Dundee: Printed for the author, sold by W. Middleton, Dundee; James Dewar and Son, Perth, 1848. First edition. An extremely scarce account of early life in Tasmania, including his experience guarding convicts / work crews, many of them North American political prisoners transported for their participation in the rebellion in Upper Canada in 1838. It also includes a valuable account of the life of the bushranger Mike Howe. James Syme was a Scot. Supervising convicts from 1841-1845, he described the Rocky Hills road station as a "hotbed of idleness and laxity." He recalled that in 1842 there were 400 cases of insubordination and escape. Conditions were so bad that military reinforcements had to be sent from Hobart Town. Louisa Anne Meredith, early settler and botanical artist, was unimpressed by the efforts of the Rocky Hills road gang, recalling that 'at one part of the road we found a gang of men employed in its improvement; forming, in the mean time, greater obstacles than they removed; and so they have continued to be employed ... and still, after nearly nine years, the comparatively trifling task remains unfinished. The mismanagement of the gang was evident... This herding together of so many idle men under the pretence (sic) of "doing probation", as they call it, must be injurious to the well-disposed among them, and is no punishment to the worthless' (Meredith 1852, pp.83–84).
Ferguson, 4929; Wilson, 101. 12mo, iv, 384pp, yellow endpapers marked. Publisher's green cloth boards, gilt title on spine rubbed, dusty covers, binding cracked but holding. This copy is consistent with the copy held by the National Library of Australia (Ferguson 4929); dark green embossed boards with yellow endpapers, gilt lettering and raised bands on the spine. OCLC: 166311297 at 13 libraries. Early owner inscribed the ffep "Mr. James Reid No. 10 West Campbell St., Paisley May 20th 1862".
A very difficult book to find in the market. Good + overall. Item #27883