A Voyage to Botany Bay with A Sequel to Barrington's Voyage to New South Wales

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Author: George Barrington (1755-1804)

Year: 1798-1801

Publisher: C Lowndes

Place: London


2 volumes in one. Volume 1 with a Description of the country , manners, Customs, Religion &c of the Natives [vi]+120 pages with engraved frontispiece and engraved title-vignette depicting prisoners landing at Sydney Cove; volume 2 titled A Sequel to Barrington's Voyage to New South Wales, comprising an interesting narrative of the Transactions and Behavior of the Convicts; The progress of the Colony; an Official Register of the Crimes, Trials, Sentences, and Executions that have taken place: A Topographical, Physical, and Moral Account of the Country, Manners, Customs &c. of the Natives, - as likewise authentic anecdotes of the most distinguished characters, and notorious convicts that have been transported to the settlement at New South Wales viii+88+[6] pages with tables. Small octavo (7 3/4" x 4 1/2") bound in full leather with five raised spine bands and red label in gilt lettering to spine, blind stamped rule to edges. Often found bound together. (Ferguson: 328) Volume one first printed in 1795. Reprint.

George Barrington was an Irish-born pickpocket, popular London socialite, Australian pioneer (following his transportation to Botany Bay), and author. His escapades, arrests, and trials, were widely chronicled in the London press of his day. For over a century following his death, and still perhaps today, he was most celebrated for the line "We left our country for our country's good." The attribution of the line to Barrington is considered apocryphal since the 1911 discovery by Sydney book collector Alfred Lee of the 1802 book in which the line first appeared. In 1771 he robbed his schoolmaster at Dublin and ran away from school, becoming a member of a touring theatrical company under the assumed name of Barrington. At the Limerick races he joined the manager of the company in picking pockets. The manager was detected and sentenced to transportation, and Barrington fled to London, where he assumed clerical dress and continued his pickpocketing. At Covent Garden theater he robbed the Russian Count Orlov of a snuff-box, said to be worth 30,000 pounds. He was detected and arrested, but as Count Orlov declined to prosecute, was discharged, though subsequently he was sentenced to three years hard labor for pocket-picking at Drury Lane theater. On his release he was again caught at his old practices and sentenced to five years hard labor, but influence secured his release on the condition that he left England. He accordingly went for a short time to Dublin, and then returned to London, where he was once more detected pocket-picking, and, in 1790, sentenced to seven years transportation. One account states that on the voyage out to Botany Bay a conspiracy was hatched by the convicts on board to seize the ship. Barrington disclosed the plot to the captain, and the latter, on reaching New South Wales, reported him favorably to the authorities, with the result that in 1792 Barrington obtained a warrant of emancipation (the first issued), becoming subsequently superintendent of convicts and later high constable of Parramatta.


Some offset darkening to title, old gift inscription on front end paper else a very good copy.

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