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New Zealand 1826-1827: From the French of Dumont D'Urville

Appendix B

page 238

Appendix B

1.Lycée Malherbe.
3.Muséum; Musée De Paris.
5.Musée D'histoire Naturelle.
6.La Société De Géographie, Paris.
1.Lycée Malherbe. By a decree of the Government of the Republic dated 10 floreal an XI (May 16, 1803), a lycée was to be established in the Abbey of S. Etienne in the city of Caen and to open on 1 brumaire an XI (October 1803). In fact the school did not open till 1 thermidor an XII (July 20, 1804). Unfortu nately the school archives do not give any details of successes before 1810. Significant dates are quoted in the original French to show how completely the school was the creation of the new régime. I owe this information, as well as the drawing of the Lycée facing page 16, to the kindness of the Proviseur (Head Master).
2.L'école Polytechnique, rue Descartes, Paris, was founded in 1794 on the initiative of Monge and Carnot, under the name of Central School of Public Works, but soon became known as I'École Polytechnique. Under Napoleon's educational schemes all the students became resident, and the college, housed in the Latin Quarter of Paris from 1805, was organized on a military basis with a general at its head. The competition in the entrance examination has always been very severe. While the college still serves its original purpose of preparing civil and military- engineers and officers of artillery, it has become a centre of highly-specialized' scientific study. At the present day the Polytechnique is administered by a general (General Brisac 1949) with the title of Commandant, and a Director of Studies.
3.Muséum; Musée De Paris. When in May 1791 a Civil List was instituted for the French King Louis XVI, the royal palace known as the Louvre became a public gallery housing masterpieces of Art and Science. In September 1792 the legislature decreed that, art collections from royal residences should be transferred to the Louvre and a commission was appointed to organize the Muséeum, which was opened, on August 10, 1793. In 1797 it was known as the Muséum Central des Arts, in 1804 as the Musée Napoléon and later as the Musée de Paris or the Muséum. Although occupied by allied troops after the fall of the Empire and stripped of many of its treasures, the Musée du Louvre has remained the great Art Museum of France from its inauguration in 1793 to the present time.
4.L'institut; L'académie Des Sciences. By the terms of Cardinal Mazarin's will, the Collège des Quatre Nations was built on the left bank of the Seine just below the Pont Neuf. In it Mazarin desired to make provision for young noblemen and page 239bourgeois of good family from the four border provinces (or nations) added to the King's realm during his administration, so that these too should have a Collège for their corporate life as students of the Sorbonne. The domed building constructed (1663-1672) soon after his death, houses the Cardinal's magnificent library and remains externally much as the original architects planned it. Although its functions have been changed, it still serves the cause of learning and has thus triumphed over political vicissitudes. The various Académies existed before Mazarin's creation, I' Académie Française (a literary body) and l' Académie des Sciences both dating from the reign of Louis XIV. Colbert is regarded as the founder of the Academie des Sciences, 1666, which originally consisted of" sections of geometry, astronomy, mechanics, anatomy, chemistry, and botany. In April 1785 two new sections, viz., physics and natural history, including mineralogy, were added. In 1793 the revolutionary attack on the monarchy swept away all the learned societies. But by Article 298 of the Constitution of the year III (1795), they were reconstituted under the title of Institut de France. With certain modifications this organization has persisted to the present time, each Académie forming part of the Institut. Thus Duperrey became a member of the Institut by his election to the Académie des Sciences. When Dumont d'Urville read his report on the voyage of the Astrolabe, the Annales Maritimes et Coloniales 1829 recorded it as being made to l' Académie Roy ale des Sciences de I'Institut. For ten years the meetings were held in the Louvre but in 1806 the Institut was installed in Mazarin's building, which thus became the permanent home of the learned societies of France. The original chapel of the College des Quatre Nations was transformed by Vaudoyer into a Conference Chamber and other internal modifications adapted the building to the regular meetings of the various Academies.
5.Musée D'histoire Naturelle Du Jardin Des Plantes (The Natural History Museum of the Botanical Gardens) is still often referred to as the Muséum, the name which was given to it in 1794 by the Convention. This foundation, which dates back to simple beginnings in the XV century, developed on a large scale in the XVII under the control of two medical men of science, Herouard and Gui de la Brosse. Chairs of botany, chemistry, and natural history were established and in the XVIII century under Buffon further advance was made. The Muséum was respected and indeed developed under the Revolutionary Government and is today an important centre of biological study.
6.La Société De GéOgraphie, Paris, dates from 1821, when a meeting was held in the great Town Hall of Paris. In recognition of his work in Botany Dumont d'Urville had already been elected to membership of the Société linnéenne and his name appears in the list of Foundation Members of the Société de Gêographie. There is no record of the amount of his subscription having been reduced to prevent his resignation on grounds of poverty, as is sometimes stated. D'Urville received the gold medal of the Society in 1841 and in December of that year was elected Chair-page 240man of its plenary session. In 1892 the Society published a pamphlet by Baron Hulot Le Contre-Amiral Dumont d'Urville and in its bulletin Acta Geographica 1948 there appeared a hitherto unpublished letter by Dumont d'Urville, dated 25th May, 1838.

(I wish to acknowledge the help of the Secretary of the Society, on whose letter, etc., this note is based.—O.W.)