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The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
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Letter from James Wiles to Matthew Flinders (2 of 2) (FLI01)

Address: Captn Mattw Flinders, R.N.
                  at Mr Standert's
                        No 3
                Clifford's Inn
(Packet)           London

May 15, 1813
      Ansd June 2

                        [illegible] Mount, Jamaica
                                19th March, 1813

My Dear friend
      I have received your letter of the 6th of Janry
which in the whole has given me infinite pleasure – the
sentiments expreƒsed in that letter are exactly such as I
might have expected of you, by them, I at once recog-
-nize my old and most valued friend, Flinders.
      Your situation in life and my own are widley [sic] different,
you poƒseƒs a certain unencumbered income, — I hold a good
deal of property, such as it is, which like most West
India property, is greatly in debt – so that I am very
poor. When Holywell (a coffee Plantation I so named) was
yet in its infancy, and before a large sum of money had
been expended in its culture, I was offered Ten thousand
pounds for it. – and for several years afterwards my pros-
-pects were very fair indeed. I expected to acquire a hand-
-some competence for myself, and enough to spare for my
near relations and a friend or two whom I dearly love.
My family, you know, are all poor, but at the same time,
very worthy people. My golden dreams have now com-
-pletely vanished; the failure of crops by bad weather
and other causes, – the depreciation for more than two
years in the price of coffee, which absolutely brought
the planter in debt, – bad debts &c &c have revised my
fair prospects – however I have [illegible] is a
great consolation, and I believe I can still pay my debts,
and have a small [illegible] of fortune left. –
      The liberties of Europe now stand a fair chance of being
once more firmly re-established, – We have intelligence

here of a much later date than that brought by the Packet,
by which it should appear that the downfall of Buona-
is really fast approaching – What a wonderfull [sic]
change in the whole world will the destruction of this
little Individual excite!
      The account you give me of my sons talents and
disposition is very satisfactory. I hope he will never
forfit [sic] your friendship. I shall aƒsist him occasionally
as I can, but like ourselves when entering life, he
has chiefly to depend upon his own exertions. I feel
very grateful to Lieutt Franklin for his kind atten-
-tion to Harry, — his poor brother Thomas's speculati-
-ons to Jamaica ended to the great loƒs of us both —
The fate of your report upon the magnetism of ships, I
see, still remains undecided. – I hope, in the end, it will
meet with a suitable reward, – although men in power are
not always liberal to their servants. You remember Maƒson
at the Cape, – he had been more than 20 years here collecting
plants and needs for Kew Gardens, and his industry &
succeƒs were proverbial, – no man contributed to enrich
that noble collection so much as Maƒson, in the end he
returned home poor & old; when government instead of
settling a small Pension upon him, and a very small
sum would have enabled him to have spent the short
remainder of his days comfortably with his friends –
he was sent to Upper Canada to gather plants and
seeds there. Of this usage Maƒson complained bitterly
to me in a letter he wrote at Philadelphia – "after 20 years
spent in Africa among lions & tigers, they have sent me
to Upper Canada to aƒsociate with bears and wolves" he
died shortly after writing this letter, broken hearted. Such

is the gratitude of the great.
      My youngest brother, John Wiles, whom I told you in a former
letter, was about to take his final leave of Jamaica, by my
advise [sic] incloses his Bill of £1800, nearly the whole of
his fortune – and we request you will present it for
acceptance without loƒs of time. He sails the beginning of
May in the fleet, and of course, expects to be home some-
-time before his bill becomes due. He will tell you all
the Jamaica news, inform you of every particular relative
to myself, future views &c &c – he will also pay you the
money you are in advance on Henry's account; I am sorry,
my dear friend, to see by your statement, that
you cannot poƒsibly afford to lay out of it. I flatter
      myself when your book does appear, it will bring
      you lee-way. I hope it will fill your
{accounts} at any rate, your fame as a navigator,
will at least equal that of Cook's and perhaps
your readers may take the trouble to ask, 'who the devil
Wiles was, that this Cape is named after"
      My brother takes with him a most valuable collection
of seeds, and a pretty good {'harbus siccus.'} In his Herbarium
are a few new genera, amongst them, the Flindersia laconiae.
Perhaps you do not remember going ashore with me and our
worthy friend Smith, upon a small uninhabited island in En-
-deavour Straights. We collected several seeds there, the
Flindersia is produced from one of them. – When this plant
arrived at perfection some years ago, I described it as above
mentioned, but did not send home the description for confir-
-mation. I think my brothers collection will do him great
credit, besides he intends to protect his seeds.—
Make my best respects to Mrs Flinders, I rejoice to learn

that she and little Anne are in good health, – the child must
now be running about.
            I remain, my dear & worthy friend,
            Yours just as usual
                Jas Wiles

P.S. For your intercourse with mankind, I fear you have found no
reason to judge very favourably of the species.

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Related people
Flinders, Matthew
Standert, A.
Wiles, James
Bonaparte (Buonaparte), Napoléon.
Franklin, John
Franklin, Thomas
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
Petrie, Ann
Smith, Christopher

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