William Richards and Son, Shipbrokers

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William Richards Senior (1772-1779)

William Richards Senior was working as a ship broker by September 1772, and was formally TNA ADMitted in November. Thus far, the earliest transaction that we have been able to locate is an advertisement in September 1773 for the Endeavour, 130 tons, Thomas Cooper, to sail to Amsterdam. The contact was ‘William Richards, Broker, New York’, a reference to the New York Coffee House.[1]

In June 1774, Richards advertised for the sale of the good brig Mercury, burthen about 100 tons, then lying at Hore’s Wharf. William Richards, broker, was listed as the point of contact. Once again, his address was the New York Coffee House.[2] The following month he advertised for freight on the Mercury, John Young, Commander, 140-ton burden, to sail for Quebec. No address was provided for Richards’ firm, and he ran two advertisements, on the 26th and 28th.[3]

In 1775, he advertised for the first time in a London Directory – William Richards, broker, of 41 Walbrook (or 41 Walbrook Court, Gracechurch Street), London or the New York Coffee House. He was listed at this address only in the years 1775 and 1776.[4] In March of that year, W. Richards was reported in the press as having imported 3,000 staves from New York.[5] In June, he advertised for freight and passage on the Two Friends, a vessel of 140 tons bound for St John’s, Newfoundland, which was due to sail on the 1st of July.[6] On 30 July, he advertised freight on the Blenheim, 320 tons, 16 carriage guns and 100 men, lying at Stone Stairs, bound for Kingston, Jamaica. His address was again at 41 Walbrook.[7] The same month, he imported wheat flour (120 casks) and staves (7M) from Philadelphia.[8] And in October he advertised the Brothers, lying at Union Stairs for Plymouth.[9]

The outbreak of war in 1775 must have radically altered the nature of his business. He arranged to be listed in at least two directories in 1776, and in March, he advertised for the Hetty, 160 tons, 6 guns, for St John’s Island, Gulf of St Lawrence.[10] In April, it was the Fanny, 140 tons, for Madeira.[11] In July, he advertised for freight on the Blenheim, for Kingston, Jamaica. Given the outbreak of war, the advertisement specifically mentioned that she had 16 carriage guns and 100 men.[12] (Such a large complement of men indicates that she was a privateer.)

In 1777, Richards was listed at 6 Sweetings Alley, the New York Coffee House and Berkeley Square. The New York Coffee House was located at 7 Sweetings Alley, so it appears that he was located in the building next door. The link to Berkeley Square is difficult to understand, since there he had no other links to that part of London.

Sweeting’s Alley ran between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill, parallel to Finch Lane and immediately adjacent to the Royal Exchange. (It no longer exists.) Over the years, it had hosted a number of coffee houses – Edinburgh (at least 1765-1790), Portugal (at least 1760-1777), Grigsby’s (1767-1772), Dublin and Cork (1765-1768), Amsterdam (1789), Baltic (1765-1767), Hambro (1781-1790), Senegal (1789). Unsurprisingly given that the alley ran alongside the Bank of England, there were numerous stockbrokers. But interestingly, there were a significant number of stationers and booksellers, and over the late 18th century, at least three stationers and stockbrokers. Notaries, watchmakers and clothiers were also well represented. It was not unusual for names to only appear in the directories for one year only.

In 1777, the Ebinburgh Coffee House was at No.1; Elias Smerdon, stationer and stockbroker was possibly at No.5; William Richards was at No.6; the New York Coffee House at No.7; Fisher & Nealson, stockbrokers, at No.8; Joseph Barber, stationer, was at No.9 (who was succeeded several years later by Samuel Barber, stockbroker); John and Catherine Veale of Stoughtons Elixir Warehouse, at No.12.

John Rudolph Staub, Notary, and Thomas Watkins, glover and hosier, were at No.14; Walter Cope and Wiliam Bignell, shipbrokers, were at No.15; Robert Shank, notary was at No.16; Jephtha Huntley, hatmaker, hosier and clothier, at No.17; Fountain Elwin, broker, at No.18.

William Richards and Son 1.jpg

On the 26th of February, Richards acted as broker in the sale of 293 barrels of Irish pork, at Old Lloyd’s Coffee House in Lombard Street.[13] We have only one other transaction for 1777 – on the 4th and 6th of December, William Richards, broker, now of 19 Finch Lane, advertised for the sale of 400 tierces of Irish mess beef and pork, just arrived and lying at Simmons Wharf.[14]

The business directories for 1778 list Richards at 19 Finch Lane. In January he advertised for the Adventure, 120 tons, 4 three pounders and 6 swivels, lying at Wapping Dock, for St Augustine.[15] In March, it was the Venus, 240 tons, 10 carriage guns, 8 swivels, warranted to sail with the Quebec convoy for Halifax on the 20th instant.[16] And in April, the Augustine packet, 170 tons, guns & men answerable, lying at Fountain Stairs with two-thirds of her cargo engaged, warranted to sail for St Augustine in East Florida with the West Indies convoy.[17] In May, he advertised the Industry, Peter F. Valiant, 150 tons, guns & men answerable, lying at the Old Rose, for St John’s Island. Any gentlemen having goods to ship or intending to go as passengers could apply to the captain at the Royal Exchange or the New York Coffee House.[18] In September 1778, he sold (at the New York Coffe House) the sloop Fox, prize to HMS Winchelsea and the Rose privateer, Captain Duncan.[19]

On 8 December 1778, the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations approved a petition by William Richards seeking leave to export to New York on board the ship London, ‘sundry military stores, for the use of privateers fitting out there’.[20] And on 4 February 1779, the Commissioners approved a petition by William Richards to export to Halifax on board the ship Sally, ‘certain military stores therein specified, for the use of a privateer’.[21]

Throughout 1778, Richards was actively involved in the importation from and exportation to various ports in the Americas. On the 10th of February, he exported to Halifax, iron, brass, hose, flannel, stuffs, frieze, baize, hops and Crooked Lane ware at £400.[22] In late April, he exported, again to Halifax, iron, copper, haberdashery, apothecary, hose, Crooked Lane ware and millenary at £200.[23] In August, he imported from Tobago, 64 bales of cotton.[24] And in October, he exported by certificate to New York, 800 casks of pork, 800 casks of beef, 400 casks of butter.[25]

On 14 April 1778, William Richards sold the effects of a bankrupt at the New York Coffee House – beef and butter. This is the only known example of Richards acting in a matter seemingly unrelated to shipping. However, given that it was a merchant’s estate, it is possible that this was also shipping-related.[26]

William Richards & Son (1779-1785)

William Richards Junior had done an apprenticeship as a stationer, and advertised as such for a little more than a year after completing his term, from the same address as his father, in Sweetings Alley. In late 1778, he was registered as a broker.

At some time between July 1776 and November 1778, William Richards the Younger was admitted to the freedom of the City of London. (The City Freedom TNA ADMission papers for this period are missing.) However, we know that he was a freeman of the city by the time he was admitted as a broker and provided his bond on 3 November 1778, since he was described as a ‘citizen and merchant tailor of London’, a description reserved for those who had the freedom of the Merchant Tailors Company and the City of London. Richards could not have practised as a broker without this status. Once again, we encounter the family link to the cloth trade, as his bond was co-signed by John Simpson, a draper of 8 Walbrook Court, London. William Richards’ address in this document was the same as his father’s of that year (19 Finch Lane).[27]

The Partnership

In the business directories of 1779, the partnership of William Richards & Son was listed for the first time. The Compleat Pocket Book lists William Richards with the address of 19 Finch Lane, London. The Kent Directory lists William Richards & Son and gives 19 Finch Lane or New York Coffee House, London. The London Directory lists William Richards & Son and gives the address as 6 Sweeting’s Alley (the address of the New York Coffee House).

On 22 January, William Richards submitted a petition to the Board of Trade praying leave to export to New York, on board the ship Edward, sundry military stores therein specified, for the purpose of fitting out privateers. The petition was allowed.[28]

On 20 and 21 April, William Richards & Son advertised for the sale of 252 casks of sweet oil, part of the cargo of the Providentia, Jurgen Wokler, taken by the Henniker privateer of Dover, Abraham Hubbard commander. Samples to be had at Mr John Letham’s, Dover, or by applying to William Richards & Son of 19 Finch Lane.[29]

In May, William Richards & Son, brokers, advertised seeking British and foreign vessels for charter for Holland and foreign ports. Applications were to be made between 12 and 3 o’clock any day except Sunday at the New York Coffee House, Sweetings Alley.[30] The following month, they advertised freight or passage on the Hannah, 200 tons, 10 carriage guns, a constant trader, by the first convoy to New York.[31] And in July, they were once again seeking to charter shipping – ‘several British or foreign vessels for Holland and different foreign powers’. Shipowners could apply to the New York Coffee House in Sweeting’s Alley.[32]

By 1780, the partnership had relocated its London office to 28 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, still providing the New York Coffee House as an alternative address. In that year, William Richards, Gentleman, of 28 Nicholas Lane, took out a fire insurance policy with the Sun for £1,000.[33]

On 7 January 1780, ‘William Richards & Sons’ (clearly a transcription error) submitted a petition to Treasury on behalf of a group of merchants trading with New York.

"Your petitioners having received orders from Newport for sundry necessaries for the use of his Majesty’s fleets, armies and inhabitants of that place, humbly pray your Lordships will please to grant us liberty to export such articles on the other side mentioned, in the ship Ranger, burthen 450 tons, carrying 22 carriage guns 24 pounders and 12 carriage guns 12 pounders, to be navigated with one hundred men, Thomas Martin, Master, to proceed from London."

The list included sundry clothing and stores. The names of the other parties are not given. It appears that this petition was considered by Treasury on the 18th of January.[34]

The Merchants Trading to North America

Throughout the first half of 1780, William Richards Sr. was actively involved with a committee of merchants, chaired by Philip Sansom, that were attempting to get legislation passed permitting trade with New York, then under British control. This began with a petition tabled in the House on 24 February, resulting in the submission of a bill ‘to allow the exportation of goods and merchandize from Great Britain to New York and all other places in North America, which are or may be in the possession of His Majesty’s troops.[35] Over the following months, the Bill wound its way through the parliamentary processes, through committees of both Houses, with amendments. William Eden and Alderman Hayley played a leading role in managing the Bill and it was finally passed the Commons on 30 May and the House of Lords on 20 June.[36] The subsequent legislation was known as the Exportation Act.

A meeting of these merchants took place at the New York Coffee House on the 3rd of July, with Philip Sansom in the chair and William Richards as secretary, which moved a vote of thanks to a number of politicians who had assisted them in their petition to open up trade with the British colonies in North America. These included the Earl of Carlisle, William Eden and Alderman Hayley. On 5 & 6 July, this notice was published in a number of papers.[37]

At a meeting of the ‘Merchants Trading to North America’ on 23 November, it was resolved to present an address of thanks to the Earl of Carlisle and Mr Eden for their friendship and support. In consequence, a committee of eight gentlemen (probably including William Richards, since he was secretary) waited on the Earl about a week later and presented the following address:

"To His Excellency the Earl of Carlisle and the Right Hon. William Eden.

"The Merchants of London trading to North America, incited by a due sense of the important benefits which have been derived to the commercial interests of this kingdom from your public spirited efforts, as well as by a personal gratitude for the obligations which you have conferred on them – beg leave to express their acknowledgements by this public address.

"The facility with which you have always admitted their communications, and the unwearied application which you have given to the progress and dispatch of their mercantile concerns, demand not only their warmest thanks, but the thanks of all to whom the assiduous exercise of public talents, in exalted stations, may be useful.

"By the patronage which you gave to the late Act of Parliament for reviving the trade of this country with certain parts of America, you have contributed to the relief of the inhabitants of those places, and to a great advancement of the British commerce.

"And although the hopes which had been entertained of your late commission being attended with success, and of peace and happiness being in consequence being diffused throughout those distracted provinces, have hitherto been defeated by the insidious artifices of the ancient and hereditary enemy of this empire; they still trust that the time is not far distant when those artifices will lose their effect, and when it will be seen that a boundless and selfish ambition has been concealed under the milk of pretended friendship.

"It is also the wish of the merchants to offer, with the utmost respect, their sincere congratulations on your appointment to very high and important stations in the sister kingdom of Ireland, at a times which requires, not only judgement to discern, but disposition to adopt such measures as may happily tend to rivet the bonds of friendship between the two kingdoms; and they cannot but presage the happiest consequences from the exercise of those virtues and abilities which have already been called forth, and which they doubt not will continue to be exerted by the prosperity of a brave, a powerful and a grateful people.

"By order of the meeting, Philip Sansom, Chairman"[38]

Trading Activities, 1780-83

In March 1780, William Richards & Son attempted to sell 30 tons of sperm whale oil, ‘just landed from New York’.[39] In May, the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations approved a petition by William Richards seeking leave to export to Belfast, on the Belfast Packet or any other vessel that may offer, ‘three hundred and seventy five musquets, for the use of John Staples, esquire, at Lisson near Dungannon’.[40]

May 1781 saw the firm advertising to sell wine, vinegar and prunes taken from a French ship, the Dayeraud, bound from Bordeaux to Rotterdam. She had been taken by two privateers, the True Briton and the Traveller. The sale was to take place in Dover, but samples of these items could be seen at the offices of William Richards & Son in Nicholas Lane, or at Mr John Latham’s in Dover.[41]

And the following year, William Richards & Son were listed among the subscribers to a fund for the widows and children of the officers and men lost on the Royal George. The fund was organised out of the New Lloyd’s Coffee House and included the names of all the significant merchants of London at the time.[42]

Navy Board Contracts, 1783-85

In 1783, William Richards Senior, broker, leased a property at 64 Great Prescott Street, Goodman Fields, a little to the east of Tower Hill where the Navy Board was located. The property was insured for £900, and in the land tax records the following year, the rental value was listed as £24 and it was assessed at £3.[43] The last year in which the property was listed in their name was 1786, a year after William Richards Senior retired.

It seems reasonable to conclude that William Richards Senior rented a property in Great Prescott Street in 1783, in preparation for a campaign to win Navy Board business. The American War ended that year, and the Navy Board entered into a more normal set of commercial arrangements with its suppliers. There was still a great deal of activity moving soldiers, provisions, materiel and expatriates around the Atlantic and over the twelve months to mid-1785, William Richards & Son were remarkably successful in winning business.

There is an intriguing reference in the Navy Board minutes for 26 August 1783, which mentions William Richards among several individuals granted a bounty of £5 by the Navy Board. It is unclear what this was for, but perhaps for turning in Navy deserters. It does confirm that the firm was active in the shipping business through this period. [44]

On 1 July 1784, William Richards purchased the cutter, Sherbourne, from the Navy Board, at a public sale for £65. On 7 July, the Navy Board directed the Clerk of the Cheque at Portsmouth to deliver her to him.[45] The Sherbourne was built in the Woolwich dockyard in 1763. She was 54’7” long and cost £1,581 to build (including fitting). She was exclusively used in the Channel.[46]

On 24 July, William Richards secured a contract to deliver stores for the Navy Board. On the 28th, they tendered the Jane to carry stores and loyalists to Halifax and St John’s Nova Scotia. She was declared fit by Captain Teer on the 29th and the contract (for £400, to be paid upon production of a certificate of delivery) was signed on the 30th. The Master of this ship, Thomas Miller, seems to have remained part of their business circle for some years – in 1792, father and son approached man of this name when they were seeking a ship to carry convicts to NSW.[47] The following month, the firm (using the partnership name) successfully tendered the Lord Townsend to carry provisions from Cork to the Bahamas.[48] [49] [50]

A Navy Board minute of 12 October mentions ‘William Richards & Son’ (although a minute of 8 November dealing with the same contract referred to ‘William Richards’, indicating that the names used in the minutes cannot be looked upon as formal business names). This was a contract to ship provisions to Nova Scotia, and they at first tendered the Brothers and the Earl of Effingham, replacing the latter with the Adamant three days later.[51] [52] [53]

On the 12th of November, they corresponded with the Navy Board requesting that rum be removed from the Madonna. This seems to relate to an earlier contract of which we have no information at this stage.[54]

On the 6th of December, they advised that the Earl of Effingham was ready to proceed to Cork to take on board provisions for New Providence.[55] And the following day, the Navy Board agreed with William Richards for the Friendship and the Elizabeth to carry provisions to Nova Scotia on the same terms as his previous two ships. On the 31st, the Brothers was offered in place of the Friendship, which was not able to proceed.[56] [57]

This frenetic pace continued into the New Year. On 8 January, William Richards successfully tendered the Charlotte to carry stores to Nova Scotia, offering the Chapman three days later to carry the stores the Charlotte could not take in.[58] [59] [60] [61] On the 11th, the Ducket was offered to go to Cork in place of the Elizabeth (a transaction about which we have no other details).[62]

Then in late March, they won a contract to carry stores to the Bahamas in the Vigilant, five days later substituting the William & Robert.[63] [64] And a month later, they secured a contract to take stores to Antigua.[65]

Over this same period, the firm persisted with in buying and selling ships. Throughout January and February 1785, they organised the sale of the Liberty at New Lloyd’s Coffee House. In late January, it was the Camberwell (an interestingly named ship, given that the family lived in that area). In June, they published a notice that the President was set to sail on the 18th of June for Cape Breton and St John’s Island, with good accommodation for passengers.

The partnership remained at 28 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street (and the New York Coffee House) until it was dissolved in 1785, with listings in the business directories throughout. While some of the Navy Board’s correspondence refers only to William Richards, it is certain that this refers to the author of the correspondence, and should not be read as suggesting that father or son was trading in his own right.

By the middle of 1785, William Richards Senior had decided to retire. We do not have detailed information for all six and a half years of the partnership, but what we do have, covering the last twelve months, indicates that they were highly successful in winning tenders from the Navy Board. We do not know is how profitable this was, but the fact that William Richards Sr. was prepared to retire suggests that the partnership had been a commercial success. This is confirmed by the terms on which he left the business.

On 18 June 1785, William Richards and his new partner, David Fernie, agreed to buy out his father’s interest in return for an annuity. On this date, they executed a bond to the value of £4,000, on condition that they would pay an annuity of £200 to William Richards Senior, for life, and after his death, to his wife, Mary Elizabeth, for her life.[66]

In the later controversy over William Richards Junior’s bankruptcy, some of the creditors would claim that the profit of the partnership of William Richards & Son never amounted to £200 per annum.[67] This should not be taken at face value. The claim was made as part of an attempt to exclude William Richards Senior from the proceedings as a proven creditor, so that it was in the interest of the petitioners to make this claim. Given the scale of their business activity over the last year and the terms of the father’s retirement, it seems reasonable to conclude that the business had been successful from a commercial point of view.

William Richards Senior retained an ongoing interest in his son’s business. In early September 1786, when his son needed to meet with John Motteux, the Deputy Chairman of the East India Company, the meeting was almost certainly arranged through William Richards Senior. (Both had been involved in the Committee of Merchants Trading to North America.) William Richards Senior was also one of the witnesses to the charter party for the Friendship, signed on 23 November 1786.

Richards & Fernie (1785-86)

The Partnership

David Fernie was a 35-year old Scottish businessman, the son of the Reverend David Fernie of Stockton-on-Tees. He had been in business for the two years prior to this with a merchant by the name of Gosnell (based at the Edinburgh Coffee House, in Sweeting’s Alley). This may have been Fernie’s father-in-law: David Fernie married Jane Gosnell and they lived at Stamford Hill, Middlesex. He was variously referred to as a merchant, shipowner and government contractor, and died in 1807, at the age of 57.[68] It was probably his son, Joseph, of 138 Leadenhall Street, who prepared a will dated 8 June 1842, that was witnessed by Charles and Frederick Gosnell.[69]

The closest that we can date the commencement of the partnership is 18 June 1785 when William Richards Jr. and David Fernie executed the bond to the £200 annuity for William Richards Senior and his wife.[70] A memorandum was added to this bond on 8 August whereby William Richards Junior and David Fernie agreed to insure and to keep insured their joint lives to the value of £1,200, in such manner that in case of the death of both of them before William Richards Senior and his wife, the benefit of the insurance might accrue to them.[71]

The date of 18 June as the starting date for the partnership is broadly confirmed by the fact that the last advertisement for William Richards & Son was 16 June 1785, and the first date for an advertisement for Richards & Fernie is 13 July.

According to papers in the later bankruptcy proceedings, William Richards originally had three-fifths of the shares and Fernie the remaining two-fifths, which was to last for three years, after which the share would be eight-fifteenths and seven-fifteenths.[72]


From the 15th to the 22nd of July 1785, Richards & Fernie yet again advertised the sale of the Liberty (by auction), and through the remainder of the month, the Endeavour (by private sale). On 2 September, they advertised the sale of the Atalanta (also by private sale). The address of the business at that time was 28 Nicholas Lane, however, when they advertised for the sale of the Hannah (by private contract) from 16-28 September, the address was given as 8 George Yard, Lombard Street.

On 13 September, William Richards successfully tendered the Thomas to the Navy Board to carry stores to Antigua.[73] [74] And on 19 September, when, uninvited, he offered the Governor Parry to carry stores to Halifax, the Board told him that they would advertise. By 3 October, however, he had won this contract, later substituting the New Hope, William Gollins, Master.[75] [76] [77]

We must assume that Richards was acting in the name of the partnership, and that the Board (as before) was failing to record the fact. The first Navy Board tender using the name of Richards & Fernie was in December. And of course, it was not until the next year that business directories carried their joint name, with 8 George Yard, Lombard Street as the address.

Meanwhile, they continued buying and selling ships. On 3 November, the Times carried an advertisement for the sale on the following day of the Mackworth, at New Lloyd’s Coffee House.

They continued to have success in tendering for naval transports. On 14 December, Richards & Fernie successfully tendered the Alexander to carry stores to Antigua, later offering the Nancy and finally substituting the Desire, John Gibson, Master.[78] [79] [80] On 31 January and 1 February 1786, the Cruges and the Superbe (immediately renamed the Scipio) were taken up to carry stores to Dominica.[81] [82] [83] [84] [85] And on 14 February, the Brothers, George Golding, was taken up for stores to Jamaica.[86]

There was now a lull, possibly because of a lack of tenders being called by the Navy Board, before Richards & Fernie won two more contracts in June – the Charlotte (replaced by the Jane) to carry stores to Halifax[87], and the Brothers (replaced the next day by the London) to carry stores to Jamaica.[88] On 15 August, they won yet another contract, to carry stores to Gibraltar in the Kent.[89] In November, this contract was extended because of additional stores, and the Adamant (replaced by the Thomas) and the Denise were tendered.[90]

The First Fleet

On 12 September 1786, Richards and Fernie tendered and won the most important of their contracts with the Navy Board – to transport convicts to Botany Bay. There is no formal record of the contract award under that date, although we know the decision was made on that day. However, a decision is recorded under 25 September.[91]

This was the last time that Richards & Fernie was mentioned in relation to the First Fleet, and it is not difficult to imagine that this sudden change of direction, for a contract with a very different risk profile, contributed to a rift in the partnership.

More Tenders

However, there were several more tenders to the Navy Board, presumably prepared by David Fernie. The very next day (26 September), Richards & Fernie wrote to the Navy Board offering the Thomas to carry stores to Antigua, which was accepted. This decision was reversed the following day when it was discovered that Mr George Wilkinson had submitted a much cheaper offer and ‘Mr Richards’ was advised thereof.[92]

And on the 19th of December, the Navy Board agreed with Richards & Fernie for the Peggy to carry stores to loyalists in the Bahamas.[93] This was probably the partnership’s final business undertaking, although the partnership may have been under strain for some time. The witness to the contract for the Friendship, signed on 23rd November, was William Richards Senior and not David Fernie.


Certainly the partnership had been dissolved by 1 January 1787, when William Richards and Ambrose Moore signed a new bond to secure William Richards Senior’s annuity. Once again, there is the claim of Thomas Walton and the other creditors during the 1794 bankruptcy proceedings that the profits of Richards and Fernie did not amount to £200 in the 18 months the partnership traded, exclusive of the contract for the First Fleet.[94]

And once again, this seems unlikely. Richards & Fernie was an extremely active partnership and a remarkably successful one, winning more business from the Navy Board during this period than any other firm. As always, it is possible that they accomplished this by bidding at low margins, although William Richards Senior claimed that he was paid his £200 annuity during this period.

It is also clear that the partnership did not fail for want of business – it finished immediately after being awarded a large, highly prestigious and potentially profitable contract. Perhaps it was wound up because David Fernie was not comfortable with the direction that Richards was taking the business, perhaps because Fernie was not capable of making a proportionate contribution, perhaps because the two men found they could not get along with each other. We lack the information to enable us to reach a firm conclusion.

Richards & Moore (1787-1789)

The Partnership

The partnership with David Fernie having dissolved, Richards moved quickly to form a new partnership with Ambrose Moore, Gentleman, of St Mary Hill, London. On 1 January 1787, Richards and Moore entered into a £4,000 bond guaranteeing Richards’ father his £200 annuity. Other documents signed on this day provided that if the profits from the partnership did not amount to more than £1,000, William Richards Senior would take only £150 per annum.[95]

It is interesting that Richards moved to establish a new partnership whilst he was still so actively engaged in preparations for the First Fleet, and given how pre-occupied he was, and the expectation (on government’s part, at least) that the Botany Bay expedition would shortly sail, it seems likely that William Richards had formed the view that he needed an experienced partner to share the burden of his rapidly expanding business. We might also speculate that Moore was known to Richards or his father, since there was little time to search for a replacement for Fernie.

The entry in Lowndes London Directory for 1787 was ‘William Richards & Son’, located at 8 George Yard, London. This name may suggest that William Richards Senior was actively involved in his son’s business affairs during the transition. It is not until early March 1787, that the name of ‘Richards & Moore’ first appears in Navy Board records, although the partnership had clearly been formed prior to 1 January.

There is only one Ambrose Moore in the London directories in the 1780s, a stocking trimmer, who was listed from 1777 until 1783.[96] However, there was an Ambrose Moore, broker, of Moorfields, who wrote a will in 1755. We might speculate that it was a father or uncle.


On the 19th and 31st of January 1787, there was some difficulty with a shipment of provisions to loyalists in the Bahamas. ‘Mr Richards’ was shipping the provisions purchased through ‘Neave & Co’.[97] On the 7th of February, while Richards was actively involved in preparing the First Fleet, ‘Wm. Richards Jun’ tendered to supply transports to carry three regiments to Quebec and to bring others back. His bid was the third lowest, losing by a significant margin to Mr Leighton.[98] However, a week later, on the 15th of February, he was successful in tendering the William & Mary to carry stores to Antigua. This ship was not large enough and he was obliged to find another. On 27 March, ‘Richards & Moore’ tendered the Mary Ann at a higher price and the Board went to tenders once again. They won this tender with two other vessels.[99] And on 21 February, ‘Mr Wm Richards’ offered to procure a ship to carry stores to Halifax at the price last given. The Board advised that it would advertise. The advertisement was put out on 2 March and Messrs Richards & Moore were the lowest.[100] [101] [102] [103] Interestingly, they wound up supplying the Baltick Merchant for this service, a ship that was owned by Camden, Calvert & King.[104]

It seems likely that Ambrose Moore, William Richards Senior or some employee prepared these tenders, since William Richards Junior was very actively engaged in preparing the First Fleet through this period.

From March to June, Richards & Moore experienced a quiet spell, before winning another series of contracts from the Commissioners of the Navy. In late June, William Richards successfully tendered the James & George to take stores for Antigua, replacing her with the Thomas in late July. By September, Richards & Moore had tendered the Nancy to take stores and masts. [105] [106] [107] On 1 November, they offered the Harvey to take the last of these stores.[108]

On 18 July, William Richards came second in a tender to carry stores to Jamaica. This bid is interesting in that Richards tendered the same ship as another merchant, at a considerably lower price. Mr Jamieson offered the Winchester at 24/- per ton, while William Richards offered her at 19/-. Either Richards had access to a return cargo, or he was willing to take the risk of a much lower margin.[109]

The following month, the Board agreed with Richards and Moore, for the Alexander, to carry dry provisions from the port of London and wet provisions from Cork to Barbados, Antigua, St Kitts, St Vincent and Dominica. She was to enter into pay when she began to load, and to end pay at the last port of call, they undertaking to use every possible dispatch in all the deliveries.[110] The Alexander was subsequently reported unfit for this purpose and the Roehampton was tendered in her place. If she could not take all the provisions, Richards & Moore undertook to ship the remainder without any expense to government.[111] [112] [113] On 1 October, the Nancy was offered to carry any remaining stores.[114]

From September, Richards & Moore launched into a new line of business with the Navy Board, leasing naval tenders. On the 28th of September, they wrote to the Navy Board offering the brig Elizabeth & Mary, 159 tons, and the brig Keeling, 180 tons, to serve as tenders at a rate per month. The Board gave orders for them to be surveyed.[115] When the Keeling was rejected, they offered the brig Lively in her place.[116] On 10 October, Richards & Moore successfully offered more vessels as tender, the Peggy, 200 tons and the Success, 190 tons, and on 23 October, the brig Triton. [117] [118] Two days later, the also offered the brig Swallow, 180 tons, and the brig Generous Friends of 170 tons, which were ordered to be surveyed.[119]

From December, they were also engaged in selling vessels to the Board. On 21 December, Richards & Moore wrote to the Navy Board offering to sell them the brig Ark, hull and lower masts, for £1,850.[120] The same day they advised that the owners of the ship Marianne would engage to convert her into a brigantine, if the Board approved, and take back all her stores, except the lower masts, at a price to be deducted from the sum agreed upon the previous day. The Navy Board instructed both vessels to be surveyed.[121]

In January 1788, Richards & Moore were still negotiating over the Marianne. They advised the Navy Board that the owners would accept £2,000. The Board replied that they could not pay so high a price for the service for which she was wanted.[122] Richards & Moore then advised that her owners would accept £1,800 in cash for the hull and lower masts only. The Navy Board accepted the offer. The Deptford officers were directed to receive her and fit her as a brig.[123] Richards & Moore also tendered the hull and lower masts of the Friendship brig, of about 145 tons.[124]

Their business with the Navy Board was not without some risk. At some point prior to December 1787, some of the seaman on one of the vessels chartered by Richards & Moore for the Navy Board initiated legal action against them. From what little we know of this matter, it would appear that the Navy Board stood by them, and on the 1st of December, the Board’s lawyer, Mr Dyson advised that he would cause an appearance to be entered on their behalf if the men persisted in the actions.[125] In mid-January, the Navy Board instructed Dyson to follow the Attorney General’s opinion in the actions brought by the seamen hired by Richards & Moore ‘for a particular service of government’.[126] It is unclear why a shipbroker would be sued by the seamen on one of the ships they had chartered.

Some confusion remains over the nature of William Richards Senior’s role in the business. In the 1788 Lowndes Directory, ‘William Richards & Son’ is still listed at 8 George Yard. However, in Kent’s Directory, ‘Richards & Moore’ was listed at 35 St Mary Hill, London. For all of his correspondence relating to convict transportation, Richards used his Walworth address, and this change of address may suggest that they had given up their counting house in the commercial heart of London.

Convict Transportation

William Richards Junior also seems to have been pursuing his interest in the management of convicts separate from the partnership with Ambrose Moore. At some point in early 1788, Richards put a proposal to the Treasury that he take over the management of one of the hulks, holding some 300 convicts. Treasury wrote to the Navy Board in early April, the Board responding that while, superficially, the offer was less than Duncan Campbell’s last, this depended entirely on the contractor being guaranteed a greater number of convicts.[127]

More Trade

The partnership continued to conduct a great deal of business with the Navy Board throughout the first half of 1788. An offer to supply to shipping to transports masts from New Brunswick in late January was unsuccessful, when their price was almost 60% higher than the winning tender.[128] However, a week later, they offered the Commerce to take remaining stores to Jamaica and whilst initially rejected, on the 15th of February, when they formally tendered, they were successful.[129] [130] [131] [132]

Two weeks later, Richards & Moore won a tender to send provisions to the West Indies from London and from Ireland.[133] [134] [135] [136] [137]

On 9 May they offered to sell the brig Mentor, 180 tons, for £1,600. The Board advised that they did not see that they would need such a vessel, since they were already in the process of contracting for one.[138]

In late July, they tendered the Diana to carry stores to Antigua to sail from 10-15 October next. They were advised that as the ship could not depart until that date, the Board would postpone the treaty until the proper time and advertise for the transport of stores to Antigua and Jamaica.[139] [140] [141] In November, they won a tender to carry stores to Jamaica, and in January of the following year, they were accepted to carry the remaining stores.[142] [143] [144] They offered the Alexander to carry stores to Gibraltar in September 1788, and while they were advised to await a formal advertisement, it appears that by the following month, the Alexander had been taken up.[145] [146] [147] [148]

The firm was involved in other transactions with the Navy Board throughout the second half of 1788, about which we have limited information. In July 1788, they were corresponding with the Navy Board concerning the clearance of casks on board the Young William and the Hope.[149] [150] In early September, Richards & Moore forwarded an account of the money paid in hiring and conducting some seamen who had been ordered to Portsmouth.[151]

Convict Management

Throughout 1788, William Richards Jr. worked on his proposal to take over the whole population of convicts sentenced to transportation and hold them in hulks located in southern Wales. This ‘Plan’ was submitted to government in early October. He wrote that it was the First Fleet contract that had caused him to inquire into the conditions under which convicts were presently take care of in Britain.[152] In mid-November, Richards & Moore tendered the Young William to take female convicts either to New South Wales or North America. A week later the Lady Juliana was substituted in her place. (The contract was not formally signed until 2 February 1789, and then in the name of William Richards.)[153]

The contract for the Lady Juliana gave Richards reason to hope that he might secure a privileged position as contractor for the settlement at Botany Bay. It seemed that the hard work that he had invested over the previous year was about to pay off. He was about to vindicate himself in his father’s eyes.

Public Profile

As he prepared the Lady Juliana to sail, and eagerly awaited the return of the ships of the First Fleet, Richards was open about his support for the Pitt administration. On the 7th of January 1789, Wm. Richards Jr. of New Court, Broad Street, was a signatory to a motion of thanks to William Pitt, at a meeting of a group of merchants, bankers and traders of the City of London.[154]

And two months later, with the news of the King’s recovery from his latest bout of porphyria, Richards was among those who illuminated their houses by way of celebration. The Morning Chronicle reported:

"Among the illuminations and rejoicings on account of the recovery of our beloved Sovereign, Mr Richards of Walworth (contractor for the transportation of convicts to Botany Bay) ought not to be passed unnoticed. He illuminated the front of his house in a neat manner, and where the letters of G.R. with the addition of a Crown were displayed, none exceeded him in neatness and brilliancy."[155]

Financial Difficulty

In December, Richards & Moore were one of a number of firms awarded contracts to freight provisions for troops in the West Indies. They had offered the Nancy.[156] [157] The last negotiations over this contract occurred in September of 1789, in the name of ‘Richards & Moore’. This is the last occasion on which the firm is mentioned in commercial negotiations, and it seems highly likely that the partnership had dissolved some weeks prior to this.[158]

There is some evidence that the partnership between Richards & Moore was dissolved on the 19th of August.[159] Certainly, they were in financial difficulty by the 10th of June when, according to account books later produced during the bankruptcy, William Richards Sr. was selling stock and advancing his son money.[160]

According to claims made in a court case associated with the later bankruptcy, the partnership was terminated:

". . . in consequence of their being greatly involved in debt and unable to obtain any further Credit and being in fact Insolvent and so understood to be their Effects being greatly insufficient for payment of their debts and so it appeared upon an Investigation of the Affairs of the said William Richards the younger and Ambrose Moore and in consequence of such Investigation the said William Richards the elder actually found himself compelled in order to extricate his said Son from his Difficulties to advance much more money than he originally intended to do."[161]

Several years later, Richards’ creditors claimed that the partnership with Ambrose Moore was dissolved because it was deeply in debt and could not continue trading. It was their belief that William Richards Senior took over settlement of the debts so that ‘the said William Richards the Younger was then looked upon as a clear man and out of debt’. It appears that many of the same group of creditors entered into business with William Richards again.


However, in 1789, with his credit restored, William Richards Junior was in a position to enter into a new contract with government for the transportation of convicts (this has to have been the Lady Juliana). Indeed, Thomas Walters was convinced to become a guarantor for Richards on the freight of the Sugar Cane to the amount of (about) £2,200.

In spite of this, William Richards the Younger submitted a proposal to Treasury for the Second Fleet on the 23rd of July, and it is probable that this was made in his own name, rather than that of the partnership.[162] This provides some confirmation that William Richards Senior stepped in to assist in paying his son’s debts in June 1789.[163]

Interestingly, William Richards was not listed in the business directories in 1789, which may suggest that financial difficulties had already emerged by late the previous year or very early in 1789.

The termination of the partnership appears to have occurred in late 1789. A notice in the Times dated 3 November 1789 read:

"The Creditors and Bill-Holders of Messrs Richards and Moore, meet by adjournment and request of Parties, at the Jamaica Coffee house, this day, at One o’Clock precisely, when the Chair will be taken."[164]

This is confirmed by the fact that the firm’s name does appear in the Universal British Directory for 1790, located at New Court, Broad Street.[165]

Financial Assessment

According to William Richards, Sr., the profits of the Richards & Moore partnership were more than £1,000 per annum since the partners had paid the £200 annuity to William Richards Sr.[166] However, the other creditors in William Richards the Younger’s bankruptcy claimed that the profits had never amounted to as much as £200 per annum, exclusive of the contracts for transporting convicts. They maintained that the partnership broke up because they were ‘greatly involved in debt’ and ‘unable to go on in business’.

It appears that Richards and Moore did find it necessary to call together their creditors towards the end of the partnership, and Richards’ creditors claimed that William Richards Senior took it upon himself to settle the debts of the co-partnership. As a result, his creditors looked upon Richards as a ‘clear man’ and out of debt. It was for this reason that they once again extended credit to him. His creditors later claimed that William Richards Senior believed that he would be paid out of the profits from the Lady Juliana contract.[167]

It is clear that Richards & Moore were relatively successful in winning business from the Navy Board, and it is unclear why they did not succeed financially. One possibility is that they were winning contracts by offering a lower margin. There is no real evidence that they ran into performance difficulties, and in the one case about which we have some information, it appears that the government stood by them.

  1. Public Ledger, 30 September 1773.
  2. Public Ledger, 6 June 1774.
  3. Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, 26 & 28 July 1774.
  4. Kent’s Directory, 1775 & 1776.
  5. Morning Post & Daily Advertiser, 7 March 1775, under date of 3 March.
  6. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 23 June 1775.
  7. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 30 July 1775.
  8. Morning Post & Daily Advertiser, 20 July 1775, under 17 July.
  9. Morning Post & Daily Advertiser, 24 October 1775.
  10. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 22 March 1776.
  11. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 24 April 1776.
  12. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 30 July 1776.
  13. Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser, 22 February 1777.
  14. Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser, 4 & 6 December 1777.
  15. Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser, 2 January 1778.
  16. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 14 March 1778.
  17. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 9 April 1778.
  18. Gazeteer & New Daily Advertiser, 19 May 1778.
  19. Public Ledger, 22 September 1778.
  20. Journal of the Commissioners for Trade & Plantations, 8 December 1778, TNA Volume 14, p.213.
  21. Journal of the Commissioners for Trade & Plantations, 4 February 1779, TNA Volume 14, p.224.
  22. General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer, 12 February 1778, under Goods Exported Feb 10.
  23. General Advertiser & Morning Intelligencer, 29 April 1778 under Goods Exported April 27.
  24. General Advertiser & Morning Intelligencer, 28 August 1778, under Goods Imported August 26.
  25. General Advertiser & Morning Intelligencer, 12 October 1778 under Goods Exported by Certificate.
  26. Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser, 14 April 1778.
  27. ‘Register of Brokers Bonds’, London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) COL/BR/02/053/5814. Note, there was a John Simpson who was a musical instrument maker in Sweetings Alley, Royal Exchange in the 1780s. See also ‘Register of Brokers Admitted, Discharged and Deceased, 1772-1817’, LMA COL/BR/05/008.
  28. 'Journal, January 1779: Volume 86', Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, TNA Volume 14: January 1776 - May 1782 (1938), pp. 218-224.
  29. Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 20 & 21 April 1779.
  30. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 27 May 1779.
  31. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 9 June 1779.
  32. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 27 July 1779.
  33. Sun Insurance Policy Number, 428685, Ref 1 283 15/02/78.
  34. Public Record Office, T1/563; T2/1/373.
  35. Fourteenth Parliament of Great Britain, sixth session (25 November 1779 – 8 July 1780), 24 February 1780, p.624.
  36. Fourteenth Parliament of Great Britain, sixth session (25 November 1779 – 8 July 1780), 30 May & 20 June 1780, pp.886 & 910.
  37. Whitehall Evening Post, 1-4 July 1780; London Courant and Westminster Chronicle, 5 July 1780; Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 5 & 6 July, 1780; St James’s Chronicle or the British Evening Post, 4 & 6 July 1780; and London Evening Post, 6 July 1780.
  38. Lloyd’s Evening Post, 4 December 1780.
  39. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 & 14 March 1780.
  40. Journal of the Commissioners for Trade & Plantations, 15 May 1780, LMA Volume 14, pp.310-311.
  41. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23 & 25 May 1781.
  42. Morning Chronicle & London Advertiser, 9 September 1782.
  43. The insurance policy names ‘William Richards Senior, broker’ – LMA Sun Insurance Policy, No.485908. The land tax records simply refer to ‘William Richards’.
  44. TNA ADM106/2613, 26 August 1783.
  45. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 1 & 7 July 1784, TNA ADM106/2614 & 2615.
  46. Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714-1792, Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing, 2007, p.326.
  47. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 28, 29 & 30 July 1784, TNA ADM106/2615. I could not locate this ship in the 1783 Lloyds Register. There is no ship of that name with Miller as Master.
  48. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 24 August 1784, TNA ADM106/2615.
  49. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 20 October 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  50. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 22 October 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  51. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 12 October 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  52. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 15 October 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  53. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 8 November 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  54. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 12 & 15 November 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  55. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 6 & 7 December 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  56. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 7 December 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  57. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 31 December 1784, TNA ADM106/2616.
  58. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 8 January 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  59. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 11 January 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  60. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 22 February 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  61. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 22 February 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  62. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 11 January 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  63. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 24 March 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  64. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 29 March 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  65. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 28 April 1785, TNA ADM106/2617.
  66. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 7 April 1794, TNA B1/89, p.23.
  67. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 8 April 1794, TNA B1/89, p.165.
  68. James Patterson, Scottish Surnames, Edinburgh: James Stillie, 1866, p.8.
  69. Will of Joseph Fernie, TNA Prob11/2001.
  70. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 7 April 1794, TNA B1/89, p.23.
  71. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 7 April 1794, TNA B1/89, p.23.
  72. Walters v Richards, Court of Chancery, 26 November 1795, TNA C12/469/80.
  73. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 13 September 1785, TNA ADM106/2619.
  74. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 6 October 1785, TNA ADM106/2619.
  75. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 19 September 1785, TNA ADM106/2619.
  76. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 3 October 1785, TNA ADM106/2619.
  77. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 27 October 1785, TNA ADM106/2619.
  78. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 14 December 1785, TNA ADM106/2619.
  79. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 2 January 1786, TNA ADM106/2620.
  80. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 20 February 1786, TNA ADM106/2620.
  81. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 31 January 1786, TNA ADM106/2620.
  82. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 1 February 1786, TNA ADM106/2620.
  83. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 1, 7 & 15 August, 1786, TNA ADM106/2621.
  84. Navy Board to Messrs Richards & Fernie, 7 August 1786, Abstracts of Navy Board Correspondence Concerning Transportation, January 1784 to December 1790, TNA ADM106/2347.
  85. Navy Board to Neave & Aislabie, 15 August 1786, Abstracts of Navy Board Correspondence Concerning Transportation, January 1784 to December 1790, TNA ADM106/2347.
  86. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 14 February 1786, TNA ADM106/2620.
  87. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 13 & 23 June 1786, TNA ADM106/2621.
  88. Navy Board Minutes, 27 & 28 June, 4, 5 & 6 September, 1786, TNA ADM106/2621 & 2622.
  89. Navy Board Minutes, 15 & 21 August, 18, 20 & 21 September, 1786, TNA ADM106/2621 & 2622.
  90. Navy Board Minutes, 2, 6 & 15 November, 1786, TNA ADM106/2622.
  91. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 25 September 1786, TNA ADM106/2622.
  92. Navy Board Minutes, 26 & 27 September, 1786, TNA ADM106/2622.
  93. Navy Board: Abstracts of Correspondence Concerning Transportation, January 1784 to December 1790, TNA ADM106/2347/88.
  94. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 8 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, p.165.
  95. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 7 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, p.24.
  96. There was also a prominent silk manufacturer of this name in London in the 1820s.
  97. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 19 & 31 January, 1787, TNA ADM106/2623.
  98. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 7 February, 1787, TNA ADM106/2623.
  99. Navy Board Minutes, 15 & 22 February, 27 & 30 March, 2 & 4 April, 1787, TNA ADM106/2623.
  100. Navy Board Minutes, 21 February & 2 & 8 March, 1787, TNA ADM106/2623.
  101. Navy Board to Captain Teer, 8 March 1787, Abstracts of Navy Board Correspondence Concerning Transportation, January 1784 to December 1790, TNA ADM106/2347/212.
  102. Navy Board to William Richards, 30 March 1787, Abstracts of Navy Board Correspondence Concerning Transportation, January 1784 to December 1790, TNA ADM106/2347/220.
  103. Navy Board to Captain Teer, 30 March 1787, Abstracts of Navy Board Correspondence Concerning Transportation, January 1784 to December 1790, TNA ADM106/2347/220.
  104. Teer to Navy Board, 2 April 1787, TNA ADM106/243.
  105. Navy Board Minutes, 25 June 1787, TNA ADM106/2624.
  106. Navy Board Minutes, 26 July 1787, TNA ADM106/2624.
  107. Navy Board Minutes, 4 September 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  108. Navy Board Minutes, 1 November 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  109. Navy Board Minutes, 18 July 1787, TNA ADM106/2624.
  110. Navy Board Minutes, 15 August 1787, TNA ADM106/2624.
  111. Navy Board Minutes, 20 & 22 August 1787, TNA ADM106/2624.
  112. Navy Board Minutes, 4 September 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  113. Navy Board Minutes, 10 September 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  114. Navy Board Minutes, 1 October 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  115. Navy Board Minutes, 29 September 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  116. Navy Board Minutes, 3 October 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  117. Navy Board Minutes, 10 October 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  118. Navy Board Minutes, 23 October 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  119. Navy Board Minutes, 25 October 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  120. Navy Board Minutes, 21 December 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  121. Navy Board Minutes, 21 December 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  122. Navy Board Minutes, 15 January 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  123. Navy Board Minutes, 22 January 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  124. Navy Board Minutes, 22 January 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  125. Navy Board Minutes, 4 December 1787, TNA ADM106/2625.
  126. Navy Board Minutes, 15 January 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  127. Navy Board Minutes, 11 April 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  128. Navy Board Minutes, 22 January 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  129. Navy Board Minutes, 29 January 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  130. Navy Board Minutes, 15 February 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  131. Navy Board Minutes, 20 February 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  132. Navy Board Minutes, 3 March 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  133. Navy Board Minutes, 28 January 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  134. Navy Board Minutes, 26 March 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  135. Navy Board Minutes, 4 April 1788, TNA ADM106/2626.
  136. Navy Board Minutes, 10 June 1788, TNA ADM106/2627.
  137. Navy Board Minutes, 7 November 1788, TNA ADM106/2628.
  138. Navy Board Minutes, 9 May 1788, TNA ADM106/2627.
  139. Navy Board Minutes, 23 July 1788, TNA ADM106/2627.
  140. Navy Board Minutes, 30 July 1788, TNA ADM106/2627.
  141. Navy Board Minutes, 1 August 1788, TNA ADM106/2627.
  142. Navy Board Minutes, 8 November 1788, TNA ADM106/2628.
  143. Navy Board Minutes, 19 November 1788, TNA ADM106/2628.
  144. Navy Board Minutes, 12 January 1789, TNA ADM106/2629.
  145. Navy Board Minutes, 3 September 1788, TNA ADM106/2628.
  146. Navy Board Minutes, 13 October 1788, TNA ADM106/2628.
  147. Navy Board Minutes, 19 February 1789, TNA ADM106/2629.
  148. Navy Board Minutes, 19 February 1789, TNA ADM106/2629.
  149. Navy Board Minutes, 4 July 1788, TNA ADM106/2627.
  150. Navy Board Minutes, 11 & 14 July 1788, TNA ADM106/2627.
  151. Navy Board Minutes, 8 September 1788, TNA ADM106/2628.
  152. Richards to Treasury, 14 October 1788, TNA HO35/9.
  153. TNA CO201/4/69.
  154. Times, 24 April 1789, p.3.
  155. Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, 14 March 1789.
  156. Navy Board Minutes, 10 December 1788, TNA ADM106/2628.
  157. Navy Board Minutes, 2 February 1789, TNA ADM106/2629.
  158. Navy Board Minutes, Transport Service, 8 September 1789, TNA ADM106/2631.
  159. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 7 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, p.24; Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 8 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, p.164.
  160. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 8 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, p.163.
  161. Walters v Richards, Court of Chancery, 26 November 1795, TNA C12/469/80.
  162. Richards to Treasury, 23 July 1789, TNA T1/671.
  163. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 8 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, p.165.
  164. Times, 3 November 1789, p.1.
  165. Interestingly, they were described as ship and insurance brokers. See Universal British Directory, 1790, Volume 1: London, p.267. A copy is located in the South Local History Library.
  166. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 7 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, p.24.
  167. Order of the Lord Chancellor, ‘In the Matter of William Richards the Younger, a Bankrupt’, 8 April 1794, Public Record Office, TNA B1/89, pp.159, 162, 165.