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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 Chappelle (3 of 41) (FLI25)

Mr Arton
Barton Lincolnshire
For Miƒs Chappelle

                  16 King St Soho Nov. 29. 1800

Thy letter came to me yesterday most seasonably. I was earnest-
-ly employed in answering a letter from my father, and such a letter
my Annette, as I never before received from him. Thou art in some
measure concerned interested in a part of it, and as all concealments
ought to be now done away between, and are and shall be on my
part, I will inform thee, that it has been a source of uneasineƒs
to me, that my sister Susan was sent from home so far, and put to
a busineƒs which my fathers circumstances, I thought, did not require,
and which subjected her to ^ such snares as I shudder to think what would
be the consequence had she fallen into them. In a letter to my father,
speaking of her present situation, I said amongst other things "If
"she is to be a milleners [sic] journeywoman, she cannot be with a
"kinder, plainer, better family." This my father has taken ex-
-ceedingly ill — as reproaching him; and gives a long vindication
from the "harsh constructions which I find with sorrow that the elder
"branches of my family put upon my conduct." He explains the dif-
-ficulties and labours that he has undergone " from the ardent hope
"of sometime arriving at independence." He tells me that the a-
-mount of his property is £4000, the income of which is very inade-
-quate to the supporting his family as ladies and gentlemen without
the exertions of those for themselves who are capable of it. "It cannot
"be any terrible task for a grown person, in youth, health, and strength
"to obtain their own support." "I well know it is a much harder
"one for a weak, infirm father in the decline of life, to continue la-
"-bouring for the whole to the last hour of his earthly race. I beg
"you all to remember that your exertions are all for your own selves;
"the exertions of most young people are for their parents or masters
"until the age of 21, but that has not been the case with my family
"— their efforts have been wholly applied to their own benefit, and

"this it seems is not satisfactory. According to their ideas, I ought to
"continue labouring that they may enjoy ease and gaiety."
    You my Annette, who have so nice a sense of filial duty and
affection will conceive what sensations this and a great deal more would
excite in me. I answered it immediately, to relieve him from the distreƒs
I saw he was in as soon as poƒsible; and I answered it fully, for I told
him every idea that I had upon the subject, that every explanation
might take place and be done with.
    The following paragraph was also a part of my answer
    "Surely my father, it was to hurt me, and is not your real
"sentiments when you say amongst many other things of the same
"nature, that 'according to their (your elder childrens) ideas you'
'sought to continue labouring that they may enjoy ease and
'gaiety.' "Has my conduct or language ever bespoke this? Think
"you that I have never forborn to ask for succour, when distreƒs
"has urged me to it? My dear father, when you apply such terms to
"your children, let me be spared, at least in future; and I beg you
"to believe, as my sincere sentiments, that I would much rather in-
"-crease your income, and thus ease your labours, than add one day
"to them by receiving five shillings from you; and I hope the time
"will come, and before many years are over, that you will have
"better proofs of the sincerity of what I say than words can be. At
"present, I think my situation will allow me to say, that I shall
"want no further pecuniary aƒsistance; and therefore I beg of you
"to consider, that except in affection and when my aƒsistance is wanted,
"that you have but five children, and act accordingly; and if this
"will enable you to retire from the fatigues of busineƒs one year
"sooner, I shall esteem myself even happier upon it, than upon the
"idea of having taken care of a young brother for six years, and receiv-
"-ing my fathers thanks for the manner in which the trust was
    My heart smote me Annette, when I wrote it, on thy account;
but judge of my situation and feel for me. I must not repent it, — no
sooner than that my fathers words should be verified, I would go naked
in the woods of New Holland and live upon what chance might throw

in my way. — Ah Annette, you see what a wretch I am. That I
have thrown away what might have been the means of making thee
happy. Though I don't know. My ideas of my fathers property
were too extensive; but thou now knowest all. Ah Annette, I fear
I fear, I fear. Fool that I was, not to adhere to my first plan, un-
-til more certainty was at hand. I could not rest till I had drawn
you into the same nett [sic] and surrounded you with fears, doubts, and
distreƒses; — but I will say no more upon this subject till I hear
from thee again. — After relating some circumstances to my father
about my present prospects and employments, I also add "you must
"allow that the subjects upon which my mind is in suspense, and my
employments together, must occupy the most of my attention; and be-
— "sides these, there is another subject with which you are as yet un-
— "acquainted that forces no little share to itself; this, if it becomes
"neceƒsary I shall inform you of in due time." So far I have ac-
-quainted my father of our correspondence; and sought to have in-
-formed you before, that my friend Thomas is pretty intimately ac-
-quainted with it. Thou canst best tell what extracts from this letter
may be neceƒsary for thy mother to have given to her; to aƒsist her in
forming her opinion of our correspondence. The letter itself is of so
tender a nature, that no eye but thine ought to see it; but by all means
let every thing be fairly and properly understood. Now my dear
Annette, I stand by myself; neither expecting or meaning to take
for any thing from my father. I have my commiƒsion, and I have
friends that will better it in time. Fortune may favour me, or
may turn her back upon me. — Heaven knows. I have in-
integrity, and my friends say some ability, and this is all
that I have to depend upon. I trust to nobody but myself.
The little knowledge I have of the world tells me, that there are
more broken reeds than oaken staves in it, I will therefore depend
upon none of them.
      I would enter into some disuaƒsion upon thy
idea that "an interview may crush the fabrick [sic] of our hopes",
but am almost under too much concern — but it will not, An-
-nette. Thou art not deformed, neither am I. I wish indeed thou
wast bigger and stronger for two reasons; but I know what thou
art in these respects, and I love thee. The strength and greatneƒs of
thy mind make ten thousand compensations. Adieu my love, my

dearest friend. Write soon — tell me every thing. Thou seest that my
soul is turned inside out to thee: — fear not to equal my openneƒs.
Adieu, and may the bleƒsing of God and all good men attend thee;
and amongst the warmest and most anxious of thy friends, believe
to be       thy own Mattw F.

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Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
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Flinders, Matthew
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