Tasks & Responsibilities


The Commission of exploration presided over by M. Lagree was incorporated on 1 June, 1866.

In addition to this superior officer, it is composed of Garnier (Francis), lieutenant, inspector of Indigenous Affairs, member of the Agricultural and Industrial Committee of Cochin China; Delaporte (Louis), lieutenant; Joubert (Eugene), 2nd auxiliary doctor, e class geologist: Thorel (Clovis), 3rd auxiliary doctor, e class botanist, member of the Agricultural and Industrial Committee of Cochin China; Carne (Louis), attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Garnier,  Vol I: 13


The chief of the expedition is responsible for the general direction of the travel, the payment of expenses, the distribution of gifts and the right to requisition the authorities. In the case of his absence, illness or death, he is to be replaced by the naval officer, who, in the course of the trip, fulfills the function of second in command. If, in a serious circumstance, the chief decides to judge the reasoned opinion of the members of the expedition, a detailed verbal account of the questions posed will be added to the journal, along with the opinions expressed and the decision made by the chief. In the case of the serious illness of one of the members, the chief, before making a decision, must demand the written permission of the surgeon. If in this case, or for any other reason, the chief authorizes or orders a return to Saigon, he must report this to the governor in a specific letter.

The work is divided as follows between the remaining members of the Commission:

The first officer [Garnier] is in charge of astronomical and meteorological observations. He will accurately determine the location of the main landmarks and draw the map of the route followed. He will assess the navigability of the river, conduct surveys, and study the navigational methods used by the various tribes, compare the business perspective of the main waterway to the side routes, transmit to the officers the orders of the chief of the expedition, and supervise their execution.

The second officer [Delaporte] is responsible for the discipline of the escort, the supplies and transportation. He will pay particular attention to the protection of the funds, weapons and ammunition. He will balance the daily expenses and account for expenditure (money, gifts, objects of exchange) by the end of each month. He will assist the first naval officer in his observations dealing specifically with surveys, topography, views, drawings, etc., etc.

The delegate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [Carne] is responsible for the descriptive part of the trip. He will study the manners and customs of the various tribes and describe the appearance of the countries traversed. He will establish commercial relationships in each country, study the products traded, their qualities, their origin, and pay particular attention to all those who might ask to provide for our Cochin colony.

The geologist surgeon [Joubert] will explore and define the land from the point of geology, particularly examining the industrial possibilities of the ore-producing countries, and observing the methods employed by the indigenous people and assessing the possibilities of their reasonable exploitation.

The 3rd class surgeon [Thorel] of the expedition will study the questions which depend on other branches of natural history, the flora and fauna of the countries covered, the physical varieties, races etc.

This division of labour, drawn only as a general rule, should be extended and supplemented later by the leader of the expedition.

Several important issues have not been decided, which should be allocated according to the ability of the members of the Commission. They may be usefully divided.  Agriculture, for example, from a technical point of view the responsibility of the surgeon, from a commercial point of view would be that of the Delegate of Foreign Affairs.

As for the study of languages, although in such a quick trip it cannot be sufficiently thorough, it is important that everyone adds their share to the common endeavour and that the Commission collects the first elements of a dictionary of the various tongues.

Finally, it will be important to study and carefully compare the political and religious practices, the languages of the tribes, and to research the boundaries which separate the diverse human currents that we come up against in Indo-Chine.

Garnier, Vol. I: 15 &16