Fifteen years form a long space in a man's lifetime ; and during so many I have been from time to time collecting and collating materials, and endeavouring to accomplish the publication of the history which is now submitted to the public. Four years since a portion was published in one of our local journals ; but failing health, and inability to use my right hand, prevented its completion at the time ;- a circumstance which, however I may have suffered from its causes, I cannot say that I regret. Time has been afforded for revision, for additional information, and for the correction of conclusions which, although not hastily formed, prove to have been arrived at upon insufficient basis. Nevertheless, the diligence with which facts had been sought out, and the care with which their alleged authenticity was sifted, were, at the time I allude to, admitted by those most entitled to express an opinion on such matters ;- the few who, having taken an active part in the foundation of the colony, survived to witness the
changes which more than a quarter of a century has effected in its position, and a growth flattering enough to the people, but owing more to the beneficence of Providence than the foresight or wisdom of man.
The division of the history into two parts was not decided upon without careful consideration. Necessarily the growth of the colony before and since its separation from New South Wales differs in essential points ,- a difference not so much due to mere alteration in the administration of government as is sometimes supposed. The changes wrought by the development of material science within the last few years, have greatly intensified those which might have been looked for in the ordinary onward march of civilisation ; and we have less to create than to follow and grasp the benefits flowing from the succession of discoveries. Since the year 1859 what marvellous applications of science have we seen ; and we can scarcely appreciate their influence, unless we ask ourselves what, had they not been made. would most probably have been the position of the colony at the present hour. But we ought not to be blinded by the glare, however dazzling, of scientific light, to the value of the unobtrusive material which in other respects the earlier history of the one time infant settlement offers to us. Men wrought, toiled, suffered, were mis-governed, and endured ; and after many years , apparently, gained the independence that was the desire of their hearts. And the student who watches the political discussions which have now most interest to us will be amused by finding how much of value in them was initiated in those early days. Our schemes of government, our theories of finance, our land legislation, our plans of settlement, seem the echoes, too often faint and feeble, of the voices of those, not in reality so remote, but yet which seem to us, far off years : and when we are most proud of novelty we are often most certain to have been anticipated in our inventions.