Terre Napoleon. A History Of French Explorations And Projects In Australia By Ernest Scott














































































 -  The case was
investigated, the accusations broke down, and apologies were made to the
officers affected. The second incident arose - Page 210
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The Case Was Investigated, The Accusations Broke Down, And Apologies Were Made To The Officers Affected.

The second incident arose out of a misunderstanding of the French method of honouring the British flag on King George's birthday.

It was an affair of no consequence, and a brief explanation soon put matters right. A British officer deemed the French mode of "dressing" their ships to be disrespectful, but Baudin was able to show that what was done was in accordance with the regulations of his country's navy, which provided that "the place of honour for the flag of a foreign nation which we intend to distinguish, must be on the starboard of the main-yard arm." The fact that these two trivial incidents were the only recorded elements of misunderstanding during a period of nearly six months, at a time when animosities between English and French people - and especially sailors - were extraordinarily acute, testifies to the good manners of the French, the hospitable feeling of the English, and the pleasant temper of all parties.

Governor King, notwithstanding his benevolent disposition, was mindful of his responsibilities. Before a French sail was sighted he had been advised of the fact that Baudin's ships were to visit Australian waters, and it is quite clear that, in common with most of his contemporaries, he was very suspicious of Gallic designs. He was a naval officer himself, and British naval men at that period were pretty well unanimously of Nelson's opinion, when he wrote to Hugh Elliot, "I never trust a Corsican or a Frenchman; I would give the devil ALL the good ones to take the remainder." The arrival of Flinders in the Investigator on May 9, and his reports as to the presence of the French on the southern coast, made the governor wary and watchful; and on May 21 he wrote to the Duke of Portland suggesting the establishment of a colony at the newly discovered Port Phillip.

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