The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders, R.N.

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

THE LIFE OF

CAPTAIN MATTHEW FLINDERS, R.N.


BY

ERNEST SCOTT

PROFESSOR OF HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

AUTHOR OF "TERRE NAPOLÉON" AND "LIFE OF LAPÉROUSE"


With portraits, maps, and facsimiles


SYDNEY

ANGUS & ROBERTSON LTD.

89 CASTLEREAGH STREET

1914

Printed by W. C. Penfold & Co. Ltd., 183 Pitt Street, Sydney

for

Angus & Robertson Ltd.


London: The Oxford University Press

Amen Corner, E.C.

The life of Matthew Flinders, R.N. (frontispiece).png

MATTHEW FLINDERS

Aged 27.

From the engraving in the "Naval Chronicle," 1814, after a miniature in file possession of Mrs. Flinders.

CONTENTS

Chapter I.
BIRTH AND ORIGINS

Place of Flinders among Australian navigators—Birth—Flemish origins—Pedigree—Connection with the Tennysons—Possible relationship with Bass—Flinders' father—Donington 1

 
Chapter II.
AT SCHOOL AND AT SEA

Education—Robinson Crusoe—Aspirations for a naval career—His father's wish—John Flinders' advice—Study of navigation—Introduction to Pasley—Lieutenant's servant—Midshipman on the Bellerophon—Bligh and the Bounty mutiny 11

 
Chapter III.
A VOYAGE UNDER BLIGH

The second breadfruit expedition—Flinders in the Providence—Notes from Santa Cruz—At the Cape—Tahiti—In Torres Strait—Encounter with Papuans—Return to England 29

 
Chapter IV.
THE BATTLE OFF BREST

The naval war with France—The battle of June 1st, 1794—Flinders as gunner—Pasley wounded—Flinders' journal of the engagement—Effect of Pasley's wound on the career of Flinders 41

 
Chapter V.
AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHY BEFORE FLINDERS

The predecessors of Flinders—How Australia grew on the map—Mediaeval controversies on antipodes—Period of vague speculation—Sixteenth century maps—The Dutch voyagers—The Batavia on the Abrolhos Reef—The Duyfhen in the Gulf—Torres—The three periods of Australian maritime discovery—Geographers and their views of Australia—The theory of the dividing strait—Cook and Furneaux—The untraced southern coast 64

 

Chapter VI.
THE RELIANCE AND THE TOM THUMB

Governor Hunter.—Captain Waterhouse.—Flinders' passion for exploring new countries—Joins the Reliance—Hunter on the strategic importance of the Cape—Sailing of Reliance and Supply for New South Wales—Flinders' observations—Arrival at Port Jackson.—George Bass—The Tom Thumb—Exploration of George's River—A perilous cruise—Meeting with aboriginals—The midshipman as valet—Port Hacking—Patching up the Reliance—Voyage to South Africa. 77

 
Chapter VII.
THE DISCOVERY OF BASS STRAIT

Bass in the Blue Mountains—Supposed strait isolating Van Diemen's Land—Bass's whaleboat voyage—Wilson's Promontory—Escaped convicts—Discovery of Westernport—Return to Port Jackson. 97

 Chapter VIII.
THE VOYAGE OF THE FRANCIS

The wreck of the Sydney Cove—Discovery of Kent's Islands—Biological notes—Seals—Sooty petrels—The wombat—Point Hicks 123

 
Chapter IX.
CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF TASMANIA

Flinders in command of the Norfolk—Bass's association with him—Twofold Bay—Discovery of Port Dalrymple—Bass Strait demonstrated—Black swans—Albatross Island—Tasmanian aboriginals 133

 
Chapter X.
THE FATE OF GEORGE BASS

Bass's marriage—Part owner of the Venus—Voyages after pork—A fishing concession—South American enterprise—Unsaleable goods—A "diplomatic-looking certificate"—Bass's last voyage—Probable fate in Peru—His missing letters 145

 
Chapter XI.
ON THE QUEENSLAND COAST

Flinders and the Isaac Nicholls case—Exploration on the Queensland coast—Moreton Bay 157
 

Chapter XII.
THE INVESTIGATOR

Return to England in the Reliance—Sir Joseph Banks—Marriage of Flinders—Ann Chappell and Chappell Island—The Franklins—Publication of Observations on the Coasts of Van Diemen's Land, on Bass Strait and its Islands—Anxiety about French expedition—The Investigator commissioned—Equipment of ship—The staff and crew—East India Company's interest—Instructions for the voyage—The case of Mrs. Flinders—Sailing orders delayed—The incident at the Roar—Life on board—Crossing the Line—Australia reached 163
 

Chapter XII.
THE FRENCH EXPEDITION

Origin of Baudin's expedition—His instructions—Baudin's dilatoriness—In Tasmanian waters—Waterhouse Island 198
 

Chapter XIV.
SOUTH COAST DISCOVERY

The south coast of Australia—Method of research—Aboriginals at King George's Sound—Discovery of Spencer's Gulf—Loss of Thistle and a boat's crew—Memory Cove—Port Lincoln—Kangaroo Island—St. Vincent's Gulf—Pelicans—Speculations on the fate of Lapérouse 205
 

Chapter XV.
FLINDERS AND BAUDIN IN ENCOUNTER BAY

The sighting of Le Géographe—Flinders visits Baudin—Their conversations—Flinders invites Baudin to visit Port Jackson 224
 

Chapter XVI.
FLINDERS IN PORT PHILLIP

Grant's discoveries—Murray discovers Port Phillip—King Island—Flinders enters Port Phillip—Ascends Arthur's Seat—The Investigator aground—Cruise in a boat—Ascends Station Peak—Flinders' impression of the port—Arrival in Port Jackson—Healthiness of his crew 233

Chapter XVII.
THE FRENCH AT PORT JACKSON: PÉRON THE SPY

Arrival of Le Géographe at Port Jackson—State of the crew—Hospitality of Governor King—Rumours as to French designs—Baudin's gratitude—Peron's report on Port Jackson—His espionage—Freycinet's plan of invasion—Scientific work of the expedition 246
 

Chapter XVIII.
AUSTRALIA CIRCUMNAVIGATED

Overhaul of the ship—The Lady Nelson—Flinders sails north—Discovery of Port Curtis and Port Bowen—Through the Barrier Reef—Torres Strait—Remarks on Coral Reefs—The Gulf of Carpentaria—Rotten condition of the ship—Melville Bay discovered—Sails for Timor—Australia circumnavigated—The Investigator condemned—Illness of Flinders—News of father's death—Letter to step-mother—Letters to Mrs. Flinders—Letter to Bass—The end of the Investigator 265
 

Chapter XIX.
WRECKED ON THE BARRIER REEF

New plans—Flinders sails in the Porpoise—Remarks on Sydney—Wrecked—Conduct of the Bridgewater—Plans for relief—Stores available—Voyage in the Hope to Sydney—Franklin's description of the wreck 285
 

Chapter XX.
TO ILE-DE-FRANCE IN THE CUMBERLAND

King receives news of the wreck—The Cumberland—Wreck Reef reached—Voyage to Timor—Determination to sail to Ile-de-France—Flinders' reasons—Arrival at Baye du Cap—Arrival at Port Louis 298
 

Chapter XXI.
GENERAL DECAEN

Decaen's early career—His baptism of fire—War in the Vendée—The Army of the Rhine—Moreau—Battle of Hohenlinden—Moreau and Napoleon—The peace of Amiens—Decaen's arrival at Pondicherry—His reception—Leaves for Ile-de-France—His character and abilities 308

Chapter XXII.
THE CAPTIVITY

Flinders' reception by Decaen—His anger—Imprisoned at the Café Marengo—His papers and books—His examination—Refusal of invitation to dinner—Decaen's anger—His determination to detain Flinders—King's despatches—Decaen's statement of motives—Flinders asks to be sent to France 321
 

Chapter XXIII.
THE CAPTIVITY PROLONGED

Decaen's despatch—A delayed reply—Flinders' occupations—His health—The sword incident—Anniversary of the imprisonment—Aken's liberation—The faithful Elder 346
 

Chapter XXIV.
THE CAPTIVITY MODIFIED

Thomas Pitot—Removal to Wilhelm's Plains—The parole—Madame D'Arifat's house—Hospitalities—Flinders studies French and Malay—Further exploration schemes—The residence of Lapérouse—Work upon the charts—King's protest and Decaen's anger—Elder's departure 357
 

Chapter XXV.
THE ORDER OF RELEASE

Influences to secure release—The order of release—Receipt of the despatch—Decaen's reply—Flinders a dangerous man—Reason for Decaen's refusal—State of Ile-de-France—Project for escape—Flinders' reasons for declining 367
 

Chapter XXVI.
THE RELEASE

Blockade of Ile-de-France—Decaen at the end of his tether—Release of Flinders—Return to England—The plagiarism charge—Flinders' papers—Work of Péron and Freycinet 379
 

Chapter XXVII.
LAST YEARS AND DEATH OF FLINDERS

Flinders in London—Prolonged and severe work—His illness—Death of Flinders—His last words—Treatment of his widow by the Admiralty 391

Chapter XXVIII.
CHARACTERISTICS

Personality—Portraits—Flinders' commanding look—Geniality—Conversational powers—Gentleness—Kindness to wounded French officer—Advice to young officers—An eager student—The husband 402
 

Chapter XXIX.
THE NAVIGATOR

Technical writings—The marine barometer—Variations in the compass—Praise of other navigators—Love for his work 414
 

Chapter XXX.
THE NAMING OF AUSTRALIA

The name Australia given to the continent by Flinders—The "Austrialia del Espiritu Santo" of Quiros—De Brosses and "Australasia"—Dalrymple and "Australia"—Flinders' use of the word in 1804—His use of it in a French essay in 1810—Persistent employment of the word in letters—Proposes the word "Australia" to Banks—His fight for his word—"Terra Australis"—The footnote of 1814 420
 
APPENDIX A—BAUDIN'S NARRATIVE OF THE MEETING IN ENCOUNTER BAY
431
 
APPENDIX B—PÉRON'S REPORT ON PORT JACKSON
436
 
APPENDIX C—NAMES GIVEN BY FLINDERS TO AUSTRALIAN COASTAL FEATURES
465
 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
475
 
INDEX
481

MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
page
Portrait of Matthew Flinders, aged 27 Frontispiece
Flinders' Birthplace, Donington, Lincolnshire xviii
Facsimile of Letter to Sir Joseph Banks, 1794 48
Tablet or Memorial erected by Sir John Franklin at Port Lincoln, S. A 64
Memorial on Mount Lofty, South Australia 81
Map of Flinders' Voyages in Bass Strait 102
Bass's Eye-sketch of Westernport 114
Portrait of George Bass 122
Page from Flinders' MS. Narrative of the Voyage of the Francis, 1798 128
Memorial on the Summit of Station Peak, Port Phillip 135
Port Dalrymple, discovered in the Norfolk, 1798 136
Page from Bass's MS. Account of the Voyage of the Norfolk 148
Cairn erected on Flinders' Landing-place, Kangaroo Island, S.A. 164
Portrait of Earl Spencer 181
Tablet at Memory Cove, South Austria 196
View on Kangaroo Island, by Westall 213
Flinders' Chart of Spencer's Gulf, St. Vincent's Gulf, and Encounter Bay 218
Tablet at Encounter Bay, South Australia, commemorating the meeting of Flinders and Baudin 224
View of the Western Arm of Port Phillip, by Westall 240
Flinders' Map of Port Phillip and Westernport 240
View of Sydney Harbour, from Vaucluse, by Westall 257
Flinders' Chart of Torres Strait, also showing Cook's and Bligh's Tracks 270
Flinders' Map of the Gulf of Carpentaria 272
Flinders' Map of Australia, showing his Principal Voyages 272
View on the Hawkesbury River, by Westall 278
Wreck Reef Island, by Westall 295
Flinders' Map of Wreck Reef 300
Portrait of General Decaen 308
View of Port Louis 325
Map of Ile-de-France 354
Page from Flinders' Copy of his Memorial to the French Minister of Marine 360
Portrait of Flinders' in 1808 366
Silhouette of Flinders', made after his Return from Ile-de-France 383
Facsimile of Original MS. Dedication of Flinders' Journal 398
Page from MS. of Flinders' Abridged Narrative 404
Extract from Flinders' Letter-book 406
Flinders' Memorial in Parish Church, Donington 409
Memorial to Bass and Flinders at the Commonwealth Naval Base, Westernport 424


The maps have been copied from Flinders' Atlas, with the omission of a few details, which, on the small scale necessarily adopted, would have caused confusion; it has been thought better to make what is given quite legible to the unassisted eye. All names on the maps are as Flinders spelt them, but in the body of the book modern spellings have been adopted. In the case of the Duyfhen (p. 70) the usual spelling, which is also that of Flinders, is retained; but the late J. Backhouse Walker has shown reason to believe that the real name of the vessel was Duyfken.

CHRONOLOGY
1774 (March 16) Born at Donington
1789 (October 23) Enters the Royal Navy
1790 (July 31) Midshipman on the Bellerophon.
1791-3 Voyage in the Providence.
1793 (September) Rejoins the Bellerophon.
1794 (June) Participates in the battle off Brest
1795 (February) Sails for Australia in the Reliance. Meets George Bass.
1796 (March) Cruise of the Tom Thumb.
1797 (December) Bass's Whaleboat voyage.
1798 (January) Discovery of Westernport.
1798 (January) Flinders' voyage in the Francis.
1798 (January 31) Flinders obtains lieutenant's commission.
1798 (October) Voyage of the Norfolk.
1798 (November) Discovery of Port Dalrymple.
1798 (December) Bass Strait demonstrated.
1799 Return to Port Jackson.
1799 (July) Exploration on Queensland coast.
1800 (March) Return to England in the Reliance.
1800 (October) Arrival in England
Plan of Australian Exploration.
1800 (December) The Investigator commissioned.
1801 (January 17) Publication of Observations.
1801 (February 16) Obtain commander's rank.
1801 (April) Marriage of Flinders.
1801 (July 18) Sailing of the Investigator.
1801 (December) Australia reached.
1802 (February) Discovery of Spencer's Gulf.
1802 (March) Discovery of Kangaroo Island and St. Vincent's Gulf.
1802 (April) Meeting of Flinders and Baudin in Encounter Bay.
1802 (May) Flinders in Port Phillip.
1802 (July) Voyage to Northern Australia.
1802 (August) Discovery of Port Curtis and Port Bowen.
1802 (November) In the Gulf of Carpentaria.
1803 (April) Return voyage; Australia circumnavigated.
1803 (June) Sydney reached; the Investigator condemned.
1803 (July 10) Sails in the Porpoise.
1803 (August 17) Wrecked on the Barrier Reef.
Voyage in the Hope to Sydney.
1803 (September 8) Arrival in Port Jackson.
1803 (September 21) Sails in the Cumberland.
1803 (November) Timon reached.
1803 (December 17) Arrival at Ile-de-France; made a prisoner.
1804 (April) Removal to the Garden Prison (Maison Despeaux).
1805 Removal to Wilhelm's Plains.
1806 (March 21) French Government orders release of Flinders.
1810 (June 13) Release of Flinders.
1810 (October 24) Return to England.
1814 (July 19) Death of Flinders.
Page 25 (The Life of Matthew Flinders).jpg

FLINDERS' BIRTHPLACE, DONINGTON, LINCOLNSHIRE.

(From photograph lent by Mr. George Gordon McCrae.)


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.


The author died in 1939, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.