Promissory note, dishonoured, signed by Garnham Blaxcell for 250 pounds to Captain Joseph James, paper, Sydney, 24 June 1812
Garnham Blaxcell, with Alexander Riley and D'arcy Wentworth contracted to build the 'Rum Hospital'. A part of the contract gave these leading men of the colony a supposed monopoly on rum importation. Much to their cost however, Governor Macquarie gave government consent to the continued competitive importation and selling of rum. Protests to this arrangement from Blaxcell and his partners did little to dissuade Macquarie and the profits they hoped to gain from market demand on their rum were diluted by the competition. This dishonoured promissory note (and accompanying notice of protest form) is one example of Blaxcell's gradual decline into financial ruin.
The south wing of the hospital became the Sydney branch of the Royal Mint, London.
Garnham Blaxcell, debtor; Ellis Bent, Judge Advocate; James Foster, Clerk for Ellis Bent
BLAXCELL, GARNHAM, merchant, Sydney.
The Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1983 reprint, edited by Douglas Pike, includes the following contributed by E.W. Dunlop. Garnham Blaxcell, was baptised 27 May 1778 near Saxmundham, Suffolk, England. He joined the navy in 1801 and arrived in Sydney as acting purser on HMS Buffalo. He won favour with Governor King who appointed him to several official positions. Although granted 1,125 acres for farming at Granville by King, his main interest was in commerce. He took an active part in the Bligh rebellion and became the sole auctioneer of the colony. By then he was one of Sydney's richest merchants, with a farm at Petersham, a windmill at Pyrmont, a warehouse in George Street and a "fine house" in Sydney. At various times he owned several small trading vessels.
In 1810 Governor Macquarie gave him, with Alexander Riley and D'Arcy Wentworth, a contract to build a general hospital in Sydney in return for for the right to import 45000 gallons of spirits over the next three years. It became known as the Rum Hospital.
In 1810 he was involved in debts to John Macarthur and other leading colonists, and by 1812 was unable to meet liabilities to the Government for import duties.The promissory note illustrated below, dated 20th March 1812, promises to pay £250 in good Government Bills, to Captain J. James on or before 24 June 1812.
Blaxcell defaulted on the debt, and on the 16th August 1813 an official protest by Joseph James, illustrated on the next page, was made to Ellis Bent, Judge Advocate. These forms, and at least one other set, were found in family papers about 20-30 years ago, and appeared in various Noble Numismatic auctions, selling for around $2,000 to $3,000 per set.
It is interesting to note that almost all of the surviving Blaxcell promissory and currency notes for amounts of 2/6 to $1 are dated 1814.
Realising that the Crown was preparing to recover debts through the Supreme Court, Blaxcell left for England on 9 April 1817, but died at Batavia on 3 October 1817, his debts unpaid.
-- Michael P. Vort-Ronald, "Australian Colonial Currency & Promissory Notes" (2nd Edition), p. 15