French Exploring Expedition.


The French frigate Artemise, 62 guns, Capt. La Place, left Hobart Town, on the 20th of February; her destination is not given, in the Colonial Papers.—The following is from the Sydney Herald:—The French corvettes L’Astrolabe Commodore D’Urville, and Zelee Capt. Jacquinot, touched at Vavau and Hapai, and surveyed the group. The Zelee and L’Astrolabe are discovery ships, and were fitted out in 1837, and after leaving the Fejees, will survey the Solomon Archipelago, and from thence will come to Port Jackson. The voyage of these vessels is expected to be one of extraordinary interest, having been fitted out for the purpose of discovering a great southern continent, which has been reported to be in existence near the South Pole; also to survey the whole of the islands of the South Pacific. They have already made several interesting discoveries one of which is an island to the Southward of South Shetland, the exact situation of which I have not learnt. The Zelee and Astrolabe were built expressly for the purpose and are fitted out for three years, and the following is a copy of the inscription on the medals distributed by them to the principal chiefs and people at the various islands touched at: —Voyage, Autour Du Monde Exploration Du Pole Australis; Louis Philip I., Roi des Francois Corvettes L’Astrolabe and Zelee, Monsieur Decampe De Rosanville, Vice Admiral Ministre De La Marine; Monsieur Dumont D’Urville, Capitaine Commodore L’Expedition.” L’Astrolabe and Zelee have been farther to the southward than preceding navigators encountering very heavy weather, and blocked up in fields and mountains of ice for several weeks; Commodore D’Urville stated at Tavau, that had the vessels not been built expressly for the voyage they must have been lost in the high latitudes. They gave up as fruitless the idea of discovering a southern Continent, and after enduring innumerable hardships, returned to the northward, mere wrecks.