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Charles de Freycinet

Readers of the 1927 edited version of Rose de Freycinet’s diary may well feel that she could have said more about her meeting on Mauritius with her brother-in-law Charles. But she did say more. It was simply edited out.


When Rose de Freycinet started to write her diary of her voyage on the Uranie, she began with two very personal paragraphs addressed to the person for whom it was intended. She did not name the friend, not did she explain why she ended her diary so abruptly, writing almost nothing about her last month in Rio de Janeiro and nothing at all about the journey home from there

Beginning with the beginning

Neither Rose de Freycimet’s journal nor the letters to her mother provide a complete account of her voyage but, by the greatest of good fortunes, they do when put together. Moreover, for the latter part of the stay in Sydney, and for the voyage as far as Dili, we have both letters and the journal. Where they overlap, the letters have been neglected in favour of the journal, but was that the right thing to do? A question that can be answered only by comparing the two. But therein lies an additional problem.

Rose de Freycinet: a footnote

After the deaths of the two eldest de Freycinet brothers, Alexandre Dezos de La Roquette wrote a joint obituary and summary of their lives for the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie. He included in it, in a long footnote that extended over parts of four pages, a summary of the life of Rose de Freycinet.

The gallant governor of Dili

If the length of time the Uranie spent in a port is compared with the amount of space Rose gave to the visit in her diary or letters, then the stay in Dili is a stand-out item. For this the credit must go to its Portuguese governor, Don José Pinto Alcoforado de Azevedo e Sousa.

A secretary’s life

When Isidore Duperrey took the Coquille out of Toulon, he took with him several of those who had sailed with the Uranie and had returned on the Physicienne. They included Auguste Bérard and the master-gunner Rolland, and one other who might not have been expected to be there.