When it came to writing the account of the voyage of the Uranie, Louis de Freycinet could not give any credit to his wife Rose, because she was not supposed to have been on board, But did she make any contribution to what he wrote?
Despite its remote location on the island of Rawak north of Waigeo, which is in turn north of the Bird’s Head of New Guinea, the place Louis de Freycinet chose for his ‘equatorial’ pendulum observations was, for the time and area, already remarkably well mapped. It was also known to have a good source of water nearby.
When the Uranie was approaching Rio de Janeiro, it had on board a very unhappy Rose de Freycinet. That changed soon after they had landed, because in Rio she found two new friends.
When Rose de Freycinet visited Sydney, and despite having been robbed almost as soon as she set foot in the town, she saw advantages in the British method of founding a colony.
In the published French editions of Rose de Freycinet’s journal there is a gap between the arrival of the Uranie off the coast of New South Wales and the 27th of November, more than a week after she anchored in Neutral Bay. Was that week devoid of incident? Absolutely not.
During the three long years she was away from France, Rose de Freycinet wrote letters to her mother, and after her return copies were made and were preserved in the Freycinet family archives. Is it possible that there were not one but two transcriptions, and the second set was never completed?