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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 (4 of 41) (FLI25)

Mr Hendry
      Marine Row Hull
For Miƒs Chappelle

                        16 King St Soho. Dec. 18. 1800
My dear friend
      I will begin by informing thee, that a ship is fit-
-ting for me to go out to New South Wales in. She is to be ready, it
is said, in the beginning of January. An astronomer and a natu-
-ralist are already engaged, and draftsmen are searching for. Every
thing seems to bespeak the utmost haste, but my appointment is
not yet given out. The ship carries 20 guns at present, and is cal-
-led the Xenophon, but she is to be rebaptized the Investigator,
and her guns reduced to 12. It seems, that promotion cannot accom-
pany my appointment to the command of her; there are, however,
some promises made on that head, to take place shortly.
      It is now somewhat uncertain whether time will permit me to
come into Lincolnshire; but if the admiralty will give me leave, I
will accept of an offer from Sir Joseph Banks to accompany him down
on the 26: he returns on the 2. following.
      I beg of thee, my dear Annette, if thou still valuest my friend-
-ship, to return to the home of thy anxious parent; and let my entreat-
-ties add something to the swiftneƒs with which thou flyest to
cheer up her drooping frame. Filial affection cannot be weak in
thee. I will reach Spilsby, if tis but for a few hours; let me, my
dearest friend, find thee at Partney.
      How would thy loved society have cheered me in the arduous task
I have undertaken, during such part of the time as we might have been
together? With what rapture should I return to Port Jackson after
an adventurous cruize, wast thou, my love, but there to receive
me? Oh fate — oh fortune, what do ye not deprive me of? Why
did ye

did ye not grant me a portion of what is so lavishly bestowed on many
who know not its value? Ye have made pecuniary distreƒs the price at which
this happineƒs must be purchased. Then accomplish your purpose; for I never
will purchase a portion of happineƒs for my self, when the distreƒs of my
best beloved friend is ^ to be the price. No Annette; every present appearance
dooms us to be two distinct people; unleƒs I was to marry thee and leave
thee in thy fathers house; and would not such a step bring five years of
redoubled misery on us?
      My father has written to me, but gives no answer to that part of
my letter which thou hadst a copy of. His silence seems to bespeak
his acceptance.
Let us then, my dear Annette, return to the "sweet, calm delights
"of friendship". Let us endeavour to return to that serenity of mind
which thou poƒseƒsedst but lately. I must call ambition to my aƒsistance
since it must be so; and in a life of activity and danger, wean out of
my mind but that we are friends. The search after knowledge — the
contemplation of nature in the barren wild, the overhanging crags
of utmost height, and the open field decked with the spicy attire
of the tropical climes, may — nay must prevent me from casting one
thought on England, — on my home. For well I know, by the experience
of many an unhappy hour, that if they turn hitherward, they will
too intensely fix on thee; and, like [illegible] admitted to a smothered
flame, will rouse up all my feelings to bitterneƒs. Languor succeeds,
and renders the mind incapable of that energy, which the situation
I am to fill, will make a constant demand for.
      The ebullitions of paƒsion which come upon an ardent mind,
when in solitude, have made me often vow, that never would I
return to New South Wales without a partner of my love. How
are human projects blasted! But I will not any more indulge
solitude. The human mind when unoccupied by busineƒs, does
always indulge in scenes of fancied happineƒs. Mine shall always

have employment.
      Thus am I raising a barrier in imagination against the attacks
of the common enemy of our peace. Approvest thou of such a plan?
If so, try it my dear friend. Learn music, learn the French language,
enlarge the subjects of thy pencil. Study geography and astronomy;
and even metaphysics, sooner than leave thy mind unoccupied. Soar
my Annette, — aspire to the heights of science. Write a great deal,
work with thy kneedle [sic] a great deal, and read every book that comes in
thy way, save trifling novels. Thou canst not want employment.
But my enthusiasm must subside, and a rational answer given to
thy question.
      My definition of independence is, to live without pecuniary
aƒsistance from anyone; and by living I mean, the poƒseƒsion of all
the neceƒsaries of life, and a moderate portion of the comforts of it {could}
we, my dear friend, unite, and a mod poƒsƒes these without being {separated}
from each other, I should scarcely have any thing to wish for.
Much as I have followed ambition and probably shall con-
-tinue to follow, I would then lay her at thy feet. The prospect {that}
now opens before me, of arriving at rank and fame in the world, I
would forego for a moderate competence and thee. And think not
my Annette, that I value thee leƒs for the want of fortune. Hea-
-ven is my witneƒs, that did I poƒseƒs ten thousand pounds tomorrow
and I found thy person and manners what I think they are, my
hand should await thy acceptance.
      Thou wilt write me once more, so as to arrive before the 26. speak-
-ing of thy departure for Partney. By personal conference we may
be able to come to a better and more final understanding than by
letter. Let us meet as lovers, and part as — friends, my Annette.
Ah me!
      My best respects attend thy mother and Mr Tyler. With the

anxious hope of meeting thee, I am most affectionately thy
                  Mattw F________

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Related people
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
Banks, Sir Joseph
Tyler, (Reverend) William
Flinders family
Flinders, Matthew

Port Jackson


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