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Some years ago it was considered desirable that all the Financial Statements made since the inauguration of responsible Government should be collated and printed for future reference, and for distribution amongst the Public Libraries, Schools of Arts, and other literary institutions of the Colony. The task of editing these Statements was entrusted to me on account, I presume, of the experience which I had acquired, during a long course of years, of the financial affairs of the Colony and the practical knowledge which I possessed of its public accounts generally. Until recently no authorized copy of any of the Financial Statements was in existence, so that in the discharge of the duty imposed upon me I had to carefully revise the reports that were given of them in the Sydney Morning Herald, which, it is only fair to say, I found in the main extremely accurate, so far at least as it was in my power, from having heard many of them delivered, to judge. In revising these statements I had of course to compare the figures given in the Herald's reports with the published printed documents, a labour which necessarily involved much trouble and occupied a very considerable amount of time. I therefore feel confident that this edition of the Financial Statements will be found thoroughly reliable in this particular.

The new Constitution was proclaimed in the Government Gazette on the 24th November, 1855 ; but although it came into operation on that date no new Government was actually chosen under it until the 6th June, 1856, when the first Ministry was formed under the leadership of Mr. Stuart Alexander Donaldson. Mr. Thomas Holt, the Colonial Treasurer of that Administration, made no financial statement, because it ceased to exist on the 25th August following. The Cowper Ministry came into power on the 26th August, but the Colonial Treasurer, Mr. Robert Campbell, had no opportunity of making a financial statement during the period it lasted which was only to the 2nd October of the same year. It was not therefore until the formation of the third Ministry by Mr. Henry Watson Parker that the first Financial Statement under responsible Government was made by Mr. Stuart Alexander Donaldson, on the 6th November, 1856.

With the exception of the Treasurers in the first two administrations, and of Mr. Marshall Burdekin, Treasurer for a short time in the Cowper Ministry of 1865-1866, and of Mr. William Alexander Long, the Treasurer in the Robertson Ministry of 1877, the Farious Treasurers of all the administrations (of which there have been nineteen) since the introduction of responsible Governments, made either one or more financial statements during the periods they respectively held office.

With the approval of the present Colonial Treasurer, the Honorable James Watson, I have placed as an Appendix to the Financial Statements a memorandum explanatory of the financial system of New South Wales and an account of the rise, progress, and present condition of its public revenue, as it is considered they may be found useful to those who take an interest in the financial affairs of the Colony. The former paper was prepared by me in 1879 and the latter in 1876. Both were for the information of the Imperial Government, who had it in contemplation at the time to publish some kind of official work on the defences, financial resources, and general condition of the several Australian Colonies. I am not however aware whether such a work has yet been published. The Treasury, New South Wales,

JAMES THOMSON. 1st May, 1881.

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