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Nearly fifty years have elapsed, since Van Diemen's Land was numbered with the colonies of the British empire. A generation has risen up and is passing away. Thousands, while they venerate the land of their European ancestors, with an amiable fondness love Tasmania as their native country. They will, hereafter, guide its affairs, extend its commerce, and defend its soil; and, not inferior in virtue and intelligence, they will fill an important position in the vast system of Australasia. To gratify their curiosity, and offer to their view the instructive and inspiriting events of the past, is the purpose of this history. The difficulty of the task can be appreciated only by experience. To collect from scattered records, facts worthy of remembrance; to separate reality from romance; to remove partial coloring from statements made long ago; and to exhibit useful truth without disguise and without offence, required much research and deliberation. It is not the intention of this history to relate every event which, when passing, may have been deemed momentous; much less to recal from obscurity the errors, absurdity, and wickedness which exercised no distinct influence on the common welfare. The author has endeavoured to realize the feelings and sympathies of the benevolent and just of another age, and to confine his pen to details which may maintain their interest, when the passions with which they were associated shall subside for ever

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