The Wreck of the Wager.

By John Bulkeley & John Byron

Printed: 1983

Publisher: The Folio Society. London

Dimensions 15 × 23 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 15 x 23 x 3

Buy Now

Item information


In a fitted box. Navy leatherette spine with gilt title. Navy images of ships on the blue boards.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

Endorsed by F.B.A. – F.B.A. is endorsing a range of collectable lovingly used books

A lovely copy of this rare Folio book

The Wager Mutiny was the mutiny of the crew of the British war ship HMS Wager after she was wrecked on a desolate island off the south coast of Chile in 1741. The ship was part of a squadron commanded by George Anson bound to attack Spanish interests in the Pacific. Wager lost contact with the squadron while rounding Cape Horn, ran aground during a storm, and wrecked on what would become known as Wager Island in May 1741. The main body of the crew mutinied against their Captain, David Cheap, abandoned him and a group of loyal crew members, and set off in a modified open boat (named Speedwell) via the Strait of Magellan to Portuguese administered Rio de Janeiro. On the Speedwell voyage most of the crew died from starvation, some were abandoned on shore, and a smaller boat with two men aboard accompanying the Speedwell disappeared in rough seas. Four hundred miles short of Rio Grande a further eight men were stranded on the shore whilst gathering food. Of this group three eventually made it back to England after being captured and enslaved by local Indians. The main ringleaders in the Speedwell that made it to Rio also returned to England.

The group abandoned on Wager Island were re-joined a few days later by a small group from the Speedwell who were sent back in the longboat to collect some sails that were left behind. Two midshipmen, Alexander Campbell and John Byron, contrived to be part of this group after they were misled into believing that the Captain would be accompanying them in Speedwell. When the longboat failed to return, the Speedwell returned to Wager Island to look for it, but by that time everybody on the island had left in an attempt to sail north and re-join the squadron.

Captain Cheap’s group could not weather the cape to the north and therefore returned to Wager Island three months after they had left in a destitute condition having given up hope of escape. A few days later however a group of indigenous Chonos visited the island and after some negotiation in halting Spanish, they agreed to guide the group north along channels and Taitao Peninsula to Spanish inhabited Chiloé Archipelago in return for the longboat and some guns. Most of the group died on the journey from starvation and exposure, but Cheap, Campbell, Byron and a marine officer called Hamilton survived and eventually returned to England in 1745, two years after the surviving mutineers. The adventures of the crew of the Wager were a public sensation and inspired many narratives written by survivors and others to the present day.

Want to know more about this item?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this item. In addition, it is also possible to request more photographs if there is something specific you want illustrated.
Ask a question

Share this Page with a friend