He has given a somewhat fanciful description, which, however, the explorers in the Uranie were able to corroborate, as will be seen from the following extract.
They had a pleasant passage in lovely weather, and over an unruffled sea, to the island of Timor, where on the 9th October the Uranie cast anchor in the roadstead of Coupang, and the travellers met with a cordial reception from the Portuguese authorities.
Much of his work was certainly done under severe trials and difficulties, but it is chiefly significant that the improvement in the charting synchronises with the presence in command of Freycinet; and allusion may again be made to the beautiful work done by this officer when he commanded the Uranie and the Physicienne a few years later, as showing his deep interest and practical skill in employment of this class.
Kraimokou, the minister, during a visit which he was paying on board the Uranie, had caught sight of the Abbé de Quelen, the chaplain, whose costume puzzled him a good deal. As soon as he had learned that the strangely dressed person was a priest, he expressed to the commandant a desire to receive baptism.
Some other storms raised by his works, such as his Lettres Philosophiques and his Epitre a Uranie, he weathered by flight, or by unscrupulously denying their authorship. The rest of his works, contained in seventy volumes, do not concern our present purpose. Our English poet James Montgomery began life as a poor shop-boy.
The Uranie reached Rio de Janeiro on the 6th of December, having put in at Gibraltar, and made a short stay at Teneriffe, one of the Canaries, which, as Freycinet wittily observes, were not Fortunate Islands for his crew, all communication with the land being forbidden by the governors.
There was much to be done in the way of accurate survey, but unfortunately the hydrographers were sorely hindered in their work by the fever which they and some forty of the crew had contracted at Rawak. Sailing on, the Anchoret Islands came in sight on the 12th of February, and on the day following the Amirantes, but the Uranie did not attempt to make for the land.
There is perhaps some warrant for believing that the French Government, when it sent out Freycinet in the Uranie and the Physicienne from 1817 to 1820, and the Baron de Bougainville in the Esperance and the Thetis from 1824 to 1826, desired to collect information with a possible view to colonise in some part of Australasia; though the fear that these commanders were themselves commissioned to "plant" a colony was quite absurd, and the express exploratory purpose of their voyages was abundantly justified by results.
The URANIE carried a woman among the crew, the only one of her sex amidst one hundred men. Madame de Freycinet, the wife of the commandant, joined at Toulon, dressed as a ship's boy, and it was given out in the newspapers that her husband was very much surprised when he found that his wife had managed to get aboard in disguise.
Since the island had come under English administration, it appeared that a number of new roads had been planned out, and a policy of reform had supplanted a benumbing system of routine fatal to all activity and progress. Bourbon was the next place touched at by the Uranie, where the supplies of which the travellers stood in need were to be procured from the government stores.