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when the bows of the two ships went to nieet, even respiration seemed to be suspended. The ships advanced, and we expected to hear the dreadful crash ; but presently they opened off from each other, having passed side by side without touching; the Cato steering to the northeast, and the Bridgewater to the southward. Our own safety seemed to have no other dependence than upon the two ships, and the exultation we felt at seeing this most imminent danger passed, was great, but of short duration; the Cato struck upon the reef about two cables length from the Porpoise, we saw her fall over on her broadside, and the masts almost instantly disappeared; but the darkness of the night did not admit of distinguishing, at that distance, what further might bave happened.'-(Vol. ii. p. 300.)
The Bridgewater was more successful. By a light at her masthead it was perceived that she had cleared the reef; and it was hoped that she would tack and send boats to their assistance. This not being the case, Captain Flinders volunteered to communicate with Captain Palmer in the gig, to which he swam, but she was nearly full of water, had only two oars, and no regular boat's crew, and the ship was standing from them; they therefore remained quietly under the breakers till morning, when the Bridgewater had entirely disappeared. Captain Park and the crew of the Cato had passed the night in momentary expectation of perishing, but clung to the hope that the Bridgewater would send her boats in the morning to rescue them; from the Porpoise they entertained no hope. A dry sand appeared with the day-light half a mile distant, and at the same time the Bridgewater standing towards the reef; but she soon tacked and was seen no more. The boats of the Porpoise were sent to receive the Cato's men who swam on spars or pieces of plank to them through the breakers. Several were bruised against the coral rocks, and three lads were drowned. With all possible expedition several casks of water, of salt meat, flour, rice and spirits, and such pigs and sheep as had escaped, were landed from the Porpoise upon the sand-bank. As the only prospect of safety in this perilous situation was the establishment of perfect discipline, Captain Flinders as senior officer took the command of the whole. Of Captain Palmer's conduct he speaks in the severest terms.
' He bore away round all; and whilst the two hapless vessels were still visible from the mast-head, passed the leeward extremity of the reef, and hove to for the night. The apprehension of danger to himself must then have ceased; but he neither attempted to work up in the smooth water, nor sent any of his boats to see whether some unfortunate individuals were not clinging to the wrecks, whom he might snatch from the sharks, or save from a more lingering death; it was safer, in his estimation, to continue on his voyage, and publish that we
were all lost, as he did not fail to do, on his arrival in India.'-(Vol. ii. p. 307.)
But there was an Eye that marked him.-The officers and crews of the Porpoise and Cato, as Captain Flinders observes, reached England in safety, whilst Captain Palmer and the Bridgewater, who left Bombay for Europe, were never heard of more.
After remaining on the sand-bank two days, a council was held on what was best to be done; and it was determined that a cutter should be sent to Port Jackson to communicate the disaster ; but as her arrival there, at that season, was extremely doubtful, it was further resolved that two decked boats should be built from the wreck. It appeared to be the general opinion that Captain Flinders should undertake the passage in the open cutter; and to provide against sickness and accidents, Captain Park, of the Cato, volunteered to accompany him. The number of men on the sandbank was ninety-four, and the water and provisions were found on survey to be sufficient for three months' consumption. Most of the charts, logs, bearing-books, and astronomical observations, were saved; but the rare plants collected on different parts of the south, east, and north coasts of Terra Australis, for his Majesty's Botanical Gardens at Kew, were totally destroyed, as were also the dried specimens of plants.
The sand-bank to which the unfortunate crews of the two ships owed their safety, was about one hundred and fifty fathoms in length by fifty in breadth, and the general elevation about four feet above the level of high water.
' It consists of sand and pieces of coral thrown up by the waves and eddy tides on a patch of reef five or six miles in circuit; and being nearly in the middle of the patch, the sea does no more, even in a gale, than send a light spray over the bank; sufficient, however, to prevent the growth of any other than a few diminutive salt plants.'
A piece of timber found here, and judged to be part of the sternpost of a ship of about 400 tons, induced Captain Flinders to suppose it might, not improbably, have belonged to La Boussole or L'Astrolabe. These coral reefs lay in the proposed route of M. de la Peyrouse from Botany Bay, and Captain Flinders observes, that had the Porpoise, like the Cato, fallen over towards the sea, instead of heeling to the reef, no more would have ever been heard of either than of the ships of that unforluvate navigator.
On the morning of the 26th of August, Captain Flinders left the reef in the cutter, which they named the Hope, and after a perilous voyage of 750 miles in this open boat, reached Port Jackson on the 8th of September. The governor immediately engaged the Rolla, bound to China, to go to the relief of the officers and crews of the Porpoise and Cato, and ordered two colonial schooners to accom
pany her, one of which was offered to take Captain Flinders through Torres, strait, and by the most expeditious passage to Europe, if he should prefer this before taking the long route by China in the Rolla.
* This schooner,' says Capt. Flinders, ' was something less than a Gravesend passage-boat, being only of twenty-nine tons burthen; and therefore it required some consideration before acceding to the proposal. Her sroall size, when compared with the distance from Port Jackson to England, was not my greatest objection to the little Cumberland; it was the quickness of her motion, and the want of convenience, which would prevent the charts and journal of my voyage from being prepared on the passage, and render the whole so much time lost to this important object.'
On the 21st of September they left Port Jackson, but the second day shewed the Cumberland to be leaky and able to carry very little sail; the pumps being useless, the water nearly half filled the hold, and two hours longer would have reduced us to baling with buckets, and perhaps have been fatal. This essay,'continues Capt. Flinders, did not lead me to think favourably of the vessel in which I had undertaken a voyage half round the globe.'
On the 7th of October they anchored under the lee of the sandbank, and were received with a salute of eleven guns, which had been landed from the Porpoise.
On landing,' says Capt. Flinders, ‘I was greeted with three hearty, cheers, and the utmost, joy, by my officers and people; and the pleasure of rejoining my companions, so amply provided with the means of relieving their distress, made this one of the happiest moments of my life.'
The people were immediately told that such as chose to be discharged from the service might return in the Francis schooner to Port Jackson, the rest would be received in the Rolla, and carried to China; with the exception of certain officers and men, who would be taken to England in the Cumberland, if they should chuse to risk themselves in so small a vessel, all of whom cheerfully accepted the offer, with the exception of his clerk.
In his absence they had planted on Wreck-reef bank, oats, maize, and pumpkin seeds, the young plants of which had come up and were in a flourishing state; and Captain Flinders feelingly regrets that they had no cocoa-nuts, the trees of which are capable of resisting the light sprays of the to plant out. These trees are no bad beacons to warn mariners of their danger, and the fruit affords a salutary nourishment to shipwrecked seamen.
• The navigator,' he observes, who should distribute ten thousand cocoa-nuts amongst the numerous sand-banks of the Great Ocean and Indian Sea, would be entitled to the gratitude of all maritime nations,
and of every friend to humanity. I may be thought to attribute too much importance to this object, in saying that such a distribution ought to be a leading article in the instructions for any succeeding voyage of discovery or investigation to these parts; but it is from having suffered ourselves that we learn to appreciate the misfortunes and wants of others, and become doubly interested in preventing or relieving them. "The human heart," as an elegant author observes,“ resembles certain medicinal trees, which yield not their healing balm until they have themselves been wounded.”
When all were relieved from their distressing situation and disa posed of according to their wishes, the Cumberland proceeded on her voyage, passed through Torres strait, examined the Eastern fields and Pandora's entrance, explored new channels among the coral reefs, examined Prince of Wales's islands, crossed the gulph of Carpentaria, and after anchoring at the Wessel's islands, on the western side of the gulph, stood for Coepang bay in the island of Timor; and having there refitted and refreshed the crew, sailed for the Mauritius, where the leaky state of the schooner made it necessary to touch. She was therefore anchored in the Baye au Cap, and from thence proceeded to Port Louis.
Some circumstances occurred while at Baye au Cap which raised a suspicion in the mind of Captain Flinders that they might detaiur the Cumberland at Port Louis, as it was remarked that the passport given by Citizen Otto, by order of the First Consul, was solely for the Investigator; but as the Cape of Good Hope was in the hands of the Dutch, and Captain Flinders was willing to persuade himself that the conduct of the creature of Buonaparte, who professed himself the patron of science, could hardly be less liberal than that of two preceding French governments, to Captain Cook in the American, and Captain Vancouver in the revolutionary war, he banished all doubt, and made himself confident of the same kind reception at Port Louis, which the Captains Baudin and Hamlin acknowledged to have met with at Port Jackson.
On his arrival there, however, he soon perceived his mistake. The Governor and Captain-General De Caen, at his first interview, behaved with true republican rudeness, affected to disbelieve him to be the officer described in the passport; treated him as an impostor and a spy; ordered all his books, charts, and papers on shore; the Cumberland to be seized; and himself and the master of the schooner to be conducted to a lodging in the town, before the door of which a sentinel was immediately placed. Ascending a dirty staircase, they were put into a miserable chamber, containing two truckle-beds without curtains, a small table, and two rushbottomed chairs. If they could have slept in this miserable hole, undisturbed by the multitude of bugs and mosquitoes, the entrance of two grenadiers would have prevented their repose; one of whom
walked backward and forward between their beds, as a sentinel on his post, without paying the least attention to those who bccupied them. In this miserable room Captain Flinders was kept a close prisoner nearly four months.
It would exceed our limits, were we to follow up the history of the repeated insults and cruelties heaped upon Captain Flinders by this tool of Buonaparte, for nearly seven years that he was unjustly kept in captivity in the Ísle of France. The detail of the sufferings that he underwent, both in body and mind, occupy a very considerable, perhaps we should say rather too considerable a portion of the second volume; but they serve to mark the lamentable degradation of character which the French nation suffered under the dominion of a low-minded and malignant tyrant, and which we fear will require the lapse of another generation before it be completely worn out. Several of the French officers, and particularly Admiral Linois, applied to the Captain-General in his behalf, but in vain; this governor even refused him permission to leave his prison in the town for a residence in the country, though one of the French surgeons in the island stated it to be necessary, on account of his bodily health and scorbutic sores, contracted by long fatigue, scanty and poor food, and an unhealthy climate. At length however, by the intercession of Captain Bergeret, this indulgence was granted, and he was removed to the Garden prison, but not before his papers, his sword, and his spy-glasses were taken from him. To his letters and remonstrances he could obtain no
His own health, and that of his master, began now to be seriously affected, and they were visited by M. Laborde, the principal physician of the Medical Staff, who gave a certificate, that country air and-exercise were necessary for the restoration of their health ; but the unfeeling De Caen contented himself by sending a message to the doctor, desiring him not to interfere with matters which did not concern him. All applications in their favour from the most respectable
inhabi. tants and officers, from the Marquis of Wellesley and Sir Edward Pellew, having proved fruitless; and a hint having been communicated that they might probably remain prisoners during the war,
The state of incertitude,' says Captain Flinders, ' in which I remained after nearly three years of anxiety, brought on a dejection of spirits which might have proved fatal, had I not sought, by constant occupation, to force my mind from a subject so destructive to its repose ; such an end to my detention would have given too much pleasure to the Captain-General, and from a sort of perversity in human nature, this conviction even brought its share of support.' The effect of long protracted expectation, and of hope deferred,