ .

1790 – June Sydney: Justinian, a store-ship arrived with the first supplies from England.

‘We were joyfully surprised on the 20th of the month to see another sail [Justinian] enter the harbour…and our rapture doubled on finding that she was laden entirely with provisions for our use. Full allowance, and general congratulations immediately took place’. Tench. ibid

‘Full allowance (if eight pounds of flour, and either seven pounds of pork, served alternately per week, without either peas, oatmeal, spirits, butter or cheese, can be so called ) is yet kept up; but if the Dutch snow [Waaksamheyd] does not arrive soon  from [Jakarta] it must be shortened, as the casks in the store house, I observed yesterday are woefully decreased’. Tench, cited Egan, Buried Alive

The wretched condition of the second fleet survivors, the needs of the sick and dying, had radically altered the supply- demand equation for the worst.

1790 – July, Winter:fish is by no means plenty at least, they are not in abundance’ and local Aborigines were extremely hungry. Their fish, oysters and a wide variety of various crustaceans had kept the English alive for just on three (3) years now the locals quite rightly felt entitled to a fair share of Justinian’s bounty.

But in this they were proved wrong. What was given was given grudgingly; ‘they throng the camp every day and sometimes by their clamour and importunity for bread and meat (of which they now all eat greedily) are become very troublesome God knows we have little enough for ourselves!’. Tench. ibid

1790 – September, Spring: ‘The fishing boats had the greatest success…near 4000 of fish…being taken in two ]2] hauls of the seine….they were issued to this settlement [Sydney[ and at Rose Hill’. Tench.

1790 -September, Manly Beach: In an atmosphere of anger and betrayal born of hunger and fear of capture; ‘A native [Wileemarine] with a spear in his hand aimed his lance with such force and dexterity striking the governor’s right shoulder, just above the collar bone’. Tench. ibid. See: Manly – Location, Location, Location

Phillip was rowed back to Sydney where William Balmain, the fleet’s senior surgeon, extracted the spear. Phillip had lost a great deal of blood and recovery was slow.

Phillip’s refused to retaliate the military adjudged this weakness, linked to John Macarthur’s boundless personal ambition, Phillip’s passive response created a perfect storm.

EPILOGUE

‘The ability to shock bestows a kind of power’. Frances Larson, Severed, Granta, London, 2014

Wily experienced, a proven strategist intent on saving the Sydney settlement from insurrection and anarchy, Phillip had but one (1) arrow in his quiver – ‘intelligence’- its source Bennalong  – ‘M’Entire, the Governor’s game-keeper( the person of whom Baneelon had, on former occasions, shown so much dread and hatred’. Tench. ibid.

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries…These raids had commenced by December 1790’. Kercher. ibid.

Phillip moved to assert his authority and ignited ‘one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire’. See: John M’Entire – Death of a Sure Thing

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 to 1870, Kangaroo Press, 1986

 

 

 

 

MACHIAVELLIAN MACARTHUR

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

1792 – 12 December, Sydney: Governor Arthur Phillip RN, after five (5) traumatic years as Britain’s first Governor of New South Wales and repeated requests for repatriation, sailed home to England in the Atlantic on 12 December 1792.

Phillip had recommended Lieutenant Gidley King replace him. Whitehall not only rejected Gidley King but government failed to commission an immediate successor.

‘Twenty- five [25] regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between [June] 1790 and 1870 they participated in the great struggle at the heart of the European conquest of this continent…’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, 1986, Kangaroo Press, 1986

By default between December 1792 and September 1795 ; ‘the plentitude of power’ Britain vested in its naval governors fell into the hands of the military, exposing the First Australians to the brutality of British infantry troops.

For the length of the interregnum the British government was greatly at fault’. Hunter, J.J. Auchmuty, Australian Dictionary of Biography

1794 – 6 February, London: Eventually Captain John Hunter RN,  hero of the ‘First Fleet’ expeditionary force, was; ‘commission[ed] as captain-general and governor-in-chief’ at the beginning of February 1794 [he] did not sail until 25 February 1795′.

1790 – June, Sydney: First contingent of infantry, the infamous New South Wales Corps, had arrived in June 1790 aboard the second fleet Britain’s Grim Armada’. See: Dancing With Slavers – A Second Fleet

‘A knowledge of the position of the military and their immediate friends occupied from 1792- 1810, affords a key to the whole history of the colony; and without this knowledge many important transactions, affecting the civil, social and political interests of the community would appear almost incomprehensible’. Samuel Bennett, Australian Discovery and Colonisation Vol. 1 to 1800, Facsimile Edition, 1981.

Major Francis Grose the Corps’ commander remained in London to recruit and satisfy establishment requirements. There was intense dissension within officer ranks and Lieutenant John Macarthur, a junior officer, moved swiftly to fill the command vacuum. See: A Black Hole: The First Interregnum 1792-1795

1795 – September 7, Sydney: Governor John Hunter RN arrived 7 September 1795 and assumed office four days later.   (more…)