No circumstance could possibly lay claim to a greater portion of attention, or more sensibly have affected the feelings of the Reader than the very interesting relation contained in last week's Gazette, relative to the misfortunes that have befallen Captain Flinders since his departure from this Colony.
The indefatigable and perilous exertions of that enterprising Officer, whose labours conduce equally to the honour of the British Empire and the general interests of man- kind, have already obtained to him that eminence which unexampled perseverance in a dangerous pursuit could only have acquired. His successes in discovery have considerably extended and improved the na- vigation of these seas ; and every Navi- gator must lament a circumstance that tends to retard the progress of the sciences, or to refrain the generous ardour of an enterprising genius.--What, then, must be the sensation of his countrymen when, his indignant reception and injurious treat- ment at the Isle of France shall be made known to them ? and how, too, must, the whole Gallic Empire condemn a breach of
hospitality and unprecedented violation of the passport granted by its Government, when contrasted with the acknowledged be- nefits received by Moniseur Baudin and his expedition on its arrival, and during the whole term of its remaining here ?
To question the identity of Captain Flin- ders's person, and upon that doubt alone to ground the basis of insult and reproach was indefenisible to common justice; but even this very plea of doubt must vanish into sub- terfuge, when it is remembered that his passport was backed with every thing requisite to establish its validity, and to recommend him to the friendship and protection of an honorable Power. Independent of his charts and other important papers saved from the wreck, Capt. Flinders had also a number of Gazettes in which were circumstantially detailed the misfortune at Wreck Reef, and also the circumstance of his re-embarking for Great Britan in the Cumberland, a vessel of only 20 tons. Capt. 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 possibility of a recommencement of hosti- ilties : nor were we here apprised of the
disagreeable event until by the accidental ar- rival of the American ship Paterson, Capt. ABORN, from New Providence, on the 24th of November, an interval of very nearly two whole months. Capt. Flinders, then, put into the Isle of France from actual necessity and distress, not doubting the relief to which his passport from the French Government entitled him--but his Vessel, his People, his books and papers, himself was seized by order of an Officer whose actions were to go to the national account, and either exemplify the hospitality, or stigmatize with ingratitude and injustice an extensive Empire, heretofore considered honorable as acknowledged brave. On the other hand the Naturaliste and Geo-
graphe made this Port at a time when War was still supposed to subsist ; and at that junc-
ture, such was the liberality of our Govern- ment to the Officers commanding the expedi- tion and their crews, as to call forth every honorable acknowledgement that the most refined and exalted sense of obligation couId have inspired. M. Boudin, after declaring his obligations to His Majesty's Government in this Colony, to which the Expedition ar- rived in a state of extreme distress, and con- fessing 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 impress the Adminis- trators General of the Isle of France and Re- union with the hospitality of his reception at such a crisis, no information of a peace arriving until their sick were recovered, their vessels repaired, their stock embarked, and their ships upon the very point of sailing. " Upon our arrival at Port Jackson, the re-
sources of the Colony were by no means abundant, and supplies uncertain. The arri- val, then, of 170 men could not be supposed a very agreeable circumstance : nevertheless we were amply provided ; and as soon as our arrival and wants were known, a retrenche- ment of the daily ration was adopted, in pro- portion to the number of the inhabitants and the garrison of the Colony ; His Excellen- cy giving the example : and by these mea- sures, equally honorable to humanity as to himself, we have experienced comforts here which perhaps we should elsewhere have ob- tained with difficulty."
It is worthy of remark, tho' no circumstance inferior to the present could possibly have provoked the mention, that upon the arrival of those vessels this settlement was already upon a reduced ration, with not more than 30 weeks provision upon the already reduced quota ; and that nevertheless every self-
consideration gave way to hospitality ; the
Officers of the several Establishments relin- quished every claim upon the slores ; and not a single murmur or complaint was heard from the most menial servant of the Crown
at an additional retrenchment by such an oc- casion rendered necessary.
It is well known, that the crews of those vessels were exempted from many
local restrictions ; and that notwithslanding the doubts entertained of the turbulent spirit which unhappily manifested itself last March twelvemonth, the Government, confiding in its own effective strength and energy, and the loyalty of the generality of the inhabitants permitted the strangers many indulgences they had no room to expect.--The Ge- neral 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 consciosness of having assisted in restoring health to the afflicted. Captain Flinders, on the contrary, was not even granted the benefit of air and moderate exercise, though represented as necessary 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 motives of General de Caen-- the transaction must very shortly be develop- ped to the nations of Europe ; and they will
determine how far national honour was to give way to a system of policy, the ends of which we are not capable of unfathoming.
The conduct of the Officers who have in- terested themselves in behalf of Capt. Flin- ders, insures them the grateful respect of
every British subject ; and the more especially, as their honorable interposition, although failing in its material end, has nevertheless been successful in alleviating the sufferings of our countryman, whose deliverance we sin- cerely hope, may not be very distant.
A Calcutta Gazette announces the arrival
of Captain Wilson formerly of the Mersey lost in Torres Straits. He reached Calcutta the 20th of September last, as passenger in the Margaret, from Madras. Capt. Wilson with 17 of his crew, had reached Bencoolen in the Mersey's long boat, which they for- tunately saved ; and from thence got to
Madras in an Acheen vessel.