Browse the documents Browse the documents Search
Advanced search
The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
You are here: Flinders > Browse the Documents > Documents > Documents
All pages | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Back to Index

Loose pages from Flinders' private letterbook (3 of 6). To Christopher Smith 1800. (FLI04)

you, I conclude with requesting you to believe me to be with
respect and esteem
      your obliged friend and humble servant
            Mattw Flinders

To Christopher Smith Esq Botanist – India –
                              H.M.S. Reliance Feb 14th
My excellent friend                                     1800
      Two days since brought in the Bark Hun-
-ter from Calcutta, belonging to the house of Campbell and Clarke,
Mr Robt Campbell (a partner I believe) arrived in her and de-
delivered me a letter, inclosing one from you to ^ his brother Mr Campbell
intended for my inspection. Yesterday I received, as specified
in that letter, 6 doz of Madeira, one dozen shirts, one dozen
towels & 2 black silk hand neckkerchiefs, all of which are
very good of their kind; and it is ^also proper that I should notice
^ to you the care and attention of those who conveyed them to me. The
letter also specifies mentions £20, which Mr R. Campbell made
a tender of to me, but my dear friend, as it happens at pre-
-sent that I have more than £100 by me, I have left it to your
credit in Mr C's hands. How kind you are, my dear Smith,
to think thus of your absent friend. It happened yesterday,
that two or three gentlemen were dining with us, when your
case of Madeira made its appearance the appearance of
your case of Madeira gave occasion to mention the donor,
the terms upon which we used to live, and in short, you
was [sic] analized [sic] very minutely; never was anything better ac-
-credited by the company than the account then given; the
case of Madeira &c before their eyes was a figure of rheto-
-ric that convinced every body. The top of the lid case presently
flew off, and the first bottle was drank [sic] "to Paddy Smiths
good health, and long may he live." I wish you had seen one
of the gentleman [sic], a native of the north of Ireland, how his eyes
sparkled with joy, ^ exaltation that it was a Paddy who was capable of

doing such generous things. I shall have occasion to mention this
brother Paddy again: I wish you knew him!
    I think you will believe me when I say, that although the
things you have sent me, were those that I was most in want of
yet would I rather have received a ^ long letter from you, telling me of
your situation and prospects, than the whole of them. Why my
good friend, did you not write a letter, accompanying yours to
Mr Campbell, he could at least as easily have sent that as
what I have now received.
    I am much in hopes, that a letter which I wrote to you
in April last by Mr Ferguƒson of the Rebecca, is received before
this. It was a long letter, and would explain to you my ideas
and prospects, ^ wishes principally relative to the country trade in In-
-dia. I requested an answer to be directed to me at the Cape,
and a duplicate of it to be sent to England should it be
very material. I now hope that the latter has taken place, for
the time of our sailing for England has now been so long pro-
-tracted, that we cannot go into Table Bay; and therefore St
is the place we touch at for water. From thence how-
-ever, I shall write to the Cape, begging to have all letters for
me sent on to England. The main purport of my letter to you
was to ask you how far I might ^ benifit myself by entring [sic] into the
Country service, and to beg of you to gain information upon that lead
for me. But in addition to that letter, I ought now to inform you,
partly that you may not think yourself the only decent good Irishman in the world
that a gentleman, who is no other than the brother Paddy be-
-fore mentioned, has, upon certain ^ very liberal conditions, given me the com-
-mand of a sum of money upon our arrival in England, which
will enable me to enter upon certain speculations and give me
the command of a ship. Should not my own service present some-
-thing more desireable [sic], this is to be my future plan, of which,
if your letter in England informs me where to direct, I shall
write you more particularly if ^ on its taking place; nevertheleƒs,
your information relative to the Country service will be very

desireable. The thing is my dear friend, I am tired of serving for
a pittance, and as it were living from hand to mouth, whilst others
with no better claim are making hundreds and thousands. The exam-
-ples which have occurred in this place have opened my eyes a little
to my own intrest [sic]; and besides, I want to be my own master, and not
to be subject to the caprices of whomsoever the Lords above may
please to set over me. You must have learnt and seen some of these
things as well as myself. Between ourselves, I have some hopes
that my relations in England will advance me two or three thou-
-sand pounds to forward my mercantile plans, which if they
do (and they are perfectly able to do it), and moderate succeƒs
should attend me, a few years will probably see me independent
of the world.
        You may judge from all this, my dear friend, that I am no bi-
-got to the naval service; the truth is, I am no bigot to any.
The honour of being an honest man and ranked as a gentleman,
is sufficient for me. I look round the world, – consider every
port from Cape Horn to the North Cape, – from the sultry
regions of Ceylon to the bleak harbours of the N.W. of America
and consider what mart they afford for each others commodi-
-ties. I know some little of these things and wish to know a great
deal more. You are in a situation to learn a good deal if you think
it proper to pay attention to it; nay you are in a situation to pro-
-fit by that knowledge; you have the command of some money
and are, I should suppose, in the midst of opportunities. As I sincerely
believe you wish me well, I make no scruple to ask for any in-
-formation you can get, and to point out any opening that may
be suited to my capacity; to correct your ideas of which, I shall
only say, that six years experience is added to my stock since
we were together, and I am not grown much more idle since that;
but then one half of that e time has been employed in gaining in-
-formation which does not apply directly to the point in question,
but will collatterally [sic] some way or other. And here ends this subject
      On inquiry from Mr Campbell, I find that Mr Dickson of Co-
-vent garden is your correspondent if not agent; now I shall

call upon him on our arrival, and with him shall leave my
^ addreƒs at my agents agents addreƒs, which at present is at Edw McCullocks Esq Jef-
-fries Sq St Mary Ave London, so that any letters you may write
and wish to have conveyed to me, can be done through that chan-
-nel. In my last letter but one, I mentioned a book to ^ be written upon
this country and colony, in which I was to have some concern; if
it is done as mentioned to you, a copy of it shall be left at Mr
Dicksons or else sent out to you. The last letter, was one to intro-
-duce Mr G Baƒs, who will be the author of that book, to your
friendship; that ^ letter however, I scarcely expect will be ever received,
which is the reason that it was not mentioned before.
    Accompanying this letter, you will receive a parcel of the
seeds of shrubs and trees of this country which have been just
now collected and are therefore fresh; they are one half of what I had
collected to take to England, but since so good an opportunity of-
-fers of sending them to you, I think they cannot be better disposed
of .+
      I have received no letter from you, since we parted in 1794, and
only one from our friend Wiles as mentioned before to you.
I have some hopes of meeting with him in England.
      We sail from hence in about a week, and on our arrival I
shall take the first opportunity of writing to you, with a full
and true account of everything that comes to my knowledge
which you can wish to be informed of; and in return, if you
have not before done it, write me one of the same kind, telling
me what your salary is? What your other involvments [sic] and ex-
-pectations? how long you are likely to stay in India? What ser-
-vices I can render you in England or elsewhere? &c &c which if
you do you will great oblige
      your old and very sincere friend
          Mattw Flinders

+As to the names which are applied to them, I can tell nothing my-
-self, the gardener that collected them is the wise man who christ-
ened them.
PS Here is a man by the name of Swinney, a countryman of
yours, whom I have partly sent to you. He knows the plants of this coun-
-try better than any body and I believe is a good gardener. As to his character

[ends here]

All pages | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Back to Index
View Print Friendly Version

Related people
Smith, Christopher
Campbell, Robert
Flinders, Matthew
Wiles, James

Cape of Good Hope
St Helena


Related Documents
Other documents written by Flinders, Matthew

Other documents received by Smith, Christopher

Other documents written in 1800