To my friend T.B.E.
All Sydney people, and most of those who have visited the city, have seen the tall monument to Laperouse overlooking Botany Bay. Many have perhaps read a little about him, and know the story of his surprising appearance in this harbour six days after the arrival of Governor Phillip with the First Fleet. One can hardy look at the obelisk, and at the tomb of Pere Receveur near by, without picturing the departure of the French ships after bidding farewell to the English officers and colonists. Sitting at the edge of the cliff, one can follow Laperouse out to sea, with the eye of imagination, until sails, poops and hulls diminish to the view and disappear below the hazy-blue horizon. We may be sure that some of Governor Phillip’s people watched the sailing, and the lessening, and the melting away of the vessels, from just about the same place, one hundred and twenty four years ago. What they saw, and what we can imagine, was really the end of a romantic career, and the beginning of a mystery of the sea which even yet has not lost its fascination.
The story of that life is surely worth telling, and, we trust, worth reading; for it is that of a good, brave and high-minded man, a great sailor, and a true gentleman. The author has put into these few pages what he has gleaned from many volumes, some of them stout, heavy and dingy tomes, though delightful enough to “those who like that sort of thing.” He hopes that the book may for many readers touch with new meaning those old weatherworn stones at Botany Bay, and make the personality of Laperouse live again for such as nourish an interest in Australian history.
(Not included in etext)
Portrait of Laperouse, with Autograph
Laperouse’s Coat of Arms
The Laperouse Family
Comte de Fleurieu
Louis XVI Giving Instructions to Laperouse
Australia as known athe time of Laperouse’s visit
The Boussole and astrolabe
Chart of Laperouse’s Voyage in the Pacific
Massacre of Captain de Langle’s Party
Tomb of Pere Receveur
Monument to Laperouse at Botany Bay
Map of Vanikoro Island
Relics of Laperouse
Jean-Francois Galaup, Comte De Laperouse, was born at Albi, on August 23, 1741. His birthplace is the chief town in the Department of Tarn, lying at the centre of the fruitful province of Languedoc, in the south of France. It boasts a fine old Gothic cathedral, enriched with much noble carving and brilliant fresco painting; and its history gives it some importance in the lurid and exciting annals of France. From its name was derived that of a religious sect, the Albigeois, who professed doctrines condemned as heretical and endured severe persecution during the thirteenth century.