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The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders by Ernest Scott

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As time went on, and release was not granted, he several times thought of
surrendering his parole, which would have involved giving up the pleasant
life at Wilhelm's Plains, and being again confined in Port Louis. But
escape would have meant the loss of many of his papers, the authentic
records of his discoveries; and he could not bring himself to face that.

Consequently the captivity dragged itself wearily out for three years
after the order of release was received. The victim chafed, protested,
left no stone unturned, but Decaen was not to be moved. Happily
depression did not drag illness in its miserable train. "My health
sustains itself tolerably well in the midst of all my disappointments,"
he was able to write to Banks in 1809.


From June, 1809, the British squadron in the Indian Ocean commenced to
blockade Ile-de-France.* (* Flinders to Banks, Historical Records 7 202.)
Decaen's fear of Flinders' knowledge is revealed in the fact that he
ordered him not for the future to go beyond the lands attached to Madame
D'Arifat's habitation. Flinders wrote complying, and henceforth declined
invitations beyond the immediate neighbourhood of the plantation. He
amused himself by teaching mathematics and the principles of navigation
to the two younger sons of the family, and by the study of French

After October the blockade increased in strictness, under Commodore
Rowley. Decaen's situation was growing desperate. Fortunately for him,
the French squadron brought in three prizes in January, 1810, slipping
past Rowley's blockade, much to that enterprising officer's annoyance.
The situation was temporarily relieved, but the assistance thus afforded
was no better than a plaster on a large wound. Here again we find
Flinders accurately and fully informed: Decaen did not underrate his
"dangerous" potentialities. "The ordinary sources of revenue and
emolument were nearly dried up, and to have recourse to the merchants for
a loan was impossible, the former bills upon the French treasury, drawn
it was said for three millions of livres, remaining in great part unpaid;
and to such distress was the Captain-General reduced for ways and means
that he had submitted to ask a voluntary contribution in money, wheat,
maize, or any kind of produce from the half-ruined colonists. It was even
said to have been promised that, if pecuniary succour did not arrive in
six months, the Captain-General would retire and leave the inhabitants to
govern themselves."

Decaen, in fact, saw clearly that the game was up. His threat to retire
in six months did not mean that he would not have given the British a
fight before he lowered the tricolour. He was not the man to surrender
quite tamely; but he knew that he could no longer hold out for more than
a measurable period, the length of which would depend upon the enemy's

There was, therefore, no longer any purpose in prolonging the captivity
of the prisoner who was feared on account of his knowledge of the
situation; and Decaen availed himself of the first opportunity presented
in 1810 to grant Flinders his longed-for release. In March, Mr. Hugh Hope
was sent to Ile-de-France by Lord Minto (who had become Governor-General
of India in 1807) to negotiate for the exchange of prisoners. This
gentleman had done his best to secure Flinders' release on a former
occasion, and had been refused. But now Decaen realised that the end was
drawing near, and there was no sound military purpose to serve in keeping
the prisoner any longer. It is quite probable that he would have been
glad if information had been conveyed to the British which would expedite
the inevitable fight and the consequent fall of French power in

On March 15th Flinders received a letter from Mr. Hope informing him that
the Governor had consented to his liberation. A fortnight later came
official confirmation of the news in a letter from Colonel Monistrol, who
assured him of the pleasure he had in making the announcement. His joy
was great. At once he visited his French friends in the neighbourhood to
give them the news and bid them farewell; next day he took an
affectionate leave of the kind family who had been his hosts for four
years and a half; and as soon as possible he departed for Port Louis,
where he stayed with his friend Pitot until he went aboard the cartel. At
the end of the month a dinner was given in his honour by the president of
the Societe D'Emulation, to which a large number of English men and women
were invited. When Flinders arrived in Ile-de-France, more than six years
before, he could speak no French and could only decipher a letter in that
language with the aid of a dictionary; but now, when he found himself
again in the company of his own countrymen, he experienced a difficulty
in speaking English!

On June 13th, Flinders' sword was restored to him. He was required to
sign a parole, wherein he pledged himself not to act in any service which
might be considered as directly or indirectly hostile to France or her
allies during the present war. On the same day the cartel Harriet sailed
for Bengal. Flinders was free: "after a captivity of six years five
months and twenty-seven days I at length had the inexpressible pleasure
of being out of the reach of General Decaen."

Rowley's blockading squadron was cruising outside the port, and the
Harriet communicated with the commodore. It was ascertained that the
sloop Otter was running down to the Cape with despatches on the following
day, and Flinders had no difficulty in securing a passage in her. After
dining with Rowley he was transferred to the Otter. He was delayed for
six weeks at the Cape, but in August embarked in the Olympia, and arrived
in England on the 23rd of October, after an absence of nine years and
three months.

News of his release had preceded him, and his wife had come up from
Lincolnshire to meet him. He speaks in a letter to a friend of the
meeting with the woman whom he had left a bride so many years before:* (*
Flinders' Papers.) "I had the extreme good fortune to find Mrs. Flinders
in London, which I owe to the intelligence of my liberty having preceded
my arrival. I need not describe to you our meeting after an absence of
nearly ten years. Suffice it to say I have been gaining flesh ever
since." John Franklin, then a midshipman on the Bedford, had come up to
London to welcome his old commander, and, much to his disturbance,
witnessed the meeting of Flinders and his wife, as we find from a letter
written by him: "Some apology would be necessary for the abrupt manner in
which I left you, except in the peculiar circumstances wherein my
departure was taken. I felt so sensibly the affecting scene of your
meeting Mrs. Flinders that I would not have remained any longer in the
room under any consideration."

The capture of Ile-de-France by the British, when ultimately an attack
was made (on 3rd December, 1810), gave peculiar pleasure to naval
officers and Anglo-Indians. "It is incredible," Mr. Hope wrote to
Flinders, "the satisfaction which the capture of that island has diffused
all over India, and everyone is now surprised that an enterprise of such
importance should never have been attempted before." When the change of
rulers took place, some of the French inhabitants objected to take the
oath of allegiance to the British Crown, and a letter on the subject was
sent to Napoleon. His comment was pithy: "I should like to see anybody
refuse me the oath of allegiance in any country I conquered!"* (*
Flinders' Papers.)

It will be convenient to deal at this point with the oft-repeated charge,
to which reference has been made previously, that charts were taken from
Flinders during his imprisonment, and were used in the preparation of the
Atlas to Peron and Freycinets' Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres

The truth is that no charts were at any time taken from the trunks
wherein they were deposited in 1803, except by Flinders himself, nor was
a single one of his charts ever seen by any French officer unless he
himself showed it. He never made any such charge of dishonesty against
his enemy, Decaen, or against the General's countrymen. He had, as will
be seen, a cause of grievance against Freycinet, who was responsible for
the French charts, and gave voice to it; but plagiarism was neither
alleged nor suspected by him.

On each occasion when Flinders applied to Decaen to be supplied with
papers from the trunks, he gave a formal receipt for them. The first
occasion when papers were removed was on December 18th, 1803, when
Flinders took from one of his trunks his Cumberland log-book, in order
that Decaen might ascertain from it his reasons for calling at
Ile-de-France. It was never restored to him. Mr. Hope made application
for it in 1810, when he was set free, but Decaen did not give it up; and
in 1813 Decres was still demanding it unavailingly. This book and the box
of despatches were the only papers of Flinders that Decaen ever saw. When
it was handed over, all other books and papers were replaced in the
trunk, "and sealed as before." The second occasion was on December 27th,
1803, when the trunk containing printed books was restored to Flinders at
his request in order that he might employ himself in confinement at the
Port Louis tavern. The third occasion was on December 29th, when he was
conducted to Government House, and was allowed to take out of the sealed
trunk there his private letters and journals, two log-books, and other
memoranda necessary to enable him to construct a chart of the Gulf of
Carpentaria. All other papers were "locked up in the trunk and sealed as
before." The fourth occasion was in July, 1804, when Flinders was allowed
to take out of the same trunk a quantity of other books, papers and
charts, which he required for the pursuit of his work. For these also a
receipt was duly given. In that instance Flinders was especially
vigilant. He had received a private warning that some of his charts had
been copied, but when the seals were broken and he examined the contents
he was satisfied that this was not true. He asked Colonel Monistrol, an
honourable gentleman who was always of friendly disposition, whether the
papers had been disturbed, and "he answered by an unqualified negative."
The fifth occasion was in August, 1807, when all the remaining papers,
except the log-book and the despatches, were restored to him. He then
gave the following receipt:* (* Decaen Papers.)

"Received from Colonel Monistrol, chef d'etat-major general of the Isle
of France, one trunk containing the remainder of the books, papers, etc.,
which were taken from me in Port North-West on December 16th, 1803, and
December 20th of the same year, whether relating to my voyage of
discovery or otherwise; which books and papers, with those received by me
at two different times in 1804, make up the whole that were so taken;
with the following exceptions: First, Various letters and papers, either
wholly or in part destroyed by rats, of which the remains are in the
trunk. Second, The third volume of my rough log-books, containing the
journal of my transactions and observations on board the Investigator,
the Porpoise, the Hope cutter, and the Cumberland schooner, from some
time in June, 1803, to December 16th, 1803, of which I have no duplicate.
Third, Two boxes of despatches; the one from his Excellency Governor King
of New South Wales, addressed to His Majesty's principal Secretary of
State for the Colonies; the other from Colonel Paterson,
Lieutenant-Governor at Port Jackson, the address of which I do not
remember. In truth of which I hereunto sign my name at Port Napoleon,
Isle of France this 24th day of August, 1807.


"Late commander of H.M. Sloop the Investigator, employed on discoveries
to the South Seas, with a French passport."

The papers which the rats had destroyed were not described; but there is
a letter of Flinders to the Admiralty, written after his return to
England (November 8th, 1810), which informs us what they were.* (*
Flinders' Papers.) In this letter he explained that, when the trunk
containing the papers was restored, "I found the rats had gotten into the
trunk and made nests of some of them. I transmitted the whole from the
Isle of France in the state they then were, and now find that some of the
papers necessary to the passing of my accounts as commander and purser of
His Majesty's sloop Investigator are wanting. I have therefore to request
you will lay my case before their Lordships and issue an order to
dispense with the papers which from the above circumstances it is
impossible for me to produce." It is apparent, therefore, that none of
the navigation papers or charts were destroyed. Had any been abstracted
Flinders, who was a punctiliously exact man, would have missed them. His
intense feeling of resentment against Decaen would have caused him to
call attention to the fact if any papers whatever had been disturbed.

The Quarterly Review pointed out the circumstance that the French charts
were "VERY LIKE" those of Flinders, giving sinister emphasis to the words
in italics. They were very like in so far as they were good. It is
evident that if two navigators sail along the same piece of coast, and
each constructs a chart of it, those charts will be "very like" each
other to exactly the degree in which they accurately represent the coast
charted. Freycinet, who did much of the hydrographical work on Baudin's
expedition, was an eminently competent officer. Wherever we find him in
charge of a section, the work is well done. His Atlas contained some
extremely beautiful work. There is no reason whatever for suggesting that
it was not his own work. He certainly saw no chart of Flinders, except
the one shown to him at Port Jackson, until the Atlas to the Voyage to
Terra Australis was published.

Moreover, the reports and material prepared by Baudin's cartographers,
upon which Freycinet worked, are in existence. The reports* to the
commander give detailed descriptions of sections of the Australian coast
traversed and charted, and show conclusively that some parts were
examined with thoroughness. (* I have read the whole of these reports
from copies of the originals in the Depot de la Marine, Service
Hydrographique, Paris, but have not thought it necessary to make further
use of them in this book.) For regions in which Baudin's expeditions
sailed, Freycinet had no need to resort to Flinders' material. He had
enough of his own. The papers of Flinders which Freycinet might have
wished to see were those relating to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres
Strait, and the Queensland coast, which Baudin's vessels did not explore.
But the French maps contain no new features in respect to these parts.
They present no evidence that Freycinet was acquainted with the
discoveries made there by Flinders.

The accusation of plagiarism arose partly from the intense animosity felt
against Frenchmen by English writers in a period of fierce national
hatred; partly from natural resentment of the treatment accorded to
Flinders; partly from the circumstance that, while he was held in
captivity, French maps were published which appeared to claim credit for
discoveries made by him; and partly from a misunderstanding of a charge
very boldly launched by an eminent French geographer. Malte-Brun, in his
Annales des Voyages for 1814 (Volume 23 page 268) made an attack upon the
French Atlas. He detested the Napoleonic regime, and published his
observations while Napoleon was in exile at Elba. He pointed out the
wrong done to Flinders in labelling the southern coast of Australia
"Terre Napoleon," and in giving French names to geographical features of
which Flinders, not Baudin, was the discoverer. He continued: "the motive
for that species of national plagiarism* is evident. (* "Le motif de
cette espece de plagiat national.") The Government wished to create for
itself a title for the occupation of that part of New Holland."
Malte-Brun should have known Napoleon better than that. When he wanted
territory, and was strong enough to take it, he did not "create titles."
He took: his title was the sword.

But the point of importance is that Malte-Brun did not allege
"plagiarism" against the authors of the French maps. His charge was made
against the Government. It was not that Freycinet had plagiarised
Flinders' charts, but that the Government had plagiarised his discoveries
by, as Malte-Brun thought, ordering French names to be strewn along the
Terre Napoleon coasts. In a later issue of the Annales des Voyages*
Malte-Brun testified to having seen Freycinet working at the material
upon which his charts were founded. (* Volume 24 273.) But his former use
of the word "plagiat" had created a general impression that Flinders'
charts had been dishonestly taken from him in Mauritius, and used by
those responsible for the French maps; a charge which Malte-Brun never
meant to make, and which, though still very commonly stated and believed,
is wholly untrue.

The really deplorable feature of the affair is that Peron and Freycinet,
in their published book and atlas, gave no credit to Flinders for
discoveries which they knew perfectly that he had made. They knew where
he was while they were working up their material. It does not appear that
either of them ever moved in the slightest degree to try to secure his
liberation. Peron died in December, 1810. Malte-Brun, who saw him
frequently after the return of Baudin's expedition, says that in
conversation on the discoveries of Flinders, Peron "always appeared to me
to be agitated by a secret sorrow, and has given me to understand that he
regretted not being at liberty to say in that regard all that he knew."
Flinders also believed Peron to be a worthy man who acted as he did "from
overruling authority." Those who have read the evidence printed in this
book, exhibiting the detestable conduct of both Peron and Freycinet in
repaying indulgence and hospitality by base espionage, will hardly be
precipitate in crediting either of them with immaculate motives. There is
no evidence that authority was exercised to induce them to name the
southern coasts Terre Napoleon, or to give the name Golfe Bonaparte to
the Spencer's Gulf of Flinders, that of Golfe Josephine to his St.
Vincent's Gulf, that of Ile Decres to his Kangaroo Island, that of
Detroit de Lacepede to his Investigator Strait, and so forth. They knew
that Flinders had made these discoveries before their own ships appeared
in the same waters; they knew that only the fact of his imprisonment
prevented his charts from being published before theirs. The names with
which they adorned their maps were a piece of courtiership and a means of
currying favour with the great and powerful, just as their espionage, and
their supply of illicitly-obtained and flavoured information to Decaen in
Mauritius, were essays to advance their own interests by unworthy

Freycinet's anxiety to get his maps out before Flinders had time to
publish is curiously exhibited in a letter from him to the Minister of
Marine (August 29th, 1811). Flinders was then back in England, hard at
work upon his charts. A volume of text, and one thin book of plates,
containing only two maps, had been published at Paris in 1807. Then delay
occurred, and in 1811 the engravers, not having been paid for their work,
refused to continue. Freycinet appealed to the Minister in these terms:*
(* Manuscripts, Archives Nationales, Marine BB4 996.) "Very powerful
reasons, Monsieur, appear to demand that the atlas should be published
with very little delay, and even before the text which is to accompany
it. Independently of the advantages to me personally as author, of which
I shall not speak, the reputation of the expedition ordered by His
Majesty appears to me to be strongly involved. I have the honour to
remind your Excellency that Captain Flinders was sent on discovery to
Terra Australis a short while after the French Government had despatched
an expedition having the same object. The rival expeditions carried out
their work in the same field, but the French had the good fortune to be
the first to return to Europe. Now that Flinders is again in England, and
is occupied with the publication of the numerous results of his voyage,
the English Government, jealous on account of the rivalry between the two
expeditions, will do all it can for its own. The conjectures I have
formed acquire a new force by the recent announcement made by the
newspapers, that Captain Flinders' voyages in the South Seas are to be
published by command of the Lords of the Admiralty. If the English
publish before the French the records of discoveries made in New Holland,
they will, by the fact of that priority of publication, take from us the
glory which we have a right to claim. The reputation of our expedition
depends wholly upon the success of our geographical work, and the more
nearly our operations and those of the English approach perfection, and
the more nearly our charts resemble each other, the more likelihood there
is of our being accused of plagiarism, or at all events of giving rise to
the thought that the English charts were necessary to aid us in
constructing ours; because there will be no other apparent motive for the
delay of our publication."

Here, it will be seen, Freycinet anticipated the charge of plagiarism,
but thought it would spring from the prior publication of Flinders'
charts. He had no suspicion at this time that the accusation would be
made that he used charts improperly taken from Flinders when he was under
the thumb of Decaen; and when this unjust impeachment was launched a few
years later he repudiated it with strong indignation. In that he was
justified; and our sympathy with him would be keener if his own record in
other respects had been brighter.


One of the first matters which occupied Flinders after his arrival in
England was the use of his influence with the Admiralty to secure the
release of a few French prisoners of war who were relatives of his
friends in Mauritius. In a letter he pointed out that these men were
connected with respectable families from whom he himself and several
other English prisoners had received kindness.* (* Flinders' Papers.) His
plea was successful. There was, surely, a peculiar beauty in this act of
sympathy on the part of one who had so recently felt the pain and
distress of captivity.

Flinders was anxious for news about his old Investigator shipmates. The
faithful Elder, he found, had secured an appointment as servant to
Admiral Hollowell, then on service in the Mediterranean, and was a great
favourite. Franklin was able to enlighten him as to some of the others.
Purdie, who had been assistant-surgeon, was surgeon on the Pompey. Inman,
who had been sent out to act as astronomer during the latter part of the
voyage, was a professor at the Naval College, Portsmouth. Lacy and
Sinclair, midshipmen, were dead. Louth was a midshipman on the Warrior.
Olive was purser on the Heir Apparent, and Matt, the carpenter, filled
that post on the Bellerophon. Of Dr. Bell Franklin knew nothing. "The old
ship," he said, "is lying at Portsmouth, cut down nearly to the water's

In naval and scientific circles Flinders was the object of much honour
and interest. He was received "with flattering attention" at the
Admiralty. We find him visiting Lord Spencer, who, having authorised the
Investigator voyage, was naturally concerned to hear of its eventful
history. Banks took him to the Royal Society and gave a dinner in his
honour. The Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV, himself a sailor,
wished to meet him and inspect his charts, and he was taken to see the
Prince by Bligh. In 1812 he gave evidence before a Committee of the House
of Commons on the penal transportation system.* (* House of Commons
Papers, 1812; the evidence was given on March 25th.) What he had to say
related principally to the nature of the country he had examined in the
course of his explorations. "Were you acquainted with Port Dalrymple?"
the chairman asked him. "I discovered Port Dalrymple." "Were you ever at
the Derwent?" "I was, and from my report, I believe, it was that the
first settlement was made there." He was one of the few early explorers
of Australia whose vision was hopeful; and experience has in every
instance justified his foreseeing optimism.

But save for a few social events, and for some valuable experiments with
the magnetic needle, to be referred to in the final chapter, his time and
energies were absorbed by work upon his charts. He laboured incessantly.
"I am at my voyage," he said in a letter, "but it does by no means
advance according to my wishes. Morning, noon and night I sit close at
writing, and at my charts, and can hardly find time for anything else."
He was a merciless critic when the proofs came from the engravers. One
half-sheet contains 92 corrections and improving marks in his
handwriting. Such directions as "make the dot distinct," "strengthen the
coast-line," "make this track a fair equal line," "points wanting," are
abundant. As we turn over the great folio which represents so much
labour, so much endurance, so much suffering, it is good to remember that
these superb drawings are the result of the ceaselessly patient toil of
perhaps the most masterly cartographer who has ever adorned the British
naval service.

He took similar pains with the text of A Voyage to Terra Australis. It
was never meant to be a book for popular reading, though there is no lack
of entertainment in it. It was a semi-official publication, in which the
Admiralty claimed and retained copyright, and its author was perhaps a
little hampered by that circumstance. Bligh asked that it should be
dedicated to him, but "the honour was declined."* (* Flinders' Papers.)
The book was produced under the direction of a committee appointed by the
Admiralty, consisting of Banks, Barrow, and Flinders himself.

It abounds in exact data concerning the latitude and longitude of coastal
features. The English is everywhere clear and sound; but the book which
Flinders could have written had he lived a few years longer, if it had
been penned with the freedom which made his conversation so delightful to
his friends, might have been one of the most entertaining pieces of
travel literature in the language. At first he was somewhat apprehensive
about authorship, and thought of calling in the aid of a friend; but the
enforced leisure of Ile-de-France induced him to depend upon his own
efforts. Before he left England in 1801, he had suggested that he might
require assistance. In a letter to Willingham Franklin, John's brother, a
fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, and afterwards a Judge in Madras, he
wrote (November 27th, 1801):* (* Flinders' Papers.)

"You must understand that this voyage of ours is to be written and
published on our return. I am now engaged in writing a rough account, but
authorship sits awkwardly upon me. I am diffident of appearing before the
public unburnished by an abler hand. What say you? Will you give me your
assistance if on my return a narration of our voyage should be called for
from me? If the voyage be well executed and well told afterwards I shall
have some credit to spare to deserving friends. If the door now open
suits your taste and you will enter, it should be yours for the
undertaking. A little mathematical knowledge will strengthen your style
and give it perspicuity. Arrangement is the material point in
voyage-writing as well as in history. I feel great diffidence here.
Sufficient matter I can easily furnish, and fear not to prevent anything
unseamanlike from entering into the composition; but to round a period
well and arrange sentences so as to place what is meant in the most
perspicuous point of view is too much for me. Seamanship and authorship
make too great an angle with each other; the further a man advances upon
one line the further distant he becomes from any point on the other."

It did not prove so in Flinders' own case, for his later letters and the
latter part of his book are written in an easier, more freely-flowing
style than marks his earlier writings. He solicited no assistance in the
final preparation of his work. He preferred to speak to his public in his
own voice, and was unquestionably well advised in so doing. It is a
plain, honest sailor's story; that of a cultivated man withal.

Intense application to the work in hand brought about a recurrence of the
constitutional internal trouble which had occasioned some pain in
Mauritius. The illness became acute at the end of 1813. He was only 39
years of age, but Mrs. Flinders wrote to a friend that he had aged so
much that he looked 70, and was "worn to a skeleton." He mentioned in his
journal that he was suffering much pain. Yet he was never heard to
complain, and was never irritable or troublesome to those about him. He
was full of kindness and concern for his friends. We find him attending
sittings of the Admiralty Court, where his friend Pitot had a suit
against the British Government, and he interested himself in the
promotion of two of his old Investigator midshipmen. He urged upon the
Admiralty with all his force that his own branch of the naval service was
as honourable and as deserving of official recognition as war service.
The only inducement for young officers to join a voyage of discovery, and
forego the advantages arising from prizes and active service, was the
reasonable certainty of promotion on their return. "This," he observed,
"certainly has been relied upon and fulfilled in expeditions which
returned in time of peace, when promotion is so difficult to be obtained;
whereas I sailed and my officers returned during a war in which promotion
was never before so liberally bestowed. Yet no one of my officers, so far
as I have been able to ascertain, has received promotion for their
services in that voyage, although it has been allowed the service was
well executed."* (* Flinders' Papers.)

The illness increased during 1814, while the "Voyage" and its
accompanying atlas were passing through the press. He never saw the
finished book. The first copy of it came from the publishers, G. and W.
Nicol, of Pall Mall, on July 18th, on the day before he died; but he was
then unconscious. His wife took the volumes and laid them upon his bed,
so that the hand that fashioned them could touch them. But he never
understood. He was fast wrapped in the deep slumber that preceded the
end. On the 19th he died. His devoted wife stood by his pillow, his
infant daughter (born April 1st, 1812) was in an adjoining room, and
there was one other friend present. Just before the brave life flickered
out, he started up, and called in a hoarse voice for "my papers." Then he
fell back and died.

Upon the manuscript of the friend who wrote an account of his death,
there is pencilled a brief memorandum, which chronicles a few words
muttered some time before death touched his lips. The pencil-writing is
rubbed and only partly decipherable, but the letters "Dr." are distinct.
I take the meaning to be that the doctor attending him heard him murmur
the words. They are: "But it grows late, boys, let us dismiss!" One can
easily realise the kind of picture that floated before the mind of the
dying navigator. It was, surely, a happy vision of a night among friends
and companions, who had listened with delight to the vivid talk of him
who had seen and done so much in his wonderful forty years of life. In
such a company his mates would not be the first to wish to break the
spell, so he gave the word: "it grows late, boys, let us dismiss."

Flinders died at 14 London Street, Fitzroy Square, and was buried in the
graveyard of St. James's, Hampstead Road, which was a burial ground for
St. James's, Piccadilly. No man now knows exactly where his bones were
laid.* (* The vicar of St. James's, Piccadilly, who examined the burial
register in response to an enquiry by Mr. George Gordon McCrae, of
Melbourne, in 1912, states that the entry was made, by a clerical error,
in the name of Captain Matthew Flanders, aged 40.) A letter written years
later by his daughter, Mrs. Petrie, says: "Many years afterwards my aunt
Tyler went to look for his grave, but found the churchyard remodelled,
and quantities of tombstones and graves with their contents had been
carted away as rubbish, among them that of my unfortunate father, thus
pursued by disaster after death as in life."

On the 25th of the same month died Charles Dibdin, who wrote the elegy of
the perfect sailor:

"Here a sheer hulk lies poor Tom Bowling.
The darling of our crew,
No more he'll hear the tempest howling
For death has broached him to."

During his last years in London, Flinders lodged in six houses
successively, and it may be as well to enumerate them. They were, 16 King
Street, Soho, from November 5th, 1810; 7 Nassau Street, Soho, from
January 19th, 1811; 7 Mary Street, Brook Street, from 30th September,
1811; 45 Upper John Street, Fitzroy Square, from March 30th, 1813; 7
Upper Fitzroy Street, from May 28th, 1813; and 14 London Street, Fitzroy
Square, from February 28th, 1814.

A letter from the widow to her husband's French friend Pitot, evidently
in answer to a message of sympathy, is poignant: "You who were in a
measure acquainted with the many virtues and inestimable qualities he
possessed, will best appreciate the worth of the treasure I have lost,
and you will easily imagine that, were the whole universe at my command,
it could offer no compensation; and even the tenderest sympathy of the
truest friend avails but little in a case of such severe trial and
affliction. You will not be surprised when I say that sorrow continually
circles round my heart and tears are my daily companion. 'Tis true the
company of my little girl soothes and cheers many an hour that would
otherwise pass most wearily away, but life has lost its chief charm, and
the world appears a dreary wilderness to me.

An unpleasant feature of the subject, which cannot be overlooked, relates
to the Admiralty's ungenerous treatment of Flinders and his widow. When
he returned from Mauritius, the First Lord was Mr. C.P. Yorke after whom
Flinders named Yorke's Peninsula, who was inclined to recognise that the
special circumstances of the case demanded special treatment. He at once
promoted Flinders to the rank of Post-Captain. But in consequence of his
long detention Flinders had lost the opportunity for earlier promotion.
It was admitted that if he had returned to England in 1804 he would at
once have been rewarded for his services by promotion to post-captain's
rank. Indeed, Lord Spencer had definitely promised him a step in rank. It
was therefore urged in his behalf that, as he had not been a prisoner of
war in the ordinary sense, his commission should be ante-dated to 1804.
Yorke appeared to think the claim reasonable. The Admiralty conceded that
he had not been a prisoner of war, and he was not brought before a
court-martial, although the Cumberland, left to rot in Port Louis, had
been lost to the service. The First Lord directed that the commission
should be ante-dated to the time of the release, but it was not
considered that more could be done without an Order in Council. This
could not be obtained at the moment, because King George III was mentally
incapacitated. When the Regency was established (1811) an application did
not meet with a sympathetic response. "The hinge upon which my case
depends," said Flinders in a letter, "is whether my having suffered so
long and unjustly in the Isle of France is a sufficient reason that I
should now suffer in England the loss of six years' rank." The response
of the Admiralty officials was that the case was peculiar; there was "no
precedent" for ante-dating a promotion.

Flinders asked that he might be put on full pay, while he was writing the
Voyage, which would make up the difference in the expense to which he
would be put by living in town instead of in the country; but Barrow
assured him that the Admiralty would object "for want of a precedent." He
showed that he would be 500 or 600 pounds out of pocket, to say nothing
of the loss of chances of promotion by remaining ashore. It was to meet
this position that the Admiralty granted him 200 pounds; but as a matter
of fact he was still 300 pounds out of pocket,* and was put out of health
irrecoverably by intense application to the task. (* Flinders' Papers.)
His friend, Captain Kent, then of the Agincourt, advised him to abandon
the work. "I conjure you," he wrote "to give the subject your serious
attention, and do not suffer yourself to be involved in debt to gratify
persons who seem to have no feeling." But to have abandoned his beloved
work at this stage would have appeared worse to him than loss of life
itself. The consequence was that his expenses during this period, even
with the strictly economical mode of living which he adopted, entrenched
upon the small savings which he was able to leave to his widow. He was
compelled to represent that, unless a concession were made, he would have
to choose between abandoning his task or reducing his family to distress;
and it was for this reason that the Admiralty granted a special allowance
of 200 pounds, in supplement of his half-pay. This, with 500 pounds "in
lieu of compensation" on account of his detention in Ile-de-France was
the entire consideration that he received.

When he died, application was made to the Admiralty to grant a special
pension to Mrs. Flinders. The widow of Captain Cook had been granted a
pension of 200 pounds a year. (Mrs. Cook, by the way, was still living in
England at this time; she did not die till 1835). Stout old Sir Joseph
Banks declared that he would not die happy unless something were done for
the widow and child of Matthew Flinders. But his influence with the
Admiralty was not so great as it had been in Lord Spencer's time, and his
efforts were ineffectual. The case was at a later date brought under the
notice of William IV, who said that he saw no reason why the widow of
Captain Flinders should not receive the same treatment as the widow of
Captain Cook. The King mentioned the subject to Lord Melbourne; he,
however, was unsympathetic, and nothing whatever was done. Mrs. Flinders
was paid only the meagre pension of a post-captain's widow until she died
in 1852. No official reward of any kind was granted by the British
Government for the truly great services and discoveries of Flinders. The
stinginess of a rich nation is a depressing subject to reflect upon in a
case of this kind.

A gratifying contrast is afforded by the voluntary action of two
Australian colonies. It was learnt, to the surprise of many, some time
after 1850, that the widow of the discoverer and her married daughter
were living in England, and were not too well provided for. The Colonies
of New South Wales and Victoria thereupon (1853) voted a pension of 100
pounds a year each to Mrs. Flinders, with reversion to Mrs. Petrie. The
news of this decision did not reach England in time to please the aged
widow, but the spirit of the grant gave unfeigned satisfaction to
Flinders' daughter. "Could my beloved mother have lived to receive this
announcement," she wrote,* (* New South Wales Parliamentary Papers 1854 1
785.) "it would indeed have cheered her last days to know that my
father's long-neglected services were at length appreciated. But my
gratification arising from the grant is extreme, especially as it comes
from a quarter in which I had not solicited consideration; and the
handsome amount of the pension granted will enable me to educate my young
son in a manner worthy of the name he bears, Matthew Flinders."* (* "My
young son" is the present Professor W. Matthew Flinders Petrie.)

The Voyage to Terra Australis, it may be mentioned, was originally sold
for 8 or 12 guineas, according to whether or not the atlas was bought
with the two quarto volumes. A copy to-day, with the folio Atlas, sells
for about 10 guineas.


Matthew Flinders was a short, neatly-built, very lithe and active man. He
stood five feet six inches in height.* (* These particulars are from the
manuscript sketch by a friend, previously cited; Flinders' Papers.) His
figure was slight and well proportioned. When he was in full health, his
light, buoyant step was remarked upon by acquaintances. Neither of the
two portraits of him conveys a good impression of his alert, commanding
look. His nose was "rather aquiline," and his lips were customarily
compressed. "He had a noble brow, hair almost black, eyes dark, bright,
and with a commanding expression, amounting almost to sternness." So his
friend records.

Mrs. Flinders was not satisfied with the engraved portrait published in
the Naval Chronicle, 1814, nor with the miniature from which it was
reproduced. In a letter to Captain Stuart she wrote: "In the portrait you
will not be able to trace much of your departed friend. The miniature
from which it was taken is but an indifferent likeness, and the engraver
has not done justice to it. He has given the firmness of the countenance
but not the intelligence or animation." It is quite certain that a rapid,
piercing, commanding expression of eye and features was characteristic of
him. During his captivity, the look in his eyes forbad all approach to
familiarity. There is record of an occasion--in all probability connected
with the sword incident--when he was addressed in terms that appeared to
him to be wanting in respect; and the unlucky Frenchman who ventured thus
far was so astonished at the sternness of countenance that immediately
confronted him, that he started back some paces. He had been accustomed
to command from an early age, and had exercised authority on service of a
kind that compelled him to demand ceaseless vigilance and indefatigable
vigour from himself and those under him. In a passage written in
Mauritius* (* Flinders' Papers.) he makes allusion to the stern element
in his character; and surely what he says here is worthy of being well
pondered by all whose duty demands the exercise of power over other men:

"I shall learn patience in this island, which will perhaps counteract the
insolence acquired by having had unlimited command over my fellow men.
You know, my dearest, that I always dreaded the effect that the
possession of great authority would have upon my temper and disposition.
I hope they are neither of them naturally bad; but, when we see such a
vast difference between men dependent and men in power, any man who has
any share of impartiality must fear for himself. My brother will tell you
that I am proud, unindulgent, and hasty to take offence, but I doubt
whether John Franklin will confirm it, although there is more truth in
the charge than I wish there were. In this land, those malignant
qualities are ostentatiously displayed. I am made to feel their sting
most poignantly. My mind has been taught a lesson in philosophy, and my
judgment has gained an accession of experience that will not soon be

That is a fairly rigorous piece of self-analysis; but there are abundant
facts to show that he exercised authority with a kindly and friendly
disposition, and did not surpass the limits of wisdom. Men like a
commander who can command; the weak inspire no confidence. Flinders had
the art of attracting people to him. His servant, the faithful John
Elder, willingly endured imprisonment with him, and would not leave him
until his own health gave way. John Thistle, who had served under him
before 1800, returned to England shortly before the Investigator sailed,
and at once volunteered for service under him again. He ruled his crews
by sheer force of mind and unsparing example, and though the good of the
service in hand was ever his first thought, there is plenty of evidence
to prove that the happiness of the men under him was constantly in his

In hours of relaxation he was genial, a lively companion, a warm friend.
An intimate friend records: "He possessed the social virtues and
affections in an eminent degree, and in conversation he was particularly
agreeable, from the extent of his general information and the lively
acuteness of his observations. His integrity, uprightness of intention,
and liberality of sentiment were not to be surpassed."

A scrap of dialogue written for insertion in the Voyage to Terra
Australis, but cancelled with other matter, enables us to realise that he
could recall an incident with some dramatic force. Bonnefoy, an
interpreter in Ile-de-France, told him a story of an American skipper
under examination by one of General Decaen's officers, and he wrote it
down as follows:--

"I was amused with his account of a blunt American captain who, having
left a part of his people to collect seal-skins upon the island Tristan
d'Acuna, had come in for provisions, and to get his vessel repaired. This
honest man did not wish to tell where he was collecting his cargo, nor
did he understand all the ceremony he was required to go through. The
dialogue that passed between the old seaman and the French officers of
the port was nearly thus:

Off.: From whence do you come, Sir?

From whence do I come? Haugh! why, Monsieur, I come from the Atlantic

Off.: But, pray, Sir, from what port?

Port? You will find that out from my papers, which I suppose you want to

Off.: It appears, Sir, that you have not above half your crew on board.
Be so good as to inform me where are the rest?

O, my crew? Poor fellows, yes, why, Sir, we met with an island of ice on
the road, and I left them there a-basket-making.

Off.: Making baskets on an island of ice? This is a very strange answer,
Sir; and give me leave to tell you such will not do here; but you will
accompany me to the Captain-General, and we shall then see whether you
will answer or not.

Ay, we shall see indeed. Why, look ye, Monsieur: as to what I have been
about, that is nothing to anybody. I am an honest man, and that's enough
for you; but if you want to know why I am come here, it is to buy
provisions and to lie quiet a little bit. I am not come to beg or steal,
but to buy, and I fancy good bills upon M--- of Salem will suit you very
well, eh, Monsieur? Convenient enough?

Off.: Very well, Sir, you will come with us to the General.

To the General? I have nothing to do with Generals! They don't understand
my business. Suppose I don't go?

Off.: You will do as you please, Sir; but if you do not, you will

The sheet on which the continuation of this vigorous bit of dialogue was
written* is unfortunately missing, so that we are deprived of the joy of
reading the conclusion of the comedy. But as the passage stands it
presents a truly dramatic picture. (* Manuscript, Mitchell Library.)

We get a glimpse of the way in which genial spirits regarded him in a
jolly letter from Madras, from Lieutenant Fitzwilliam Owen, who had been
a prisoner with him in Mauritius, and was on the cartel on which he
sailed from that island. "You cannot doubt how much our society misses
you. We toasted you, Sir, like Englishmen. We sent the heartiest good
wishes of your countrymen, ay, and women too, to Heaven for your success,
in three times three loud and manly cheers, dictated by that sincerity
which forms the glorious characteristic of our rough-spun English. Nay,
Waugh got drunk for you, and the ladies did each take an extra glass to
you."* (* Flinders' Papers.)

A pleasant playful touch makes the following letter to his wife's
half-sister worth quoting. He was hungry for home letters in
Ile-de-France, and thus gently chid the girl: "There is indeed a report
among the whales in the Indian Ocean that a scrap of a letter from you
did pass by for Port Jackson, and a flying fish in the Pacific even says
he saw it; but there is no believing these travellers. If you will take
the trouble to give it under your own hand I will then believe that you
have written to me. A certain philosopher being informed that his dear
friend was dead, replied that he would not believe it without having it
certified under his own hand; a very commendable prudence this, and
worthy of imitation in all intricate cases. As I have a fund of justice
at the bottom of my conscience, which will not permit me to exact from
others more than I would perform myself, I do hereby certify that I have
this day addressed a letter to my well-beloved sister Isabella Tyler,
spinster, in which letter I do desire for her all manner of blessings,
spiritual and temporal; that she may speedily obtain a husband six feet
high, if it so pleases her, with the wishing cap of Fortunatus."

The strictness of the man's conduct, in his relations with superiors and
subordinates alike, sprang from his integrity of heart. Everybody trusted
him. A memoir published by a contemporary commented upon the fidelity of
his friendships. "He was faithful to the utmost in the performance of a
promise, whether important or trifling in its consequences."

Some of the best friends he ever made were among the French in
Ile-de-France; and he became so much attached to them that, even when he
secured his longed-for freedom, he could not part from them without a
pang of regret. They saw in him not only a wronged man, but a singularly
high-minded one. Pitot, writing to Bougainville to urge him to do his
utmost to secure Flinders' release, repudiated, in these terms, the idea
that he could be a spy:* "No, Monsieur Flinders is not capable of such
conduct; his pure and noble character would never permit him to descend
to the odious employment of a spy." (* Manuscripts, Mitchell Library;
letter dated 19 Vendemiaire, an 13. October 11, 1804.) One wonders
whether by any chance Bougainville had occasion to show that letter to
Messieurs Peron and Freycinet!

A touching and beautiful example of his gentleness occurred in connection
with a wounded French officer whom he visited at Port Louis. Lieutenant
Charles Baudin des Ardennes had sailed as a junior officer on Le
Geographe under Baudin (to whom he was not related) and Flinders had
known him at Port Jackson. In 1807 he was serving as a lieutenant on La
Semillante, in the Indian Ocean. He was badly wounded in a sharp
engagement with the British ship Terpsichore in March, 1807, and was
brought into Port Louis, where his shattered right arm was amputated.
Flinders, full of compassion for the young man, visited him, and, as
oranges were required for the sufferer, bought up the whole stock of a
fruiterer, 53 of them. Upon his return to Wilhelm's Plains, he wrote
Baudin a letter of sympathy and encouragement, bidding him reflect that
there were other branches of useful service open to a sailor than that of
warfare. He had commenced his naval career with discovery; he now knew
what the horrors of war were. Which was the worthier branch of the two?
Flinders continued: "No, my friend, I cannot contemplate this waste of
human life to serve the cause of restless ambition without horror. Never
shall my hands be voluntarily steeped in blood, but in the defence of my
country. In such a cause every other sentiment vanishes. Also, my friend,
if ever you have thought my actions worthy of being imitated, imitate me
in this. You have, like me, had just sufficient experience to learn what
the commander of a voyage of discovery ought to be, and what he ought to
know. Adieu, my dear friend. May the goodness of God speedily restore you
to perfect health, and turn your thoughts from war to peace." Young
Baudin, it may be added, was not compelled by the loss of his arm to
leave the service. He became an Admiral in 1839, and lived till 1854.

Flinders endeavoured to exert a stimulating influence upon young
officers. Writing to his brother (December 6th, 1806) he said:* "Remember
that youth is the time in which a store of knowledge, reputation and
fortune must be laid in to make age respectable. Imitate, my dear Samuel,
all that you have found commendable in my proceedings, manners, and
principles, and avoid the rest. Study is necessary, as it gives theory. I
need not speak to you now upon this, but active exertion is still more
necessary to a good sea officer. From both united it is that perfection
is attained. Neither would I have you neglect politeness, and the best
society to which circumstances may permit your admission; though not the
basis that constitutes a good officer or valuable member of society, the
manners thereby acquired are yet of infinite service to those who possess
them." (* Mr. Charles Bertie, of the Municipal Library, Sydney, has
kindly supplied me with this letter, which was obtained from Professor
Flinders Petrie.)

There could hardly be a sounder piece of advice to a young officer from
an elder than is contained in a letter written by Flinders to John
Franklin's father. It was intended for the youth's eye, beyond a doubt.
It is dated May 10th, 1805:* (* Manuscripts, Mitchell Library.) "I hope
John will have got into some active ship to get his time completed before
I go out another voyage, and learn the discipline of the service. I have
no doubt of being able to get him a lieutenant's commission if it should
be agreeable to him to sail with me again. He may rest confident of my
friendship, although I believe he had some fears on that head when we
parted, on account of a difference between him and my brother. He has
ability enough, but he must be diligent, studious, active in his duty,
not over-ready to take offence at his superior officers, nor yet humbling
too much to them; but in all things should make allowances for difference
of disposition and ways of thinking and should judge principally from the
intention. Above all things he should be strict in his honour and
integrity, for a man who forfeits either cannot be independent or brave
at all times; and he should not be afraid to be singular, for, if he is,
the ridicule of the vicious would beat him out of his rectitude as well
as out of his attention to his duty. I do not speak this from my fear of
him, but from my anxiety to see him the shining character which I am sure
he is capable of being."

In a similar strain is a letter to John Franklin (January 14th, 1812)
regarding a lad named Wiles, the son of a Jamaica friend, who had lately
been put on the Bedford as a midshipman: "I will thank you to let me know
from time to time how he goes on. Pray don't let him be idle. Employ him
in learning to knot and splice under a quartermaster; in working under
observation, in writing his journal, and in such studies as may be useful
to him. Make it a point of honour with him to be quick in relieving the
deck, and strict in keeping his watch; and when there are any courts
martial endeavour either to take him with you or that he may attend when
it can be done. In fine, my dear John, endeavour to make a good officer
and a good man of him, and be sure I shall always entertain a grateful
sense of your attention to him."

Active-minded himself, he encouraged study among those who came in
contact with him. It gave him pleasure to teach mathematics to Madame
D'Arifat's sons at Wilhelm's Plains. He mastered French so as to speak it
with grace and write with ease. He worked at Malay because he thought it
would be useful on future voyages. From the early days, when he taught
himself navigation amidst the swamps of his native Lincolnshire, until
his last illness laid him low, he was ever an eager student. Intelligent
curiosity and a desire to know the best that the best minds could teach
were a basic part of his character. We find him counselling Ann Chappell,
at about the time when he became engaged to her:* (* Flinders' Papers.)
"Learn music, learn the French language, enlarge the subjects of thy
pencil, study geography and astronomy and even metaphysics, sooner than
leave thy mind unoccupied. Soar, my Annette, aspire to the heights of
science. Write a great deal, work with thy needle a great deal, and read
every book that comes in thy way, save trifling novels."

Flinders read widely, and always carried a good library with him on his
voyages. His acquaintance with the literature of navigation was very
extensive. Some of his books were lost in the Porpoise wreck; the
remainder he took with him in the Cumberland, and, when he was
imprisoned, his anxiety to secure his printed volumes manifested the true
book-lover's hunger to have near him those companions of his intellectual
life. He derived great pleasure from the French literature which he
studied in Mauritius. A letter to his wife dated March, 1803, when he was
upon the north coast of Australia in the Investigator, reveals him
relieving his mind, amid anxieties about the condition of the ship, by
reading Milton's Paradise Lost. "The elevation and, also, the fall of our
first parents," he comments, "told with such majesty by him whose eyes
lacked all of what he threw so masterly o'er the great subject, dark
before and intricate--these with delight I perused, not knowing which to
admire most, the poet's daring, the subject, or the success with which
his bold attempt was crowned." He somewhat quaintly compares his wife
with Eve: "But in thee I have more faith than Adam had when he, complying
with Eve's request of separation in their labours, said 'Go, thou best,
last gift of God, go in thy native innocence.' But how much dearer art
thou here than our first mother! Our separation was not sought by thee,
but thou borest it as a vine whose twining arms when turned from round
the limb lie prostrate, broken, life scarcely left enough to keep the
withered leaf from falling off." We should especially have welcomed notes
from such a pen on a few passages in Milton which must have stirred his
deepest interest, as for example the majestic comparison of Satan's

"As when far off at sea a fleet descried
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
Of Ternate or Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flood,
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,
Ply stemming nightly towards the pole: so seemed
Far off the flying Fiend."

To these characteristics may be added a passage illustrating the view of
our navigator concerning the marriage state. It must be confessed that
when he wrote it (June 30th, 1807) his experience was not extensive. He
left England when he had been a husband only a few weeks; but the passage
is interesting as conveying to his wife what his conception of the ideal
relation was: "There is a medium between petticoat government and tyranny
on the part of the husband, that with thee I think to be very attainable;
and which I consider to be the summit of happiness in the marriage state.
Thou wilt be to me not only a beloved wife, but my most dear and most
intimate friend, as I hope to be to thee. If we find failings, we will
look upon them with kindness and compassion, and in each other's merits
we will take pride, and delight to dwell upon them; thus we will realise,
as far as may be, the happiness of heaven upon the earth. I love not
greatness nor desire great riches, being confident they do not contribute
to happiness, but I desire to have enough for ourselves and something to
assist our friends in need. I think, my love, this is also thy way of

In the few concluding months of her husband's life, Mrs. Flinders had him
beside her under circumstances that were certainly far from easy. Their
somewhat straitened means, consequent upon the Admiralty's niggard
construction of regulations, the prolonged severity of his employment,
and the last agonised weeks of illness, must have gone far to detract
from perfect felicity in domestic conditions. The six changes of
residence in four and a half years point to the same conclusion.
Nevertheless we find Mrs. Flinders writing to a friend in these terms,
wherein her own happiness is clearly mirrored: "I am well persuaded that
very few men know how to value the regard and tender attentions of a wife
who loves them. Men in general cannot appreciate properly the delicate
affection of a woman, and therefore they do not know how to return it. To
make the married life as happy as this world will allow it to be, there
are a thousand little amenities to be rendered on both sides, and as many
little shades of comfort to be attended to. Many things must be
overlooked, for we are all such imperfect beings; and to bear and forbear
is essential to domestic peace. You will say that I find it easy to talk
on this subject, and that precept is harder than practice. I allow it, my
dear friend, in the practical part I have only to return kind affection
and attention for uniform tenderness and regard. I have nothing
unpleasant to call forth my forbearance. Day after day, month after month
passes, and I neither experience an angry look nor a dissatisfied word.
Our domestic life is an unvaried line of peace and comfort; and O, may
Heaven continue it such, so long as it shall permit us to dwell together
on this earth."


Not only is Flinders to be regarded as a discoverer whose researches
completed the world's knowledge of the last extensive region of the
habitable globe remaining in his time to be revealed; not only as one
whose work was marked by an unrivalled exactitude and fineness of
observation; but also as one who did very much to advance the science of
navigation in directions calculated to make seafaring safer, more
certain, with better means and methods at disposal. Malte-Brun declared,
when he died, that "the geographical and nautical sciences have lost in
the person of Flinders one of their most brilliant ornaments,"* and that
criticism, coming from a foreign critic than whom there was no better
informed savant in Europe, was no mere piece of obituary rhetoric. (*
Annales des Voyages 23 268.)

In 1805 he wrote a paper on the Marine Barometer, based upon observations
made during his Australian voyages. The instrument employed was one which
had been used by Cook; Flinders always kept it in his cabin. He was the
first to discover, and this essay was the first attempt to show, the
connection between the rise and fall of the barometer and the direction
of the wind. Careful observation showed him that where his facts were
collected the mercury of the barometer rose some time before a change
from landbreeze to seabreeze, and fell before the change from seabreeze
to landbreeze. Consequently a change of wind might generally be predicted
from the barometer. The importance of these observations was at once
recognised by men connected with navigation. As the Edinburgh Review
wrote, dealing with Flinders' paper when presented before the Royal
Society on March 27th, 1806:* "It is very easy for us, speculating in our
closet upon the theory of winds and their connection with the
temperature, to talk of drawing a general inference on this subject with
confidence. But when the philosopher chances to be a seaman on a very
dangerous coast, it will be admitted that the strength of this confidence
is put to a test somewhat more severe; and we find nevertheless that
Captain Flinders staked the safety of his ship and the existence of
himself and his crew on the truth of the above proposition." (* Edinburgh
Review, January, 1807; Flinders' Paper, "Observations on the Marine
Barometer," was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal
Society, Part 2 1806.) Nowadays, indeed, the principal use of a barometer
to a navigator aboard ship is to enable him to anticipate changes of

Not less important were his experiments and writings upon variations of
the compass aboard ship. The fact that the needle of a compass showed
deviations on being moved from one part of a ship to another had been
observed by navigators in the eighteenth century, but Flinders was the
first to experiment systematically to ascertain the cause and to invent a
remedy.* (* For the history of the matter see Alexander Smith's
Introduction to W. Scoresby's Journal of a Voyage to Australia for
Magnetic Research, 1859.)

He observed not only that the direction of the needle varied according to
the part of the ship where it was placed, but also that a change in the
direction of the ship's head made a difference. Further, he found that in
northern latitudes (in the English Channel, for instance) the north end
of the needle was attracted towards the bow of the ship; whilst in
southern latitudes, in Bass Strait, there was an attraction towards the
stern; and at the equator there was no deviation. He came to the
conclusion that these results were due to the presence of iron in the
ship. When he returned to England in 1810, he wrote a memorandum on the
subject to the Admiralty, and requested that experiments might be made
upon ships of the Navy, with the object of verifying a law which he had
deduced from a long series of observations. His conclusion was that "the
magnetism of the earth and the attraction forward in the ship must act
upon the needle in the nature of a compound force, and that errors
produced by the attraction should be proportionate to the sines of the
angles between the ship's head and the magnetic meridian." Experiments
were made at Sheerness, Portsmouth, and Plymouth on five vessels. He took
a keen personal interest in them; and the result was his invention of the
Flinders' bar, which is now used in every properly equipped ship in the
world. The purpose of the bar, which is a vertical rod of soft iron,
placed so that its upper end is level with or slightly above the compass
needle, is to compensate for the effect of the vertical soft iron in the
ship.* (* See the excellent chapter on "Compasses" in Volume 2 of the
British Admiralty's Manual of Seamanship.) Flinders' work upon this
technical subject was important even in the days of wooden ships. In this
era of iron and steel ships it is regarded by every sailor as of the
utmost value.

In Flinders' day the delicacy of the compass, its liability to error, the
nature of the magnetic force to which it responds, and the necessity for
care in its handling, were very little appreciated. "Among the nautical
instruments taken to sea there are not any so ill-constructed, nor of
which so little care is taken afterwards, as the compass," he did not
hesitate to write.* (* Manuscript, "Chapter in the History of Magnetism;"
Flinders' Papers; another copy was sent to the Admiralty.) Compasses were
supplied to the Admiralty by contract, and were not inspected. They were
stowed in storehouses without any regard to the attraction to which the
needles might be exposed. They might be kept in store for a few years;
and they were then sent on board ships without any re-touching, "for no
magnets were kept in the dockyards, and probably no person there ever saw
them used." When a compass was sent aboard a ship of the Navy, it was
delivered into the charge of the boatswain and put into his store or
sail-room. Perhaps it was put on a shelf with his knives and forks and a
few marline-spikes. Flinders urged that spare compasses should be
preserved carefully in officers' cabins. Magnets for re-touching were not
kept in one ship in a hundred. Under these circumstances, he asked, "can
it be a subject of surprise that the most experienced navigators are
those who put the least confidence in the compass, or that ships running
three or four days without an observation should be found in situations
very different from what was expected, and some of them lost? The
currents are easily blamed, and sometimes with reason. Ships coming home
from the Baltic and finding themselves upon the shores of the Dutch
coast, when they were thought to be on the English side, lay it to the
currents; but the same currents, as I am informed, do not prevail when
steering in the opposite direction." The last is a neat stroke of irony.
Flinders strongly recommended that the Admiralty should appoint an
inspector of compasses, that there should be at every dockyard an officer
for re-touching compasses, and that a magnet for re-touching should be
carried on each flagship. The recommendations may seem like a counsel of
elementary precautions to-day, but they involved an important reform of
method in 1810.

Flinders also wrote on the theory of the tides; a set of notes on the
magnetism of the earth exists in manuscript; a manuscript of 106 pages,
consisting of a treatise on spheric trigonometry, is illustrated by
beautifully drawn diagrams, and includes an account of eight practical
methods of calculating latitude and five of calculating longitude. In
Mauritius he read all he could obtain about the history of the island,
and wrote a set of notes on Grant's History.

He was eager to praise the work of previous navigators. Laperouse was
especially a hero of his, and he wrote in French for the Societe
d'Emulation of Ile-de-France an account of the probable fate of that
celebrated sailor. In an eloquent passage in this essay, speaking of the
wreck, he cried: "O, Laperouse, my heart speaks to me of the agony that
rent yours. Ah, your eyes beheld the hapless companions of your dangers
and your glory fall one after another exhausted into the sea. Ah, your
eyes saw the fruit of vast and useful labours lost to the world. I think
of your sorrowing family. The picture is too painful for me to dwell upon
it; but at least when all human hope abandoned you, then--the last
blessing that God gives to the good--a ray of consolation shone upon your
eyes, and showed you that beyond those furious waves which broke upon
your vessels and swept away from you your companions another refuge was
opened to your virtues by the angel of pity."

Knowing the extreme difficulties attaching to navigation, even when in
the public interest he had to make a correction in the work of others, he
was anxious to cause no irritation. He sent to the editor of the Naval
Chronicle a correction in Horsburgh's Directions for Sailing to and from
the East Indies, but requested the editor to submit it first to the
author of that work, and to suppress publication if Horsburg so desired.
He never expressed a tinge of regret that he had chosen a field of
professional employment wherein promotion and reward were not liberally
bestowed. Entering the Navy under influential auspices, in a period when
active service provided plentiful scope for advancement, he deliberately
preferred the explorer's hard lot. The only prize money he ever won was
10 pounds after Lord Howe's victory in 1794. "I chose a branch," he said
in a letter to Banks, "which though less rewarded by rank and fortune is
yet little less in celebrity. If adverse fortune does not oppose me, I
will succeed." He succeeded beyond all he could have hoped.

The excellence of his charts was such that to this day the Admiralty
charts for those portions of the Australian coast where he did original
work bear upon them the honoured name of Matthew Flinders; and amongst
the seamen who habitually traverse these coasts, no name, not even that
of Cook, is so deeply esteemed as his. Flinders is not a tradition; the
navigators of our own time count him a companion of the watch.


The name Australia was given to the great southern continent by Flinders.
When and why he gave it that name will now be shown.

In the first place a common error must be set right. It is sometimes said
that the Spanish navigator, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, named one of the
islands of the New Hebrides group, in 1606, Australia del Espiritu Santo.
This is not the case. The narrative of his voyage described "all this
region of the south as far as the Pole which from this time shall be
called Austrialia del Espiritu Santo," from "His Majesty's title of
Austria." The word Austrialia is a punning name. Quiros' sovereign,
Philip III, was a Habsburg; and Quiros, in compliment to him, devised the
name Austrialia as combining the meaning "Austrian land," as well as
"southern land."* (* See Markham, Voyages of Quiros, Hakluyt Society
Volume 1 page 30.)

In 1756 the word "Australasia" was coined. Charles de Brosses, in his
Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes, wanted a word to signify a
new division of the globe. The maps marked off Europe, Asia, Africa and
America, but the vast region to the south of Asia required a name
likewise. De Brosses simply added "Austral" to "Asia," and printed
"Australasia" upon his map.

The earliest use of the word Australia that I have been able to find,
occurs in the index to the Dutch Generale Beschrijvinge van Indien
(General Description of the Indies) published at Batavia in 1638. The
work consists mainly of accounts of voyages by Dutch vessels to the East
Indies. Among them is a history of the "Australische Navigatien" of Jacob
le Maire and Willem Cornelisz Schouten, made in 1615 to 1617. They sailed
through the Straits of Magellan, crossed the Pacific, touched at the
Solomon Islands, and thence made their way round by the north of New
Guinea to Java. The word Australia does not occur anywhere in the
black-letter text of the narrative, and the word Australische in the
phrase "Australische Navigatien," simply means southern. There are
references in the book to "Terra Australis," but Le Maire and Schouten
knew not Australia. Nor does the narrative make any allusion to the
continent which we know by that name. The Terra Australis of these Dutch
navigators was land of the southern hemisphere in general. But,
curiously, the indexer of the Generale Beschrijvinge made four entries,
in which he employed the word Australia. Thus, his entry "Australia
Incognita Ondeckt" (Australia Incognita Discovered) referred to passages
in Le Maire and Schouten's voyage relating to the southern lands they had
seen. But it did not refer to the Australia of modern geography. It is
very strange that the Dutch indexer in Batavia should have hit upon the
word and employed it when he did not find it in the text of the book

The use of Australia in an English book of 1693 is also extremely
curious. In 1676 Gabriel de Foigny, under the assumed name of Jacques
Sadeur, published at Vannes a quaint little duodecimo volume, purporting
to give a description of an unknown southern land. He called his book La
Terre Australe connue; c'est a dire, la description de ce pays inconnu
jusqu'ici. It was a "voyage imaginaire," a pure piece of fancy. In 1693
it was translated into English, and published in London, by John Dunton,
under the title A New Discovery of Terra Incognita, or the Southern
World, by James Sadeur, a Frenchman, who being cast there by a shipwreck,
lived 35 years in that country and gives a particular description of the
manners, customs, religion, laws, studies and wars of those southern
people, and of some animals peculiar to that place; with several other
rarities. In the original French the word Australia does not occur. But
in the English translation Foigny's phrase "continent de la Terre
Australe," is rendered "Australia." Foigny's ingenious piece of fiction
drew its "local colour" from the South American region, not from any
supposed land in the neighbourhood of the Australian continent. The
instance is all the more interesting from the possibility that the book
may have given a hint to Swift in the writing of Gulliver's Travels.* (*
See the Cambridge History of English Literature 9 106; where, however,
the English translation is erroneously cited as Journey of Jacques Sadour
to Australia.)

In 1770 and 1771 Alexander Dalrymple published An Historical Collection
of Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean. In the preface to
that work he used the word Australia as "comprehending the discoveries at
a distance from America to the eastward."* (* Page 15 of the 1780 edition
of Dalrymple.) He did not intend it to include the present Australia at
all. De Brosses had used the three names Magellanica, Polynesia and
Australasia, which Dalrymple accepted; but he thought there was room for
a fourth for the area east of South America. The part of the Australian
continent known when Dalrymple published his book--only the west and
northern coasts--was included within the division which De Brosses called

Here we have three instances of the use of the word Australia in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but without reference to the
continent which now bears that name.

In 1793, G. Shaw and J.E. Smith published in London a Zoology and Botany
of New Holland. Here the word Australia was used in its modern sense, as
applied to the southern continent. The authors wrote of "the vast island,
or rather continent, of Australia, Australasia, or New Holland, which has
so lately attracted the particular attention of European navigators and

The word was not therefore of Flinders' devising. But it may be taken to
be certain that he was unacquainted with the previous employment of it by
the Dutch indexer, by Foigny's English translator, or by Shaw and Smith.
It is doubtful whether he had observed the previous use of it by
Dalrymple. Undoubtedly he had read that author's book. He may have had
the volumes in his cabin library. But he was so exact and scrupulous a
man that we can say with confidence that, had he remembered the
occurrence of the word in Dalrymple, he would have mentioned the fact.
The point is not material, however, because, as already observed,
Dalrymple did not apply "Australia" to this continent, but to a different
region. The essential point is that "Australia was reinvented by
Flinders."* (* Morris, Dictionary of Austral English page 10.)

Flinders felt the need of a single word that would be a good name for the
island which had been demonstrated by his own researches to be one great
continent. It will be remembered that he had investigated the whole
extent of the southern coasts, had penetrated to the extremities of the
two great gulfs found there, had proved that they did not open into a
passage cutting Terra Australis in two, and had thoroughly examined the
Gulf of Carpentaria, finding no inlet southward there. The country was
clearly one immense whole. But what was it to be called? Terra Australis,
Southern Land, was too long, was cumbrous, was Latin. That would not be a
convenient name for a country that was to play any part in the world. The
Dutch had named the part which they found New Holland. But they knew
nothing of the east. Cook called the part which he had discovered New
South Wales. But Cook knew nothing of the west. Neither the Dutch nor
Cook knew anything of the south, a large part of which Flinders himself
had discovered.

We find him for the first time using the word "Australia" in a letter
written to his brother Samuel on August 25th, 1804.* (* Flinders'
Papers.) He was then living at Wilhelm's Plains: "I call the whole island
Australia, or Terra Australis. New Holland is properly that portion of it
from 135 degrees of longitude westward; and eastward is New South Wales,
according to the Governor's patent."

Flinders' first public use of the word was not in English, but in French.
In the essay on the probable fate of Laperouse, written for the Societe
d'Emulation in Ile-de-France (1807), he again stated the need for a word
in terms which I translate as follows: "The examination of the eastern
part was commenced in 1770 by Captain Cook, and has since been completed
by English navigators.* (* By himself; but in this paper he modestly said
nothing of his own researches.) The first (i.e., the west) is New Holland
properly so called, and the second bears the name of New South Wales. I
have considered it convenient to unite the two parts under a common
designation which will do justice to the discovery rights of Holland and
England, and I have with that object in view had recourse to the name
Austral-land or Australia. But it remains to be seen whether the name
will be adopted by European geographers."* (* "Il reste a savoir si ce
nom sera adopte par des geographes europeens." The paper was printed in
the Annales des Voyages by Malte-Brun (Paris, 1810). Flinders kept a
copy, and his manuscript is now in the Melbourne Public Library. It is an
exquisite piece of calligraphy, perhaps the most beautifully written of
all his manuscripts.)

After 1804 Flinders repeatedly used the word Australia in his
correspondence. Before that date he had invariably written of "New
Holland." But in a letter to Banks (December 31st, 1804) he referred to
"my general chart of Australia;"* (* Historical Records 5 531.) in March,
1806, he wrote of "the north-west coast of Australia;"* (* Ibid 6 50.) in
July, 1806, writing to the King he underlined the word in the phrase "my
discoveries in Australia;"* (* Ibid 6 107.) in July, 1807, he spoke of
"the north coast of Australia;"* (* Ibid 6 274.) in February, 1809, of
"the south coast of Australia;"* (* Ibid 7 52.) and the same phrase was
employed in January, 1810.* (* Ibid 7 275.) It is therefore apparent that
before his return to England he had determined to use the name
systematically and to make its employment general as far as he could. We
do not find it occurring in any other correspondence of the period.

When he reached England in 1810 and commenced to work upon his book, he
wished to use the name Australia, and brought the subject forward at a
meeting at Sir Joseph Banks' house. But Banks was not favourable, and
Arrowsmith, the chart-publisher, "did not like the change" because his
firm had always used the name New Holland in their charts. A Major
Rennell was present at one of the meetings, when Flinders thought he had
converted Sir Joseph. But afterwards he found Banks disinclined to
sanction the name, and wrote to Major Rennell asking whether he
remembered the conversation. The Major replied (August 15th, 1812):* (*
Flinders' Papers.) "I certainly think that it was as you say, that
Australia was the proper name for the continent in question; and for the
reason you mention. I suppose I must have been of that opinion at the
time, for I certainly think so now. It wants a collective name."

Two days after the receipt of Major Rennell's letter Flinders wrote to
Banks, reminding him that he was the first person consulted about the
name Australia, and that he had understood that it was generally
approved. Bligh had not objected to it. When part of the manuscript of
the Voyage was submitted to Mr. Robert Peel, Under-Secretary for the
Colonies (afterwards Sir Robert Peel and Prime Minister of England), and
to Lord Liverpool, the principal Secretary of State, there had been some
discussion respecting the inclusion of the Gulf of Carpentaria as part of
New South Wales, and it was accordingly erased. But no objection was
raised to the name Australia. Flinders fought hard for his word, but did
not succeed completely. Captain Burney suggested that Terra Australis was
a name "more familiar to the public." Banks on August 19th withdrew his
objection to "the propriety of calling New Holland and New South Wales by
the collective name of Terra Australis," and accordingly as A Voyage to
Terra Australis his book ultimately went forth. The work being published
under the aegis of the Admiralty, he had to conform to the opinion of
those who were less sensible of the need for an innovation than he was,
and it was only in a modest footnote that he used the name he preferred.
The passage in the book wherein he discussed the question may be quoted,
together with his footnote:

"The vast regions to which this voyage was principally directed
comprehend, in the western part, the early discoveries of the Dutch,
under the name of New Holland; and in the east the coasts explored by
British navigators, and named New South Wales. It has not, however, been
unusual to apply the first appellation to both regions; but to continue
this would be almost as great an injustice to the British nation, whose
seamen have had so large a share in the discovery as it would be to the
Dutch were New South Wales to be so extended. This appears to have been
felt by a neighbouring, and even rival, nation; whose writers commonly
speak of these countries under the general term of Terres Australes. In
fact, the original name, used by the Dutch themselves until some time
after Tasman's second voyage in 1644, was Terra Australis, or 'Great
South Land; ' and, when it was displaced by 'New Holland,' the new term
was applied only to the parts lying westward of a meridian line passing
through Arnhem's Land on the north, and near the isles of St. Francis and
St. Peter on the south; all to the eastward, including the shores of the
Gulf of Carpentaria, still remained as Terra Australis. This appears from
a chart published by Thevenot in 1663; which, he says 'was originally
taken from that done in inlaid work upon the pavement of the new
Stadt-House at Amsterdam.' The same thing is to be inferred from the
notes of Burgomaster Witsen in 1705 of which there will be occasion to
speak in the sequel.

"It is necessary, however, to geographical precision, that so soon as New
Holland and New South Wales were known to form one land, there should be
a general name applicable to the whole; and this essential point having
been ascertained in the present voyage, with a degree of certainty
sufficient to authorise the measure, I have, with the concurrence of
opinions entitled to deference, ventured upon the adoption of the
original Terra Australis; and of this term I shall hereafter make use
when speaking of New Holland and New South Wales in a collective sense;
and when using it in the most extensive signification, the adjacent
isles, including that of Van Diemen, must be understood to be

"There is no probability that any other detached body of land, of nearly
equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude; the name
Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical
importance of this country, and its situation on the globe, it has
antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference to either of the two
claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable than any other which
could have been selected."

Then comes the footnote in which the name Australia is suggested:

"Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would
have been to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable to the
ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the

The name came into general use after the publication of Flinders' book,
though it was not always adopted in official documents. Governor
Macquarie, of New South Wales, in a despatch in April, 1817, expressed
the hope that the name would be authoritatively sanctioned.* (* See M.
Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy, London 1909 page 2 note.) As already
noted, the officials of 1849 drew a distinction between New Holland, the
mainland, and Australia, which included the island of Tasmania; and so
Sir Charles Fitzroy, Governor of New South Wales, was styled
"Governor-General of Australia," in a commission dated 1851. The proudest
of all places wherein this name is used is in the forefront of the
majestic instrument cited as 63 and 64 Vict., cap. 12--"An Act to
constitute the Commonwealth of Australia."




[In a long letter of about 30,000 words, written to the French Minister
of Marine from Port Jackson in 1802, Captain Baudin described his
explorations in Australian waters up to that date. The manuscript is in
the Archives Nationales, Paris, BB4, 995, Marine. It has never been
published. In this appendix, which relates to Chapter 14 of the book, I
translate the portion of the letter concerning the meeting of the
Investigator and Le Geographe in Encounter Bay, with a few notes.]

"On the 18th,* (* Note 1: That is, the 18th Germinal in the French
revolutionary calendar; April 8th by the Gregorian calendar.) continuing
to follow the coast and the various coves upon it, we sighted towards the
north-east a long chain of high mountains, which appeared to terminate at
the border of the sea. The weariness we had for a long time experienced
at seeing coasts which for the most part were arid, and offered not the
slightest resource, was dissipated by the expectation of coming upon a
more promising country. A little later, a still more agreeable object of
distraction presented itself to our view. A square-sailed ship was
perceived ahead. Nobody on board had any doubt that it was Le
Naturaliste. As she was tacking south and we were tacking north, we
approached each other. But what was our astonishment when the other
vessel hoisted a white flag on the mainmast. It was beyond doubt a signal
of recognition, to which we responded. A little later, that signal was
hauled down, and an English ensign and pennant were substituted.* (* Note
2: Flinders says: "Our colours being hoisted, she showed a French ensign,
and afterwards an English jack forward, as we did a white flag.") We
replied by hoisting our colours; and we continued to advance towards each
other. The manoeuvre of the English ship indicating that she desired to
speak to us, we stood towards her.* (* Note 3: Flinders' own explanation
of his manoeuvring is: "We veered round as Le Geographe was passing so as
to keep our broadside to her lest the flag of truce should be a
deception.") When we got within hail, a voice enquired what ship we were.
I replied simply that we were French. "Is that Captain Baudin?" "Yes, it
is he." The English captain then saluted me graciously, saying "I am very
glad to meet you." I replied to the same effect, without knowing to whom
I was speaking; but, seeing that arrangements were being made for someone
to come on board, I brought the ship to.

"Mr. Flinders, who commanded the English vessel, presented himself. As
soon as I learnt his name, I no longer doubted that he, like ourselves,
was occupied with the exploration of the south coast of New Holland; and,
in spite of the reserve that he showed upon that first visit, I could
easily perceive that he had already completed a part of it. Having
invited him to come into my cabin, and finding ourselves alone there, the
conversation became freer.* (* Note 4: "Nous trouvant seul, la
conversation devint plus libre." Flinders says that Brown accompanied
him, and went into the cabin with him. "No person was present at our
conversations except Mr. Brown.")

"He informed me that he had left Europe about eight months after us, and
that he was bound for Port Jackson, having previously refreshed at the
Cape of Good Hope.

"I had no hesitation about giving him information concerning what we had
been doing upon the coast until that moment. I pointed out to him defects
which I had observed in the chart which he had published* of the strait
separating New Holland from Van Diemen's Land, etc., etc. (* Note 5: "la
carte qu'il nous a donne des detroits." From this it appears that Baudin
knew Flinders as the author of the chart, even while pointing out its
defects. Flinders had the impression that Baudin did not know him till he
was about to leave Le Geographe at the end of the second interview.)

"Mr. Flinders observed to me that he was not unaware that the chart
required to be checked, inasmuch as the sketch from which it was prepared
had been drawn from uncertain information, and that the means employed
when the discovery was made did not conduce to securing exact results.*
(* Note 6: Flinders: "On my pointing out a note upon the chart,
explaining that the north side of the strait was seen only in an open
boat by Mr. Bass, who had no good means of fixing either latitude or
longitude, he appeared surprised, not having before paid attention to
it.") Finally, becoming less circumspect than he had hitherto been, he
told me that he had commenced his work at Cape Leeuwin, and had followed
the coast to the place where we were met. He suggested that our ships
should pass the night near together, and that early on the following
morning he should come on board again, and give me some particulars which
would be useful to me. I accepted his proposition with pleasure, and we
tacked about at a short distance from each other during the night. It was
seven o'clock in the evening when he returned to his ship.* (* Note 7:
Flinders: "I told him that some other and more particular charts of the
strait and its neighbourhood had since been published; and that if he
would keep company until next morning I would bring him a copy with a
small memoir belonging to them. This was agreed to.")

"On the 19th* (* Note 8: April 9th.) Mr. Flinders came on board at six
o'clock in the morning. We breakfasted together,* (* Note 9: Flinders
does not mention this incident.) and talked about our respective work. He
appeared to me to have been happier than we had been with respect to the
discoveries he had made. He told me about a large island, about a dozen
or fifteen leagues away, which had been visited by him. According to his
account, he stayed there six weeks to prepare a chart of it;* (* Note 10:
A mistake; Flinders was at Kangaroo Island only six days.) and with the
aid of a corvette* (* Note 11: Peron also had the erroneous impression
that the Investigator had been accompanied by a corvette, which foundered
in Spencer's Gulf, and so wrote in his Voyage de Decouvertes. Baudin must
have confused what Flinders told him about the drowning of Thistle and
the boat's crew, with an idea of his own that this boat was a consort of
the Investigator as Le Naturaliste was of Le Geographe.) had explored two
deep gulfs, the direction of which he sketched for me, as well as of his
Kangaroo Island, which he had so named in consequence of the great
quantity of those quadrupeds found there. The island, though not far from
the continent, did not appear to him to be inhabited.

"An accident like that which had unfortunately happened to us on the
coast of Van Diemen's Land had overtaken Mr. Flinders.* (* Note 12:
Baudin was referring to a boat party of his own, consisting of
Boullanger, one of his hydrographers, a lieutenant and eight sailors.
They had gone out in a boat to chart a portion of the coast which Le
Geographe could not reach. They did not return, and Baudin supposed them
to have been lost. But they were in fact picked up by the sealing brig
Snow-Harrington from Sydney, which afterwards sighted Le Naturaliste, and
handed the men over to her.) He had lost a boat and eight men. His ship
was also short of stores, and he was not without uneasiness as to what
would happen.

"Before we separated the Captain asked me if I had any knowledge of an
island which was said to exist to the north of the Bass Strait islands. I
replied that I had not, inasmuch as, having followed the coast fairly
closely after leaving the Promontory as far as Westernport, I had not met
with any land placed in the position which he indicated.* (* Note 13:
What Flinders asked Baudin was whether he had any "knowledge concerning a
large island said to lie in the western entrance of Bass Strait. But he
had not seen it and seemed to doubt much of its existence." The reference
was to King Island. Baudin marked on his chart, in consequence of this
enquiry, an island "believed to exist," guessing at its situation and
placing it wrongly; though he subsequently stayed at King Island
himself.) He appeared to be well pleased with my response, doubtless in
the hope of being the first to discover it. Perhaps Le Naturaliste, in
searching for us in the Strait, will have discovered it.* (* Note 14:
This sentence is interesting, as showing that Baudin wrote this part of
his letter to the Minister at the time, not at Port Jackson weeks later.
If the sentence had been written later, he would not have said that Le
Naturaliste would perhaps sight the island. He by then knew that she did
not.) At the moment of his departure, Mr. Flinders presented me with
several new charts, published by Arrowsmith, and a printed memoir by
himself, dealing with discoveries in the strait, the north coast of Van
Diemen's Land, the east coast, etc., etc. He also invited me to sail,
like himself, for Port Jackson, the resources of which he perhaps exalted
too highly, if I had to remain long in these seas. At eight o'clock we*
separated. (* Note 15: Flinders: "I returned with Mr. Brown on board the
Investigator at half-past-eight in the morning, and we then separated
from Le Geographe; Captain Baudin's course being directed to the
north-west and ours to the southward.") He sailed south and we went to
the west."


[The following is a fairly literal translation of Peron's report on Port
Jackson, furnished to General Decaen at Ile-de-France.]

Port N.-O., 20th Frimaire, Year 12.* (* Note 16: i.e., Port North-West
(Port Louis), December 11, 1802.)

Citizen Captain-General,

Fifteen years ago England transported, at great expense, a numerous
population to the eastern coast of New Holland. At that time this vast
continent was still almost entirely unknown. These southern lands and the
numerous archipelagoes of the Pacific were invaded by the English, who
had solemnly proclaimed themselves sovereign over the whole dominion
extending from Cape York to the southern extremity of New Holland, that
is to say, from 10 degrees 37 minutes south, to 43 degrees 39 minutes
south latitude. In longitude their possessions had been fixed as reaching
from 105 degrees west of Greenwich to the middle of the Pacific Ocean,
including all the archipelagos with which it is strewn.* (* Note 17: This
is a literal translation of Peron's statement, which is obviously
confused and wrong. 105 degrees west longitude is east of Easter Island,
as well as being an "exact boundary" in the Pacific, which, Peron goes on
to say, did not exist. The probability is that he gives here a muddled
reproduction of the boundaries actually fixed by Phillip's
commission--"westward as far as the 135th degree of east
longitude...including all the islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean."
[Mr. Jose's note.])

Note especially in this respect that in the formal deed of annexation no
exact boundary was fixed on the Pacific Ocean side. This omission seems
to have been the result of astute policy; the English Government thus
prepared itself an excuse for claiming, at the right time and place, all
the islands which in the future may be, or actually are, occupied by the
Spaniards--who thus find themselves England's next-door neighbours.

So general a project of encroachment alarmed, as it must, all the nations
of Europe. The sacrifices made by England to maintain this colony
redoubled their suspicions. The Spanish expedition of Admiral Malaspina*
had not fulfilled the expectations of its Government. (* Note 18: Two
Spanish ships, commanded by Don Alexandro Malaspina, visited Sydney in
April, 1793. They had left Cadiz on an exploring and scientific
expedition in July, 1789.) Europe was still ignorant of the nature of the
English settlement; its object was unknown; its rapid growth was not even

Always vigilant in regard to whatever may humiliate the eternal rival of
our nation, the First Consul, soon after the revolution of the 18th
Brumaire,* (* Note 19: It was on the 18th Brumaire (November 9th, 1799)
that Bonaparte overthrew the Directory by a coup-d'etat, and became First
Consul of the French Republic.) decided upon our expedition.* (* Note 20:
Peron's statement is quite wrong. The matter of despatching an expedition
to Australia had been considered and proposed to the Government by the
professors of the Museum two years before the coup-d'etat of Brumaire:
before therefore Bonaparte had anything to do with the Government. Their
letter to the Minister, making this proposal, is dated 12th Thermidor,
year 6--that is, July 31st, 1797. Bonaparte was then a young general
commanding the army of Italy. The project was taken up by the Institute
of France, and Bonaparte, as First Consul, sanctioned the expedition in
May, 1800. There is no evidence that he ever gave a thought to the matter
until it was brought before him by the Institute.) His real object was
such that it was indispensable to conceal it from the Governments of
Europe, and especially from the Cabinet of St. James's. We must have
their unanimous consent; and that we might obtain this, it was necessary
that, strangers in appearance to all political designs, we should occupy
ourselves only with natural history collections. Such a large expenditure
had been incurred to augment the collections of the Museum of the
Republic that the object of our voyage could not but appear to all the
world as a natural consequence of the previous action of our Government.
It was far from being the case, however, that our true purpose had to be
confined to that class of work; and if sufficient time permitted it would
be very easy for me, citizen Captain-General, to demonstrate to you that
all our natural history researches, extolled with so much ostentation by
the Government, were merely a pretext for its enterprise, and were
intended to assure for it the most general and complete success. So that
our expedition, so much criticised by fault-finders, so much neglected by
the former administrators of this colony, was in its principle, in its
purpose, in its organization, one of those brilliant and important
conceptions which ought to make our present Government for ever
illustrious. Why was it that, after having done so much for the success
of these designs, the execution of them was confided to a man utterly
unfitted in all possible respects to conduct them to their proper issue?

You have asked me, General, to communicate to you such information as I
have been able to procure upon the colony of Port Jackson. A work of that
kind would be as long as it would be important; and, prepared as I
conceive it ought to be, and as I hope it will be when presented to the
French Government, it would fix our attention to some useful purpose upon
that growing snare of a redoubtable power. Unfortunately, duty has made
demands upon me until to-day, and now that I find myself a little freer
our departure is about to take place. Moreover, all the information we
have collected upon the regions in question is deposited in the chest
which has to be forwarded, sealed, to the Government, and without access
to this the notes that I should desire to furnish to you cannot be
completed. Nevertheless, in order to contribute as far as possible to
your enlightenment on the subject, I take the liberty of furnishing you
with some particulars of the new establishment. In asking you to excuse,
on account of the circumstances, faults both of style and of
presentation, I venture to assure you, General, that you can rely upon my
jealous exactitude in fulfilling as far as was in my power the intention
of the Government of my country. I have neglected no means of procuring
all the information that as far as I could foresee would be of interest.
I was received in the house of the Governor with much consideration. He
and his secretary spoke our language well. The commandant of the troops
of New South Wales, Mr. Paterson, a member of the Royal Society of
London, a very distinguished savant, always treated me with particular
regard. I was received in his house, as one might say, as a son. I have
through him known all the officials of the colony. The surgeon, a
distinguished man, Mr. Thompson, honoured me with his friendship. Mr.
Grimes, the surveyor of the colony, Mr. Palmer the commissary-general of
the Government, Mr. Marsden, a clergyman of Parramatta, and a cultivator
as wealthy as he is discerning, were all capable of furnishing me with
valuable information. My functions on board permitted me to hazard the
asking of a large number of questions which would have been indiscreet on
the part of another, particularly on the part of soldiers. I have, in a
word, known at Port Jackson all the principal people of the colony, in
all vocations, and each of them has furnished, unsuspectingly,
information as valuable as it is new. Finally, I made with Mr. Paterson
very long excursions into the interior of the country. I saw most of the
best farms, and I assure you that I have gathered everywhere interesting
ideas upon things, which I have taken care to make exact as possible.


Whilst in Europe they are spoken of as the colony of Botany Bay, as a
matter of fact there is no establishment there. Botany Bay is a humid,
marshy, rather sterile place, not healthy, and the anchorage for vessels
is neither good nor sure.

Port Jackson, thirteen leagues from Botany Bay, is unquestionably one of
the finest ports in the world. It was in these terms that Governor
Phillip spoke of it, and certainly he did not exaggerate when he added
that a thousand ships of the line could easily manoeuvre within it. The
town of Sydney has been founded in the heart of this superb harbour. It
is already considerable in extent, and, like its population, is growing
rapidly. Here reside the Governor and all the principal Government
officers. The environs of Sydney are sandy and not very fertile; in
almost all of them there is a scarcity of water during the hot summer

Parramatta is the largest town founded by the English. It is in the
interior of the country, about six leagues from Sydney, from which it can
be reached by a small river called the Parramatta River. Small vessels
can proceed close to the town; larger ones have to discharge some
distance away. A very fine road leads overland from Sydney to Parramatta.
Some very good houses have been built here and there along the road.
Already people who have made considerable fortunes are to be found there.
The land around Parramatta is of much better quality than that at Sydney.
The country has been cleared to a considerable extent; and grazing in
particular presents important advantages.

Toongabbie, further inland, three or four leagues from Parramatta, is
still more fertile. Its pastures are excellent. It is there that the
flocks belonging to the Government have been established.

Hawkesbury, more than 60 miles from Sydney, is in the vicinity of the
Blue Mountains. It is the richest and most fruitful of the English
establishments. It may be regarded as the granary of the colony, being
capable by itself of supplying nearly all the wants of the settlement.
The depth of soil in some parts is as much as 80 feet; and it is truly
prodigious in point of fertility. These incalculable advantages are due
to the alluvial deposits of the Hawkesbury River, which descends in
cascades from the summits of the Blue Mountains, and precipitates itself
upon the plain loaded with a thick mud of a quality eminently suitable
for promoting vegetable growth. Unfortunately with benefits such as are
conferred by the Nile it unites its inconveniences. It is subject to
frightful floods, which overwhelm everything. Houses, crops, and
flocks--everything is destroyed unless men and animals save themselves by
very rapid flight. These unexpected floods are sometimes so prodigious
that the water has been known to rise 60 and even 80 feet above the
normal level. But what gives a great importance to the town of Hawkesbury
is the facility with which large ships can reach it by the river of which
I have just spoken. This part of New Holland will be a source of rapid
and very large fortunes.

Castle Hill is a new establishment in the interior of New Holland,
distant 21 miles from Parramatta, from which it is reached by a superb
road, which traverses thick forests. Allotments of land are crowded round
this place, and the clearances are so considerable that for more than a
league all round the town we could see the forest grants being burnt off.

Richmond Hill, towards the Hawkesbury, is a more considerable place than
the last mentioned, and is in a fertile situation.

So, General, it will be seen that this colony, which people in Europe
still believe to be relegated to the muddy marshes of Botany Bay, is
daily absorbing more and more of the interior of the continent. Cities
are being erected, which, at present in their infancy, present evidences
of future grandeur. Spacious and well-constructed roads facilitate
communication with all parts, whilst important rivers render access by
water still more convenient and less expensive.

But the English Government is no longer confining its operations to the
eastern coast of New Holland. Westernport, on the extreme south, beyond
Wilson's Promontory, is already engaging its attention. At the time of
our departure a new establishment there was in contemplation. The
Government is balancing the expediency of founding a new colony there or
at Port Phillip, to the north.* (* Note 21: "Le Port Phillip dans le nord
de ce dernier." Peron's information was correct. King had in May, 1802,
made a recommendation to the British Government that a settlement should
be founded at Port Phillip. The reasons, also, are stated accurately by
him.) In any case, it is indubitable, from what I have heard the Governor
say--it is indubitable, I say, that such a step will soon be taken.
Indeed, whatever advantage Port Jackson may possess, it suffers from a
grave disadvantage in the narrowness of its entry. Two frigates could by
themselves blockade the most numerous fleet within. Westernport would in
certain eventualities offer an advantageous position. Moreover, the
navigation of Bass Strait is very dangerous. The winds there are
terrible. Before negotiating the strait, ships from Europe, fatigued by a
long voyage, require succour and shelter. The new establishment will be
able to accommodate them. A third reason, and no doubt the most
important, is that the English in spite of all their efforts, in spite of
the devotion of several of their citizens, in spite of the sacrifices
made by the Government, have not yet been able to traverse the
redoubtable barrier of the Blue Mountains and to penetrate into the west
of New Holland. An establishment on the part of the coast that I have
just mentioned would guarantee them success in their efforts in that
direction. At all events it is indubitable that the establishment to
which I have referred will be immediately founded, if indeed such is not
already the case, as appears very probable from the letter which the
Governor wrote to our commandant in that regard a few days after our
departure from Port Jackson.

So then, the English, already masters of the eastern coast of New
Holland, now wish to occupy the immense extent of the west and south-west
coasts which contain very fine harbours, namely, that which they call
Westernport, Port Phillip, Port Flinders* (* Note 22: Peron probably
meant the present Port Augusta in Spencer's Gulf; but the name Port
Flinders was his own.) at the head of one of the great gulfs of the
south-west, Port Esperance, discovered by Dentrecasteaux, King George's
Sound, etc.

But still more, General, their ambition, always aspiring, is not confined
to New Holland itself, vast as it may be. Van Diemen's Land, and
especially the magnificent Dentrecasteaux Channel, have excited their
cupidity. Another establishment has probably been founded there since our
departure from Port Jackson. Take a glance at the detailed chart of that
part of Van Diemen's Land. Look at the cluster of bays and harbours to be
found there, and judge for yourself whether it is likely that that
ambitious nation will permit any other power to occupy them. Therefore,
numerous preparations had been made for the occupation of that important
point. The authorities were only awaiting a frigate, the Porpoise,* (*
Note 23: Peron spells the name as it sounded to him, La Poraperse.) to
transport colonists and provisions. That establishment is probably in
existence to-day.* (* Note 24: Again, Peron's information was correct. A
settlement on the Derwent, close to Dentrecasteaux Channel, was ordered
to be founded in March, 1803, and the Porpoise, with the Lady Nelson as
tender, was employed to carry colonists and supplies thither.) Several
reasons will have determined it; First: The indispensable necessity, for
the English, of keeping away from their establishments in that part of
the world rivals and neighbours as redoubtable as the French; Second: The
desire of removing from occupation by any other nation those impregnable
ports whence their important trade with New Zealand might be destroyed
and their principal establishment itself be eventually shaken; Third: The
fertility of the soil in that part of Van Diemen's Land, and above all
the hope of discovering in the vast granite plateaux, which seems here to
enclose the world, mines of precious metals or some new substance unknown
to the stupid aboriginals of the country.

I will not refer in detail to the Furneaux and Hunter's Islands, to King
Island and Maria Island. Everywhere the British flag is flown with pride.
Everywhere profitable fisheries are established. Seals of various
species, to be found upon these islands, open up a new source of wealth
and power to the English nation.

But New Zealand is especially advantageous to them in that regard. There
is the principal seat of the wealth of their new colony. Thence a large
number of ships sail annually for Europe laden with whale oil. Never, as
the English themselves acknowledge, was a fishery so lucrative and so
easy. The number of vessels engaged in it is increasing rapidly. Four
years ago there were but four or five. Last year there were seventeen.*
(* Note 25: It will be remembered that Bass intended to engage in the New
Zealand fishery. Cf. chapter 9.) I shall have occasion to return to this

Let us sum up what has been said concerning the English establishments in
this part of the world. Masters of the east coast of New Holland, we see
them rapidly penetrating the interior of the country, clearing pressed
forward on all sides, towns multiplying. Everywhere there is hope of
abundance of great agricultural wealth. The south coast is menaced by
coming encroachments, which, perhaps, are by now effected. All the ports
of the south-west will be occupied successively, and much sooner than is
commonly thought. Van Diemen's Land and all the neighbouring islands
either are to be occupied or already are so. New Zealand offers to them,
together with excellent harbours, an extraordinarily abundant and
lucrative fishery. In a word, everything in these vast regions presents a
picture of unequalled activity, unlimited foresight, swollen ambition,
and a policy as deep as it is vigilant.

Well then--come forward now to the middle of these vast seas, so long
unknown; we shall see everywhere the same picture reproduced, with the
same effects. Cast a glance over that great southern ocean. Traverse all
those archipelagos which, like so many stepping-stones, are scattered
between New Holland and the west coast of America. It is by their means
that England hopes to be able to stretch her dominion as far as Peru.
Norfolk Island has for a long time been occupied. The cedar that it
produces, coupled with the great fertility of the soil, render it an
important possession. It contains already between 1500 and 1800
colonists. No settlement has as yet been founded in any of the other
islands, but researches are being pursued in all parts. The English land
upon all the islands and establish an active commerce, by means of
barter, with the natives. The Sandwich Islands, Friendly Islands, Loyalty
Islands,* (* Note 26: New Caledonian Group.) Navigator Islands,* (* Note
27: Samoan Group.) Marquesas and Mendore Islands all furnish excellent
salt provisions. Ships, employed in trade, frequently arrive at Port
Jackson; and it increases every day, proof positive of the advantage that
is derived from it.

The Government is particularly occupied with endeavouring to discover
upon some one of these archipelagos a strong military post, a species of
arsenal, nearer to the coasts of Peru and Chili.* (* Note 28: This
statement was entirely false.) It is towards these two points that the
English Government appears to be especially turning its eyes. They are
quite aware of the feebleness of the Spaniards in South America. They are
above all aware that the unconquered Chilians are constantly making
unexpected attacks, that like so many Bedouins they appear unawares with
a numerous cavalry upon places where the Spaniards are most feeble,
committing robberies and outrages in all directions before sufficient
forces have been collected to repulse them. Then they retire with a
promptitude which does not permit of their being followed to their savage
fastnesses, which are unknown to the Spaniards themselves--retreats
whence they very soon reappear, to commit fresh massacres. (See the
Voyage of Laperouse). The English, to whom nothing that occurs in those
important regions is unknown, are equally aware that it is simply a
deficiency in arms and ammunition which prevents the redoubtable Chilians
from pushing much farther their attacks against the Spaniards. It is to
the furnishing of these means that the English Government are at the
present moment confining their enterprise. A very active contraband trade
is calculated to enable them to carry out their perfidious ends, whilst
at the same time providing a profitable market for the produce of their
manufacturers. Another manner in which they torment the Spaniards of Peru
is by despatching a swarm of pirates to these seas. During the last war
very rich prizes were captured by simple whaling vessels, and you can
judge what attacks of this kind will be like when they are directed and
sustained by the English Government itself.

Their hopes in regard to the Spanish possessions are heightened, and
their projects are encouraged, by the general direction of the winds in
these seas. A happy experience has at length taught the English that the
prevailing wind, that which blows strongest and most constantly, is the
west wind. Determined by these considerations (would you believe it,
General?) the English nowadays, instead of returning to Europe from Port
Jackson by traversing Bass Strait and doubling the Cape of Good Hope,
turn their prows eastwards, abandon themselves to their favourite wind,
traverse rapidly the great expanse of the South Seas, double Cape Horn,
and so do not reach England until they have made the circuit of the
globe! Consequently those voyages round the world, which were formerly
considered so hazardous, and with which are associated so many
illustrious names, have become quite familiar to English sailors. Even
their fishing vessels accomplish the navigation of the globe just as
safely as they would make a voyage from Europe to the Antilles. That
circumstance is not so unimportant as may at first appear. The very idea
of having circumnavigated the globe exalts the enthusiasm of English
sailors. What navigation would not seem to them ordinary after voyages
which carry with them great and terrible associations? Anyhow--and this
is a most unfortunate circumstance for the Spaniards--it is indubitable
that the fact of the constancy of the west wind must facilitate
extraordinarily projects of attack and invasion on the part of the
English, and everything sustains the belief that they will count for much
in the general plan of the establishment in New Holland. Therefore the
English Government appears day by day to take more interest in the
colony. It redoubles sacrifices of all kinds. It endeavours in every way
to increase the population as much as possible. Hardly a month passes but
there arrives some ship freighted by it, laden with provisions, goods,
and above all with men and women, some transported people, who have to
serve practically as slaves, others free immigrants, cultivators, to whom
concessions will be granted. Perhaps at first you will be astonished to
learn that honest men voluntarily transport themselves with their
families to the extremity of the world, to live in a country which is
still savage, and which was originally, and is still actually, occupied
by brigands who have been thrust from the breast of society. But your
astonishment will cease when you learn under what conditions such
individuals consent to exile themselves to these shores, and what
advantages they are not slow in deriving from a sacrifice which must
always be painful.

In the first place, before their departure from Europe, a sufficient sum
is allowed to each individual to provide for the necessities of a long
voyage. On board the vessel which transports them to Sydney a price is
fixed for the sustenance of the immigrant and his family, if he has any.
Upon his landing at Port Jackson concessions are granted to him in
proportion to the number of individuals comprised in his family. A number
of convicts (that is the name they give the transported persons), in
proportion to the extent of the concessions granted, are placed at his
disposal. A house is constructed for him; he is provided with all
necessary furniture and household utensils, and all the clothes he needs;
they grant him all the seed he needs to sow his land, all the tools he
needs to till it, and one or more pairs of all domestic animals and
several kinds of poultry. Besides, they feed him, his family, and his
assigned servants during eighteen months. He is completely sustained
during that period; and for the next twelve months half rations are
allowed to him. At the end of that time the produce of his land is, with
reason, expected to be sufficient for his requirements, and the
Government leave him to his own resources.

During five years he remains free of all contribution, accumulating the
produce of land all the more prolific because it is virgin. At the end of
that time a slight repayment is required by the Government. This
gradually and slightly increases as time goes on. But mark here, General,
the profound wisdom of the English Government, that enlightened policy
which guides all their enterprises and assures them success. If the new
immigrant during these five years has shown himself to be a diligent and
intelligent cultivator; if his clearings have been well extended and his
stock is managed with prudence; if the produce of his land has increased
rapidly--then, so far from finding himself a debtor to the Government,
his holding is declared to be his own, and, as a recompense, fresh
concessions are made to him, additional servants are assigned to him, his
immunity from contributions is prolonged, and additional assistance of
all sorts is extended to him. It is to these extensive and
well-considered sacrifices that it is necessary to attribute the fine
farms that daily increase in number in the midst of what was recently
wild and uncultivated forest. Activity, intelligence and application
conduce here more rapidly than elsewhere to fortune; and already several
of the earlier immigrants have become very wealthy proprietors. Emulation
of the noblest kind is stimulated everywhere. Experiments of all kinds
are made and multiplied. The Government encourages them, and generously
recompenses those who have succeeded.

What still further proves the particular interest which the English
Government takes in the colony is the enormous expense incurred in
procuring commodities for the new colonists. Nearly everything is
furnished by the Government. Vast depots are filled with clothes and
fabrics of all kinds and qualities, from the commonest to the finest. The
simplest furniture and household goods are to be found alongside the most
elegant. Thus the inhabitants are able to buy, at prices below those
ruling in England,* everything necessary to not only the bare wants of
life, but also its comforts and pleasures. (* Note 29: This statement is
surprising, but probably true of part of the period when Peron was in
Sydney. There was then a glut of goods, as Bass found to his cost. He had
to sell commodities brought out in the Venus at 50 per cent below their
proper values.)

Anxious to maintain the settlement on a firm and unshakeable basis, it is
to agriculture, the source of the true wealth of nations, that the

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