Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/12

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LIFE OF MATTHEW FLINDERS

takes pleasure in acknowledging the assistance he has received from several quarters. A previous book brought him the acquaintance of the grand-nephew of that Comte de Fleurieu who largely inspired three famous French voyages to Australia—those of Lapérouse, Dentrecasteaux and Baudin—all of which have an important bearing upon the subject. The Comte A. de Fleurieu had long been engaged in collecting material relative to the work and influence of his distinguished grand-uncle, and in the most generous manner he handed over to the author his very large collection of manuscripts and note-books to be read, noted, and used at discretion. Even when a historian does not actually quote or directly use matter bearing upon his subject, it is of immense advantage to have access to documents which throw light upon it, and which enable an in-and-out knowledge of a period and persons to be obtained. This book owes much of whatever value it may possess to monsieur de Fleurieu's assistance in this respect, and the author thanks him most warmly.

The Flinders papers, of which free use has been made, were presented to the Melbourne Public Library by Professor W.M. Flinders Petrie. They are described in the bibliography. The transcripts of family and personal documents were especially valuable. Although they were not supplied for this book, Professor Flinders Petrie gave them in order that they might be of use to some biographer of his grandfather, and the author begs to thank him, and also Mr. E. La Touche Armstrong, the chief librarian, in whose custody they are, and who has given frequent access to them.

The rich stores of manuscripts in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, have been thoroughly examined, with