The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Bland, William

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Bland, William, M.R.C.S., the son of Dr. Robert Bland, an eminent physician and writer on medical subjects, was born in London on Nov. 5th, 1789, and educated at Merchant Taylors' School. Having been admitted M.R.C.S. in 1810, he received an appointment in the Royal Navy, and sailed for Bombay. During the voyage he quarrelled with the purser, and when they reached land a duel was fought, in which the purser was killed. Lieutenant Randall, one of the ship's officers, having insinuated unfairness, Mr. Bland fought him without result, but they were afterwards arrested, tried at Calcutta, and sentenced to seven years' transportation; Mr, Bland being sent to Sydney, where he arrived in 1814, and having received a free pardon, practised his profession. In the course of divorce proceedings which he had instituted against his wife, Mr. Bland referred in libellous terms to Governor Macquarie, and in consequence was criminally indicted before the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and fined £50, with twelve months in Parramatta Gaol, which sentence was fully exacted. On his release Mr. Bland devoted himself to benevolent projects, and took a prominent part as a member of the Patriotic Association, in the great struggle for political emancipation which was then engrossing the attention of the colonists, his efforts in the cause of local autonomy entitling him to rank with Wentworth amongst the greatest benefactors of the community, amongst whom he originally came under such inauspicious circumstances. When the elections to the first partially representative Legislative Council of New South Wales took place in 1843, Mr. Bland was returned, along with Wentworth, for the city of Sydney. Five years later, however, the tide of popular feeling turned against him in favour of more extremist agitators, headed by Mr. Robert Lowe (now Lord Sherbrooke); and when, in 1848, the elections took place for the new Legislative Council, in which Sydney had three members given her instead of two, Mr. Bland was lowest on the poll of the four candidates, Messrs. Wentworth, Lowe, and Lamb being elected, despite the incisive attack made by Wentworth on Mr. Lowe's inconsistencies, and his impassioned appeal to the constituency to reject himself rather than his friend Mr. Bland, of whom he said, "No man has ever served a country in a purer spirit of patriotism, no man ever more deeply deserved the gratitude of a generous people, than he has." Mr. Bland died suddenly in Sydney, on July 21st, 1868. He was the author of "Suppression of Spontaneous Combustion in Woolships" (second edition, 1845), "Letters to Charles Buller, M.P." (1849), and other brochures.