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1006686
  • Title
    Manuscript account of the voyage on the Astrolabe written by Pierre Seurin, 1837-1840, together with a commemorative medallion for the expedition engraved with Seurin's name, 1837
  • Creator
  • Call number
    MLMSS 9930
  • Level of description
    fonds
  • Date

    1837-1840
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
    1006686
  • Physical Description
    0.01 metres of textual material (1 folder)
    1 object - metal medallion - 55 mm diam.
  • ADMINISTRATIVE/ BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

    French naval officer Jules-Sebastien-Cesar Dumont d'Urville made two long scientific voyages to the Pacific. King Louis-Philippe approved d’Urville’s proposal for the second voyage to continue exploration in the Pacific, but ordered that the expedition explore the Antarctic and claim the South Magnetic Pole for France or equal the most southerly latitude achieved in 1823 by James Weddell. Thus France became part of the international competition for polar exploration, along with the United States and the United Kingdom. The Astrolabe and Zélée sailed from Toulon on 7 September 1837. Pierre Seurin joined the voyage of The Astrolabe as a first class sailor and as the voyage progressed he was promoted through the ranks, becoming quarter-master first class on 1 January 1840.

    During D'Urville's first Antarctic descent, in early 1838, he sailed from the tip of South America to the South Orkney Islands, then probed the Weddell Sea hoping to find a sea passage to the South Pole. This expedition was unsuccessful.

    D’Urville’s second Antarctic descent took place in early 1840 and was mounted from Hobart, where he recruited a number of whaling deserters and, it would appear, former or escaped Tasmanian convicts to augment his crew, which had been ravaged by dysentery and fever contracted in Java. Adelie Land was discovered on this second voyage and named after d’Urville’s wife.

    Reference:
    Compiled from the collection
  • Collection history
    Purchased from direct descendant of the Seurin family. A French export license has been obtained.
  • Scope and Content
    A small, leather bound volume, 164 pages, hand written in ink, ca. 1840. A cast metal commemorative medallion for the Astrolabe's voyage, 50 mm in diameter, with P. Seurin hand engraved on its edge, ca. 1837.

    Pierre Seurin's journal provides a firsthand account of Dumont d’Urville’s second expedition to the Pacific on board the Astrolabe (1837-1840). Seurin frequently refers to voyages of previous explorers as they come across relevant parts of the Pacific, including Bougainville, La Perouse and d'Entrecasteaux. He records daily duties on board the ship and often notes the activities of hydrographer Clement Adrien Vincendon-Dumoulin, who was the first to spot the Antarctic mainland from the Astrolabe’s crow’s nest on 21 January 1840. Whilst in Hobart, Seurin describes the temperate climate and discusses the establishment of an English penal colony there in 1804 which he notes has since developed. He comments that some of the convicts were kept in chains while others are free to dress as they wish, though must report every Sunday at church for roll call. Seurin devotes several pages to describing the charting of the Antarctic coastline and describes the naming of Adelie Land after d’Urville's wife. The journal concludes with a list of all the anchorages made on the journey which provides a clear summary of the voyage. The format of the journal suggests that it is a fair copy Seurin wrote shortly after his return to France in 1840.
  • Language
  • Source
    Purchased from Maggs Brothers, 2017
  • Access Conditions

    This material is held offsite and is usually available after 4pm on the next business day. Please submit your request through Ask a Librarian
  • Copying Conditions
    Copyright status:: In copyright
    Research & study copies allowed: Author has been deceased for more than 50 years
    Rights and Restrictions Information:: No publication without prior written approval of copyright holder
    Please acknowledge: : Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
  • Signatures / Inscriptions

    Signed twice on the first page by Seurin's father, Gabriel.
  • Name
  • Subject
  • Open Rosetta viewer

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