Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/14

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iv
PREFACE.

The Publishers having concurred with the Author in this opinion, he was proceeding in the execution of his plan; when an appointment from his Sovereign called him to fulfil its duties in a distant country.

Thus situated, he prevailed on me to undertake a task for which I felt myself but ill calculated; a task that I have performed with reluctance, and which nothing but the desire of complying with his wish could have induced me to perform at all. An early suspicion, that the deep interest which I had in the Narrator would, if it did not impede my progress, at least render it painful, was fully verified. Scarcely a page was examined, which did not give birth to some uneasy sensation; and my mind was by turns a prey to terror and disgust. It cannot be matter of wonder, that, beholding my fellow-creatures so lost to every sense of feeling, so sunk in hopeless depravity, as to prefer their former evil courses, when even temptation had ceased to hold out a lure, and when comfort and competence were the probable, if not certain rewards of a different conduct, created in my bosom a degrading idea of the human heart, and led me to tremble at the recollection that the Historian, whose faithful records had given birth to those sensations, might at that very hour be exposed to the same evils and the same perils which he had but too recently experienced. That this should be possible, did, indeed, fill me with asto-

nishment,