Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/265

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LIFE OF MATTHEW FLINDERS

who anchored near the Leeuwin in 1772, were the only Europeans known to have been upon any part of these southern coasts before the advent of Flinders; and the extent of the voyage of Nuyts is by no means clear.

Flinders, as we have seen, laid it down as a guiding principle that he would make so complete a survey of the shores visited by him as to leave little for anybody to do after him. He therefore commenced his work immediately he touched land, constructing his own charts as the ship slowly traversed the curves of the coast. The result was that many corrections and additions to the charts of Vancouver and Dentrecasteaux were made before the entirely new discoveries were commenced. In announcing this fact, Flinders, always generous in his references to good work done by his predecessors, warmly praised the charts prepared by Beautemps-Beaupré, "geographical engineer" of the Recherche. "Perhaps no chart of a coast so little known as this is, will bear a comparison with its original better than this of M. Beaupré," he said. His own charts were of course fuller and more precise, but he made no claim to superiority on this account, modestly observing that he would have been open to reproach if, after following the coast with an outline of M. Beaupré's chart before him, he had not effected improvements where circumstances did not permit so close an examination to be made in 1792.

Several inland excursions were made, and some of the King George's Sound aboriginals were encountered. Flinders noted down some of their words, and pointed out the difference from words for the same objects used by Port Jackson and Van Diemen's Land natives. An exception to this rule was the word used for calling to a distance—cau-wah! (come here). This is certainly very like the Port Jackson cow-ee, whence comes the