FLINDERS, Matthew (1774-1814)
Matthew Flinders ontdekkings-reis naar het Groote Zuidland anders Nieuw Holland : bezigtiging van het zelve in 1801, 1802, en 1803 : nood lottige schipbreuk, en gevangenschap van 6 1/2 yaar bij de Franschen op Mauritius.
Te Haarlem : bij A. Loosjes, Pz., 1815-1816. Four volumes, contemporary half mottled calf over marbled papered boards (rubbed), spines with contrasting leather title and volume labels lettered in gilt and later paper shelf labels in manuscript (volume 1 with small loss to leather near head of spine), pastedowns with discreet 19th century Dutch private library labels, title pages with cartouche engravings by Veelwaard after Westall (views of Mauritius; King George’s Sound; Port Jackson; Wreck Reefs); pp xvi, 362; 346; 415; 416; loose at front of Volume 4 is a large folding map (sheet 440 x 620 mm) ‘Algemeene Kaart van het Groote Zuidland of Nieuw Holland’ (Dutch version of Flinders’ ‘General Chart …’, reduced to 62.5% of original) engraved by Veelwaard; scattered foxing throughout the four volumes, but a very good set.
Scarce first Dutch edition of A Voyage to Terra Australis (London, 1814), the official account of the first circumnavigation of the Australian continent, one of the most important voyages in the history of Pacific exploration.
Having first served on Bligh’s second expedition to Tahiti in 1791, Flinders had built an impressive reputation for himself as a talented navigator and hydrographer. He had first visited Port Jackson in 1795, carrying out exploration of Botany Bay, the George’s River and the Illawarra coast. On his second visit to Australia he made the first circumnavigation of Van Diemen’s Land in company with Bass, and explored the southern Queensland coast. In 1801, the Admiralty promoted the ambitious Flinders to commander, and selected him to undertake an expedition to chart as much of Australia’s unknown coastline as possible, in particular the great stretch of the southern coast to the east of Cape Leeuwin. He was given command of the Investigator and sailed from England in July, 1801. The Investigator reached the southwest tip of the continent early in December, 1801, and began its survey of the southern coastline. On 8 April, 1802 Flinders famously met the French expedition under Captain Nicolas Baudin at Encounter Bay. Having completed the charting of the unknown part of the southern coastline, Flinders then sailed to Port Jackson where the Investigator was overhauled.
Sailing north, Flinders then surveyed the Queensland coast and the Gulf of Carpentaria. However, despite its overhaul the Investigator was fast becoming unseaworthy, and Flinders was forced to abandon his survey in the Torres Strait and continued on to Port Jackson via the western and southern coasts of the continent. He arrived back in Sydney in June, 1803. Flinders then set out on HMS Porpoise with the intention of returning to England to find a replacement ship for the Investigator, but the Porpoise struck a reef and was lost, some 1000 km from Port Jackson. Flinders, in a great feat of seamanship, successfully navigated the Porpoise’s cutter back to Sydney. He then embarked on the Cumberland to make the return voyage to England, but his ill fortune continued when this ship, too, proved unseaworthy, and he was forced to seek assistance at Mauritius, where, due to several factors (the outbreak of war between France and England; the fact that Flinders’ passport was for the Investigator, and not the Cumberland; and the hostile attitude of the French Governor, who perhaps regarded Flinders as a spy), he was detained until 1810.
The reason for the delay in the publication was due to the fact that on his return voyage to England in late 1803, Flinders was detained in Mauritius by the French authorities and was not released until June, 1810. A Voyage to Terra Australis was eventually published the day before Flinders’ death in July, 1814.
Copies are recorded in only two Australian collections (National Library of Australia; State Library of New South Wales)