A reprint of a classical work in the Cambridge Library Collection.
Following the mysterious disappearance of the La Pérouse expedition after it sailed out of Botany Bay in 1788, the French botanist Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière (1755–1834) took part in the search that departed in 1791 from Brest in two ships, Recherche and Espérance. In the space of three years, the expedition's naturalists collected numerous specimens, with Labillardière focusing on Australian flora, but their missing countrymen were never found. Notwithstanding the later confiscation of the scientific collections by the British – Sir Joseph Banks helped to secure their return – Labillardière was able to publish this narrative to great acclaim in 1800. Reissued here is the English translation of the same year, complete with a volume of finely engraved plates. The work is especially notable for its descriptions and illustrations of the indigenous peoples of Australasia. Volume 1 covers the expedition up to January 1793. Volume 2 includes discussion of Tasmania, New Caledonia and the Friendly Islands. The third volume of illustrations contains more than forty plates depicting people, artefacts, plants and animals.