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Handwritten extract from the Madras Gazette of March 15 1806 (FLI07)

      No circumstance could poƒsibly lay claim to a greater portion of attention, or
more sensibly have affected the feelings of the reader, than the very interesting re-
-lation contained in last week's Gazette, relative to the misfortunes that have befal-
-len Captain Flinders, since his departure from this Colony.
      The indefatigable and perilous exertions of that enterprising Officer, whose
labours conduce equally to the honor of the British Empire, and the general interests
of mankind, have already obtained to him that eminence which unexampled
perseverance in a dangerous pursuit could only have acquired. His succeƒses in
discovery have considerably extended and improved the navigation of these seas;
and every Navigator must lament a circumstance that tends to retard the
progres [sic] of the sciences, or to restrain the generous ardour of an enterprising ge-
-nius. —— What, then, must be the sensation of his countrymen, when his
indignant reception and injurious treatment at the Isle of France shall be made
knownto them and how, too, must the whole Gallic Empire condemn a breach of hospi-
-tality and unprecedented violation of the paƒsport granted by its government,
when contrasted with acknowledged benefits received by Monsieur Baudin and his
expedition on his arrival, and during the whole term of its remaining here?
      To question the identity of Captain Flinders' person, and upon that doubt
alone to ground the basis of insult and reproach, was indefensible to common
justice, but even this very plea of doubt must vanish into subterfuge, when
when it is remembered, that his paƒsport was backed with every thing
requisite to establish its validity, and to recommend him to the friendship
and protection of an honourable Power. Independent of his charts and other
important papers saved from the wreck, Captain Flinders had also a
numberof Gazettes, in which were circumstantially detailed the misfortune
of Wreck Reef, and also the circumstance of his re-embarking for
Great Britain in the Cumberland, a veƒselof only 20 tons. Captain Flinders
sailed on the 27th of September, 1803, at which time the Powers were supposed
to be at amity, as no circumstance had transpired that could suggest the
poƒsibility of a recommencement of hostilities: nor were we here apprised of
the disagreeable event until by the accidental arrival of the American ship
Paterson, Captain Aborn, from New Providence, on the 24th November, an in-
-terval of nearly two whole months. Captain Flinders, then, put into the
Isle of France from actual neceƒsity and distreƒs, not doubting the relief to which
his paƒsport from the French Government entitled him — but his Veƒsel, his peo-
-ple, his books and papers, himself was seized by order of an Officer whose actions
were to go to the national account, and either extremplify [sic] the hospitality, or stig-
-matize with ingratitude and injustice an extensive Empire, heretofore considered hono-
-rable as acknowledged brave.
      On the other hand, the Naturaliste and Geographe made this port at a time
when war was still supposed to subsist; and that juncture, such was the liberality
of our Government to the Officers commanding the expedition and their crews, as
to call forth every honorable acknowledgement that the most refined and exalted
sense of obligation could have inspired. M. Baudin, after declaring his obligations
to His Majesty's government in this colony, to which the expedition arrived in a
state of extreme distreƒs, and confeƒsing himself happy in having "made choice
"of this Port in preference to any other," proceeds pathetically to describe, as

follows, our circumstances at that moment, in order the more decidedly to impreƒs
the Administrators General of the Isles of France and Reunion with the hospitality
of his reception at such a crisis, no information, no information of a peace ar-
-riving until their sick were recovered, their veƒsels repaired, their stock
embarked, their ships upon the very point of sailing. "Upon our arrival at Port Jackson, the sources of the colony were by no means abundant, and supplies
uncertain. The arrival, then, of 170 men could not be supposed a very agreeable
circumstance: neverthleƒs we were amply provided; and as soon as our arrival
and wants were known, a retrenchment of the daily ration was adopted, in
proportion to the number of the inhabitants and the garrison of the Colony; His
Excellency giving the example: and by these measures, equally honorable to
humanity as to himself, we have experienced comforts here which perhaps
we should elsewhere have obtained with difficulty."
      It is worthy to remark, though no circumstance inferior to the pre-
-sent could poƒsibly have provoked the mention, that upon the arrival of
these veƒsels thissettlement was already upona reduced ration, with not more than 30
weeks provision upon the already reduced quota; and that neverthleƒs
every self-consideration gave way to hospitality; the Officers of the several
Establishments relinquished every claim upon the stores; and not a single
murmer [sic] or complaint was heard from the most menial servant of the
Crown at an additional retrenchment, by such an occasion rendered neceƒsary.
      It is well known, that the crews of those veƒsels were exempted from
many local restrictions; andthat notwithstanding the doubts entertained of the
turbulent spirit which unhappily manifested itself last March twelve
months the Government, confiding in its own effective strength and energy,
and the loyalty of the generality of the inhabitants, permitted the strangers
many indulgence, they had no room to expect. —— The General Hospital
was opened to the sick, who were comparatively numerous, and the Medical
Staff, co-operating with the gentlemen belonging to the expedition, were
happy in the consciousneƒs of having aƒsisted in restoring health to the afflic-
-ted. ——- Captain Flinders, on the contrary, was not even granted the benefit
of air and moderate exercise, though represented as neceƒsary to his recovery
from a malady brought on by close imprisonment and rigorous treatment. We do not
presume to arraign or even to question the motive of General De Caen — The
transaction must very shortly be developed to the nations of Europe; and they
will determine how far national honor was to give way to a system of
policy, the ends of which we are not capable of fathoming.
      The conduct of the officers who have interested themselves on behalf of
Captain Flinders, insures them the grateful respect of every British subject;
and the more especially as their honorable interposition, although failing
in its material end, has nevertheleƒs been succeƒsful in alleviating the suf-
-ferings of our countryman, whose deliverance, we sincerely hope, may
not be very distant.

                  Copied June 20 1806 — Isle of France

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Related people
Flinders, Matthew
Baudin, Nicolas
De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore

Wreck Reef
Ile de France (Mauritius)
Port Jackson


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