Browse the documents Browse the documents Search
Advanced search
The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
You are here: Flinders > Browse the Documents > Documents > Documents
All pages | 1 | 2 | 3 | Back to Index

Letter from Matthew Flinders to Ann Flinders (32 of 41) (FLI25)

Mrs Anne [sic] Flinders
      Partney near Spilsby

Annotation: No 40         June 7th 1810

                            Wilhems Plains in the Isle of France
                                          Jan. 13. 1810

      The cartel by which I hoped my letter to thee, my dearest friend, of Aug.
3. last would have been conveyed to the Cape of Good Hope, is not sailed even yet. The
officers, instead of being restored to liberty on Aug. 8 as they had been promised,
were closely shut up in prison, and so remain to this day; but it is now again said,
that they are to go away; and I take the occasion to inform thee of the continuation of
my health, and of the circumstances that have occurred since the date of my last.
      At the time I had given up all hopes of receiving from this government any
answer to the letter I wrote, relative to a safe-conduct for thee, I unexpectedly received
one which said, that the captain-general had no objection to thy joining me here;
but that for a safe-conduct, thou must apply to our government which would
make the request to that of France. This let me know, that the general had received
no fresh orders to set me at liberty; and indeed it appeared, that he had received
nothing official from his government for near a year. — A cartel arrived about
a month since with French prisoners from India, and she still remains here. The
Commissary, Mr Hope, let me know in a flattering letter he wrote me, that he should
not fail to use his utmost efforts to obtain my liberty, either by exchange or otherwise,
and as he had been extraordinarily well received by general De Caen, he had hopes
of succeeding; but I, who knew the captain-general better than he could do, had
but little prospect of liberty by his means, unless a ship should, in the mean time
arrive from France and bring him some fresh and positive orders. A ship has, in
reality, arrived, and for some days I was in the a state of the most anxious expec-
tation. A week is now passed and I am utterly a stranger to what the general may
have received by this vessel, nor have I heard any thing since from Mr Hope;
but as we learn, that on Oct. 1 when she sailed from Bourdeaux, [sic] Bonaparte had
not returned to Paris from Germany, I entertain almost no hope of a fresh order
for my liberty being brought by this occasion. There is, however, a possibility of it, as
also that something may be obtained by Mr Hope; though I do not promise myself

more from his exertions, than perhaps some information of the reasons that have
been made a pretext for prolonging my detention.
      In answer to my memorial to the French marine minister, and to all the letters
written by me and others to France, I have learnt no more than what one of the gentle-
men informed me some time since from the officer of the government to whom he had
written in my favour. The extract of the letter of this officer, dated Paris March 28
1809, is as follows —
      "I have received, my friend, your letter of Oct. 28/1808/, as also those of
" Mr Flinders. I immediately went to the marine minister, who is well acquainted with
"the affair of that stranger; and he told me, that orders to set him at liberty had been
"sent to the captain-general, and that they had been certainly received. The conversation
"was sufficiently particular for me to be able to assure you, that this navigator is much
"esteemed, but I have no means of guaranteeing the efficacity [sic] of the step he has taken."
The minister was well acquainted with my affair, because he had received my memorial;
and he knew from the same source, that the orders sent out neither had, or would be
put into execution. From the whole tenor of this equivocal answer, I judge, that my im-
prisonment is made subservient to some intrigues, which have for object the overthrowing
of general De Caën, to whom the minister is known to be inimical: This, however, is
only conjecture.
      There was much talk here three or four months since, of an attack meditated
by the English government upon the Isles of France and Bourbon; and at that time I
received an order from the captain-general not to quit the plantation of Madame
D'Arifat. I should treat this order very lightly did any important circumstance call
me beyond the bounds of the plantation; but as my situation requires that I should give
no plea for worse treatment than I have yet received, prudence has made ^ me hitherto con-
form to it pretty strictly.
      I learned by the cartel, that Mr Robertson had returned to India; but I
had no letter from him or from James Franklin: a person who saw Mr Robertson
told me, that thou wast well when Mr R. left England; but at what epoch this
was I could not learn. This, my love, is all that I have heard of thee since the
reception of thy letter dated in June 1806, and a long and cruel silence it has been,

but I do not reproach thee, knowing how extremely difficult it must have been to find
the means of conveyance. My greatest hope of receiving letters since the way of Ameri-
ca was closed, was through Mr John Exshaw at Paris, from whom I learned indirectly,
that he had written to thee and shewn a mode of conveyance for letters to him, which
he would transmit to me. But so many ships bound to this island have been taken,
that even if he should have received any from thee, they have probably been after-
wards lost.
      I have two packets of letters already in the hands of the officer who I expect
will take this, for which reason I do not write to any other person than thee, at this
time; I therefore beg thee to write to my brother, my mother-in-law &c the heads of
what has occurred since Aug. last.
      I still remain in the same friendly family as before; but whether I have
any thing to hope upon the subject of my approaching liberty, seems to be wrapped in as
much mystery or more than ever. I endeavour to bear up as much as possible against
such a long train of continued misfortune; and I preserve my entire affection for {thee},
my best friend, and for the day when Providence shall, in its justice restore me {to thee}
and to my beloved relations and friends. God bless and preserve {thee}
          Mattw Flinders
Jan. 16. I learn from a Gents' magazine of Jan. 1809, the death of Mrs Ann Peacock, after
having given birth to two children: I am truly sorry from this misfortune, and sympathise
in the affliction it must have occasioned. I beg thee to offer my compliments of condolence to
Mr and Mrs Franklin. — I have seen a Steele's List for July 1809, but do not yet see
the promotion of John F.; but what surprises and afflicts me more, is, that I do not find
my brother Samuel's name upon any part of that list. What can be the meaning of this?
I am lost in conjecture and apprehension — Another vessel, sailed from Bourdeaux [sic]
Oct. 8, has got in here, since the raising of the blockade by our cruizers, but I do not
yet learn any thing new by this occasion.
Jan 19. I am now obliged to close my letter; but having no more to say than to
bid thee an affectionate adieu, until another occasion of writing presents itself.
I have requested my friend captain Lynne to write to thee from the Cape, should he
learn any circumstance that bespeaks a solid hope of my approaching liberty. Do
not fail to remember me kindly to Mr and Mrs Hippins when thou writest to them.
I have again written to the Admiralty and to Sir Joseph Banks. — Adieu, thine most affectionately

All pages | 1 | 2 | 3 | Back to Index
View Print Friendly Version

Related people
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
Hope, Hugh
De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
Bonaparte (Buonaparte), Napoléon.
Flinders, Matthew
Franklin family
Flinders, Elizabeth
Franklin, John
Flinders, Samuel
Hippins family
Banks, Sir Joseph
Riviere, Viscount de

Ile de France (Mauritius)
Cape of Good Hope

Words and phrases

Related Documents
Other documents written by Flinders, Matthew

Other documents received by Chappelle (Flinders), Ann

Other documents received by Riviere, Viscount de

Other documents written in 1810