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papers have been examined and scheduled, and it may be seen at a glance of what they consist. They begin with a General Order, dated 7th August, 1789, “Instructions to the Night Watch.” Two other orders of no particular importance follow, and these are all out of the many hundreds issued during Phillip's Governorship that appear to have been preserved. There are no official papers whatever belonging to the administration of Lieut.Governor Paterson-December, 1794, to September, 1795; and only one of the time in which Lieut -Governor Grose ruledDecember, 1792, to December, 1794. Hunter's Governorship, which covered more than five years—11th September, 1795, to 27th September, 1800—is represented by one book containing copies of the orders made from September, 1795, to December, 1797, and five or six papers of minor importance. Papers belonging to the King period, 1800 to 1806, are more numerous; but the Records are scanty and intermittent until the term of Governor Macquarie is reached, January, 1810. There are no despatches to or from the Governors during any period. The only manuscripts of this class in Sydney are in the Secretary's room at Government House.
The Records, so far as Sydney is concerned, are thus defective in two respects. In the first place, the despatches from the foundation of the Colony up to the beginning of 1800 are wanting; in the second place, the orders, proclamations, and other official papers showing how authority was exercised in the early days are found only in fragments—in fact, they can scarcely be said to exist.
But for the active search made in London by Mr. James Bonwick, F.R.G.S., the early Records of New South Wales would have been little better than a blank. The despatches sent to England by the Governors, as well as the despatches and letters transmitted to them, have been preserved, if not as completely as could have been wished, yet to a very large extent, in the Departments of State. These sources of information have been thrown open to the Government, and the transcriptions that have been made repair, so far as it can be repaired, the misfortune the Colony has sustained in the loss of its early Records.
The first step to tap these valuable sources of information was taken in April, 1887, when the Colonial Secretary, Sir Henry Parkes, G.C.M.G., through the Agent-General, authorized Mr. Bonwick to make copies of certain despatches which he had discovered. In the following year, in view of the publication of the “ History of New South Wales from the Records," authority was given for the transcription of documents relating to the period during which Governor Phillip was at the head of affairs, i.e., 1788–1792. The information obtained in this way proved so interesting and valuable that Mr. Bonwick was instructed to continue his researches, and the work has since gone on without interruption. The purpose in view is to collect from every available source all the authentic information it is possible to obtain relating to the foundation of the Colony and its government during the early part of its existence.
An awkward gap is thus filled up. The information, however, was not easily obtained. The manuscripts were not readily accessible; they were gathered from many Departments. The Governors in the early days were not only responsible to the Home Office, which had the Colonies in its charge, but, as naval officers, they owed allegiance to the Admiralty. They had to correspond with the Home Secretary and the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and with the Under Secretaries of those departments. Each department and sub-department kept two letter-books, one for the Minister and the other for the Under Secretary, so that it was necessary to examine four different sources of information for the purpose of discovering what had passed between the Governors and the English authorities.
In dealing with the Records belonging to a still earlier period— that in which the establishment of a settlement in New South Wales was discussed—the ground to be covered was wider still, though not so productive. In making preparations for the despatch of the First Fleet many departments and sub-departments were engaged—the Home Office, which had general direction of the business; the Admiralty, which undertook the equipment and officering of the ships, and the appointment of the force of marines which guarded the transports and formed the garrison at Port
Jackson; the Treasury, which made the financial arrangements; the Transport Office, which had to do with the convict-ships; and the Victualling Department, which provisioned the fleet. When the marines were replaced by the special corps raised by Major Grose, known afterwards as the New South Wales Corps, another Department of State, that of War, was brought into operation; and, accordingly, correspondence between that department and the Home Office, and between the officials at the War Office and the officers of the corps, takes its place amongst the Records. Three of the transports which constituted, with the warship Sirius and its tender the Supply, the vessels forming the First Fleet, were under charter to the East India Company to take cargoes of tea from China to London after landing convicts and stores at Port Jackson; and at a subsequent stage, the Company, owing to the obstacles it threw in the way of Australian trade with the East, figured largely in the official correspondence relating to New South Wales. The records of the India Office are therefore another source of information.
The transcripts which have been despatched to Sydney are thus gathered from a wide field, embracing as it does the Public Record Office, the British Museum, the Home Office, the Colonial Office, the War Office, the Privy Council Office, the Admiralty, the India Office, and Somerset House. The documents had to be searched for, and the work was not without difficulty, owing to the imperfect and unsystematic way in which official records were kept in the early days. Some documents, the earlier Orders and Proclamations, for example, cannot be found at all; others, which were believed to be missing, such as the commissions of the early Governors, have been discovered in the Home Office, after a patient search, in which valuable assistance was given by the officers of the Department. A number of the despatches copied by the transcribers in London escaped notice in the first instance because they had been placed amongst papers relating to the American colonies.
While the principal storehouse of facts concerning the early days of the Colony is the Public Record Office and the Departments of State in London, information has been obtained from
other sources. Six years ago the Agent-General, Sir Saul Samuel, acting under instructions from the Government at Sydney, purchased from Lord Brabourne a valuable collection of papers relating to the settlement and early history of New South Wales. They were once known as “The Brabourne Papers"; they are now known as “The Banks Papers.” The grandfather of the present Lord Brabourne was related to Sir Joseph Banks, and in that way the papers came into the possession of the Brabourne family. Sir Joseph Banks, as pointed out in Vol. I of the Official History, took an active part in the consultations and negotiations which led to the settlement of New South Wales; and there can be no doubt that his representations, founded upon what he saw of the country during his visit to Botany Bay with Captain Cook in the Endeavour, did a great deal towards bringing about the settlement of New South Wales. After the Colony had been established he watched its fortunes with a parental eye, and the deep interest which he took in its welfare is shown by the correspondence that has come, through Lord Brabourne, into the possession of the Government of New South Wales. These manuscripts are apparently only a part of the papers that Sir Joseph kept with regard to this Colony. The “Banks Papers” were discovered by accident in Sir Joseph Banks' old house in Soho Square, but these manuscripts are only a portion of the correspondence which Sir Joseph had with English Ministers, and with Australian Governors, settlers, and explorers. Many of his manuscripts relating to Australian affairs have been lost or destroyed. The papers begin with four letters from Captain Cook (originals), and go up to 1814, six years before Sir Joseph's death. The absence of letters from or to Phillip, with whom Sir Joseph Banks corresponded, the fact that there are no manuscripts of later date than 1814, and other considerations, indicate that the collection, precious as it is, is only the remnant of a large store of papers relating to the foundation and early history of New South Wales.
The manuscripts of Governor King, referred to at page xi, which have been lent to the Government by the Hon. Philip
Gidley King, M.L.C., are extensive and important. They consist of a Journal, in two volumes, kept partly on board the Sirius* on the voyage from England to Botany Bay with the First Fleet of Transports, and partly at Norfolk Island, where King acted as Commandant and Superintendent from March, 1788, to March, 1790, under a Commission issued by Phillip as Governor of New South Wales and its Dependencies; a letterbook, containing copies of despatches received and sent both during King's term as Commandant and during his subsequent command as Lieutenant-Governor, under commission from the Crown, from November, 1791, to October, 1796; four letterbooks, kept during his term as Governor of New South Wales, from September, 1800, to August, 1806; and original letters and despatches, extending from 1799 to 1811. It should be pointed out with regard to the despatches recorded in the letter-books, that King during his first term at Norfolk Island corresponded with Governor Phillip, from whom he derived his authority, while during his Lieutenant-Governorship at Norfolk Island and his Governorship at Sydney he was in direct communication with the Home Office and other Departments of State in England. While acting as Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island, from November, 1791, to October, 1796, King wrote a Second Journal, a copy of which is amongst the transcripts sent from England to the Government in Sydney.
Discoveries from time to time of manuscripts which were believed to have been lost, or the existence of which was unknown, may interfere to some extent with the consecutive printing of the Records; but it has been considered better to begin publishing at once than wait an indefinite time to make sure that all possible sources of information have been exhausted. The plan of the work contemplates the publication of the Records in chronological order, and the rule will not be departed from except in cases where despatches of a given date contain enclosures of earlier dates. Under such circumstances, to place the manuscripts in strict chronological order would cause con
* King came out to New South Wales as Second Lieutenant of the Sirius.