Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/324

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253
THE FRENCH AT PORT JACKSON

Through those means, which do so great honour to the humane feelings of him who put them into motion, we have enjoyed a favour which we would perhaps have experienced much difficulty in finding anywhere else.

"After such treatment, which ought in future to serve as an example for all the nations, I consider it my duty, as much out of gratitude as by inclination, to recommend particularly to you Mr. —— commander of H.M.S. ——. Although he does not propose to call at the Isle of France, it may be possible some unforeseen circumstance might compel him to put into port in the colony, the government of which is entrusted to you. Having been a witness of the kind manner with which his countrymen have treated us on every occasion, I hope he will be convinced by his own experience that Frenchmen are not less hospitable and benevolent; and then his mother-country will have over us the advantage only of having done in times of war what happier times enabled us to return to her in time of peace."

That letter has been quoted, and the circumstances attending Baudin's arrival and stay at Sydney have been narrated with some fulness, in order to give particular point to the conduct of two members of his expedition, Francois Péron and Lieutenant Louis de Freycinet. As will be seen from what follows, both of them used the latitude allowed to them while receiving King's generous hospitality, to spy, to collect information for the purpose of enabling an attack to be made upon Port Jackson, and to supply it with mischievous intent to the military authorities of their nation.

Le Naturaliste returned to Europe from King Island on December 8th. She took with her all the natural history specimens collected up to that time, and reports of the work done. Baudin, with Le Géographe and the Casuarina, spent six months longer in Australian waters, exploring Spencer's and St. Vincent's