Marie Joseph Francois Garnier - Encyclopedia




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MARIE JOSEPH FRANCOIS GARNIER [[[francis|FRANCIS]]] (1839-1873), French officer and explorer, was born at St Etienne on the 25th of July 1839. He entered the navy, and after voyaging in Brazilian waters and the Pacific he obtained a post on the staff of Admiral Charner, who from 1860 to 1862 was campaigning in Cochin-China. After some time spent in France he returned to the East, and in 1862 he was appointed inspector of the natives in Cochin-China, and entrusted with the administration of Cho-lon, a suburb of Saigon. It was at his suggestion that the marquis de Chasseloup-Laubat determined to send a mission to explore the valley of the Mekong, but as Gamier was not considered old enough to be put in command, the chief authority was entrusted to Captain Doudart de Lagree. In the course of the expedition - to quote the words of Sir Roderick Murchison addressed to the youthful traveller when, in 1870, he was presented with the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society of London - from Kratie in Cambodia to Shanghai 539 2 m. were traversed, and of these 3625 m., chiefly of country unknown to European geography, were surveyed with care, and the positions fixed by astronomical observations, nearly the whole of the observations being taken by Gamier himself. Volunteering. to lead a detachment to Talifu, the capital of Sultan Suleiman,. the sovereign of the Mahommedan rebels in Yunnan, he successfully carried out the more than adventurous enterprise. When shortly afterwards Lagree died, Gamier naturally assumed the command of the expedition, and he conducted it in safety to the Yang-tsze-Kiang, and thus to the Chinese coast. On his return to France he was received with enthusiasm. The preparation of his narrative was interrupted by the Franco-German War, and during the siege of Paris he served as principal staff officer to the admiral in command of the eighth "sector." His experiences during the siege were published anonymously in the feuilleton of Le Temps, and appeared separately as Le Siege de Paris, journal' d'un officier de marine (1871). Returning to Cochin-China he found the political circumstances of the country unfavourable to further exploration, and accordingly he went to China, and in 1873 followed the upper course of the Yang-tsze-Kiang to the. waterfalls. He was next commissioned by Admiral Dupre, governor of Cochin-China, to found a French protectorate or a new colony in Tongking. On the 10th of November 1873 he took Hanoi, the capital of Tongking, and on the 21st of December he was slain in fight with the Black Flags. His chief fame rests on the fact that he originated the idea of exploring the Mekong, and carried out the larger portion of the work.

The narrative of the principal expedition appeared in 1873, as Voyage d'exploration en Indo-Chine efectue pendant les annees 1866, 1867 et 1868, public sous la direction de M. Francis Gamier, avec le contours de M. Delaporte et de MM. Joubert et Thorel (2 vols.). An account of the Yang-tsze-Kiang from Garnier's pen is given in the Bulletin de la Soc. de Geog. (1874). His Chronique royale du Cambodje, was reprinted from the Journal Asiatique in 1872. See Ocean Highways (1874) for a memoir by Colonel Yule; and Hugh Clifford, Further India, in the Story of Exploration series (1904).

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