Page:A colonial autocracy, New South Wales under Governor Macquarie, 1810-1821.djvu/50

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CHAPTER II.

THE DEPOSITION OF BLIGH.

Authorities.—Historical Records of New South Wales (especially Vol. VII.) Report of Trial of Lieut.-Col. Johnston. State Trials, vols. 21, 28, 30. Colonial Office, Domestic Correspondence, 1816.


On the 26th January, 1808, Major Johnston, at the head of the New South Wales Corps, marched through Sydney to Government House and placed Governor Bligh under arrest. Leaving him there a prisoner, Johnston, urged by a number of civilians, at whose head stood John Macarthur, and with the ready support of his officers, took over the administration of the Colony under the title of Lieutenant-Governor.

When the first news of these events reached Downing Street in September, the Colonial Office were already aware that Bligh, the hero (or culprit) of the "Bounty" mutiny, was proving by no means a popular ruler. Complaints were often made against the best of Governors, but in Bligh's case they were forcible and unceasing. There was the case of D'Arcy Wentworth, an assistant surgeon on the staff, but a man of wealth and influence, who had been suspended without cause shown and with a lack of justice which the Minister himself censured.[1] Again, on the formal ground that he had received no public instructions, Bligh had refused to comply with the requests of some settlers coming from England for land, cattle and convict servants. These men, Townson, Doctor of Laws and man of science, the brothers Blaxland, who were graziers, and a Captain Short, had brought definite written promises from ministers of large indulgences adequate to the capital they proposed to expend. Disappointed in their hopes and impatient at the delay, they soon found themselves arrayed in the ranks of the

  1. Castlereagh to Bligh, 15th May, 1809. H.R., VII., p. 147.

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