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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 (14 of 41) (FLI25)

The Revd Mr Tyler
    Partney near Spilsby
For Mrs Flinders

Annotated: Novr 25 1802

                Investigator at Port Jackson May 31

A moment snatched from the confusion of performing
half a dozen occupations, and of making up eighteen months
accounts in every one of them, is a poor tribute to offer to a
beloved friend like thee. That I am safe and well, and have done
every thing thus far that I could have expected to do, is to tell thee
something. How highly should I value such short information
reciprocated from thee! but alas, my dearest love, I am all
in the dark concerning thee, I know not what to fear or what
to hope. Pray write and releive [sic] my anxiety. Some months
have paƒsed during our examination of the unknown south
coast, during which I hoped that some sweet ship would paƒs
by us and deposit in the governors hands what would have
taken away some part of my distreƒs.
    June 1st a ship is now off the heads of the harbour, but I
am afraid to hope; the sensation however will rise, in spight [sic] of
me, and until I know I will endeavour to intertain thee
in the mean time.
    The ships that sailed for this place from Spithead dur-
-ing the time thou wast on board, told them here of
thy coming out; and there has, consequently, been many
inquiries after thee, and much abuse of me for not bring-
-ing them so valuable an addition to their society. Thou
wouldst have been situated as comfortably here as I hoped,
and told thee. Two better or more agreeable women than
Mrs King and Mrs Paterson are not easily found; these would
have been thy choicest friends, and for visiting acquaintances
there are five or six other ladies, very agreeable for short
periods, and perhaps longer. When I see this and feel the
warmest wishes constantly rising for thy presence, I accuse
fortune of great unkindneƒs, and think ill of those who, except
in this, are my most valuable friends; but again, when
I reflect on the service we have been upon, the constant alarms

that it would have occasioned thee, the want of comforts more
than might have been provided, and more especially, if what
thou fearedst had taken place; these, oh then I think, that it is best
that it should be as it is. – We have, my dearest, done much
towards the accomplishment of ^ the service for which we came out;
many risks we have run, but escaped from all, and at least
done as much as, time and circumstances considered, can
be expected. Had we found an inlet which would admit us
into the interior of New Holland, I should have been much
better pleased, but as such did not exist, we could not find
it; several important discoveries however are made, of
islands, bays and inlets; of these, when the charts go home
thou wilt probably see something said in the newspapers
or magazines. This reminds ^ me of expreƒsing a wish to thee,
that thou wilt, in thy journal, mention what is said of
the Investigator or of me in any public papers. I hope thou
wilt send me a journal of all that occurs ^ to thee; it will be
the greatest delight I can receive, to travel and see thy
friends with thee, to read with thee, go into retirement
and into company with thee, for I shall fancy myself
with thee on reading thy account.
    It will grieve thee, as it has me, to understand, that poor
Thistle was lost upon the south coast. Thou knowest how
I valued him; he is however gone, as well as Mr Taylor and
six seamen, who were all drowned in a boat. No remains
of them were found; but the boat, which was stove all to
pieces against the rocks, was picked up. Mr Fowler agrees
better with me than he did earlier in our acquaintance;
he does not find it so difficult a task to please me, as he once
thought; and I believe he now has the inclination to do it.
I wish so much could be said of my brother; the distance be-
-tween us has widened considerably. He is satisfied with being
as much inferior to other officers as I would have him supe-
-rior to them. With my meƒsmates, and all the other gentlemen
of the ship, with but one exception, every thing goes on smooth-
-ly and well. John Franklin approves himself worthy of

notice. He is capable of learning every thing that we can shew
him, and but for a little careleƒsneƒs, I would not wish to have
a son otherwise than he is. Young Lound also turns out to be
a fine lad, but he does not grow.
    Supposing thee to be a little interested concerning those whom
thou hast known, I have written thee a short history of the ship
politics of the ship; I said to amuse thee, but I fear thou wilt
find but little amusement in it.
    It is proper to tell thee that I have sent home to my
agent by this conveyance, bills to the amount of £153.14
and documents by which ^ I expect he will get some time hence £144
£137 more, and I calculate, that if thou hast drawn
£50 from him to this time, that he should still have £106
of mine remaining in his hands; making altogether £397.7.9;
independent of what he bought into the three percents before
I left England, and the interest arising therefrom. I have desired
that he should add all spare money to that in the funds, which
he is empowered to do and to receive the dividends, but as yet
I have not given him the requisite authority to sell out.
Thou wilt judge from the above, that notwithstanding the
arduous task of being astronomer, surveyor, commander, and
inspector of every officer and mans conduct and accounts, that
my pecuniary concerns have not been neglected. No, my be-
-loved, thou art concerned in these, and I shall not cease to do
every thing for thee, until life, or the requisite power, ceases. I
still think that the voyage will be as beneficial to us, as I ever
supposed; which was, that I should be fifteen hundred pounds
richer at the conclusion than at the commencement of it;
this, however, need not be said to every body.
    As my writing any other letter that this, and a short one to
my father, is a matter of much uncertainty, pray say every thing
that is kind to your good father and mother, and to Belle; and
also at Spilsby. They must not think I love them leƒs, because a
great preƒsure of busineƒs at this time prevents me from writing,
or must they take any such thing as an example from it; I shall
make amends before we sail from this port, yet.
    Should thou find from any cause, that £40 is inadequate
to thy annual expenses, pray, my love, write and say so, and the

neceƒsary augmentation shall be made. That I am anxious to scrape
up a sufficient sum during this voyage, to make it unneceƒsary
to go to sea afterwards on a pecuniary account, is indeed true;
but I would not, my dearest love, extend this to the depriving thee
of any comfort or neceƒsary; and luxuries, I think, thou art not
anxious after. Moreover there is one thing which I should wish
^ thee to recollect:– my situation makes me of some consequence
in the eye of the world, and this should extend to thee, and have
its influence in regulating thy appearance and mode of con-
-duct. I cannot, however, do better than to leave all this entirely
to thee, and therefore I do so.
    Trim is very well, and Elder approves himself a good and
faithful servant. Good bye – just now.
June 4th . This is a great day in all distant British settlements
and we are preparing to celebrate it with due magnificence.
The ship is covered with colours, and every man is about
to put on his best apparel, and to make himself merry.
We go through the form of waiting upon His Excellency the
governor at his levee to pay our compliments to him as the re-
-presentative of majesty; after which, a dinner and ball are
given to the colony, at which not leƒs than 52 gentlemen
and ladies will be present. Amidst all this, how much pre-
-ferable is such a right hand and left as we have had at
Spilsby, with those we love, to that which we shall go through
this evening.
    Adieu my best beloved – think on me, and how
much I love thee; and believe me, as indeed I am, thine
with the utmost constancy and affection
            Mattw Flinders

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Related people
Tyler, (Reverend) William
Chappelle (Flinders), Ann
King, Philip Gidley King
Paterson, Lieutenant Colonel William
Thistle, John
Fowler, Robert
Flinders, Samuel
Franklin, John
Lound, Sherrard
Tyler, Isabella (Belle/Bell)
Elder, John
Flinders, Matthew
Taylor, William

Port Jackson


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