In the progress of his not unpleasing task, the author began to think that his labours might prove interesting beyond the small circle of his private friends; that some account of the gradual reformation of such flagitious characters as had by many (and those not illiberal) persons in this country been considered as past the probability of amendment, might be not unacceptable to the benevolent part of mankind, but might even tend to cherish the seeds of virtue, and to open new streams from the pure fountain of mercy*. Johnson, "that in the loose and thoughtless and dissipated, there is a secret radical worth, which may shoot out by proper cultivation; that the spark of heaven, though dimmed and obstructed, is yet not extinguished, but may, by the breath of counsel and exhortation, be kindled into flame . 70.] Nor was he without hope, that through the humble medium of this history, the untutored savage, emerging from darkness and barbarism, might find additional friends among the better-informed members of civilized society.
With these impressions, therefore, he felt it a sort of duty to offer his book to the world; and should the objects alluded to be in any degree promoted by it, he shall consider its publication as the most fortunate circumstance of his life.
The island, moreover, abounds with fine timber in every respect adapted to the purposes of ship-building: iron too it possesses in abundance.
Occurrences such as he has had to relate are not often presented to the public; they do not, indeed, often happen.It is not, perhaps, once in a century that colonies are established in the most remote parts of the habitable globe; and it is seldom that men are found existing perfectly in a state of nature.A few words, he hopes, may be allowed him respecting the colony itself, for which he acknowledges what, he trusts, will be considered as at least an excusable partiality.He bore his share of the distresses and calamities which it suffered; and at his departure, in the ninth year of its growth, with pleasure saw it wear an aspect of ease and comfort that seemed to bid defiance to future difficulties.The vices of mankind must frequently require the severity of justice; but a wise State will direct that severity to the greatest moral and political good. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THOMAS LORD VISCOUNT SYDNEY One of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Chief Justice in Eyre South of Trent, A Governor of the Charter-house, and a Vice-President of the Asylum MY LORD, The honour that your Lordship has done me, in permitting this volume to go forth into the world under the sanction of your name, demands my warmest acknowledgments.
I can only wish that the Work had been more worthy of its patron.
To be brief: Such is the English Colony in New South Wales, for which the author is anxiously solicitous to obtain the candid consideration of his countrymen; among whom it has been painful to him to remark a disposition too prevalent for regarding it with odium and disgust.
London, May 25, 1798 INTRODUCTION SECTION I Transports hired to carry convicts to Botany Bay The Sirius and the Supply commissioned Preparations for sailing Tonnage of the transports Persons left behind Two convicts punished on board the Sirius The Hyaena leaves the Fleet Arrival of the fleet at Teneriffe Proceedings at that island Some particulars respecting the town of Santa Cruz An excursion made to Laguna A convict escapes from one of the transports, but is retaken Proceedings The fleet leaves Teneriffe, and puts to sea SECTION II Proceed on the voyage Altitude of the peak of Teneriffe Pass the isles of Sal, Bonavista, May, and St.
When such circumstances do occur, curiosity, and still more laudable sentiments, must be excited.
The gratification even of curiosity alone might have formed a sufficient apology for the author; but he has seen too much of virtue even among the vicious to be indifferent to the sufferings, or backward in promoting the felicities of human nature.
It was not a romance that he had to give to the world; nor has he gone out of the track that actual circumstances prepared for him, to furnish food for sickly minds, by fictitious relations of adventures that never happened, but which are by a certain description of readers perused with avidity, and not unfrequently considered as the only passages deserving of notice.