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The Trial of William Skirving , secretary to the British Convention... for Sedition
Edinburgh: James Robertson, n.d. but, 1794. Octavo, frontispiece portrait tipped onto binder's stub, some browning, corner of one page missing not affecting text (pp. 143/4); good in modern black cloth. With the portrait of the "tried patriot" Rare contemporary account of the trial of the Scottish Martyr William Skirving, who was transported to Australia for sedition for fourteen years, departing aboard the Surprise in May of 1794. Skirving was an intelligent and industrious man with liberal political views: from 1790 onwards he became involved in popular campaigns for political change, rising to secretary of the Scottish Association of the Friends of the People in 1792. Skirving and his fellow patriots advocated legal parliamentary reform yet the movement was misconstrued as revolutionary by the State based on the republican sentiments expressed at the first convention, and notably because of their provocative habit of addressing each other as "Citizen", an uncomfortable echo of the rhetoric preceding the revolution in France. After a horrific voyage Skirving arrived in Port Jackson in October 1794, and was granted a farm in present-day Petersham. Skirving's health declined in Australia, doubtless exacerbated by the loneliness of separation from his wife and two sons. He passed away in 1796 under the care of Surgeon George Bass. This work includes a striking frontispiece portrait by John Kay of "Citizen Skirving", honoured as 'A Tried Patriot and an Honest Man.'.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-08-13           Check availability:      Biblio    

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