Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/333

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of dire calamity by the abundant kindness of the people of Sydney, concocted plans for bringing destruction upon their benefactors, and proffered their services to show the way. One thinks perforce of a rough speech of Dol Common in Ben Jonson's Alchemist:

         "S'death, you perpetual curs,
Fall to your couples again, and cozen kindly."

Five days after the arrival of Le Géographe in France, on March 29th, 1804, Péron wrote to the Minister of Marine[1] in similar terms, relating the valuable opportunities he had had of making himself acquainted with the situation of Port Jackson, and mentioning the names of leading citizens with whom he had associated, and from whom he had collected information.

A second report upon Port Jackson was furnished to General Decaen, giving precise information as to where troops could be landed if an invasion were undertaken. The document is unsigned,[2] but, having regard to Péron's statement concerning Freycinet's investigations, there can be no doubt that the information came from him. The writer described Sydney as "perhaps the most beautiful port in the world," and observed that, though its natural defences were strong, the English had employed no means to fortify the approaches. Many of the convicts were Irish, and were capable of everything except good.[3] Persons who had played a part in connection with the recent rebellion in Ireland were subject to transportation, and were naturally a disaffected class. England had only 600 troops to maintain order in that "society of brigands," and discipline was not very well observed amongst them. Particulars were given as to how an invasion could be effected:

  1. Arch. Nat. BB4 996.
  2. Coup d'oeil rapide sur l'establissement des Anglais de la Nouvelle Hollande," mss., Decaen Papers Volume 92 page 74.
  3. "Ils sont capable de tout, excepté le bien."