Of the many books which have been published on subjects relating to Australia and Australian History, I am not aware of any, since my late friend Mr. R.H. Major's introduction to his valuable work, Early Voyages to Terra Australis, which has attempted a systematic investigation into the earliest discoveries of the great Southern Island-Continent, and the first faint indications of knowledge that such a land existed. Mr. Major's work was published in 1859, at a time when the materials for such an enquiry were much smaller than at present. The means of reproducing and distributing copies of the many ancient maps which are scattered among the various libraries of Europe were then very imperfect, and the science of Comparative Cartography, of which the importance is now well recognised, was in its infancy. For these reasons, his discussion, useful though it still is, cannot be regarded as abreast of modern opportunities. It is indeed, after the lapse of more than a third of a century, somewhat out of date. Having therefore been led to give close attention during several years to the whole subject, I have thought the time ripe for the present work.
The distance from the great centres and stores of knowledge at which I have been compelled to labour will excuse to the candid critic the errors which will no doubt be discovered, yet I feel some confidence that these will prove to be omissions rather than positive mistakes. No pains have been spared in investigating the full body of documents now available. Though unable to examine personally some manuscripts of interest and value, I believe I can truly say that I have read every book, and examined every map, of real importance to the question, which has been produced in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch. I have corresponded also largely, during the past four years, with many of the most eminent members of the Geographical Societies of London, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Amsterdam and Neuchatel. To these gentlemen I am deeply indebted for searches which they have made for me in the libraries and museums within their reach, for much information readily and kindly afforded, and for the interest and sympathy which they have at all times manifested in my labours. My thanks are due also to the gentlemen in charge of the Sydney Free Public Library, who kindly enriched their collection with many rare and very useful volumes of permanent importance which I was unable to procure myself, and who aided my researches by every means in their power. I cannot hope that in a subject so vast and interesting I shall be found to have said the last word, yet I trust that my book may prove to be of value, both in itself and as directing the attention of others to a field which should be mainly explored by residents in Australia. Such as it is, I now send it forth, with the natural solicitude of a parent, and commend it to the indulgence of the reader, and the kindly justice of the critic.
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Editore Wds Publishing
Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM