Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/504

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399
LAST YEARS AND DEATH

officials was that the case was peculiar; there was "no precedent" for ante-dating a promotion.

Flinders asked that he might be put on full pay, while he was writing the Voyage, which would make up the difference in the expense to which he would be put by living in town instead of in the country; but Barrow assured him that the Admiralty would object "for want of a precedent." He showed that he would be £500 or £600 out of pocket, to say nothing of the loss of chances of promotion by remaining ashore. It was to meet this position that the Admiralty granted him £200; but as a matter of fact he was still £300 out of pocket,[1] and was put out of health irrecoverably by intense application to the task. His friend, Captain Kent, then of the Agincourt, advised him to abandon the work. "I conjure you," he wrote "to give the subject your serious attention, and do not suffer yourself to be involved in debt to gratify persons who seem to have no feeling." But to have abandoned his beloved work at this stage would have appeared worse to him than loss of life itself. The consequence was that his expenses during this period, even with the strictly economical mode of living which he adopted, entrenched upon the small savings which he was able to leave to his widow. He was compelled to represent that, unless a concession were made, he would have to choose between abandoning his task or reducing his family to distress; and it was for this reason that the Admiralty granted a special allowance of £200, in supplement of his half-pay. This, with £500 "in lieu of compensation" on account of his detention in Ile-de-France was the entire consideration that he received.

When he died, application was made to the Admiralty to grant a special pension to Mrs. Flinders.

  1. Flinders' Papers.