Collecting localities



Biographical data


Deschamps, Louis Auguste


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 5: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement I)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 8: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement II)


Born: 1765, Saint-Omer, Dépt Pas de Calais, France. Died: 1842, Saint-Omer, France.



Surgeon-Naturalist of the expedition of the ‘Recherche’ in search of la Pérouse, 1791-1793 (cf. sub Billardière, detailed itiner. etc.). When the expedition stranded in Java he was interned for a short interval, but Governor van Overstraten offered him to stay in Java to make natural history investigations for which he would get facilities to extend his research into the interior of the island. Deschamps accepted, as he says, in the interest of science, and took leave of his travel companions. In the subsequent years this Frenchman made numerous trips, and he certainly has been the first to make botanical collections on several of the mountains and in many remote localities of Java. It is a pity that evidently none of his botanical specimens are preserved, as his diary, drawings and MS. papers are such, that we might have expected extremely valuable material. During his travels he was partly accompanied by some young assistants who were to help him with the description and drawing of plants and animals (he collected fishes too!). Afterwards he settled at Batavia as a physician until 1802, in which year he sailed for Mauritius. Later he settled at St Omer in France.

Some small papers of his were published.4

The genus Deschampsia P.B. was named after him (cf. Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936).


Collecting localities:







[Vol. 1:] For the voyage in ‘La Recherche’ and ‘L’Espérance’ cf. sub Billardière

[Vol. 8:] In vol. 1 the itinerary of the Voyage is referred to Billardière. Deschamps sailed in the ‘Recherche’ and the dates from his MSS are a little different from Billardière’s, i.e. Waigeou (Aug. 16-27, 1793), Bouro (Sept. 3-16).

[Vol. 1:] The expedition anchored near Soerabaja (E. Java) on Oct. 28, 1793, where the members were not exactly interned, but not allowed to go far inland. D. used his time in studying the native language and the flora. With the other members he was transferred to Semarang (Centr. Java) in March 1794, where Governor van Overstraten made him the above mentioned proposal. He started collecting in the environs of Oen(g)aran(g), in the meanwhile preparing for an extensive excursion into the interior. Leaving Semarang (May 8, 1795) for Salatiga, from there climbing G. Merbaboe (Marababou in his diary) via Kopeng (15), and returning to Salatiga; setting out (29) to Bojolali; Djokjakarta; trip to the south coast (hot spring and caves); stay at Djokjakarta; setting out with Mr IJsseldijk on a tour (Aug. 2), via Bantol, Brosot, Selangon, Rawa, Padat, to Caranbolon (= Karangbolong on the south coast), collecting several new plants on hills in the environs; from Patanaga to Rawa (large lake with pelicans etc.), Louvano (pepper plantations), Soerakarta (24); Sept. 2 via Bojolali climbing the Merapi and back; Sept. 8 to G. Lawoe, via Gondo (9), he himself being too tired to reach the summit, but sending his collectors thither (11); back at Solo (= Soerakarta) (12); return to Djokjakarta (18); to Djivo (28), Maniaran (29), Bankat (30), through teak forest (31), Zuidergebergte, from Mounon (Oct. 1) to Patiitan (= Patjitan), back to Maniaran, Djivo (6), Baudion (or Bodion) (7), via Magelang and Setron returning to Semarang; in the vicinity of G. Soembing and Sindoro (20), at Wonogiri (21), Soulocaten (= Selokaton) (22); teak forest with many monkeys, Batan(g) (23); Pekalongan (24); via Pemalang to Tegal (26), giving up the idea of climbing G. Slamat, and returning to Pekalongan (staying 3 weeks), from where (Nov. 22) via Batam (= ? Batang) along the coast to Plaboeran, Panarouban, Bleri (= Weleri) (leaving on the 23rd), Kendal (24), and Semarang. The rainy monsoon was availed of, to arrange and identify the collections. April 1796 setting out for a 6-month trip, accompanied by 2 draughtsmen, slaves, etc.; from Semarang to Masaròn; Siraguèn (May 3), Djogorogo (4), and the 5th proceeding by proa to E. Java: Ngawi at the junction of Solo and Madioen River; descending the river to Panolang (6), Searang (8), Camolan (9), Doucon (= Doekoeng) (10), and Grissée (11), visiting the environs of the latter place; by boat to Soerabaja (23), from there (26) to Bangil, making a mountain trip (30) to Pandangan and Ledoe (June 2); to Bagel (= Bangil) (3), Pasoeroean (5), and the 11th setting out to Tinguer (= G. Tengger), visiting the Bromo via Poespo, the ‘mer de cendre’ (= Zandzee), Bato(er), till the 14th, and then proceeding to Malan(g) via Bangor (14), Poron(g) (15), Malang (15); Poron(g) (16) to Pasoeroean (16), Soerabaja (20), embarking (25) for Madura, visiting: Ban(g)kalan(g), making a trip to the N. coast (26), and to Pamekas(s)an (30); from Bankalan (July 5) to Sumenap (= Soemenep) (6), staying till July 14; leaving the island by boat (15) and forced to land near Besoeki at Panaoucan (= Panaroekan) in E. Java; proceeding by land to Cape Sundana (= ? Sedano) near Sombrouarou (= Soemberwaroe), and to Banjoewangi via Batoedodol (20); collecting in the environs of Banjoewangi (zoologically too); on his way (Aug. 8) to the Ydjieng (= G. Idjen) via Bandjar, visiting the crater; back to Banjoewangi (11) with an extensive collection of plants etc.; trip to the S. coast, collecting a new Passifiora, a Limonia, etc., and returning via Kradjagan (= Gradjagan) (18), Pan(g)pan(g) (19), making several small trips, and staying for 6 weeks at B(e)lambangan; by sea (Sept. 6) to Besuki; proceeding to Probolinggo (9), and Pasoeroean; Soerabaja, Grisse(e); crossing to Madura (fort Sambilungan = Sembilangan) (20), and back to E. Java: Sydayo (= Sidajoe) (21); to Crandji (22), Touban (23), Niangolon (24); Centr. Java: Las(s)em, Rembang (26), Joinna (= Joanna), from where (Oct. 2) to (D)Japara, climbing G. Murai (= Moerjo) (4), and returning to Japara (6); back at Semarang (7). During the wet monsoon staying at Semarang. May l, 1797 ‘en route’ once more, this time to the west: leaving Semarang (May l), via Kaliwongan (= Kaliwoengoe), Kendal, Vleri (= Weleri), Batan(g) (2); Pekalongan (3); Tegal (June 5-13); setting out to G. Tagal or G. Sraia (= Slamat ?), via Bandiaran (14), Ramboul (15), Tchibedel, not reaching the summit, but descending on the 16th; via Labaxio (= Lebak Sioe) (16) returning to Tegal (17); the 19th proceeding via Berbes (= Brebes) to W. Java, Cheribon; visiting some hot springs in the environs of Cheribon (July 7 and 8), making a trip to the district W of G. Tjermé (= Tjeremai or Tjareme); to Ling(g)adjati (10), visiting slope of G. Tjeremai; the 13th trying to climb G. Tjermé, but being himself too tired, he sent his collectors to the summit; Cheribon (15-23); proceeding via Ragasvatjana (24), Quali (= Kawali) (26), Tj(i)amis (27), Konasin (30), Tjeboulon (31); by proa downstream the river Tjeboulon (Aug. 1) and Tchelando, and crossing to the island of Noesa Kambangan, visiting Manoudjai, N. central coast of the island, some caves (2), Pamotan (3), and walking along the S. coast of W. Java to the west (5) to point Penandjon (= Penandjoeng or Panindjoan Peninsula); Tchecomboulon (= Tjikemboelan), leaving the 6th for Soukapoura (staying 9-12); to Pamoijanan (13), Panembon (14), trip to G. Papandajan (15), and from Panembon along the foot of G. Goentoer to Djatilaxano, and Prakamoutjon (W of Soemedang); visiting hot spring (18); Bando(e)ng (19); mountains N of Bandoeng (21); to Tjeraton (23), collecting in the environs (23-24); Bandoeng (25-26); to Batoelaian (27), collecting in the environs (29); Radjamandala (30); Tchekalon (= Tjikalong) (31); Tj(i)andjo(e)r (Sept. l-5); G. Gede (not the summit), Tjipanas and environs (6-11); back at Tjiandjoer (12); from Bandoeng (17) to Tche-Combar (= Tjikembar) (-20), Tcheringin (= Tjaringin) (21), and Wijnkoopsbaai or Pelaboean Ratoe (22); Pandjindang (23); Tchethourou (= Tjitjoeroeg) (24), Pondok Gede (25-30), Tjisero(e)a and Megamendoeng (Oct. l-8), Pondok Gede (9), Buitenzorg (10), Batoetoelis; towards the end of October proceeding to Batavia.-1798.3 Buitenzorg (April); Soemedang, P. Moentjang, G. Goentoer, G. Tangkoeban Prahoe.



According to Backer (MS.) Deschamps was imprisoned by the English when on his home voyage to France, and robbed of his collections.5 John Reeves bought his MSS with a quantity of dried plants from Java at a sale at the India House and later (1861) presented them to the British Museum; the specimens of plants are apparently lost, there is no evidence that they were ever received at the National Herbarium.1 The MSS consist of his unpublished autograph journals kept during the voyage and on his subsequent travels in Java, with materials for a Flora Javanica,2 water-colour sketches of Javan scenery, plants (including those of Noroña, which were sent to him by Governor van Overstraten) and animals, as well as other notes and memoranda, all preserved in the Library of the Brit. Museum (Bot. Dept).

Notwithstanding the fact that the British Government had paid the prize-money for D’s captured collection, Sir Joseph Banks promised him to send it to France by the first opportunity. In spite of Banks’s efforts, these scientific collections were never returned to France as far as known.7 The MSS at Saint-Omer (France; see Hocquette sub Biogr. Data) must be copies of the BM collection of MSS or the reverse.

His MS plates were studied by Backer and van Steenis.6



(1) cf. Journ. Bot. 41, 1903, p. 282-283.

(2) ‘Plantes trouvées dans mon voyage de cette année 1798 a Tjiseroa’ (with drawings in pencil); ‘Genera et species nova recondita in meo itinere e Cheribon usque Batavia’ (with drawings too); ‘Flora javanica seu Descriptio plantarum quae reperiuntur in insula Java’; ‘La flore javane ou Description des plantes qu’on trouve dans l’isle de Java’; ‘Apperçu de l’isle de Java et de ses productions’ (several lists of plants).

(3) cf. de Haan, Priangan, 4, 1912, p. 561.

(4) ‘Notice sur le Pohon Upas ou Arbre à poison. Extrait d’un voyage inédit dans l’intérieur de l’Isle de Java, par L.A. Deschamps, D.M.P., l’un des Compagnons du Voyage du général d’Entrecasteaux’ (in M. Malte-Brun, Annales des voyages etc., 2nd ed., 1, 1809, p. 69-74); ‘Moeurs, amusements et spectacles des Javanais. Extrait d’un voyage inédit dans l’intérieur de l’Isle de Java, fait par M. L.A. Deschamps (in l.c. l, 1809, p. 145-168).

(5) cf. also M. Malte-Brun, Annales des voyages etc., 2nd ed., 4, 1809, p. 279.

Cf. Sir Gavin de Beer: ‘The Sciences were never at War’ (1960) p. 122-129.

(6) C.G.G.J. van Steenis, M.J. van Steenis-Kruseman, and C.A. Backer: ‘Louis Auguste Deschamps. A prominent but ill-fated early explorer of the flora of Java, 1793-1798’ (Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. ser. 1, no 2, 1954, p. 51-68, pl. 13).

(7) Cf. also A. Guillaumin: ‘Deschamps botaniste herborisant en Nouvelle Calédonie en 1793’ (Bull. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. 3e sér. no 47, 1972, Bot. 3, p. 85-87).


biographical data:

Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. ser. 1, no 2, 1954, p. 51-54; M. Hocquette: ‘Louis-Auguste Deschamps 1765-1842. Sa vie-son oeuvre’ (Bull. Trimestr. Soc. Acad. Antiq. Morinie, Mémoire, 39, 1970, 77 pp., 10 pl.).