Thursday, 30 August 2012

Change under Macquarie

Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of NSW but the first military officer (Phillip, Hunter, King and Bligh had all been naval men) held office from April 1809 (he took up his commission as governor on 1 January 1810[1]) until his resignation in 1821. [2] As Governor of NSW, he also assumed control of the North Island of New Zealand by the appointment of a Justice of the Peace for the Bay of Islands.[3] After the military coup in 1808, the British Government decided to recall the NSW Corps and replaced them with the 73rd Regiment.[4] As Macquarie was the officer commanding the 73rd Regiment, he was at a distinct advantage to his predecessors as senior officer of the garrison as well as Governor. As with previous governors, Macquarie was given absolute authority to make laws and carry them out.[5] The first exercise of authority was in the revoking of all controversial actions of the rebel regime including government appointments, land grants, leases, sentences and pardons.[6] His Instructions were

To improve the Morals of the Colonists, to encourage marriage, to provide for Education, to prohibit the Use of Spirituous Liquors, to increase the Agriculture and Stock, so as to ensure the Certainty of a full supply to the Inhabitants under all Circumstances.[7]

File:Ln-Governor-Lachlan macquarie.jpg

Lachlan Macquarie attributed to John Opie , c.1805-1824

Macquarie insisted on morality, virtue and temperance.[8] He closed 55 inns[9] and increased tax on imported liquor, he remodelled the commissariat[10] and the organisation of the Police Fund as the basis of colonial revenue[11], levied customs duties, opened a new market place[12], created a coinage in 1813 to replace barter, (particularly the ‘rum currency’) and established the first bank in 1817.[13] He opened schools for the young so that the children would become better citizens than their parents.[14] He used emancipist settlers as teachers and eventually at his request, qualified teachers were sent out from England. He allowed ex-convicts to be re-admitted to the rank in society they had forfeited including appointing three emancipists (D’Arcy Wentworth, Andrew Thompson and Simeon Lord) as magistrates in 1810.[15] Macquarie founded new towns at Richmond, Castlereagh, Pitt Town, Wilberforce and Windsor now referred to as the five ‘Macquarie towns’ to the west of Sydney and expanded the settlement. He visited VDL twice[16], Newcastle and Illawarra[17] and founded Port Macquarie. He encouraged exploration including the crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813 and opening access to western lands and was responsible for the extension of the colony.[18] Macquarie was also responsible for expanding the public works programme including the first general post office[19], new army barracks, a road to Parramatta from Sydney and a new general hospital. Overall he was responsible for 265 public works of varying scale during his administration, many the work of his chief architect Francis Greenway, an ex-convict.[20] They included new army barracks and three new barrack buildings for convicts, roads to Parramatta and across the Blue Mountains, a hospital, castle-like stables and five planned towns built out of reach of floodwaters along the Hawkesbury River. Central to Macquarie’s administration was his concern for public morality. In some of his earliest orders the prevailing habit of cohabiting without marriage was denounced[21], constables were directed to enforce laws against Sabbath breaking[22] and a regular church parade was introduced for convicts in government employment.[23] It seemed that he was successful in increasing ‘Religious Tendency and Morals’ as both church going and the marriage rate increased.

As the strongest inducement to reform Macquarie decided that ex-convicts, when they had shown that they deserved the favour, should be readmitted to the rank in society they had forfeited. This policy was approved by Liverpool as well as by Wilberforce and the select committee on transportation in 1812, but it aroused immediate indignation among immigrant settlers and military officers and alienated the very classes whose co-operation Castlereagh had advised him to foster. By 1818, he went so far as to suggest the cessation for three years of all immigration apart from ‘respectable Monied Men’. He had found many of the free immigrants unsatisfactory settlers and disapproved of their reluctance to fraternise with ex-convicts.


[1] Macquarie’s arrival and his proclamation on 1 January 1810 are dealt with in HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 252-253, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp. 226-227.

[2] McLachlan, N.D., ‘Macquarie, Lachlan (1762-1824), ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 187-195, Ellis, M.H., Lachlan Macquarie: His Life, Adventures and Times, (Dymock’s Book Arcade) 1947, 2nd ed., (Angus & Robertson), 1952 and Ritchie, John, Lachlan Macquarie: a biography, (Melbourne University Press), 1986 are useful biographies. Macquarie, Lachlan, Journal of his Tours of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land 1810-1822, (Trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales), 1956 provides his own view of governing NSW and VDL. Ibid, Atkinson, Alan, The Europeans in Australia, Vol. 1, pp. 317-342.

[3] New Zealand was part of NSW from 1788 until 1840 when it was proclaimed as a separate colony.

[4] Castlereagh to the Admiralty, 2 May 1809 and Under-Secretary Cooke to Quartermaster-General Gordon, 11 May 1809, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 112-113, 141 detail the recall of the NSW Corps.

[5] T.W. Plummer to Macquarie, 4 May 1809, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 113-124 provides a detailed critique of the situation in NSW and the need for reform. Macquarie’s commission and instructions dated 9 May 1809 are printed in HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 126-140, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp. 183-197. See also Castlereagh to Macquarie, 14 May 1809, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 143-147

[6] See the two proclamations issued on 4 January 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 255-259, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp 227-231.

[7] See, HRNSW, Vol. 7, p. 137.

[8] See Proclamation, 24 February 1810, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp. 278-279.

[9] Government and General Order, 16 February 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 289-290.

[10] Macquarie to Castlereagh, 30 April 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 353-354, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, p. 248.

[11] Macquarie to Liverpool, 18 October 1811, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp. 385-386.

[12] Macquarie to Liverpool, 18 October 1811, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, p. 386.

[13] The formation of a bank was first raised in Macquarie to Castlereagh, 30 April 1810, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, p. 264-266 and again 27 October 1810, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, p. 343. The issue continued to be raised in correspondence, see, Liverpool to Macquarie, 26 July 1811, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, p. 365.

[14] Macquarie to Castlereagh, 27 October 1810, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, p. 246.

[15] Macquarie to Castlereagh, 30 April 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, p. 356-357, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, p. 276.

[16] Macquarie’s first tour of VDL occurred in 1811: Macquarie to Liverpool, 18 October 1811, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp. 378-280, Macquarie to Liverpool, 17 November 1812, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp. 581-589 contained Macquarie’s report on the administration of VDL not contained in the Journal. Macquarie announced his intention to tour VDL a second time in Macquarie to Bathurst, 21 March 1821, HRA, Series I, Vol. 10, p. 492. The tour is reported in Macquarie to Bathurst, 17 July 1821, HRA, Series I, Vol. 10, p. 500. Macquarie stated that he has published a Government and General Order, 16 July 1821, giving an account of his ‘Observations and remarks and that he enclosed a copy’, pp. 501-507. Mitchell Library: A777 Journal to and from Van Diemen’s Land 1811 and A784 Journal of A Tour of Inspection in Van Diemen’s Land 1821 are more detailed. See also Sydney Gazette 11 January 1812, pp. 1-2 and Sydney Gazette 21 July 1821.

[17] Macquarie refers to the Northern Settlements at Port Macquarie and Newcastle 1821 in Macquarie to Bathurst, 30 November 1821, HRA, Series I, Vol. 10, p. 573: ‘I have lately made Tours of inspection to the Northern Settlements at Newcastle and Port Macquarie, and afterwards to Bathurst and Illawarra or Five Islands; all of which are fine rich fertile Districts, and promise at no distant period to prove most valuable acquisitions to the Parent Colony. The result of My Observations on these Tours of Inspection I shall do myself the honor of reporting to Your Lordship in Person, on my arrival in England.’ Macquarie must have completed this Despatch some weeks after the date 30 November 1821. He returned to Sydney from the tour to the Northern Settlements on 21 November 1821, travelled to Bathurst and back 15-26 December 1821 and travelled to Illawarra and back 9-17 January 1822. Macquarie’s journals are Mitchell Library: A781 Journal to and from Newcastle, A783 Journal of A Tour of Inspection to Bathurst in Decr. 1821 and A786 Journal of a Tour to the Cow Pastures and Illawarra/in January 1822.

[18] On his tour of the interior in 1810, see, Macquarie to Liverpool, 18 October 1811, HRA, Series I, Vol. 7, pp. 378-380 and of the Bathurst Plains, Macquarie to Bathurst, 24 June 1815, HRA, Series I, Vol. 8, p. 557. Macquarie wrote in Government and General Order 10 June 1815, pp. 568-576 ‘For further Particulars...I take the Liberty to refer Your Lordship to the Accompanying Printed Report of my Tour, which I had published in the Sydney Gazette for the information of the Public (whose Curiosity was all alive on the Subject), soon after my return hither.’ Mitchell Library: A778 Journal of a Tour of Governor Macquarie’s first Inspection of the Interior of the Colony, commencing on Tuesday the 6th of Novr. 1810 and A779 Tour to the New Discovered Country in April 1815 is his detailed record. See also, Sydney Gazette 15 December 1810, p.1, Sydney Gazette 10 June 1815, The Naval Chronicle, Vol. 35, (January-June 1816), pp. 105-112, The Colonial Journal, Vol. 1, (January-July 1816), pp. 69-76 and New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register, Vol. 5, (25), 1 February, 1816, pp. 14-19.

[19] Government and General Order, 23 June 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, p. 389.

[20] Herman, Morton, ‘Greenway, Francis (1777-1837)’, ADB, Vol. 1, pp. 470-473. See also Ellis, M.H., Francis Greenway: His Life and Times, (Angus and Robertson), 1953.

[21] Proclamation, 24 February 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 292-294.

[22] See, Government and General Order, 27 January 1810 and 26 May 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, pp. 280-281, 382.

[23] Government and General Order, 19 May 1810, HRNSW, Vol. 7, p. 381.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

King as Governor

Authorised to assume office as soon as Hunter could arrange his departure and already irritated by the delays in England, King was anxious to set in motion radical reforms in the colony and worried about his pay. During the transition King’s previously good relationship with Hunter became strained and his correspondence suggests that Hunter thought the King had an ‘unbecoming impatience’ for him to leave.[1] King did not assume command until 28 September 1800[2], but had earlier assured Under-Secretary John King that his taking over was ‘well-liked and anxiously looked for’[3]. King wrote gloomily of existing conditions, insisted that ‘nothing less than a total change in the system of administration’ was necessary, and forecast that ‘discontent will be general’ when this took place.[4] His task would be ‘laborious and highly discouraging’ but he would not be ‘at all intimidated’ and, although he had no formal instructions until raised from the status of lieutenant-governor to governor in 1802,[5] he improvised them for himself from the dispatches to Hunter[6] and elaborated them in the orders he gave to Major Joseph Foveaux whom he appointed to replace himself as lieutenant-governor of Norfolk Island in June 1800.[7]   King’s first task was to attack the misconduct of monopolist traders and traffickers in spirits.

Cellars from the better sort of people to the blackest characters among the convicts are full of that fiery poison.[8]

In March 1799, the commander-in-chief had ordered Colonel William Paterson, when he was leaving England to re-join his corps, to inquire into his officers’ trading activities.[9] This gave King the opportunity, even before Hunter had left, to ask Paterson to act.[10] As soon as he assumed command, King issued orders that he had already prepared, including a new set of port and price regulations intended to curb exploitation and the liquor traffic.[11] He felt compelled to allow Surgeons William Balmain[12] and D’Arcy Wentworth[13] to sell 4,359 gallons of spirits which they had on hand[14], but was able to reduce the rate of spirit imports to about a third that of the last months of Hunter’s administration. He tried to persuade the government in Calcutta and British consuls in the United States to discourage the shipping of liquor to NSW and to offer the colonists an alternative beverage, he began the construction of a brewery.[15] It only began production in 1804, and in his efforts to reduce spirit drinking he faced the refusal of most convicts to work ‘in what they emphatically call their own time for any other mode of payment’[16], but he cut spirit consumption per adult male in 1801-1804 to about two and a half bottles a month. Despite this, King found increasing difficulty in suppressing illicit local distillation or sly-grogging, even though he issued repeated orders against it. He imposed a duty of 5 per cent on imports to raise revenue, as Hunter had suggested in 1798, but did not anticipate the later policy of reducing the profits of illegal grog-selling by allowing unrestricted imports of spirits subject to a moderately heavy duty.

Philip Gidley King and Family, 1799, by Robert Dighton

In June 1800, King had protested to Hunter against the ‘exorbitant demands of creditors’ in the colony.[17] He felt that the poorer settlers could best be protected by price control and by the ‘establishment of a public warehouse’[18], such as he had advocated for Norfolk Island in 1796 and Hunter had also referred to but then had not told the authorities in London what goods were needed. King’s detailed requests were at once acted on and merchandise was sold through it at a price only 50 per cent above cost to cover transport and selling charges. The increasing quantities imported commercially weakened the monopolists’ grip on the colony’s economy and improved the colonists’ means of obtaining supplies. King tried to control, not always with success, prices, wages, hours of work, the employment of convicts, baking, butchers, interest rates, weights and measures and the value of all the many kinds of currency circulating in the colony.[19] He sought to reduce forgeries by introducing printed forms for promissory notes, but they were usually ignored. He recalled all the officers’ servants in excess of two each reducing the number provisioned by the Crown from 356 to 94. [20] The position of the Colonial Office was clear

I entirely approve the measures you have taken for reducing the expenses of the settlement, by discharging from the stores all those convicts who are not altogether employed in the service of the Crown, with the exception of two convicts allowed as servants to each civil and military officer; but it should be understood by those officers, that in all cases where they themselves cultivate lands and raise stock that they are to feed all the convicts allowed to them, without any exceptions whatever. The five convicts allowed to each magistrate, appears to me to be too many, but knowing your attention to publick economy, I am willing to leave it to your local experience and discretion to diminish that number in such degrees as you may think proper.[21]

King increased the number of convicts on the public farms from 30 to 324 and had quadrupled their cultivated acreage by 1803. Later he allowed them to decline, following orders from London for an increase in private agriculture.[22] He helped private farmers by land grants, by the issue of seed, tools, sheep and rations and by hiring oxen. Contrary to his instructions, he postponed the purchase of grain by tender and kept its price up to 8s a bushel, by ordering the government stores to buy direct from the grower and by distributing government breeding stock as a reward ‘to those whose exertions...appeared to merit that encouragement’.[23] He also increased the size of land grants and made reservations for pasturage adjacent to them. The result was that only 56 out of 646 farmers were ‘on the stores’ in 1806, compared with 110 out of 401 in 1800. Smallholders had done much better than before, particularly during the first half of his administration and the colony seemed to be self-sufficient in grain though the disastrous Hawkesbury floods in 1801[24] and 1806[25] postponed King’s hopes in this regard.[26]

During King’s administration the government’s flocks and herds quintupled.[27] He bought cattle from India to improve the quality of the government stock[28], and though disavowing the idea of the government concerning itself with ‘fine-woolled sheep’, and mindful of the importance to the small settlers of the ‘weight of Carcase’, he was able by careful breeding to produce ‘a total change in Government Flock from Hair to Wool’[29] and to distribute ewes to settlers in expectation of a general improvement in the flocks of the colony.[30] He began the mining of coal, which he hoped would be a profitable export[31], was interested in timber cutting and encouraged experiments in growing vines, tobacco, cotton, hemp and indigo. Although in the opening sentence of the first journal of his experiences from 1787 to 1790, published with minor revisions as an appendix to Hunter’s Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island in 1793, King had affirmed the contemporary opinion that Botany Bay was founded simply as a penal settlement. By 1791, he was expressing great hopes for it as a Pacific base for flax cultivation and for whaling. Flax was not a success but whaling was, and both it and later sealing owed much to King’s encouragement. He was a friend of whale fleet owner Samuel Enderby[32] and advised the British government to allow the whalers to carry merchandise to NSW. He encouraged sealers to go to Bass Strait and whaling ships to visit New Zealand and the Pacific.[33] By 1792, there was a whaling industry off the south coast of New Zealand and by 1800 whaling and sealing had extended into the Bass Strait. [34]

Letter received by Sir Joseph Banks from Philip Gidley King, 5 June 1802

In 1804, King encouraged Robert Campbell[35] to send a shipment of oil and skins from Sydney to London in the Lady Barlow in contravention of the monopoly of the East India Company that he had constantly urged the government to modify. Campbell believed that it was time for a more generous definition of the commercial rights of New South Wales as the colony lacked established staples and was hampered by trade monopolies. Though the Lady Barlow was duly seized for illegal entry to the Port of London, her position was resolved with little commercial loss to Campbell. With the support of Sir Joseph Banks, he secured permission for a second colonial cargo to follow the Lady Barlow. Under this impetus a bill was drawn up to recognise NSW as a regular colony with valuable trade concessions, but the Grenville ministry lost office in March 1807 before it could be passed. King sought permission at the same time to open up trade between NSW and China[36] and decided that VDL was preferable to Port Phillip as a further penal settlement.[37]

King could, of course, never forget that he was in charge of a convict colony. He had to keep the prisoners in subjection, but at the same time he could not ignore the growing number of emancipists, and firmly reminded Major George Johnston that the British government had not intended the prisoners to be consigned ‘to Oblivion and disgrace for ever’.[38] King appointed emancipists to his bodyguard and enrolled them in the Loyal Associations, as had been done in the NSW Corps. Apart from the rather special case of appointing as military engineer, George Bellasis[39], a former officer in the East India Company who had killed an opponent in a duel, he placed men like Richard Fitzgerald[40], James Meehan[41], David Mann[42], Andrew Thompson[43], Rev. Henry Fulton[44] and Father James Dixon[45] in administrative positions. He took firm measures to regulate the position of assigned servants, even if at first they were often disobeyed and laid the foundation of the future ticket-of-leave system by granting ‘annual certificates’ to prisoners deserving indulgence. Though he granted pardons to about 50 per cent more convicts every year than Hunter had done, he had about 30 per cent more to deal with and they included many political prisoners. Of these, especially the Irish, King was at first perhaps unduly alarmed, though he had been in England during the disturbances in Ireland from 1797 to 1799.[46] However, after initial forebodings, in both 1801 and 1802 he was able to report their ‘regular and orderly behaviour’ and to compare their conduct most favourably with that of the military officers. He was again rather over-excited at the time of the Irish conspiracy in 1804, but he seems to have felt more secure after it had been suppressed and he had divided the ring-leaders between the different settlements, including Newcastle, which he re-established in 1804 largely in order to take them. [47] When war with France resumed in 1804, to supplement the battery on Dawes Point King began to build the citadel at Fort Phillip, intending that it would also be a place of refuge in case of an internal rising; but it turned out to be of little strategic value.[48]

King was faced with the British government’s persistent demands to reduce the costs of the colony.[49] The general success of his policies enabled him to cut the proportion of the population drawing government rations from 72 per cent in 1800 to 32 per cent in 1806 and the amount of their indebtedness to the government was reduced. Fortunately trouble with the Treasury over his expenditure when on Norfolk Island made him meticulous in keeping accounts and he drew Treasury bills for stores at a rate about 20 per cent less than Hunter had done in 1796-1798 for only three-quarters the number of people. In June 1802, King imposed a 5 per cent duty on imported spirits and on merchandise brought from east of the Cape and not of British manufacture.[50] King’s decision was not legally authorised but this was not questioned and by using the revenue raised for the gaol and orphan funds he began the appropriation of colonial revenue for local purposes. He was interested in the girls’ Orphan School, and though he regretted that he could not establish a similar institution for boys, he took several day-schools ‘under the protection of Government’ and by apprenticeship taught convict boys to become skilled tradesmen. He asked the British government to send out supplies of smallpox vaccine, and so enabled the surgeons to perform the first successful vaccination in the colony.[51] In March 1803, he permitted the government printer, George Howe[52] to establish the Sydney Gazette, allowing him use of the government press and type.[53] He was sympathetic to the missionaries who visited the colony, welcomed Maori and Tahitian visitors to Sydney and sought to keep peace with Aborigines. These, he told Governor William Bligh, he ‘ever considered the real Proprietors of the Soil’. He refused to allow them to be worked as slaves, tried to protect their persons and their property and to preserve a ‘good understanding’ with them; but he found them ‘very capricious’, often ‘sanguinary and cruel to each other’, and like his contemporaries failed to understand what he called their ‘most ungrateful and treacherous conduct’. [54]

King had always aimed at promoting ‘the prosperity of the colony, and giving a permanent security to the interests of its inhabitants’. He knew he could not satisfy all, and had faced ‘scurrility and abuse, clothed with darkness and assassination’. This abuse has harmed his reputation that is undeservedly lower today. In the end he was defeated by the officers of the NSW Corps. That he would have to confront them he knew when he arrived in Sydney in 1800 and even before he had assumed office he was regretting that Hunter had allowed Captain George Johnston to return to England for his trial on charges of trading in spirits. Johnston soon returned untried, but trials in the colony were not successful and King found the military intransigence that he had faced at Norfolk Island was now exacerbated by his policies that threatened the military elite’s economic position. He badly needed capable law officers and a change in the personnel of the NSW Corps, but the British government ignored his requests. He was faced with frequent disobedience and insolence that early in 1803, immediately after he had refused to allow a cargo of spirits to be landed from the Atlas, culminated in the circulation of libellous ‘pipes’ against him and his officials.[55] The investigations and courts martial that followed revealed the animosity that existed between the governor and the corps. King declared that ‘for the prosperity of His Majesty’s subjects in this territory...some change is absolutely necessary in our criminal courts’. With this Colonel Paterson entirely agreed, asserting that ‘most of the disquiet that has agitated this settlement...is chiefly to be attributed to the unfortunate mixture of civil and military duties’.[56] In November 1801, King had repeated Hunter’s action and sent home an accused officer, John Macarthur, charged with fighting a duel with his commander, Paterson, itself the result of a quarrel with the governor.[57] But in July 1805, Macarthur returned but had not been court-martialled. He had resigned his commission and obtained an order for 5,000 acres of the best land in the colony for his sheep-breeding.[58] Although King recognised the economic importance of Macarthur’s proposals for sheep farming for the colony and supported them, he had received little political support in London. The same occurred when he complained of the proceedings of the local courts martial as vitally affecting the peace of the colony, the judge-advocate in London in January 1804 coldly told him that ‘for the sake of harmony’ he would ‘pass over any seeming irregularity’.[59] Disputes with the NSW Corps and a recurrence of gout led King to ask for leave of absence in May 1803 while an inquiry was held into the state of the colony.[60] In November, the secretary of state received King’s request and immediately accepted what he was quick to interpret as an offer of resignation.[61] After King received Hobart’s reply in June 1804 his activities slowed down. However, he was not relieved until August 1806[62] and in the interval he suspected that other critics especially Maurice Margarot, Henry Hayes, Michael Robinson and William Maum were blackening his reputation in England.[63] This negative view of King remained and Watson concluded on 1915 that

...it is difficult to trace any direct influence of the governor [King] in the improvement of the conditions of life in the colony. The colony made considerable progress, but probably all the development was due to automatic and general causes, unaided by the personality or direction of the administrator.[64]

The problems faced by Hunter and especially by King have tended to be seen in terms of the breakdown in relations between their successor, William Bligh, and the NSW Corps. This judgement is particularly unfair as far as King was concerned since he made a significant contribution to the economic development of the colony especially the move away from a government-led economy to one in which private enterprise played an increasingly important role.

Initially a colony of convicts and guards, under Phillip, Hunter and King NSW was ruled by a military government though there was an element of civilian rule in the person of civil magistrates and, from the outset, an embryonic notion of the rule of law.[65] The persistent problem of a colony faced with endemic shortages and the real threat of periodic starvation was far from resolved by 1806 when the disastrous floods again demonstrated just how precarious survival could be.[66] Successive governors were increasingly faced by the changing nature composition of colonial society as convicts gained their freedom and free settlers began to arrive. This, combined with the growing power of the NSW Corps that exploited the colony in its own economic interests, created growing problems with military rule. Colonists had access to the courts but those courts were dominated by military personnel who often had little sympathy for the plight of either emancipists or free settlers. The need to rein in the power of the NSW Corps and especially its officer elite led to a division within the ruling elite as Hunter and then King sought to assert their gubernatorial authority. Faced by a military elite with sympathetic access to the decision-making process in London and the problem of retaining support from successive secretaries of state whose policies were rarely consistent, neither Hunter, who was recalled or King, who ‘resigned’ made any permanent inroads into the power of the Corps. When Governor William Bligh (1806-1810)[67] vigorously challenged the near-monopoly of trade and land grants being exercised by army officers of the NSW Corps and their associates amongst the leading landowners, he was arrested by the army in 1808 in Australia’s only military coup.[68]


[1] See, for example, Hunter to King, 11 July 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 175-176.

[2] King to Portland, 28 September 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 177-195 is his first despatch where he used the title ‘Acting Governor’.

[3] King to Under-Secretary King, 3 May 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, p. 83.

[4] King to Under-Secretary King, 3 May 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, p. 84.

[5] Hunter embarked on board H.M.S. Buffalo on 28 September, 1800 and King assumed the administration on the same day by virtue of a dormant commission issued to him in May 1798. It was not until 20 February 1802 that Hunter’s commission was revoked and King appointed Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief. For King’s Commission and Instructions dated 20 February 1802, see, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 697-711, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, pp. 384-398.

[6] Hunter made his commission and instruction available to King on 19 April 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, p. 80 but, according to Hunter to King, 11 July 1800, King did not replicate, HRA, Series I, Vol. 2, p. 662.

[7] See, King to Portland, 29 April 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, p. 79 makes clear King’s decision and King to Foveaux, 26 June 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 96-108 details Foveaux’s appointment and instructions.

[8] King to Sir Joseph Banks, 3 May 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 82-83.

[9] The Horse Guards to Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson, 6 March 1799, HRNSW, Vol. 3, pp. 639-640. Paterson arrived in Sydney in November 1799.

[10] King to Paterson, 8 September 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 139-140.

[11] Regulations were issued on 10 September 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 144-146 and in greater detail on 1 October 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 220-222.

[12] Fletcher, B.H., ‘Balmain, William (1762-1803)’, ADB, Vol. 1, pp. 51-52.

[13] Auchmuty, J.J., ‘Wentworth, D’Arcy (1762-1827)’, ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 579-582.

[14] On this decision see the correspondence in September 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 141-143.

[15] King received support from London in the form of hop plants: Hobart to King, 24 February 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 48; Hobart to King, 9 May 1803, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, p. 79 stated that a brewery was being established.

[16] King to Portland, 10 March 1801, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, pp. 7-8 for King’s concerns about spirits brought from the United States and, despite instructions from London to the contrary, from India. See also, HRNSW, Vol. 6, p. 150.

[17] See, King to Hunter, 6 July 1800 and subsequent correspondence, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 170-177.

[18] HRNSW, Vol. 4, p. 377.

[19] See, for example, King’s general orders on 2-3 October 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 222-224.

[20] Government and General Order, 11 June 1801, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 402-403 re-established the notion of only two assigned convicts for military officers.

[21] Portland to King, 19 June 1801, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, p. 99. The number of assigned servants (not convicts employed as labourers) for magistrates was reduced to four, Government and General Order, 16 December 1801, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, pp. 467-468. Hobart to King, 5 April 1803, HRA, Series I, Vol. 4, p. 63 increased the salaries of civil officials (but not military) and removed assigned servants from both: ‘I have received His Majesty's commands to direct you to withdraw from all the officers of the civil and military establishment of the settlement the two convicts who have hitherto been allowed to them by Government. The augmentation of the salaries of the civil officers will enable them to pay for the services of such convicts as they may choose to employ, in lieu of the two hitherto allowed them, and

the military officers can have no claim, in the present advanced state of the colony, to any aid of this kind, beyond what is allowed to military officers serving in other colonies.’

[22] Hobart to King, 24 February 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 45: ‘I observe that the quantity of land cultivated for Government has been of late considerably increased...I am inclined to think it would not be advisable to augment it to any considerable extent beyond that proportion.’

[23] King to Hobart, 14 November 1801, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, pp. 324-325 saw prices rise to 15s a bushel though by January 1802 prices had returned to 8s a bushel, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, p. 607. In early 1803, this was further reduced to 7s 6d at Sydney and Parramatta and 7s at Hawkesbury, King to Hobart, 1 March 1804, HRA, Series I, Vol. 4, pp. 518-519.

[24] HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, pp. 134-136 details a petition from Hawkesbury settlers on 21 August 1801 and King’s response.

[25] The most extensive report was in Sydney Gazette, 30 March, 1806. There had been floods previously in 1799 and 1800 and later in 1809. This led to later Macquerie townships being built on higher land and remained largely dry in the floods in 1816 and 1819. However, the area remains prone to flooding.

[26] On King’s assessment of the state of the colony on 31 December 1801 and 30 October 1802 see HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 651-670, 866-880.

[27] King’s perceptive remarks on Macarthur’s livestock showed his grasp of the need to improve government cattle and sheep, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 114-115.

[28] HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, pp. 29-32, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 312-315, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 113-114.

[29] HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 556. See also Macarthur’s comments, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 173-175.

[30] On sheep farming in 1805 see, King to Camden, 2 October 1805, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, pp. 555-568.

[31] King to Portland, 8 July 1801, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, p. 116 stated that coal was already being exported to India at £3 a ton

[32] Dallas, K.M., ‘Enderby, Samuel (1756-1829)’, ADB, Vol. 1, p. 357.

[33] As early as 1792, Sydney Cove was the centre for the profitable whale and seal trade around the southern coasts. Under Governor King, if not necessarily because of him, the colony made great strides. Whaling brought profit to its shores, for the ships came into Sydney to refit. King referred to whaling as the only ‘staple’ and saw visions of secondary profits. The American whalers provided a market for foodstuffs, water and timber. By 1800, London was unloading 300 tons of sperm oil fished off the coast of NSW. The whaling and sealing industry was quite unregulated and King recognised that this uncontrolled slaughter would ruin the industry and on 9 May 1803 he wrote to Nepean, HRA, Series I, Vol. 4, p. 249, ‘Although a vast quantity of Sea Elephants and Seals have been taken and still abound about Hunters Island and Kings Island, yet from the different communications I have received I shall find it expedient to restrain individuals from resorting there in too great numbers, and to fix certain times for their visiting these places, to prevent the destruction of that commercial advantage. Since I took command 16,000 gallons of oil and 27,800 seal skins have been imported from thence by individuals, 1,063 tuns of spermaceti oil have also been procured by the south whalers, all which I need not point out as a rising nursery for Seamen.’

[34] On the development of the South Sea whale-fishery, see, minutes of the Board of Trade, 4 December 1801, HRNSW, Vol. 4, p. 630. See also, Little, B., ‘Sealing and Whaling in Australia Before 1850’, Australian Economic History Review, Vol. 9, (1969), pp. 109-127.

[35] King to Hobart, 14 August 1804, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, p. 9, 20-22, 53-63. Steven, Margaret, ‘Campbell, Robert (1769-1846)’, ADB, Vol. 1, pp. 202-206 and the more detailed Merchant Campbell 1769-1846, (Melbourne University Press) 1965. King had a high regard for Campbell commenting to Bligh that he had been ‘the greatest services to the inhabitants...that the price of his merchandise was the same in time of scarcity as in abundance, that he had advanced a great sum of money, and protected the poor and distressed settler; and that in fact he was the only private pillar which supported the honest people of the Colony’.

[36] King to Camden, 30 April 1804, HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 603, King to Hobart, 14 August 1804, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, p. 9. East India Company to Sir Stephen Cottrell, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 644-645 gave its response to King’s proposal.

[37] King to Lieutenant-Governor Collins, 26 November 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 263-268.

[38] HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 28.

[39] ‘Bellasis, George Bridges (- 1825)’, ADB, Vol. 1, p. 83. See also, King to Hobart, 9 May 1803, HRA, Series I, Vol. 4, pp. 173-174.

[40] MacLaurin, E.C.B., ‘Fitzgerald, Richard (1772-1840)’, ADB, Vol. 1, pp. 383-384.

[41] Perry, T.M., ‘Meehan, James (1774-1826)’, ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 219-220.

[42] Parsons, Vivienne, ‘Mann, David Dickenson (1775?-1811?)’, ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 201-202.

[43] Byrnes, J.V., ‘Thompson, Andrew (1773?-1810)’, ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 519-521.

[44] Cable, K.J., ‘Fulton, Henry (1761-1840)’, ADB, Vol. 1, pp. 421-422.

[45] Parsons, Vivienne, ‘Dixon, James (1758-1840)’, ADB, Vol. 1, p. 309.

[46] Hunter to Officers, 4 September 1800, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 119-130 details the inquiry into an Irish plot in 1800 and King to Banks, 8 October 1800 on a threatened rebellion by United Irishmen at Parramatta, HRNSW, Vol. 4, p. 229 and pp. 235-238

[47] On the ‘Irish rebellion’ of 1804, see below pp. 495-526.

[48] King to Hobart, 14 August 1804, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, p. 2. King to Camden, 20 July 1805, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, p. 529 indicated the state of work on Fort Phillip and its armaments.

[49] This is evident particularly in correspondence between Hobart and King, for example, Hobart to King, 30 November 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 271-272: ‘I approve the exertions you have made to effect this desirable object [reduction of Treasury Bills]....at the same time [I] remark that the supplies of all descriptions which have been sent to the colony...have been extremely liberal...’

[50] Government and General Order, 14 June 1802, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 789-790.

[51] King to Hobart, 9 May 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 115. Vaccinations occurred at Norfolk Island, in Sydney and on the Derwent in VDL.

[52] Byrnes, J.V., ‘Howe, George (1769-1821)’, ADB, Vol. 1, pp. 557-559. King to Hobart, 9 May 1803, HRA, Series I, Vol. 4, p. 85.

[53] King to Hobart, 9 May 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 118.

[54] King to Bligh, n.d., 1807, Mitchell Library, Philip Gidley King Papers, C189, p. 273 cit, Banner, Stuart, Possessing the Pacific: land, settlers, and indigenous people from Australia to Alaska, (Harvard University Press), 2007, p. 31.

[55] The deteriorating relationship between King and the military in early 1803 is detailed in HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 22-37. Some of these libels are printed in HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp 123-127; see also, King to Hobart, 9 May 1803, HRA, Series I, Vol. 4, pp. 159-160, 167-173.

[56] Paterson to War Office, 24 August 1801, HRA, Vol. 3, p. 292.

[57] King to Portland, 25 September 1801, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 529-533, 559-582 considers the duel between Paterson and Macarthur; King to Portland, 5 November 1801, HRNSW, Vol. 4, pp. 609-610, HRA, Series I, Vol. 3, pp. 280-286, 296-298 on the duel, its causes and on sending Macarthur to England for trial. However Adjutant-General Calvert to Under-Secretary Sullivan, 31 January 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 11-13 made clear the impossibility of trying Macarthur in England and remitted the trial back to NSW.

[58] Camden to King, 31 October 1804, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, pp. 161-162 detailed the land and convicts Macarthur was to receive. King to Camden, 20 July 1805, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp 660-662, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, pp. 510-512 suggest King and Macarthur were reconciled as King was prepared to give him assistance with his land grant and sheep farming.

[59] Judge-Advocate Morgan to King, 4 January 1804, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 301-302.

[60] King to Hobart, 9 May 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 130.

[61] Hobart to King, 30 November 1803, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 273-274.

[62] Castlereagh to King, 20 November 1805, HRNSW, Vol. 5, p. 735, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, p. 489 informed King that Bligh was his replacement.

[63] King’s concerns about Margarot and Hayes were initially expressed in a letter to Under-Secretary Sullivan, 21 August 1804, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 450-451. King to Under-Secretary Cooke, 20 July 1805, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 663-667 detailed his concerns about what he saw as their ‘vile assassinating acts’.

[64] Watson, Frederick, ‘Introduction’, HRA, Series I, Vol. 5, p. xiii.

[65] On this issue, see below, pp. 305-326.

[66] On the Hawkesbury flood, March 1806, see, King to Camden, 7 April 1806, HRNSW, Vol. 6, pp. 59-65. Over 23,000 bushels of wheat and 3,500 livestock plus 7 lives were lost and over 36,000 acres of land inundated.

[67] For Bligh’s commission and instructions, dated 26 May 1804, see, HRNSW, Vol. 5, pp. 628-641.

[68] On Bligh as governor of NSW and the Rum rebellion, see below, pp. 527-564.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Philip Gidley King: the making of a Governor

It was Arthur Phillip who chose King[1] as second lieutenant on HMS Sirius for the expedition to establish a convict settlement in NSW. King had served with Phillip before the First Fleet and was regarded as his protégé. Phillip certainly had a high opinion of King and consciously promoted his interests throughout the late 1780s and 1790s. Despite his lowly rank, soon after the settlement was established at Sydney Cove, King was selected to lead a small party of convicts and guards to set up a settlement at Norfolk Island.[2] On 14 February 1788, King sailed for his new post with a party of twenty-three, including fifteen convicts.[3] On 6 March 1788, King and his party landed with difficulty, owing to the lack of a suitable harbour and set about building huts, clearing the land, planting crops and resisting the ravages of grubs, salt air and hurricanes.[4] More convicts were sent and these proved occasionally troublesome. Early in 1789, King prevented a mutiny when some of the convicts planned to take him and other officers prisoner and escape on the next boat to arrive.[5] Despite the lack of a safe harbour, of lime and timbered land, there was plenty of fish, the stock flourished and the soil was good. It could maintain ‘at least one hundred families’, King told Phillip. Impressed by his work, the governor several times recommended his subordinate for naval promotion, but this would have raised difficulties because of King’s lack of seniority. To solve the problem the secretary of state announced in December 1789 that King would be appointed lieutenant-governor of Norfolk Island at a salary of £250.[6]

Following the wreck of Sirius at Norfolk Island in March 1790, King left and returned to England to report on the difficulties facing the settlements in NSW. During his twenty months absence the island had been under the command of Lieutenant-Governor Robert Ross[7] but Ross was not an easy commandant and convicts, settlers, soldiers and officials had become discontented under his rule.[8] King found ‘discord and strife on every person’s countenance’ and was ‘pestered with complaints, bitter revilings, back-biting’.[9] Tools and skilled labour were both very short. Thefts were common and there was still no criminal court on the island, despite the representations he had made in London on the need for better judicial arrangements.[10] However, King’s able and enthusiastic guidance helped to improve conditions. The regulations he issued in 1792 encouraged the settlers, who were drawn from ex-marines and ex-convicts, and he was willing to listen to their advice on fixing wages and prices and other things. By 1794, the island was self-sufficient in grain, and had a surplus of swine that it could send to Sydney. The numbers ‘off the store’ were high and few of the settlers wanted to leave, but unfortunately King had had no success with the growing of flax that so interested the British government.[11] In February 1794, King was faced with unfounded allegations by members of the NSW Corps on the island that he was punishing them too severely and ex-convicts too lightly when disputes arose. As their conduct became for mutinous, he sent twenty of them to Sydney for trial by court-martial.[12] There Lieutenant-Governor Francis Grose censured King’s actions in going to New Zealand without first informing him, something with which Portland the new secretary of state in London later concurred and issued orders that gave the military illegal authority over the civilian population.[13] Grose later apologised, but conflict with the military continued to plague King.

Suffering from gout, King returned to England in October 1796, and after regaining his health, he resumed his naval career.[14] Phillip had wanted King to be appointed governor of New South Wales in 1792 and had continued to advocate King’s cause after Hunter had been preferred in 1794. In January 1798, it was decided that he should return to New South Wales with a dormant commission as Governor-General to succeed Hunter in the event of the latter’s death or absence from the colony, though at that time there was no question of Hunter being recalled.[15] The commission was issued on 1 May.[16] However, King was delayed in England for a further year[17] and when he finally sailed in a whaler, the Speedy on 26 November 1799 the situation had changed and he carried the dispatch recalling Hunter.


[1] For biographical information, see Shaw, A.G.L., ‘King, Philip Gidley (1758-1808)’, ADB, Vol. 2, pp. 55-61; King, J. and J., Philip Gidley King: a biography of the third governor of New South Wales, (Methuen), 1981.

[2] See, Hoare, Merval, Norfolk Island; an outline of its history 1774-1968, (University of Queensland Press), 1969, Hazzard, Margaret, Punishment Short of Death: A History of the Penal Settlement at Norfolk Island, (Hyland House), 1984 and Treadgold, M.L., Bounteous bestowal: the economic history of Norfolk Island, (Australian National University), 1988.

[3] Crittenden, Victor, King of Norfolk Island: The Story of Philip Gidley King as Commandant and Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island, (Mulini Press), 1993. For King’s appointment and instructions see, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 136-138. Fidlon, P.G. and Ryan, R.J., (eds.), The Journal of Philip Gidley King: Lieutenant, R.N., 1787-1790, (Australian Documents Library), 1980 provides King’s view of his governance of Norfolk Island until 1790.

[4] Phillip to Sydney, 28 September 1788, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 185-187 provides analysis of the resources of Norfolk Island. Ross to Phillip, 11 February 1791 gives a detailed discussion of problems encountered, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 434-450.

[5] Phillip to Sydney, 12 February 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 293-294. Since Phillip had corresponded with Sydney during 1789, it is difficult to explain why he left it a year before informing him of the mutiny.

[6] For King’s commission dated 28 January 1790, see, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 287-288.

[7] For Ross’ instruction dated 2 March 1790, see, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 314-316. See also his observations on the island in December 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 416-420 and the contrast with King’s observations in January 1791 when he was in London, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 428-431.

[8] He had introduced martial law almost as soon as he arrived at Norfolk Island because of the loss of the Sirius; see, Ross to Phillip, 22 March 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 319-320; see also the enclosures pp. 321-323 in which Ross laid down the standards that would now operate on the island. Phillip informed Grenville in a letter dated 14 July 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 357-358. Food shortages on Norfolk Island led Ross to introduce draconian measures in proclamations on 7 August 1790, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 390-393.

[9] King to Under Secretary Nepean, 23 November 1791, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), p. 562; see also King to Phillip, 29 December 1791, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), pp. 572-580.

[10] See Phillip to Dundas, 4 October 1791, HRNSW, Vol. 1, (2), p. 655 on the inconveniences of the lack of a criminal court on Norfolk Island. Legislation was finally passed in London establishing a criminal court on Norfolk Island on 9 May 1794, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp. 235-236.

[11] King to Dundas, 19 November 1793, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp. 86-98 details the voyage to New Zealand to obtain Maori help with flax production. This failed and the natives returned to New Zealand, HRNSW, Vol. 2, p. 174.

[12] King to Grose, 30 January 1794, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp. 103-110.

[13] Grose to King, 25 February 1794, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp. 125-131; King to Dundas, 10 March 1794, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp.135-173 detailed the mutiny and Grose’ response. For King’s response to Grose’s reprimand see, King to Grose, 19 March 1794, HRNSW, Vol. 2, pp. 173-192.

[14] King provided a summary of his career in King to Portland, 15 June 1797, HRNSW, Vol. 3, pp. 221-223. In this, he emphasised that he had been commended by Phillip and by Henry Dundas, the previous secretary of state.

[15] This was agreed on 27 January 1798, HRNSW, Vol. 3, p. 353.

[16] This is printed in HRNSW, Vol. 3, p. 381 and HRA, Series I, Vol. 2, p. 605 and announced in The Star, 19 May 1798.

[17] The initial plan was for him to sail on the Porpoise, but initial trials showed the ship to be unseaworthy, see King to Sir Joseph Banks, 6 February 1799 and George Caley to Sir Joseph Banks, 9 February 1799, HRNSW, Vol. 3, pp. 533-538 and King to Sir Andrew Hamond, Comptroller of the Navy Board, 14 February 1799, HRNSW, Vol. 3, pp. 544-546. Once modifications had been made and after a significant delay, the Porpoise sailed in September 1799 but problems with the steering gear led to its return to England: King to Sir Joseph Banks, 17 September 1799 and King to Sir A. Hamond, 18 September 1799, HRNSW, Vol. 3, pp. 718-721. By early October 1799, the Porpoise had been declared unfit for service: Portland to the Admiralty Commissioners, 5 October 1799, HRNSW, Vol. 3, p. 723.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

School sports and the Olympics

Let me start by declaring an interest.  When I was at school I hated PE and competitive sports largely because I was absolutely useless at them all and this was continuously made clear by the sarcastic comments of my teachers and the patronising attitude of my fellow students who were sports-oriented and very good at them.  You remember: let’s pick teams followed by being picked last and having the football or netball passed to you once or twice in the game.  It was only in the sixth form when we were given some choice that I took up badminton and thoroughly enjoyed it but by then the rot had already set in.  I still enjoy walking and gardening and use them to get my weekly dose of exercise but sport, whether competitive or not, never grabbed my interest.  Not surprisingly I have been less than enamoured with the Olympics though I am pleased with the success of Team GB, the enthusiasm of the crowds and the spirit demonstrated by those who volunteered to help. But I can’t say I’ll be sad to see its end.

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It’s no surprise that the government (any government in fact) is attempting to jump on the band-waggon of success by trying to revive competitive school sport in primary schools and emphasising the need for two hour a week of sport in secondary schools.  But it does smack of opportunism and one does have to question whether it is sincere in its prognostications on the issue.  Yes there has been significant enthusiasm created by the Olympics and, with growing levels of childhood and adult obesity, there is a need to boost physical activity but there is a serious mismatch between what may be laudable aims and the resources available in schools to achieve them.  Many, probably most primary schools do not have PE specialists or the fields necessary to make competitive sport for all students a reality.  Like constitutional reform, reform school sports cannot be seen as a priority when the economy is at best flat-lining and the euro crisis is far from over. 
Cameron may have said that ‘If we want to have a great sporting legacy for our children - and I do - we have got to have an answer that brings the whole of society together to crack this, more competition, more competitiveness, more getting rid of the idea all-must-win prizes and you can't have competitive sports days.’  But he also admitted that ‘some teachers’ did not want to join in and ‘play their part’, a characteristically patronising comment.  Why should teachers ‘play their part’ anyway especially if they have no interest in sport or in drama or music or dance for that matter?  Many teachers do make a huge contribution to sport in schools and good on them but for others it does not figure in their educational priorities if at all.  Their contribution may be in other areas, running clubs, helping with debating societies or working with Parent Teacher Associations.  Education, despite the quest for uniformity among politicians over the past two decades, has never been a one size fits all activity.  Just as students have a variety of skills and abilities, so do teachers and for some of use sport is not one of them.  Relying on teachers to achieve a cultural breakthrough in sport is doomed to failure...look what happened to school sport during the dispute with the government in the mid-1980s…it virtually disappeared outside school hours.  The Olympics may have been great, the enthusiasm engendered spectacular but I’d rather see kids running around kicking and football or riding their bikes that being enmeshed into a curriculum straight-jacket of government making and anyway it will be another bright idea next week!!!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Rebellion in Canada, 1837-1885 Volume 1: Autocracy, Rebellion and Liberty

JUST PUBLISHED

In less than fifty years Canada experienced six major rebellions: in Lower and Upper Canada in late 1837 and 1838, the Fenian rebellions of 1866 and 1870 and the Pembina affair in 1871 and Louis Riel's resistance at Red River in 1869-1870 and his rebellion fifteen years later in Saskatchewan. Each failed to achieve its aims and, in one sense, the two books in the Canadian Rebellion series are studies of political disappointment. The rebellions revealed the draconian ways in which the state responded to threats to public order and legitimate authority. Yet it is the losers in 1837-1838 and 1885, though this is less the case for those in 1866 and 1870 who are now better and more positively remembered than the victors. These events each represented the beginnings of political change and especially the move towards 'responsive', 'responsible' and 'representative' government as British Government, at least in its imperial manifestation recognised the necessity of rule with the consent of colonists.

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Autocracy, Rebellion and Liberty examines the way in which the Canadas developed from the 1760s through to Confederation a century later. The opening chapters consider the context for the rebellions in 1837 and 1838. Chapter 1 examines the development of the two Canadas between the end of French Canada in 1760 and the turn of the century. Chapter 2 considers the economic, social, political, ideological and cultural tensions that evolved from the 1790s and the largely unsuccessful attempts by the colonial state and politicians in London to find acceptable and sustainable solutions to populist demands for greater autonomy. Chapter 3 looks in detail at the rebellions in 1837 and 1838 and at their immediate aftermath. Chapter 4 examines the ways in which Canadian politics developed in the newly united Province of Canada in the years between 1841 and the creation of Confederation in 1867.

Contents:

Series Preface
Prologue: Conflicting Liberties
1 Forming the Canadas
2 From discord to rebellion
3 Rebellions and Retribution, 1837-1839
4 From Union to Confederation
Appendices
Further reading
Index

Features:

Comprehensive narrative of the context, causes, course and consequences of the rebellions combining analysis of the constitutional, political, social, economic and cultural features.
Examines the critical role played by Louis-Joseph Papineau, William Mackenzie, Louis LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin in the move from an autocratic to responsive and responsible system of government.
Considers the rebellions in their historiographical context.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Rebellion in Canada

My decision to publish Rebellion in Canada as two print volumes as well as a combined Kindle edition has given me the opportunity to produce the covers for the two books.

Rebellion in Canada Volume 1

Autocracy, Rebellion and Liberty examines the way in which the Canadas developed from the 1760s through to Confederation a century later. The opening chapters consider the context for the rebellions in 1837 and 1838. Chapter 1 examines the development of the two Canadas between the end of French Canada in 1760 and the turn of the century. Chapter 2 considers the economic, social, political, ideological and cultural tensions that evolved from the 1790s and the largely unsuccessful attempts by the colonial state and politicians in London to find acceptable and sustainable solutions to populist demands for greater autonomy. Chapter 3 looks in detail at the rebellions in 1837 and 1838 and at their immediate aftermath. Chapter 4 examines the ways in which Canadian politics developed in the newly united Province of Canada in the years between 1841 and the creation of Confederation in 1867.

Rebellion in Canada Volume 2

The second volume, The Irish, the Fenians and the Metis, considers the impact of the Irish diaspora on the United States and Canada and the rebellions led largely by Irish-American Fenians in the 1860s and 1870s and also the rebellions, led by Louis Riel in 1869-1870 and 1885, by the Metis. Chapter 1 examines the Irish diaspora to North America during the nineteenth century and focuses especially on the impact of the Famine in the 1840s and 1850s. Chapter 2 considers at the ways in which Irish nationalism maintained a strong political presence in the United States and Canada from the beginning of the nineteenth century and the emergence of the Fenian Brotherhood in New York in 1858. The political impact of this movement was both enhanced and restricted by the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865 yet the Fenians emerged in April 1865 as a powerful, if increasingly divided, force with concrete plans for the liberation of Ireland. Chapter 3 explores in detail at the three Irish-American Fenian incursions into Canada in 1866, 1870 and briefly and debatably in 1871, the impact that they had on Canadian and American politics and how this led to changes in Irish nationalism in the 1870s. Chapters 4 and 5 extend the story geographically beyond Quebec and Ontario across the continent to the unchartered and largely unsettled prairies of the North-West. The importance of rebellion in state-building in Canada is considered in the final chapter.