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Series 66: 'Letters about Capn Flinders while a prisoner on Isle of France [Mauritius]’ , 1804-1808. Includes letter received by Banks from John Allen, 1803

Provenance note 

Document 2 in this series was previously located at ML A83. It is part of an accession of Banks papers purchased for the Mitchell Library from Sotheby's, London, in May 1929. 

Documents 4 and 5 in this series were previously located at ML A79-4. The remaining documents were previously located at ML A79-5. These papers, purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales, were transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910. They were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection. 

Some of these letters were used in Historical records of New South Wales, vol. 5 (1897), and include notes and annotations made by the compilers. 

It is now not possible to reconstruct Banks' original arrangement, the series has therefore been arranged chronologically. 

Background note 

After completing his circumnavigation of the Australian continent in the crank HMS Investigator, Matthew Flinders was returning to England on board the Cumberland which also proved defective. Flinders was forced to anchor at the French controlled island of Mauritius in December 1803 where he was immediately placed under arrest by General De Caen. 

Many intercessions were made on Flinders' behalf to the French government, the National Institute of France and other bodies. Sir Joseph Banks repeatedly petitioned the National Institute for the release of Flinders. 

Flinders' detention on Mauritius lasted six and a half years.