Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/443

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in reading over thy dear letters, my beloved Ann. Shall I tell thee that I have never before done it since I have been shut up in this prison? I have many friends, who are kind and much interested for me, and I certainly love them. But yet before thee they disappear as stars before the rays of the morning sun. I cannot connect the idea of happiness with anything without thee. Without thee, the world would be a blank. I might indeed receive some gratification from distinction and the 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 itself of excess of joy? Where would be that sweet intercourse of soul, the fine seasoning of happiness, without which a degree of insipidity attends all our enjoyments? … I am not without friends even among the French. On the contrary. I have several, and but one enemy, who unfortunately, alas, is all-powerful here; nor will he on any persuasion permit me to pass the walls of the prison, although some others who are thought less dangerous have had that indulgence occasionally."

"When my family are the subject of my meditation," he said in a letter to his step-mother, "my bonds enter deep into my soul."

His private opinion of Decaen is expressed in a letter written at this period:[1] "The truth I believe is that the violence of his passion outstrips his judgment and reason, and does not allow them to operate; for he is instantaneous in his directions, and should he do an injustice he must persist in it because it would lower his dignity to retract. His antipathy, moreover, is so great to Englishmen, who are the only nation that could prevent the ambitious designs of France from being put into

  1. Flinders' Papers.