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ARRIVAL AT CALCUTTA AND OCCURRENCES THERE.
April7, 1827.-Shortly after daylight we got under weigh with all sail set, and at 7 P.M. the anchor was let go at Coolybazar, a quarter of a mile from Fort William, the station for the Company's ships. On proceeding to town I received the distressing intelligence of the failure of the mercantile house to which my affairs were entrusted, and the complete loss of my ship, cargo, and other
property, during my absence on this expedition. This event was heart-rending to me, being thereby once more left destitute, with a large family to provide for.
9th.—This morning I received instructions from the Marine Board to land all the French relics procured at Mannicolo and to deposit them in Government-house at Calcutta; for the inspection of the Governor-General in Council. This order I immediately complied with, and received an invitation to breakfast with his Excellency the following morning.
10th.—According to appointment I waited on the Governor-General at 9 o'clock, who received me with much affability and kindness. He was attended by a numerous train of civil and military officers, all of whom congratulated me on
the successful termination of my expedition. After breakfast his Excellency and party inspected the various parts of the wreck, and were much gratified at perceiving that they had evidently belonged to la Pérouse's ship.
13th.–At 9 o'clock last night I received a letter from Sir James Colquhoun, one of the Governor-General's aide-de-camps, directing me to meet his Excellency and the French resident of Chandernagore next morning, and to spend the day at Barrackpore. I was also desired to bring with me the most interesting of the relics procured at Mannicolo. I proceeded accordingly to the Government-house, and selected such of the things as were most worthy of notice, which I shipped off for Barrackpore.
This place is the country residence of the Governor-General, and is situated on the same side of the river Hooghly with Calcutta, from whence it is about sixteen miles distant. It consists of a moderate-sized house situated on the river bank, surrounded by an extensive and delightful park, variegated with trees, shrubberies, lawns, gardens, and fish-ponds. There is also an extensive menagerie, containing several species of indigenous and exotic animals from all parts of the East.
14th.—The weather having been extremely hot for several days, I started in a gig for Barrackpore at five o'clock, and reached that place
at seven. On my arrival 1 had quarters assigned to me in the visitor's house. I shortly after got the relics landed from the boat, and arranged them on a large table in the ball-room, where I met the French resident and another gentleman from Chandernagore, who appeared perfectly satisfied that those articles must have belonged to the French men of war lost in the South Seas; and a number of compliments were paid me by those gentlemen, for my exertions in recovering them.
15th. At daylight this morning I started for Calcutta, and reached it at seven o'clock. Soon after I proceeded to the Government-house, and got the relics removed from it to the museum of the Asiatic Society, to be placed there for the inspection of the public, who were particularly anxious to examine them.
16th.-) this day received the following official communication through the Marine Board.
General Department, 10th April 1828. Read and recorded, a letter from the Marine Board, dated 7th April, and its enclosures; and read again a letter from the Marine Board, dated the 24th December 1827, and its enclosures, recorded on the Proceedings of the 3d January 1828.
Resolution. The Governor-General in Council having perused the above correspondence with the interest and attention which it is naturally calculated to excite, proceeded to record the following observations.
Much as it is to be lamented that Captain Dillon has not succeeded in discovering any of the officers or men belonging
to the expedition under the command of the Count de la Péronse, the Governor-General in Council conceives that the result of Captain Dillon's proceedings has confirmed the information submitted by him to Government in 1826, on which the expedition was undertaken, and that it has established beyond a doubt the fact, that at least one of the ships was wrecked at the Mannicolo island at a period which, according to the information obtained from the native islanders, must nearly correspond with that of the loss of the Boussole and Astrolabe.
The articles which have been brought away from the island of Mannicolo by Captain Dillon, more particularly those which bear the stamp of the fleur de lis, understood to have been a distinguishing mark impressed on articles the property of the French crown, and as regards naval stores, to have been confined in its use exclusively to those furnished to king's ships, afford sufficiently strong ground to conclude that the vessels wrecked were French men of war, which every circumstance connected with their appearance, and the manner in which those articles have been found, coupled with the absence of any information as to the loss in the South Pacific Ocean of other vessels of war belonging to France, would seem reasonably to warrant the inference that either the Boussole or the Astrolabe, or both, were wrecked on the island of Mannicolo, and that Captain Dillon is entitled to the merit of having ascertained a point, which for so many years had been the object of interesting bụt unsuccessful inquiry.
But although it is impossible that the point above noticed can be conclusively ascertained, or placed beyond cavil in this country, the Governor-General in Council considers it to be particularly fortunate that, among the various relics which have been produced by Captain Dillon (and the recovery of each of which was formally attested on the spot by the officers of the vessel, and by Monsieur Chaigneau, who accompanied the expedition at the instance of the French authorities), there is one article of silver on which there is engraven
a coat of arms sufficiently distinct to admit of identification on reference to authentic records in Europe, connected with armorial bearings of the ancient French nobility. It is possible also that the numbers on the brass guns may lead, on reference to the register of the Arsenal, at which the ships commanded by Count de la Pérouse were fitted out, to their identification as part of the equipment of those ships; and with such clues to inquiry in Europe, it can hardly fail to be clearly ascertained, whether the presumption upon which the island of Mannicolo is assigned as the place of shipwreck of the Boussole and the Astrolabe is correct or otherwise.
It appears therefore, in the judgment of the Governor-Ge. neral in Council, to be highly desirable that the whole of the relics brought by Captain Dillon should be transmitted to Europe by an early opportunity, and a sense of the enterprizing conduct of Captain Dillon, as well as his ability to afford the French government such further information as they may require, naturally indicate him as the most proper person to be entrusted with the charge of them, should be (as is understood) be desirous of accompanying them. Until the necessary arrangement can be made for the transmission to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the articles in question in the manner above proposed, the Governor-General in Council resolves that they shall be deposited for inspection in the apartments of the Asiatic Society, who will be requested to direct their officers to receive charge of them. The plants brought on the Research have, it is understood, been already forwarded to the Botanic Garden.
It only remains to direct that the Marine Board will proceed to adjust all the accounts connected with the expedition, with a view to their being closed at the earliest practicable period. For this purpose the Marine Board will call on Captain Dillon to submit to them his log-book, and such other documents as they may consider it necessary to require, in order finally to adjust the accounts and wages of all connected with the expedition, including the claim of the late first officer of the