Botany Bay – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ – Mark 2

‘The combination of French and Spanish naval power had proven fatal for Britain in the American War 1775-1783]…as Lord Sandwich admitted frankly’. Lord Sandwich cited R.J. King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, Sydney, 1990

At Lexington in April 1775 Britain went to war with her North American colonists. But not all of them. Those loyal to the Crown fought their Patriot brothers alongside British troops.

Against all odds General George Washington’s Patriot rebels, assisted by France and Spain, won America’s struggle for independence.

Brazil – September 1787: As the First Fleet ‘bound for Botany Bay’ prepared to sail from Rio for New Holland via Cape Town, Captain Arthur Phillip RN ‘Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy’ was able to supply Evan Nepean, his long-time ‘handler’ at the Home Office, with vital information.

Rio de Janeiro – 3 September 1787: ‘Dear Nepean, this is my last letter, as I hope to sail [for Botany Bay] tomorrow. You know how much I was interested in the intended expedition against Monte Video [1783], and that it was said that the Spaniards had more troops than I supposed’. Arthur Phillip to Evan Nepean Under Secretary to Home Secretary Lord Sydney, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. 1, Parts 1 & 2.

Skin in the game; to understand Phillip’s expressedinterest in Monte Video’  he had himself drawn up ‘secret plans‘ for the failed expedition.

The Portsmouth group were to rendezvous with a similar sized convoy sailing from the Indies


Though negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles that brought about a formal end to the American War were still in progress Britain aimed to harass’ the ‘Spaniards’ by mounting hit and run raids on Monte Video and Buenos Aires Spain’s South American colonial possessions.

In January 1783 Lieutenant Arthur Phillip as captain of HMS Europa , with three (3) other ships HMS Elizabeth, HMS Grafton and supply vessel, HMS Iphiguria departed Portsmouth under overall command of Sir Robert Kingsmill in  Elizabeth.


Fresh from Britain’s defeat in America’s Revolutionary War (1775-1783) Phillip regarded the group’s ‘failure to act’ had robbed the Royal Navy of much needed ‘glory’. 

The failure rankled and Phillip determined to make amends.  Securing a sea-route via the Southern Oceans to the Southern and Central America’s Pacific Coast  would expose  Spain’s ‘treasure’ colonies to attack.

The conquest of New Holland, now Australia,  deep in the South Seas would  provide a stepping stone to restoring ‘lost glory’.

If Phillip succeeded there would be an opportunity to prove the Pacific Coast of Spain’s Central and South American ‘treasure colonies’ would be  vulnerable to attack by the Royal Navy.

Rio – September 1787:  Phillip went on to provide Evan Nepean with up-to-date intelligence ‘obtained from a person who was there [Monte Video] all of the war [1775-1783]. He went on to detail the number and disposition of troops, ‘and I am certain that the account is exact’. Phillip to Nepean, 3 September 1787. Historical Records. op.cit.


‘When you arrive on the Spanish Coast of the South Seas you are to do your best to annoy and distress the Spaniards… by sinking, burning or otherwise destroying all their ships and vessels that you shall meet’. Instructions to Commodore George Anson,  January 1740, cited Glyn Williams The Prize of All the Oceans,  Harper Collins, 2000

Strategically the conquest and dispossession of New Holland’s First Nations’ Peoples  was all about on-going global warfare. The Second Hundred Years’ War 1701 -1815.

The War of Spanish Succession (1701-14 – ) The French and Napoleonic Wars (1793- 1815) . See: Why New Holland – Britain + America + India + France + Spain  = European Australia

‘French and Spanish naval power had proven fatal for Britain in the American War.’ R.J.King. op.cit.

Battle of the Capes  1781 September:  Defeat of the Royal Navy at Chesapeake by a French squadron led by Admiral de Grasse,  starved General Lord Charles Cornwallis of artillery support and tipped the scales in favour of Washington’s Continental Army.

Yorktown –   1781 October:   A month later – 19th October – 5000 survivors of Cornwallis’ 8000 strong army surrendered to equal numbers of French Regulars and American Patriot militia.

Although the war dragged historians agree Yorktown sounded the death-knell for the British campaign in the American War.

London –  1782 March: Lord Frederick North, King George IIIs Prime Minister since 1770, resigned in March 1782.

1782 – July: Charles Watson-Wentworth – Lord Rockingham – succeeded North  but died in July just four (4) months later.

William Petty, Earl Shelburne relinquished his position as Home Secretary. to take over the Prime Ministership as Lord Lansdowne.

1782 – July: Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney replaced Lansdowne and was appointed Home Secretary.

As Home Secretary Lord Sydney inherited the Monte Video so called Dalrymple Plan. He turned to Captain Arthur Phillip RN to bring it to life and salvage some honour after the ignominy of the Omoa and San Juan disasters circa. 1779-80.


‘It will be asked why, when we [Britain] have as great if not a greater, force than we ever had, the enemy are superior to us. To this it is to be answered that England till this time was never engaged in a sea war [1779-83] with the House of Bourbon [France and Spain] thoroughly united, their naval force unbroken, and resources, and having no other war or object to draw off their attentions and resources’. Lord Sandwich cited R.J. King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, Sydney 1990 

Jamaica- Omao: Major William Dalrymple, while based at Jamaica, had in September 1779, sailed from Kingston Harbour to attack Omoa a Spanish fortress at Honduras on the coast of Central America.

Britain also maintained settlements along the Mosquito Coast. Occupied in the main by white overseers of slave labourers who felled the mighty giants to satisfy the United Kingdom’s rapacious thirst for mahogany to fill the fine dining, drawing and bedrooms of wealthy Georgians.

Omoa: Although the Spanish vastly outnumbered the English in the area of attack Dalrymple’s raiders managed to take the Spanish by surprise. They captured the main fort at Omoa on the 16tn of September 1779.

Disease, dysentery yellow fever and malaria, overtook them. The British managed to hold onto the fort until November 1779 when it was lost to a Spanish counter attack.

The naval contingent of three (3) vessels did better. It managed to seize two (2) treasure ships laden with loot – gold bullion to the tune of three million (3,000,000) Spanish dollars.

London: For home consumption the ‘victory’ was overblown. Medals were minted. Paintings, engravings, books, a plethora of print articles screamed ‘gold’.

Jamaica: So it was not difficult for Dalrymple who had survived Omoa to suggest another attack on Spain’s rich South American territories.

Dalrymple’s subsequent San Juan proposal had the backing of General John Dalling, Governor of Jamaica and, from far-off London, the support of Lord George Germain, secretary of state for America.

Westminster: However Shelburne, then Home Secretary, was not so impressed by the spin put on Omoa.

Sir John Dalrymple a prominent member of the influential Scots ‘Dalrymple Dynasty’ took up his younger brother’s cause.  While treaty terms were still under negotiation at Versailles Shellburn approved the ‘Dalrymple Plan’.

In July 1782 Shelburne became Prime Minister on the death of Lord Rockingham.  Lord Sydney, now Home Secretary, inherited the ‘Dalrymple’. See: Monte Video – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ Mark 1

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

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