Mission Made Impossible: The Second French Embassy to Saim 1687by Michael Smithies
Translated, introduce and annotated by Michael Smithies
Two years after the 1685 French embassy to Siam led by Chaumont and Choisy, King Louis XIV sent a second embassy to Phra Narai led by the two envoys La Loubere and Oeberet, and a third unofficial emissary, Father Tachard, who was working behind the scenes and often against his colleagues. Accompanying them were expeditionary troops to be installed in Bangkok and Mergui once a Franco-Siamese treaty could be negotiated.
This volume conveniently presents, in English translation, three important accounts of that second French embassy to Siam in 1687:Tachard's Second Voyage, published in 1689; Ceberet's Journal du voyage de Siam, published in 1992; and Tachard's "Relation," an unpublished account of the tempestuous journey back to France.
Beginning with a listing of the dramatis personae and a general introduction to set the stage, Professor Michael Smithies introduces us to each of the three accounts in turn, providing background information about the authors and their times before presenting the relevant sections of their texts. Written from different perspectives, these key documents, taken together, form a fuller picture of the events and issues of this embassy. The volume ends with an appendix on La Loubere, including the text of his many brief references to the embassy in his comprehensive work, The Kingdom of Siam.
MICHAEL SMITHIES, former editor of the Journal of the Siam Society, is the author of numerous books and articles on the French involvement in Siam in the seventeenth century. He retired from the United Nations in Bangkok in 1992.