RGSSA Library Catalogue

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

2017 Exhibition Catalogue : mapping the 'South Lands'

La Pérouse discusses his voyage with Louis XVI
 and his Minister of the Marine, the Marquis de Castries, 
at the Palace of Versailles in 1785 by Edouard Nuel 

from Roman times to the digital age :

hunting for the South Lands
 of the world
[cont. from previous post ]
A voyage round the world: performed in the years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, by the Boussole and Astrolabe, under the command of J.F.G. de La Perouse. English edition, published London, 1799
The original work was first published (c. 1797) in French, in 4 volumes, with an accompanying folio atlas: Voyage de La Pérouse Autour du Monde, Publié Conformément au Décret du 22 Avril 1791, et Rédige par M.L.A. Milet-Mureau.
Jean-François de Galaup La Pérouse (1741-1788) was a French explorer and navigator born near Albi. He studied at a Jesuit college and entered the naval college in Brest at fifteen. In 1757, he was posted to the ship Célèbre and participated in a supply expedition to the fort of Louisbourg in New France (French colonial Canada) and in a second supply expedition to Louisbourg in 1758. In 1762, he participated in an attempt by the French to gain control of Newfoundland, escaping with the fleet, when the British arrived in force to drive them out.

La Pérouse led three French warships in the 'Hudson Bay Expedition' and engaged the Royal Navy off the American coast in August, 1782. He made his name by capturing two English forts (Prince of Wales Fort and York Fort) on the Hudson Bay. He allowed the survivors, including Governor Samuel Hearne (1745–1792) of Prince of Wales Fort, to sail off to England in exchange for a promise to release French prisoners held in England.

La Pérouse was appointed in 1785 by Louis XVI and his Minister of the Marine, the Marquis de Castries, to lead an expedition around the world. The expedition's aims were to complete the Pacific discoveries of James Cook (whom La Pérouse greatly admired), correct and complete maps of the area, establish trade contacts, open new maritime routes and enrich French science and scientific collections. His ships were the Astrolabe under Fleuriot de Langle (1744-1787, Samoa) and the Boussole, both 500 tons.

From the La Pérouse atlas
Map of the Pacific Ocean showing New Holland (Australia)

Copying the methods of Cook's scientists, the La Pérouse expedition, based their calculations of longitude on precision watches and the distance between the moon and the sun followed by theodolite triangulations or bearings taken from the ships. The same method used by Cook to produce his maps of the Pacific islands. As regards geography, La Pérouse decisively proved the rigour and safety of the methods used by Cook. He visited Chile, Hawaii, Alaska, California, Macau, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Russia, the South Pacific and Australia. He recognised the importance of fresh food in fighting scurvy and was persuaded by Cook's observations that fresh water was also valuable in this regard.

From the La Pérouse atlas
Map showing Queensland coastline

La Pérouse wrote that he expected to be back in France by June 1789, however neither he, nor any of his men, were seen again. Both vessels and crew tragically disappeared with no trace after leaving Botany Bay in Australia, October 1788. However, La Pérouse regularly sent reports, charts, and drawings back to France throughout his expedition saving great contributions to science and navigation.

The wreckage of La Pérouse’s ships were later discovered by Peter Dillion (1788-1847) and further investigation was made by J.S.C. Dumont-Durville (1790-1842). In 1826, evidence of ship wrecks were identified at Vanikoro Island in Santa Cruz group (now Solomon Islands) and confirmed as La Pérouse’s ships in 2008. Stories from local people recount that many of the shipwrecked survivors were murdered? Further stories say that survivors of one boat modified it into a two-masted vessel, with the exception of 2 men, all of them sailed away but were never seen again?   

Call number: rgsp 910.41 L311 c
Call number: rgsp 910.41 L311 d (Atlas)
RGSSA English edition published 1799
York Gate Library ; no. 2404

Refer online French edition of atlas from GallicaDigital Library Bibliothèque nationale de France also available from the State Library of NSW 
The fate of La Pérouse. State Library of NSW
Portrait of J.S.C. Dumont d'Urville, commandant l'expedition de l'Astrolabe by Antoine Maurin available from the National Library of Australia

Map of Kangaroo Island, 1803
South Australia

Carte de L'Ile Decrès
Freycinet, Louis de (wall mounted map) 
(Map of Ile Decrès, or Kangaroo Island) (Framed map, facsimile) 

Louis de Freycinet (1779-1842) was a junior officer on Nicolas Baudin's expedition to New Holland aboard the schooner Casuarina in 1800-1803In January, 1803, Baudin (1754-1803) was the first to circumnavigate Kangaroo island with Freycinet and geographer, Charles Pierre Boullanger (1772-1813),  who was responsible for the navigational charting. Freycinet commanded the schooner on the return voyage in 1803. 

Freycinet became the voyage cartographer after his return to France. He drew the map for the atlas accompanying the history of the voyage. Admiral Decrès (1761-1820) was Napoleon's Minister of Marine at the time of publication (c. 1812).

Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) surveyed the island's north coast in March 1802. His charts were not published until 1814 but the French were aware from their meetings with him at Encounter Bay and later at Sydney of his decision to name it Kangaroo Island. As the first discoverer, Flinders had the naming rights, and Kangaroo Island was restored in later versions of the map.

The French names on modern maps of the island were given by the French navigators who charted the south and west coasts which Flinders had not seen. 

N.B. The Baudin expedition officially terminated with the arrival of the flagship Géographe and the schooner Casuarina at Ile de France (Mauritius) in August 1803. Captain Baudin died on 16 September 1803.
Mssr. Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France and chair of the French Terra Australis 2001 committee commemorating the bicentenary of Baudin's voyage, presented this map printed from original plates, to Anthony Brown, historical adviser to Encounter 2002 and a member of the RGSSA Council. Presented at the unveiling of a bust of Nicolas Baudin in March 2003. Mr. Brown donated it to the Society's Library.
[Refer: Encounter 1802-2002 : celebrating Flinders' and Baudin's expeditions in search of the 'unknown' southern coast of Australia. State Library of South Australia ]

Original French manuscript, 1807

Original printer's proof, Plate XIV, 1897

[Plate XIV of the Atlas of plates by C.A. Lesueur and N.M. Petit, accompanying Peron's 'Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes', Paris, 1807.] [manuscript]
by François Peron, 1775-1810. Original manuscript (11 sheets)
This is a rare manuscript item consisting of Peron's pencil notes written around Plate XIV of the atlas of plates asking Jacques Gerard Milbert, Director of the preparation of the plates, to make certain alterations. 

The RGSSA petitioned the State Government to retain many of the French place names along the coast of Australia--Council Minutes, 1901-1952 : page 20.

Call number: MS 21a
Refer RGSSA catalogue record

First European accounts of Korea, 1818

Frontispiece: Sulphur Island
Account of a voyage of discovery to the west coast of Corea and the great Loo-Choo island also titled:-
'A vocabulary of the Loo-Choo language'

by Captain Basil Hall, 1788-1844 and Herbert John CliffordIllustrations and maps, published London, 1818
Basil Hall (1788-1884), was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was educated at the Royal High School and joined the Royal Navy in 1802, and commissioned Lieutenant in 1808, later rising to the rank of Captain and commanded many vessels. While serving aboard HMS Endymion, he witnessed Sir John Moore (1761-1809) being carried dying from the Battle of Corunna. Hall explored Java in 1813 and, in 1817, interviewed Napoleon who had been at school with his father on St. Helena.

From the beginning of his naval career he had been encouraged by his father to keep a journal, which later became the source for a series of books and publications describing his travels. These included, Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the West Coast of Corea and the Great Loo-Choo Island in the Japan Sea (1818), which was one of the first descriptions of Korea by a European.

Lieutenant Herbert John Clifford (1789-1855) was allowed to accompany Hall by the Admiralty on half pay and compiled a vocabulary of the languages encountered on the trip. The preface states that, 'Nothing respecting the west side of Corea (sic) has hitherto been accurately known to Europeans.' The area covered by this publication is the coast between Inch'on and Mokp'o. The volume also contains an account of Captain William Robert Broughton's (1762-1821) visit with the local people of the area and has a reproduction of an account sent to Chinese Emperor Kang Hi (1654-1722) through the Chinese ambassador during Kan Hi's reign.

'Corman [Korean] chief and his secretary'--facing p. 16
An example of the exquisite illustrations 

Call number: rgsp 910.45 H174 c
[refer online edition from the Internet Archive Digital Library ]

May 2017
Exhibition of Rare Books curated by the Library Committee
of the Royal Geographical Society of S.A. Inc.

Mortlock Wing
State Library of South Australia. North Terrace Adelaide
Hours Tuesday to Friday 10am to 1pm
Phone 08 82077266

Location and contact details available from the Society's website

Exhibition catalogue is available to download in a pdf file from the Society's website

Continues to next post 

Continued from previous post
2017 Exhibition Catalogue

All external links retrieved November, 2017
posted by Sandra Thompson
RGSSA remote cataloguer

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