Author's Preface: This book is not a history nor yet an autobiography. It leaves my life still to be written, should it be deemed worth the writing. It leaves, in fact, the first thirty years after my birth almost a blank....My objects in publication may be thus stated. To exhibit the stream of Australian progress as it has come within my own knowledge and been subjected to my individual influence; to make clear my opinions on some questions of first importance; to vindicate my aims and the motives by which I have been actuated in the part I have taken in moulding the policy of the country; to explain my views on some possibilities of the future, and what I conceive to be the destiny of the new Commonwealth....My exposition of principles is chiefly confined to the thread of my own life and my own endeavours so far as they have been related to the public life of the country....(v-vii). As to the nature of the work, Parkes wrote to his daugher, Annie, on 15 June 1889 as quoted in A.W. Martin's Henry Parkes : a biography (1980): 383: 'I have definitely planned a political history in two octavo volumes under the title of 'Chapters of Autobiography'.