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NISBET, HUME. - The Swampers. A romance of the Westralian goldfields.

London, F.V. White 1897. Octavo publisher's illustrated cloth blocked in red, black and gilt (light signs of use); frontispiece. Inner hinges repaired - professionally by the look of it; a good bright copy with the baronial bookplate of Sir James Ramsay Gibson Maitland who did little to mark his place in the world except unsuccessfully vie for the Lauderdale title and die the year this was published. ¶ First edition of this partly suppressed thriller in which Nisbet took a stick to the inhabitants of Sydney and a flask of acid to Archibald and The Bulletin who responded with the incensed lack of humour that Nisbet had ascribed to them and threatened legal action against booksellers or libraries circulating the book. This naturally made it "one of the most popular books in Sydney ... passed about surreptitiously, and under pledges of secrecy" according to the Northern Star. The Australasian Pastoralists' Review merely recommended a good horsewhipping. Nisbet has fun with Sydney's mania for fraudulent occultists and takes time off from the story for Judge Jeffreys - hanging judge and spiritualist who decides his cases by the testimony of two spirit guides. Until he is visited by the ghosts of Chinese murder victims bent on revenge for releasing their killers. I would like to know who the original of Judge Jeffreys is. Of course Nisbet sometimes goes too far, as in the passage that begins: "Aboriginals, Kanakas, Chinese, Japanese, Afghans, all who do not represent Western civilisation we treat like beasts ... Our murders on them are acts of justice, their retaliations on us are atrocious murders." The Pastoralists' Review was indignant about accusations of settlers laying poisonous baits for Aborigines like pests. Nisbet avoids his lack of first hand knowledge about the Westralian goldfields by mostly staying away from them. Our hero, the master criminal Jack Milton (not Sydney bred), is rescued by Aborigines from the traps and trackers long before he reaches Kalgoorlie and instead lands in a lost race novel bringing him to an ancient gold mine with a Greek inscription carved in a wall.
AUD 165.00 [Appr.: EURO 108 US$ 132.27 | £UK 95.25 | JP¥ 14655] Book number 9565

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