The description on the front flap of the dust jacket:
Recorded history concerned with major figures of the day seldom makes mention of those who lay foundations for progress, and it was purely by chance an old letter book found in a stable loft focused attention on John Maxwell, stockman and free settler.
The exchange of letters between John Maxwell, Superintendent of Government Stock, and the colonial Administration of New South Wales from 1823 to 1831, provides information on Australia's early pastoral development, and also on the life of the convicts and the problems of a civil servant in what was essentially a military regime.
Letters, even business letters, provide insight into character. Those exchanged between John Maxwell and successive colonial Secretaries Frederick Goulburn and Alexander McLeay bring to life the New South Wales of the early 19th Century, giving the reader an awareness of the decisions, the conditions that prompted them, and especially of Governors Brisbane and Darling, the men who made most of them in those years. But it is the character of John Maxwell, the forthright, honest, and very able Scot, that shines through the pages of this book.