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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 (6 of 41) (FLI25)

Miƒs Chappelle
Partney near Spilsby


                    H.M.S. Investigator Sheerneƒs Jan 27
From hence, immersed in busineƒs, I write thee, my dearest
friend, some answer to thy truly distreƒsful last of many
dates. Spare me, Annette, the keen misery, which to rouse
the bitter recollections of past agony and disappoint-
-ment infallibly calls forth. Thou wilt revile me, my friend,
when I say, that a part of my exertions have been to forget
thee. I will pay thee thy tribute — I will taste of the pleasure,
of memory on the first of each returning January, and
sigh forth thy name upon unknown seas and coasts; but
spare me the rest. If I think on thee I think on nothing
else. My various occupations and provisions are at a
stand; and to me, there is then no other being in the world
than Annette. Thou, my dearest friend, hast not perhaps
occupations that claim the whole of thy attention; fortu-
-nate indeed it is for me that I have; otherwise I had borne
the denomination of fool, madman or villain ere this.
Forget me, Annette, — put every thing from thee that
may call forth recollection. However dear to me thy
thoughts are, still is thy happineƒs dearer. But remember
Annette — remember that I am thy friend. Banish every
thing else from thee. On love I must not think; — it has
constituted the greatest happineƒs and the greatest misery of my

life; but I will now endeavour to try what life is without it.
Thou askest a very serious question, and which requires
a direct answer. "Is there a poƒsibility of our living together?"
Yes, my dearest Annette, there is a poƒsibility, but a distant
one. Thy interest, and what I take to be the rule of right and
wrong, forbid me to ask thee to keep it in view. So my
friend — seize happineƒs as soon as it presents itself. Think
not on me. I have ten-thousand difficulties and dangers to
encounter. I have undertaken an Herculean labour, which
if I pay proper attention to, will keep thy memory from
often rising into view. Thou art deeply engraven on the
bottom of my heart; but I must keep thee down, or the requi-
-site energy will fly from me, and leave me to disgrace.
So well am I satisfied of the instability of human nature,
that notwithstanding I love thee above everything, yet will I
not answer that it shall be so after five years of such a life
as I am likely to lead. Place no dependence on me. I think
Annette, that I should almost be glad to see thee happy, even
in the arms of another, in five years hence. Now, I have
not sufficient friendship for thee to bear it.
Thou art surprised, my dear Annette, to hear me talk upon
love with composure! Hadst thou given me any encourage-
ment, I would have roused up the subject of our correspon-
dence from its beginning — have given thee every explanation
— traced the rise of our sentiments, — and indeed thou shouldst
have had candour [sic] from me. Thy silence distreƒsed me
then from one cause, but now the reflection of it distreƒses
me from an opposite one.

Good night, my dearest friend — heaven protect thee in peace
and give thee happineƒs.
Wed. Jan. 28. I dare not think on thee Annette. Thou canst
not — thou hast no busineƒs to know the agitation with which
I open a letter from thee. No Annette — forget me — write not
soon. Seize happineƒs, I pray thee, if it offers. I may be lost
or slain: — I may forget thee, or no longer love thee. I may
become avaricious, and search after fortune. Many chances
may prevent my return to thee. I shall do all in my power
to forget thee. Thy pleasures of memory will be put at the
back of my library. Every thing will be tried to keep thee
down. I will not attempt to root thee out of the bottom my
heart, but to smother the memory of thee. Adieu, my dear
friend. Thou wilt not find thyself forgotten by me
after a five years voyage. Thou wilt always com-
-mand my ^ kind recollection; and unleƒs a great alteration
takes place in my sentiments or thy conduct, thou wilt also
command my friendship and esteem. Thou shalt hear from
me once more before I sail; and I trust, that when thy
name becomes changed, thou wilt give me the information.
I again repeat, it will be important to me.
With remembrances to Mr and Mrs Tyler and thy
sister, and happineƒs to thee most earnestly wished for,
I am, thy sincere and anxious friend
                                Mattw Flinders
8 P.M. Wednesday

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Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
Tyler, (Reverend) William
Flinders, Matthew



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