Monte Video – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ Mark 1

‘It is thought’ ‘* probably’*  ‘ possibly’ * ‘it appears’

‘Few personal documents relating to Phillip’s service survive; his low personal profile and the secret work in which he was sometimes involved make him one of the least-known founders of any modern state  – in this case Australia’. Nigel, Rigby, Peter Van Der Merwe and Glyn Williams, Pacific Exploration, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles 2018 

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London – 1787 – 25 April:  ‘We reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, courage and experience in military affairs, …under the Great Seal of Great Britain [do] constitute and appoint you Governor and Commander-in-Chief of our territory called New South Wales….according to the rules and disciplines of war’. Court of St James King George III to Arthur Phillip, 25 April 1787. Bladen, Historical Records of New South Wales Vol. 1 See: Botany Bay – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & Christopher Robin – Mark 2

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‘The troops sent to garrison the Australian colonies participated in the great struggle at the heart of the European conquest of this continent…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 of southern Africa’. Dr. Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press Sydney 1986 

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The British had long sought to penetrate Spain’s jealously guarded South American trade’. Nigel Rigby, Peter van der Merwe, Glyn Williams, Pacific Explorations, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London 2018

1775 – Lexington:  In 1775 Britain- King George III, Prime Minister Lord North, declared war on her North American colonists.

But not all colonists were Britain’s enemies. Alongside the king’s men Loyalists fought their Patriot fathers, brothers and neighbours led by General George Washington.

‘Most histories of the American Revolution discuss the French Navy’s involvement only near the end of the war at the Battle of the Chesepeake in September 1781.

In fact from the moment France entered the war in 1778, its navy was fighting the British in many parts of the world, and this proved to be the most decisive factor in bringing the opposing parties to the peace table’. Essays in the American Revolution – A World War, David K. Allison, Larrie D. Ferreiro, eds. Smithsonian 2013

1778 – France:  On the 6th of February 1788 France signed a Treaty of Alliance that formally recognised the United States.

1778 – England: Britain retaliated and on the 17th  of March declared war on France.

France mobilised her navy. French money, men, munitions and military know-how poured in to support Washington’s home-spun militia.

‘Without the direct intervention of Britain’s adversaries, France and Spain, on America’s side, the colonies could not hope to prevail against the superior British army and navy to win their independence outright’. Larrie D. Ferreiro, Brothers at Arms. American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved it. First Vintage books, 2017

1779 – Spain: Spain followed France’s example and in June 1779 allied with France to defeat Britain. As a result Britain turned her eyes on the Spaniard’s South American colonies.

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1781 – Chesapeake: A French squadron under Admiral de Grasses, at the Battle of the Capes in September 1781, although inferior in manoeuvrability to their British opponents, prevented reinforcements reaching Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown as he prepared for what proved to be the pivotal battle of America’s Revolutionary War of Independence (1775-1783).

1781 -Yorktown:  Cornwallis’ large army, starved of men and heavy  artillery,fell to a combined army of French regulars and Washington’s militia in October 1781.

1782 – Paris: By mid 1782 lengthy peace negotiations had begun. Separate agreements with the various players were settled progressively.

England:  Meanwhile  in March 1782 Lord North had resigned as Prime Minister.

1782 – March: Lord Rockingham succeeded but died four (4) months later in July 1782.

1782 – July: Lord Shelburne, then Home Secretary, succeeded Rockingham and held the Prime Ministership for a year.

1782 – 4 July: Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, inherited the office of Home Secretary from Lord Shelburne, along with a mountain of unfinished business.

Not until September 1783, with the ceremonial signing of the Treaty of Versailles, was the American Revolutionary War brought to a formal end.

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The British had long sought to penetrate Spain’s jealously guarded South American trade’. Nigel Rigby, Peter van der Merwe, Glyn Williams, Pacific Explorations, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London 2018

Included were the bones of previous failed ventures aimed at gaining territory in order to establish a passage across a narrow isthmus that would expose Spain’s Central and South American colonial possessions to land and sea attack from both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. See: Proximity not Tyranny of Distance

Driven by the humiliation of defeat and the loss of her thirteen (13) ‘middle colonies’,  Connecticut , North and South Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts,New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia – her ’empire in the west’ – Britain was determined to ‘penetrate’ Spain’s ‘treasure‘ colonies in South America. See: Peru – Silver and Gold

Brazil:   Lieutenant Arthur Phillip RN was familiar with the area having spent nigh on four (4) years in Brazil seconded to the Portuguese Navy. Lord Sydney tasked him to design a strategy that would achieve this end.

From Rio where he had been based Phillip had access to a myriad of anti-Spanish dissenters ripe for rebellion. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese Phillip always reported directly to fellow linguist Lord Sandwich at the Admiralty.

Phillip strategy was to launch marauding hit-and run-raids on Spain’s colonial territories on the Atlantic Coast. Firstly Monte Video, present-day Uruguay,  if successful then onto the ‘reduction’ of Buenos Aires, present-day Argentina.

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Phillip’s plan sought to redress glaring errors inherent in the hit and miss planning for an earlier failed attempt.

The San Juan (Dalling) Expedition of 1779-80 ‘cost the lives of more than 2500 men, making it the costliest British disaster of the entire [American] war’. John Sugden, Nelson: A Dream of Glory 1758-1797, Henry Holt, New York, 2004 

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

1783:   To maintain utmost secrecy Lieutenant Phillip planned only four (4) vessels would sail from England. They were to rendezvous at sea with a larger group sailing from the East Indies under Admiral Hughes.

After refining the logistics of attack, the combined force would proceed to mount marauding raids on Monte Video and Buenos Aires.

1783 – January 16: Under overall command of Sir Robert Kingsmill HMS Elizabeth 74 guns, Captain Phillip in HMS Europa 64 guns, HMS Grafton 70 guns and a supply frigate HMS Iphigenia 32 guns, the group departed Portsmouth in mid January 1783.

In May,  en-route  to Monte Video, it became known agreement over terms of a peace treaty between Spain and Britain had been reached.  Therefore the expedition was abandoned in mid-ocean. See: England Demands – 1790 – Governor Phillip’s barbarous path to secure Spain’s Silver and gold for Britain  

Although The Treaty of Versailles, September 1783, brought a formal end to the American War the treaty did not bring lasting peace. Some modern military historians regard it more truce than treaty.

‘Brittle and precarious’ it served as a mere breathing space for all parties. Time to sort out alliances, organise, refit, re-arm and re-position for further conflict.

The invasion of New Holland falls within the planning arc of the next global war 1793-1815. See: Why New Holland – Britain + America + India + France + Spanish South America = European Australia

Invasion 1788: Britain’s conquest and occupation of Australia’s Sovereign First Nations’ Peoples’ lands, fits neatly into the hiatus created by the Treaty of Versailles.

‘There were plans to use the corps in expeditions against Panama, Peru and the Philippines,’. Dr.Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788 -1870, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, 1986

The invasion of New Holland must be considered contemporaneous with the American War of Independence, and its aftermath, 1789 French Revolution, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815.

GOVERNOR ARTHUR PHILLIP –  THE BACK STORY

‘Few personal documents relating to Phillip’s service survive; his low personal profile and the secret work in which he was sometimes involved make him one of the least-known founders of any modern state  – in this case Australia’. Nigel, Rigby, Peter Van Der Merwe and Glyn Williams, Pacific Exploration, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles 2018   

Rebekka Phillip was born at London in October 1737. Arthur her brother arrived a year later in November 1738.

Their mother Elizabeth had been  widowed when ,Able-Seaman John Herbert RN her first husband, sailing off Jamaica in HMS Tartar, died probably of yellow fever.

In 1736 Elisabeth married Jacob an ’emigre´ teacher of languages from Frankfurt Germany.  The family lived in Bread Street not far from St. Paul’s Cathedral.

It is thought Jacob Phillip died around 1751. We do know in June  of 1751 Arthur, then aged twelve (12) years, entered the Greenwich Hospital School for sons of, either poor serving members,  or boys whose fathers had died while serving in the Royal Navy.

It seems by the time Jacob died Arthur was fluent in German, French and Hebrew. To these Phillip added Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Down the track it was this facility with languages, along with his appearance, that made Phillip an exceptionally effective spy.

Elizabeth Phillip nee Breach was also closely related to Captain Michael Everitt RN who acted as Arthur Phillip’s mentor throughout his naval career and no doubt acted as an enabler during his ‘secret work’.

Post Script

St Paul’s: In 1805 Phillip attended the sorrowful funeral of his confrere and close friend Admiral Horatio Nelson RN.

It is a measure of the man that as Nelson’s body lay in state before his burial in St Paul’s Lady Francis (Fanny) Nelson, the wronged and much maligned wife of the ‘hero of Trafalgar’,  was sheltering in the Phillip’s residence at Bath.

Yet Arthur Phillip is ‘one of the least-known founders of any modern state…Australia’. Pacific Explorations. ibid.

To understand Governor Phillip we need to know what lay behind his orders of December 1790;.’Phillip would instruct…raiding parties to bring back the severed heads of the local warriors’. Stan Grant, Talking to My Country, Harper Collins Publishers, Sydney, 2017

See:’ England Expects’ – 1790 – Bring In The Heads of the Slain.

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§[Here]; It [must] be asked why, when we have as great, if not a greater, force than we ever had, the enemy are superior to us. To this is to be answered that England till this time was never engaged in a sea war with the House of Bourbon [France + 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 The Secret History of the Convict Colony p. 35

 

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