Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/421

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
328
LIFE OF MATTHEW FLINDERS

delivered to him by the First Consul and His Majesty King of Great Britain; equally the communication of his journal since the condemnation of his ship Investigator.

"Port North-West, Ile of France, the 26th frimaire 12th year of the French Republic (answering to the 19th December, 1803).

"(Signed) Mattw. Flinders."

Flinders corroborates the statement regarding the taking of papers from the trunk, stating that they consisted of the third volume of his rough log-book, which contained "the whole of what they desired to know," respecting his voyage to Ile-de-France. He told Decaen's Secretary to make such extracts as were considered requisite, "pointing out the material passages." "All the books and papers, the third volume of my rough log-book excepted, were then returned into the trunk, and sealed as before." It is important to notice that at no time were papers taken from the trunk without Flinders' knowledge and concurrence, because the charge has frequently been made, even by historical writers of authority,[1] that his charts were plagiarised by the cartographers of Baudin's expedition. Flinders himself never made any such allegation, nor is there any foundation for it. On the contrary, as will be made clear hereafter, neither Decaen and his officers, nor any of the French, ever saw any of Flinders' charts at any time.

Immediately after the examination the General, on behalf of Madame Decaen, sent Flinders an invitation to dine, dinner being then served. At this point, one

  1. In the Cambridge Modern History, for instance (ix., 739): "The French authorities at Mauritius having captured and imprisoned the explorer Flinders on his passage to England, attempted by the use of his papers to appropriate for their ships the credit of his discoveries along the south coast of Australia."