'Hints Respecting Botany Bay' [in] Miscellanies in Prose and Verse…. Francis GARDEN, Lord GARDENSTONE.
'Hints Respecting Botany Bay' [in] Miscellanies in Prose and Verse…
'Hints Respecting Botany Bay' [in] Miscellanies in Prose and Verse…

'Hints Respecting Botany Bay' [in] Miscellanies in Prose and Verse…
'Hints Respecting Botany Bay' [in] Miscellanies in Prose and Verse…

Edinburgh: J. Robertson, 1792.

Octavo, 336 pp.; a very good copy in nineteenth-century half calf over marbled boards.

'The most absurd, prodigal and impracticable vision…'

Rare, with an early essay on Botany Bay by a Scottish judge and therefore providing some insight into the reaction of the legal profession to the realities of transportation: 'the Botany-bay scheme is the most absurd, prodigal and impracticable vision that ever intoxicated the mind of man.'

Rare, with an early essay on Botany Bay by a Scottish judge and therefore providing some insight into the reaction of the legal profession to the realities of transportation: 'the Botany-bay scheme is the most absurd, prodigal and impracticable vision that ever intoxicated the mind of man.'

Lord Gardenstone (1721-1793) was a distinguished judge, bon vivant and a wonderful eccentric noted for his fondness for pigs: he was 'distinguished for his conviviality, at a period when, especially in Scotland, it must be admitted that real proficiency was requisite to procure fame in that qualification' (Robert Chambers, A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen, 1835). He also found time to be an occasional writer, and this is a charming selection of some of his pensées and poems, which unsurprisingly includes a rollicking ode 'On Hard Drinking.'

In his 'Hints on Botany Bay', Lord Gardenstone takes as his starting point the contemporary reports that some 2029 convicts had been transported prior to 18 March 1791, at a cost of £374,000 beside some unrecorded "contingencies". He was astounded by the excessively high cost of hundreds of pounds per convict, especially when there was no hint that the costs would abate; Gardenstone recommended instead the adoption of the Panopticon as devised by the great penal theorist Jeremy Bentham. To those who would argue that the colony would become quickly self-sufficient, he noted that such dreams of agriculture in Sydney were unconvincing when one realised that Governor Phillip's exploring party took five days 'to penetrate thirty miles into the desart' - evidence, by the way, that he had read Phillip's account.

This is the second edition, although copies of the first edition appear to be very thin on the ground indeed (no copy of any first edition is recorded by the English Short Title Catalogue, suggesting that the "first" edition may well be a publisher's puff). Ferguson recorded copies of this second edition in the Mitchell Library and the National Library of Australia.

Ferguson, 136.

Price (AUD): $1,150.00  other currencies Ref: #4003701

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