Captain Marchand's voyage—The Marquesas—Discovery of Nouka-Hiva—Manners and customs of the inhabitants—Revolution Islands—The coast of America and Tchinkitané Port—Cox Strait—Stay at the Sandwich Islands—Macao—Disappointment—Return to France—Discoveries made by Bass and Flinders upon the Australian coast—Captain Baudin's expedition—Endracht and De Witt Islands—Stay at Timor—Survey of Van Diemen's Land—Separation between the Géographe and the Naturaliste—Stay at Port Jackson—Convicts—Agricultural wealth of New South Wales—Return of theNaturaliste to France—Cruise of the Géographe and of the Casuarina to the Islands of Nuyts, Edels, Endracht, and De Witt—Second stay at Timor—Return to France.

Etienne Marchand, a captain in the merchant service, returning to France from Bengal in 1788, met with the English Captain Portlock in the roadstead of St. Helena. Their conversation naturally fell upon commerce, and the value of various articles of trade. Like a sensible man, Marchand allowed his companion to talk, and only put in a few words himself now and again, and thus drew from Portlock the interesting information that furs, and more especially otter skins, which could be obtained for a mere trifle upon the eastern coast of North America, realized an enormous price in China; whilst at the same time a cargo brought from the Celestial Empire would return a large profit in Europe.

Upon arriving in France, Marchand communicated what he had learned to his ship-owners, MM. Baux of Marseilles, and they at once resolved to act upon the knowledge he had obtained. Navigation in the Pacific Ocean required a ship of special strength and excellence. MM. Baux ordered the construction of a vessel of 300 tons' burden, plated with copper, and provided with every necessary for defence in case of attack, and for repairs in the event of accident, and also with everything likely to promote trade and to ensure the health of the crews during a voyage of three or four years.

Two captains, MM. Masse and Prosper Chanal, were associated with Marchand in the command of the expedition, and the rest of the party consisted of three lieutenants, two surgeons, three volunteers, and a crew of thirty-nine seamen. Four cannon, two howitzers, four swivel guns, with the needful ammunition, &c., formed the equipment.

Although the vessel was only to reach Cape Horn at the beginning of winter, the Solide left Marseilles upon the 14th of December, 1790. After a short stay at Praya, Cape Verde Islands, Marchand proceeded to Staten Island, which he reached upon the 1st of April, 1791. He then doubled Tierra del Fuego, and entered the Pacific. His intention was to proceed immediately to the north-western coast of America, but at the beginning of May the water on board was already so tainted that he required a fresh supply.

Under these circumstances, the captain decided to reach the Marquesas Islands of Mendoza which are situated in S. lat. 6°, and near 141° west of the Paris meridian.

"The situation of these islands," says Fleurien, who published an interesting account of this voyage, "was the more suitable for his purpose, because with a view to escaping the calms often met with in too easterly a course, he had resolved to cross the line at 142° west longitude."

This group of islands had been discovered in 1595 by Mendoza, and visited by Cook in 1774. Magdalena Island, the most southerly of the group, was reached upon the 12th of June.

The captain, and his associate Chanal, had calculated with such precision, that the Solide anchored off the Mendoza Islands, after a cruise of seventy-three days from the time of leaving Staten Island, without having noticed any land whatever. Constant astronomical observations alone ensured the safety of the vessel in a sea where the currents were unequal, and it was quite impossible to regulate the course of the ship by any ordinary calculations.

Marchand made for San Pedro, which lay on the west. He soon recognized Dominica, Santa Cristina, and Hood Island, the most northerly of the group, and finally anchored in Madre-de-Dios Bay, where he was enthusiastically welcomed by the natives, crying "Tayo, Tayo."

Finding it impossible to obtain the number of pigs he required at this port, the captain decided upon visiting the remaining bays of Santa Cristina Island, which he found better populated, more fertile, and more picturesque than that of Madre-de-Dios.

The stay of the English in the Marquesas Islands had been too short to allow of accurate observations of the manners and customs of the inhabitants. We will therefore make a few extracts from the description given by Etienne Marchand.

"These natives are tall, strong, and active. Their complexion is clear brown, but many differ little in this respect from the lower orders in Europe. The climate renders clothing unnecessary, but they tattoo their entire bodies so regularly (each arm and leg, for example, exactly like its fellow), that the effect is by no means bad. The way of arranging the hair varies, and fashion is as despotic in the Marquesas as in other countries. Some wear necklaces of red beads, others a string of small pieces of light wood. Although both men and women have their ears pierced, ear-rings are not usually worn. But a young native girl has been seen strutting about wearing as a neck ornament the rusty iron shaving-dish which she had stolen from the ship's barber, whilst a man was equally proud of sporting the ramrod of Captain Marchand's gun, which he had placed in the orifice of his ear, letting part of it hang down."

Cook affirms that these islanders, like the Tahitans, were acquainted with "Kaba." Certain it is that they called the brandy, which was offered them on the Solide, by the name of the pepper-plant. It appeared that they did not indulge to excess in this liquor, for none of them were ever seen in a state of drunkenness.

The English did not mention in their account of the natives an act of civility, which Captain Chanal thought worthy of special record. It consisted in offering to a friend a piece of food which had been already chewed, that he might have no trouble but that of swallowing it. We may easily imagine that the French, in spite of their appreciation of the good-will conveyed in this action, were little likely to avail themselves of it.

To Marchand we owe also the curious observation that their huts are raised upon flat stones, and that the stilts which they use indicate that Santa Cristina is subject to inundations. In the exhibition at the Trocadero, one of these stilts, extremely well made and carved, was exhibited; and M. Hamy, whose thorough knowledge of everything relating to Oceania is well known, has written an essay upon this singular object.

Beyond the usual occupations of fishing, the construction of their weapons, pirogues, and domestic implements, the natives of Santa Cristina pass their time in singing, dancing, and amusing themselves. The common expression of "killing the time" seems to have been invented to mark the uselessness of the actions which make up their lives.

During the earlier days of the stay in Madre-de-Dios Bay, Marchand had observed something which led him to the discovery of a group of islands hitherto unknown to the older navigators or to Cook. Upon a clear evening, at sunset, he noticed a spot upon the horizon, which had the appearance of a lofty peak. As this appeared several nights in succession, he concluded that it was land, and finding it not mentioned upon any of the charts, it seemed probable that it was some unknown island.

Marchand determined to satisfy himself upon this point, and leaving Santa Cristina upon the 20th of June, he had the satisfaction of discovering a group of small islands in the north-west, which were situated in 7° south latitude. He gave his own name to the most important of them. The natives were evidently of the same race as that which peopled the Marquesas. Shortly afterwards several other islands were discovered; including Baux Island, which is identical with Nouka-Hiva, the Deux Frères, and Masse and Chanal Islands. This group, since united by geographers to that of the Marquesas, received the name of Revolution Islands.

The course was then directed to the American coast. It was too late in the season to attempt to reach William's Sound or Cook's River, on the sixth parallel. Marchand accordingly resolved upon making for Engano Cape and entering the Norfolk Bay of Dixon, which is identical with the Guadaloupe Bay of the Spaniards.

Upon the 7th of August Engano Cape was sighted, and after five days of calm anchor was cast in Guadaloupe Bay. There had not been a single case of scurvy on board, after 242 days' navigation, ten of which only were passed in port, at Praya and Madre-de-Dios, and after traversing some 5800 leagues of sea. This was certainly a wonderful fact, due to the prevision of the ship-owners, who had spared nothing that could conduce to the health of the crews, and also to the care with which the captains had observed the sanitary measures commended to them by experience.

During his stay in this port, which the natives called Tchinkitané, Marchand bought a number of otter skins, one hundred of which were of the very first quality.

The natives are ugly, stunted, but well proportioned. They have round, flat faces, small, sunken, bleared eyes, and prominent cheek-bones, which do not add to their beauty.

It is difficult to define the colour of their skins, so carefully is it disguised under a thick coating of grease, and the black and red substances which they rub in. Their hair is coarse, thick, and bushy, covered with ochre, down, and all the filth accumulated by time and neglect, and adds not a little to their unprepossessing appearance.

The women, though not so black as the men, are even more ugly. They are short and thick-set; their feet turn inwards, and their incredibly filthy habits make them repulsive. The coquetry which is innate in the female mind, induces them to add to their natural charms by the use of a labial ornament, as ugly as it is inconvenient, of which we have already spoken in our account of Captain Cook's stay in these waters.

By means of an incision just below the lower lip, they make an opening parallel to that of the mouth, into which they insert an iron or wooden skewer, and from time to time they gradually increase the size of the instrument, in accordance with advancing age.

Finally, they introduce a piece of wood, made for the purpose, of the size and shape of the bowl of an ordinary table-spoon. This ornament, weighing upon the projecting part, naturally forces down the lower lip upon the chin, and developes the beauty of a large, gaping mouth, in shape not unlike an oven, revealing a row of dirty, yellow teeth. This bowl is removable at pleasure, and when it is absent the opening in the lower lip presents the appearance of a second mouth, which is little smaller than the natural one, and in some cases has been known to be three inches in length.

The Solide left Tchinkitané upon the 21st of August, and steered to the south-east, in the hope of coming upon Queen Charlotte's Islands, which had been discovered in 1786 by La Perouse. These islands extend over a distance of nearly seventy leagues. Upon the 23rd, Etienne Marchand sighted Manteau Bay (Dixon's Cloak Bay), which was carefully surveyed by Captain Chanal.

Next day the vessels entered Cox Strait, and began to trade with the Indians for furs.

The navigators were immensely astonished at seeing two enormous paintings, evidently of great age, and some gigantic sculptures, which, although not bearing the very smallest comparison to the chef-d'oeuvres of Greece, testified none the less to artistic tastes little to be expected from the miserable population.

The lands which form Cox Strait and Bay are low and covered with firs. The soil, composed of the remains of plants and broken rocks, does not appear to have much depth, and the productions are similar to those of Tchinkitané.

The population may be estimated at 400. Not unlike Europeans in height and figure, they are less hideous than the Tchinkitaneans.

This stay in Cloak Bay was not as productive of trade in furs as Marchand had expected, and he therefore decided to send an expedition under Captain Chanal to the more southerly islands. The object of the expedition was the survey of the regions which had hitherto been unvisited. Dixon was the only navigator who had crossed these waters, and none of his crew had landed. It is therefore not astonishing that many of his assertions were either rectified or denied after this more careful exploration.

After sighting Nootka Sound, Berkley Bay was reached, but just as the Solide was about to enter it, a three-masted ship was seen approaching the harbour from the south, which was precisely what Marchand had intended doing. This decided the French navigator to proceed immediately to the coast of China, and dispose of his merchandize before the vessel he now saw should have time to reach it and compete with him.

The best route to follow was that of the Sandwich Islands, and upon the 5th of October, the heights of Mauna Loa, and Mauna-Koa were made out by the French. They seemed quite free from snow, which was contrary to the description given of them by Captain King.

So soon as Owhyhee Island was in sight, Marchand wisely decided to conduct all his trade on board. He obtained pigs, fowls, cocoa-nuts, bananas, and various fruits from this island, and was delighted at finding amongst them pumpkins and watermelons, no doubt from the seeds sown by Captain Cook.

Four days were passed in trade, then the route to China was resumed, and in due course Tinian Island, one of the Mariannas, was sighted.

Commodore Anson's glowing description of this island will be recalled. Byron, as we have already mentioned, was quite astonished at the different aspect it presented to him. But the fact is, some fifty years earlier Tinian was flourishing and counted thirty thousand inhabitants, and the victorious Spaniards had since introduced an epidemic which had decimated the population, whilst the miserable survivors had been torn from their country and sent to Guaham as slaves.

Marchand did not land at Tinian—which according to the accounts of every navigator who had visited it since Byron, had relapsed into barbarism—but made for the southern extremity of Formosa.

Reaching Macao upon the 28th of November, he heard news which disconcerted him. The Chinese Government had just passed a law prohibiting the introduction of furs into the ports of the empire under most severe penalties. Was this the result of some unknown clause in a secret treaty with Russia, or was it due to the cupidity and avarice of a few mandarins? In either case it was impossible to infringe the law.

Marchand wrote to MM. Baux's agents in Canton; but the same prohibition held good in that town also, and it was useless to think of reaching Whampoa, where he would have had to pay duty, amounting to at least six thousand piastres.

The only course open to Marchand was to go to Mauritius, and thence return to Marseilles. It is unnecessary to describe the return voyage, which was accomplished without any unusual incidents.

What were the scientific results of this expedition? Nothing to speak of, from a geographical point of view. They may be enumerated as follows:—The discovery of that portion of the Marquesas Islands which had escaped the notice of Captain Cook and his predecessors, a more thorough examination of the country, and the manners and customs of the natives of Santa Christina in the same group, of Tchinkitané and Cloak Bays, and of Queen Charlotte's Islands off the American coast. Small as these results might appear for an official expedition, they were not unsatisfactory for a vessel equipped by private enterprise; moreover, Captain Marchand and his colleagues had turned new discoveries to such good account, and studied the narratives of earlier voyagers so carefully, that they carried out the plan of their expedition more precisely than many experienced navigators might have done. And, in their turn, they rendered valuable assistance to their successors by the accuracy of their charts and drawings.

Circumstances were to prove less favourable for the publication of an account of a scientific expedition undertaken some years later, under the auspices of the French Government, having for its object the survey of the Australian coast. Although the results of the voyage made by Nicolas Baudin were most abundant, they seem up to this date to have been little recognized, and scientific dictionaries and biographies say as little as possible of his expedition.

From the time of Tasman's discovery of the western coast of New Holland, much had been done towards exploring this immense continent. Cook had carefully surveyed the eastern coast, discovering Endeavour Strait, and had urged upon his government the great advantages which would accrue from the founding of a colony in Botany Bay. In 1788, Philip, with his band of convicts, had laid the foundation of Port Jackson and of English power in this fifth continent of the world. In 1795 and 1796, Flinders, a midshipman, and Surgeon Bass, with a small vessel called the Tom Thumb, had explored twenty miles of the River George, and made a careful survey of a long stretch of coast.

In 1797, Bass discovered a large harbour, which he named Western Port on account of its situation.

"His provisions were now exhausted," says Desborough Coolley, "and in spite of his earnest wish to make an accurate and minute survey of his new discoveries, he was obliged to retrace his steps. He was only provided with provisions for six weeks; still, by aid of fish and sea-birds, which he obtained in abundance, he succeeded in extending his voyage for another five weeks, although he had taken on board two convicts, whom he had picked up. This voyage of six hundred miles in an open boat, is one of the most remarkable on record. It was not undertaken from necessity, but with the view to exploring unknown and dangerous shores."

In 1798, Bass, accompanied by Flinders, discovered the strait which now bears his name, and which divides Tasmania from New Holland, and in a schooner of some twenty-five tons' burden, he made the tour of Van Diemen's land. These brave adventurers collected facts, and made observations of the rivers and ports of this country which were of great use in the future colonization of the continent. Bass and Jackson were both enthusiastically received at Port Jackson.

Upon his return to England, Flinders received command of the Investigator, with the rank of naval lieutenant. This vessel was especially equipped for a voyage of discovery upon the Australian coast. The south and north-western shores, the Gulf of Carpentaria, and Torres Straits, were to be explored.

Public attention in France had been attracted to New Holland by the narratives published by Cook and D'Entrecasteaux. This wonderful continent, with its strange unknown animals, and forests of gigantic eucalyptus, alternating with barren plains producing nothing but prickly plants, was long to present all but invincible obstacles to the explorer.

The French Institute was the mouthpiece of popular opinion, in demanding from the government the organization of an expedition to the southern continent. As a result of their representations, twenty-four scientific men were selected to participate in the voyage.

No previous expedition had been so fortunate in the number of scientific men attached to the staff. Astronomers, geographers, mineralogists, botanists, zoologists, draughtsmen, and gardeners, all mustered four or five strong. Foremost amongst them we may mention, Leschenaut de Latour, Francois Péron, and Borg de Saint Vincent. Officers and sailors had been carefully selected. Among the first were François-Andre Baudin, Peureux de Mélay, Hyacinthe de Bougainville, Charles Baudin, Emmanuel Hamelen, Pierre Milius, Mangin, Duval d'Ailly, Henri de Freycinet, all of whom in after-life rose to be admirals or vice-admirals; Le Bas Sante-Croix, Pierre Gillaume Gicquel, Jacques-Philippe Montgéry, Jacques de Saint Cricq, Louis de Freycinet, all future naval captains.

The narrative says, "The plans for the expedition were such as to guarantee its success, and the attainment of the results so eagerly desired. All the experiences of preceding navigators, in the latitudes through which we were to pass, all that theories and reasoning could suggest, had been called into requisition. Most accurate calculations of the variable winds, monsoons, and currents had been made, and the misfortunes which overtook us were in every case due to our deviation from our valuable instructions."

A third vessel of lesser draught was equipped at the Mauritius. The navigators were then to proceed to Van Diemen's Land, D'Entrecasteaux, Bass, and Banks Straits, and thence, having determined the situation of the Hunter Islands, to pass behind St. Peter and St. Francis Islands, and survey the country behind them, in the hope of finding the strait supposed to be connected with the Gulf of Carpentaria and to divide New Holland into two parts.

This survey accomplished, Leuvin, Edels, and Endracht Islands were next to be visited, Swan River to be followed as far as possible, and a survey taken of Rottnest Island and the coast near it. From thence the expedition was to proceed to Shark Bay, to determine various points in De Witt Land, and, leaving the coast at North West Cape, to go to Timor, in the Moluccas, for a well-earned rest.

After allowing sufficient time for the crews to recover from their fatigue, the coast of New Guinea was to be surveyed, with the view to ascertaining whether it was broken up into islands by various straits, the further portion of Gulf of Carpentaria was to be explored, various districts in Arnheim Land were to be reconnoitred, and from thence the expedition was to proceed to Mauritius, on its way to Europe.

A more splendid programme was impossible, and it was clearly traceable to the able mind which had laid down the route taken by La Perouse and D'Entrecasteaux. If the expedition were skilfully conducted the results could not fail to be considerable.

The Géographe, a corvette of thirty guns, and the Naturaliste, a large transport ship, were equipped at Havre for the expedition.

Nothing had been forgotten, the provisions were abundant and of good quality; each vessel was provided with all kinds of scientific instruments by the best makers, a library of the most trustworthy authorities, passports couched in the most flattering terms and signed by every government in Europe, and unlimited credit in all the towns of Asia and Africa. In short, every possible measure was taken to ensure the success of this important expedition.

Upon the 19th of October, 1800, the two vessels left Havre amidst the acclamations of an immense multitude. A short stay was made at Port Santa Cruz in Teneriffe, and thence they proceeded without stopping to Mauritius, where several officers were left who were too ill to proceed when the expedition set sail upon the 25th of April, 1801.

This was not an encouraging beginning, and discontent was rife when it was ascertained that the allowance of fresh bread was to be limited to half a pound weekly, and that the usual ration of wine was to be replaced by three-sixths of a bottle of the inferior tafia of Mauritius, whilst biscuits and salt meats were to be the staple food. This ill-advised economy resulted in the illnesses of the crew, and the discontent of many of the scientific staff.

The length of the voyage from France to Mauritius, and the long stay in that island, had consumed much valuable time, and the favourable season was on the wane. Baudin, fearing to attempt to reach Van Diemen's Land, decided to commence his exploration upon the north-west coast of New Holland. He forgot that he would thus maintain a southerly course, so that his advance would coincide with that of the season.

The coast of New Holland was discovered upon the 27th of May. It was low, barren, and sandy. Geography Bay, Naturalist Cape, Depuch Creek, and Piquet Point, were successively sighted and named. In the last-named spot the naturalists landed, and reaped a rich harvest of plants and shells.

Meantime, however, the violence of the waves carried away the two vessels, and twenty-five of the crew were forced to spend several days on shore, unable to obtain any but brackish water. They could not succeed in killing any sort of game, and their only nourishment was a species of samphire, containing a quantity of carbonate of soda and acid juice.

A sloop which had been driven on shore by the force of the waves had to be abandoned, together with guns, sabres, cartridges, cables, tackle, and many other valuable articles.

"But the worst part of this last misfortune," says the narrative, "was the loss of Vasse, of Dieppe, one of the most able of the crew of the Naturaliste. Swept away by the waves three times in his efforts to re-embark, he was finally swallowed up without the possibility of assistance being rendered to him, or even the fact of his death being ascertained—so violent were the waves, and so dark the night!"

The foul weather continued, the wind blew in hurricanes, fine rain fell uninterruptedly, and the Naturaliste was lost to view in a thick fog which prevailed until Timor was reached.

Upon reaching Rottnest Island—which he had named as a place of rendezvous to Captain Hamilton in case of separation—Baudin, to the surprise of every one, gave orders to make for Shark's Bay, upon the coast of Endracht Island.

The coast of this part of New Holland is a succession of low and almost level sandy barren lands, with grey or reddish soil, intercepted here and there by slight ravines. The coast is almost perpendicular, and is protected by inaccessible reefs; it well deserves the name of "the iron coast," which was bestowed upon it by the able hydrographer, Boullanger.

From Dirk Hartog Island (where Endracht Land commences), Doore Islands, Bernier Islands (where troops of kangaroos were met with), and Dampier roadstead, were successively sighted, as far as Shark's Bay, which was thoroughly explored.

Native hut in Endracht Land
Native hut in Endracht Land.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

Upon leaving Endracht Land, which offers no attractions, De Witt Land—extending from the North West Cape to Arnheim Land, over ten degrees of latitude and fifteen of longitude—was thoroughly surveyed. Much the same incidents and dangers were met with by the explorers as they successively named Hermit and Forester islands, the latter with volcanic soil. The Basseterre, in Geography channel—low lands, which were avoided with difficulty—with Bedont and Lacepede Islands, Capes Borda and Mollien, Champagny d'Arcole, Freycinet, Lucas, and other islands, were seen and named.

"Amidst these numberless islands," says the narrative, "there was little to please the navigators. The sun shines unprotected by any clouds, and, except during the nocturnal storms, there is no movement even of the water. Man appears to have fled from this ungrateful soil, for no trace of his presence is to be seen."

It is difficult for the traveller, who turns in despair from the inhospitable islands of this forsaken coast, where dangers of every sort assail him, and no provisions are to be had, to reflect that this barren country adjoins groups of Asiatic islands upon which nature has lavished her treasures and delights with a liberal hand.

The discovery of the Buonaparte Archipelago completed the survey of this miserable region. It is situated between 13° 15' S. lat. and 123° 30' long. W. of Paris.

"The wretched food upon which we had lived since we left Mauritius had tried the strongest constitutions. The ravages of scurvy had been severely felt, our store of water was very low, and there was no possibility of replenishing it in this miserable region. The time approached for the return of the monsoon, and its accompanying storms must be avoided on this coast; above all, we must procure a boat to enable us to rejoin the Naturaliste."

Moved by all these considerations, the captain decided to direct his course to Timor Island, and he anchored there upon the 22nd of August, in the roadstead of Coupang.

It is unnecessary to enter into details of the reception accorded to the navigators. Hospitality and kindness are ever valuable to the recipients, but there is a sameness in an account of them which is wearisome to the reader. We need only dwell upon the sore need of rest for the suffering crew: ten of those who landed were in the worst stage of scurvy, and many others had the swollen and inflamed gums which precede the attack of this scourge of seamen.

Unfortunately, although the scurvy yielded to the remedies applied, it was succeeded by dysentery, which in a few days laid low eighteen men.

King of the Island of Timor
King of the Island of Timor.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

At length, upon the 21st of September, the Naturaliste appeared. Her captain had patiently awaited the arrival of the Géographe in Shark's Bay, that being the rendezvous appointed by Baudin, but which he had failed to keep. The officers availed themselves of this stay thoroughly to survey the shores of Rottnest Island, and to explore the Swan River, and Albrolhos or Houtman Rocks.

Two Dutch inscriptions, scratched upon tin plates, had been discovered by Captain Hamelin upon Dirk Hartog Island. One recorded the passage, upon the 25th of October, 1616, of the ship Eendraght, from Amsterdam; and the other, the stay of the Geelwinck in this port in 1697, under command of Captain Vlaming.

"The result of the examinations made by the officers of the Naturaliste was as follows:—The so-called Shark's Bay extends from Cape Cuvier on the north, to Freycinet Gulf; the eastern coast is all part of the mainland; and the western consists of the islet of Koks, Bernier, Doore, and Dirk Hartog Islands, and a small portion of the mainland. The peninsula of Péron occupies the centre of this extensive bay, and to the east and west are the harbours of Hamelin and Henri Freycinet."

Unfortunately even the sickness among their unfortunate crews did but restore temporary concord between Captain Baudin and his staff. He himself had been attacked by a fever, and for a few hours it was supposed that he was dead.

Upon his recovery eight days later, however, he did not hesitate to place one of his officers, M. Picquet, ensign, under arrest. All the members of his staff disapproved of this action, and offered repeatedly many flattering tokens of their esteem and regard to the disgraced officer. As M. Picquet was made lieutenant upon his return to France, it would appear that he was not in fault.

Captain Baudin had deviated from the instructions given him by the Institute. He now proceeded to Van Diemen's Land, leaving Timor upon the 13th of November, 1801. The French found themselves in sight of the southern coast of this island exactly two months later; the ravages of disease continued on board, and the number of victims was considerable.

The two ships at length reached D'Entrecasteaux Strait, which had escaped the notice of Tasman, Furneaux, Cook, Marion, Hunter and Bligh, and the discovery of which was the result of a mistake, which might have had dangerous consequences. The vessels had anchored in this spot for the sake of obtaining water, and several boats were sent in search of it.

"At half-past nine," says Péron, "we were at the mouth of Swan River. This spot appeared to me to exceed in beauty and picturesque effect anything that I had hitherto met with. Seven mountain ranges rise one above the other, forming the background of the harbour; whilst on the right and left lofty hills shut it in, and present the appearance of a number of rounded capes and romantic creeks. Vegetation is most luxuriant, the shores abound in hardy trees, growing so densely that it is almost impossible to penetrate into the forest. Flocks of paroquets and cockatoos, of most brilliant plumage, hover above them, while the blue-ringed tomtits sport beneath their branches. The sea was almost calm, and scarcely ruffled by the passage of the innumerable black swans continuously passing to or fro."

The Swan River
The Swan River.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

All who went in search of a watering-place were not equally pleased with their reception by the natives.

Captain Hamelin, in company with MM. Leschenant and Petit, and several officers and sailors, had encountered some natives, to whom he offered various presents. As they were about to re-embark the French were assailed by a shower of stones, one of which wounded Captain Hamelin severely. The natives brandished their assegais, and made many threatening gestures, but could not provoke the strangers to retaliate by a single shot—a most rare example of moderation and humanity!

"The geographical observations made by Admiral D'Entrecasteaux in Van Diemen's Land are so wonderfully correct," says the narrative, "that it would be scarcely possible to imagine anything more perfect of their kind. Their principal author, M. Beautemps-Beaupré has indeed fully merited the esteem of his fellow countrymen and the gratitude of all navigators. In every case where investigation was possible, this skilful engineer made sure of every point. His survey of the strait of D'Entrecasteaux, and the numberless bays and channels comprised in it, was especially thorough. Unfortunately his explorations did not extend to that portion of Van Diemen's Land which lies north-east of the strait, and which was only superficially examined by the French boats."

It was to this portion of the coast that the hydrographers more particularly directed their attention, in the hope that by adding the results of their observations to that of their fellow-countrymen they might gain a thorough knowledge of the coast. This undertaking, which was to complete the results of D'Entrecasteaux's exertions, detained the navigators until the 6th of February. The details and incidents of such exploration are always alike, and offer little to interest the general reader. For this reason we shall not dwell upon them, in spite of their importance, except when they contain anecdotes of interest.

The Naturaliste and Géographe next proceeded to the exploration of Banks' and Bass's straits.

"Upon the morning of the 6th of March we coasted the islets of Taillefer and Schouten Island, at a good distance. Towards mid-day we found ourselves opposite Forester's Cape, and our skilful geographer, M. Boullanger, embarked in the long-boat, commanded by M. Maurouard, to survey the coast. The ship was to follow a route parallel with that of the boat, of which it was never to lose sight for a moment; but M. Boullanger had scarcely been gone a quarter of an hour when Capt. Baudin, without any apparent reason, tacked round and gained the more open sea. The boat was lost to sight, and the coast was not neared again until night was approaching. A strong breeze had arisen, which, increasing every moment, added to the uncertainty of our movements. Night fell, and the coast upon which we had abandoned our unhappy comrades was hidden from our sight. The three following days were vainly spent in the endeavour to find the missing boats."

This calm narration would appear to veil strong indignation against Captain Baudin.

What can have been his motive for forsaking his sailors and two of his ablest officers? This is a problem which the most attentive perusal of Péron's narrative fails to elucidate.

To enter the straits of Banks and Bass was to tread in the footsteps of the latter, and of Flinders, who had made these waters the special field of their discoveries; but when, upon the 29th of March, 1802, the Géographe commenced coasting the south-western shore of New Holland, one portion of it only was known—that which extends from Cape Leuwin to St. Peter and St. Francis Islands. The land stretching from the eastern boundary of Nuytsland to Port Western had never yet been trodden by an European foot. All the importance of this cruise is apparent when we reflect that it was undertaken to decide whether New Holland consisted of one island only, and whether any large rivers flowed into the sea from it.

Latreille Island, Mount Tabor Cape, Cape Folard, Descartes Bay, Bouffler Cape, Estaing Bay, Rivoli Bay, Mongo Cape, were all successively sighted and named. An extraordinary take of dolphins had delighted the crew, when a sail was seen upon the horizon. It was of course supposed that it was the Naturaliste, from which theGéographe had been separated by violent storms since the night of the 7-8 March. As the vessel was making rapid way, she was soon abreast of the Géographe. She carried the English colours. It was the Investigator, under command of Captain Flinders, eight months from Europe, sent for the completion of the survey of New Holland. Flinders had been engaged for three months in the exploration of the coast. He, too, had suffered from storms and tempest in Bass's Strait; during one of the latter he had lost a boat, containing eight men and his chief officer.

A sail was seen on the horizon
"A sail was seen on the horizon."

The Géographe visited in succession Cape Crêtet, the Peninsula of Fleurien (which is about twenty miles in extent), the Gulf of St. Vincent (so called by Flinders), Kangaroo Island, Althorp Islands, Spencer Gulf—upon the western coast of which is Port Lincoln, the finest and safest harbour in New Holland—and the islands of St. Francis and St. Peter. Certainly Captain Baudin, in order to render this hydrographical survey complete, should have followed out his instructions, and penetrated beyond St. Peter and St. Francis Islands. The weather, however, was too unpropitious, and this exploration was reserved for a future expedition.

Scurvy meantime made fearful ravages amongst the adventurers. More than half the crew were incapable of service. Two only of the helmsmen were in a fit condition for duty. How could anything else be expected in a vessel which was not provided with either wine or brandy, but was provisioned only with foetid water, biscuits infested with maggots, and putrid meats, the mere smell of which was injurious?

Winter, too, had set in in the southern hemisphere, and the crews were in sore need of rest. The nearest harbour was Port Jackson, and the shortest passage thither was by Bass's Strait. Baudin, who always appears to have disliked following a beaten track, thought differently, and gave orders for doubling the southern extremity of Van Diemen's Land.

Upon the 20th of May anchor was cast in Adventure Bay. The sick who could be moved were carried on shore, where water was plentiful. But the stormy waters were no longer passable; a thick fog prevailed, and only the sound of the waves breaking upon the shore saved the vessels from running aground. The number of sick increased. The ocean claimed a fresh victim each succeeding day. Upon the 4th of June there were only six men equal to their work, and the tempest increased in fury, yet the Géographe escaped destruction once more!

The sick were carried on shore
"The sick were carried on shore."

Upon the 17th of June a vessel was signalled, and from her captain the navigators learned that the Naturaliste, after waiting vainly for her consort at Port Jackson, had gone in search of her—that the abandoned boat had been rescued by an English vessel, and the crew had been received upon the Naturaliste.

The Géographe was awaited with eager impatience at Port Jackson, where help of every kind was prepared for her.

The Géographe was for three days within reach of Port Jackson, and yet unable to enter the harbour, for want of able-bodied seamen to work her. An English sloop, with a pilot, and the necessary men for working the vessel, was, however, sent to the rescue.

The entrance to Port Jackson is only two miles in width, but it widens until it forms a large harbour containing water enough for the largest ships, and space enough to accommodate all comers in perfect safety. A thousand ships of the line might easily anchor there, according to Commodore Philips' report.

"Towards the centre of this magnificent port, and upon its southern coast, the town of Sydney is situated. Built upon two adjacent hills, and watered by a small river which runs through it, this rising town presents a pleasant and picturesque appearance.

"The eye is at once struck by the fortifications, and the hospital, which is large enough to contain two or three hundred sick, and was brought from England in pieces by Commodore Philips. Immense warehouses, for the reception of the cargoes of the largest vessels, are built upon the shore. Ships of all kinds were being constructed in the yards from the wood of the country."

View of Sydney
View of Sydney.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

With a sentiment of respect, which almost amounts to veneration, the sloop in which M. Bass made the discovery of the strait which separates Tasmania from New Holland is preserved. Snuff-boxes made of the wood of her keel are valued as relics by their possessors; and the governor of the fort could think of no more acceptable present for Captain Baudin than a piece of the wood of this famous vessel, mounted in silver, upon which the chief details of the discovery of Bass's Straits were engraved. Equally worthy of admiration were the prison (capable of lodging two hundred prisoners), the wine and provision warehouses, the exercising ground (overlooked by the governor's house), the barracks, observatory, and the English church, of which the foundations were at this time but just laid.

"The great change in the conduct and condition of the convicts was not less interesting.

"We found new cause for surprise in the population of the colony. A more worthy subject for the reflection of a philosopher or statesman never existed—no brighter example of the influence of social institutions can be imagined—than that afforded on the distant shores of which we are speaking. Here are to be found the formidable ruffians who in a civilized country were the terror of their government. Transported to these foreign shores, ejected from European society, and placed from their first arrival between the certainty of punishment on the one hand and the hope of a better fate in store for them upon the other, surrounded by a surveillance as benevolent as it is active, they are absolutely forced to relinquish their anti-social habits.

"The majority, after expiating their crimes by hard labour, receive the rank of citizenship. Interested themselves in the maintenance of order and justice, for the sake of the preservation of such property as they have accumulated, many of them having become husbands and fathers, the closest of all ties bind them to their present situation.

"The same revolution, brought about by the same means, takes place in the lives of the women and wretched girls. By degrees accustomed to more correct principles of conduct, they in time become the mothers of hard-working and honest families."

The welcome accorded to the French at Port Jackson was in the highest degree satisfactory. Every possible facility for the prosecution of their researches was afforded to the naturalists, whilst the military authorities and private inhabitants vied with each other in offering provisions and help of every kind.

Many were the successful excursions in the neighbourhood, and the naturalists delighted in examining the famous vineyards of Rose Hill, to which the finest plants from the Cape, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Xeres, and Bordeaux had been transported.

When questioned, the vine-dressers said the plants sprout more vigorously here than anywhere else, but the first breath of wind from the north-west is enough to destroy everything; buds, flowers, and leaves alike withering beneath its scorching heat.

Somewhat later, the culture of the vine, transported to a more favourable locality, increased greatly; and although it has as yet not attained to any remarkable growth, furnishes a wine which is pleasant to the taste and very alcoholic.

The Blue Mountains, which for a long time bounded European research, are thirty miles beyond Sydney. Lieutenant Dawes and Captain Tench Paterson—who explored Hawkesbury River, the Nile of New Holland—Hacking, Bass, and Barraillier, had alike failed to scale them.

Already, the thinning of the trees in the neighbouring forests, and the excellence of the grass, had rendered New South Wales an excellent pasturage. Cattle and sheep had been largely imported.

"They multiplied so quickly, that in State pastures alone there were no less than 1800 head of cattle within a short time of our stay at Port Jackson; of these 514 were bulls, 121 oxen, and 1165 cows. The increase and growth of these animals was so rapid, that in less than eleven months the number of oxen and cows had reached from 1856 to 2450, which would be at the rate of increase per annum of 650 head, or one third of the entire number.

"Carrying this calculation on at the same rate for a period of thirty years, or even reducing the increase by one half, it is clear that New South Wales would be teeming throughout its length and breadth with cattle.

"Sheep farming has had even greater success. The increase of flocks upon these distant shores is so prolific that Captain MacArthur, one of the richest landowners of New South Wales, does not hesitate to assert, in a pamphlet published for that purpose, that in twenty years New Holland alone will be able to supply England with all the wool which is now imported from neighbouring countries, and the price of which amounts yearly to 1,800,000l. sterling."

We know now how very little exaggeration there was in these calculations, although at that time they appeared most wonderful. It is interesting to read of the growth of this industry, and the impression produced by it, in its earlier stages, upon the French navigators.

The crew had many of them recovered their health, but the number of able sailors was still so small that it was necessary to send the Naturaliste back to France, after selecting the most healthy of the crew. She was replaced by a vessel of thirty tons burden, called the Casuarina, the command of which was entrusted to Louis de Freycinet. The slight build and low draught of this vessel made it valuable for coasting purposes.

The Naturaliste, says Péron, with the records of the expedition, and the results of the observations made during the two voyages, also took away with it "more than 40,000 animals of different kinds, collected from the various countries which had been visited during the two years." Thirty-two huge cases contained these collections, certainly the richest ever brought together in Europe, which when exhibited in the house occupied by myself and M. Bellefin, excited the admiration of all the English visitors, especially of the celebrated naturalist, Paterson.

The Géographe and the Casuarina left Port Jackson upon the 18th of November, 1802. On this new trip the explorers surveyed King Island, Hunter Island, and the north-western portion of Van Diemen's Land, thus completing the geography of the coast of this huge island. From the 27th of December, 1802, till the 15th of February, 1803, Captain Baudin was engaged in reconnoitring the Kangaroo Islands, upon the south-western coast of Australia, with the two gulfs opposite to them.

"It was indeed strange," says Péron, "to observe the monotonous and sterile character of the different portions of New Holland—the greater on account of its contrast to that of the neighbouring countries. On the north-west we had been charmed by the fertile islands of the Timor Archipelago, with their lofty mountains, rivers, streams, and forests. Yet scarcely forty-eight hours had passed since we left the desert shores of De Witt Land. Again, on the south, the wonderful vegetation and smiling slopes of Van Diemen's Land had excited our admiration, and yet more recently we had been delighted with the verdure and fertility of King Island.

"The scene changes; we reach the shore of New Holland, and are once more face to face with the desolation, the description of which must already have wearied the reader as much as it surprised the philosopher and oppressed the explorer."

The engineers who accompanied the Casuarina for the survey of Spencer Gulf, and the peninsula which divides it from the Gulf of St. Vincent, were obliged to abridge the prosecution of their discoveries in Lincoln Port, and content themselves with the thorough survey which enabled them to decide positively that no great river discharges itself into the ocean in this region. The time for their return to Kangaroo Island had arrived. But in spite of their conviction that if they delayed they would be left behind, they did not hasten their movements sufficiently, and upon reaching the rendezvous found that the captain of the Géographe had already started, without concerning himself in the least about the Casuarina, although her stock of provisions was very inadequate.

Baudin decided to continue the exploration of the coast and the survey of St. Francis Archipelago alone—a most important undertaking, as no navigator had examined its islands separately since its first discovery by Peter Nuyts in 1627.

Flinders had really just made this exploration; but Baudin was not aware of this, and fancied himself the first European who had entered these waters since their discovery.

When the Géographe reached King George's Harbour upon the 6th of February, the Casuarina had already arrived there, but in such a damaged condition that her captain had been obliged to run her aground.

King George's Sound, discovered in 1791 by Vancouver, is of great importance, as being the only point throughout an extent of coast equal to the distance between Paris and St. Petersburg where it is possible to rely upon obtaining sweet water at all seasons of the year.

In spite of its advantages in this respect, the surrounding country is very barren. M. Boullanger in his "Journal" says, "The aspect of the country inland at this point is perfectly horrible; even birds are scarce: it is a silent desert."

In one of the recesses of this bay, known as Oyster Harbour, a naturalist, named M. Faure, discovered a large river, named after the French, the mouth of which was as wide as the Seine at Paris. He undertook to ascend it, and thus penetrated as far as possible into the interior of the country. About two leagues from the entrance of the river his further progress was arrested by two embankments, solidly constructed of stones, connected with a small island, and forming an impassable obstacle.

This barrier was pierced by several openings, most of them above the low tide level, and much wider upon the side facing the sea than upon the other.

By these openings the fish which entered the river at high tide could easily pass through, but could not return, and were consequently imprisoned in a sort of reservoir, where the natives could catch them at their leisure.

M. Faure found no less than five of these erections in the space of less than the third of a mile—a most singular proof of the ingenuity of the barbarous natives of the country, who in other respects appear upon the level of brutes.

In King George's Harbour one of the officers attached to the Géographe, named M. Ransonnet, more fortunate than Vancouver and D'Entrecasteaux, had an interview with the natives. This was the first time a European had been able to approach them.

M. Ransonnet says, "We had scarcely appeared when eight natives, who, upon our first appearance on their coast, had vainly called to us by cries and gestures, appeared suddenly together. After awhile three of them, who were no doubt women, went away again. The remaining five, first throwing their assegais to a distance, to convince us, probably, of their pacific intentions, assisted us in landing. At my suggestion, the sailors offered them various presents, which they received with an air of satisfaction, but without enthusiasm. Whether from apathy, or as a mark of confidence, they returned the presents to us with a pleased expression; and upon our once more presenting them with the same things, they left them upon the ground or surrounding rocks.

"They were accompanied by many large and handsome dogs. I did all I could to induce them to part with one. I offered them all I had, but their refusal was persistent. They probably employed them in hunting the kangaroo, which, with the fish that I had seen them pierce with their assegais, formed their staple food. They drank some coffee, and ate some salt beef and biscuits, but refused the bacon we offered, and left it behind them upon the stones without touching it.

"These natives are tall, thin, and very active. They have long hair, black eyebrows, short flat noses, sunken eyes, large mouths, with projecting lips, and fine and very white teeth. The inside of their mouths seemed as black as the outside of their bodies.

"The three who appeared the oldest among them, and who might have been from forty to fifty years of age, had large black beards. Their teeth appeared to have been filed, and the cartilage of the nose pierced. Their hair was trimmed, and curled naturally.

"The other two, whose ages we took to be from sixteen to eighteen, were not tatooed at all. Their long hair was gathered into a chignon, powdered with red dust, similar to that which the elder ones had rubbed over their bodies.

"They were all naked, and wore no ornament, excepting a large waistband, composed of a number of small fringed strips of kangaroo skin. They talked volubly, and sang in snatches, but always in the same key, and accompanied their song with the same gestures. In spite of the friendly feeling which continued to exist between us, they never allowed us to approach the spot where the other natives, probably their wives, were hidden."

After a stay of twelve days in King George's Harbour, the explorers again put to sea. They rectified and completed the maps drawn by D'Entrecasteaux and Vancouver of Lecon, Edel, and Endrant Lands, which were in turn visited and surveyed, between the 7th and the 26th of March. Thence Baudin proceeded to De Witt Land, which was almost unknown when he visited it the first time. He hoped to succeed better than De Witt, Vianen, Dampier, and St. Allouarn, who had all been unsuccessful in their efforts to explore it; but the breakers, reefs, and sandbanks, rendered navigation extremely perilous.

A new source of danger shortly afterwards arose, in the singular illusion of the mirage. "The effect," says the narrative, "was to make the Géographe appear to be surrounded by reefs, although at the time she was a full league away from them, and every one on board the Casuarina imagined her to be in the most imminent danger. Only when it became too exaggerated to be real was the magic of the illusion dispelled."

Upon the 3rd of May the two vessels once more cast anchor in Coupang Port, Timor Island. One month later, after revictualling, Captain Baudin set sail for De Witt Land, where he now hoped to find the winds favourable for an advance to the east. From thence he proceeded to Mauritius, where he died upon the 16th of September, 1803. It appears probable that the precarious state of his health had some influence upon his conduct of this expedition, and possibly his staff would have had less reason to complain of him had he been in full possession of all his faculties. This, however, is a question for psychologists to decide.

Water-carrier at Timor
Water-carrier at Timor.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

The Géographe entered Lorient roadstead upon the 23rd of March, and three days later the vast collection of natural curiosities was landed.

The narrative says, "Besides an immense number of cases, containing minerals, dried plants, fish, reptiles, and zoophytes, preserved in brandy, stuffed or dissected quadrupeds and birds, we had seventy large cases filled with vegetables in their natural state, comprising nearly two hundred species of useful plants, and about six hundred varieties of seeds. In addition to all this, at least a hundred living animals."

We cannot better complete our account of the results of this expedition than by giving an extract from the report laid before the Government by the Institute, relating more particularly to the zoological collection made by MM. Péron and Lesueur.

"It comprises more than 100,000 specimens of large and small animals. Many important new species are already recognized, and there still remain, according to the statement made by the professor at the museum, upwards of 2500 to be classified."

When we reflect that Cook's second voyage, the most successful undertaken up to this period, had produced only 250 specimens; that the united voyages of Carteret, Wallis, Furneaux, Meares, and even Vancouver, had not accumulated so many, and when we admit that the same statement applies to all succeeding French expeditions, it is evident that MM. Péron and Lesueur introduced more new animals to Europe than all other modern travellers put together.

Moreover, the geographical and hydrographical results were considerable. The English Government has always refused to acknowledge them, and Desborough Cooley, in his "History of Voyages," subordinates Baudin's discoveries to those of Flinders. It was even suggested that Flinders was detained prisoner at Mauritius for six years and a half, in order to allow French authors time to consult his maps, and arrange the details of their voyages accordingly. This accusation is too absurd to need refutation.

The two navigators, French and English, have each fairly earned a place in the history of the discovery of the Australian coasts, and it is unnecessary to praise one at the expense of the other.

In the preface to the second edition of his "Voyage de la Corvette Australis" which was revised and corrected by Louis de Freycinet, Péron has given each his due meed of praise; and to his able work we refer all readers who are interested in the question.