Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/370

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


Chapter XIX.

THE CALAMITY OF WRECK REEF.

There was some anxious discussion between King and Flinders as to the best course to follow for the expeditious completion of the survey of the coasts of Australia. The Investigator being no longer fit for the service, consideration was given to the qualifications of the Lady Nelson, the Porpoise, the Francis, and the Buffalo, all of which were under the Governor's direction. King was most willing to give his concurrence and assistance in any plan that might be considered expedient. He confessed himself convinced of Flinders' "zealous perseverance in wishing to complete the service you have so beneficially commenced," and cheerfully placed his resources at the explorer's disposal.

Flinders went for a few days to the Hawkesbury settlement, where fresh air, a vegetable diet and medical care promoted his recovery from the ailments occasioned by prolonged ship-life in the tropics; and on his return, at the beginning of July, determined upon a course of action. The Porpoise was the best of the four vessels mentioned, but she was by no means a sound ship, and it did not seem justifiable to incur the expense of fitting her for special service only to find her incapable of finishing the task. It was determined, therefore, that she should be sent to England under Fowler's command, and that Flinders should go in her as a passenger, in order that he might lay his charts and journals before the Admiralty, and solicit the use of another vessel to continue his explorations. Brown,

285