Posts Tagged ‘provisions’

TITANIC: HMS GUARDIAN – AUSTRALIA’S TITANIC

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

‘The poor aborigines were quickly reduced to a state of starvation, and it is believed that many of them actually perished for want of food during the first few months of the occupation of their country’. Samuel Bennett, Australian Discovery and Colonisation, Vol 1 – 1800, facsimile ed. 1981

Documentary evidence supports the claim that Governor Phillip expected logistical support to reach him soon after the ‘First Fleet’ expeditionary force reached its destination but the expected ships never came.

1788 – July, Sydney:  ‘They [Aborigines] are now much distressed for food, few fish are caught & I am told that many of them appear on the Beach where the Boats  go to haul the Seins [trawling nets], very weak & anxious to get the small fish, of which they make no account in the Summer nor can we give them much assistance as very few fish are now caught, & we have many sick’. Arthur Phillip to Joseph Banks, 2 July 1788. Oxford Book of Australian Letters, ed. Brenda Niall, John Thompson, 1998   

The direst consequences of Britain’s callous abandonment of her country-men fell on the Aborigines of the Sydney area who; ‘were quickly reduced to a state of starvation’. See: Abandoned and Left to Starve Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790

1790

1790 – I 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. We had now been two years in the country and thirty-two months  in which long period no supplies had reached us from England. from Portsmouth. Famine besides was approaching with gigantic strides’. Tench. ibid.    

Britain’s abandonment of the ‘First Fleet’ amounted to treachery. What was devastating for the English was catastrophic for Australia’s First Peoples. See: Arthur Phillip – Hung Out to Dry

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A PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS – THE ENGLISHMEN OF THE FIRST FLEET

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

‘A very tasty pea and ham soup washed down with tea from the leaves of the local sarsaparilla vine. In fact being British the colonists drank so much of the stuff that sarsaparilla remains almost extinct in the area around Sydney’. Tony Robinson’s History of Australia, Penguin 2011.

1788 – 18 January, Botany Bay: HMS Supply, the first of eleven (11) vessels making up the ‘First Fleet’ with a complement of 1500 hungry souls, reached Botany Bay, in the island continent of New Holland, now Australia on 18th January 1788, almost immediately Supply deployed her seine [trawling] nets.

‘No sooner were the fish out of the water than they [Aborigines] began to lay hold of them as if they had a right to them, or that they were their own; upon which the officer of the boat, I think very properly, restrained them giving, however, to each of them a part. They did not at first seem very well pleased with this mode of procedure, but on observing with what justice this fish was distributed they appeared content’. John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal

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A HATCHET JOB: HEADS OFF THE BIDJIGAL OF BOTANY BAY

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

‘In war the trophy head is a mark of supremacy and respect’. Frances Larson, Severed, Granta, 2015

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1790 – 13 December, Sydney Cove: ‘If practicable, to bring away two [2] natives as prisoners and to put to death ten [10]. That we were to cut off, and bring in the heads of the slain, for which purpose, hatchets and bags would be furnished’. Marine Captain Watkin, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhadinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

Can we know what drove Governor Phillip’s ferocity? Yes we can – simmering rebellion centred on ‘certain  officers’ of the newly arrived New South Wales Corps (June 1790) one in particular Lieutenant John Macarthur.

‘The author of this publication [Captain Watkin Tench] received a direction to attend the governor [Arthur Phillip] at head quarters immediately.

I went, and his excellency informed me, that he had pitched upon me to execute the foregoing command…infuse universal terror…convince them of our superiority…we were to proceed to the north arm of the [Botany] bay…destroy all weapons of war: no hut was to be burned: that all women and children were to remain uninjured’.  

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ANALYSE THIS

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

‘On 1 April 1776 [‘whereas the transportation of convicts to H.M. Colonies in America is found to be attended with various inconveniences’] Lord North moved to bring in a Bill to authorise for a limited time punishment, by hard labour, of offenders who were liable to transportation’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1993

1775- April, America: Conflict between England and her American colonies – the War of Independence (1775-1783) – brought a sudden halt to convict transportation to America.

‘Convict transportation in its original manifestation [Geo.1 C.11-23-29] was a uniquely American phenomenon.’ Anthony Vaver Bound With An Iron Chain, The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 convicts to Colonial America, Pickpocket Publishing, 2011

England’s gaols, previously short-term holding pens for convicted criminals,reprieved death and commuted ‘for transportation to America’, were quickly overwhelmed.

During eight (8) years of conflict approximately 10,000 prisoners were held over.

1776 – 23 May, England: The Hulks Act – 16 Geo. III, c 43 – received Royal Assent on 23rd May 1776. Lord North’s Bill was a game-changer. It changed the status of prisoners sentenced ‘for transportation’.

The legislation introduced a legal distinction that applied only to those criminals reprieved death on condition they be ‘transported out of the realm…beyond the seas’. See: April Fools Day

Deemed ‘Servants of the Crown’ until expiry of the term of sentence, their ‘service’ was for the ‘nation’, thereby ensuring ‘its original [1717-18] manifestation [remained] ‘a uniquely American phenomenon’.

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RULES OF ENGAGEMENT- TAKE TWO – CAPTAIN ARTHUR PHILLIP RN & MAJOR ROBERT ROSS – MARINE COMMANDER

Friday, September 8th, 2017

‘From 1788 there had been continuous disputation between the civil power represented by the autocratic uniformed naval governors, and the military’. John McMahon, Not a Rum Rebellion but a Military Insurrection, Journal of Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 92, 2006

1788 – Sydney: The chain of command at Sydney was dysfunctional. For many reasons relations between Captain Arthur Phillip an officer of the Royal Navy and Marine Commander Major Robert Ross of the Royal Navy’s military arm were toxic.

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AFRICA: IN AND OUT OF AFRICA – THOMAS LIMPUS, JOHN RUGLESS, SAMUEL WOODHAM

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

It is natural to infer that Government understands it is simply landing these people in Africa, to let them shift for themselves, and get their Board in the best manner they can’. Richard Miles, Governor Cape Coast Castle to Home Office, London.

West Africa: In 1644 England, during the third Anglo-Dutch War, captured Cape Coast Castle from the Dutch and established a permanent foot-hold in West Africa.

England:  Oliver Cromwell in 1655 Oliver Cromwell made ‘reprieve from death conditional [on] banishment out of the realm’.

London – 1717/18: Following legislation, 4 Geo. 1 c.11, transportation to ‘an American colony’ became the normal sentence for criminals whose death sentence was ‘forgiven’ on condition they be banished.from ‘the realm’.

By the time of King George 111’s reign (1760-1820) ‘transportation to America’ – tied to twice yearly sittings of county courts, ran like-clock-work.

Every convict sent to America was sold like a slave. The only essential difference…one was sold for life the other for a term of years’. Roger Ekirch, Bound for America, 1981

Government made money from the convict trade. A transport merchant paid Treasury for each prisoner purchased.

On landing in America the ‘contractor’ sold their ‘service’ – labour – to cotton and tobacco planters.

‘To provide for the more speedy removal of convicts, 8 Geo. 111, c15 declared that where the King’s mercy was extended to them on condition of transportation they were to be delivered to the contractor forthwith, instead of lying in prison until the next session of the court to plead their pardons‘. Wilfrid Oldham, British Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1990

 America: Britain, between 1717 and 1775, exported  50,000 convicts to her North American colonies.

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ABANDONED & LEFT TO STARVE AT SYDNEY COVE JANUARY 1788 TO JULY 1790

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

1790 – 1 June, Sydney Cove: ‘No communication whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th May 1787, the day of our departure from Portsmouth…from the intelligence of our friends and connections we had been entirely cut off…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

1790 – weekly ration; ‘without distinction…to every child of more than eighteen (18] months old and to every grown person two [2] pounds of pork, two and a half [2½] pounds of flour, two [2] pounds of rice, or a quart of pease, per week…To every child under eighteen [18] months old, the same quantity of rice and flour, and one [1] pound of pork.

When the age of this provision is recollected, its inadequacy will more strikingly appear. The pork…from England had been salted between three [3] and four [4] years… a daily morsel toast[ed] on a fork catching the drops on a slice of bread, or in a saucer of rice…every grain was a moving body from the inhabitants lodged within it…flour brought from the Cape by Sirius [May 1789] soldiers and convicts used to boil it up with greens’. Tench op.cit.

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ALL THE KING’S MEN-THE CRIMINALS OF THE ‘FIRST FLEET’

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between the marines and [male] convicts…the standard adopted was that of the troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, ed. E. Hugh Oldham, Library of Australian History, Sydney 1990

Portsmouth -1787 May 13: The ‘First Fleet’ an armed squadron of eleven (11) ships, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’, commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN sailed from England to invade the island continent of New Holland.

Of its overwhelmingly male complement, 1500 souls, seven hundred and fifty (750) were convicted criminals. Five hundred and eighty male (580) male convicts rationed;  ‘as troops serving in the West Indies’ were available for combat. See: April Fools Day – Hulks Act 

Botany Bay – 1788 January: Portsmouth to Spanish Teneriffe, to Portuguese Rio, to Dutch Cape Town.  On the lengthy last leg, sixty-eight (68) days Cape Town to Botany Bay, scurvy appeared throughout the fleet.

After eight (8) months voyaging across 13,000 miles (21,000 km) of ‘imperfectly explored oceans’ the convoy reached the island continent of New Holland whose  peoples  ‘were entitled to defend themselves from invasion’.

‘Phillip was authorised to see to the defence of the colony…The cultural arrogance of the British was evident even before the First Fleet sailed. There was no recognition that the Aborigines had their own notion of right, that from their point of view they were entitled to defend themselves from invasion’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Law in Australian, Allen & Unwin, 1995.

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Botany Bay – 1788 January 20: On arrival there was an urgent need for fresh water and food. HMS Sirius and HMS Supply the fleet’s warships, immediately deployed their 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, Journal of A Voyage to New South Wales, Oxford University Press, 2011

21 January: Phillip deemed Botany Bay difficult to defend. He set out with a scouting party in one (1) of three (3) ship’s long boats in search of  ‘Port Jackson‘ marked as such by Captain Cook in 1770.

Port Jackson – 22 January: Rowing hard against the wind, (9) nautical miles north of Botany Bay they came upon towering headlands guarding a wide entrance to a vast harbour that Phillip wrote offered ‘Perfect Security…for a thousand Sail of the Line’.

Botany Bay – 23 January: The boat[s] returned on the evening of the 23rd, with such an account of the harbour and advantages attending the place, that it was determined the evacuation of Botany Bay should commence the next morning’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

24 January::  ‘Another sail’…’at first I only laughed. wrote Tench.

Two (2) French ships La Boussole and L’Astrolabe under command of Comte Jean-Francois La Perouse arrived in the entrance to Botany Bay.

HMS Sirius her gun-ports opened for ‘business’ caused La Perouse to retreat.

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‘The interventions of the French navy, in the Channell, off Gibralter, in the West Indies, off Yorktown, had clearly played a considerable part in Britain’s failure to win the war in America’. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 3rd ed. Fontana Press, 1991

Captain Arthur Phillip RN, a veteran of America’s Revolutionary War like many of the fleet’s officers, was particularly reactive to La Perouse and his ships. See: Lieutenant William Dawes – The Shock of the New South Wales Corps & ‘The Eternal Flame’

He had failed to raise ‘English Colours’ at Port Jackson and now feared the French might raise their ‘Colours’ before he got back there.

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A dedicated officer of the Royal Navy Phillip felt acutely Britain’s loss of her thirteen (13)  ‘New World’ American colonies.

25 January: ‘Supply’ was made ready to sail at first light.  However weather closed-in and dense fog prevented Phillip’s departure until after mid-day. Just on nightfall Supply anchored in Sydney Cove.

Sydney Cove – 26 January: At dawn Phillip with a party of marines rowed ashore. The first sod turned,  the ‘Union Jack’ hoisted and Britain’s victory over France declared. See: Australia – Britain By A Short Half-Head

Governor Phillip in his mission accomplished letter to arch-intriguer Earl of Shelburne assured government; ‘here a Thousand sail of the Line may ride in the most perfect Security’.  Governor Phillip to William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, Marquis of Lansdowne, cited in Oxford Book of Australian Letters ed. Brenda Niall and John Thompson, 1998 

By evening on the 26th January the remaining vessels were riding alongside Supply.  La Bousolle and L’ Astrolabe had taken their place, in Frenchmens Cove, now a picnic spot in the Sydney suburb of La Perouse.

‘Owing to the multiplicity of pressing business necessary for 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.

6 February: Between ‘6am and 6 pm’ the fleet’s two hundred and thirty-one (231) women and approximately fifty (50) children ‘were rowed ashore’. See: ? Aside from sea-gulls how many white birds where on land at Sydney Cove 26 January 1788 – None

Sydney Cove – February 7‘The battalion was drawn up on parade…music playing…convicts assembled…His Majesty’s commission read…Nor have Government been backward in arming Mr. Phillip with a plenitude of power’.  Tench . ibid.

Despite assurance supplies and reinforcements would ‘follow shortly’ none came. The cast-a-ways of the ‘First Fleet’ were left to starve. See: Abandoned and Left To Starve @ Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790

‘Every morning from daylight until the sun sunk, did we sweep the horizon in the hope of seeing a sail’. Tench. ibid.

The callous abandonment of the English men, women and children of the ‘First Fleet’ had dire consequences for Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples.

1790

1790 – 1 January, Sydney:  ‘We ha[ve] 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’. 

March: With ‘winter at hand’ government stores held; ‘salt meat until 2d July; flour 20th August; rice, or pease in lieu, 1 October. The pork and rice were brought with us from England; the pork had been salted between three and four years, and every grain of rice was a moving body, from the inhabitants lodged with it’. Tench. ibid. 

The previous year (1789) 50% of local Aboriginal families contracted smallpox and died taking pressure off the settlement’s shared food resources. See: Smallpox – Dead Aborigines Don’t Eat

1790, Phillip drew on that experience and evacuated 50% of the English population to Norfolk Island two (2) weeks sailing time away where fish were plentiful year round and richer soil more productive.

Norfolk Island – 6 March: HMS Sirius and HMS Supply departed Sydney for Norfolk Island with 50% of the white population.  Sirius was to sail onto China and arrange a rescue mission.

19 March: The flagship landed her evacuees safely but struck a submerged reef and sank. The crew, one hundred and sixty (160) Royal Navy personnel, were taken off without loss of life, but were now stranded on the island.

Sydney – 6 April, Sydney: Supply returned to Sydney with terrifying news – no China rescue.

‘A vigorous exertion to prolong existence, or the chance of relief, being all now left to us’. Tench. ibid.

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‘As we have already noticed , no distinction was drawn between the convicts and their guards in respect of their rationing…the standard [ration] adopted was that of the troops serving in the West Indies’. Oldham. ibid.

The stark difference between the 1788 ration and that of 1790 highlights the level of panic that must have seized Phillip’s ‘people’ and the  local Aboriginal community.

[1788] 7 pounds of bread or 7 pounds of flour, 7 pounds of [salted] beef or 4 pounds of [salted] pork, 3 pints of [dried] pease, 6 ounces of butter, 1 pound of flour or ½f pound of rice, ¾ ounce of cheese, ½ pint of vinegar’. Oldham. op.cit.

1790 – April, Sydney: The weekly ration issue; ‘to every child of more than eighteen months old and every grown person, two [2] pounds of pork, two pounds  and a half [2½] of flour, two [2] pounds of rice, or a quart of pease, per week, and to every child under eighteen [18] months old, the same quantity of rice and flour, and one [1] pound of pork’. Tench. ibid.

Rebellion born of fear and desperation was in the air.

‘The attitude of the faction hostile to the Governor is reflected in the comment of an anonymous officer: “In our present alarming situation the Governor thought proper to summon us all to council, a step he never thought it expedient to take before; and I will  venture to affirm that he would not now have thought it worth his while to submit himself to the opinion of anyone but that dire necessity, and a want of sufficiency in himself pointed out to him the propriety of such a salutary measure”. Commentary, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. 2 

Jakarta17 April:  Governor Phillip ordered Supply sail to Batavia, modern day Jakarta. Lieutenant Henry Ball RN was to buy tons of food and charter a ship to bring them to Sydney as soon as possible.

As she disappeared through the Heads Tench invoked Virgil’s Aeneid; ‘thou the support of all (t)his tottering house’.

1790 – 3 June, Sydney:  ‘Flag’s up  ‘A Ship with London on her stern’.

She was a female convict transport Lady Juliana with two hundred and twenty-six (226) prisoners.  First of four (4) vessels of a second fleet, Juliana broke the silence and mind-bending uncertainty.

But very little food aside from some sheep who survived HMS Guardian’s tussle with an iceberg on Christmas Day 1789. See: Titanic – HMS Guardian – Australia’s Titanic

Sydney- 1790, June:  At the end of June 1790 the second fleet’s death ships Neptune, Scarborough and Suprize arrived. Government had contracted these three (3) vessels to Camden, Calvert and King a firm of ‘Guinea’ slave traders working out of London.

Starved and treated with savage brutality of one thousand (1000) mainly male convicts embarked in Plymouth 25% died during the brutal passage.  A further 15% died within weeks of landing.

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The aptly named ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’ presented Governor Arthur Phillip RN with a myriad problems including a contingent of infantry.

‘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 Macarthur – 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 – Pacific Explorations, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London 2018

The New Wales Corps was raised to consolidate the conquest of New Holland and repatriate the ‘First Fleet’ marines. However with HMS Supply at Jakarta and HMS Sirius at the bottom of the sea Phillip was completely isolated in the midst of an extremely hostile military garrison.

All too soon Lieutenant Macarthur opened up a second front and forced the ailing Governor to dig deep in ‘the defence of the colony’. See: Dark Matter – McMafia’ Macarthur & ‘Fiery Indian Rum’ A Teetataller’s Drug of Ruin for Others

Governor Phillip had not fully recovered from his spearing by Willeramin an Aboriginal warrior on Manly Beach in September 1790. He was well aware ‘certain officers’ led by Lieutenant Macarthur were circling the tents and there was a lot at stake. See: The Switch 1790 – War With France 1793-1815 

With HMS Sirius and HMS Supply missing in action Governor Phillip was forced to pull a rabbit out of an empty hat. See:  A Tethered goat – John McIntyre

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EPILOGUE

See: Manly – Location, Location, Location

‘In November 1784 Henry Dundas, probably [Prime Minister] PItt’s closest advisor…warned that India is the first quarter to be attacked’. Michael Pembroke, Arthur Phillip Sailor Mercenary, Governor Spy, Hardie Grant Books, 2013

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‘Our wealth and power in India is their [France’s great and constant object of jealously; and they will never miss an opportunity of attempting to wrest it out of our hands’. Sir James Harris, cited Pembroke

 

 

 

MISSING IN ACTION – HMS SIRIUS & HMS SUPPLY

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Sydney – 5 April, 1790: ‘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

Norfolk Island  – 19 March 1790: the First Fleet’s flagship, while in the process of evacuating 50% of Sydney’s starving European population to Norfolk Island, ran aground on a submerged reef and sank. Her crew, one hundred and sixty naval (160) personnel, were marooned along with the evacuees.  See: Abandoned and Left to Starve @ Sydney Cove, January 1788 to June 1790

China: ‘Famine was approaching with gigantic strides’. Sirius was to have sailed on to China and arrange rescue. ‘Dismay’ all hope of rescue was gone.

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

Monday, November 14th, 2016

1789 – April, Sydney: ‘Not one case of the disorder 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

Smallpox inoculation, using dried scab-matter was widespread in the British army of the eighteenth century. It served a dual purpose; to protect – to destroy.

‘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

1787 – August, Brazil: When the First Fleet en-route to Botany Bay put into Rio de Janeiro for supplies in August 1787 Joseph Jefferies, a North American Indian born on New York’s Staten Island, joined the crew of HMS Supply. The young adventurer died of smallpox at Sydney on or about the 10th of May 1789. (more…)