Sunday, 27 May 2012

Publications: revised version

Those publications with an asterisk (*) were co-written with C.W. Daniels. This list does not include editorials for Teaching History, book reviews or unpublished papers. Neither does it include the two series of books for which I have been joint-editor: Cambridge Topics in History and Cambridge Perspectives in History. Including these books would increase the length of this appendix by 52 books.

Computer-based data and social and economic history (for the Local History Classroom Project), (1974)
Social and Economic History and the Computer (for LHCP), (1975)
‘Local and National History -- an interrelated response’, in Suffolk History Forum, 1977
‘Our Future Local Historians’, in The Local Historian, volume xiii, 1978 *
‘Sixth Form History’, in Teaching History, May 1976 *
‘Sixth Form History’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 3rd June 1977 *
‘The new history -- an essential reappraisal’, in ibid, 2nd December 1977 *
‘Interrelated Issues’, in ibid, 1st December 1978 *
‘The Myth Exposed’, in ibid, 30th November 1979 * also reprinted in John Fines (ed.) see below
Nineteenth Century Britain, (Macmillan), 1980 *
‘The Local History Classroom Project’, in Developments in History Teaching, (University of Exeter), 1980 *
‘A Chronic Hysteresis’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 5th December 1980 *
Twentieth Century Europe, (Macmillan), 1981 *
‘Is there still room for History in the secondary curriculum?’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 5th December 1981 *
‘Content considered’, in ibid, 9th April 1982 *
Twentieth Century Britain, (Macmillan), 1982 *
‘A Level History’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 8th April 1983 *
‘History in danger revisited’, in ibid, 9th December 1983 *
‘History and study skills’, in John Fines (ed.), Teaching History, (Holmes McDougall), 1983 
‘History and study skills’, reprinted in School and College, iv (4), 1983
Four scripts for Sussex Tapes, 1983
People, Land and Trade 1830-1914
Pre-eminence and Competition 1830-1914
The Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution
Lloyd George to Beveridge 1906-1950
Four computer programs for Sussex Tapes, 1984
The Industrial Revolution
Population, Medicine and Agriculture
Transport: road, canal and railway
Social Impact of Change
‘It’s time History Teachers were offensive’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 28th November 1984 *
The Chartists, (Macmillan), 1984 *
‘Using documents with sixth formers’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 29th November 1985 *
Learning History: A Guide to Advanced Study, (Macmillan), 1986 *
GCSE History, (The Historical Association), 1986, revised edition, 1987, as editor and contributor
‘Training or Survival?’ with M. Booth and G. Shawyer in The Times Educational Supplement, 10th April 1987
Change and Continuity in British Society 1800-1850, (Cambridge Topics in History, Cambridge University Press), 1987
‘There are always alternatives: Britain during the Depression’ for BBC Radio, 14th September 1987
‘Cultural imperialism’, in The Times Educational Supplement, 4th December, 1987
‘The Training of History Teachers Project’, in Teaching History, 50, January 1988
‘History’ in Your Choice of A-Levels, (CRAC,) 1988 
‘The Development of Children’s Historical Thinking’ with G. Shawyer and M. Booth, Cambridge Journal of Education, volume 18(2), 1988.
‘The New Demonology’, Teaching History, 53, October 1988
The Future of the Past: History in the Curriculum 5-16: A Personal Overview, (The Historical Association), 1988 
‘History Study Skills: Working with Sources’, History Sixth, 3, October 1988 *
‘A Critique of GCSE History: the results of The Historical Association Survey’, Teaching History, March 1989.
‘History Textbook Round-up’, Teachers’ Weekly, September 1990.
‘Partnership and the Training of Student History Teachers’, with M. Booth and G. Shawyer, in M. Booth, J. Furlong and M. Wilkin (eds.), Partnership in Initial Teacher Training, (Cassell), 1990
Economy and Society in Modern Britain 1700-1850 (Routledge), 1991 
Church and State in Modern Britain 1700-1850 (Routledge), 1991 
‘History’ in Your Choice of A-Levels, (CRAC), 1991 
‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’, Teaching History, 63, April 1991
‘BTEC and History’, in John Fines (ed.), History 16-19, (The Historical Association), 1991 
‘What about the author?’, Hindsight: GCSE Modern History Review, volume 2(1), September 1991
‘Appeasement: A matter of opinion?’, Hindsight: GCSE Modern History Review, volume 2(2), January 1992
Economic Revolutions 1750-1850 (Cambridge Topics in History, CUP), 1992 
‘Suez: a question of causation’, Hindsight: GCSE Modern History Review, volume 4(1), September 1993
‘History’ in Your Choice of A-Levels, (CRAC,) 1993 
History and post-16 vocational courses’, in H. Bourdillon (ed.), Teaching History, (Routledge), 1993
‘Learning effectively at Advanced Level’, pamphlet for PGCE ITT course, (Open University), 1994
Preparing for Inspection, (The Historical Association), 1994
Managing the Learning of History, (David Fulton), 1995 
Chartism: People, Events and Ideas (Perspectives in History, Cambridge University Press), 1998
BBC History File: consultant on five Key Stage 3 programmes on Britain 1750-1900
Revolution, Radicalism and Reform: England 1780-1846, (Perspectives in History, Cambridge University Press), 2001 
‘The state in the 1840s’, Modern History Review, September 2003
‘Chartism and the state’, Modern History Review, November 2003
‘Chadwick and Simon: the problem of public health reform’, Modern History Review, April 2005
Three Rebellions: Canada 1837-1838, South Wales 1839, Eureka 1854, (Clio Publishing), 2010
Three Rebellions: Canada 1837-1838, South Wales 1839, Eureka 1854, (Clio Publishing), 2011 Kindle edition
Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1840-1882, (Clio Publishing), 2011
Economy, Population and Transport (Nineteenth Century British Society), 2011 Kindle edition
Work, Health and Poverty, (Nineteenth Century British Society), 2011 Kindle edition
Education, Crime and Leisure, (Nineteenth Century British Society), 2011 Kindle edition
Class, (Nineteenth Century British Society), 2012 Kindle edition
Religion and Government, (Nineteenth Century British Society), 2012 Kindle edition
Society under Pressure: Britain 1830-1914, (Nineteenth Century British Society), 2012 Kindle edition
Sex, Work and Politics: Women in Britain, 1830-1918, (Authoring History), 2012
Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1840-1882, (Clio Publishing), 2012 Kindle edition
Sex, Work and Politics: Women in Britain 1830-1918, 2012,  Kindle edition
Rebellion in Canada, 1837-1885 Volume 1: Autocracy, Rebellion and Liberty, (Authoring History), 2012
Rebellion in Canada, 1837-1885, Volume 2: The Irish, the Fenians and the Metis, (Authoring History), 2012
Resistance and Rebellion in the British Empire, 1600-1980, Clio Publishing, 2013
Settler Australia, 1780-1880, Volume 1: Settlement, Protest and Control, (Authoring History), 2013
Settler Australia, 1780-1880, Volume 2: Eureka and Democracy, (Authoring History), 2013
Rebellion in Canada, 1837-1885, 2013, Kindle edition
'A Peaceable Kingdom': Essays on Nineteenth Century Canada, (Authoring History), 2013
Resistance and Rebellion in the British Empire, 1600-1980, 2013, Kindle edition
Settler Australia, 1780-1880, 2013, Kindle Edition
Coping with Change: British Society, 1780-1914, (Authoring History), 2013

Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1840-1882

JUST PUBLISHED IN KINDLE

FFF front cover

 

Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1840-1882 is the second volume of a trilogy on resistance and rebellion in the British Empire. It is a detailed and nuanced study of the exodus of the impoverished and persecuted from Ireland before and after the Great Famine of the 1840s as they emigrated, or in some cases were transported to, America, Canada and Australia as well as to the British mainland. The critical question for many Irish men and women was whether Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom, or whether they should seek greater freedom through devolved power or separation. Young Ireland and Fenian movements sought Ireland's independence through rebellion while the populist and parliamentarian constitutionalist Repeal Association and campaign for Home Rule sought devolved government. This was a transnational struggle that carried across the Atlantic to the United States and Canada, to South Africa and Australasia where it was absorbed by existing Irish communities and reinforced by recent immigrants. In these disparate communities, the notion of an independent Ireland was sustained though what it meant in practice within those communities differed. This was an Ireland dominated by personalities such as Daniel O'Connell, James Stephens, Isaac Butt, and Charles Stewart Parnell and by rebellions against British domination in 1848 and 1867. It examines how those who saw themselves as exiled sought to restore Irish independence from what they regarded as British tyranny. This led to unsuccessful Fenian invasions of Canada by Irish-Americans in 1866, 1870 and 1871, the attempted assassination of a member of the British Royal family, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in Australia in 1868, and the murder of two British politicians in Phoenix Park, Dublin in 1882. It is a story replete with dramatic events; the monster meetings of the Repeal Association, the battle of Ridgeway in 1866, the voyages of the Erin's Hope and the Catalpa, the Manchester 'outrages', and the Clerkenwell bombing, and considers developments in Ireland in their global colonial context and setting.

Contents

Preface
1: A diaspora
2: Repeal, famine and rebellion
3: Fenians and rebellion in Britain, 1850-1882
4: Irish nationalism in North America to 1865
5: Rebellion in Canada
6: Rebellion in Australia
7: Linking Rebellion
Bibliography
Index

Features

The nature and impact of the Famine in its global Irish context in Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia Why, how and where Irish emigrated and how they settled into their new communities How different approaches to Irish nationalism evolved in Ireland, British colonies in Canada and Australia and in the United States and why it failed to achieve its objectives between 1840 and 1882 The nature and differences in the character of Irish rebellion in Ireland, mainland Britain, Canada and Australia in 1848 and during the 1860s looking especially at its military character and failure The role played by individuals such as Daniel O'Connell, Thomas Davis, John Mitchel, John O'Mahony, James Stephens, John O'Neill, John Devoy, Michael Davitt, Isaac Butt and Charles Stewart Parnell.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The First Fleet

The First Fleet consisted of six convict ships (Alexander, Charlotte, Lady Penrhyn, Friendship, Prince of Wales and Scarborough), three food and supply transports (Fishburn, Borrowdale and Golden Grove) and two Royal Navy escorts (HMS Sirius and HMS Supply).[1] It left England on 13 May 1787 stopping at Tenerife on 3 June[2], Rio de Janeiro between 5 August and 3 September[3] before running before the westerly winds to Cape Town, where it arrived in mid-October.[4] Food supplies were replenished and the Fleet was stocked up on plants, seeds and livestock for its arrival in Australia. Assisted by the gales of the latitudes below the fortieth parallel, the heavily-laden transports surged through the violent seas. A freak storm struck as they began to head north around VDL, damaging the sails and masts of some of the ships. In November, Phillip transferred to Supply. With Alexander, Friendship and Scarborough, the fastest ships in the Fleet and carrying most of the male convicts, Supply hastened ahead to prepare for the arrival of the rest. Phillip intended to select a suitable location, find good water, clear the ground and perhaps to build some huts and other structures before the other ships arrived.[5] However, the Supply reached Botany Bay on 18 January 1788 only hours before the rest of the Fleet, so no preparatory work was possible. The three fastest transports in the advance group arrived on 19 January; slower ships, including the Sirius arrived the following day. Eleven vessels carrying about 1,400 people and stores had travelled more than 15,000 miles in 252 days without losing a ship. Forty-eight people had died on the journey, a death rate of just over three per cent. Given the rigours of the voyage, the navigational problems, the poor condition and sea-faring inexperience of the convicts, the primitive medical knowledge, the lack of precautions against scurvy, the crammed and foul conditions of the ships, poor planning and inadequate equipment, this was a remarkable achievement.

The Founding of Australia, 26 January 1788, by Capt. Arthur Phillip R.N. Sydney Cove
Original oil sketch [1937] by Algernon Talmadge R.A. ML 1222

During the voyage there were seven births, while 69 people either died or were discharged or deserted (61 males and 8 females). As no complete crew musters have survived for the six convict transports and three supply ships, there may have been as many as 110 more seamen. The number of people directly associated with the First Fleet will probably never be exactly established and all accounts of the event vary slightly. Mollie Gillen gives the following statistics.[6]
 

Embarked at Portsmouth

Landed at Port Jackson

Officials and passengers

15

14

Ships’ crews

324

269

Marines

247

245

Marines’ wives and children

46

54

Convicts (men)

579

543

Convicts (women)

193

189

Convicts’ children

14

18

Total

1403

1332

It was soon realised that Botany Bay did not live up to the glowing account that Captain James Cook had given it in 1770. The bay was open and unprotected, fresh water was scarce and Phillip considered the soil around Botany Bay was poor for growing crop. The area was studded with enormously strong trees. When the convicts tried to cut them down, their tools broke and the tree trunks had to be blasted out of the ground with gunpowder.[7] The primitive huts built for the officers and officials quickly collapsed in rainstorms. The marines had a habit of getting drunk and not guarding the convicts properly and their commander, Major Robert Ross was arrogant and lazy and this caused some difficulties for Phillip.[8] Crucially, Phillip worried that his fledgling colony was exposed to attack from the local indigenous people, the Eora, who seemed curious but suspicious of the newcomers or foreign powers. On 21 January, Phillip and a party that included John Hunter left Botany Bay in three small boats to explore other bays to the North. Phillip discovered that Port Jackson, immediately to the North, was an excellent site for a colony with sheltered anchorages, fresh water and fertile soil. Cook had seen and named the harbour, but had not entered. Phillip’s impressions of the harbour were recorded in a letter he sent to England later; ‘the finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security...’[9] The party returned on 23 January and was startled when two French ships, a scientific expedition led by Jean-François de La Pérouse came into sight and entered Botany Bay.[10] The French remained until 10 March and had expected to find a thriving colony where they could repair ships and restock supplies, not a newly arrived fleet of convicts worse off than themselves.

On 26 January 1788, the fleet weighed anchor and by evening had entered Port Jackson. The site selected for the anchorage had deep water close to the shore, was sheltered and had a small stream flowing into it. Phillip named it Sydney Cove, after Lord Sydney the Home Secretary. It was to be almost two and a half years before other ships arrived with their cargo of new convicts and provisions. From the start the settlement was overwhelmed with problems. Very few convicts knew how to farm and the soil around Sydney Cove was poor. Instead of Cook’s lush pastures, well watered and fertile ground, suitable for growing all types of foods and providing grazing for cattle, they found a hot, dry, unfertile land unsuitable for the small farming necessary to make the settlement self-sufficient. Everyone, from the convicts to Captain Phillip, was on rationed food. Shelter was also a problem. They had very little building material and the government had provided only a very limited supply of poor quality tools.[11] Extra clothing had been forgotten and, by the time the Second Fleet arrived, convicts and marines alike were dressed in patched and threadbare clothing.[12] By July 1788, all the ships except the Sirius and Supply had left and the settlement was isolated.

The Sirius

On 2 October, the Sirius was despatched to Cape Town to purchase provisions.[13] Until her return on 2 May 1789, rations were cut back and this reduced work on farming and building. In early 1788, the Supply had taken a small contingent of convicts and marines led by Second Lieutenant Philip Gidley King, Phillip’s protégé, to Norfolk Island to set up another penal colony. The land proved more fertile than Sydney Cove and the timber of better quality, but the rocky cliffs surrounding the island meant that it could not be loaded on the ship for transport to Sydney Cove. The Supply brought a few green turtles back on its voyages from Norfolk Island that helped to supplement the food in the colony.[14] Exploration of the country to the west of Sydney Cove resulted in the location of better land on the Parramatta River. A settlement was to develop there, called Rose Hill and agriculture, although on a small scale at first, was eventually successful.[15] In an attempt to deal with the food crisis, Phillip in 1789 granted James Ruse, a convict the land of Experiment Farm at Parramatta on the condition that he developed a viable agriculture and became the first person to grow grain successfully in Australia.[16] However, lack of transport meant that crops, when harvested, would not be readily available for Sydney.[17]

In February 1790, the Sirius was ordered to proceed to China to purchase further supplies. This was delayed as she and the Supply were needed to take more convicts to Norfolk Island, in an attempt to reduce pressure on the dwindling supplies in Sydney. On 19 February the Sirius ran aground and was wrecked off Norfolk Island leaving the colony with just one ship.[18] The Supply returned in April and on 17 April left to sail to Batavia to get supplies as the situation was becoming desperate with only three months’ supply left of some foods.[19] On 3 June, the Lady Juliana,[20] a transport with 222 female convicts arrived at Sydney Cove followed on 20 June by the Justinian with provisions for the colony. Rations were immediately increased and, with the arrival of further ships carrying convicts, the old labour hours were restored. New buildings were planned and large areas of land near Rose Hill were cleared for cultivation. In October 1790, the Supply returned safely from its voyage to Batavia, and eight weeks later, a Dutch ship, the Waaksamheyd, which Lieutenant Ball had hired, arrived with a full cargo of rice flour and salted meat. It turned out though, that much of the food was of such poor quality, as to be inedible, and after only a few months, the colony was once again on the verge of starvation.


[1] On the First Fleet, see ibid, Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet and ibid, Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships 1787-1868, pp. 94-119. Among the more important accounts published by officers of the First Fleet are Phillip, Arthur, The voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay: with an account of the establishment of the colonies of Port Jackson & Norfolk Island, (John Stockdale), 1790, White, John, Journal of a voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of nondescript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions, (J. Debrett), 1790, Tench, Watkin, A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay: With an Account of New South Wales, Its Productions, Inhabitants, &c. To which is Subjoined, a List of the Civil and Military Establishments at Port Jackson, (printed for Messrs. H. Chamberlaine, W. Wilson, L. White, P. Byrne, A. Gruebier, Jones, and B. Dornin), 1789, ibid, Hunter, John, An historical journal of events at Sydney and at sea, 1787-1792 and Collins, David, An account of the English colony in New South Wales from its first settlement in January 1788, to August 1801: with remarks on the dispositions, customs, manners, &c., of the native inhabitants of that country, (T. Cadell and W. Davies), 1798. See also, Irvine, Nance, (ed.), The Sirius Letters: The Complete Letters of Newton Fowell, midshipman and Lieutenant aboard the Sirius, Flagship of the First Fleet on its voyage to New South Wales, (Fairfax Library), 1988.

[2] Phillip to Lord Sydney, 5 June 1787, Phillip to Under Secretary Nepean, 5 June 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 106-108.

[3] Phillip to Lord Sydney, 2 September 1787, Phillip to Under Secretary Nepean, 2 September 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 109-117.

[4] Phillip to Lord Sydney, 10 November 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 118-119.

[5] Phillip to Lord Sydney, 15 May 1788, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 121-136 considers the first three months at Sydney Cove.

[6] Ibid, Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, p. 445.

[7] HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 121-122, 348 gives Phillip’s assessment of Botany Bay and his reasons for choosing Sydney Cove.

[8] Moore, John, The First Fleet marines, 1788-1792, (University of Queensland Press), 1987. See also, Macmillan, David S., ‘Ross, Robert (1740?-1794)’, ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 397-398. Tensions between Phillip and Ross were evident from the founding of the settlement.

[9] HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 67-70.

[10] Dyer, Colin, The French Explorers and Sydney, (University of Queensland Press), 2009 draws on French observations of the British convict settlement at Sydney Cove.

[11] HRNSW, Vol. 2, p. 388 lists the articles sent with the First Fleet

[12] Phillip to Nepean, 5 July 1788, Phillip to Lord Sydney, 5 July 1788, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 142-144, 145-151.

[13] Phillip to Lord Sydney, 30 October 1788, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 207-209.

[14] Phillip to Lord Sydney, 28 September 1788, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 185-193.

[15] On the early development of Rose Hill see, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 198, 209-217.

[16] An account of Ruse’s methods is given in Tench, Watkin, A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, (Nicol and Sewell), 1793, pp. 80-81. See also, Fitzhardinge, L.F., ‘Tench, Watkin (1758?-1833)’, ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 506-507 and Wood, G.A., ‘Lieutenant William Dawes and Captain Watkin Tench’, Journal and Proceedings, (Royal Australian Historical Society), Vol. 10, (1), (1924), pp. 1-24.

[17] The problem of the lack of artisans and farmers identified by Phillip was quickly acknowledged in London and ‘it is advisable that twenty-five of those confined in the hulks...who are likely to be the most useful should be sent out in the ship [Lady Juliana] intended to convey provisions and stores’: see Lord Sydney to the Lords of the Admiralty, 29 April 1789, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 230-231.

[18] Captain John Hunter had expressed concerns over the soundness of the ship the previous year especially ‘that the copper has not been taken off her bottom...between eight and nine years’: Hunter to Secretary Stephens, 18 February 1789, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), p. 227. See also, Ross to Phillip, 22 March 1790 and Phillip to Lord Sydney, 11 April 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 319-321, 326-327, Harris to Clayton, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 340-342 on the loss of the ship and Lieutenant Fowell to his father, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), 31 July 1790, pp. 373-386.

[19] Phillip to Nepean, 15 April 1790, 16 April 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 330-331.

[20] Phillip to Nepean, 17 June 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 346-351.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Sex, Work and Politics: Women in Britain, 1830-1918

JUST PUBLISHED

Women in the Nineteenth Century

 

In 1830, women of all classes were repressed in a male-dominated society. By 1918, largely through their own struggles, they had seized control over most areas of their lives. Some of these sought access to the public sphere in education, the professions and central and local government. Others aimed to improve women’s legal and economic status within marriage. Married women’s property rights, divorce, custody of children, domestic violence as well as prostitution were all significant areas in which feminists campaigned for changes in the male-oriented status of the law and the differing moral standards to which wives and husbands were expected to conform. The long campaign for women's suffrage by suffragists and after 1903 suffragettes and the effects of World War 1 culminated in some women getting the vote in 1918 and a decade later women achieved the vote on the same terms as men. Yet, despite these advances for many largely working-class women, the tyranny of multiple pregnancies, poorly paid work and limited access to the means of personal improvement remained. This book explores the ways in which women's status in society developed and changed during the nineteenth and early-twentieth century by looking at the nature of and challenges to women's place in a masculine world, the character of work and how women achieved political and legal rights.

This innovative study is available from: http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Work-Politics-Britain-1830-1918/dp/146644908X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336837483&sr=1-2

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Why Botany Bay?

Several misconceptions have arisen about whether the colony of New South Wales was actually established to solve Britain’s convict problem in the late eighteenth century leading to a tendentious ‘Botany Bay debate’. The history is actually far more complex and the convict problem had been an issue since Tudor times. The transportation of thousands of convicts abroad after 1597 provided a good source of cheap labour in Africa, the Caribbean and India, and from 1666 North America, although the latter destination came to an abrupt end after 1776 with the American War of Independence.[1] It was only then that Australia gained importance. However, historians have agreed that the decision to transport large numbers of convicts to eastern Australia in the late eighteenth century was unexpected and sudden.

Why Australia? America was no longer an option. Canada refused to take any more convicts owing to poor previous experiences, although this time the convicts were to be guarded and this might have made a difference. British Honduras was not an option as the settlers preferred coloured slaves to convicted white slaves. The West Indies were not viable as the influential slave traders did not want their profitable slave market, already in decline, to be further weakened by competition from the English gaols. Western Africa already had sufficient cheap labour and so the state could not send its convict labour there. A survey ship was sent to Das Voltas Bay on the south-west coast of Africa in the hope that its strategic position on a major trade route could be made profitable. However, the investigation found its climate and fertility unsuitable. As Africa and America were inappropriate, the whole of the South-West Pacific was available. New Zealand was disregarded owing to Joseph Banks’ dislike of the area. This left the area including Australia. The argument that Australia was chosen as no alternative could be found has been stated by Shaw[2], David Mackay[3] and Mollie Gillen[4]. They argue that convicts were unwanted and a remote site was advantageous. Gillen has suggested that New South Wales had always been a back-up plan since 1786. However, this is not widely accepted. Blainey[5] rightly states there were closer alternatives, such as the uninhabited islands of the Bermudas or the West Indies and the availability of other lands implies that there was deeper reasoning to the decision.

So what were the real reasons for the British Government’s plans to establish a colony there? The traditional view maintains that desperation played a major role in the decision to send convicts to Australia. The mounting numbers of convicts in gaols and hulks was at a dangerous level. Martin has suggested that the attempted assassination of the King by Margaret Nicholson in August 1786 played a part in hastening the decision. [6] Though this may not have been crucial, the influence of pressures at home cannot be underestimated. Most historians accept this was critical in forcing a decision; for example, a survey ship was not sent to investigate Botany Bay before settlement as there simply was not enough time. The traditional view in the debate is that Botany Bay was chosen as a ‘dumping ground’ for convicts and in 1976 Norman Bartlett wrote

There is no evidence that either William Pitt or any member of his cabinet thought of Botany Bay as anything more than a convenient place distant enough for the safe disposal of social waste. [7]

This traditional approach is also supported by Atkinson who believes that ‘Botany Bay was chosen as a convict settlement not because of, but in spite of the possibility that it might become a trading post.’ [8]

The idea of establishing a colony at Botany Bay started with the ‘Matra proposal’ in August 1783, even before the end of the War of Independence between America and England.[9] James Matra who travelled with Cook to the South Seas in 1770, spoke of New South Wales as having good soil, advantages of flax cultivation, the possibility of trade with China, the availability of timber for ships masts and had Sir Joseph Banks’ support. Matra’s idea was that the new colony could be used by ‘those Americans who had remained loyal to Britain in the War of Independence’ such as himself; this idea was, however, rejected. Initially Matra did not mention convicts, but later amended his proposal to ‘include transportees among the settlers but as cultivators in their own right rather than as forced labour’ after an interview with the Home Secretary Lord Sydney.

Did the British government consider the type of labour force that would be required to establish a colony or was Botany Bay just seen as a solution to the ever growing number of convict hulks along the River Thames? Soon after arriving in 1788, Governor Phillip requested ‘carpenters, masons, bricklayers’ to help with the setting up of the colony along with many tools of the trades. Yet the proposal for the establishment of the new colony in the ‘Heads of a Plan’[10] addressed the effective disposing of the convicts to the new colony, along with the cultivation of flax, required stores and provisions, clothing for convicts, how the objective of the convict colony overrides the costs involved, naval staff and such.

However, the tools sent with the First Fleet were of poor standard, with only twelve carpenters among the initial convicts. Women’s clothing was also of poor quality and quantity plus aged and ailing convicts were sent. Poor planning does not support the belief of the non-traditional view of the reasons behind the decision to colonise Botany Bay: The ‘great southern port’ and the ‘development of a flax industry for naval use’ suggested by revisionist historians as the reason for the settlement rather than for the disposal of unwanted convicts seem to have been somewhat negated by the account of inadequate supplies of even the most elementary equipment. The traditionalist may well ask that if Botany Bay was planned to be the ‘great southern port’ why then did free settlers not arrive until 1793 on the Bellona, five years after the arrival of the First Fleet. Governor Phillip was given instruction to cultivate flax

And as it has been humbly represented to us that advantages may be derived from the flax-plant which is found in the islands not far distant from the intended settlement...excellence of a variety of maritime purposes...an article of export...that you do send home…samples of this article...instruct you further upon this subject.[11]

Norfolk Island, some thousand miles east of Botany Bay, offered the prospect of both a timber and flax industry. These orders form part of the non-traditionalist justification for their point of view. Traditionalist historians feel the possibility of the flax industry at Botany Bay was just an additional benefit to England when options for the convicts were being decided. Yet contracted tradesmen were still being sent to New South Wales in 1792 to help with the colony at Norfolk Island and others. Sparse flax producing equipment was sent out with the First Fleet ‘which hardly indicates strong encouragement for any flax enterprise or faith in the success of the new venture’[12].

Traditionalists stand firm to the opinion that Botany Bay was only colonised to ‘rid the nation’s (Britain) prisons and hulks of convicts’. Frost believes the opposite is true approaching the Botany Bay debate from a broader perspective and arguing that there were strategic considerations in Pitt’s Cabinet decision to set up the colony; naval trade, supply of flax and naval timber from Norfolk Island and the fact the use of Britain’s excess convict labour might serve these purposes. [13] Botany Bay had already been surveyed by Cook in 1770 with its supposed ability to shelter a fleet of ships. By colonising New South Wales, Britain would protect Cook’s ‘right of possession’ over Botany Bay from the French and Dutch, thus giving them more positional power over the seas and any possible trade.

The loss of the American colonies came as a great shock, especially to George III who had never taken the threat seriously. In order to re-establish itself as a great power, Britain needed to consolidate its empire and the acquisition of a new colony could do this. In the 1770s, France, keen on becoming a world power, allied itself with every other major nation in Europe, including Russia, against Britain. The threat to Britain and its empire, particularly to its colonies in the Far East and India, forced the government to consider options that would allow Britain to maintain its position and continue to compete on the world stage. A strategic location needed to be secured from that could support its empire from French invasion. A safe harbour was also needed for the British fleet in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, from where, at short notice, supplies of food and other materials to its colonies could be obtained cheaply. In addition, plantations were needed to grow hemp to supply rope to the Navy and a new source of wood to counteract the effects of depleted English supplies, primarily for naval mast and spar repairs. The strategic argument is perhaps supported by the choice of Phillip as the first governor and Frost points out that both Phillip and his two successors were naval officers.

In 1952, Ken Dallas suggested that Britain wanted to establish a trading post to spearhead British penetration of the Pacific and to service an alternative sea route to China. [14] In his subsequent book, he maintained that it was the fur trade of the north Pacific, trade opportunities with China and South America and the development of sealing and whaling in the Pacific that combined to make British settlement of Australia a viable economic project. There is evidence to support his case: demand for whale and seal oil was in big demand in Britain and many of the shops from the Second Fleet were converted whalers that were reconverted to their original use after the voyage. This has been criticised, but the work of Margaret Stevens[15] and HT Fry[16] indicated that the British were concerned over the security of trade routes to China and that Pitt’s policies in the 1780s were dictated primarily by commercial considerations. David Mackay disputes this by stating that the First Fleet was not sufficiently equipped to provide the protection and manpower to defend the strategic position of Botany Bay. [17] Mackay has also argued against the strategic position of Botany Bay in relationship to naval trade. Like many, Mackay feels that the establishment of the colony was rushed and poorly done and ‘crisis orientated’ not a good start if the motives were really for naval trade and timber supply. After viewing many of what seems to be a circle of comments and opinions that formed the Botany Bay debate, he then accused the non-traditionalists of: ‘Distorting our records of the past, and sought to create a myth of a better national origin.’ They have also overestimated the capacity of governments in the late eighteenth century. Mackay stills acknowledges that regardless of the ‘shoddy’ way in which Botany Bay was set up that ‘from such inauspicious beginnings Australia grew to maturity and nationhood’.

Geoffrey Blainey shared Dallas’ belief that there was a positive reason for the choice of colony. He emphasised Lord Sydney’s announcement that the choice of colony was to be ‘reciprocally beneficial’. This is the only reason given in official documents as to why such a remote land was chosen. This dearth of official information has greatly fuelled the debate surrounding the Botany Bay decision. He reported that an export trade was to be started in flax, hemp, and in wood for mainmasts. This would strengthen Britain’s naval power in the event of a Baltic blockade preventing England getting flax from its usual supply in Russia. Blainey even suggested that the convicts were a convenient smokescreen for gaining strategic materials. The validity of sources used to formulate this hypothesis has been questioned. It has led to Alan Frost’s modified theory[18] that the British sought supplies for their ships in eastern waters that needed to refit without sailing home if they were to defend British lands in India against the French. Another commercial advantage was that the empty convict ships could carry cargoes of tea back, although whether this was realised before the decision-making or not has been disputed. However, during the debates in the 1960s, the fact that New South Wales was almost entirely a convict settlement tended to be overlooked. Both the ‘flax and timber’ theorists and the ‘China route’ party have had to admit that the early years of the New South Wales colony did not triumphantly vindicate their arguments.

In reality, it is likely that there was a jumble of motives. Transportation resolved the convict problem by expelling them from England. It helped the whaling industry that needed a secure base in the Pacific and secured a route for those who wanted to expand trade with China. It limited the territorial ambitions of the French and the claims of the Spanish and Dutch to the continent. It helped repair the damage done to British imperial prestige by the debacle in America. Above all, it was economical since convict labour was expected to become self-funding after initial financial help from the Exchequer. For British politicians, colonising Australia appears to have satisfied many of the different interests that were clamouring for action.


[1] Innes, Joanna, ‘The role of transportation in seventeenth and eighteenth century English penal practice’, in Bridge, Carl, (ed.), New Perspectives in Australian History, (Sir Robert Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London), 1990, pp. 1-24.

[2] Shaw, Alan, Convicts and the colonies: a study of penal transportation from Great Britain and Ireland to Australia and other parts of the British Empire, (Faber), 1966.

[3] Mackay, D., A Place of Exile: European Settlement of New South Wales, (Oxford University Press), 1985.

[4] Gillen, Mollie, ‘The Botany Bay decision, 1786: convicts not empire’, English Historical Review, Vol. 97, (1982), pp. 740-766 but see also her The Search for John Small: First Fleeter, (Library of Australian History), 1988 and The Founders of Australia, A Biographical Dictionary of The First Fleet, (Library of Australian History), 1989

[5] Ibid, Blainey, G.C., The Tyranny of Distance, pp. 20-39.

[6] Martin, Ged, ‘The founding of New South Wales’, in Statham, P., (ed.), The Origins of Australia’s Capital Cities, (Cambridge University Press), 1988, pp. 37-51.

[7] Bartlett, Norman, 1776-1976: Australia and America through 200 years, (Ure Smith), 1976.

[8] Atkinson, Alan, ‘A Counter-Riposte’ in Martin, Ged, (ed.), The Founding of Australia: The Argument about Australia’s Origins, (Hale and Iremonger), 1978, pp. 265-269.

[9] Matra, James Mario, ‘Proposal for establishing a Settlement in New South Wales’, 23 August 1783, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 1-8, in ibid, Martin, Ged, (ed.), The Founding of Australia: The Argument about Australia’s Origins, pp. 9-15.

[10] ‘Heads of a Plan’, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 17-20, in ibid, Martin, Ged, (ed.), The Founding of Australia: The Argument about Australia’s Origins, pp. 26-29.

[11] Phillip’s Instructions, 25 April 1787, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), p. 89.

[12] Abbott, G.J., ‘Staple theory and Australian economic growth’, Business Archives and History, Vol. 5, (1965), pp. 142-154 and ‘The Botany Bay decision’, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol. 16, (1985), pp. 21-41 are particularly useful on this issue.

[13] Frost, A., Convicts and Empire: A Naval Question 1776-1811, (Oxford University Press), 1980 but see also his ‘The Decision to Colonise New South Wales’, Mulvaney, D. and White, Peter, (eds.), Australians to 1788, (Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates), 1987 and his synoptic Botany Bay Mirages: Illusions of Australia’s Convict Beginning, (Melbourne University Press), 1994.

[14] Dallas, K.M., ‘The First Settlement in Australia; considered in relation to sea-power in world politics’, Papers and Proceedings of the Tasmanian Historical Research Association, number 3 (1952), pp. 1-12 reprinted in ibid, Martin, Ged, (ed.), The Founding of Australia: The Argument about Australia’s Origins, pp. 39-49. His ideas were extended in Trading Posts or Penal Colonies, (Richmond and Son), 1969.

[15] Stevens, M., Trade, Tactics and Territory: Britain in the Pacific 1783-1823, (Manchester University Press), 1983.

[16] Fry, H.T., ‘Captain James Cook: the historical perspective’, in The significance of Cook’s ‘Endeavour’ voyage: Three Bicentennial Lectures, (James Cook University of North Queensland), 1970, pp. 1-23 and ‘‘Cathay And The Way Thither’: The Background To Botany Bay’, in ibid, Martin, Ged, (ed.), The Founding of Australia: The Argument about Australia’s Origins, pp. 136-149.

[17] Ibid, Mackay, David, A Place of Exile: European Settlement of New South Wales.

[18] Frost, A., ‘Botany Bay: An Imperial Venture of the 1780s’, English Historical Review, Vol. 100, (1985), pp. 309-330.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

What if?

The history of the women’s movement from John Stuart Mill onwards is a fine blend of heroism and farce that came to an abrupt halt in 1914 by which time the movement lacked any obvious strategy for success. The failure of the suffrage movement to achieve its objectives by 1914 is frequently blamed on suffragette militancy and violence, coupled with the personal style of management adopted by the Pankhursts and its effects on both public opinion and the three major political parties. That there was widespread disgust at the activities of the WSPU, something fanned by an antagonistic national and provincial press, is undoubtedly true but this neglects the quieter constitutionalist campaigns whose non-militancy proved equally unsuccessful. Neither suffragettes nor suffragists succeeded in concluding a firm alliance with either of the Conservative or Liberal parties, the WSPU squandered its potentially useful link with the ILP while by 1914, the EFF had yet to deliver real success to the Labour Party. They were unfortunate that Asquith was so personally opposed to women's suffrage and that their campaign coincided with other, more pressing political issues. In many respects, the suffrage campaign was not in a much better position in 1914 than it had been in 1897. True, it was better organised, had developed new methods for getting its message across and had increased support across society but it now faced a well-organised and resourced anti-suffrage movement.

If war had not broken out in 1914, there would been a general election in 1915. If the Liberals under Asquith had won there is no reason to suggest that he would have changed his views of women’s suffrage while a Conservative victory was unlikely to have led to women getting the vote since parliamentary debates could have opened up the question of adult suffrage, an issue the party wished to avoid. Under the existing franchise, it is highly unlikely that the Labour Party would have made an electoral breakthrough and, without their continued pact with the Liberals, could have actually lost seats. In addition, there is the question of what would have happened to the WSPU. By August 1914, it had largely exhausted the scope of its militancy, had alienated many of its supporters and appeared to be in terminal decline. The NUWSS and WFL might have benefitted from this in terms of membership but their constitutionalist methods had failed to deliver change before 1914 and, without an alteration in attitude by the leaders of the political parties, there is no reason to believe that their methods would have been any more successful before or after a general election in 1915. So when would women have got the vote? Assuming a Liberal win in 1915 and assuming that Asquith was not replaced by Lloyd George who was increasingly suffragist in opinion or a Conservative victory, it is quite possible that the 1920 general election would have been fought under the existing franchise. It is unlikely that women’s suffrage could have been delayed beyond 1920 since international trends favoured enfranchisement. The result was that adult suffrage would have been introduced and the election in 1924 or 1925 fought with a broadened electorate that might have included all women, three years before they were actually fully enfranchised.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

From convict society to responsible government

From 1788 until 1823, NSW was a penal colony.[1] This meant that there were mainly convicts, marines and the wives of the marines although free settlers started to arrive in 1793. Law courts may have been established when the colony was founded, but, for the first thirty-five years, successive governors were absolute rulers. The British Parliament could control their authority, but England was eight months away by sea: by the time a complaint was heard and decided, nearly two years might have gone by. By 1820, Australia was beginning to look prosperous and sentiments of Australian patriotism were being expressed at gatherings of ex-convicts. The sense of belonging to a new nation must have been encouraged in 1817 when Governor Macquarie recommended the adoption of the name ‘Australia’ for the entire continent instead of New Holland. A growing number of colonists were unhappy with total control in the hands of one person and urged the British Parliament to allow the colony to establish a legislature. The result was significant territorial and governmental changes: first, the British government separated VDL followed, four years later in 1829 with the addition of Western Australia; there was a second subdivision of NSW to create South Australia founded in 1836, and, in parallel, the development of the Port Phillip district founded in 1835 though it did not gain separation from NSW until 1851.

The problems of governing NSW and the other emergent colonies can be illustrated by the question of land. From the foundation of the colony in 1788, all lands were vested in the Crown. Prior to 1856, the whole responsibility for government rested with the residing Governor under direction from the British Parliament. In that time, NSW could almost be classed as a department of the Colonial Office in London, with the Colonial Secretary in Sydney holding the position of permanent Under-Secretary and acting the official link between all other officials and the Governor. The Governor was the supreme authority in the colony with autocratic and personal powers though, almost from the outset these were challenged and defined in the courts. All important correspondence that required either decisions or action on the part of the Governor was addressed to the Colonial Secretary. Matters of minor importance or mere detail were directed to the relevant offices.

In Australia, both the Imperial Government and the various colonial legislatures tried to direct the pace and character of settlement expansion by various modes of land disposal.[2] According to Jeans, the bureaucratic structure above shows

...a basic unit or segment of political organization, stretching from the highest reaches of policy-making to the most subordinate officials who carry out policy by contact with the public. A government may be seen as composed of many such segments, each dealing with its special sphere of administration. Surrounding the components of the segment are external institutions and individuals whose views and needs impinge on the decisions being made at some level within the segment.[3]

Between 1788 and 1850, public business was not separated into different departments and many branches of the public sector were involved in selling, leasing and granting Crown land. Much of the work was routine and many tasks were duplicated. Delays stemming from confusion over responsibilities saw land administration fall further and further into arrears.[4] As the colonies expanded, centralised administration under imperial authority became increasingly ineffective and public business became so vast and complex that the Governor and Colonial Secretary could not cope with the demands of the administration. This was particularly evident in Victoria under Sir Charles Hotham in 1854 when his relationship with his Colonial Secretary broke down and he attempted to rule alone. In 1851, the Australian Colonies Government Act passed by the Imperial Parliament and gave authority to the colonial Legislative Councils to prepare democratic constitutions for the colonies but the problems confronting colonial administrators in NSW and the newly established Victoria were compounded by the onset, development and legacies of the Gold Rush that began in 1851.[5]

In 1855 and 1856, by imperial legislation, responsible Government was granted to the Australian colonies. That Act vested in the colonial legislature the entire management and control of waste lands belonging to the Crown.[6] The establishment of responsible government marked a significant departure from the previous administrative framework for Crown land decision-making and policy-making and the outcomes and impacts of Crown land legislation and policy of this early period in Australian settlement influenced land settlement patterns for many decades after the colonies was granted responsible government.


[1] Melbourne, pp. 8-46 remains useful on the governance of New South Wales under governor rule.

[2] Powell, J.M., The Public Lands of Australia Felix: Settlement and Land Appraisal in Victoria 1834-1891 with Special Reference to the Western Plains, (Oxford University Press), 1970.

[3] Jeans, D.N., ‘The impress of central authority upon the landscape: south-eastern Australia 1788-1850’, in Powell J.M. and Williams, M., (eds.), Australian Space, Australian Time: Geographical Perspectives in Australia, 1788-1914, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press), 1975, p. 5.

[4] New South Wales Commission of Inquiry into the Surveyor General’s Department, Report from the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Surveyor General’s Department, with Minutes of Evidence and Appendix, (William Hanson, Government Printer), 1855.

[5] Williams, M., ‘More and smaller is better: Australian rural settlement 1788-1914’, in ibid, Powell J.M. and Williams, M., (eds.), Australian Space, Australian Time: Geographical Perspectives in Australia, 1788-1914, pp. 61-103.

[6] For the debate on waste lands see, Hansard, Vol. 138, (1855), cols. 719-736.