TASMANIA - HENRI DE FREYCINET AND NICOLAS MARTIN PETIT
Chart inscribed 'Voyage de Découvertes du Capitaine de Vaisseau Mr. Baudin' in upper left-hand corner, and inscribed and signed in oval border in centre, 'Cour d'une Partie De la Riviere du Nord. Terre De Diemen. Relevé par le Lieutenant de Vaisseau. Hry. Freycinet An 10. de l'Ere française [1801-2], manuscript chart on paper (watermark: J.KOOL), ink and watercolour, grid in red ink, with compass, scale and some soundings, small repairs to centre fold and right-hand border, 14 x 29in. 35.6 x 73.7cm.), Derwent River, Tasmania, February 1802.
THIS IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST MAPS OF THE DERWENT RIVER, based on Henri de Freycinet's survey but drawn by Baudin himself in his distinctive style (c.f. Marchant, Appendices, 5 and 9). Freycinet has made some annotations in pencil (e.g. 'Pointille'; 'trait plein' and 'partie ou commence l'eau douce' the latter entry crossed through in ink). There are also traces of editorial directions. The chart is annotated on the verso in a nineteenth-century hand 'Rivière du Nord' and on the recto 'No 2' and 'No 29'.
The Derwent River had been discovered and partly surveyed by D'Entrecasteaux in 1793 and later visits were made by Lieutenant John Hayes and subsequently by Bass and Flinders. Baudin's examination of the river was made only nine years after the mouth of the river had been first described. The maps from the D'Entrecasteaux expedition formed the basis for all later cartography of Tasmania but Baudin's map based on Freycinet's survey, adds considerable detail, including surroundings. This is in the same hand as Lot 11.
Based on Henri de Freycinet's rough sketch maps of the Rivière-du-nord (Derwent River) between Mount Direction and New Norfolk (Archives Nationales, Paris - Marine Series 5JJ:53). Freycinet's report to Baudin describes the exploration in detail: 'In accordance with your instructions of 2 Pluviose, I took command next day of the large dinghy and left the ship at half past three in the morning (3 Pluviose) accompanied by Citizen Péron. I made my way to the North River where you had instructed me to make a reconnaisance. ... At half past two I doubled the large bluff at the foot of which General D'Entrecasteaux's boats had halted and passed near the spot where the Naturaliste's dinghy had ended its reconnaisance. I became certain then that the river did not divide into two branches as Citizen Breton thought he had observed. I continued to move forward, sounding as I went ... It was my intention to spend the night below the point marked H on the plan which I have the honour to present to you. I steered towards it, when the depth shoaled suddenly and I ran aground on a mudbank. The tide fell quickly and I soon saw that a bank extended from the point "H" to point "S" in a direction nearly at right angles to the course of the river, the bottom of which could also be seen at many places towards the western bank. I then came to the conclusion that our boat could not pass (even in open water) beyond the shallows which showed themselves in front of us. ... Having no hope of proceeding up the river in my boat, I left it to the care of the midshipman on duty, resolving to contineu the exploration of the river on foot. ... I followed the windings of the river, taking careful bearings with a good enough compass I had with me. I measured the distances by pacing and by rhumb. ... After a fairly laborious march I arrived at the point "Q", where the river begins to run northwards. ... The river forms a curve at the foot of the Great Bluff and continues as far as a bank which blocks the entry to it between lands of insignificant height. Its edges are very marshy ... The widest part of the river is also the one where the shallows are most numerous and the mud banks thickest. I have drawn a picture of it on my map, enclosing it in a girdle of aquatic plants. ... I am obliged to Mr Petit for adding wash to my plan that I send you. This chart is orientated to correct a declination of the compass amounting to 8°NE.' (Freycinet quoted in N.J.B. Plomley, The Baudin Expedition and the Tasmanian Aborigines 1802, Hobart, 1983, pp.114-117). Plomley notes 'The finished chart of the Derwent River above Mount Direction, which Freycinet sent to Baudin with his report, has not been located. However, a rough sketch of this part of the river, perhaps one made during the excursion to record positions, has been found associated with a copy of the report. - and the few words of writing on it are almost certainly in Henri Freycinet's hand. However, the reference letters do not always correspond with those given in Freycinet's report: perhaps changes were made by Petit when he drew the finished map for Baudin.' (op. cit., p.118)