It Is Also Clear That Flinders Did Not Misunderstand Baudin.
He was an
extremely exact man, and as he said that he was "particular in detailing
all that passed," we may take it that one with whom precision was
something like a passion would be careful not to misunderstand on so
important a point.
Brown, too, was with him, a trained man of science,
who would have been quick to correct his chief in the event of a
misapprehension. Flinders so far relied on Baudin's statement that when,
on April 26, he sighted Port Phillip heads himself, he thought he was off
Westernport, which his friend George Bass had discovered in 1798. "It was
the information of Captain Baudin which induced this supposition," he
wrote.* (* See also the entry in his journal, Appendix B.) It was not
till he bore up and took his bearings that he saw that he could not be at
Westernport; and he then congratulated himself on having made "a new and
useful discovery" - unaware, of course, that Murray had found Port Phillip
in the Lady Nelson in the previous January.
It must be noted in addition that Baudin wrote a letter to Jussieu, the
distinguished French botanist and member of the Institute, nine months
later, in which he gave an account of his voyage up to date.* (* Printed
in the Moniteur, 22 Fructidor, Revolutionary Year 11. (September 9,
1803).) Therein he said not a word about seeing Port Phillip, nor did he
allude to the possibility of there being a harbour between Westernport
and Encounter Bay.
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