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The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
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Letter from Matthew Flinders to Ann Flinders (29 of 41) (FLI25)

Mrs Flinders
        Partney near Spilsby
Stamped: SPILSBY
Novr 15th             1809
No 37

                        Wilhems Plains in the Isle of France
                                      Feb. 27. 1809

      On the departure of my last letter, commenced Aug 14 and finished Oct
25., I had, my dearest friend, great apprehensions of not soon having another oppor-
tunity of writing to thee; but the unexpected departure of a cartel for Brazil
with Portuguese prisoners, gives me an occasion which I hope is tolerably sure.
      For fear that my last letter should have miscarried, which however was
sent in duplicate, I will inform thee, that no change whatever has yet taken place
either in my public or private situation. By three different occasions, I sent a
long memorial to the French minister of marine which, if the ships have not
been taken, is arrived in France before this time; and lest they should be taken,
I made my arrangements in such a manner as that my letters should not be thrown
overboard; and I hope that, if they reached England, the ministry would send
them to France. The last copy was accompanied by several letters from persons
in this island to officers under the French government, pressing them to use
their influence in my cause which they represented to be that of justice and hu-
manity; and I wrote also to some others, whom I judged disposed to assist me,
to the same effect. If these have any success, it may be hoped that between this
time and the end of June, general De Caen will receive such an order, either
for ^ my liberation or transmission to France, as he will find himself unable to re-
sist; and should nothing arrive before the end of July, I have taken mea-
sures to quit the island by other means soon afterwards; as, however, these mea-
sures depend upon others in part, the success is not altogether sure, though
it is very probable.
      Since Aug. 1806, my love, I am totally a stranger to every thing that
has passed amongst my relations and friends in England, as well as in our
private affairs; next to my liberty, this reflexion [sic] occupies most my thoughts, and
is the subject that gives me the most inquietude. I know not what arrange-
ment thou hast made with Mr Tyler, — how my brother Samuel is employed;

— what is the situation of my mother in law and my two young sisters, — of my sister
, of Wm Flinders, of my cousin Henny and her aged father and mother at
Spalding, — of thy good family and that of the Franklins. What joy it would be to
me to receive full information upon all these heads, with a particular account
from Standert! But I dare scarcely hope to receive that satisfaction here; the
only prospect I have is by the means of two gentlemen, named Desbassayns, who
went from hence to America twelve months since, and we are informed were
taken in going from America to France. They took charge of a letter for thee,
and I gave them a letter of recommendation in case of their being taken, as also
Standert's address. We are told that they were permitted to go to France in a
cartel, but that the vessel was not allowed to enter Morlaix: after returning
back to England twice, leave was obtained for them to land in Holland. As it
is probable that these gentlemen, from friendship to me and from the utility they
found in my letter of recommendation, will have seen Standert and perhaps
written to thee to make an offer of forwarding thy letters, it is possible that
the first ship from France may bring me a proof of thy affection, with some ac-
count of what I desire so much to know. What a happy day would such a
receipt furnish me! It would be such an one as I have seen but few for many years.
      The brother of the two gentlemen above mentioned, lately married the young-
est of the Misses D'Arifat, and is a worthy and estimable man; his brothers
are prob scarcely less so, but I have not had so much intimacy with them.
Madame D'Arifat proposes making a voyage to the island Bourbon with her family,
to be present at her daughter's lying-in of her first child: the father has promised
me, should it be a man child, that he shall bear my name; and he proposes
sending him one day to England to be educated under my direction: the family
Desbassayns is numerous, and one of the richest in the two islands. Should this
voyage to Bourbon take place, I shall suffer a great loss in my society for some
months, unless orders from France should, in the mean time, set me in the road
to Europe; in which case my regrets in the Isle of France will give place to

more powerful feelings and other prospects; though assuredly the proofs of friendship
I have received here will never be effaced either from my memory or my gratitude.
      I learn from a Moniteur of August last, that whilst general De Caen
keeps me a prisoner here, they have taken possession in France of a considerable
part of my discoveries. The before unknown part of the south coast of Australia
was principally discovered by me; but at Paris they have given it the name of
Terre Napoléon; two gulphs of my discovery are called Golphe Bonaparte and
Golphe Joséphine; my Kanguroo Island is changed into l'Isle Decrés; and some
other piracies of an inferior kind have been committed upon me and other English
navigators, by the editors of Monsieur Baudin's voyage, perhaps by the orders of
the government: I shall write by this occasion to Sir Joseph Banks upon this
      Feb 28. My last letter informed thee of a bill transmitted
to Standert for £268.10 upon the Navy Board; by this occasion I send [missing]
the second, in case the first should have miscarried. It is a bill for my pay
up to October 25. 1808, but of the payment of which I am not quite certain:
I desired him to inform thee of the result.
      I beg of thee, my love, to write to my brother and mother-in-
law on the receipt of this letter; and generally to present my affectionate
remembrances to thy family, and to my relations and friends at Enderby,
Boston, Donington, and Spalding. I pray thee to preserve for me thy constant
affection and friendship, and to believe in the inviolability of those of
of thy         Mattw Flinders

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Related people
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
Tyler, (Reverend) William
Flinders, Samuel
Flinders, Elizabeth
Flinders family
Flinders, Henrietta
Franklin family
Standert, A.
Desbassayns, Charles
Baudin, Nicolas
Banks, Sir Joseph
Flinders, Matthew
Riviere, Viscount de

Ile de France (Mauritius)
Mavis Enderby
Boston (England)
Ile de Bourbon

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