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  ― v ―

AUTHOR'S PREFACE.

THE greater number of these stories have already appeared in “Household Words.” The remainder were contributed to the “Welcome Guest.” It behoves me to inform the English reader that, although the entire contents of this volume are founded upon truth, the names, dates, and localities have been so altered that to all intents and purposes they form merely a work of fiction. My object in making such alterations was to spare the feelings of the surviving relations of the various persons alluded to in my narratives respectively.

To my readers in Australia (the land of my birth), I desire to say that I do not hold myself responsible for the sentiments of the various persons whom I have introduced as “characters;”and that when I have spoken of the colony as “Botany Bay,” and the large land and stockholders of former times as the “lords” thereof, it was not my intention to be either sarcastic or insulting. An absence of nearly twenty years from the colony (partly in India and partly in Europe) has in no way lessened my regard for the land where the days of my boyhood were spent, and where I yet hope to end my life; and I would here desire to express that it afforded me great joy to find that the prophecy in which I indulged at the public meeting at the Sydney College, in 1842, when I inconsistently


  ― vi ―
seconded Mr. W. C. Wentworth's resolution, that the Crown be petitioned to grant the colony a representative assembly, was not fulfilled, but falsified. I was then a very young (and perhaps a silly and selfish) man, when I propounded in public that the colony was not ripe for any government, save that of a purely Crown government; and the severe handling I received from the entire press of the colony was no doubt well merited; for assuredly I was not justified in agreeing to second so important a resolution, and then express such strong doubts as to the advisability of its being carried into effect. The unpopularity that I incurred during the few months that I remained in the colony after my speech at the Sydney College, was, I trust, regarded as a sufficient punishment for that “youthful indiscretion” on my part.

JOHN LANG
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