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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 (25 of 41) (FLI25)

Mrs Flinders
      Partney near Spilsby

No 33
Feby 2d 1808

Thrice welcome art thou dear Meƒsenger of an
unattested affection — yes I welcome thee with
many kiƒses, many tears of fond delight —

                      Wilhems Plains in the Isle of France
                                    June 30. 1807

    I wrote thee, my dearest love, on May 31 last, complaining of having received
no letter from thee since that dated October 1806; but since then I have received thy
dear letter of July 1806 accompanied with one from my brother, and one from Dr
. Accept my best, best thanks, my beloved, for so kind, so tender a me-
morial of thy faithful affection. It was welcome to me as the dew of Heaven to the
traveller in the parched deserts of Arabia. What thou sayest of my affairs is satis-
factory, but Standert has sent me no account, nor has he once written to me in
this island. It does not altogether appear to me safe, however, to leave my uncle
Ward's legacy in a bank at Spilsby. I would rather it was placed in the public
funds, with that of my father; but thou, being upon the spot, art a better judge
than I can be here, and I leave this affair to thy discretion and the advice of Mr
      Samuel mentioned to me, as thou hadst foreseen, something of a tiff be-
tween thee and him; but he gave thee all the merit of being right, except perhaps
that of too freely communicating to thy female correspondent his pecuniary af-
fairs. Thank thee, my love, for thy proposed confidence to make me acquainted
with that and several other affairs. Thou knowest, or I wish thee to know, that
I desire only to be acquainted with what thou desirest to communicate. I am
not one of those suspicious husbands that think their wives are necessarily doing
wrong whenever they have anything they desire to keep to themselves. But thou
wilt not find thy confidence ill placed; and if it is capable of increase, I
trust it will be increased when thou shalt know me thoroughly, — when thou shalt see,
that I have nothing which shall not be in common between us. There are some points
upon this subject for which I reproach myself, for not having taken thy advice, since
I am convinced how capable thou art of giving it. My confidence the most complete
and unlimited shall be thine, my best love, when the merciful God shall please
to conduct me to thy arms. There is a medium between petticoat government
and tyranny on the part of the husband, that, with thee, I think to be very
attainable; and which I consider to be the summit of happiness in the mar-
riage state. Thou wilt be to me, not only the beloved wife, but my most
dear and most intimate friend; as I hope to be to thee. If we find failings,
we will look upon them with kindness and compassion; and in each others me-
rits we will take pride, and delight to ^ dwell upon them; thus we will realize, as far as may

be, the happiness of Heaven upon earth.
      Be as sure that I shall take thy advice in not lending my money
too hastily. I hope I am far from being a miser, but I desire extremely to possess
a sufficient fortune, because I highly prize independence, and because I desire that
the beloved of my heart should want nothing that can conduce to her happiness;
being that assured, that her happiness is not placed upon the possession of expensive trifles
or in ostentation of any kind. It gave me pain to find thou hadst restricted thyself in
thy income. Economy, my love, is very praise worthy in our circumstances, but it must
not be pushed too far: reasonable happiness should not be sacrificed to it.
      My brother tells me very little, except of the mere stoppage of my ac-
counts; he unfortunately trusted to Standert. Had I known exactly the papers want-
ed, I could have written to the admiralty for an order to dispense with them, but as it
is I can do nothing. I have no fear of removing all difficulties on my return, and
shall probably be able to obtain the £600 yet to come from the East India Company,
of which a third or more will fall to me. My whole, put together, will probably
give us £100 a year in addition to my pay, with which I hope we shall be able to
live respectably and comfortably in our little way. I love not greatness; but I desire to
have enough for ourselves and something to assist our friends in need. I think, my
love, this is also thy way of thinking.
      The account thou givest of my sister Susan and her husband, has given
me the greatest pleasure. I acknowledge myself not to have been pleased with her
marriage, and as I am totally unacquainted with Mr Pearson, I deferred writing
until I should see her and him. The idea that young girls are at liberty to mar-
ry whom they please, without consulting any of their friends, may do much harm in
society, and should be opposed. She may say, that if she married without her father's
consent, so did I; but independently of the difference between a man of 28, and a
young woman of 22, perhaps she does not know that when I spoke to my father
of my affection to thee, he acknowledged thou wert a most worthy young woman
from all that he knew; and he in no way opposed my inclination, or even the will
made in thy favour previous to our marriage; and I was besides under circum-
stances relating to my voyage, which allowed me no time to take the advice of friends
which she cannot plead. She may rest assured, however, that I have always loved
her tenderly, and I request thee to tell her so; and at the same time, that on my
return to England, she and her dear little family will be amongst the first objects
I shall be anxious to see. That epoch is not, I hope, very far distant. If I was de-
sired to fix upon what I thought to be the probable time, I should say April or

May next.
    I send away my things by Elder, for whom I have obtained a permission
to depart for America. A ship has at length arrived from France; but though she
sailed six months after the date of thy letter, she brings nothing for me. The French
emperor was then absent, and my friends here attribute it to that cause. Two other
vessels are announced, and if they bring nothing, adieu to all further expectation
from France. I must have recourse to other means, and I am now preparing for
it. Pray Heaven my project may succeed. I send a trunk containing thirteen pac-
kages of papers and letters, besides books, to be left with my agent until my arrival,
as also two parcels for the admiralty; and having room in the trunk, have put
three other parcels, of which No 14 contains five table cloths, three sheets, six pillow
cases, seven shirts, an uniform coat and a waistcoat. No 15 — four table and
five tea spoons, with a pair of sugar tongs. No 16 two epaulets. This I have done
in the expectation that I may be obliged to leave a great many things behind me.
        I communicated to our good family here, the passage in thy letter which
po letter which pourtrayed [sic] in lively terms thy gratitude to
them for their kindness to me, and it gave them much pleasure. They knew how ar-
dently I desired to receive a letter from thee, and how how long I had been deprived
of that pleasure, and they participated in the happiness it afforded me. Indeed
my love, I thought some of thy letters had been lost, not thinking thou wouldst let
such a period ^ elapse as from October to July, without writing to me, when thou knewest of
a conveyance; I would have been very glad, also, to have heard from Mr Aken and
Mr Robertson: being very desirous to know how they are how they situated, parti-
cularly the former who has left many things untold, of which he should have given
me information.
      It rejoices me to know of the health of thy good family, and
that they think of me with kindness. The prosperous affairs of William, Penelope and
of my cousin Henny furnished another subject of satisfaction; indeed every thing,
my promotion and liberty excepted, were pleasing; but upon these points two most in-
teresting points, my brother tells me to place no confidence but in myself. I beg
thee my love to repeat the assurances of my friendship and affection to all the per-
sons above named, as also at Enderby and Tidd. Tell to my mother-in-law the sub-
stance of this letter, and explain my regret in being unable to write to her or to
my sisters by this conveyance; being so hurried in preparing my numerous despatch-
es to send away immediately. If I have left any person without ^ being mentioned ing them,
I beg thee to supply the deficiency. Trust my love in my constant affection. Thou
art, and I trust ever will be, the dearest person in the world to the heart of
        thy Mattw Flinders

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Related people
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
Maskelyne, Nevil
Standert, A.
Flinders family
Tyler, (Reverend) William
Flinders, Samuel
Elder, John
Aken (Aiken), John
Flinders, Henrietta
Franklin family
Flinders, Elizabeth
Flinders, Matthew

Tidd (Tydd)
Ile de France (Mauritius)
Mavis Enderby

Words and phrases
East India Co

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