BARRINGTON, George (1755-1804). An Account of a Voyage to New South Wales by George Barrington, Superintendant of the Convicts to which is prefixed a Detail of His Life, Trials, Speeches, &c. &c. Enriched with beautiful Colour'd Prints. [AND] The History of New South Wales, including Botany Bay, Port Jackson, Parramatta, Sydney, and all its dependancies, from the Original Discovery of the Island: with the Customs and Manners of the Natives; and an Account of the English Colony, from its Foundation to the Present Time...London: M. Jones, 1803 - 1810.
2 volumes. 8vo., (8 4/8 x 5 inches). Folding engraved map "A Plan of New South Wales", engraved frontispiece portrait of Barrington, engraved title-page with vignette of an Aborigine fishing with original hand-colour, and 9 further engraved plates with original hand-colour in volume one; volume II with engraved frontispiece and title-page with vignette of a black swan with original hand-colour, and a further 15 engraved plates with original hand-colour and one uncoloured plate (some light spotting). Contemporary diced russia, gilt (hinges starting at the head of the spine).
Provenance: with the small ink library stamp of Hugh Selbourne, his sale, Bonhams, 8th March 2016, lot 262
First edition of the first volume, second edition of the second volume, uniformly bound and an attractive set. Including views and images of the ducking and shaving ceremony as the expedition crosses the equator, Teneriffe, the Cape of Good Hope, the entrance to Paramatta River, Pinchgut Island, Garden Island, and 3 views of Sydney in the first volume. The second volume includes views and images of Sydney Cove, indigenous Australians and some of their ceremonies, native birds and animals (a dingo, black cockatoo, and an emu) and botanical specimens.
Both works were originally published in parts in 1802 and 1803, supposedly by George Barrington, but really taken from already various published accounts of the First Fleet. The real George Barrington was a pickpocket transported to Sydney in 1791. In 1796 John Hunter gave him an absolute pardon and appointed Barrington chief constable at Parramatta. He became a relatively wealthy landowner and died of drink in 1804. "Notoriety pursued Barrington long after his death. Irresponsible journalists credited him with great wealth and longevity, and countless works were published over his name. He wrote none of them and was not the author of the oft-quoted prologue reputedly spoken by him at the opening of the first Australian theatre in 1796. His persistent fame sprang from little more than 'a low pilfering habit' united with genteel manners and a shrewd fluency, although he showed signs of reform in New South Wales" ('Barrington, George (1755–1804)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University). Ferguson 367