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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 Flinders (19 of 41) (FLI25)

To Mrs Flinders
      Partney near Spilsby

Sepr 28           No 24

                                  Isle of France May 15. 1805

My dear love
      Even yet I have no certain prospect of liberty. Orders or letters
of some kind, I have reason to believe have been received by this governor
concerning me, but I cannot learn any thing of them; however, my companion
in misfortune, Mr Aken, has very unexpectedly obtained permiƒsion to de-
-part on his parole as a prisoner of war, which gives me an opportunity of
writing to England and sending many papers relating to my voyage. I have
desired him to call upon Mr Bonner, from whom he will learn who is in town
of my friends, and answer all their questions. He is also to lay a train of cor-
-respondence by which I may receive letters here, should it appear that I am
still likely to remain a prisoner. He will also write to thee and say what he
shall be able to have learned from the Admiralty, or by other means, of the
probability of my release. Thou dost not know Mr Aken; he came into the
Investigator at Port Jackson to succeed Mr Thistle. He is a plain man, but a
good one, and earnest to do all he can for my relief, in return for good offic-
-es I have done him.
      As yet I am totally a stranger to the following important
questions. What the state of thy health is. Whether I am promoted to
the list of post-captains. What has been done with the little fortune left
me by my dear deceased father. Whether my agent has received bills
for about £500 I have transmitted at different times. How my mother
in law
is situated, and my good but poor uncle and aunt at Spal-
. Whether T.F. is married or any ^ others of that family. Whether thou hadst
any concern in the "Village Anecdotes" written by Mrs Le Noir of Yorkshire
of which I have seen a review. These, with twenty-thousand other things
concerning thee, thy family, and our friends, I am most desirous to learn;
and therefore they will form a part of thy letter. It is not a little inter
-esting to know also what the public say of my voyage, my imprison-
-ment, and of me: but thou knowest well enough that I am ambitious
of fame.
      For some time my health has been neither well nor ill, but
such a mawkish kind of health as a prisoner, who was not much op-
-preƒsed with any particular disease, may be supposed to have. My
employment is to write up the accounts of the Investigators voyage, and

and my amusement, to read and walk about our inclosure. Once in a week
or fortnight, a French gentleman named Pitot, comes to visit me, and a most
kind and intelligent friend he is. I think he feels more for my situation
than I do for myself, for he takes the shame of its being his country that
oppreƒses me, in addition. He is not the only friend I have here, but is the
most constant, and the only one who will run the risk, under this arbitrary
government, of being thought disaffected, by often visiting me. He has
written several letters to eminent men in France concerning me, and as
thou wilt by this time understand something of French, I send thee a
copy of the shortist [sic] of them, which is addreƒsed to the celebrated astrono-
mer De Lalande.

      La zêle constant que vous avez déployé dans tout le cours
de votre utile et glorieuse carriere pour l'accrossement et la propagation
des sciences, m' har dit, quoique je m'aye pas l'honneur d'etre connu de
vous, à réclamer de votre humanité un service dont mon coeur sentira
tout le prix, et qui j'ôse vous l'assurer ne pourra que vous faire acqui
rir de noveaux titres a la reconnaissance de toutes les nations policées.
      C'est pour le capitaine Flinders que je vous supplie, Monsieur,
d'employer votre credit et celui de vos amis. C'est pour cet interessant
et trop malheureux navigateur que je vous conjure avec instance d'ob-
tenir du gouvernement Francais qu'il accueillé avec favour la priere
qu'il charge un ami de lui adreƒser. On l'accuse d'avoir eu des intention
hostiles en abordant dans cette colonie, et apres avoir langui par suite
de le grief pendant quinze mois dans les fers, il voit encore avec déses-
poir que rien n'annonce l'epoque on cessera son infortune. Je vous
supplie, Monsieur, de vous joindre aux personnes qui vont s'interesser à
Paris pour y être jugé, pour y démontrer son innocence et pouvoir par
courir encore une carriere dans la quelle il a déja rendu à la geogra-
phe et a la navigation les services les plus importants.
      Je n'ai pas bezoin de vous retracer a longue suite de mal-
heurs qu'il a eƒsuyés, et aux quels la fermeté de son caractere, l'a-
mour de son etat, et le desir de la gloire l'ont seuls empêché de suc-
comber. Les savants qui faisaient partie de l'expedition commandée
par Mr Baudin on ont fait connaitre en Europe la plus grande
partie; sa captivité même n'y est point ignoré, et j'ai vu dans un
Moniteur du 22 Meƒsidor an 12 les motifs qui donne lieu a sa de-

Daignez, Monsieur, être sensible à mes instances; daignez faire tous vos
efforts pour contribuer à mettre une terme à tant d'infortunes; personne
n'est plus que vous fait pour apprecier Monsieur Flinders. et je puis
vous l'assurer s'il obtient de paƒser en France, si vous lui permettre
de vous voir, de s'eclairer de vos lumieres pendant son sejour à Paris;
Croyez, Monsieur, que vous vous applaudirez d'avoir fait la connais-
sance d'un navigateur aussi interessant et aussi degne de votre
estime et de votre amitie
      Je prend la liberté d'adresser par la même occasion à Mr
une lettre detaillée sur le même sujet. Les relations que
l'amitié et les sciences ont établi entre cet illustre navigateur et vous,
me font éspérer qu'il voudra bien vous la communiquer: elle servi-
-ra, Monsieur, à vous démontrer l'innocence de Mr Flinders et à vous
interesser davantage a son etat.

      J'ai l'honneur d'etre, avec autant respect que d'attachement,
Monsieur, votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
                                    C T Pitot
20 Ventose an 13

      This letter and three others, with one from the French admiral
, accompanied one of mine to France addreƒsed to Monsieur
, a councillor of state and grand officer of the new legion of
honneur; a man much interested in geographical inquiries, whose
influence with the government I requested, that I might be ordered
to France to be tried, and punished if I had broken my paƒsport, or
set at liberty if I had not. What the effect may be I cannot tell, but
in eight months or more I hope to hear something more favourable
than remaining here in this solitary island, under the power of a sus-
-picious tyrant, who knows not to appreciate the nature of my employ-
-ment or my efforts in forwarding a service so universally beneficial
to maritime nations, and the extension of natural knowledge. A
stranger to science and the milder virtues, it is by the weight of power
that, like a second Brennus, he bears down the scale of justice.
      Shouldst thou wish Mr Aken to call upon any particular person in
town, or any one to see him, it can be done by means of Mr Bonner who
will know Mr Akens residence.
      Adieu then, my dearest love, for the present. Make my best
respects acceptable to Mr Tyler and the good family, as well as at Spils-
-by, for I know not if I can write any more letters; and believe me, as
ever, thy                                 Mattw Flinders

I have sent home to Mr A. Standert a trunk containing various things to remain
until my return, ^ and amongst the rest four parcels in which are all my private
letters, written and received. If thou wishest to have them in thy poƒseƒsion, for
they are not sealed up, and hast a trusty person to receive them they will be deliver-
-ed on thy request.

"I cant get out"! cried the starling. God help thee, says Yorick, but I'll let
thee out. May Fleurieu feel as much humanity!

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Related people
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
Aken (Aiken), John
Thistle, John
Flinders family
Franklin, Thomas
Pitot, Thomas
Flinders, Matthew
Baudin, Nicolas
Bougainville, Louis Antoine, Comte de
Linois, (Admiral)
Fleurieu, Charles Pierre Claret, Comte de
Standert, A.
Flinders, Elizabeth

Ile de France (Mauritius)
Port Jackson


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