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Type: Ship-sloop ;
Launched : 1795 ; Disposal date or year : 1803 ?
Disposal Details : Decayed - abandoned by Capt Flinders in NSW
BM: 334 tons
The Late Captain Flinders
(From the Colonial gazette, October 31 1846)
A "Constant Reader" of the Daily News writes :-Sir,- Having seen in your paper of the 17th instant that the late Premier was so flush of public service money that he gave a pension to a descendant of a man who had rendered some service to King Charles II., I beg to enclose you the copy of a memorial which, in the year 1836, was presented by a peer of Parliament to his late Majesty William IV. The memorial will tell its own tale.
His Majesty, upon its being read to him, observed "Poor Flinders, I knew him well ;" and he directed a right hon. baronet, then high in office, to take special charge of the memorial, and to deliver it with his own hand to the then Pre-mier, and express to him his Majesty's feel-ings and wishes upon the subject. Week after week, and month after month passed away, and nothing was done ; the reason as-signed (and no doubt a substantial one) was that the memorial was not transmitted in the usual way, and a favourable opportunity of complying with his Majesty's directions had not occurred. At last it did occur ; the memorial got into the hands of the Premier, who, after many months, decided that nothing could be done. How is this ? The memorial, penned from the widow's own hand, had the following clause in it, which in the one presented to His Majesty was, by the advice of persons in office, omitted:- That it was hoped some emolument might be derived from the publication of the voyage ; but. the Admiralty having given some money towards the printing of the charts, claimed the copper-plates as their own, and by giving away the charts, entirely ruined the sale of the letter- press:
" May it please your Majesty,- The humble petition of Ann Flinders, of Reading, in the county of Berks, widow of Captain Matthew Flinders, late of your Majesty's Navy, deceased, showeth - That the said Captain Flinders, at the age of sixteen years, entered your Ma-jesty's Royal Navy, as a volunteer on board the Scipio, commanded by Captain (afterwards Admiral) Paisley. That he followed that officer to the Bellerophon, and was on board that ship in the engagement with the French, when they were so signally defeated by Lord Howe, on, the 1st of June. That he sailed with Captain Bligh in the Bounty, on his first voyage to the South Seas, for the purpose of transplanting the bread fruit tree to the West Indies. That in the Reliance he went to New South Wales, and sailed from Port Jackson in company with his friend Mr. Bass, in a small vessel called Tom Thumb, and explored George's River, and discovered the strait, now called Bass's Strait. That he passed his examination as a lieutenant in the year 1797 ; arid in the year 1800 he was appointed commander of the Investigator and under the direction of the Admiralty he sailed on a voyage of discovery to New South Wales. That the object of his voyage was successfully performed ; he circumnavigated and examined nearly the whole coast of New Holland, when the Investigator proving decayed, and no other vessel suitable for the purpose being attainable its Sydney, he embarked himself, officers, and crew, on board two vessels, the Cato and Porpoise, for India, which vessels were both wrecked on a coral reef, seven hundred miles from New Holland. That, anxious to convey his valuable papers to England, he sailed from Port Jackson, and crossed the Southern Ocean in a schooner of twenty-nine tons. That he entered Port Louis in the Isle of France, when he was made prisoner by Governor de Caen, and was detained there sir years ; and his papers, being all sent to France were copied into the voyage of the French Admiral, which was published at that time, and all the merits of Captain Flinders's discoveries were ascribed to Captain Baudin ; and the names of Napoleon, Cambaceres, Jerome, Cuvier, La Place, &c.. appear on the French charts to places actually discovered by Captain Flinders, and to which he had given English names. That during his imprisonment he contracted that most dreadful disorder the stone, and his constitution being broken by long con-finement and painful suffering, added to the mortification of seeing the best years of his life wasted in inactivity, he was permitted to return to his country, and on his liberation was promoted to the rank of Post-captain. That, by order of the Admiralty, he wrote an account of his voyage, and re-constructed his charts, and had the honour of being introduced by Admiral Bligh to your Majesty, then his Royal Highness he Duke of Clarence, by whom he was received with much kindness and condescension, and received your Majesty's permission to exhibit some of his charts to your Majesty. That close application to writing at this period completed the ruin of Captain Flinders's health, which his previous sufferings had commenced ; and the first copies of his voyage had scarcely left the press when he died, leaving your petitioner and one daughter, for whose support, from the painful circumstances of his life, he had been able to make but small provision, having, during his captivity, been only on half-pay; and on his return home, while employed is writing, being placed on the same list. That at the time of Captain Flinders's death your petitioner was, by Sir Joseph Banks and by the First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord Melville) led to expect some addition to the usual pension of a post-captain's widow, as in the case of Mrs. Cook ; but Captain Flinders, at the time of his death, not being in active service, and only on half-pay, she had the additional pain of finding that nothing could be done for her or her child. That under all these circumstances your petitioner, now advanced in years, most humbly prays for herself and daughter some remuneration for the services of the husband and father.- And your Majesty's most dutiful subject will ever pray, &c."