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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.


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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Louis de Freycinet – plagiarist

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?

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Captain Thomas Forrest

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.

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Madame de Roquefeuil

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.

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France’s lost opportunity

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.

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A colony of thieves

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.

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A problem with some letters

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?

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