A True Picture of Australia, its Merits and Demerits. By a Friend to Truth
Glasgow, John Morrison [and] John M'Leod [MacLeod on the front cover], 1839 ('Third Thousand' on the front cover).
Octavo, 80 pages.
Original flush-cut plain card-backed salmon-pink wrappers (recently rebacked in cloth) with slightly variant title page details repeated within an ornamental border on the front cover; small bottom corner pieces missing from the covers; bookplate or similar removed from the front pastedown, revealing an early partially-erased inscription; inferior paper stock uniformly tanned and a little brittle, with some trifling marginal blemishes; overall a very good copy (improved greatly by minimal expert conservation).
An uncommon and interesting work, accurately described in its title. Among short chapters on the various colonies there is an emigrant's diary of his grim voyage from Greenock to Sydney in 1837-38 (on account of 'typhus fever having broken out on the vessel'), followed by a series of letters from him and other emigrants after their arrival (15 pages). The second chapter on New South Wales begins by decrying the brutalisation of the native populations and pleading for their humane treatment and inclusion in society. 'They are as intelligent and well-clothed as our forefathers when they were colonised by the Romans ... What characterises us who are Christians? Look to America - whole districts have been wrenched from the natives by bloodshed and treachery, and the grasping fangs of avarice have narrowed and narrowed the Indian boundary, till tribe after tribe has disappeared, and nought remains but a wretched remnant of not what they were, but of what we have made them ... sunk to the most abject state of degradation, by the vices which we taught them, and the diseases with which we infected them'. Ferguson 2749 (noting a couple of variants, but not ours).