WAKEFIELD, Edward Gibbon (1796 – 1862). The New British Colony of South Australia; or a Description of the Country, Illustrated by Charts and Views; with an Account of the Principles, Objects, Plan, and Prospects of the Colony. London: C. Knight, 1835
8vo., (6 x 4 inches). 3-page publisher's advertisement at end. Wood-engraved frontispiece showing the entrance to Port Lincoln, folding engraved map "Part of Southern Australia, from the 132 to 141 degree of East Longitude" (short separation to one fold, some offsetting), full-page "Chart of Port Lincoln", "Chart of Kangaroo Island", "Chart of the World", and one wood-engraved plate of Kangaroo Island. Original green cloth, gilt, uncut (extremities a little rubbed and bumped).
Provenance: contemporary inscription erased from front paste-down; with the small ink library stamp of Hugh Selbourne, his sale, Bonhams, 8th March 2016, lot 261
Second edition, "with a copy of the South Australian Act; and the Regulations made by the South Australian Commission for the Disposal of Lands in the Colony; for the preliminary sales of Colonial Lands; and for the Emigration of Laborers".
Wakefield's role in the "founding of South Australia is difficult to estimate. Torrens later credited him with the major role and so did Governor Sir John Hindmarsh. Robert Gouger and Anthony Bacon who submitted the first South Australian proposals were both associates of Wakefield from his prison days. His biographer, Richard Garnett, hinted that Wakefield intended to go to South Australia in 1832, but that year the first plans for the proposed colony were rejected by the Colonial Office. To explain and elaborate his theories Wakefield anonymously published England and America. A Comparison of the Social and Political State of Both Nations, 2 vols (London, 1833; New York, 1834). Meanwhile another scheme put forward by the South Australian Land Co. had proved abortive. In these years Wakefield spent much time on the Continent. He was absent when the South Australian Association was formed late in 1833, but returned next year to help his brother Daniel to draft the bill to empower His Majesty to erect South Australia into a British province or provinces and to provide for the colonization and government thereof. Wakefield was active in organizing the lobbying that led to parliament passing the bill. After it received royal assent on 15 August 1834, he published The New British Province of South Australia (London, 1834; Edinburgh, 1835), a manual of advice and information for intending colonists. Apart from these contributions Wakefield's name appears rarely in contemporary manuscripts, though his personal influence must have been very great. In January 1835 he took his consumptive daughter to Lisbon, where she died on 12 February. Grief-stricken he returned to London to find that Torrens had been made chairman of the South Australian Colonization Commission appointed by the government. Wakefield's interest in the new province was already on the wane, chiefly because he was disgusted by the low price of land fixed in his absence and the misleading 'self-supporting principle' adopted by Torrens" (Graeme L. Pretty, 'Wakefield, Edward Gibbon (1796–1862)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University). Ferguson 2068