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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 (22 of 41) (FLI25)

Mrs Flinders
      Partney near Spilsby

Decr 25th           No 28

                            Wilhems Plains in the Isle of France
                                                    July 4. 1806

    Since my last ^ long letter of April 4. and 15., and my short one of April 27. last,
I have received, my best love, thy letters dated May 20. 1805, the duplicate of
which, with a letter from Spalding I had received so far back as Oct. 22. 1805,
a day I shall never forget: for to receive letters from thee, in this place, after so
long a night of ignorance and sorrow, was a gratification which exceeded what
I can expreƒs.
      No change has taken place with me, since I last wrote; except that
general De Caën has received a very strong letter from governor King at Port Jack-
, inclosing a copy of one I had written, which has much irritated the general,
and been the cause of his denying some temporary extensions of liberty to visit
two or three friendly families in another part of the island: the knowledge, however,
that governor King so warmly espouses my cause, more than counterbalances these
little privations. By this time, I expect the governor will be arrived in England,
and if thou shouldst be at any time in London, thou wilt find in Mrs King a
very amiable woman, and one who will receive thee with much kindneƒs. I beg
of thee to make them a visit, and to consider them as amongst my best and most
intimate friends, and from whom I have received much kindneƒs: Make little
Elizabeth also some pretty present. By this same occasion I write to governor
King, whom I consider as one interested to procure my liberation, and who
does not want the inclination to attempt it: I think he will be able to give thee
much information; thou mayest even write to him or Mrs King, at this agents Mr
Sykes, Arundel St Strand London.
      I have spoken to thee of coming out here, in case nothing should be
done in France towards my inlargement [sic] or call to Paris, and in case thou shouldst
find the occasion and conveniences I described; but, my love, the more I think
about it, the more the difficulties and dangers of the paƒsage, to one I so entirely
love, alarm me; and should circumstances turn out so fortunate as that thou
shouldst arrive safe, when I think of the probability that I may afterwards be sent
a prisoner to France, and that thou mightst either be denied to go in the same
veƒsel, or cooped up without the convenience or attendance in an unhealthy place,
perhaps in that state which most requires care, my anxious desire to have thee here
gives way to my fears: the expense of the voyage might also oblige me to another
absence from thee. No, my love, thou must not attempt it; it cannot be much
longer that I shall be kept from thee; either in consequence of a peace, or the exer-
-tions that have been lately made, and are now making in my favour, I must, I

think certainly, be on my return either to France or England before the expiration of
another year; and if justice be done me, perhaps, my love, with such an acceƒsion
of reputation and fortune, as may permit me to follow the bent of my own inclinations
during the rest of my life. I had once thought of making my escape, but when I con-
-sider how much I must leave behind me, and that all idea of indemnification
for my sufferings must be abandoned, and my conduct perhaps disapproved in
England, – I have determined to see it out; but at the same time to rouse every
person in all parts of the world who are likely to interest themselves in my favour.
In the gazettes of France, London, the three presidencies in India, that of New South Wales,
and some in America, I find mention made of my imprisonment, and generally in terms
very injurious to general De Caën; and I hope, that by this time the admiralty, perhaps,
will have given me the rank of post-captain. I am at present occupied in writing
a narrative of all the circumstances that have attended my confinement here, as well
as those of our shipwreck; and it is prefaced with a sketch of the Investigators voy-
-age, making in all, with an appendix of official papers, between two and three hun-
-dred pages: it will be finished in a month or six weeks and transmitted to the Ad-
-miralty; and perhaps through Sir Joseph B. or governor King thou wilt be able to
get a sight of it. I expect, that this narrative will stimulate the admiralty to take
^ some decisive measures; and it is poƒsible they may cause it to be published.
      From India I have received much attention. Lately I had two letters
from Sir Edward Pellew, who expreƒses much interest for my suffering so unjustly; but
as general De Caën will listen to no exchange for me, he can do nothing more than
make representations to our admiralty. If thou shouldst see governor King, he will
shew thee a French letter written from this island to the Institute of Paris, which
will give thee much satisfaction: it went from hence two months since, and a
duplicate will go in a few days. For myself, I have again written to Mons. Fleurieu,
and also a letter to the Minister of the French marine: the copy of the latter, inclosed,
shew to governor King if he is arrived. I regret not having written to Bonaparte
whilst he was first consul; it would then have been attended to perhaps; but now, as he
is not acknowledged Emperor of the French by our government, I cannot write to him
as such, and therefore it is unneceƒsary to write at all.
      July 5. Do, my best love, take good care of thy health. Make such visits to
thy friends and mine, as may be convenient. It will tend to diƒsipate thy uneasineƒs
and preserve thee in health. Ah, my love, let me find thee constant in thy affec-
-tions at my return, and capable of meeting my enraptured heart with equal
transports, and the first and dearest of my wishes will be accomplished; but,
Merciful Heaven! let this be soon. Perhaps, my love, the order for my liberation
is even now on its way, or the still more agreeable tidings of peace: Of the last,
much hopes are at this time entertained in this part of the world.
      It gives me much pleasure, that thou hast cultivated the acquaintance

of my cousin Henrietta. She poƒseƒses ^ an excellent head, and a better heart: I think,
that after thee and my brother Samuel, she stands next in my affection. When
my sister Hannah leaves school, thou wilt afford me much gratification in
having her occasionally with thee: make her thy young friend, she will be grate-
-ful for the attention: Read with her, reason with her upon what you read and
upon the occurrences of life, – be her confidant; to do which, thou must not so
much attempt to make her rise to thy ideas and sentiments, but must rather des-
-cend to hers: adopt her amusements, take up her manner of thinking, and lead
her on imperceptibly to the formation of just sentiments and the adoption of a-
-greeable manners: teach her not to be too confident in the good disposition of
mankind, but to avoid shewing suspicion, not to give too much way to the sen-
-sibilities of the heart, but to avoid misanthropy; in [illegible], to live in charity
with all men, and think well of every individual until his actions shall shew
    him to be undeserving of it. It is permitted to men, and
    it is sometimes their duty, to brave the opinion of the
world; but a female, if she would avoid misery, must always submit to it.
Next after considering the laws of her God, she ought perhaps in the next place
to reflect, before giving way to the impulse of her feelings, what will be the opinion
of the world upon this action. If the world will condemn, or draw from thence
consequence injurious to her character, the design ought to be abandoned:
Perhaps this rule ought to extend to all the transactions of Life.
      I hope thou wilt have made the acquisition of a little French; my cou-
-sin will aƒsist thee, and on my return we will make further progreƒs: at
present I am able to converse upon most subjects, and they tell me, speak paƒsa-
-bly well; indeed I ought, for these last eight or ten months I have spoken
scarcely any thing else; and as my afternoons and evenings are paƒsed with
^ my good and well-informed hosteƒs, and her three amiable daughters, my tongue is
not suffered to lie still; but I must leave a little space for the last day before
this letter will depart.
      July 12. I have lately received a letter from Major Henry of the 19th dragoons
at Arcot, near Madras. He is It does not appear whether or no he received my letter
recommending James Franklin to his notice. I have written again to him, and in
more forcible terms; and if James should be so lucky as to be at the same station,
I am sure Major Henry will befriend and advise him for my sake.
      Should Mr Robertson be yet in England, pray write to him and say how
much I am obliged for his friendly attention in writing to me and sending thy letters.
It is a service I shall never forget, and increases the desire I had to be useful to that
worthy and intelligent man. Is Mr Aken arrived with my books and charts? Of
this I am ignorant, and would give much to be satisfied.

July 22. I am now obliged to close. If the news of the Warren Hastings being taken is un-
-known, tell Thomas F: that she was taken near this island, by La Piémontaise, French
frigate, the beginning of this month, after an action of 4h 25' in which she lost her
masts and tiller, and had 8 men killed and 15 wounded. Mr Edwick the purser
was amongst the former, and captain Larkins amongst the latter, but his wound is not
said to be dangerous: the cargo of this ship cost more than 600,000 dollars in China.
Desire Thomas to make this ^ intelligence known, should it not be so on the receipt of this.
      Adieu my best – my dearest love. Preserve thy health – trust in Provi-
-dence and in my exertions. I am in good health. Remember me most affecti-
-onately to thy family and all mine. As usual I am obliged to conclude in a
hurry.           Forever thine
                    Mattw Flinders

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Related people
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
King, Philip Gidley King
Banks, Sir Joseph
Pellew, (Admiral) Edward, Viscount Exmouth
Fleurieu, Charles Pierre Claret, Comte de
Bonaparte (Buonaparte), Napoléon.
Flinders, Henrietta
Flinders, Samuel
Flinders family
Franklin family
Aken (Aiken), John
Franklin, Thomas
Larkins, Thomas
Flinders, Matthew
Riviere, Viscount de

Ile de France (Mauritius)
Port Jackson

Warren Hastings
Piedmontaise (Piémontaise)

Words and phrases

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