THE LINDA HALL LIBRARY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION
Voyage of La Pérouse 1785-1788
de Lesseps was the Russian interpreter on the voyage of La Pérouse.
The ships were about to head south, and his skills would no longer
be required. He disembarked at Petropavlovsk, on the Kamtschatka
peninsula of eastern Russia, entrusted with the captain’s
journal. La Pérouse wrote in a letter that an overland
journey from the Russian peninsula to Europe would be a
opportunity to enable Mr. Lesseps to become acquainted with the
various provinces of the Russian empire, where it is likely he
will one day replace his father" [as French ambassador].
Map of Lessep’s overland journey
from Russia to Europe (detail)
fromJean-Baptiste-Barthélemy Lesseps' Journal Historique du Voyage de M. de Lesseps.
Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1790.
After he disembarked
at Petropavlovsk, the ships sailed south across the Pacific Ocean
to the Fiji Islands and then to Australia. They were last seen heading
out from Botany Bay in March, 1788. Lesseps did not learn of the
disappearance of his comrades until he arrived in Paris at the end
of his arduous overland journey.