Two Years in New South Wales; A Series of Letters…. Peter CUNNINGHAM.
Two Years in New South Wales; A Series of Letters…

Two Years in New South Wales; A Series of Letters…

London: Henry Colburn, 1827.

Two volumes, duodecimo; nineteenth-century polished calf, spine gilt with black morocco labels, bookplates of William Henry Cox in both volumes.

One of the best introductions to NSW in the 1820s

First edition: a lively and engaging description of New South Wales in the 1820s by Peter Cunningham, a naval surgeon who served on five voyages to Australia aboard convict transports before settling in the upper Hunter Valley.

First edition: a lively and engaging description of New South Wales in the 1820s by Peter Cunningham, a naval surgeon who served on five voyages to Australia aboard convict transports before settling in the upper Hunter Valley.

Of Scottish descent, Cunningham (1789-1864) joined the navy during the war with Napoleon and served in Spanish and North American waters. In 1819 he took the first of five commissions as surgeon-superintendent aboard the convict transport Recovery and enjoyed a good reputation for the slight loss of life under his care. Cunningham's last such voyage was in 1828, and it would appear that he arranged publication of the present work in London immediately prior.

Comprising a series of letters to friends in Britain, Cunningham's account is a valuable contribution to the social history of the colony. It includes detailed and unguarded descriptions of peculiarly Australian social customs, with some observations on the vocabulary and accent of those born in the colony. A long letter of 40 pages treats Aboriginal life and customs. The letters are eminently readable and engaging, penned in an easy style; they enjoyed a wide popular appeal, with three English editions by 1828 and three in German by 1832.

Given the author's considerable experience as a surgeon-superintendent serving on transports, the two sections devoted to the care and management of convicts on the Australian voyage are of special interest. In total, 66 pages are specifically devoted to the subject; with treatment of diet, morale, discipline, clothing, hygiene, exercises, games to alleviate boredom and relations between felons and the marines set to guard them.

Ferguson, 1109; Ford 'Bibliography of Australian Medicine', 590.

Condition Report: Occasional slight foxing, a very good set.

Price (AUD): $1,275.00

US$935.26   Other currencies

Ref: #4106492

Condition Report