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Le Marquis de Castries

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Le Marquis de Castries

Postby shipstamps » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:48 pm

FSAT 78.jpg
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Marion du Fresne, born at St. Malo on December 22, 1729, was an officer of the French India Company. He was highly esteemed, distinguishing himself in action during his voyages, which were more or less of a scientific nature. He was in command of the Mascarin when he was ordered, in 1771, to repatriate to Tahiti a young native, named Aoutourou (sometimes shortened to Auturu) who had been taken to France by Bougainville in the previous year. Wishing to explore the Southern Oceans, then scarcely known, Marion proposed to repatriate the native at his own expense if another ship was added to his own, with the authorisation to navigate at large in the South latitudes. Having agreed to this proposal, the Navy put another India Company ship at his disposal, the armed flute Marquis de Castries (launched at Lorient in 1765), commanded by another India Company captain, the Chevalier du Clesmeur. The Mascarin. flagship of the expedition, was launched in 1768, and carried 22 guns. They sailed from Lorient in 1771, but on arrival at the Cape of Good Hope, Marion learnt that Aoutourou had died at Madagascar while awaiting him. He decided to sail South, hoping to discover the South Continent, and on January 13, 1772, land was sighted, which he named Esperance. (It was in fact an island, as Captain Cook established four years later and which he renamed Prince Edward Island).
A little later, two other islands were named Iles Froides, and on January 24, 1772, the date given on the FSAT stamp, the Marquis de Castries reported an island and her first lieutenant, named Crozet, went ashore to take possession of it, naming it "Ile de la Prise de Possession." Later it was renamed "Marion." To the North East, Crozet sighted another island, which he named "Ile Aride," now Crozet Island.
Resuming their voyage on an Eastward course, both ships called at Van Diemen's Land, then went to the Northern coast of New Zealand. They anchored on April 4, 1772, in the Bay of Islands, the event commemorated by the 8c stamp of New Zealand. Well received by the natives, Marion installed a temporary hospital on the small Matonaro Island, and built on the mainland two workshops for the repair of his ships. Friendship developed with the natives and Marion was promoted by them, on June 4, 1772, to the rank of a local "big chief." Four days later he was invited to another ceremony more inland by the native chief Takouri and went to his village with two officers and 14 ratings. They did not come back. On the following day,a wounded sailor was picked up in a canoe. He told how Marion and all his companions had been massacred and eaten by the natives. Clesmeur and Crozet hastily took their sick men and material back to their ships. They then landed fully armed at Matonaro on June 14, killed 50 natives out of 300, and set fire to the village. In a second landing, they went to Takouri's village, picked up the remnants of their chief and comrades, and set fire to Takouri's estates. After naming the area Baie de La Trahison (Bay of Treason), they set off on their return voyage.
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