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An Account of a Voyage to New South Wales – George Barrington
Condition : Good.
Time Life (Classics of Exploration Series), 1984, Leather Hardback – Classics – illus with b&w frontispiece, 7 coloured plates, Folding map, index; vi + 476pp. Brown leather binding with raised banding to spine and Red / gold decoration and lettering. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. Includes loose-leaf explanation of inclusion in the “Classics of Exploration ” series, also includes a loose ex-libris sticker. An Essential series for any serious collector.
This leather-bound volume has been photographically reproduced from the first edition published in 1810 and thus preserves the historical authenticity of the work.
The autobiography of the author, a criminal sentenced to transportation. Includes a life of Barrington, his trials, speeches, etc.
George Barrington, 1755 – 1840, a notorious English pickpocket, was sentenced to seven years transportation to Botany Bay. In return for his aid in suppressing a mutiny aboard the convict ship, he was released and made superintendent of convicts in the colony, before succumbing to insanity, which is euphemistically referred to as ‘infirmity’ in the book. The work is now known to have been ghostwritten by someone other than Barrington, and includes substantial elements of plagiarism, borrowing particularly from John Hunter’s ‘Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island’.
Barrington was already a legendary hero in England, a prince of rogues. The English public’s continuing interest in New South Wales and the fate of the transported convicts encouraged the publishers’ greed: they compiled information from various sources to satisfy a public starved of accounts of the new colony since the books by Tench and Hunter in 1793. For better or worse, Barrington became the peg on which the less scrupulous London publishers hung their hats. But even if the whole “Barrington” canon is a concoction from other sources, it demonstrates the great popularity that his accounts had with the contemporary reader. These early editions represent the form in which information about New South Wales and the voyage there reached those of the public who could not afford the expensive quartos published by members of the First Fleet.
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