JCB Archive of Early American Images
JCB call number:
E799 L311vr (copy 1)
Black Bird of Port des Français.
Place image published:
fold-out plate; vol. 2, following p. 128
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Bird perched on a branch.
La Pérouse, Jean-François de Galaup, comte de, 1741-1788
[Voyage de La Pérouse autour du monde. English] A voyage round the world in the years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788 ...
Source place of publication:
Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul's Churchyard
This may be the rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus).The French decided to mount a scientific and exploration voyage to rival that of Captain James Cook. Two ships, the Boussole and the Astrolabe, under La Perouse's command left France in August 1785. They spent the summer of 1786 off the coasts of Alaska looking for a northwest passage then sailed down the west coast of North America in August and September 1786. In September they crossed the Pacific Ocean to Asia. They first sailed north and then south to Australia which they reached in January 1788. In mid-March both ships were wrecked on a coral reef near the island of Vanikoro with all hands lost. Thirty years later remains were found, and islanders reported that survivors had built a boat and headed out to sea, but none were ever heard from again.La Perouse sent letters back to Europe from Manila, Macao, and Australia; this is how the voyage is known. In October 1787 he had also sent a Russian-speaking officer, Jean Baptiste Barthélemy, Baron de Lesseps (1766-1834) overland from Kamchatka with documents, charts, and journals. De Lesseps traveled through Siberia to St. Petersburg and then to Paris, arriving late in 1788. In May 1791, when it seemed clear that La Pérouse would not return, the revolutionary government commissioned former army officer Louis Antoine Milet-Mureau (1756-1825) to edit a book from these materials, which was published in Paris in four volumes with an atlas in 1797. A second French edition was required the following year, and English translations appeared in 1798, 1799, 1801, and 1807; German and Dutch editions were published between 1799 and 1804.
Owner and copyright:
©John Carter Brown Library, Box 1894, Brown University, Providence, R.I. 02912
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