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Preface




  ― V ―

THIS book is not a history nor yet an autobiography. It leaves my life still to be written, should it be deemed worth the writing. It leaves, in fact, the first thirty years after my birth almost a blank. My residence in New South Wales has extended over fifty-three years; I began, in association with others, to take an earnest interest in the affairs of the colony within two or three years after my arrival. My first acquaintances were Charles Harper, William Augustine Duncan, and Henry Halloran, the latter of whom, now a hale man of eighty-two years, is still my warm personal friend, whose high generous spirit and fine gifts of mind have contributed much to my enjoyment of life. Some years before the advent of Responsible Government I was drawn into the active politics of the country; and of all the men who laboured conspicuously in public in preparing the way for the new Era, I now stand alone.

My objects in publication may be thus stated. To exhibit the stream of Australian progress as it has come within my own knowledge and been subjected to


  ― Vi ―
my individual influence; to make clear my opinions on some questions of first importance; to vindicate my aims and the motives by which I have been actuated in the part I have taken in moulding the policy of the country; to explain my views on some possibilities of the future, and what I conceive to be the destiny of the new Commonwealth. It is no part of my purpose to discuss the conduct of others except in instances where the actions of others have been inextricably mixed up with my own, or in one or two other cases where the conduct of others has in my judgment been perilous to the public liberties. My exposition of principles is chiefly confined to the thread of my own life and my own endeavours so far as they have related to the public life of the country. Matters of ephemeral or merely local interest, although they may have given rise to much controversy at the time of their occurrence, are for the most part excluded from these pages.

In a work of this kind it has not been found possible, and it has not been desired, to suppress my personality. But my wish has been that my public actions should be placed in the full light of day, and left naked and unscreened to public criticism. Whatever my work may amount to, it cannot be made more by words from me or from too tolerant friends, and it cannot be made less by the comments of adversaries. It must stand or be swept away according to the nature of its substance.


  ― Vii ―
Still it seems to me that, looking beyond the span of my existence and the limits of my exertions, much may be gathered illustrative of the steps taken in untrodden fields and the materials brought together from opposite sources, in laying the foundations of Empire in the great English-speaking land under the Southern Crown. My broken record may be a help among many aids when the time comes for strong hands to write the History of Australia.

HENRY PARKES.

SYDNEY, May, 1892.

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