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Matthew Flinders

In their own words

Matthew Flinders
Audio: 2 minutes

I yesterday enjoyed a delicious piece of misery in reading over thy dear letters, my beloved Ann. It is a general and benumbing course of misery that I undergo in this imprisonment, but by dwelling on thy most charming letters, every little of thy tender anxiety and distress, is afresh called up in vivid colouring to my maddened imagination. I am, as it were, shut up in a cask that has been rolled with violence from the top of hope down in the vale of misfortune; I am bruised and well-nigh stunned out of my senses; but cannot thou imagine the addition it would be to this misery for the cask to have been drawn full of spike nails; - such is the increase of misery to my feelings on thinking intensely of thee.

I have many friends, but yet before thee they disappear as stars before the rays of a morning sun. I cannot connect the idea of happiness with anything but thee. Without thee, the world would be a blank. I might indeed receive some gratification from distinction and applause of society; but where could be the faithful friend who would enjoy and share this with me – into whose bosom my full heart could unburthen [sic] itself of excess of joy. Where would be that sweet intercourse of soul, that fine seasoning of happiness, without which a degree of insipidity attends all our enjoyments? From thee, my beloved, and thee only it is that I look to receive this zest for life, this height of luxury.

I love thee most tenderly. Heaven grant that neither ambition, or necessity may ever again divide us.

Acknowledgements

Flinders, Matthew (1804) Letter to his wife Ann from Mauritius, 24 August 1804. Retter, C. and Sinclair, S., Letters to Ann: The Love Story of Matthew Flinders and Ann Chappelle, 1999, Pymble, Harper Collins

Attribution

Voiced by James Thomasson

Related people

Captain Matthew Flinders

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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