An Appeal to the Sympathies and Benevolence of the Australasian Public: For Relief for Mr. Andrew Bent, (Late Newspaper Proprietor of Van Diemen’s Land) and His Large Family, Now in a State of Utter Destitution! New South Wales: Set-up and printed by the Sufferer himself, at the Printing Office of Mr. Alcock, Jamison-street, Sydney. 1844.
complex pagination (see below); 21 x 13 cm. (varies slightly)
Ferguson 3786. Copies: ANL (FC plus 1 other); DC; ML (3 copies); NSL; TSL
The pamphlet was distributed in Sydney, VDL and Port Phillip in conjunction with an intensive newspaper advertising campaign. Bent sought donations to extricate himself and his family from dire financial difficulties. After a couple of disastrous years at Kempsey Bent returned to Sydney and engaged in a fruitless search for employment. His wife Mary and the younger children were still on the McLeay River frontier. The pamphlet gives interesting details of Bent’s career and includes numerous newspaper extracts from the past and testimonials from some of his Sydney acquaintances. The initial appeal was not as successful as Bent hoped and it was recommenced on a better organized footing early in 1845. By mid-December 1846 Mary was back in Sydney, although mortally ill, and the subscription list was wound up.
The pamphlet’s collation is complicated and varies slightly between surviving copies, suggesting it was printed in stages. Most copies include extra pages, some stitched or pasted into the pamphlet as circulated by Bent, others possibly tipped in by later owners. Most copies have the following parts, usually in the same order:
Tp (verso headed: Names of Subscribers. Names sometimes added in pen writing, the number varying according to when the pamphlet was sent out) – pp. -5 (Appeal of Mr. Andrew Bent dated March 7, 1844) —  (undated circular suggesting the formation of committees) – -8 (Addenda) — -16 (Appendix)
The most interesting copy, bibliographically, is the Mitchell Library copy which came from the papers of Sir George Arthur. This copy was first sent to W. A. Duncan, former editor of the Australasian Chronicle. It was returned for reuse and then sent to Arthur although it is not clear when. Both names are written on the title page, on the yellow paper wrapper and one of the circulars. The copy has been marked up for emphasis by Bent (probably for Arthur’s benefit) and includes a number of additional printed documents. It is not clear whether some or all of these were included in the pamphlet as sent to Duncan, found loose in Arthur’s papers, or acquired separately by D. S. Mitchell and tipped in later. This copy also includes two small hand-folded envelopes for donations, also obviously recycled from first use.
Additional surviving printed documents associated with the Appeal are:
- ‘Supplement to the Appeal of Mr. Andrew Bent.’ 1 leaf. Inserted between tp and p.  in most copies with title altered to ‘Introduction’ in pen writing. Bent’s letter to Sir George Gipps with letter to Lady Gipps on verso. Absent from the copy addressed to Colonial Secretary E. Deas Thompson, one of the first to be distributed (DC)
- Circular dated 6 April 1844. 1 leaf of blue or white paper (verso blank.) Pasted into Arthur’s copy with subscriber names in pen on verso. Also occurs with pamphlets sent to William Macpherson (TSL), Alderman Allen (FC) and Rev. Cartwright (NSL)
- Circular dated 27 June 1844. 1 leaf of blue paper printed on both sides. Printed to accompany the first batch of pamphlets sent to VDL which were lost in transit. The only surviving copy has pen alterations for distribution at Port Phillip, where John Pascoe Fawkner and George Augustus Robinson collected donations. (Fawkner’s copy ANL)
- Subscription list headed ‘Appeal of Mr. Andrew Bent. Names of subscribers and donations promised.’ Undated. 1 leaf. Names printed on both sides with gaps left for later additions. Pasted into Arthur’s copy (extra names added in pen writing) also in ML copy 1B (no added names)
- ‘Expressions of Regret.’ Undated but after 16 July 1844. At foot: BENT, TYPO. 1 leaf (verso blank.) Inserted in Arthur’s copy.
- ‘Andrew Bent’ (article reprinted from Colonial Observer 21 Nov. 1844.) 4 p. Inserted in Arthur’s copy.
- ‘Additional Observations of the Australian and Tasmanian Press.’ (Undated. Extracts cover 27 Apr 1844 to 29 Jan 1845.) 1 leaf pasted onto inside back wrapper of Arthur’s copy.
- Circular dated 17 Apr. 1845. 1 sheet folded to 4 p. (last blank.) Printed when the appeal was revamped in 1845. A copy annotated by Bent on 6 Feb. 1846 was enclosed in his letter to Arthur of same date. (Sir George Arthur Papers v. 41, ML A2201)