Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/137

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Holland. There have no discoveries been made on the western side of this land in the parallel I allude to, between 39° 00' and 42° 00' south, the land there having never been seen."

Hunter was, therefore, quite justified, in his despatch, in pointing out that he had "long conjectured" the existence of the Strait. He seems, not unwarrantably, to have been anxious that his own share in the discoveries, as foreseeing them and encouraging the efforts that led to them, should not be overlooked. The Naval Chronicle of the time mentioned the subject, and returned to it more than once.[1] But if we may suppose Hunter to have inspired some of these allusions, it must be added that they are scrupulously fair, and claimed no more for him than he was entitled to have remembered. Bass's work is in every instance properly appreciated; and in one article (N. C. XV. 62) he is characterised, probably through Hunter's instrumentality—the language is very like that used in the official despatch—as "a man of considerable enterprise and ingenuity, a strong and comprehensive mind with the advantage of a vigorous body and healthy constitution." The boat was 28 feet 7 inches long, head and stern alike, fitted to row eight oars, with banksia timbers and cedar planking.

One error relating to this justly celebrated voyage needs to be corrected, especially as currency has been given to it in a standard historical work. It is not true that Bass undertook his cruise "in a sailing boat with a crew of five convicts.[2] His men were all British sailors. Hunter's despatch indicates that Bass asked to be allowed to man his boat "with volunteers from the

  1. See Naval Chronicle Vol. IV. 159 (1800); VI., 349 (1801); XV., 62 (1806), etc.
  2. The Royal Navy: a History Vol. IV., 567.