Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/319

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by scurvy, there being not more out of one hundred and seventy, according to the Captain's account, than twelve men capable of doing their duty." Baudin's own journal says they were only four; but, whatever the number may have been, even these were sick, and could only perform any kind of work under the whip of absolute necessity. All the sufferers were attended with "the most touching activity" by the principal surgeon of the settlement, James Thomson.

The resources of Sydney at that time were slender, but such as they were Governor King immediately placed them at the disposal of the French commodore. The sick were removed to the hospital, permission was given to pitch tents close to where the Investigator's were erected, at Cattle Point on the east side of Sydney Cove,[1] and everything was done to extend a cordial welcome to the visitors. "Although," wrote the Governor to Baudin, "last night I had the pleasure of announcing that a peace had taken place between our respective countries, yet a continuance of the war would have made no difference in my reception of your ship, and affording every relief and assistance in my power; and, although you will not find abundant supplies of what are most requisite and acceptable to those coming off so long a voyage, yet I offer you a sincere welcome. I am much concerned to find from Monsieur Ronsard that your ship's company are so dreadfully afflicted with the scurvy. I have sent the Naval Officer with every assistance to get the ship into a safe anchorage. I beg you would give yourself no concern about saluting. When I have the honour of seeing you, we will then concert means for the relief of your sick." That was, truly, a letter replete in every word of it

  1. Flinders, Voyage, I., 227. The "Cattle Point" of Flinders is the present Fort Macquarie, or Bennelong Point, behind which Government House stands.