Morrel que je le devrai. Une fausse honte le retint. Fiez-vous donc aux gens doucereux! Il retomba donc sur le plancher de la barque en poussant un hurlement de rage et en se rongeant les mains avec fureur. Mais la douleur ne se laisse pas repousser ainsi. Elle aimait Villefort, Villefort allait partir au moment de devenir son mari. Elle passa la nuit ainsi. Alors je suis accouru, sire.
En ce moment parut en effet sur le seuil de la porte M. Mais on ne veillait donc pas sur cet homme?
Les montagnards sont bonapartistes, sire. Villefort comprit le jeu du roi. Et maintenant, Messieurs, continua-t-il en se retournant vers M. Villefort eut besoin de tout son sang-froid pour ne point trahir la terreur que lui inspirait cette recommandation du roi. Blacas, restez. Continue donc. Un meurtre! Ce sera, ajouta Noirtier en souriant, un moyen pour vous de me sauver une seconde fois si la bascule politique vous remet un jour en haut et moi en bas.
Je vins, vous en souvenez-vous? Fernand, lui, ne comprit rien. Ne vaut-il pas mieux que le gouvernement en profite et moi aussi? Comme nous avons dit que cela devait arriver, il se tourna alors vers Dieu. Il pria donc, non pas avec ferveur, mais avec rage. Edmond ne voulait plus mourir. Il repoussa donc son lit et attendit le jour. Mon Dieu! Ne pouvez-vous pas recommencer dans un autre sens ce que vous avez fait dans celui-ci?
Que fallait-il pour faire une lieue en nageant? Cette fois vous prenez mieux vos mesures. Je ne parle pas de la patience, vous avez fait vos preuves et je ferai les miennes. Ce fera un grand volume in-quarto. Vous aviez donc des livres? Je ne vous cite que les plus importants. Le canif coupait comme un rasoir.
Pauvre enfant, pauvre jeune homme! Cela dura deux heures. Non, soyez tranquille, je ne suis pas fou. On approche … je pars… Adieu. Son palais fut mon paradis. Spada connaissait la coutume des invitations. Ce fut tout. Continuez, je vous prie. Mon patron mourut. Tranquillisez-vous, mon cher Edmond, nous approchons de la fin. En attendant, les heures passaient, sinon rapides, du moins supportables. Plus de doute, la plainte venait du cachot de son compagnon. Maintenant portez-moi sur mon lit, car je ne puis plus me tenir debout. Il sortit. Mais comment mourir?
Que faire? Ces gens sont tous des contrebandiers, des demi-pirates. Cela te regarde-t-il Jacopo? His was a career of firsts:more than plant names today incorporate his name. But a lack of water forced them back to Tasmania and it was left to another explorer to discover the strait between the island and the mainland. This second visit lasted two months while supplies were taken and the ships repaired. When they sailed again, it was to an uncertain fate. His specimens had been seized by the English and he had to engage the assistance of Banks to retrieve them.
Hugely popular, they introduced the great southern land, its mysterious plants and animals, and its indigenes, to the European mind. You never feel you get to know the man himself; you never hear his voice in your head. And yet his later life was filled with fascinating discovery, drama on the high seas, life-and-death incidents — exploits that would make a Hornblower blush.
If only it could have been better told. He left his estate to his nephew, who sold the library and natural history collection to pay death duties. And so, on the second floor of a building on the Via G. La Pira in Florence , stored in long narrow drawers, there is a little piece of Australia and a large piece of our history. This is a story of science, survival and a grand adventure. He was also the author of the first published flora of New Caledonia.
The result is the first comprehensive study of the naturalist, revealing a committed republican who was shaped by the turbulent years of revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Dr Duyker ranges widely: from the tranquil cloisters of Normandy to the pillaged libraries and museums of Italy, from the Cedars of Lebanon to the verdant islands of the Pacific, from the frozen passes of the Alps to the parched shores of New Holland. Dr Edward Duyker is an independent historian, based in Sydney, and the author of fourteen books. It will come as a surprise to many to learn that eight French soldiers were among those shipwrecked on Morning Reef, off Geraldton Western Australia, when the Dutch East Indiaman Batavia foundered in This book, published in Amsterdam in , is the earliest printed work to recount events on Australian soil.
Although in Dutch, it was also the first of many books to recount the exploits of Frenchmen in Australia. Very likely at least some of the French soldiers on the Batavia were literate and perhaps carried French books with them. Or could it be that they sat reading Les derniers vers of Pierre de Ronsard?
In the case of the Batavia, I may be swinging the lamp a little too far, but there is no doubt that books in French have an identifiable place in later Australian history. Two hundred and thirty years ago, when Lt. However, the French books on the Endeavour were not confined to scientific works. The French themselves were not inactive in the exploration of New Holland in this period, yet few Australians are aware that on 5 March — less than two years after Cook landed at Botany Bay — two French ships, the Mascarin and the Marquis de Castries, anchored off Cape Frederick Hendrick on the east coast of Tasmania in search of fresh water and timber for repairs.
Theirs was the first French expedition to reach any part of Australia. Indeed they were the first Europeans to visit Tasmania since Despite arriving in Tasmania before the British, the remarkable commander of the expedition, Marc-Joseph Marion Dufresne who helped rescue Bonnie Prince Charlie after the disaster of Culloden , is curiously absent from the pages of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the Australian Encyclopedia.
In many respects, French vessels were floating libraries. The prize for French shipboard bibliophilia, however, must go to Nicolas Baudin whose expedition visited Port Jackson during the Peace of Amiens [ Baudin was a cultured man with a passion for books and botany. Rose de Freycinet, for example, stowed away on the Uranie, commanded by her husband Louis-Claude Desaules de Freycinet on his scientific expedition of —20, the first major voyage under the Bourbon restoration.
Her engaging account was not published in France until ; and it was the National Library of Australia which published the first English translation in Arguably the most important French writer to live and work in Australia was Paul Wenz — Born into a family of wool merchants in Reims and educated in Paris, Wenz settled on a pastoral property between Forbes and Cowra in the s and began writing stories set in Australia and the Pacific. French literature has long had a reputation for questioning established social and political norms.
Similarly, Proust, Rimbaud and Baudelaire have inspired us to use words and reveal the inner self in provocative new ways. While philosopher novelists such as Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir have challenged our view of the individual in broader existential contexts. Today French language books including Swiss, Canadian, Belgian, New Caledonian and Mauritian publications , can be found in the National Library in Canberra, in every state and university library and in many municipal libraries in Australia.
Furthermore, Le Courrier Australien remains the oldest non-English language newspaper in this country. Despite the increasing popularity of Asian languages in Australian schools, French is still the first choice for many secondary students and continues to be one of Australia living community languages. He was accompanied by a number of his fellow officers, a longboat crew and a black slave.
They had landed at Te Hue many times in the previous weeks and had enjoyed good relations with the local Maoris. That afternoon they planned to fish with a seine. They were never to return to their ship. Everyone of them was surprised and killed and their bodies devoured according to Maori rite. I first heard of Marion Dufresne while researching the role of Mauritius then the Isle de France as a base for French exploration of Australia. In my preliminary research of his family, I also discovered a number of surprising connections with my own ancestors in Saint Malo, Lorient and Brest.
Marion deserves better than to be ignored by the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the Australian Encyclopaedia. I could be cynical and suggest that had he been English he might have fared better. Yet he is often absent from the pages of French reference works. Although Marion will always remain in the shadow of his contemporary, James Cook, both men share striking parallels in their lives.
Both were brilliant mariners who proved their skills in merchant shipping before joining tbe Royal Navy of their respective nations. Both were involved in scientific efforts to observe the transit of Venus. Both sought the whereabouts of the South Land and both eliminated its possibility in various latitudes. Finally, both died tragically at the hands of Polynesians.
To understand the early interaction between European visitors and the indigenous peoples of Australia and the Pacific, biography can provide crucial interpretative clues. This mistake still appears in many French reference works and library catalogues, despite the fact that it was a French scholar, Janine Lemay , who settled the question of the identity of the explorer in Born in Harrogate Yorkshire, he had become fluent in French while working in the wool trade in Paris and Lille, before emigrating to New Zealand in It was not until that the observations on Tasmania of all these officers appeared in translation in one volume under my own editorial hand.
Not only does it contain the fruits of research in the Archives Nationales, it also contains the product of research in the port archives of Lorient, Brest and Saint Malo. Kelly was a remarkable individual who earned his daily bread as an engine driver but, before his tragic death in a railway accident, wrote a number of pioneering New Zealand historical works.
The grandson of Kenehuru, chief of the Ngati Mahutu, his book on Marion Dufresne has the mark of insight drawn from close links to the Maoris. Although this journal may be lost forever, my feeling is that Julien Crozet appropriated parts of it to enrich his own account. Finally, I have been disappointed by my inability to uncover any contemporary portrait of the explorer. Had he a sea-weathered Breton face crowned with a shock of red Celtic hair or were his features beguilingly Latin?
The only information I could glean from documentary sources is that at the age of 48 years, Marion had hair thick enough for Maori chiefs to plant four feathers on the top of his head! I have had to content myself with the image of the explorer by the celebrated French etcher Charles Meryon Meryon visited New Zealand in the s with the French navy and executed his sketch in Paris about probably as a preliminary study for a more substantial work. Saint Malo is a proud town. A fortress-port, it stands on a granite islet on the right bank of the Rance estuary where the spring tides can be more than thirteen metres.
And what the sea does not envelop, the mist that rolls along the Breton coast can swallow in seconds. It is a port which nurtured sailors who could deal with the unexpected and the unknown. By the 13th century the mariners and merchants of Saint Malo had already made a major entrepot of their town.
In the 15th century, when Brittany was still an independent Duchy, the Malouins had established trading connections not only along the coast of France from Normandy to the Pays Basque, but also with Spain, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland and the Low Countries. In the next two centuries, Saint Malo would establish links with africa and the Americas; and her merchants and shipowners would grow even wealthier. Dubuisson-Aubenay gave us some idea of their prosperity when he painted a sumptuous portrait of the Malouin table in his itineraire de Bretagne There are French wines which come by the river Seine and the coast of Normandy.
Most particularly, they drink the wine of Gascony and Spain, red and white. They have bought them from gentlemen who have been obliged to sell owing to financial difficulty. They even purchase estates in the heart of Brittany and they have money in abundance.
In many instances they became Malouin themselves. On the outskirts of the village are two parcels of land: La Fontaine and Le Fresne. In the late 16th century La Fontaine was the property of one Sebastien Marion. Mathurin, who died in , inherited La Fontaine from his father.
His brother Gilles became a gentleman-landholder at nearby La Bretoisiere. If any grander structures once stood beside them, they have long since disappeared. Jean Marion married in June He and his wife Jeanne Collet had two sons that we know of. Two died as infants. Two entered the religious life. Marc was the youngest of the brood. He did not know either of his grandfathers or his maternal grandmother.
They were all dead before his birth. His paternal grandmother, from the house of Magon de la Ville Poulet, died in the Benedictine convent at Dol when Marc was just nine months old. The building was destroyed during the Second World War along with 80 per cent of the old walled city , but it is possible to offer some description of its plan and decoration. A pre-war postcard reveals that the main entrance was a stone-arched doorway with five beautifully carved wooden panels. From other documents, we know that the house had a ground floor divided into two panelled apartments over cellars and then another three storeys and attic rooms.
On entering the main sculptured oak doorway on rue Saint Francois, one faced an impressive staircase with a handrail and balustrade also of carved oak. As one climbed the stairs, each storey was illuminated by a large window overlooking the rue Saint Francois. There was a southern courtyard containing a well and an annex that served as stables opening into the rue des Vieux Remparts.
The kitchen also opened on to the interior courtyard and the street. Just over the hearth were the carved arms of the house of Marion: a palm between two hatched crosses. Next to them were the arms of the Magon family: a crowned lion beneath a chevron and two stars.
Well above, a bold oaken eagle stood sentinel over a central circular panel. Rich carved wooden friezes of acanthus and oak leaves, and of fruit and flowers, decorated the exposed joists and the panels of both the walls and ceiling. On some panels the artist had woven serpents in has relief. It was restrained baroque splendour which barked from the maritime decorative tradition, but spoke of wealth, power, and the aspiration of a bourgeois family for the prestige of the landed nobility.
It is ironic that the initial despoilment of the Marion family home was the cause of its partial preservation! Marc grew up metres from the sea. The gulls can still drown out conversation within the walls. During the War of the Spanish Succession, the Malouin corsairs were spectacularly successful preying on British shipping.
More than prizes were taken between and Julien commanded the Marie Magdeleine, a corsair of tons, 26 cannons and a crew of Despite daring raids such as that led by Duguay-Trouin, which held Rio de Janeiro to ransom in , the Malouin shipowners looked elsewhere for profit. The French, like the English and the Dutch, had traded in Spanish contraband from their bases in the Caribbean since the midth century.
Spain attempted to maintain her trading monopoly, but it became increasingly difficult to exclude the French when a grandson of Louis XV acceded to the Spanish throne. It was a forty thousand kilometres voyage full of perils via furious Cape Horn. But the long dangerous haul to the Peruvian port of Callao, and back, brought rich rewards. Between and almost two hundred million livres of silver made its way to France on ships like the Marquis de Vibray.
It took Julien twenty-seven months to sail to Peru. He remained there over five months and set sail for France on 15 May returning to Saint Malo via Valparaiso and Conception on 10 June Julien married five weeks after his return. It seems likely that his great adventure inspired all but one of his surviving sons to make a career of the sea.
She was small-between and tons -and, unlike the corsairs which required large numbers of men to board and overcome enemy prizes, she had a crew of only 38 men. From the Caribbean she returned, no doubt laden with sugar and rum, via Nantes to Saint Malo on 25 April It took only 15 months for Julien to reap yet another rich reward. He had not sailed with the Eranise for he was now wealthy enough to employ others to command his vessels.
As early as the French Crown had issued letters patent which gave official sanction to the slave trade. The King even enacted special slave taxes. He was later employed by men who, like his father, grew wealthy on the trade; after settling in Mauritius, he himself became a slave-owner and sought to expand this appalling trade in the Indian Ocean.
Not much is known about the manner in which Marc was educated. Saint Malo had a high literacy rate by the end of the 17th century. The numerous religious orders established in the town assumed a significant responsibility for educating the poor. In a city of families of absent sailors, women had a strong matriarchal role. One wonders whether Julien assumed a personal role in the education of his two youngest sons, perhaps giving them lessons in navigation and mathematics.
Marc was to demonstrate his practical competence as a navigator at an early age. From his letters and journals we know he was literate — though much of his writing is marred by grammatical and spelling errors. Aside from the influence of the sea, what is perhaps most obvious when one looks at the Marion household, is the strong influence of religion. The family of Marion Dufresne, therefore, belonged to a unique class of bourgeois merchants and shipowners: pillars of the Church and State, but at the same time competitors with the nobility for important ecclesiastical and secular rank and privilege.
Unlike several of his Magon cousins, this formal recognition by the King was something Marc never attained-although he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Saint Louis. While merchant shipowners such as the Marion Dufresnes chafed under feudal restrictions, they themselves enlisted the support of the Crown to establish their own prerogatives.
As they expanded their trade abroad, they were able to enjoy a standard of living which far outshone that of the petty nobility-members of which were often unable to afford a carriage or simple lodgings should they venture beyond their estates. Despite the fortunate circumstances of his birth, Marc, like his cleric brother Nicolas, would betray both a potent ambition and concomitant insecurity and desire for acceptance.
As we shall see, he was a man capable of bold individual action, yet one who constantly sought approval for his actions-especially when they were outside the confines of the merchant-bourgeois world of the the Compagnie des Indes. He was only fifteen years old. He was only eleven. It was the beginning of a brilliant career.
The commander of the expedition was Marc-Joseph Marion Dufresne , one of the most colourful mariners in French history. Furthermore, what is the significance of his visit? Marc-Joseph Marion Dufresne was born in Saint-Malo, in Brittany, in , the son of a wealthy ship-owner and merchant. Although Marion met Philibert Commerson on at least one occasion, it should be remembered that Marion was actively engaged in the slave trade and even brought slaves with him on his expedition. Such a man is unlikely to have been a disciple of Rousseau.
In planning his voyage, Marion probably also made use of A. Although he achieved a measure of success when Simon Provost returned to the Isle de France with seedlings from the island of Geby in June , [xix] they did not fare well. His son Alexandre Le Corre — would lead the first Mauritian trading expedition to Australia; he and five of his crew members perished when their ship, the Entreprise, was wrecked off the Three Sisters in Bass Strait on 15 October On 13 January , the expedition sighted islands which are now known by the name James Cook gave them: the Prince Edward group.
It will be remembered that Tasman had not met the locals when he visited [in ]. No fish bones, or fishing or hunting material have been found. Before the close of the eighteenth century, French explorers would make profound contributions to the foundations of the natural, physical and social sciences in Australia. As a pre-emptive measure, a brutal penal colony was established on the island with dire consequences for the indigenous inhabitants. See E.
Duyker and M. Duyker eds. Duyker, Of the Star and the Key , pp. Thirty-two years separated the major exploring voyages of Cook and Flinders on the coasts of Australia. During that time five French expeditions visited these shores. In March , two years after Cook had examined the east coast, two Frenchmen were ashore at opposite ends of the island continent, on territory not seen by Cook. On the east coast of Tasmania, Marion-Dufresne was making the first European contact with the Aborigines of that island, at Marion Bay.
To all readers it will, like every good historical biography, illuminate the times through which its subject lived-in this case the maritime world of eighteenth century France. At various times in command of corsairs, naval vessels and merchant ships, he took part not only in convoys, naval engagements, trading voyages and raids on enemy merchantmen but also in a number of special assignments and personal enterprises well out of the usual line of duty.
One of the most remarkable was his command, at twenty-two, of the ship that rescued the Young Pretender from Scotland in One wonders, had he survived his voyage to Australia and the Pacific, what he might have achieved in the great age of French maritime exploration that lay ahead, planned and overseen by Fleurieu , de Castries and Louis XVI , and opening up when the next war, the War of American Independence, was over. The achievement of Edward Duyker goes well beyond writing an absorbing narrative, though his success in that respect is obvious. He has had to assemble a mass of information, both primary and secondary, from many countries and very diverse sources.
Unlike most French exploring captains, Marion served only intermittently in the navy, whose archives therefore record only part of his career; and no personal account of his final voyage has been found. This biography is a notable addition to the maritime history of France, New Zealand and Australia. Fornasiero, J. This book, by three South Australian colleagues, examines two major voyages of exploration of the Australian coast at the begining of the nineteenth century—that of the British explorer Matthew Flinders and his French counterpart Nicolas-Thomas Baudin.
The first half of Encountering Terra Australis is largely made up of lengthy extracts from the journals of the two explorers with additional commentary. The Baudin extracts are fresh translations. Both expeditions made priceless natural history collections, and significant ethnographic observations. They met twice, the first time at Encounter Bay on the South Australian coast in April and the second time at Port Jackson later in the same year.
Baudin died a painful death on the island of Mauritius in September He was on the homeward leg of his voyage. While others might have gained posthumous glory, Baudin gained ignominy. His great misfortune was to die before he had an opportunity to do battle with his detractors. As is so often the case, distortions and lies found their way into later biographies and studies.
Flinders , in turn, would also suffer in Mauritius: detained there for some six and a half year after the collapse of the Peace of Amiens. It is easy to sympathize with him: in French hands, separated from his family and delayed in publishing the results of his discoveries. The discursive chapters in the second half of Encountering Terra Australis are engaging and stimulating. Nevertheless, the authors offer no footnotes and despite a degree of internal referencing and a select bibliography, I was surprised at the sparse acknowledgement of the path-breaking and meticulous scholarship of the late Frank Horner.
While every scholar consolidates to some degree the work of his or her precursors, a select bibliography can only have a limited role in informing a reader of the originality or otherwise of historical statements and judgments. Essentially, therefore, this is a work of popular history which recounts and to some degree compares the Flinders and Baudin expeditions and their respective cartographic and scientific achievements. This is in great part a result of an unqualified acceptance of the work of the American anthropologist George W.
Stocking Jr. And like Montesquieu — and before him John Arbuthnot [ix] — he expended a great deal of effort proposing cultural differences as a result of climate. Jean Fornasiero , Peter Monteath and John West-Sooby do offer an accessible account of two important voyages in the history of Australian exploration.
Unfortunately there are some problems with their interpretation of the scientific results of the Baudin voyage and the scientific dogmas of the time. Cape Naturaliste where Depuch first landed, is largely made up of granitic gneiss and other ancient metamorphic rocks more than million years old. In the Alps Saussure may have made pioneering observations on folding, but he certainly failed to understand metamorphic processes involving granite let alone its very origins and so too did Depuch.
Three-part collaboration and a comparative study of two different voyages with a heavy emphasis on journal extracts is not easy. Fornasiero, Monteath and West-Sooby have brought a variety of linguistic and other skills to their cooperative task. This book is handsomely produced with many beautiful illustrations and a good index. Considered unfit for further military service because of the loss of sight in his right eye , he was included in a prisoner-of-war exchange and repatriated to Thionville, in Lorraine, at the end of Galbada, Paris, This is a revised version of an article first published in the National Library of Australia News in September His lungs eaten away by what was almost certainly tuberculosis, the great French explorer Nicolas-Thomas Baudin died a painful death in Mauritius in September The ships under his command were brimming with collections of botanical, zoological, geological and ethnographic riches.
His great misfortune was to die before his expedition returned to France and thus before he had an opportunity to do battle with his detractors. As is so often the case, these distortions and lies found their way into later biographies and studies. Although he has received powerful vindication through the work of the Australian historian Frank Horner The French Reconnaissance: Baudin in Australia , Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, , mystery still surrounds his private life and even his last resting place.
Indeed his approach spurred me to write an entry for the Dictionnaire de Biographie Mauricienne of which the National Library has fragmented holdings on the mysterious Madame Kerivel , in whose home the explorer died. During a visit to Mauritius in , I acquired one of these precious copies, bound in a set of seven volumes. Some years later I loaned them to another Mauritian friend, who, without my knowledge, unbound and photocopied every page before suddenly dropping dead of a heart attack!
His widow rang me and asked me what I wanted done with the photocopies. Not wishing to add recriminations to her grief, I feined no surprise and decided then and there to donate them to the National Library. They are now held in alphabetical folders among my own papers in the Manuscript Collection and are a valuable resource for Australian family historians of Mauritian descent. Although it seems likely she was born sometime in the s, the Paris Archives have informed me that the records for this parish, prior to , no longer exist. It was perhaps through them that Baudin met the widow Kerivel.
Alternatively, he may have met her through one of her merchant brothers during an earlier voyage to the island. Did Baudin and the recently widowed Alexandrine become lovers? We may never know. But Alexandrine appears to have been a woman drawn to reflective individualists with republican persuasions and the fact remains that the largely self-made Baudin ended his days with her. Despite the calumnies of his detractors, Baudin was a cultured man with a passion for botany.
The entire course of the voyage was altered by them. Because the island was isolated from sources of supply in the middle of the Indian Ocean and its men were waging a corsair war against British shipping to sustain themselves, Baudin had to compete for meagre victuals and limited manpower. His delay in Mauritius meant that he eventually reached the coast of Australia in winter — when heavy seas made effective hydrographic and scientific work difficult. Baudin decided to postpone further surveying of the Tasmanian and south coast, and sail north.
If he had not done so, he would have pre-empted Matthew Flinders. In his final days he had shown visitors pieces of his lungs coughed-up and preserved in a jar of alcohol — observing with black humour that lungs were not necessary for life for he had none, yet still existed! Auguste Toussaint believed Baudin was interred in the Kerivel family vault. Alexandrine Kerivel died in Port Louis on 15 February History is story-telling. One thing that is disappearing in history is this pretence that the author is telling you a scientific fact.
History has its limitations and the full story will never be told — the storyteller always influences the tale. Norman Davies, Geographical Journal, vol. Her step mother, Mary Beckwith snr.
During Encounter , the State major event celebrating the bicentenary of the meeting of Baudin and Flinders at Encounter Bay in April , the Kangaroo Islanders erected a memorial to Mary at what is now known as Baudin Beach. It seemed a fitting conclusion to her story.
A year or so later, while browsing through the memoirs of Captain R. Compton, pp At this answer she drew closer and clasped her hands:. Because I would give twenty years of my life to see him once again! Then of her own accord she explained to me that, although of good family, she had fallen into the crime of theft in London, and had been unhappily, although, as she allowed, properly punished by transportation. Her offence was that of shoplifting, being urged thereto by some species of madness which she could not explain, since she had never wanted for anything, being a lady of good family.
His account rang true. How else to explain the two conflicting stories — the stepmother and step-daughter narrative which I had first accepted as factual, versus this fresh story in which the younger Mary seemingly played no part? Believing as I now do that Mary senior and the young woman are probably the same person, which of these appears more credible?
For readers today, the court papers provide a confusing summary of the proceedings. The operative judicial principle seems to be that the accused were guilty unless proven innocent. There was no defence counsel, and the court questioned the accused. The shop assistant asserted that while the elder Mary was purchasing a yard of calico and a handkerchief, the girl removed 46 yards!
The constable a local employee, there was no organised police force took both into custody and searched them, but found nothing. The elder Beckwith protested she knew nothing of it; the younger that the calico had fallen off the counter, and before she could pick it up the assistant jumped the counter and seized her. The jury did not question how the girl had concealed 46 yards of material under her gown without his knowledge while standing within a yard or so of him.
No search was made for the elusive John Beckwith; the only personal details recorded were that the defendants were aged 34 and Each was sentenced to death, the jury recommending mercy for the girl; both sentences were later commuted to transportation for life a common practice, to meet the shortage of women in the convict colony of New South Wales. There is little doubt that sometimes the owner and his assistants conspired to accuse a wealthy customer of theft in order to blackmail her family.
The judge in the Beckwith trial was Sir Soulder Lawrence. In fact the likelihood of a gentlewoman shopping at Charing Cross at night without a companion was slight — she would have been accompanied, at least by a personal maid. However, the discrepancy is not conclusive; the detail may be incorrect provided by the prisoner , and Eastwick years later, in hindsight was perhaps mistaken in his guess. A new ship, she carried close to female convicts, and on arrival was inspected by Governor Philip Gidley King and his officials. Arriving in February , he made much of his connections to the powerful Cecil family, and was appointed a magistrate and registrar of the Vice-Admiralty Court.
He also appears to have had a penchant for convict housekeepers who in turn became his mistress. The first we know of was Ann Bockerah or Buckrill , a widow with a young daughter Sarah; she died giving birth to another, Penelope perhaps by Atkins , in February Alan Atkinson for details re Ann and Catherine]. She had given birth to a son, Henry, whose seaman father had returned to England, in November ; in July she had a daughter, Theresa, by Atkins. She stayed with him until 6 th February , on which day she received an absolute pardon from Governor Hunter and sailed the same day for England, with her son Henry, in HMS Reliance in which ship Lieutenant Matthew Flinders also returned home, with his plan to circumnavigate and chart the continent.
Catherine also returned, but whether as a convict or free is not clear — I have not found any record. It may also be a possible motive for her later deportation from Sydney to Hobart. Richard Atkins, meanwhile, was left with three young girls on his hands two of them his own daughters ; despite his short-comings, nothing suggests he abandoned them. Normality was disrupted by the surprise arrival of Mrs Elizabeth Atkins on board the Atlas in July John Grant, who made their acquaintance in , has left a description in a letter dated July :. Mrs Atkins came out to him [in ] after an 11 Year separation; he lived then with a Woman as is customary with all the Gentlemen here … by whom he has 2 Girls whom Mrs Atkins adopts as her own.
Yvonne Cramer, ed. NLA, Despite two bouts of serious illness on the voyage — including a near-fatal attack of fever at Timor — it seems Baudin was in relatively good health at the time. He took lodgings ashore, and soon built a close friendship with Governor King, a fluent French speaker. Baudin, occupied with the business of the expedition, lived ashore throughout the five months of his stay.
Lacking evidence, let us fall back on conjecture. Whether he kept a journal during his stay will be discussed below. At the official and family levels this might well be viewed as the preferred solution for all concerned — a classic cover-up, with minimal impact on the social status quo! The initial impact of the confrontation on each of the protagonists must have been devastating — perhaps less so on the judge, who one imagines resorted to the bottle as usual. For both Elizabeth and Mary one would expect it to be far worse, posing a direct challenge to their immediate and longer term futures.
Their collusion, I suggest, appears more plausible if during their altercation Mary let slip the same information to Elizabeth that she gave Eastwick the following year — understandable in such a tense situation. As such again this is speculation , she endangered their future security, which needed to be addressed. A new stratagem was then devised, as described by Baudin in his Journal:. I had promised to interest myself in her case and indeed spoke of it to the Governor. He would not have refused me this request had it not been contrary to the general instructions concerning deported persons, but he told me that if she wanted to leave, no inquiry would be made about her.
She was, therefore, taken aboard the Naturaliste on the day before departure; but as she is unable to re-enter England without authentic permission from the Governor, I have embarked her to set her down somewhere in the Moluccas. Her youth will soon be noticed there and will find her some happy fate. Baudin: Journal, ; transl. Friends SLSA, Readers may make what they will of this last comment.
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Re-reading this passage, it seems Baudin is repeating information he has been given by the girl — it is straightforward, and gives us little reason to doubt his belief in its accuracy. This was a girl who had spent a year in prison before transportation, then six months or so on a convict transport, before assignment as a felon in the colony; we do not know whether or not she was literate, nor whether she had any contact with surgeon Thomson. More surprising is the claim she would have been sent to a convent if she had not accompanied her mother; this was not the case in England, but may have applied in Ireland.
Lacking facts, there seems a whiff of conspiracy about these claims — a feeling that the girl may have been tutored in the details she was to relay to Baudin by the two women. No one else need be involved — young Mary could be induced to believe it was a means to return home, the judge that her departure would ease the tension in his household, and Baudin and King that they were acting in the best interests of their friends the Atkins and also of the colony. Our house is located just a few steps from downtown and its activities, on Rue….
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