Archive for the ‘Smallpox’ Category

SMALLPOX – A LETHAL WEAPON- BOSTON 1775; ROBERT ROSS & DAVID COLLINS – SYDNEY 1789; MAJOR ROSS & CAPTAIN COLLINS

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

‘From time to time throughout history, peoples and governments around the world have used micro-organisms as efficient and cost-effective weapons of mass destruction’. Professor Dorothy H. Crawford, The Invisible Enemy, Edinburgh University Press, 2000.

BOSTON

In 1763, in the earliest recorded deliberate release of a virus, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, British Commander-in-Chief in North America, authorized the distribution of smallpox-contaminated blankets to native Americans who were harassing European settlers around the garrison at Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania’. Crawford. op. cit.

1756-1763: General Thomas Gage served as second-in-command to General Amherst during the British North American Indian theatre of the Seven Years War.

‘We gave them [Indians] two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital, I hope it will have the desired effect’. Amherst, cited Professor Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana, The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, 2001

At Fort Pitt, present day Pittsburgh, General Gage was implicated in the distribution of these blankets to local Indian tribes.

“This act had the sanction of an impressive array of British officers, including Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander in chief at the time, and General Thomas Gage, who replaced Amherst and signed off on reimbursements for the “Sundries” used ” to convoy the Smallpox to the Indians”. Fenn. op. cit.

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SMALLPOX – A BIOLOGICAL WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION – 1789

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

‘The body of the [Aboriginal] woman showed that famine, superadded to disease, had occasioned her deathIt is true our surgeons had brought out variolous (smallpox) matter in bottles’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961

Botany Bay – January 1788: At 2.15pm on 18 January 1788 HMS Supply, first of a large armed expeditionary force of eleven (11) ships, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’ with an overwhelmingly  male complement of 1500 souls (1300 men, 221 women) and fifty (50) free children anchored in the entrance to Botany Bay, New Holland known now as Australia.

The population of the area had doubled overnight as Governor Phillip estimated the local Aboriginals of the area numbered 1500.

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

Captain Arthur Phillip RN the fleet commander had been assured more convicts and supplies would ‘follow shortly’. When nothing arrived by mid-1788 it became clear  white survival would depend on appropriating kangaroo, fish and crustacean, primary sources of protein for the local peoples of the area. See: Abandoned and Left To Starve Sydney from January 1788 to June 1790

‘From time to time throughout history, peoples and governments around the world have used micro-organisms as efficient and cost-effective weapons of mass destruction’. Professor Dorothy H. Crawford, The Invisible Enemy, Edinburgh University Press, 2000

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JOSEPH JEFFERIES – FROM NEW YORK TO RIO AND OLD SYDNEY TOWN: ONE – THEN THERE WAS NONE

Monday, November 14th, 2016

‘It is true our surgeons had brought out variolous matter in bottles’. Marine Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

Smallpox inoculation, using either vesicle pus or dried scab-matter was widespread in the British armed forces from the mid 1760s. It served a dual purpose; to infect and protect and to infect and destroy.

In July 1776 during America’s Revolutionary War of Independence (1775-1783), Admiral Richard Howe RN commander of the Royal Navy’s ‘North American Station’  based, ‘the largest fleet in British naval history’, just on four hundred (400) vessels, at Staten Island.

Brazil: In August – September 1787 the ‘First Fleet’ an amphibious expeditionary force of eleven (11) vessels bound for Botany Bay, put into Rio de Janeiro for supplies.

Joseph Jefferies, a North American Indian born on New York’s Staten Island, joined the crew of the ‘First Fleet’s HMS Supply. He was with his ship on Norfolk Island when, in April 1789 ‘a smallpox epidemic struck the Aboriginal population around Sydney’. 

Norfolk Island: Earlier, on the 14th of February 1788, to prevent the French from occupying the island, Phillip took the extraordinary decision to send Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King RN to establish a satellite settlement on the island.

1789 – April, Sydney: ‘A smallpox epidemic struck the Aboriginal population around Sydney. Inexplicably the epidemic did not affect the Europeans, but [Governor] Phillip estimated that it resulted in the death of 50% of the local Aboriginal community’. People of Australia, Macquarie Series, Ed. Bryce Fraser, 1998.

On Jefferies return to Sydney the young adventurer contracted smallpox and died on or about the 10th of May 1789.

1789 – Sydney, April: ‘Not one case of the disorder [smallpox] occurred among the white people either afloat or on shore although there were several children in the settlement; but a North American Indian…took the disease and died’. Samuel Bennett, Australian Discovery and Colonisation, Vol. 1 to 1800, Facsimile edition, 1981

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SMALLPOX SYDNEY 1789 – A VERY CONVENIENT THEORY – IT WAS THE MACASSANS STUPID

Monday, January 25th, 2016

1788 -Sydney Cove, July: ‘Yesterday twenty [20] of the natives came down to the beach, each armed with a number of spears, and seized on a good part of the fish caught in the seine [trawling nets]…several stood at a small distance with their spears poised ready to throw them if any resistance was made’. Governor Arthur Phillip to Under-Secretary Evan Nepean, July 10, 1788, Frank Murcott Bladen, Historical Records of New South Wales

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‘They [Aborigines] are not pleased with our remaining amongst them, as they see we deprive them of fish, which is almost their only support’ . Governor  Philip to Evan  Nepean, September 1788  

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Sydney- 1789, January:  ‘From the intelligence of our friends and connections we had been entirely cut off, no communication whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th of May 1787, the day of our departure from Portsmouth’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

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 Sydney – 1789, April: ‘An extraordinary calamity was now observed among the natives…pustules similar to those  occasioned by smallpox were thickly spread on the bodies but how a disease, to which our former observations had led us to believe them strangers could have introduced itself, and have spread so widely, seems inexplicable’. Tench. ibid.     

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‘The epidemic not only killed a significant proportion of the indigenous population but also destabilised society…there is no easy answer to the fraught quest of [Aboriginal] clan boundaries in Sydney, particularly because an epidemic in 1789 caused massive disruption of the indigenous peoples in the area‘. Pauline Curby, Randwick [A History], 2010.

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By a strange coincidence, smallpox reached Port Jackson at about the same time as the First Fleet’. Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders, UNSW Press, 2006 

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SMALLPOX – DEAD ABORIGINES DON’T EAT – STARVATION & SMALLPOX – JANUARY 1788 TO JUNE 1790

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

‘The body of the [Aboriginal] woman showed that famine, superadded to disease, had occasioned her death. But how a disease to which our former observations had led us to suppose them strangers could at once have introduced itself, and have spread so widely seems inexplicable’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1961

1787 – Portsmouth, May 13: A large expeditionary force, eleven (11) ships commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN, sailed from England to invade the island continent of New Holland. See: Apollo II, Fly Me To The Moon

1788 – Botany Bay, January 20: Within thirty-six (36) hours between 8-20 January the ships of the  ‘First Fleet’ were at anchor in Botany Bay, New Holland, now Australia.

HMS Supply first to arrive immediately played out her ‘seine’ trawling nets.

‘While the seine was hauling some of them [Aborigines] were present…No sooner were the fish out of the water than they began to lay hold of them as if they had a right to them, or that they were their own’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal, Oxford City Press, 2011

1788 – Port Jackson, January 21: Taking Captain Cook’s 1770 charts Phillip accompanied by officers and surveyors set off in three (3) ship’s long-boats hoping to find a more defensible site.

Sydney Cove: That afternoon they sighted the towering headlands of Cook’s Port Jackson’. Rowing between them they found themselves in a vast harbour.

Phillip settled on a protected deep-water cove naming it for the Home Secretary Lord Sydney.

Botany Bay – 23 January: ‘The boat[s] returned on the evening of the 23d…it was determined the evacuation of Botany Bay should commence the next morning.

24 January: ‘I [Tench] rose at the first dawn… when the cry of “another sail” struck on my astonished ear’. Tench. ibid.

Two (2) French ships, La Boussole and L’Astrolabe, commanded by Jean-Francois La Perouse, appeared off the entrance to the bay. HMS Sirius’ deck- mounted cannon forced La Perouse back out into raging seas.

Sydney Cove – 25 January: The weather kept Captain Phillip inside Botany Bay until the afternoon of the 25th January. Aboard HMS Supply he quit Botany Bay, just before dark Supply dropped anchor in Sydney Cove.

January 26 Sydney Cove: Next morning at first light Phillip landed with a detachment of marines. A flagstaff was built and the Union Jack raised. By nightfall the remaining English ships were riding alongside Supply. See: Australia Britain by a Short Half-Head – Captain Arthur Phillip & Comte Jean- Francois La Perouse

‘Owing to the multiplicity of pressing business necessary to be performed immediately after landing, it was found impossible to read the public commissions and take possession of the colony in form, until the 7th of February ‘. Tench. ibid.

La Perouse was without doubt Governor Phillip’s most ‘pressing business’.  His solution was extraordinary.

31January: To stymie the French Phillip advised Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King RN, his close friend and most trusted ally, he was to establish an even more isolated ‘Robinson Crusoe’ settlement.  on a mere dot of an island two (2) weeks sailing time away.

On his second Pacific voyage Captain James Cook RN in 1774 had named this mere dot, two (2) weeks sailing time away, Norfolk Island.

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Sydney – 6 February: At the end of the first week of February 1788 the fleet’s two hundred and twenty-one (221) women and their fifty (50) free children were rowed ashore from what had been their home for just on a year.

7 February – Proclamation Day: The following day, in the name of King George 111 without consent of its First Peoples or entering into treaty them, with all the ‘pomp and circumstance of glorious war‘, Governor Phillip’s commissions were read.

Britain claimed ‘Sovereignty’ over New Holland ‘from Cape York in the most northern extremity….and adjacent islands….to South Cape’.

Norfolk Island,14 February:  Just on dusk a week later HMS Supply slipped out through Sydney Heads and disappeared from view. See: Asleep In The Deep

Botany Bay – 10 March: La Boussole and L’Astrolabe departed for the voyage home to France. They were never seen again.

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‘Before leaving Botany Bay [25 January] Phillip had messages painted on the rocks of Bare Island near which the Fleet had been moored, to guide the ships which Phillip believed were following closely from England, around to Sydney Cove’. Bruce Mitchell, The Australian Story and Its Background, Cheshire Press, 1965

But no ships arrived. It became clear white survival would depend on appropriating foods, especially fish and the plants that for millennia had sustained local Aboriginal families. Abandoned and Left to Starve January 1788 – June 1790

‘Our customary method was to leave Sydney Cove about four in the afternoon and go down the harbour and fish all night from one cove to another. We made 23 hauls of the seine in one night’. Jacob Nagle, The Nagle Journal 1775 to 1841, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, New York ed. John C. Dann, 1988

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