Note: this is the last chapter of the website book, the blackheath connection.
An Australasian quadrangular trade pattern: Further on James Duncan of Blackheath: The Blackheath Connection: (The beginning of Phase Two): Duncan Campbell's last years: Varieties of business: Campbell relinquishes the hulks: Towards the death of Duncan Campbell: Hulks administration from 1800: The death of Duncan Campbell in 1803: 1803: after Campbell's death: Afterword
The Blackheath Connection
An Australasian quadrangular trade pattern:
It should be asked, why London merchants with East India connections India did not interest themselves more in sending goods to Sydney, either from London or India? Among many reasons are costs, deliberate restrictions on the trade of the colony which favoured the charter of the East India Company, the risks of sailing an ex-Sydney leg of the voyage in unprofitable ballast. Government actively encouraged convict transportation to Sydney, but not trade. A trade system taking in London, Sydney and China/India did not firm until after 1810, and received no large stimulus until after 1824, when the Australian Agricultural Company began operations, by which time, the colony's legal system was more convenient for financial claims being settled in a civil court.
However, by 1807, the New South Wales sheep breeder John Macarthur had visualized an Australasian quadrangular trade pattern with one leg at Sydney. () Another leg was in Fiji, another at Canton, another at Calcutta; although not embracing New Zealand. This pattern became reality, and can be used to explain much but certainly not all Australasian trading till the 1840s (by when New Zealand was settled). In terms of broader maritime history, and in order to explain the trading pattern of convict ships captain (or their employers) this quadrangle should be placed within a larger quadrangle, with legs at London, Sydney, "the Pacific" and India-China. Within this larger quadrangle, the chief inheritors of the Blackheath Connection remain blurrily apparent. They were the London Missionary Society, which helped to promote trading in Pacific artefacts, as one of their early treasurers, Hardcastle, had suggested.
The quadrangular trade pattern was not wholly original - some of the shape had been visualized by William Richards, by Anthony Calvert, and also by an associate of John Macarthur, his "family banker, Walter Stephenson Davidson. Davidson had examined NSW by 1803, then went "to the east", where among other things, he, probably, arranged some regular exporting to Australia. Unfortunately, the little known of Davidson falls into the same basket as ignorance on another point of trade in NSW colonial history - it is difficult to find the main NSW tea importers, or who were their associates in the east, or indeed, anything to confirm what little information can be found. ()< /p>
Davidson's sister Anne married a little known Asia trader, Thomas Coats. Davidson's first wife (married 1822) was his cousin, Ann Mathison, a grand-daughter of Sir Walter Farquhar. Some Davidson relatives, Leslie, (a Leslie married one of his sisters), and several Leslies became NSW pioneers; but one William Leslie worked in the east for Dent and Co. (a cotton and opium dealer which by one uncertain report was started by W. S. Davidson). One of Davidson's daughters, Martha Anne, married to one Larkins (of Blackheath?) () Rather mysteriously, a view has grown that one or two finance houses in London became specialists in handling bills arising from Australian trade (Sydney-India-London). These were firstly the survivors of Beale and Co., (or, Reid and Beale, who with others by 1805 had developed "the First Canton Insurance Office"); and secondly, Herries-Farquhar in London, where W. S. Davidson worked till he became a partner there by 1838. Davidson in the east was active in opium dealing by 1807-1813, but apparently was in NSW in 1808 when governor Bligh was deposed, then aged about 22. By 1813, Davidson operated as "a consul for Portugal" (at Canton?) and later helped found Dent and Co. By 1816, Davidson as sole owner of Davidson and Co. was dealing in opium, cotton, tea and silver. Unfortunately, the fragmentary information available on other merchants of the day makes it difficult to develop a clear picture of Davidson's activities. Singh says clearly that Davidson became "an expert in the transfer of funds between London and Sydney", albeit without proof or further comment. () And I do not know of any other historian claiming that anyone in London was any particular "specialist" in handling funds transfers to or from Australasia. The quadrangular trade pattern has not in fact been well studied.
* * *
Further on James Duncan of Blackheath:
One man not intimidated by the East India Company's earlier forbidding attitude to New South Wales was James Duncan, not a government contractor, () who between 1794 and 1800 acted as an agent for ship men who were mostly master/owners, acting as opportunists in the convict service to Australia. () From 1793, the war with France meant that fewer convicts were being directed to New South Wales, but most of the men acquainted with James Duncan were able to harvest convict business not taken by the whalers. One East India husband quite willing to deal with James Duncan was Robert Charnock. () Charnock's interest pioneered a much greater involvement with New South Wales by men more closely connected with the East India Company, and heralded the arrival of a new institutional footing in the City of London that was to affect the maritime history of convict transportation to New South Wales. () () ()
James Duncan in August 1796 () handled ships business for Ganges, owned by Capt. Thos. Patrickson. Patrickson on 11 August, 1796 from St Albans Street, Pall Mall, had written to under-secretary John King concerning the contract for the ship, mentioning Shelton, Clerk of Arraign at the Old Bailey. () (By now, it should be clear that any ship man who knew Shelton's name and role as contract-maker would have been recognised by others in the know as having gotten close to the heart of the matter). The same day, Ganges received from overseer Campbell 73 pairs of double irons along with 73 convicts. ()
East India husbands James Duncan and Robert Charnock both remained willing to deal with convict transports. () On 27 September, 1797, Charnock in his usual line of East India Company business sent out Northumberland 403 tons Capt. A. Aikman for coast and bay. Charnock's interests helped pioneer a much greater involvement with New South Wales by men connected more closely with the East India Company, not without renewed struggles with the Company's negative attitude. The continuing difference of opinion between the East India Company and government has been made clear by Bateson. () ..."instead of hiring the East Indiaman as convict transports, the government compelled the Company to charter the vessels engaged as convict ships - a reversal of the plan as originally intended".
In great contrast to the present views on British Imperialism and colonial government in the 1780s and 1790s of Frost, Bateson's view on shipping deployment fits nicely with Helen Taft Manning's view published in 1933, the year in which the Australian Oldham finished the first Ph.D. thesis on convict transportation to North America and Australia: ()
Manning's view was that... "Pitt and his colleagues had, in fact, no general principles on which to base a policy of imperial expansion, and they would never have undertaken to defend such a project as the colonization of Australia by upholding in universal terms the value of colonial enterprises. Just as they found the justification for Botany Bay in the difficulties which they faced after 1783 in ridding the British Isles of a dangerous and expensive problem..."
As he made his way, Charnock was helped by James Duncan, who assisted the London Missionary Society mount Duff's voyage. With shipping bound for the Pacific, something was happening which Pitt and his ministers may well (with common sense) have anticipated - that once initial conflict between the whalers and the East India Company had settled, perhaps, some whalers and some East India men would merge their interests. This merging happened slowly from 1797, and modified the institutional setting of the merchants engaging in convict contracting.
Charnock and Duncan in early 1798 wanted to use Minerva to carry convicts to NSW, then trade in Bengal. () The annoyances of dealing with government and the East India Company is evident in the fact Minerva did not arrive at Sydney until 11 January, 1800, when one fearsome character of the convict colony was revealed... As Minerva sailed past the present site of the Sydney Opera House, a convict spied Pinchgut, now named Fort Denison, a harbour island. He wrote... "Just at daylight we entered Sydney heads, we then fired a gun for a pilot but none appeared... as we sailed up by Pinch Gut Island, the first thing I observed was the skeleton of a man in gibbets by name of Morgan, whose crime I discovered to be wilful murder..." () Britain had exported its most fearsome moral authoritarianism to intimidate anyone sailing into the harbour - quite effectively. It has also used Minerva to exile Irish rebels. On Minerva was "General" Joseph Holt, who had led rebels about County Wicklow. ()
From April 1798, the East India Company refused to charter Minerva on "substantial grounds". () But her managers induced the government to intervene - the Company reluctantly reversed its decision, waiving the need for the vessel to pass its surveys. Charnock's persistence helped usher in a new, more reasonable era where East India merchants would finally take convicts with less Company interference. () But the bureaucracy of convict transportation remains convoluted. Minerva Capt. Joseph Salkeld was owned by Robert Charnock, James Duncan helped with the affreightment.
By 5 April, 1798 a note in Treasury Board papers was an Account for clothing used, provided for Irish convicts to NSW - related to the chartering of Minerva - in the year of the short-lived Irish rebellion put down brutally by Lord Cornwallis. The Irish rebellion began on 23 May, 1798 at Naas, county Kildare, but since it was hopelessly disorganised the rebellion remained confined to Kildare, Wicklow and Wexford. Attempts were made to spread it to Carlow, Meath and Dublin. On 25 May a leader, Wolfe Tone was arrested; he later committed suicide in gaol. There was rebellion at Carlow, and Wexford, where the fighting ended. Dublin was placed under martial law, and on the hill of Tara in county Meath, 4000 insurgents were defeated. A force greater than the force defeating Napoleon at Waterloo had to be used against the Irish who did rebel. On 21 June, 1798 Irish rebels fought a 90-minute battle, Vinegar Hill, before they surrendered to Lord Lake's forces. By March 1799, it was proposed that all fit Irish rebels be given as privates to the King of Prussia, a good way to get rid of them, one official thought. A Prussian officer actually sought such men, he wanted 200, and one man was "sold" to the king of Prussia as a slave for the salt mines. ()
In dispute with East India Company over Minerva's voyage, Charnock had contacted the Duke of Portland, Yonge the Secretary of War, and Secretary of the Navy Henry Dundas, who all virtually coerced the East India Company to succumb in the matter. () By 18 July, 1798 the Company's Court of Directors were forced to accept the ship, lamenting they had to accede to "these right Honble gentlemen". A note exists of 19 July, 1798 from the East India Company to the Colonial Office, about a copy of a minute from the court of directors, on a request by the Colonial Office that the Minerva be allowed to proceed to Bengal to load sugar, indigo and cotton. () Minerva sailed for Cork on 6 August, but was detained there amid ruction associated with the Irish rebellion. The first convicts were not embarked on her until 12 February, 1799, a costly delay for ship operators. ()
* * *
By 1797 William Richards had long disappeared from the scene and Camden Calvert and King had ceased involvements to NSW. By 1797, records - except the records on London aldermen - became silent on George Macaulay. Macaulay by 1797 had lost almost 25 per cent of his wealth, according to his journal entry of 22 April, 1797. (The alderman banker, Sir Thomas Harley, also lost heavily in 1797.) () The great stayer of the Blackheath connection was John St Barbe. () In 1797 was produced J. W. Archenholtz' A Picture of England, while Anon, wrote Great and New News from Botany Bay. (London) () But Anon forgot to mention which London merchants had been involved in shipping the prisoners. The Blackheath Connection between 1793 and 1797 began to lag, yet it did not entirely die. Involvement in convict transportation passed increasingly to men with East India Company connections. After 1800, the membership lists of the Blackheath Golf Club carried a surprising number of the names of shipping men involved with carrying convicts to Australia, notably Duncan Dunbar ().
* * * * *
By now with transportations, the name John Campbell (Duncan's son) surfaced into view, but only seldom. The hulks overseers had become mere bureaucrats. Barwell 796 tons departed Portsmouth on 7 November, 1797, Capt. John Cameron, to arrive at Sydney on 18 May, 1798, suffering an uprising on the voyage. () () Since Duncan Campbell's ships husband was named Cameron, it is even possible to wonder if John, Duncan's son, had any links to Barwell's voyage?(Although the answer is no).
Aboard Barwell were 185 male convicts, stores and provisions. Included as a convict was poet Michael Massey Robinson. () Also aboard was judge-advocate Richard Dore. From 21 January, 1798 Barwell was at the Cape of Good Hope till 19 March, as her officers wanted to dispose of goods, as they feared a shrunken market at Sydney. Richard Dore mentioned in a private letter that between England and the Cape, 25 convicts made a conspiracy to take the ship. After the plot was identified, Ensign George Bond of the NSW Corps was confined in irons. 7 June, 1798 was the date for Bond's court martial, but this was cancelled as Bond resigned his commission.
On 19 March, 1798 Barwell departed the Cape, 60 days to Sydney. Some trading must have been conducted by her officers, as when she left Sydney, it was claimed that her visit, plus the activities of officers from other ships, had drained the colony of cash. () This certainly speaks of a colony with a dangerously frail economy! By June 1798, John Black was a ship's captain and sailing for Sydney in Indispensable with a cargo partly got from the sale of a captured Spanish ship, La Union, in Cape Town. () Black later sailed for Michael Hogan, one of the opportunist convict contractors interested in Sydney, captain (master-owner) of Marquis Cornwallis, who after 1800 was a partner in slaving about southern Africa with the evil Donald Trail. () John Black was in Sydney by 8 September, 1798. He later wrote his father that Barwell had brought to Sydney a large cargo from England; a 300-ton Bengal ship had brought a cargo, and an American vessel from Mauritius had brought tobacco and spirits, and these ships had all drained the colony of cash!
Barwell sailed from Sydney on 15 September, 1798, with aboard the Sydney merchant Robert Campbell, bound for Calcutta. Aboard also were some fifty other passengers, convicts with their time expired. Before his return voyage in 1798 to Sydney, Robert Campbell discussed problems of shipping cattle from Calcutta. His fear was that Hindi feelings about cattle might be an impediment to export. Barwell got to Bombay and by May, 1799, she met the convict transport, the LMS fever ship Hillsborough, at Cape Town. () And was not heard from again. Examining her voyage produces no clues about any links between Duncan and John Campbell, their ships husband D. Cameron, Capt. John Cameron, and then Cameron's passenger, Robert Campbell. If there were any links, it would have been easy enough for any associates in India of John Campbell in London, or Robert Campbell in Sydney, to tie arrangements together. No evidence has appeared any such arrangements existed. Duncan Campbell of the Adelphi, London, and Robert, of Sydney, were not related at all.
* * *
Duncan Campbell's last years:
The ageing Campbell persisted with working as hulks overseer. During 1797 he was arranging for his son, John, to relinquish East India trade, () then become deputy hulks superintendent. () In 1797 Campbell lived at Shere Hall, Mount Pleasant, Wilmington, Kent. By 1797, presumably working with ships husband Cameron, John was helping manage to Madras his father's ships Henry Dundas and Britannia. It appears that once John had become experienced enough at the work, the father-son team dispensed with the services of Cameron, who faded from Lloyd's records about 1796.
An idea of the profitability of the hulks contracts may be gained from the following figures. In the year of John Campbell's entry into the business, 1797, the expense to government for the expense of the hulks establishment managed by Campbell and Bradley was £32,080. The cost of the convicts' labour for their employ at the navy and ordnance yards was £1498/14/0. ()
Campbell had always said he found the management of the hulks an arduous business. By early 1797 he felt forced to contact Evan Nepean, then at the Admiralty, in slightly pathetic tones to ask a favour. His letters had the tremors of one who fears he has slipped from view due to the hurry of wartime business, one who is re-establishing contact with the great. Now aged 71, Campbell suffered tiredness compounded by wartime inflation which raised the costs of hulks management enough for him to draw the matter to Treasury's attention. Campbell wanted help with the hulks and sought the approval of Nepean, now helping administer the navy, for his son John to assist him as deputy hulks superintendent. (40) He had lately seen his old friend since the 1760s, George Kinlock, who agreed to be a guarantor for a new arrangement. ()
James Bradley had died. His successor was Andrew Hawes Dyne, who on 3 January, 1797 from 25 Berners St mentioned taking James Bradley's contract for the hulks at Langston and Portsmouth. (Later he became known as A. H. Bradley). () Bradley and Campbell had probably met to discuss matters. That same day, 3 January, 1797, Campbell requested an audience with Evan Nepean to discuss his proposals before making a more formal approach to the Treasury. ()
Campbell Letter 239:
Adelphi 3 Jany 1797
Evan Nepean Esq
Permit me Dear Sir to request the favour of a few minutes audience at any hour this day which will best suit your convenience on a matter which is likely to be of considerable importance to me and my family -
Yours most faithfully ()< /p>
Campbell had obviously approached Nepean as an old friend who might do him a favour, not merely as an official who could make an organisational adjustment.
Campbell Letter 240:
Adelphi 4 Jany 1797
Evan Nepean Esq
I put this in my pocket to hand to you to day in case I should not have a favourable opportunity of speaking on the subject, just to mention that it is my intention that my son, John, Captain, of the Henry Dundas on his return home from India, now daily expected, should be conamed with me in the management of the business of the convicts at Portsmouth and Langston Harbour. It is with that prospect alone that I am induced to solicit your assistance on the occasion; & I should be happy to have your opinion whether I may write to Mr Rose to that effect
I am ()< /p>
Campbell Letter 241
[Written in 1797, undated]
Adelphi Friday morning
[A note to the manuscript reads: - This should have been copied in before the letter to Mr Rose - Adelphi Friday morning]
Mr Campbell presents his most respectful Compliments to Mr Nepean and as he has not had the honour of hearing from him touching the business on which he requested his interposition with Mr Rose now takes the liberty to remind him that business is still depending nor does Mr C wish to move further on it until he is favoured by Mr Nepeans sentiments on the subject. ()< /p>
Campbell Letter 242:
Adelphi 7 January 1797
George Rose Esq.
I called this morning at the Treasury to have the honour of paying my respects to you, but understanding you were gone into the country for some days, in order to avoid delay in a business which may require immediate consideration I am induced to take this mode of adressing you. The death of my friend Mr Bradley having afforded me an opportunity of again tendering my Service to my Lords of the Treasury I request Sir you will have the goodness to inform their Lordships that I am willing to resume the Superintendance of the Convicts employed at Portsmouth and Langston Harbour on the same terms as were given to that Gentleman. The fear I entertained of my inability to support the fatigue of mind as well as body attendant on the discharge of this arduous office which upon a former occassion induced me to request their Lordships permission to resign that trust are now entirely removed by the confidence I place in the assistance of my Son John Captain of the Henry Dundas now daily expected from India. whom with their Lordships approbation I would wish might be joined with me in the management of this business - With his aid I should entertain no doubt of being able to conduct this important charge so as to merit a continuation of the approbation with which their Lordships have hitherto honored my endeavour in the public Service.
With very great respect, I have the honor to be
Sir ()< /p>
Campbell Letter 243:
Adelphi 23 February 1797
Evan Nepean Esqr.
The friendly disposition you have on several occassions manifested towards me and my Family encourages me to hope you will pardon the liberty I take in again adressing you on a subject in which my Comfort is materially concerned - - At my advanced period of life you will readily imagine it would prove no small consolation to have one of my Sons settled at home to aid one in the conduct of my affairs in general and as the line of life in which John has been brought up more particularly fits him to assist me in the management of any Publick business I have to solicit your kind interposition with Mr Rose to get his Name introduced joined with mine in the Contract for the Superintendance of the Convicts at Woolwich, a measure which by affording one as Associate on whom I could place so much dependance would considerably relieve the anxiety of mind necessarily attendant on the discharge of such a Duty - In order to explain some particulars of the situation in which my Son John will stand pending the determination of this business permit me to request for him a few minutes audience at any time you may be pleased to appoint.
With very great respect
C ()< /p>
Campbell Letter 244:
[A note, undated, estimated to have been written early in 1797]
Messrs Duncan & John Campbell present their Compliments to Mr White & beg leave to acquaint him that George Farquar Kinlock Esq of Dyers - C-: Aldermanbury & William Bell Esqr of Norfolk Strand are the Securities they propose for the due performance of the Contract for Keeping the Convicts on the River Thames - and would be much obliged to Mr White if he would favour Messrs with notice of when their attendance will be necessary. ()
Campbell Letter 245:
Adelphi 22 March 1797
George Rose Esq.
The ready compliance with my Sollicitation to have my Son joined with me in my Contract for the Superintendance of the Convicts at Woolwich is an additional mark of the favour and indulgence which this year I have received from my Lords of the Treasury and claims my grateful acknowledgement. At the same time I presume to hope that altho' the new Contract associating my Son is directed to be drawn in the same terms as the former no alterations will be present be made as the extra-allowance which my Lords of the Treasury thought expedient to grant me last year on account of the extraordinary rise in the price of Provisions since altho' the price of Flour & Bread is greatly reduced the uncommon advance on articles of not less material Consumption fully counterbalance that reduction. Beef since the date of your letter authorizing that change has risen no less than 10/- per cwt & Heads in population so that the extraordinary expence in attending the Maintenance & Guarding the Convicts is not now less than at the time my deceased friend Mr Bradley joined me in the application we found ourselves necessitated to make on that Score to my Lords of the Treasury and therefore I rely with confidence on the consideration of their Lordships that no disadvantage will accrue to me and Son from the circumstance of the new Contract bearing date subsequent to the letter above alluded to.
With very great respect I have the honor to be
Sir ()< /p>
Campbell Letter 246:
3 April 1797
John Campbell Esq
As it has been agreed between us agreeably to the opinion of our friends that the probable Profit of our Contract and the little other business we have to manage when divided between us will not be an adequate Compensation for your having relinquished your pursuit in the India line in order to assist me in the conduct of my affairs I promise to make up your half of the business Fifteen hundred pounds a year, provided that this my allowance to you shall not in any year exceed the sum of five hundred pounds - In this calculation I do not mean to include other Profit or Sale on the ship Mary.
Your Affectionate Father ()< /p>
Quietly insistent about it, pleading age and tiredness, Campbell won. The new arrangement took up formally by 3 April, 1797, and John Campbell was thereafter mentioned, albeit rarely, in documents of convict delivery to ships for NSW. () From 1797 (79) John Campbell maintained a low profile in his role as hulks superintendent. He is alluded to briefly (in G. M. Dow, Samuel Terry, The Botany Bay Rothschild. Sydney University Press, 1974), in respect of delivery to a convict transport. John became a faceless bureaucrat, and he never achieved the notoriety of his father. Nor would he ever have wanted to seek it. ()
By April, Campbell and John had opened their joint business books for keeping the Thames hulks. Given this new relationship with John, Campbell Snr felt obliged to adjust various finances relating to his sons and their situations. By June he was considering charging Saltspring with £5000 in favour of Dugald in case he predeceased Dugald. John was to be given family compensation for abandoning his East India trade to help his father, and this in turn also affected returns to Dugald. Delicate family adjustments were made to financial provisions for senior sons. John, penalized by giving up India trade, was promised he would be made up an extra £1500 per year, exclusive of any sale or profit from the ship Mary. Dugald also had an annual allowance, and as John also handled the Jamaica ships by now, Duncan directed John to remit one third of the net proceeds of Saltspring to Dugald as Dugald had cause to draw on them.
* * *
In Campbell's domain of major interest, from May 1797 a British-US debt commission began to meet in Philadelphia. These proceedings ended on 31 July, 1798, when the US withdrew over differences about the interest due to British creditors. (One wonders if the anti-Jay Treaty Jeffersonian interest had pressed its views on this always contentious point that had led Campbell and Jefferson to disagree in 1786?). As well, says Kellock, the "personality of one Britisher who kept lecturing on American sins" had not helped matters. ()
By June 1797, Campbell was considering charging Saltspring with £5000 in favour of Dugald in case he himself predeceased Dugald. () By 30 August, doubtless buoyed with hopes after proceedings had begun in Philadelphia, Campbell was preparing Powers of Attorney for the recovery, yet again, of his debts in America. And unfortunately, at this point, the Campbell Letterbooks cease providing information.
Varieties of business:
Campbell was ill about 22 August, 1797. His attorney Aldridge attended. There arose further mention of recovery of American debts under the treaty, and Campbell's lawyer friend Kinlock also gave advice. On 30 August Aldridge noted again taking instructions from Mr. Boyick for a separate Letter of Attorney from you [Campbell] to (?) [John] Rose and one Brockonburgh [Brockenbrough] to recover Debts in Virginia & to Mr ? for the like purposes in Maryland. .... Mr ? and Mr Colin Campbell ...and particularly as to the redemption of the ? and Kingsdown Estate, giving up the Adelphi house ... ()
Campbell was either fully retiring, or in trouble, perhaps both. But if he had any difficulties, it appears they did not trouble the terms of the will he'd already made.
* * *
During 1799 arose growing depression in the West India trade. Merchants needed a loan from the Bank of England to subsist and on sugar islands, numerous estates fell into the hands of London men. () In 1798, Pitt had estimated the income from the West Indies at £4 million, the income from the rest of the world being only £1 million! In 1799, the British sugar market was glutted. Napoleon knew that England had to export, so in 1799, as a result of speculations in sugar after the revolution in Saint-Dominigue, some 82 firms in England went bankrupt, most of them in the West Indian trade. The engagements had totalled £2.5 million. After 1800 the sugar planter's profit declined to 2.5 per cent, as low as 1.75 per cent. Adam Smith attacked the British West Indian monopoly of the British sugar market, East India sugar became a market threat. The trade was changing, and all this may have been on Campbell's mind as he wrote this letter. ()
Campbell Letter 247:
Adelphi Oct 13 1797
Duncan and John Campbell
Agreeable to the allowance I have hitherto made to my Son Dugald Campbell and which it is my intention to continue to him I hereby direct that you do account to him for one third of the neat proceeds of Saltspring Estate commencing with the Crops now on hand and for which he will draw upon you as he may have occasion.
I am ()< /p>
Campbell Letter 248:
And, the last letter in Duncan Campbell's Private Letterbooks, () is this...
Adelphi, 13th October 1797.
Duncan and John Campbell,
Agreeable to the Allowance I have hitherto made to my son Dugald Campbell and which it is my intention to continue with him I hereby direct that you do account to him for One Third of the neat Proceeds of Saltspring Estate commencing with the Crop now on hand and for which he will draw upon you as he may have occasion.
There rested all known family financial matters till Campbell died.
Towards the death of Duncan Campbell:
Between 1797-1801, information about Campbell as the hulks overseer faded from the official records and his own letterbooks. Campbell was little more than a signature on a document here, or a bill to be honoured there. The administration of the hulks became more bureaucratic. What Campbell had established was now institutionalised and there were fewer signs of his own initiative. () As it became obvious he would retire from the hulks, he was watched. Certain parties in government who had never liked Campbell, or the hulks, wanted to see the hulks brought under revised administration, one more suited to public management. Magistrate Aaron Graham would replace Campbell as hulks superintendent. ()
The anti-imperialist Jeremy Bentham continued his plans to see the hulks superseded and his Panopticon prison begun, perhaps at Battersea Rise on land owned by the Second Lord Spencer, Lord Privy Seal, from mid-1794. () Or at Woolwich. Or the Millbank site near Tothill Fields in which the Marquis of Salisbury had an interest. () But Campbell had won that long battle. The linkages between the hulks establishment and transportation to Australia were to continually frustrate Bentham's efforts to see a rational prison system established. ()
Was Bentham encouraged by Campbell's death? () In 1803 he produced his Plea for the Constitution, ... A plea showing the enormities committed to the oppression of British subjects, in breach of the Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, the Habeus Corpus Act, the Bill of Rights, and several Transportation Acts. It also discussed the design, foundation and government of the penal colony of NSW including an inquiry into the right of the Crown to legislate without Parliament in Trinidad and other British Colonies. ()< /p>
Stewart Erskine wanted to take on the contracts to manage the hulks. Whether Erskine knew the details of proposed plans for a different administration of the hulks - by Aaron Graham - is unknown. Campbell presumably felt sparks of satisfaction at the opening of the West India docks. But his health was breaking down, and perhaps his wealth too had been dented in 1797, the year which had brought trouble for the gold standard and the Bank of England. In 1799 Campbell and Dugald considered some plans to possibly sell Saltspring on Jamaica. He was also still trying to recover his American debts "under the treaty" made by which Jay in 1794. (By 22 April, 1803, a British commission was appointed to examine the claims of British creditors and settle debts after the matter of 1802. Claims by loyalists were referred to another commission yet again. () British commissioners settled the last claim in 1811, but their figures may be well below what was claimed, gave little real idea of what the Americans had owed, and many debts had been paid off before information reached them.) ()< /p>
Campbell's health failed more often from 1797. Fewer letters drifted into his files. He became querulous with a daughter's suitor and had other dissatisfactions. He argued over the settlement for the marriage of his daughter Ann to Dr William Peele. Peele at one point withdrew his offer of marriage. Aldridge the attorney flitted in and out of the house at the Adelphi, summoned for this or for that. By 1798, Campbell had even begun thinking of giving up the lease of the Adelphi address, the property at Wilmington was discussed in dubious prospect. Ann did marry Dr Peele, only to die on 22 December, 1801, of an undisclosed ailment, to be buried in the Peele vault at Dartford, aged 32.
About February, 1797, Duncan's son Mumford married. Later, perhaps by 1800, he was head assistant at the general treasury of India. () Mumford seems to have first gone out to India in 1795, the year of his first listing in India Registers, Bengal Civil Index. By 1799 Mumford was assistant to the Register of the Zillah Adawlut, Purneah. By 1803 he was head assistant to the sub-treasurer; by 1807, Judge and Magistrate of Rungpore. In 1809 he apparently was at home, and again in 1813 at home, his last appearance in such registers. () What sort of environment did Mumford work in? About 1804, Cambridge University undergraduates in the interests of a patriotic education were invited by the vice-president of Fort William College, Bengal, to submit on the topic (for an annual prize for an essay on British India)... "The Probable Design of Divine Providence in subjecting so large a portion of Asia to the British dominion", or "The best means of civilising the subjects of the British empire in those parts of India" controlled by the East India Company. () Mumford lived in an environment requiring one to be continually choosing between pomposities!
As part of revamping the family finances, it appears Duncan and John sold their ship Henry Dundas. Lloyd's Registers for 1799-1800 listed a husband, T. Newte, sending out Henry Dundas 1200 tons Capt. Carruthers. () (Although, the Campbells may not have been wealthy enough to manage a 1200-tonner?)
Hulks administration from 1800:
Duncan's son John by 1801 was of Great Queen St, London. (He was not the John Campbell long known as a regular subscriber to Lloyd's Register). About 1801, a memorandum (dated merely, 1801) came to the attention of Campbell's loyal clerk since 1772, Boyick, relating to an assignee of John Metcalf a bankrupt. Campbell's last transaction with Metcalf had been in March 1781, the matter left in the hands of bankers Gregg and Potts. () Campbell in his long career had acquired a sizeable list of deceased estates.
And on 27 January, 1801, Erskine informed government he was willing to contract for the convicts in the Woolwich hulks. () It is doubtful he would have done so without knowledge of Campbell's impending retirement, and John's distaste for the business of hulks management. There is however no item in Campbell's letterbooks stating he wished to relinquish the hulks, or his being told to do so. But relinquish they did, and one imagines John Campbell thought it not a moment too soon. By 4 February, 1801 a letter from the Transport Office to George Rose at Treasury signified that officers of the Transport Commission were about to conduct an examination to find the best mode of keeping the convicts, in the event of the resignation from their contracts of Messrs Campbell. ()
There still remain bureaucratic mysteries surrounding the Irish transportation. John Campbell's account for the delivery of 180 convicts to Minerva per the order of Edward P. Hatton was dated 23 March, 1801, as Treasury Board papers indicate. This is a mystery of the records, since on 27 March 27, 1801?, Edward F. Hatton ordered John Campbell to deliver 80 convicts to the transport Minerva Capt. Salkeld (which arrived in Sydney in 11 January, 1800). () the charter party for which was referred to in a contract with James Duncan, and the government witness was M. Cardin. () Since Minerva was to take Irish prisoners, Thomas Shelton did not draw the contract for her. Bateson however says Minerva was owned by Robert Charnock, and presumably Charnock or one of his agents - James Duncan - took the contract. ()< /p>
It is difficult to see what possible jurisdiction John Campbell had in the matter, more so as there has been no record sighted indicating Duncan Campbell after 1784 had anything to do with any delivery of sizeable numbers of Irish convicts, certainly not respecting any numbers embarked at Cork. So just why John Campbell's name on the eve of his retirement from hulks business is associated with the delivery of 180 Irish convicts to Minerva remains mysterious, unless some Irish sentenced in British courts were then sent back to Ireland before being transported from there? This would be strange enough, but there exists also an item of folklore which contradicts the maritime record. The belief has existed in Ireland, Britain and Australia, that Irish convicts transported to Australia were sent first to British ports before being shipped to Australia. This view is not supported by Bateson's book, The Convict Ships.
* * *
Meanwhile, the transport commissioners called on the Campbells, and also on Erskine. Sir William Rule, one of the surveyors of the navy, formerly master shipwright at Woolwich Yards had become Erskine's ally. () Rule voluntarily called on the transport commissioners to indicate he had known Erskine for many years and that Erskine had really had all the business of convicts on his hands during the existence of the Campbell contracts, they being nominal superintendents only. From Erskine's conduct, Rule thought no one could be fairer to both government and the convicts than Erskine. (At this time, Alexander Macleay, later colonial secretary for NSW, was on the staff of the Transport Board).
The Transport commissioners recommended the contract be renewed to Erskine on the terms he had proposed on 27 January. By 22 May, 1801, magistrate Aaron Graham was making proposals regarding the hulks at Langston Harbour and Portsmouth, just as the returns of A. H. Dyne had been examined. () Over 30 November-3 December in 1801, Graham made further suggestions for improvements to the hulks system. Behind such moves were the good offices of Pelham, who wanted the hulks system and transportation swept with a new broom. ()< /p>
On 22 June, 1801, Duncan and John Campbell gave an account to government regarding convicts. On 19 June, 1802, John Campbell of Great Queen Street merchant made an oath on his convict returns before Baker at the Public Offices, Hatton Gardens.
After the resignation of the Campbells as Thames hulks overseers in 1801, George Rose at Treasury contacted the Transport Office about an examination being made on the management of the convicts. The Transport Commissioners called on the Campbells and Erskine. Government after Campbell's death continued to employ Erskine, of Fludyer Street, Greenwich, until 5 April, 1803 (which date appears to be the last mention of Erskine in the records). () () By 22 March, 1802, the Commissioners Transport were assessing Mr. Addington's query to allow Erskine to charge an extra penny per convict per day. () However, about 26 June, 1803, Erskine was prosecuted at the Summer Assizes for assisting the escape of convict William Smith from Prudentia hulk. Perhaps, Erskine had enemies who would do anything to remove him? () A waterman named Richard Vickars gave evidence. The court's decision is not noted. It is rather difficult to believe that after 27 years on the hulks, Erskine would have assisted an escape! One suspects Erskine was "got" by long-standing enemies of the hulks system. But he survived. () () But by 28 May, 1813, Messrs Bradley and Erskine were still furnishing the convict establishment with provisions, clothing, etc. ()< /p>
Act 41 Geo III c.28 improved some conditions for prisoners. Pelham in his new broom mood wished to implement a new system, whereby prisoners would be transported on naval vessels only. () He did not succeed, which was a pity, as by 1810, far from convict vessels being sent out in naval vessels, a system developed whereby, as Bateson noted, privately contracted convict ships took out as guards, military detachments which would later proceed from NSW to India, as the ships went trading to India and Singapore. It would have been more appropriate, as a matter of patrolling Imperial frontiers, if naval vessels with military detachments had been taking convicts out. ()
* * *
About February, 1802, Boyick at John Campbell's premises, Great Queen Street was contacted by Miss Rebecca Campbell, Duncan's niece (though it is not certain just who her parents were). Perhaps she had come of age, or otherwise needed money or advice. After pressure from British creditors, Article VI of the Jay Treaty was annulled under a convention signed 8 June, 1802, when Great Britain agreed to pay to the US about four times the amount needed to satisfy American claims, in order the US in turn could pay what the British claimed. () Doubtless, interpreting such information was a task for Boyick, who was kept by the Campbell family as clerk after Duncan's death, presumably as he had the longest memory of all for the difficult business of trying to recover American debt monies. Finally, in 1811, Campbell's estate was awarded £4000 on the part of his debt "found good", little enough of the £38,000 he claimed he'd lost.
The death of Duncan Campbell in 1803:
Duncan Campbell spent most of his last years at Wilmington, retired from the city into Kent. He died aged 78 on 28 February, 1803. () His last years had been quiet and seemingly attended with peace. There are no family notes on the manner of death, the cause, or the expressions of grief. A certain calm, perhaps that of expectation and preparedness, had prevailed. (At the Blackheath Golf Club the custom when a member died was that members wore mourning garb their next few days of play. The estate duty on Campbell's will was £22,684, the matter probably being discussed by 9 March, 1803. ()
Present at the proving of the will should have been Alexander Pitcairn, who made it known he was intimately acquainted with Duncan Campbell formerly of the Adelphi in the parish of St Martin in the Fields in the County of Middlesex but late of Wilmington in the County of Kent Esquire deceased for ten years and upwards before and to the time of his death which as this deponent hath been informed and believes on the twenty fourth day of the Month of February last past...
1803: after Campbell's death:
The first proving of the old man's will was made at London before John Sorrell doctor of laws on the oath of (Duncan's son) John Campbell and David Pitcairn on 9 March, 1803. A second proving was sworn on 11 November, 1803, once John's brother Dugald Campbell had arrived from Jamaica. A legal representative for the family was Henry J. Curtis, of Budleigh, Salterton, who inquired on the outstanding claims, if any, of the estate. Hunter and Co. of 9 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, reported Campbell had held two shares in the British Fisheries Society.
* * *
It is unknown what Dugald, Duncan's eldest son, did after his father died. It is known, his heirs and assigns inherited Saltspring on Jamaica. Dugald in his turn was to be an executor of the will of William Bligh, but he predeceased Bligh. None of Campbell's direct descendants came to particular notice in history. His memory lived on in odium. Tainted with the stigma of dealing with convicts, his life and reputation became fragmented, splintered. His family history was miswritten. It is worse than ironic, what happened to the life story of many a hapless convict... no care for the soul, the experiences of decades mishandled, with written details forgotten or misplaced, uncertainty over a last resting place, records lost of friendships and fortunes, a life fit only to become what gossips want to make of it if anything is remembered at all... happened also to Duncan Campbell, the overseer of the Thames prison hulks, a man who checklisted the names of thousands of convicts destined to be sent to North America and Australia.
The fragmentation of Campbell's biography, due partly to simple hatred, is why, in United States, British and Australian history, Duncan Campbell never met Thomas Jefferson... When in life, he did.
No ships were mentioned in Campbell's will. His long-term deputy, Erskine, was also ignored in the will. The long wonder of Erskine's career is that he was never the victim of revenge taken by members of some alleged organised crime ring. Given his long career, Erskine must have become some kind of river institution in his own right. That Erskine has never been noticed in London folklore also seems incredible. Erskine could have been much criticised, say, as an evil sadist, but he has not been, and if he was a decent man, this might be why Campbell's obituarist took the view he did. Campbell had never been popular with journalists and the hulks were always unpopular with London. His obituarist thought Campbell was not a gentleman, and took an opportunity to pillory him...
Campbell's obituary in the next issue of The Gentleman's Magazine read:- "Died at Wilmington, in Kent, Duncan Campbell Esq. He is succeeded as governor and overseer of the hulks at Woolwich by his deputy, Mr. Stewart Erskine, a gentleman possessed of great humanity, and of the strictest honesty and integrity and who has had the sole management of that concern for him ever since its first establishment in 1775. Mr. C. died possessed of much property, yet, to the surprise of their best friends, has not left any legacy to Mr E for his long and faithful services; though he seemed always to be considered himself much indebted to that gentleman for his great accumulation of fortune." ()
Campbell's land-hunger had been observed from afar. Some journalists are observant, the better ones are perceptive as well. So, one obituarist heaped odium on Campbell, drove a stake through his heart before his body was scarcely cold in the grave. He reminded the Campbell family where their money had come from. No mention of a West India merchant, no mention of William Bligh and the sensational Bounty mutiny. No mention of good works dutifully undertaken by way of shifting convicts out of the kingdom. Just, ingratitude. But the obituary was just as vain as any other journalistic attempt since 1776 to draw attention to the hulks. It was London feeling about the hulks that motivated this odium heaped on Campbell. George Macaulay when he died on (5 March) 1803 was praised in his obituary, and his fellow-aldermen were pleased to vote his widow an annuity. His obituarist may or may not have known Macaulay had engaged in transporting convicts to "New Holland", but presumably, like most Londoners, he would have approved of getting rid of "the scum". ()
The obituarists of both men also failed to mention a new continent - Australia - introduced to the world through the agency of Britain's obsession with deporting undesirables to anywhere it thought fit. Life and reality are only ever as they are seen to be. And so an unknown London journalist's epitaph for Duncan Campbell remained as an unknown Englishman's comment on the Thames hulks and the so-called "founding of Australia". A thing apparently of determination, greed, ingratitude and odium for eternity, full of things to be forgotten. Not as something odious that was foisted on the unknown and enigmatic continent of Australia, and its people, for which Britain was and is responsible, and will not fully admit, and has not yet, because to do so would call into question the morality of its career as a colonising Imperial power.
A brutal authoritarianism lives and breathes in the documents of Australia's early European history. This authoritarianism is palpable, pervasive, tough as turtle shell. It is the authoritarianism applied when a kingdom rids itself of its social scum and thinks and feels little of the consequences. But finally, it is possible to turn the turtle over...
Duncan Campbell on 15 November, 1770 wrote to his brother-in-law John, a strangely wistful remark from Britain's arch convict contractor, and a man who by virtue of statutory law, and despite himself, became a "private enterprise criminologist". His view is reminiscent of an ancient formula known to many cultures: "Order is the first law of heaven"... except that the order Campbell dwelt in was created by a tough British authoritarianism mottled a little with compassion, as with lichen on a rock .
"I was always a lover of Peace, & I think the older I grow the more I am inclined to it. Not that I got anything by it, though perhaps you will say I do, and not be far wrong."
* * *
Amid ambivalent philosophies on how to manage convicted persons, or, criminals, or, rectify unjust laws, what, if any, is the moral of the way Britain first colonised Australia?
One moral is relatively simple. Any state which herds a mix of political dissidents as well as ordinary criminals into prisons or camps for reasons associated with ideological assertions about "productivity", has plainly failed, ideologically, socially, morally, and financially. The history of slavery teaches similar lessons about notions of humanity (or lack of them) versus notions of "productivity".
Obviously, Britain's failure in the 1780s had been the loss of the American colonies
In the Twentieth Century, such mixes of dissidents and criminals have been herded into labour camps and treated brutally in Germany, Soviet Russia, and more lately in China. The point is ideological, somewhat divorced from ordinary notions of Crime and Punishment. Once an ideology has been used, via some corrupted process of law-making, to define critics, rebels or protestors as "criminals", or vermin, or human trash, the door has been opened too-widely to abuses of human rights.
The historical evidence and lesson is that the allowance of such abuses then describes or defines a state which has become morally, politically and possibly financially bankrupt. We can also complain that information simply disappears! Since the Industrial Revolution, the British Empire has made such ills of statecraft evident to history, but a wish to keep this vague before everybody, rather than clear, is why so much information about the British penal colonisation of Australia has disappeared in a mere 200 years! This wish-for-vagueness is the main cause of the "amnesia" which has afflicted Australia's earliest penal and maritime history, because in the final analysis, the disappearing information is relatively easy to re-discover.
The clear implication is that the writing of Australia's earliest history has remained an unthinking victim of British ideology, or, a victim of a population which asks too few questions.
"It was in Australia that the English invented concentration camps, it was in Australia that the English invented total demoralisation through exile."
Robert Hughes, author of The Fatal Shore, in an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January, 1987, interviewed by Elisabeth Wynhausen
Here, Hughes is incorrect. The English developed techniques of demoralisation-through-exile in Cromwell's time, exiling to the Caribbean.
The belief also exists that the invention of the concentration camp can be attributed to Lord Kitchener, during the Boer War. It might be more appropriate to say that the British concentration camp was invented in 1776, by William Eden and Duncan Campbell, creators of the Thames River prison hulks. Despite political protest at the time, specially-written legislation ensured that British convicts worked at servile labour at home, in sight of the population, as both a warning to evildoers and, also, as an ideological point about rebellious Americans. The Americans were not curbed, the institution of the hulks remained, allegedly to benefit the state.
The long career of Duncan Campbell as convict contractor, and his long absence from "history", means perhaps one thing, more so since the allegations that he was corrupt remain so equivocal...
Prisoners should not be held by guards employed by private contractors, but by employees of government... employees and governments who are ultimately accountable to an educated, voting public.
The history of the "founding" of Australia is steeped in themes of Crime and Punishment, and the experience of convictism was seared deeply into the collective experience of European Australia... yet Campbell's career has still remained obscured.
Campbell's story was different to what "history" has told and retold, while his Letterbooks remained unread. We can conclude, perhaps, that society's dealings with Crime and Punishment are not only more difficult than we have imagined, they can also be too-easily forgotten - despite "history".
As to The Blackheath Connection... which has remained unknown.
In a symbolic sense, an inheritor of the Blackheath Connection was the London Missionary Society, which bound up its spiritual aspirations with maritime connections, missionary activity, convict transportation, and curiosity about the people of the Pacific. The Society in the 1820s had a particular view on the "ownership" of Australia which was reported in The Sydney Gazette.
The Directors of the London Missionary Society by 1827, whose missionaries ranged the Pacific, were alarmed by news of French activity intended for the Pacific. Their understanding then was that New Holland and Van Diemen's Land are...
"the property of the British Crown".
The Sydney Gazette, 10 August, 1827.
It is then ironic and appropriate, both, that with the controversial 1992 Mabo decision in the High Court of Australia, which entailed a triumph for views on Aboriginal land rights in Australia, and on some adjacent islands, that there had been an earlier dispute over land rights between the plaintiff, Eddie Mabo, and the London Missionary Society. The Society lost.
Which is almost to say, that, despite its remaining unknown to history for so long, The Blackheath Connection finally lost - because of a legal decision that was legal, and also usefully embraced findings from British maritime history. The implication is that any idealism which is appropriate to mention here could, and probably should, be radiated through any reading of European-Australasian history, 1770-2000.
Dan Byrnes, Armidale NSW< /p>
* * *
[Finis Chapter 46]
Words 9585 words with footnotes 12549 pages 23 footnotes 95