A TETHERED GOAT – JOHN McENTIRE- 10 DECEMBER 1790

‘Its now about two years and three months since we first arrived at this distant country; all this while we have been as it were buried alive, never having the opportunity to hear from our friends…our hopes are now almost vanished’. Reverend Richard Johnson, 9 April 1790‘. Jack Egan, Buried Alive, Eyewitness accounts of the making of a nation 1788-92, Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1999

1790 – 3 June, Sydney: Two (2) months later; ‘Flags Up…a ship with London on her stern’. Lady Juliana, with two hundred and twenty-six ‘useless’ female convicts was first of four (4) vessels that made up Britain’s Grim Armada the second fleet.

1790, June: By the end of June the fleet’s death ships Alexander, Scarborough and Suprize arrived with approximately one thousand men. Seven hundred and fifty (750) convicts and one hundred and fifteen (115) foot soldiers – infantry, first contingent of the New South Wales Corps.

‘The great change came in the arrival with the Second Fleet of the companies of the New South Wales Corps’. Nigel Rigby, Peter van der Merwse, Glyn Williams. Pacific Explorations, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London, 2018

Justinian a well-stocked store-ship from England was seen off the Heads but cyclonic weather forced her out to sea. Benjamin Maitland her master sailed north as far as present-day Stockton before the weather abated sufficiently for a return to Sydney by the end of June.

But Governor Phillip was in for a rude shock; ‘the distribution of provisions rested entirely with the masters of [all] the merchantmen’. Maitland immediately opened a shop to sell his stock as did the Lady Juliana.

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These raids had commenced by December 1790’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

From day one – January 1788 – Governor Phillip struggled to keep starvation at bay. He authorised official hunting parties of marines and convicts .See: Abandoned and Left to Starve @ Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790

Some were sent into the bush to forage for food, others shot anything that moved, others trawled for fish while the weakest gathered shellfish along the shoreline. See: A Plague of Locusts – the Englishmen of the First Fleet.

1790 – 9 December, Botany Bay: John McIntyre, Phillip’s own game- keeper had gone out to shoot kangaroo at Botany Bay where Pemulway a young warrior speared him.

1790 – 13 December, Sydney:  Retaliation Governor Phillip summoned Marine Captain Watkin Tench to ‘Headquarters’.

Tench was ordered to march to Botany Bay at ‘day-light to-morrow morning…to put to death ten[10] we were to cut off, and bring in the heads of the slain, for which purpose, hatchets and bags would be provided [and] if practicable, bring away two [2] natives as prisoners.

I [Phillip] am resolved to execute the prisoners who may be brought in, in the most public and exemplary manner, in the presence of as many of their countrymen as can be collected’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

1790 – 14 December: ‘two [2] captains, two [2] subalterns, and forty [40] privates, with a proper number of non-commissioned officers’ made up the Tench detachment.

Isolated in the midst of a hostile military in order to take the heat off himself Governor Phillip chose diversion – summon a common enemy. See: Missing in Action – HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

‘From the aversion uniformly shown by all the natives to this unhappy man he [McEntire] had long been suspected of having, in his excursions, shot and injured them’. Professor G. A. Wood, Lieutenant William Dawes and Captain Watkin Tench, Royal Australian Historical Society Journal, Vol. 10, Part 1, 1924

Phillip claimed the attack on McIntyre was ‘unprovoked’. In light of what he knew it does not take a military strategist to smell a rat. Phillip’s intelligence was firm. McIntyre’s inclusion his ‘service is for the state’ was deliberate provocation. See: April Fools Day- 1776

Manly Beach: ‘Wednesday 25th November 1789; ‘It was a cloudy day with some  rain. The temperature was in the high seventies and the wind mainly from the south Bradley wrote; ‘Governor Phillip, judging it necessary that a native should be taken by force… I was ordered on this service, having the master, two petty officers a a boat’s crew with me in one of the governor’s boats’. Lieutenant Bradley RN, cited Egan, Buried Alive

Bennalong was ‘taken by force’. During months of imprisonment within British lines Phillip and Bennalong developed a close relationship. Phillip had no doubt Sydney’s Aboriginal community regarded McIntyre with ‘dread and hatred’. See: Kidnapped – Manly What’s In a Name

Although John McIntyre had  been severely wounded he was still alive on the 13th of December 1790 so it is little wonder Tench was dismayed when given his orders. As a result the scope of the initial orders was modified.

Phillip agreed to Tench’s proposal; ‘bring in six [6]…out of this, part might be set aside for retaliation; and the rest at a proper time, liberated, after having seen the fate of their comrades. This scheme, his excellency was pleased instantly to adopt, adding if six [6] cannot be taken let that number [6] be shot. Tench. ibid. 

Marine Captain Tench and Lieutenant William Dawes both friend and confrere, aware of how McIntyre was viewed, had very different responses to Governor Phillip’s orders. See: Lieutenant William Dawes ‘The Eternal Flame’ & Universal Terror

Tench had been perfectly willing, after discussion with the Governor, to lead the expedition, and heartily enjoyed the humour of its adventures.

But Dawes, whose tour of duty it was to go out with that party, refused that duty by letter “and persisted in his refusal, even after the Governor had “taken great pains to point out the consequences of his being put under an arrest’. G.A. Wood. ibid.

Tench no doubt counselled Dawes that his refusal to obey would have dire consequences and, if Marine Major Robert Ross his Commanding Officer had not been evacuated to Norfolk Island in March 1790, he would now be under arrest.

If found guilty at court-martial Dawes could be shot for gross dereliction of duty or as a traitor hanged, drawn and quartered while still alive.

It is not known if Marine Captain David Collins judge-advocate, although not a lawyer was the settlement’s senior law man, knew that in 1782 the ‘disembowelled while alive’ barbarity had been legislated out as punishment for military treason.

Still Dawes the fleet’s principal scientific officer persisted in his refusal. Adjutant Lieutenant Lowe instructed Dawes should put his objections in writing which he did.

Nevertheless he approached Reverend Richard Johnson the First Fleet Chaplain who counselled Dawes on his  military obligation.

Subsequently Dawes ‘informed Captain Campbell that the Rev. Mr. Johnson thought he might obey the order, and that he was ready to go out with the party, which he did’. Tench. ibid.

1790 – December 14: At dawn on the 14th of December Tench’s detachment of fifty (50) men moved out for Botany Bay with; ‘three [3] days provisions, ropes to bind our prisoners, and hatchets and bags, to cut off and contain the heads of the slain’. Tench. ibid. 

The raid failed – no heads, no prisoners.

1790 – December 17: ‘We bent our steps homeward; and after wading breast-high through two arms of the sea, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, were glad to find ourselves at Sydney, between one and two o’clock in the afternoon’.

However the troops returned to a very different Sydney from the settlement they left only three (3) days before. The landing stage was crammed with barrels, bales of stuff and the air filled with the heady smell of cooking.

At first light that very morning Waaksamheyd a ‘Dutch Snow’ from Jakarta had sailed into Sydney Harbour loaded with the supplies Lieutenant Ball had ‘purchased for the settlement’. See: Missing in Action – HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

1790 – December 19: ‘[Dawes] informed the Governor that he was sorry he had been persuaded to comply with the order and very clearly showed that he would not obey a similar order in future’. Tench. ibid

Lieutenant Dawes again wrote to Governor Phillip this time through Captain Campbell who, in March 1789, had replaced Major Ross as commander of the Sydney garrison when imminent starvation had forced Phillip evacuate 50% of ‘his people’ to Norfolk Island. See: Smallpox – A Lethal Weapon Boston 1775 Major Robert Ross and David Collins – Sydney 1789 

The necessity for such a letter from Dawes may have been prompted by Governor Phillip’s initial order that specified;‘ my [Phillip’s] fixed determination to repeat it, whenever future breach of good conduct on their side, shall render it necessary’.

Or there may have been a very different reason.

Waaksamheyd’s arrival had opened a Pandora’s Box of possibilities; among them escape or capture of the Dutch vessel as a pathway to military insurrection and anarchy – the overthrow of Phillip as Governor and Captain-General. See: Machiavellian Macarthur

The first of these possibilities, escape with help from Waaksamheyd’s captain, was realised. A group of convicts stole Phillip’s cutter escaped from Sydney and rowed to Coupang, West Timor in one of the world’s most extraordinary sea-sagas.

From Timor, then by various means to Batavia, to Cape Town, to Portsmouth, to Newgate gaol and back to the dock of the Old Bailey where James Boswell mounted a spirited defence on their behalf. See: Boswell Goes Into Bat for the Botany Bay Escapees 

Under threat from the Sirius’ cannon mounted at Dawes Point Phillip deftly averted the seizure of Waaksamheyd. He negated a military rebellion by ordering a second raid against the Bidjigal of Botany Bay.

1790 – December 22: ‘Our first expedition having so totally failed, the governor resolved to try the fate of a second; and the ‘painful pre-eminence’ again devolved on me. The orders under which I was commanded to act differing in no respect from the last’.

When ‘a little before sunset on the evening of the 22d, we marched. Lieutenant Abbot and ensign Prentice of the New South Wales Corps were the two [2] officers under my command, and with three [3] sergeants, three [3] corporals, and thirty [30] privates completed the detachments‘ Lieutenant William Dawes was not among them.

Tench says his orders ‘differing in no respect from the lastreiterated Governor Phillip’s stated intent ‘infuse universal terror…kill 6…cut off…bring in the heads of the slain…two [2] prisoners to execute’. See: Terror – Arthur’s Algorithm

What changed however was Captain Tench’s attitude and tactics. They differed markedly from the enjoyable ‘adventure’ Professor Wood claimed for the first raid.

Tench wrote; ‘I resolved to try once more to suprise the village beforementioned. And in order to deceive the natives, and prevent them from again frustrating our design by promulgating it, we feigned that our preparations were directed against Broken Bay, and that the man [Willamarin] who had wounded the governor [September 1790 at Manly] was the object of the punishment.

It was now determined, being full moon that our operations should be carried on in the night, both for the sake of secrecy, and for avoiding the extreme heat of the day’.

‘We feigned’ – who then was the target, who was Tench trying to kid?

The big switch – it is highly likely Tench’s ‘preparations’ to go after Willamarin were designed to dampen dissatisfaction within the ranks of the New South Wales Corps, particularly ‘certain officers‘ outraged by Phillip’s refusal to retaliate following his own spearing by Willeemarin. See: The Switch 1790 – Context – War With France 1793-1815

In June 1790 the first contingent of infantry troops – The New South Wales Corps – had arrived with the second fleet. But they came without Major Francis Grose their commanding office. The power vacuum was filled by Lieutenant John Macarthur a junior officer who can best be described as Australia’s Machiavelli.  See: John Macarthur – The Great Disrupter

‘Twenty five regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between 1790 and 17870…ensuring the literal survival of white settlement…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…war nasty and decidedly lacking in glory’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, 1986.

It must be emphasised due to prolonged semi-starvation, other than Marine Captain Watkin Tench, the rank and file of the detachment assembled for both raids, in particular the second foray, would have been made up almost entirely of fresh troops – infantry-men of the New South Wales Corps – ‘who fought in one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire‘. Stanley. ibid.

EPILOGUE

‘A smokescreen of legal confusion and argument covered up a continuing pattern of killings at the frontiers of the Australian colonies’. Kercher. ibid.

There can be no ‘confusion’ when it comes to Governor Phillip’s orders. His ‘rules of engagement’ demonstrate clear intent and put no limit on brutality. They served as a template; ‘whenever a future breach of good conduct on their side shall render it necessary’..  

1790 – December: ‘Differing in no respect from the last’ it is from this second raid that Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples can, with laser accuracy, plot ‘a continuing pattern of killings’ that led to their near destruction. See: A Cracker Jack Opinion – No Sweat

ADDENDUM

‘New Holland is a blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India…I need not enlarge on the benefit of stationary a large body of troops in New South Wales…Should any disturbance happen in the East Indies’. Anon, Historical Records of New South Wales

Talk is currently centred on Australia’s position in the Indo-Pacific. The global context that drove Britain’s invasion of New Holland has come full circle. See: Britain + America + France + India + China + Peru + New Holland + New South Wales = Australia

Aside from Captain Cook, covered in primary 3rd grade, a vox pop of school-leavers working in local shops and supermarkets, reveal they know very little of Australia’s modern history, almost nothing of its context and nothing of Captain Arthur Phillip RN.

For the first two [2] it is simply don’t know don’t care.  But for the last Phillip who was prepared to go to any lengths for ‘King and Country’  that’s deliberate – that’s a cover-up.

The place to look is France 1783. The Treaty of Versailles, September 1783, brought a formal end to the American War of Independence 1775-1783.

France, to a lesser extent Spain, cost Britain her American colonies. Not just a few expendables thirteen (13) colonies – Connecticut, North and South Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, , New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

There were plans to use the [New South Wales] corps in expeditions against Panama, Peru and the Philippines, but nothing eventuated and the corps’ first experience of war came in January 1795 on the Hawkesbury River, north-west of Sydney’. Dr. Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, 1986

Aside from strategic and trade considerations Britain’s invasion of New Holland was driven by humiliation.

Britain’s ‘pride and prejudice’ created a divided nation. White Australia’s ‘fair go’ mantra perpetuates the division.

It is time to shatter these ’empty words’ and address the smokescreen of legal confusion’ that lost the First Nations’ Peoples their sovereignty. See: A Cracker- Jack Opinion – No Sweat 

2019: After all Brexit is about British sovereignty.

 

 

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