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    Re: La P�rouse
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2010 Apr 4, 10:21 +0100

    I'm rather surprised, and pleased, that my casual reference to La Perouse 
    (in regard to Antoine) has triggered such from Peter Hakel.
    Let me quote from a backstage posting to me from Antoine, a couple of weeks 
    back, which had this nice postscript-
    "PS : And by the way, on Jan 21, 1793 and just minutes before he was 
    beheaded, our King Louis XVI asked "Avons-nous des nouvelles de Monsieur de 
    La P�rouse ?" Do we have news about M. de La P�rouse ?"
    Peter Hakel suggested-
    "It makes me want to start digging through the primary sources of this 
    voyage, like you have done with those 19th century whaling expeditions. 
    Maybe someday."
    That would not be easy, for the La Perouse expedition. His journals 
    survive, up to his departure from Port Jackson, because copies were sent 
    back to France from various stopping-points. They have since been 
    translated into English by John Dunmore, and published in two volumes by 
    the Hakluyt Society in 1994 as-
    "The journal of Jean-Francois de Galaup de la Perouse 1785-1788".
    They are very much traveller's accounts of the places he visited. Although 
    he provides quite a bit of navigational information along the way, it is by 
    no means a log of the voyage. There would have been a detailed ship's log 
    kept aboard each vessel, which would presumably stay with the vessel, and 
    not be copied to send back to Paris: as the vessels didn't survive the 
    voyage, neither would those logs. The savants would presumably keep their 
    own accounts of detailed observations, presumably lost as well.
    One reason why we have such detailed information from Cook's voyages is 
    that the ships always returned (even if, on the last, Cook didn't), with a 
    mass of well-recorded data.
    Another work, related to the topic, that may interest Peter, is "Looking 
    for La Perouse", by Frank Horner (1995) which is not about La Perouse 
    himself, but about the expedition that went out in search for him under 
    d'Entrecastaux in 1792-3.
    That French sextant, of which Frank linked a picture, is rather interesting 
    in itself. See-
    It does indeed look like a sextant rather than an octant, but it's of 
    composite construction; a wooden frame with pinned-on brass arc and index 
    arm. A recipe for thermal instabilty, in my opinion. Most sextants were 
    being made in brass by then; in England, anyway. Note also that it 
    possesses an extra mirror for taking backsights, to extend its range beyond 
    120�, just like some of the sextants that Cook was carrying a few years 
    earlier. It's a feature that we tend to associate with octants, to extend 
    their more-limited range, and only rarely, with (early) sextants.
    contact George Huxtable, at  george@hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK. 

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