The Rum RebellionStuff You Missed in History Class
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- 5 Apr 2021
The Rum Rebellion overthrew William Bligh, governor of New South Wales, in 1808. It was Australia’s only military coup and was only given that nickname much later.
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Welcome to stuff you missed in History Class, A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast, I'm Tracy Wilson, and I'm Holly Fry. In January, we got an email from listener Ian and Ian suggests that an episode on the Rum Rebellion and my first thought was, didn't we do that already? And then I realized, no, we did not. But I've had this exact experience more than once when somebody has written in to suggest we do an episode on the Rum Rebellion.
And my first thought has been, didn't we do that already? And I'm not like I'm not confusing it with the Whiskey Rebellion or the eggnog riot, both of which we have talked about on the show, like it's somehow in my head. We have talked about this specific incident, which was Australia's only military coup. It was only given that nickname of the Rum Rebellion much later, we have not talked about this before, we are finally remedying that today.
So the next time somebody suggests that it is a topic, we will have actually done it. This time, we can say with confidence check.
So the Rum Rebellion overthrew William Bligh, governor of New South Wales, in 1888. And that name might sound familiar to you. It is the same William Bligh who lost his ship, the HMS Bounty, to mutineers in 1789. He had been on a voyage to the South Pacific to secure breadfruit plants, which were supposed to provide a cheap food source for Britain's enslaved workforce in the Caribbean. Previous hosts, Katie and Sarah, did an episode on this in 2010, and we rereleased it as our most recent Saturday classic.
So we're not going to go back over all of the details today, but there are some aspects of it and of Bly's later naval career, which are relevant to what happened in New South Wales.
The biggest was this mutiny had tarnished Bly's reputation. In some circles, people disparagingly called him things like Bounty Bligh. This wasn't entirely justified, though. Mutiny's were so common in the late 18th century that British captains who got back from long voyages without having had one were praised for it. And at first blush, his reputation after the mutiny was really pretty positive. He had successfully navigated thousands of miles of ocean in this little open boat, saving the lives of nearly every man who had been loyal to him.
But then, while he was out on his next voyage, which was basically a do over of the one with the mutiny, some of the mutineers were caught and faced a court martial. The mutineers and their supporters, particularly the family of ringleader Edward Christian, circulated propaganda that depicted Bligh as a tyrant. The mutineers court martial testimony was similarly damning, and Bligh was not there to defend himself. There was definitely a lot of bickering and tension aboard the bounty.
It had been way too small for the task at hand, which had inflamed the existing conflicts among the men. And Bligh himself wasn't necessarily that easy to get along with. He was a stickler for rules he could not abide slackness, and he was known to have a temper. But at the same time, Bligh was considered to be more lenient than most of his peers, who routinely discipline sailors by flogging them. Bligh was more likely to yell at people and call them demoralising names, accompanied by wild gesticulations.
Verbal abuse, of course, is still abuse. But the unwritten standards of behaviour at sea were basically that this kind of treatment was only unacceptable if it was also unwarranted. Bligh continued to command ships after the Mutiny on the Bounty, and in 1797 he faced another mutiny. But this time it was not so much about Bligh's personal conduct as captain. Sailors throughout the Royal Navy were dissatisfied with their pay, generally poor condition aboard ships, including a really bad food compounding.
That was the fact that many of the sailors had been press ganged into serving. The French revolutionary wars were ongoing at that point, and the sailors realised that this threat meant that they had some leverage. In April of 1787, the crews of multiple ships anchored at spitted off the southern coast of England mutinied and demanded better pay and working conditions. The Admiralty was afraid that a French invasion was imminent and that they would be defenseless if they didn't get everyone back to work.
So they ultimately met the mutineers demands and pardoned the ringleaders. Bligh's ship was not there for that mutiny, but he was at the North Anchorage in command of the HMS Director in May of 1787. Sailors inspired by what happened at Spearhead Mutiny aboard the HMS Sandwich, and soon this mutiny spread to every ship at the north. This time, the mutineers had much more ambitious demands, like shore leave and a different system for distributing money any time a ship took a prize.
At first, Bly's crew aboard the director did not join the mutiny, although they did try to get him to relieve three particular unpopular officers of duty. But they eventually rose up and put him off the ship at two different points. Men on board who were still loyal to him tried and failed to retake the director. The Nor mutiny finally collapsed, leading to four hundred courts martial and the hanging of purported ringleader Richard Parker from the yardarm of the sandwich.
Parker had not actually organized the mutiny, but he had been elected as its leader. And he had. Become something of a public scapegoat similar to what happened to Blyer after the Mutiny on the Bounty, Parker's involvement and his demeanor were really highly sensationalized in the press. Even though mutiny was a capital offense, Blyer advocated for his crew to be treated leniently. 36 men were hanged after the nor mutiny, but none of them were from the director.
Bly's ship saw combat at various points. After this, he was at the Battle of Copenhagen and one after which Admiral Nelson invited him aboard the HMS Elephant and thanked him personally for his service. That same year, Blyer was also elected a fellow of the Royal Society based on his work as an ethnographer and a naturalist during his Pacific voyages. In February 1885, an officer under Bly's command filed a formal complaint about his conduct. The officer had been injured in his account too badly to report for duty.
But in Bly's opinion, the officer was fit to work. So when he did not report, Blyer accused him of neglecting his duty. The officers complaints said the Blyer had, quote, grossly insulted and ill treated him and that he was behaving in a, quote, tyrannical and oppressive and an officer like manner. Bligh was reprimanded and then ordered to improve his language. Blyer was offered the appointment to be governor of New South Wales on March 15th at five.
So not long at all after this reprimand happened. Wealthy explorer and naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, who had also been the one who recommended that Bligh go on those breadfruit voyages, had recommended him for this post.
It took a while before Bligh actually set sail. He left for Australia aboard the HMS Porpoise in February eight six. His wife, Elizabeth, and five of their six daughters stayed behind, coming with him, where his oldest daughter, Mary, and her husband, Lieutenant John Putland. Mary would essentially fill the role of first lady in Sydney. Apparently, Bligh, who was used to being in command at this point, bickered with Commander Joseph Short, who was actually in command of the porpoise the entire way to Australia.
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And then it was just another about 10 years after that that this incident happened.
Britain's intent when establishing New South Wales was for it to be a penal colony. At this point in British history, prisons were overflowing. The industrial revolution had led to a spike in crime as industries became more mechanized and workers lost their jobs. Britain had also passed an incredibly strict penal code, and trials generally favored the prosecution. All of this together meant that Britain convicted far more people than it could house. Before the American Revolution, Britain had sent prisoners to its North American colonies.
After the revolution, it needed another alternative, and that was Australia. The most serious crimes were punishable by death. So most people being transported to Australia had been convicted of things like robbery, theft and fraud. Some of them, in terms of the specific crime, were very minor. Once in Australia, people would spend the duration of their sentence and forced labor. The length of the sentence was typically seven or 14 years, but it could be for life.
After a person served their sentence, they were theoretically free to return to Britain, but most stayed in Australia. The passage back was long and expensive, and after spending seven or 14 years in Australia, a lot of people had established homes and families there. In theory, here's how New South Wales was supposed to be managed. The governor was the British government's representative in the colony, and he worked under the direction of the government in London. The New South Wales core was an army regiment that had arrived with the Second Fleet in 1790, and it was supposed to support the governor who was ultimately in charge.
But by the time Bligh arrived on August 6th, 1886, that was not how things were going in practice. At a couple of earlier points, the military had taken control of the colony in the absence of a governor, and especially during those periods, the New South Wales core had become more and more powerful. This included establishing monopolies on the trade of various goods. The colony did not have enough currency to handle people's everyday purchases, so most business was being done through barter or through promissory notes.
Basically, IOUs, spirits, especially rum, became the most widely bartered good. And thanks to rum being used as currency, there was also a lot of drunkenness.
Although there were some illicit stills in Australia, the vast majority of this rum had to be imported and the New South Wales core had a monopoly on those imports. Officers jacked up the price on this imported rum, turning a profit of as much as five hundred percent. The New South Wales core was so tangled up in all of this that it was nicknamed the Rum Corps.
Over these two decades of the colony's existence, the military itself had also become a little lax. Discipline had become a lot less strict soldiers living arrangements had also shifted of about three hundred men who were garrisoned in Sydney. Only about one hundred and twenty stayed at the barracks. The rest of them weren't in any kind of formalised military housing. They were just scattered throughout the town, wherever they wanted to live. A lot of them also picked up other trade or business efforts.
Sometimes they ran these with the help of their wives. And then on top of all of that, the colonies first governors were all Navy officers, not Army officers. And that just irked a lot of the people in the Corps. There was also a lot of social division within the colony. Europeans in Australia fell broadly into two camps. The exclusives who were the military, former military and free settlers and the emancipates who had been convicted and transported exclusives, generally thought a man of peace did not deserve equal rights even after finishing their sentence.
And they worked to keep power and wealth for themselves. At the same time, the enlisted men of the New South Wales Corps and the people who were serving sentences in Australia often had a lot in common. The military included a lot of workers who had lost their jobs to mechanization, and they enlisted because they didn't really have any other options, but. They were conscious of it or not, they expected that they would be treated better than the colonies, convicted criminals, many of whom had very similar backgrounds to their own, except for having been convicted of a crime, that treatment that soldiers felt they were entitled to included being afforded basic respect by their commanding officers.
So in this context, Bly's tendency to scream demoralizing insults that people, especially in cases where people did not feel like that screaming had been warranted like that was particularly rankling before Blyer got to Australia, to previous governors had each been tasked with restoring the balance between the military and the civil government, as well as cleaning up corruption and generally getting the colony in order. Neither had been able to do it, and both had been recalled by England. Bligh's immediate predecessor, Governor Phillip Gidley King, had written, quote, There is no society where the clashing of duty and interests between the governor and the governed are more violent than in New South Wales, and more particularly so if the governor does his duty much.
Barrence and forbearance has been reciprocally necessary between the governor and the officers, these two prior governors. There were other governors before that, but the two immediately before Governor Bligh, they had also repeatedly tangled with one of New South Wales most influential residents, and that was John MacArthur. MacArthur had been in the New South Wales Corps, but had become a prominent landowner as well after injuring his commanding officer, Lieutenant Governor William Paterson, in a duel. He had been sent to England to stand trial.
The reason for this duel was that Governor King had threatened any officer who traded in spirits with a court martial. And when most of the officers started boycotting any kind of social or official interaction with King in response, Patterson had refused to participate in this nonsense.
Although MacArthur was never actually tried for this, he did get wealthy investors to back his plan to start a Wuhl business while he was in Britain, and he got a grant of five thousand acres of land to do it with. MacArthur resigned from the New South Wales corps, got sheep from the royal stock and returned to Australia to get this business started. Here is Governor King's description of MacArthur. Quote, His employment during the 11 years he has been here has been that of making a large fortune, helping his brother officers to make small ones, mostly at the public expense, and sowing discord and strife.
Experience has convinced every man in this colony that there are no resources which aren't cutting impudence. And a pair of basilisk eyes can afford that. He does not put in practice to obtain any point he undertakes. Because of this and other similar behavior, MacArthur would eventually be nicknamed the great perpetrator. Winstar Joseph Banks recommended William Bligh for this job, he was seeing Bligh's reputation as an asset, not a liability. Being a stickler for rules with a temper and an abhorrence of slackness had all caused problems aboard Bligh ships.
But when it came to the problems in New South Wales, banks thought that they made him the right man for the job. After Bligh arrived there, he was given a statement of welcome signed by George Johnston on behalf of the military, Richard Atkins' on behalf of the civil authorities and John MacArthur on behalf of the free inhabitants. But then afterward, Bligh also received a petition that had been signed by almost 400 of the colonies free inhabitants, which read in part, quote, Had we deputized anyone, John MacArthur would not have been chosen by us.
We considering him an unfit person to step forward on such occasion as we made chiefly attribute that rise in the price of mutton to his withholding the large flock of wethers he now has to make such price as he may choose to demand.
It's all so much bickering. Bligh spent his first six months in Australia, mostly familiarizing himself with the colony and what was going on. About 7000 Europeans lived there, about fourteen hundred of whom were women. About thirteen hundred eighty of the colonies residents were serving a sentence. And aside from the drunken lawlessness, the colony was struggling. The Hawkesbury floods had destroyed a lot of the crops and killed many livestock. Supply ships had been delayed or had not arrived at all.
And even though this whole operation was supposed to benefit from the forced labour of convicted criminals, there had been no new arrivals in 1855 and only 550 between six and eight 07. This wasn't even enough to replace the people who had been released.
After finishing their sentences in early 1887, Bligh started instituting reforms. Can imagine how this is going to go and we will get to it after a sponsor break. Hey, it's Tracy. Everybody is spending a lot of time on video conference calls these days, but during those long calls, there's someone else you'd probably rather be connecting with.
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Everybody in. William Bligh started announcing his biggest reforms in New South Wales in early 1887, in January, he ordered that promissory notes would be payable in sterling money. Previously, most promissory notes had been payable in wheat, and the price of wheat fluctuated, sometimes really dramatically. This led to a court case in which John MacArthur tried to cash in a note based on the volume of wheat and not the value of the wheat. After prices have skyrocketed following the Hawkesbury floods, Bligh had already tried to ban bartering in general.
And in February of 07 he banned, quote, the exchange of spirits or other liquors as payment for grain, animal food, labor, wearing apparel or any other commodity, whatever. In other words, no more using rum as currency.
He also set a price cap on alcohol, which discouraged people from importing it since they could no longer make such a giant profit. And he banned the importation of stills to stills arrived on a ship on March 9th, one of which belonged to John McArthur. And Bligh had those stills impounded and then returned to England. Bligh also started questioning land grants that seemed suspicious to him. There are a lot of people were given land grants, especially military officers and civil authorities.
Basically as a reward, he butted heads with the John MacArthur about the location of those five thousand acres that he had been granted for his wool farm. The grant did not specify where those acres should be, and MacArthur insisted that they be in the best grazing land known in the colony at the time. Meanwhile, Bligh also received some land grants of his own, and he farmed them at the government's expense and using public resources that led people to accuse him of hypocrisy.
Bligh's insistence on following rules and procedures also just raised people's hackles. He would only acknowledge land grants if he got official approval from London. Recommendations from the Privy Council or the secretary of State were not enough, even though it had been for his predecessors. Governor King had also granted leases to townland, something the colony's first governor, Arthur Phillip, had prohibited. Bligh evicted people from land that they had leased under Governor Keating, including tearing down some of their homes and arguing that the leases were not valid.
Based on that earlier policy, basically, Bligh made a whole lot of changes that made people angry, especially the colony's wealthiest and most powerful. He was not diplomatic about it, and some of his efforts probably made things harder for everybody, like banning bartering in a colony that didn't have enough currency. But he was also doing what he had been sent there to do, which to more accommodating predecessors had failed to do.
In June of 1867, John Whored, who was serving a sentence for mutiny, stowed away on the Parramatta, which was owned by once again John MacArthur. He's like the linchpin of this whole story. Really, every single twist and turn is like you open the door and there's John MacArthur. John MacArthur seems like a real piece of work. Yeah, there was an 800 pound penalty for allowing someone to escape aboard a ship, but MacArthur refused to pay it.
Instead, he disavowed all responsibility for the Parramatta and its contents and crew, effectively abandoning it. And that meant that once it arrived back in Sydney the following November, the crew would not be paid and the ship would not be provisioned. When the Parramatta arrived in port, it was impounded and its crew were forbidden to leave the ship, although many of them disembarked anyway. Yeah, he basically just walked away from a ship that was worth so much more than that 800 pound bond.
So much more, Blyer demanded that MacArthur answer for this behavior and Judge Richard Atkins' issued a summons for him to appear in court. A trial date was set for January 25th, 1888, but MacArthur refused to have Atkins' preside over his case, citing all kinds of reasons, including the fact that Atkins' owed him money. Then MacArthur rallied the jury, all of whom were officers in the New South Wales court, which MacArthur had previously been a member of.
He rallied them all to refuse to accept Atkins' authority over the court proceedings. This was not the first time that a jury of officers had pulled this kind of a stunt. And under Governor King, it had worked and they had gotten a different person to preside over the court. But why was not having this? And Atkins' walked out. So this was a complete impasse. Bligh sent for Major George Johnston, who was at his house outside of town, asking him to come to the government house to discuss the situation.
Johnston was filling in for Lieutenant Colonel William Patterson, who was in command of the New South Wales Corps but was away at Port Dalrymple. But Johnston had been injured after falling off a horse the night before and responded that he was too ill to come. He also said he was too ill to return a written correspondence on the matter. Yeah, there's some speculation that maybe this influenced his judgment. When Patterson refused to participate in any kind of negotiations, Bligh had MacArthur imprisoned and he threatened to charge these six officers who had been on the jury with treason.
Treason was a capital offense. Johnston heard about this, and he thought that if Bligh carried through on the threat, the enlisted men would riot. He would later maintain that this led him to take Bligh into custody for his own protection. At the same time, though, it was already clear that Johnston had no confidence in Bligh's abilities or in his relationship with the Corps. He had filed a formal complaint in October of 1867, which read in part, quote, Governor Bligh seems ignorant of any instructions or rules whatever, but such as are dictated by the violent passion of the moment.
Although Johnston had said he was too ill to meet with or write to Bligh on January 25th at 8:00 on the twenty sixth of just the next day, he was well enough to travel to Sydney, demanding MacArthur be released from jail, name himself lieutenant governor and lead nearly the entire New South Wales core garrisoned in Sydney to march on the Government House. This was 20 years to the day after the First Fleet had arrived in Sydney Harbor.
The soldiers marched to the government house to the tune of British Grenadiers, and they drew a giant crowd of spectators as they went. When they got to the government house, they placed Bligh and his daughter, Mary, whose husband had previously died of tuberculosis, under house arrest. Only one person was injured in all of this, and that was Thomas Laycock, who fell through a manhole while he was searching for Bligh. There is a widely circulated story, along with many cartoon depictions, that Bligh was found hiding under a bed.
That is almost certainly something that the core made up. It doesn't seem like him to be hiding under a bed apart from everything else. How could he just titillate? MacArthur also drew up a petition that read, quote, the present alarming state of this colony in which every man's property, liberty and life is endangered induces us most earnestly to implore you instantly to place Governor Bligh under arrest and to assume the command of the colony. We pledge ourselves at a moment of less agitation to come forward to support the measure with our fortunes and our lives.
This had one hundred and fifty one signatures. However, almost all of those signatures were from after the coup. On the twenty seventh, Johnston dismissed Atkins' from the bench and also replaced most of Bligh's appointees, including arresting some of his most vocal supporters. He issued a statement that read in part, quote, In future, no man shall have just cause to complain of violence, injustice or oppression. No free man shall be taken, imprisoned or deprived of his house, land or liberty.
But by the law, justice shall be impartially administers without regard to or respect of persons. And every man shall enjoy the fruits of his industry and security. There were wild celebrations that night, including people burning Bligh in effigy. On January 30th, John McArthur's trial resumed, but there was no prosecutor. So this was really not a particularly serious proceeding. MacArthur was, of course, acquitted, and afterward Johnston named him colonial secretary. In July of 1888, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Fofo arrived from England, and since he was senior to Johnston, he took command of the New South Wales Corps.
Blyer spent more than a year under house arrest, refusing to return to England without being officially relieved of duty. In January of 09, Lieutenant Colonel Patterson returned to Sydney at Bravo's request. Paterson did not restore Bligh to the governorship, though instead he insisted that Bligh go back to London and take up the matter.
There, Bligh was finally freed from the government house in March of 89 and allowed to leave aboard the HMS Porpoise, although he assured his former captors he was returning to London. He instead sailed to Hobart, Australia, with the hope of rallying support to take back the government of New South Wales. He did not succeed, and he spent most of the next several months at anchor aboard the porpoise continually worrying whether his food might be poisoned. Meanwhile, MacArthur and Johnston also left.
They actually did go to London, though. They left on March 31st, 1889. They were hoping to get to London before Bligh did because they didn't know that he had changed course for Hobart.
They wanted to lay the groundwork for their defence before Bligh got their word of the coup had reached London in September of 08 and Scottish Army Officer Lachlan Macquarie was dispatched to New South Wales to restore order. He was the first Army officer appointed governor of New South Wales. He arrived on December 31st, 1889, although he ordered the Bligh be reinstated as governor for 24 hours before he took control, Bligh was still in Hobart, so this did not actually happen.
Macquarie quickly got to work undoing some of what Johnston had done, including voiding land leases that had been issued while he was controlling the colony. But he also issued a proclamation stating that people who had been appointed to office during that time would be immune to prosecution. Bligh got back to Sydney in early 1810 and then returned to London for the Court-Martial of George Johnston. Johnston was convicted of mutiny in extenuating circumstances and cashiered. That's a formal dismissal from his military service.
This was a light sentence considering that he had led a military coup against a lawfully appointed governor based on his previous service, he was given passage back to New South Wales and he died there in 1823.
Johnston's defence had been that his actions were justified. So his conviction also cleared Bligh of wrongdoing. Mostly, the court martials commander in chief described Bligh's conduct as having, quote, circumstances of impropriety and oppression. But in the court martials verdict, this was not enough to justify the coup.
Because MacArthur had previously resigned from the New South Wales core, he couldn't be court martialed. He had to face a civilian trial back in Australia. McCary ordered that he be arrested on site. So MacArthur stayed in England while his wife, Elizabeth, managed the wool business in Australia. He was finally allowed to return. In 1817, he was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1825, at which point Macquarie was no longer in office.
MacArthur had been prone to what was described as melancholia during his life and in his last years, he started to experience delusions. He was declared insane in 1832 and he died in 1834. Similarly to how there's some speculation about whether Johnston's injury had affected his judgement, there's also some speculation about whether McArthur's mental health affected his behaviour and all the things we've talked about so far. When Bligh took the position of governor in New South Wales, it was agreed that it would not affect his seniority or routine promotions.
In 1811, he was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Blue, which was backdated to 1810. That was when he was actually due for that promotion. In 1814, he was promoted to vice admiral. He never took command of another ship, though Bligh eventually retired to Kent. He died on December 7th, 1817. His tombstone reads, quote, Sacred to the memory of William Bligh, Esq., FRC Vice Admiral of the Blue, the celebrated navigator who first transplanted the breadfruit trees from Tahiti to the West Indies, bravely fought the battles of his country and died beloved, respected and lamented.
On the seventh day of December 1817, aged 64 does not mention that he was ever governor of New South Wales.
As for the New South Wales core, it did not last long after overthrowing Governor William Bligh in 1889, it was renamed the Second Regin. Of the line, and it was ultimately recalled to England, about half its former members elected to stay in Australia, many of whom joined the Seventy Third Regiment, the rest departed for England in May of 1810 when the seventy third regiment left Australia in 1814. Most of the members who had been part of the New South Wales Corps became part of the Royal Veteran Corps.
The Royal Veteran Corps was disbanded in 1823 because, quote, the expense of so many old soldiers was too heavy for the government to bear.
And that is the Rum Rebellion, which has so much bickering and ridiculousness.
It really does. Do you have listener mail that may or may not involve bickering or ridiculousness?
It doesn't involve bickering or ridiculousness, but it does involves Australia. It's from Sarah. Sarah says, hi, ladies.
Here in Australia, we have a very well-loved children's book series called Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie from the early nineteen hundreds. Its characters are gumnut babies and native animals during the Spanish flu pandemic. The author, May Gibbs, made this very cute cartoon in 1919 of a kookaburra and a gumnut baby wearing masks made of gum leaves. I thought you might enjoy seeing them. It resurfaced last year and is just as cute and relevant for kids now as it was then.
Thank you for your episodes and reflections on the pandemic. Things seem quite different down here, with life pretty much back to normal, but I really appreciate listening to you both on my walks. And they make housework palatable haha. Love from Sydney Sarah. So Sarah sent this.
It's an adorable cartoon and it looks familiar to me, even though I don't really think I had ever heard of this series before. I don't know if we will at some point do an episode on the author, but I got very fascinated reading about that. And it is this kookaburra that's sitting on a branch with a mask made out of a leaf next to a little naked baby, also with a mask made out of a leaf.
It's precious, so thank you so much for sending that and allowing me to say kookaburra the way that it is apparently actually said and not the way we learned it when I was in an elementary school in a song that I practiced over and over and over, which was we said it, Kookaburra Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree. Merry, merry king of the bushes.
He was apparently wrong. I did not learn the song because I sing terribly well. I remember we had it in a PTA meeting. We sang the song about the kookaburra, which is apparently really said Kookaburra. Subtle shift. Yeah, got a lot of email about it the last time I said Kookaburra on the show for some reason.
Anyway, thanks for suggesting the topic of the Rum Rebellion, Ian, and thanks for this email and the very adorable cartoon.
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