MUDIE’S FASCINATING AND REVEALING 1837 DIATRIBE ON THE TREATMENT OF CONVICTS IN AUSTRALIA
(AUSTRALIA) MUDIE, James. The Felonry of New South Wales: Being a Faithful Picture of the Real Romance of Life in Botany Bay. London: for the Author, by Whaley, 1837. Octavo, modern half dark green calf, raised bands, marbled boards. $850.
First edition of Mudie’s scathing critique of the treatment of convicts in New South Wales, which he considered to be far too lenient after an 1833 mutiny at his estate there—and subsequent investigations into his treatment of his assigned convicts—complete with folding lithographed plan of Sydney. From the renowned Australiana collection of Geoffrey Ingleton, with his bookplate and annotations, attractively bound.
In November 1833 six convict servants at Mudie's estate Castle Forbes had mutinied in Mudie's absence, robbed the stores and taken to the bush. The mutineers were arrested and remanded to Sydney, where they were found guilty; three were executed in Sydney and two at Castle Forbes; one was sent to Norfolk Island. However, charges were made against Mudie and his overseer for degrading treatment of their assigned servants. Mudie was exonerated of the charge of ill treatment but criticized for the quality and quantity of the rations supplied to convicts. Angered by the report the two men prepared a joint protest; they were further criticized in the local press. "In 1836 Mudie was not reappointed to the Commission of the Peace; disgusted with colonial affairs, he sold Castle Forbes for £7000 and in March sailed for England determined on vengeance. In London in 1837 he published The Felonry of New South Wales, an attack on all whom he fancied had opposed him in the colony. He also appeared before the select committee on transportation [of convicts]; though much of his evidence was removed from the report, enough remains to reveal his distorted mind" (ADB). With eight pages of publisher's advertisements bound in at rear. Ferguson 2312. From the esteemed Australiana collection of Geoffrey Ingleton, with bookplate and annotations on front pastedown. Ingleton built one of the greatest collections of Australiana ever assembled. His comprehensively annotated catalogue of over 14,000 books is an invaluable reference. With some contemporary penciled marginalia which is, according to Ingleton's note, "typical of the local reaction to Mudie's book."
Small repaired tear to corner of map, just affecting border only. Some spotting and staining to text. Calf-gilt binding attractive and fine.