APPENDIX A. BAUDIN'S ACCOUNT OF ENCOUNTER BAY.
[In a long letter of about 30,000 words, written to the French Minister of Marine from Port Jackson in 1802, Captain Baudin described his explorations in Australian waters up to that date. The manuscript is in the Archives Nationales, Paris, BB4, 995, Marine. It has never been published. In this appendix, which relates to Chapter 14 of the book, I translate the portion of the letter concerning the meeting of the Investigator and Le Geographe in Encounter Bay, with a few notes.]
"On the 18th,* (* Note 1: That is, the 18th Germinal in the French revolutionary calendar; April 8th by the Gregorian calendar.) continuing to follow the coast and the various coves upon it, we sighted towards the north-east a long chain of high mountains, which appeared to terminate at the border of the sea. The weariness we had for a long time experienced at seeing coasts which for the most part were arid, and offered not the slightest resource, was dissipated by the expectation of coming upon a more promising country. A little later, a still more agreeable object of distraction presented itself to our view. A square-sailed ship was perceived ahead. Nobody on board had any doubt that it was Le Naturaliste. As she was tacking south and we were tacking north, we approached each other. But what was our astonishment when the other vessel hoisted a white flag on the mainmast. It was beyond doubt a signal of recognition, to which we responded. A little later, that signal was hauled down, and an English ensign and pennant were substituted.* (* Note 2: Flinders says: "Our colours being hoisted, she showed a French ensign, and afterwards an English jack forward, as we did a white flag.") We replied by hoisting our colours; and we continued to advance towards each other. The manoeuvre of the English ship indicating that she desired to speak to us, we stood towards her.* (* Note 3: Flinders' own explanation of his manoeuvring is: "We veered round as Le Geographe was passing so as to keep our broadside to her lest the flag of truce should be a deception.") When we got within hail, a voice enquired what ship we were. I replied simply that we were French. "Is that Captain Baudin?" "Yes, it is he." The English captain then saluted me graciously, saying "I am very glad to meet you." I replied to the same effect, without knowing to whom I was speaking; but, seeing that arrangements were being made for someone to come on board, I brought the ship to.
"Mr. Flinders, who commanded the English vessel, presented himself. As soon as I learnt his name, I no longer doubted that he, like ourselves, was occupied with the exploration of the south coast of New Holland; and, in spite of the reserve that he showed upon that first visit, I could easily perceive that he had already completed a part of it. Having invited him to come into my cabin, and finding ourselves alone there, the conversation became freer.* (* Note 4: "Nous trouvant seul, la conversation devint plus libre." Flinders says that Brown accompanied him, and went into the cabin with him. "No person was present at our conversations except Mr. Brown.")
"He informed me that he had left Europe about eight months after us, and that he was bound for Port Jackson, having previously refreshed at the Cape of Good Hope.
"I had no hesitation about giving him information concerning what we had been doing upon the coast until that moment. I pointed out to him defects which I had observed in the chart which he had published* of the strait separating New Holland from Van Diemen's Land, etc., etc. (* Note 5: "la carte qu'il nous a donne des detroits." From this it appears that Baudin knew Flinders as the author of the chart, even while pointing out its defects. Flinders had the impression that Baudin did not know him till he was about to leave Le Geographe at the end of the second interview.)
"Mr. Flinders observed to me that he was not unaware that the chart required to be checked, inasmuch as the sketch from which it was prepared had been drawn from uncertain information, and that the means employed when the discovery was made did not conduce to securing exact results.* (* Note 6: Flinders: "On my pointing out a note upon the chart, explaining that the north side of the strait was seen only in an open boat by Mr. Bass, who had no good means of fixing either latitude or longitude, he appeared surprised, not having before paid attention to it.") Finally, becoming less circumspect than he had hitherto been, he told me that he had commenced his work at Cape Leeuwin, and had followed the coast to the place where we were met. He suggested that our ships should pass the night near together, and that early on the following morning he should come on board again, and give me some particulars which would be useful to me. I accepted his proposition with pleasure, and we tacked about at a short distance from each other during the night. It was seven o'clock in the evening when he returned to his ship.* (* Note 7: Flinders: "I told him that some other and more particular charts of the strait and its neighbourhood had since been published; and that if he would keep company until next morning I would bring him a copy with a small memoir belonging to them. This was agreed to.")