London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1811. First edition. Hardcover. The very scarce account of the second mutiny against William Bligh, the most important historical event in the early history of Australia, after the arrival of the First Fleet. Bligh was the fourth governor of New South Wales, offered the position by Sir Joseph Banks based on his reputation as a strict disciplinarian.
The mutiny, named the Rum Rebellion, took place when then Governor William Bligh of New South Wales was deposed by NSW Corps officers led by Major George Johnston, working closely with wealthy landowner John Macarthur, on January 26, 1808, the 20th anniversary of the founding of the colony, the first European settlement in Australia.
Wantrup calls the book "the long and enthralling record" of Johnston's trial. "The trial provides a detailed account of the mutiny and the events which preceded and followed it. Long and detailed evidence from Bligh, Johnston, Macarthur, Blaxland, Grimes and others involved on both sides is given in full. The faithful and complete transcript of evidence and cross-examination succeeds in conveying the drama and tension of the courtroom, making this an eminently readable book. Despite its rarity this volume is of such importance that no collection devoted to the early years of settlement can be considered complete without it" (Wantrup).
Bligh was well aware of the danger of rumors after the trial of the Bounty mutineers and so he engaged a court reporter (Mr. Bartrum) to attend the trial and take a shorthand transcription of the entire case. This record provided the full text of the trial that Bligh himself published in November 1811.
From 1808 to 1810 Governor Bligh was held in an Australian jail while Australia was run by the military whose antipathy to Bligh was due to his harsh conduct towards settlers, wealthy landowners and NSW officers.
George Johnston, leader of the rebels, was dishonorably dismissed, a lenient penalty given that mutiny was a capital charge. This was the court's acknowledgment that it was Macarthur who was the prime instigator of the Rum Rebellion. Since Macarthur was a private individual, it was not possible to charge him in Britain with any crime. Bligh was promoted to Rear-Admiral and Macarthur, a former officer in the NSW Corps, was barred from returning to NSW until 1817.
8vo, [ii]pp, 484pp, no errata slip, which sometimes appears. Deaccessed by the NY Association of the Bar Library, with their stamp and faint blind stamp on the title page. Sympathetically rebound in three quarter tan calf and marbled boards, with gilt title at spine. Ferguson 514; Wantrup 32; Spence 111; OCLC: 24823229. See further: John Ritchie (introduced by), A Charge of Mutiny... (Canberra 1988). Fine. Item #23715