Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Blosseville, Jules Poret de (1802–1833)

by Leslie R. Marchant

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

Jules Poret de Blosseville (1802-1833), by Francois Jacques Dequevauviller, 1830s

Jules Poret de Blosseville (1802-1833), by Francois Jacques Dequevauviller, 1830s

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an9483108

Jules Poret de Blosseville (1802-1833) navigator, explorer and geographer, was born on 29 July 1802 at Rouen, France, the son of a cavalry officer whose family had a naval and administrative tradition. His mother came from St Domingue. After a thorough education at home, he volunteered at 16 for the navy and visited the Antilles and Cayenne. In 1819 a further voyage to the West Indies and South America whetted his appetite for exploration and scientific discovery which was then the vogue. In 1821 the newly reorganized French navy resolved to send an expedition to the South Seas. Jules's father, who was a close associate of the naval minister, Clermont-Tonnerre, secured the young man a junior post in the Coquille under L. J. Duperrey, and he sailed for the Pacific on 11 August 1822.

Besides being given the general task of making scientific surveys of the Southern Ocean, Duperrey was ordered by the French Naval and Colonial Office to report on western New Holland as a site for possible French settlement and to investigate the gardens which had been left by the Nicolas Baudin expedition. Duperrey did not carry out these orders and went instead to Port Jackson, but Jules de Blosseville, who was intensely interested in colonization, made his own reports. He spent nearly a month in New South Wales in January 1824, using his ability in English and his training in astronomy to work with Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane in the latter's new observatory. The results of his surveys recorded in his diaries and in his letters, together with his theorizing, found their way into his elder brother's book on Australia. Britain's colonizing technique impressed him, for it pointed to what he felt was a weakness of Bourbon France. While still in the Coquille he wrote a significant study of the commercial prospects of the Pacific entitled Commerce du Grand Océan.

After his return to France in 1825, Jules de Blosseville was appointed to a small ship off Honfleur, but kept up his correspondence with acquaintances in New South Wales. In 1826, because of his expert knowledge and interest, he was asked by the French government to report on the suitability of western New Holland as a French penal colony, for transportation was seen as a possible panacea for a number of ills in France at the time. As a result of two favourable reports by Jules de Blosseville to the minister of the interior, D'Urville was dispatched in April, among other things to make further investigations in south-west New Holland. France's prospects in the region were closed by the settlement founded by Major Edmund Lockyer at King George Sound in December 1826. Blosseville later received a similar plan for a settlement in New Zealand, which momentarily met with more success at Akaroa; but he did not see this achieved, for, after exploring in Asian waters in 1827, and taking part in the expedition to Algiers in 1830, he sailed in July 1833 on an expedition to the Arctic on which he disappeared.

Select Bibliography

  • B. E. de Blosseville, Histoire des Colonies Pénales de l'Angleterre dans l'Australie (Paris, 1831)
  • B. E. de Blosseville, Jules de Blosseville (Evreux, 1854)
  • N. Larronde, A la Mémoire de Jules de BlossevilIe (Paris, 1935)
  • L. R. Merchant, France and New Zealand, 1769-1846: A List of Naval Records in Paris (Perth, 1962)
  • Dictionnaire de Biographie Française, vol 6 (Paris, 1954)
  • Revue Scientifique, 72 (1934), p 201-6
  • J. de Blosseville, Nouvelles Acquisitions Françaises, 6785 (Bibliothèque Nationale).

Citation details

Leslie R. Marchant, 'Blosseville, Jules Poret de (1802–1833)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/blosseville-jules-poret-de-1799/text2041, published in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 26 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2014

Jules Poret de Blosseville (1802-1833), by Francois Jacques Dequevauviller, 1830s

Jules Poret de Blosseville (1802-1833), by Francois Jacques Dequevauviller, 1830s

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an9483108

Life Summary [details]

Birth

29 July 1802
Rouen, France

Death

1833
at sea

Cultural Heritage
Occupation