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The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
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Letter from John Elder to Ann Flinders (3 of 3) (FLI28)

Mrs Flinders
near Spilsby

              London Febry 11th 1808

To Mrs Flinders

            As I thought I could not at large inform you
of all the questions you requested, I take the liberty to inclose
the second letter which you will be kind to excuse.
          The last time C.F.s spoke to me of his deter-
-mination of attempting to make his escape, a few hours before
I parted from him. He said first, he would write to general
De Caën
, and tell him he might look upon him to be no longer
on his parole, and to request, him to be looked on from
that time, as a prisoner of war, and as any other prisoner;
that he expected the general would order him to be put into
the Grand River Prison along with the merchant officers, was
a thing he was sure of; when he was there he would bribe
some of the sentinels some night, and get on board some of
the British Squadron, which he expected would be cruizing
off the island about 15 Novr he had no doubts of procuring
plenty of aƒsistance at that time and little risk to run.

Captain Flinders had drawn also a large amount of money for that
purpose. The reason of C.F. intention for escaping was, that he had
wrote so many letters to the governor, requesting him to send him to
France, or to be set at liberty; and other proposals was made by
capt. Bergeret before ^ he left the I. of F. and other private gentlemen to the
governor, but all these failing; and no orders was yet sent from the
French government of Europe to the general, it always was one answer
that until orders arrived he could not make any change in C.F.s situation
the general seldom wrote any answer, but sent a meƒsage to that effect,
which so much tired Capt. F.s that he will without doubt make the attempt
(and I hope succeed). It depends where the squadron goes should he get on board
but I think most probably it will be India? Should he get on board an Am-
-erican veƒsel, he will then likely go to America, should not any Englishman
of war board the veƒsel; but should C.F.s succeed to what part of the world
would be very immaterial to him, yet England of course would be his prefer-
-ence to any other; – To escape from the I. of Fre latterly is worse than
formerly; every one who made the attempt succeeded, at one time 7 officers got
clear off on board the English Squadron? Should he be discovered in the attempt
I fear, the cruel, savage, inhuman governor would be more strict & severe
upon him? It has been told by private individuals, that the governor has
often relented, and appeared to be sorry for detaining C.F.s so long; and
long since well aƒsured that neceƒsity brought him to touch at the Island, and
not to injure either the government or any whomsoever.
    Captain Flinders health and spirits was in general good and
hearty? He does not look so well as he did by a great deal, his read [sic]

cheeks is certainly gone, and his hair is very white; but I believe
at his arrival in England he would soon regain his former good
appearance and health.? His friends is more numerous than
ever, and corresponds by letters often to him; he wrote a very long
letter to ^ the Society of Emulation containing some discoveries made
          it is several pages in length; and Mr Tho. Pitot was to write
a letter by order of the gentlemen for thanks upon the same thing;
and every one who is acquainted with Capt F. is wishful to do him
service. – Some time before I left the Island had not
captain Flinders been upon his parole of honour, he could
along with myself got away in an American ship; the captn
was acquainted of his intention, agreed upon it, and the most of
his valuable papers was in town ready to put on board the veƒsel.
I saw the captain of the veƒsel myself and he said "I will go out
"with only three topsails bent to get captain Flinders out of
"this island and from amongst the French thieves –
    Perhaps captain Flinders informed you of all his plans, I
had only one thing to report as well as C. F.s that was the governor
would not alter his parole any thing, and in a few days we were
oblidged [sic] to return back to our (Refuge) Plains Williams to our
great regret.
    I have still something more, madam, to inform you
the ship I came from Virginia in was boarded by an English lieuten-
-ant and he informed me that there was a very strong force gone against
the Isle of France to take poƒseƒsion of it; if it was the case I told him they

would certainly succeed for the inhabitants was very discontent.
with their present government.
Excuse, Madam for my
intrusion. I am, your obdt
Hmble servant
John Elder

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Related people
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
Flinders, Matthew
De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
Bergeret, (Captain)
Elder, John
Pitot, Thomas

Ile de France (Mauritius)

Words and phrases
Society of Emulation

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