‘The men who founded the second British Empire during the reign of George III revived a policy which had animated their predecessors in the  age of the Tudors…but their Georgian successors were far more powerfully equipped’. Vincent T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire, Vol. 2, 1763-1793, Longmans, 1964

 1789 – London: A letter sent by a long-dead Tudor notable to under-secretary Evan Nepean at the Home Office in 1789 sets out the strategic and economic vision for New Holland held, on behalf of His Majesty King George III, by the Younger William Pitt Prime Minister.


‘I need not enlarge on the benefit of stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales…New Holland is a good blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India’. “W” Raleigh, Edinburgh, to Evan Nepean Under-Secretary to Lord Sydney, Home Office, London 1789.

1793: The conflict Walter Raleigh sought to influence from ‘New South Wales’ between Britain and France began in February 1793 and lasted twenty-five (25) years.

1793 – 3 February, France: The French Revolutionary War began when France declared war on Britain in February 1793 and under General Napoleon Bonaparte morphed into global warfare.

A generation of destruction and carnage ended with England’s Duke of Wellington decisive defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo on 18th June 1815.

‘Sir, [said the letter] It is much to the credit of those in office [William Pitt the Younger] that an empire has been  founded  in the south, which time will render much superior to that which their predecessors [Lord North’s administration] have lost in the west [America].

It is the duty of every good citizen to give the new colony every assistance his pen or his purse can afford. The following suggestions have flowed from the best motives, and I hope they will be received with candour.

In looking back to the tottering foundation of the colonies of Virginia and New England, I find the first settlers were much more unfortunate than the founders of the present settlement in New Holland. Indeed, the latter have been in every respect successful, a few attempts in husbandry excepted.

To give the colony immediate consistency, it is humbly recommended that the following mode of culture be adopted. That the land as soon as cleared be prepared for sowing; that wheat be never attempted except in the very  best land; the second year the land be laid down in a green crops, consisting of field-peas or turnips’ both these will ameliorate the soil, while the former will be found an excellent succedaneum for hay, and the latter afford good pasture for sheep and black cattle.

Sheep will never fail where the turnip is cultivated, and it cannot be cultivated with greater success than in New Holland. The third year it is proposed that it should be sown again, with barley or bean, and laid down in clover, rye grass, lucerne, or any other European grass.

The land in the vicinity of Port Jackson would in this manner afford sufficient pasture in a short time for any live stock it might be supplied with, while the turnips, the peas, and the other intermediate steps of the proposed mode of culture would afford present security. the grass in a uncleared country we cannot expect to give proper nourishment to sheep or cattle.

When Caesar landed in Britain he would have found the country execerable for farming had he made the experiment. It may be proper to observe, however, that ’till better grass can be procured, by frequent cuttings with the scythe, that the natural grass may be much improved and thickened where the ground will admit of it.

To prepare the best land for wheat, it should be ploughed frequently (for the plough must not be excluded from New South Wales, if provisions for the colony be expected to grow there), manured with algamarine or sea weed for a whole summer and sown with wheat in March.

Dampier mentions several heaths in New Holland; if they can be discovered they’ll afford good present feeding for sheep; if they cannot, perhaps a detachment settled at the foot of the hills, about sixty miles inland  from Port Jackson, might be beneficially employed in rearing feeding sheep, while the situation might lead to discoveries of more value than we are aware of.

At that distant situation from the shore they would not be molested by the natives, who, living on fish, range chiefly along the coast. The cattle should be guarded from straying by fences of good strong paling, and the sheep on all occasions well herded.

The seeds of all kinds of European grass might be sent with the next sailing fleet, and the no article can be of greater use. Flax seed and hemp seed might be also sent, and might in time clothe and employ the new settlers.

Perhaps it might not be amiss to engage two [2] or three [3] young men for a few years, and send them, if found well versed in the secret of agriculture, to direct or superintend the rural labours of the colony, to husband the land, and improve their stock.

Their stock might be much better increased from Lima and other ports on the western coast of South America than from the Cape of Good Hope. It might be had cheaper from the Spaniards, and if permission is obtained from them to pay in European goods for as much live stock as would supply the new colony the saving  would be immense.

The distance is not much greater, and it is much better sailing in the Pacific Ocean than in the tempestuous climate of the Cape.

Strict orders should be given, however, not to attempt carrying any women to Botany Bay from islands in the South
Sea; it would be inevitable attended with the most pernicious consequences.

To guard the settlement effectually against the ferocious incursions of the natives, the following remedy is humbly recommended: that a regiment consisting of six hundred [600] men be immediately transported thither.

That two [200] of them be stationed at Botany Bay, two hundred [200] at Cape Banks or any other convenient station to the northwards, and a third division of equal force [200] be posted on some favourable spot at the distance of fifteen [15] miles inland, directly westward of Port Jackson.

This would leave a wide field for the enterprise and industry of the colonists, consisting of an area of almost twenty [20] square miles, where they might pursue their labours in perfect serenity, without being harassed by their own fear or by the insidious attempts of their ferocious neighbours.

To add to the civilized population of the country, as well as to the happiness and comfort of the troops, every soldier should be allowed and even encouraged to take with him his wife and family. by the best disciplines forces the lines are never so well manned when they have nothing at stake which they hold dear to them.

Safe in their cares th’auxiliar forces sleep,

Whose wives and infants,  from the dangers far,

Discharge their souls of half the care of war.

The troops should not be relieved in less than seven [7] years.

In that time a considerable saving might be made in clothing, &c., nearly equal to the expense of transportation. A canvass frock and blackstock would form the best uniform for the climate, and a part of this by proper management they and their wives might manufacture.

I need not enlarge on the benefit of stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales. Should any disturbance (which God forbid) happen in the East Indies, they might be transported thither before our enemies in Europe knew anything of the matter; but reinforcements from Europe are of little avail, their number becomes known to our rivals, and they despatch troops equal or superior in number to them.

New Holland is a good blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India.

These are the first effusions of a series of  economical remarks on the subject which you will receive in time. I have taken this method because I wish to be unknown. I have no motive but the public good. No person, not even yourself, shall ever know from where this proceeds, and I give my honor not a hint of it shall ever transpire. I am, &c.,  “W. Raleigh”.

Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. 1 Part 1 & 2, ed. Frank Murcott Bladen, Nabu Public Domain Reprint

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