Vindication of James Mudie and John Larnach from certain reflections on their conduct… relative to the treatment by them of their convict servants. James MUDIE.
Vindication of James Mudie and John Larnach from certain reflections on their conduct… relative to the treatment by them of their convict servants.
Vindication of James Mudie and John Larnach from certain reflections on their conduct… relative to the treatment by them of their convict servants.
Vindication of James Mudie and John Larnach from certain reflections on their conduct… relative to the treatment by them of their convict servants.

Vindication of James Mudie and John Larnach…
Vindication of James Mudie and John Larnach from certain reflections on their conduct… relative to the treatment by them of their convict servants.

Sydney: E.S. Hall, George Street, September, 1834.

Octavo, pp. [ii], ii, lii, 3-90 (complete thus), errata slip; finely bound in full tan polished calf, spine elaborately gilt, bookplates for John Chapman and Tristan Buesst.

Sydney rarity

A beautiful copy of this noted rarity: James Mudie's vindication of his role in the notorious skirmish between Mudie and irate convicts which occurred at his property at Castle Forbes, Patrick's Plains, New South Wales. Perhaps surprisingly, the pamphlet was published by Edward Smith Hall, founder of the Monitor and a long-serving editor of the Australian, who was famous for taking 'up the cause of the poor whose plight he had seen in his Benevolent Society work and "espoused the cause of any convict, who should he be ever so vile, was punished contrary to law"' (ADB).

A beautiful copy of this noted rarity: James Mudie's vindication of his role in the notorious skirmish between Mudie and irate convicts which occurred at his property at Castle Forbes, Patrick's Plains, New South Wales. Perhaps surprisingly, the pamphlet was published by Edward Smith Hall, founder of the Monitor and a long-serving editor of the Australian, who was famous for taking 'up the cause of the poor whose plight he had seen in his Benevolent Society work and "espoused the cause of any convict, who should he be ever so vile, was punished contrary to law"' (ADB).
Mudie, an ex-Royal Marine, emigrated to New South Wales from Scotland in 1822. With the help of many assigned convicts he turned Castle Forbes into one of the colony's finest agricultural holdings, producing substantial quantities of wool, meat and wheat. A staunch opponent of both emancipist rights and convict privileges, in his role as Justice of the Peace he acquired a reputation as an excessively harsh magistrate, ordering floggings for the most minor offences.
In November 1833 a band of convicts, who had earlier absconded from Castle Forbes, returned to the property to rob the stores. At their trial the convicts accused their master of gross ill-treatment, and their claims met with considerable public sympathy. Notwithstanding their defence, five of the men were sentenced to death, and another transported to Norfolk Island for life. After the trial, Governor Bourke instituted an inquiry into their claims, which found that although Mudie 'did not treat his servants with the same consideration for their wants and comfort which the neighbouring settlers evinced', exonerated him. Nonetheless, Mudie was incensed, and insisted that the governor forward a written protest to London. When Bourke refused, they prepared this Vindication, and printed it with the help of Hall, before dispatching it directly to the Colonial Office. Mudie returned to England vowing revenge, but in 1840 foolishly returned to Sydney, only to be publicly horse-whipped by the son of one of the judges who had been slandered in this work.
A pencil inscription on the endpaper of this copy, signed by the Melbourne book dealer A.H. Spencer, notes that it is 'excessively rare… I have only seen two copies of this rare book'.

Ferguson, 1824.

Price (AUD): $14,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #3403158