City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
George Barrington (1755-1804)
George Barrington (14 May 1755 – 27 December 1804) was an Irish-born pickpocket, popular London socialite, Australian pioneer (following his transportation to Botany Bay), and author. His escapades, arrests, and trials, were widely chronicled in the London press of his day. For over a century following his death, and still perhaps today, he was most celebrated for the line "We left our country for our country's good." The attribution of the line to Barrington is considered apocryphal since the 1911 discovery by Sydney book collector Alfred Lee of the 1802 book in which the line first appeared.