The Military Sketch-Book. Reminiscences of seventeen years in the service abroad and at home. By an Officer of the Line. Daniel Wedgworth MAGINN.
The Military Sketch-Book. Reminiscences of seventeen years in the service abroad and at home. By an Officer of the Line.

The Military Sketch-Book. Reminiscences of seventeen years…
The Military Sketch-Book. Reminiscences of seventeen years in the service abroad and at home. By an Officer of the Line.

London: Henry Colburn, 1827.

Two volumes, octavo, in polished burgundy half calf with gilt lettering by Bayntun.

A dark pact between two Bushrangers: Michael Howe and Jack Whitehead

The Military Sketch-Book is an anonymous collection of anecdotes and rambling tales, mostly related to army life and the Peninsular War. It contains an arresting - if somewhat romanticised - account of the pursuit of Michael Howe and his dark pact with fellow bushranger Jack Whitehead.

The Military Sketch-Book is an anonymous collection of anecdotes and rambling tales, mostly related to army life and the Peninsular War. It contains an arresting - if somewhat romanticised - account of the pursuit of Michael Howe and his dark pact with fellow bushranger Jack Whitehead.

The final 54-page chapter concerns the Van Diemen's Land bushrangers. The narrative is supposedly provided by an old soldier, transported long ago following the Nore mutiny. The narrator describes the depredations of a gang of bushrangers, and the formation of a heavily armed party sent into the wilderness to find them.

After intensive searching, the men crept upon the bushrangers in dense scrub and found 'a pretty, interesting-looking native girl, sat playing with the long and bushy black ringlets of a stout and wicked looking man seated by her: he had pistols in his belt - wore a fustian jacket, a kangaroo-skin cap and waistcoat, with leather gaiters, and dirty velveteen breeches. I saw him plainly as I see any one here; and what do you think? The fellow had two watches in his fob! This turned out, as I learned afterwards, to be Michael Howe, the second in command of the robbers…'.

Three of the narrators party were killed in the ensuing gunfight, and Howe and Whitehead swore their vengeance upon Mr. M'Carthy, the leader of the posse. Upon returning to his remote farmhouse, M'Carthy had men of the 46th regiment stationed on the property. When the bushrangers returned for their revenge they were outmanned and outgunned. The narrator recounts shooting a man in the darkness, and shortly afterwards ambushing another of the bushrangers in the act of stripping the corpse - only to find it was Howe himself decapitating Jack Whitehead in accordance with a dark pact between the rogues. He writes 'I was petrified with astonishment; so Howe got off, and left the mutilated trunk in a pool of blood'.

Sensational accounts of bushranging such as this example played on the deepest fears of British readers and informed the popular perception of Australia as a wild and lawless outpost.

Ferguson, 1141a.

Condition Report: A little foxing.

Price (AUD): $850.00

US$622.20   Other currencies

Ref: #4106277

Condition Report