Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/68

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LIFE OF MATTHEW FLINDERS

The effect it had upon the future life of Matthew Flinders was very striking. The whole of the salient features of his later career follow from it. He made the most of his opportunities. Captain Bligh found him a clever assistant in the preparation of charts and in making astronomical observations. Indeed, says an expert writer, although Flinders was as yet "but a juvenile navigator, the latter branch of scientific service and the care of the timekeepers were principally entrusted to him."* (* Naval Chronicle Volume 32 180.) These facts indicate that he was applying himself seriously to the scientific side of his profession, and that he had won the confidence of a captain who was certainly no over-indulgent critic of subordinates.

The Providence and the Assistant returned to England in the latter part of 1793. Before Flinders once more sighted the Australian coastline he was to experience the sensations of battle, and to take a small part in the first of the series of naval engagements connected with the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era.