Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/541

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

present at one of the meetings, when Flinders thought he had converted Sir Joseph. But afterwards he found Banks disinclined to sanction the name, and wrote to Major Rennell asking whether he remembered the conversation. The Major replied (August 15th, 1812):[1] "I certainly think that it was as you say, that Australia was the proper name for the continent in question; and for the reason you mention. I suppose I must have been of that opinion at the time, for I certainly think so now. It wants a collective name."

Two days after the receipt of Major Rennell's letter Flinders wrote to Banks, reminding him that he was the first person consulted about the name Australia, and that he had understood that it was generally approved. Bligh had not objected to it. When part of the manuscript of the Voyage was submitted to Mr. Robert Peel, Under-Secretary for the Colonies (afterwards Sir Robert Peel and Prime Minister of England), and to Lord Liverpool, the principal Secretary of State, there had been some discussion respecting the inclusion of the Gulf of Carpentaria as part of New South Wales, and it was accordingly erased. But no objection was raised to the name Australia. Flinders fought hard for his word, but did not succeed completely. Captain Burney suggested that Terra Australis was a name "more familiar to the public." Banks on August 19th withdrew his objection to "the propriety of calling New Holland and New South Wales by the collective name of Terra Australis," and accordingly as A Voyage to Terra Australis his book ultimately went forth. The work being published under the aegis of the Admiralty, he had to conform to the opinion of those who were less sensible of the need for an innovation than he was, and it was only in a modest

  1. Flinders' Papers.