Item #5000807 Signed letter of thanks to Admiral François Etienne de Rosily-Mesros, Director-general of the Dépôt de la Marine. BAUDIN VOYAGE, Jean-Pierre Louis de FONTANES.

Signed letter to Admiral François Etienne de Rosily-Mesros.
Signed letter of thanks to Admiral François Etienne de Rosily-Mesros, Director-general of the Dépôt de la Marine.

Paris: 26 December 1814.

Folio, 320 x 205 mm, manuscript in ink on first page of a bifolium, the other 3 pp blank; (accompanied by an earlier note by Rosily).

Acknowledging a pre-publication presentation of the first atlas of Australia

Formal letter from the Napoleonic minister Fontanes, thanking Admiral Rosily, head of the Dépôt de la Marine, for having presented him with "l'Atlas du Voyage du Capitaine Baudin aux terres australes". This refers to the hydrographical atlas of the 1800-1804 Baudin voyage to Australia, with its accompanying text, the work of Louis and Henri de Freycinet, publication of which was formally completed in 1815. Since this letter is dated 26 December 1814 it must be acknowledging an early pre-publication presentation.

Formal letter from the Napoleonic minister Fontanes, thanking Admiral Rosily, head of the Dépôt de la Marine, for having presented him with "l'Atlas du Voyage du Capitaine Baudin aux terres australes". This refers to the hydrographical atlas of the 1800-1804 Baudin voyage to Australia, with its accompanying text, the work of Louis and Henri de Freycinet, publication of which was formally completed in 1815. Since this letter is dated 26 December 1814 it must be acknowledging an early pre-publication presentation.

The rarest part of the official account of the Baudin voyage, the hydrographical section of the voyage with its glorious Atlas was the first full atlas of the Australian coastline. Not only was it the distinguished rival of Flinders' more famous (because English) Atlas but it also substantially preceded the English work's appearance. The text volume that accompanied it was not merely a compendium of technical data but above all a pilot to the Australian coast, together with a considerable narrative component. Henri de Freycinet specifically referred to this aspect in an address he made to the Société de Rochefort when he spoke of it as "le routier ou guide de la navigation aux terres australes".

Jean-Pierre Louis de Fontanes (1757-1821) was the first "Grand-maître" of the "Université impériale", Napoleon's high-minded creation of 1808 which would eventually become the ministry of education. François Etienne de Rosily-Mesros (1748-1832), who had sailed on both of Kerguelen's "Terra Australis" expeditions in search of a southern land, was in command of the Dépôt de la Marine from 1808 to 1827. In this role among many responsibilities he was in charge of cartographical publications: hence the presentation of the Baudin Atlas to a member of the Napoleonic elite.

The letter is accompanied by a 3-line autograph note by Rosily from early in his career, dated Brest 1778, apparently noting someone suitable to work the ship's mainsheet ("l'ecoute de grande voille"), signed by Rosily and counter-signed as "vu" by "fraboulet" (the Breton naval careerist Joseph Marie Fraboulet de Kerléadec, 1737-1786, lieutenant de vaisseau).

Price (AUD): $2,850.00

US$1,893.95   Other currencies

Ref: #5000807