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The Uranie ...


…and other voyages.
Scraps and jottings about voyages of exploration under sail,
usually in some way related to the voyage
of the French corvette Uranie,
1817 – 1820.



In finding a place to stay in Rio de Janeiro, Rose and Louis de Freycinet were indebted to a “M. Taunay,, the son of a painter and a member of the Institute’s Academy of Fine Arts, whose name and works are well known in Europe”. But who was this friend in need?

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Rose, by Suzanne Falkiner: a book review

When, on the 13th of June 1820, Rose de Freycinet stepped ashore for the second time in Rio de Janeiro, she became just the second women to make a complete circuit of the globe. The Australian author Suzanne Falkiner has recognised the need for a biography and has filled it with a handsome volume simply entitled Rose.

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A Freycinet catalogue

The Internet is a treasure trove for the early publications on the Uranie voyage but, like all good hidden treasures, there are many obstacles to their retrieval. Digital images of the volumes of the ‘Voyage autour du Monde’ can be found, but quality is very variable and not all volumes are easy to find. There are, moreover, some issues surrounding the contents of the various volumes and their the dates of publication.

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A letter from the Falklands

Rose de Freycinet sent letters to her mother on every occasion when there was some prospect of their reaching France, up to and including the stay in Sydney. She continued to write after that, but we know this only because she mentioned sending a letter from the Falklands in her diary. A copy of a letter from her to her parennts-in-law sent at the same time has survived.

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Gaimard, linguist

Despite the distances involved, there was clearly much coming and going between the islands of the central Carolines in the early 1800s, and their languages, or dialects, would be expected to be very similar also. Gaimard, however, provided two vocabularies for these islands and where they overlap they have major differences, even in such basic matters as the names of the numerals.

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Christmas on the Uranie

It being close to Christmas as I write, I began to think about how that was celebrated on board the Uranie. The fact is – hardly at all.

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A missing letter?

We know that Rose de Freycinet sent at least fifteen letters to her mother between Toulon and Sydney, because copies have survived. But were there any others, that were sent on their way and never reached their destination?

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Rose de Freycinet – artist?

Rose de Freycinet was certainly no artist, to judge from the only drawing possibly by her that is readily accessible, but she did have many other qualities and abilities, as revealed in her letters to her mother.

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The Elder Brother

Louis de Freycinet had an elder brother, Henri,, and the two brothers joined the French navy on the same day in 1794. On the face of it, Henri had the more successful career, administering three colonies in succession, reaching the rank of Rear Admiral and becoming a baron. But it is Louis who is better remembered.

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