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Early Australian Voyages by John Pinkerton

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This etext was prepared by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk,
from the 1886 Cassell & Company edition.


by John Pinkerton




In the days of Plato, imagination found its way, before the
mariners, to a new world across the Atlantic, and fabled an Atlantis
where America now stands. In the days of Francis Bacon, imagination
of the English found its way to the great Southern Continent before
the Portuguese or Dutch sailors had sight of it, and it was the home
of those wise students of God and nature to whom Bacon gave his New
Atlantis. The discoveries of America date from the close of the
fifteenth century. The discoveries of Australia date only from the
beginning of the seventeenth. The discoveries of the Dutch were
little known in England before the time of Dampier's voyage, at the
close of the seventeenth century, with which this volume ends. The
name of New Holland, first given by the Dutch to the land they
discovered on the north-west coast, then extended to the continent
and was since changed to Australia.

During the eighteenth century exploration was continued by the
English. The good report of Captain Cook caused the first British
settlement to be made at Port Jackson, in 1788, not quite a hundred
years ago, and the foundations were then laid of the settlement of
New South Wales, or Sydney. It was at first a penal colony, and its
Botany Bay was a name of terror to offenders. Western Australia, or
Swan River, was first settled as a free colony in 1829, but
afterwards used also as a penal settlement; South Australia, which
has Adelaide for its capital, was first established in 1834, and
colonised in 1836; Victoria, with Melbourne for its capital, known
until 1851 as the Port Philip District, and a dependency of New
South Wales, was first colonised in 1835. It received in 1851 its
present name. Queensland, formerly known as the Moreton Bay
District, was established as late as 1859. A settlement of North
Australia was tried in 1838, and has since been abandoned. On the
other side of Bass's Straits, the island of Van Diemen's Land, was
named Tasmania, and established as a penal colony in 1803.

Advance, Australia! The scattered handfuls of people have become a
nation, one with us in race, and character, and worthiness of aim.
These little volumes will, in course of time, include many aids to a
knowledge of the shaping of the nations. There will be later
records of Australia than these which tell of the old Dutch
explorers, and of the first real awakening of England to a knowledge
of Australia by Dampier's voyage.

The great Australian continent is 2,500 miles long from east to
west, and 1,960 miles in its greatest breadth. Its climates are
therefore various. The northern half lies chiefly within the
tropics, and at Melbourne snow is seldom seen except upon the hills.
The separation of Australia by wide seas from Europe, Asia, Africa,
and America, gives it animals and plants peculiarly its own. It has
been said that of 5,710 plants discovered, 5,440 are peculiar to
that continent. The kangaroo also is proper to Australia, and there
are other animals of like kind. Of 58 species of quadruped found in
Australia, 46 were peculiar to it. Sheep and cattle that abound
there now were introduced from Europe. From eight merino sheep
introduced in 1793 by a settler named McArthur, there has been
multiplication into millions, and the food-store of the Old World
begins to be replenished by Australian mutton.

The unexplored interior has given a happy hunting-ground to satisfy
the British spirit of adventure and research; but large waterless
tracts, that baffle man's ingenuity, have put man's powers of
endurance to sore trial.

The mountains of Australia are all of the oldest rocks, in which
there are either no fossil traces of past life, or the traces are of
life in the most ancient forms. Resemblance of the Australian
cordilleras to the Ural range, which he had especially been
studying, caused Sir Roderick Murchison, in 1844, to predict that
gold would be found in Australia. The first finding of gold--the
beginning of the history of the Australian gold-fields--was in
February, 1851, near Bathurst and Wellington, and to-day looks back
to the morning of yesterday in the name of Ophir, given to the
Bathurst gold-diggings.

Gold, wool, mutton, wine, fruits, and what more Australia can now
add to the commonwealth of the English-speaking people, Englishmen
at home have been learning this year in the great Indian and
Colonial Exhibition, which is to stand always as evidence of the
numerous resources of the Empire, as aid to the full knowledge of
them, and through that to their wide diffusion. We are a long way
now from the wrecked ship of Captain Francis Pelsart, with which the
histories in this volume begin.

John Pinkerton was born at Edinburgh in February, 1758, and died in
Paris in March, 1826, aged sixty-eight. He was the best classical
scholar at the Lanark grammar school; but his father, refusing to
send him to a university, bound him to Scottish law. He had a
strong will, fortified in some respects by a weak judgment. He
wrote clever verse; at the age of twenty-two he went to London to
support himself by literature, began by publishing "Rimes" of his
own, and then Scottish Ballads, all issued as ancient, but of which
he afterwards admitted that fourteen out of the seventy-three were
wholly written by himself. John Pinkerton, whom Sir Walter Scott
described as "a man of considerable learning, and some severity as
well as acuteness of disposition," made clear conscience on the
matter in 1786, when he published two volumes of genuine old
Scottish Poems from the MS. collections of Sir Richard Maitland. He
had added to his credit as an antiquary by an Essay on Medals, and
then applied his studies to ancient Scottish History, producing
learned books, in which he bitterly abused the Celts. It was in
1802 that Pinkerton left England for Paris, where he supported
himself by indefatigable industry as a writer during the last
twenty-four years of his life. One of the most useful of his many
works was that General Collection of the best and most interesting
Voyages and Travels of the World, which appeared in seventeen quarto
volumes, with maps and engravings, in the years 1808-1814.
Pinkerton abridged and digested most of the travellers' records
given in this series, but always studied to retain the travellers'
own words, and his occasional comments have a value of their own.



It has appeared very strange to some very able judges of voyages,
that the Dutch should make so great account of the southern
countries as to cause the map of them to be laid down in the
pavement of the Stadt House at Amsterdam, and yet publish no
descriptions of them. This mystery was a good deal heightened by
one of the ships that first touched on Carpenter's Land, bringing
home a considerable quantity of gold, spices, and other rich goods;
in order to clear up which, it was said that these were not the
product of the country, but were fished out of the wreck of a large
ship that had been lost upon the coast. But this story did not
satisfy the inquisitive, because not attended with circumstances
necessary to establish its credit; and therefore they suggested
that, instead of taking away the obscurity by relating the truth,
this story was invented in order to hide it more effectually. This
suspicion gained ground the more when it was known that the Dutch
East India Company from Batavia had made some attempts to conquer a
part of the Southern continent, and had been repulsed with loss, of
which, however, we have no distinct or perfect relation, and all
that hath hitherto been collected in reference to this subject, may
be reduced to two voyages. All that we know concerning the
following piece is, that it was collected from the Dutch journal of
the voyage, and having said thus much by way of introduction, we now
proceed to the translation of this short history.

The directors of the East India Company, animated by the return of
five ships, under General Carpenter, richly laden, caused, the very
same year, 1628, eleven vessels to be equipped for the same voyage;
amongst which there was one ship called the Batavia, commanded by
Captain Francis Pelsart. They sailed out of the Texel on the 28th
of October, 1628; and as it would be tedious and troublesome to the
reader to set down a long account of things perfectly well known, I
shall say nothing of the occurrences that happened in their passage
to the Cape of Good Hope; but content myself with observing that on
the 4th of June, in the following year 1629, this vessel, the
Batavia, being separated from the fleet in a storm, was driven on
the Abrollos or shoals, which lie in the latitude of 28 degrees
south, and which have been since called by the Dutch, the Abrollos
of Frederic Houtman. Captain Pelsart, who was sick in bed when this
accident happened, perceiving that his ship had struck, ran
immediately upon deck. It was night indeed; but the weather was
fair, and the moon shone very bright; the sails were up; the course
they steered was north-east by north, and the sea appeared as far as
they could behold it covered with a white froth. The captain called
up the master and charged him with the loss of the ship, who excused
himself by saying he had taken all the care he could; and that
having discerned this froth at a distance, he asked the steersman
what he thought of it, who told him that the sea appeared white by
its reflecting the rays of the moon. The captain then asked him
what was to be done, and in what part of the world he thought they
were. The master replied, that God only knew that; and that the
ship was fast on a bank hitherto undiscovered. Upon this they began
to throw the lead, and found that they had forty-eight feet of water
before, and much less behind the vessel. The crew immediately
agreed to throw their cannon overboard, in hopes that when the ship
was lightened she might be brought to float again. They let fall an
anchor however; and while they were thus employed, a most dreadful
storm arose of wind and rain; which soon convinced them of the
danger they were in; for being surrounded with rocks and shoals, the
ship was continually striking.

They then resolved to cut away the main-mast, which they did, and
this augmented the shock, neither could they get clear of it, though
they cut it close by the board, because it was much entangled within
the rigging; they could see no land except an island which was about
the distance of three leagues, and two smaller islands, or rather
rocks, which lay nearer. They immediately sent the master to
examine them, who returned about nine in the morning, and reported
that the sea at high water did not cover them, but that the coast
was so rocky and full of shoals that it would be very difficult to
land upon them; they resolved, however, to run the risk, and to send
most of their company on shore to pacify the women, children, sick
people, and such as were out of their wits with fear, whose cries
and noise served only to disturb them. About ten o'clock they
embarked these in their shallop and skiff, and, perceiving their
vessel began to break, they doubled their diligence; they likewise
endeavoured to get their bread up, but they did not take the same
care of the water, not reflecting in their fright that they might be
much distressed for want of it on shore; and what hindered them most
of all was the brutal behaviour of some of the crew that made
themselves drunk with wine, of which no care was taken. In short,
such was their confusion that they made but three trips that day,
carrying over to the island 180 persons, twenty barrels of bread,
and some small casks of water. The master returned on board towards
evening, and told the captain that it was to no purpose to send more
provisions on shore, since the people only wasted those they had
already. Upon this the captain went in the shallop, to put things
in better order, and was then informed that there was no water to be
found upon the island; he endeavoured to return to the ship in order
to bring off a supply, together with the most valuable part of their
cargo, but a storm suddenly arising, he was forced to return.

The next day was spent in removing their water and most valuable
goods on shore; and afterwards the captain in the skiff, and the
master in the shallop, endeavoured to return to the vessel, but
found the sea run so high that it was impossible to get on board.
In this extremity the carpenter threw himself out of the ship, and
swam to them, in order to inform them to what hardships those left
in the vessel were reduced, and they sent him back with orders for
them to make rafts, by tying the planks together, and endeavour on
these to reach the shallop and skiff; but before this could be done,
the weather became so rough that the captain was obliged to return,
leaving, with the utmost grief, his lieutenant and seventy men on
the very point of perishing on board the vessel. Those who were got
on the little island were not in a much better condition, for, upon
taking an account of their water, they found they had not above 40
gallons for 40 people, and on the larger island, where there were
120, their stock was still less. Those on the little island began
to murmur, and to complain of their officers, because they did not
go in search of water, in the islands that were within sight of
them, and they represented the necessity of this to Captain Pelsart,
who agreed to their request, but insisted before he went to
communicate his design to the rest of the people; they consented to
this, but not till the captain had declared that, without the
consent of the company on the large is land, he would, rather than
leave them, go and perish on board the ship. When they were got
pretty near the shore, he who commanded the boat told the captain
that if he had anything to say, he must cry out to the people, for
that they would not suffer him to go out of the boat. The captain
immediately attempted to throw himself overboard in order to swim to
the island. Those who were in the boat prevented him; and all that
he could obtain from them was, to throw on shore his table-book, in
which line wrote a line or two to inform them that he was gone in
the skiff to look for water in the adjacent islands.

He accordingly coasted them all with the greatest care, and found in
most of them considerable quantities of water in the holes of the
rocks, but so mixed with the sea-water that it was unfit for use;
and therefore they were obliged to go farther. The first thing they
did was to make a deck to their boat, because they found it was
impracticable to navigate those seas in an open vessel. Some of the
crew joined them by the time the work was finished; and the captain
having obtained a paper, signed by all his men, importing that it
was their desire that he should go in search of water, he
immediately put to sea, having first taken an observation by which
he found they were in the latitude of 28 degrees 13 minutes south.
They had not been long at sea before they had sight of the
continent, which appeared to them to lie about sixteen miles north
by west from the place they had suffered shipwreck. They found
about twenty-five or thirty fathoms water; and as night drew on,
they kept out to sea; and after midnight stood in for the land, that
they might be near the coast in the morning. On the 9th of June
they found themselves as they reckoned, about three miles from the
shore; on which they plied all that day, sailing sometimes north,
sometimes west; the country appearing low, naked, and the coast
excessively rocky; so that they thought it resembled the country
near Dover. At last they saw a little creek, into which they were
willing to put, because it appeared to have a sandy bottom; but when
they attempted to enter it, the sea ran so high that they were
forced to desist.

On the 10th they remained on the same coast, plying to and again, as
they had done the day before; but the weather growing worse and
worse, they were obliged to abandon their shallop, and even throw
part of their breath overboard, because it hindered them from
clearing themselves of the water, which their vessel began to make
very fast. That night it rained most terribly, which, though it
gave them much trouble, afforded them hopes that it would prove a
great relief to the people they had left behind them on the islands.
The wind began to sink on the 11th; and as it blew from the west-
south-west, they continued their course to the north, the sea
running still so high that it was impossible to approach the shore.
On the 12th, they had an observation, by which they found themselves
in the latitude of 27 degrees; they sailed with a south-east wind
all that day along the coast, which they found so steep that there
was no getting on shore, inasmuch as there was no creek or low land
without the rocks, as is commonly observed on seacoasts; which gave
them the more pain because within land the country appeared very
fruitful and pleasant. They found themselves on the 13th in the
latitude of 25 degrees 40 minutes; by which they discovered that the
current set to the north. They were at this time over against an
opening; the coast lying to the north-east, they continued a north
course, but found the coast one continued rock of red colour all of
a height, against which the waves broke with such force that it was
impossible for them to land.

The wind blew very fresh in the morning on the 14th, but towards
noon it fell calm; they were then in the height of 24 degrees, with
a small gale at east, but the tide still carried them further north
than they desired, because their design was to make a descent as
soon as possible; and with this view they sailed slowly along the
coast, till, perceiving a great deal of smoke at a distance, they
rowed towards it as fast as they were able, in hopes of finding men,
and water, of course. When they came near the shore, they found it
so steep, so full of rocks, and the sea beating over them with such
fury, that it was impossible to land. Six of the men, however,
trusting to their skill in swimming, threw themselves into the sea
and resolved to get on shore at any rate, which with great
difficulty and danger they at last effected, the boat remaining at
anchor in twenty-five fathoms water. The men on shore spent the
whole day in looking for water; and while they were thus employed,
they saw four men, who came up very near; but one of the Dutch
sailors advancing towards them, they immediately ran away as fast as
they were able, so that they were distinctly seen by those in the
boat. These people were black savages, quite naked, not having so
much as any covering about their middle. The sailors, finding no
hopes of water on all the coast, swam on board again, much hurt and
wounded by their being beat by the waves upon the rocks; and as soon
as they were on board, they weighed anchor, and continued their
course along the shore, in hopes of finding some better landing-

On the 25th, in the morning, they discovered a cape, from the point
of which there ran a ridge of rocks a mile into the sea, and behind
it another ridge of rocks. They ventured between them, as the sea
was pretty calm; but finding there was no passage, they soon
returned. About noon they saw another opening, and the sea being
still very smooth, they entered it, though the passage was very
dangerous, inasmuch as they had but two feet water, and the bottom
full of stones, the coast appearing a flat sand for about a mile.
As soon as they got on shore they fell to digging in the sand, but
the water that came into their wells was so brackish that they could
not drink it, though they were on the very point of choking for
thirst. At last, in the hollows of the rocks, they met with
considerable quantities of rain-water, which was a great relief to
them, since they had been for some days at no better allowance than
a pint a-piece. They soon furnished themselves in the night with
about eighty gallons, perceiving, in the place where they landed,
that the savages had been there lately, by a large heap of ashes and
the remains of some cray-fish.

On the 16th, in the morning, they returned on shore, in hopes of
getting more water, but were disappointed; and having now time to
observe the country, it gave them no great hopes of better success,
even if they had travelled farther within land, which appeared a
thirsty, barren plain, covered with ant-hills, so high that they
looked afar off like the huts of negroes; and at the same time they
were plagued with flies, and those in such multitudes that they were
scarce able to defend themselves. They saw at a distance eight
savages, with each a staff in his hand, who advanced towards them
within musket-shot; but as soon as they perceived the Dutch sailors
moving towards them, they fled as fast as they were able. It was by
this time about noon, and, perceiving no appearance either of
getting water, or entering into any correspondence with the natives,
they resolved to go on board and continue their course towards the
north, in hopes, as they were already in the latitude of 22 degrees
17 minutes, they might be able to find the river of Jacob
Remmescens; but the wind veering about to the north-east, they were
not able to continue longer upon that coast, and therefore
reflecting that they were now above one hundred miles from the place
where they were shipwrecked, and had scarce as much water as would
serve them in their passage back, they came to a settled resolution
of making the best of their way to Batavia, in order to acquaint the
Governor-General with their misfortunes, and to obtain such
assistance as was necessary to get their people off the coast.

On the 17th they continued their course to the north-east, with a
good wind and fair weather; the 18th and 19th it blew hard, and they
had much rain; on the 20th they found themselves in 19 degrees 22
minutes; on the 22nd they had another observation, and found
themselves in the height of 16 degrees 10 minutes, which surprised
them very much, and was a plain proof that the current carried them
northwards at a great rate; on the 27th it rained very hard, so that
they were not able to take an observation; but towards noon they
saw, to their great satisfaction, the coasts of Java, in the
latitude of 8 degrees, at the distance of about four or five miles.
They altered their course to west-north-west, and towards evening
entered the gulf of an island very full of trees, where they
anchored in eight fathoms water, and there passed the night; on the
28th, in the morning, they weighed, and rowed with all their force,
in order to make the land, that they might search for water, being
now again at the point of perishing for thirst. Very happily for
them, they were no sooner on shore than they discovered a fine
rivulet at a small distance, where, having comfortably quenched
their thirst, and filled all their casks with water, they about noon
continued their course for Batavia.

On the 29th, about midnight, in the second watch, they discovered an
island, which they left on their starboard. About noon they found
themselves in the height of 6 degrees 48 minutes. About three in
the afternoon they passed between two islands, the westernmost of
which appeared full of cocoa trees. In the evening they were about
a mile from the south point of Java, and in the second watch exactly
between Java and the Isle of Princes. The 30th, in the morning,
they found themselves on the coast of the last-mentioned island, not
being able to make above two miles that day. On July 1st the
weather was calm, and about noon they were three leagues from
Dwaersindenwegh, that is, Thwart-the-way Island; but towards the
evening they had a pretty brisk wind at north-west, which enabled
them to gain that coast. On the 2nd, in the morning, they were
right against the island of Topershoetien, and were obliged to lie
at anchor till eleven o'clock, waiting for the sea-breeze, which,
however, blew so faintly that they were not able to make above two
miles that day. About sunset they perceived a vessel between them
and Thwart-the-way Island, upon which they resolved to anchor as
near the shore as they could that night, and there wait the arrival
of the ship. In the morning they went on board her, in hopes of
procuring arms for their defence, in case the inhabitants of Java
were at war with the Dutch. They found two other ships in company,
on board one of which was Mr. Ramburg, counsellor of the Indies.
Captain Pelsart went immediately on board his ship, where he
acquainted him with the nature of his misfortune, and went with him
afterwards to Batavia.

We will now leave the captain soliciting succours from the Governor-
General, in order to return to the crew who were left upon the
islands, among whom there happened such transactions as, in their
condition, the reader would little expect, and perhaps will hardly
credit! In order to their being thoroughly understood, it is
necessary to observe that they had for supercargo one Jerom
Cornelis, who had been formerly an apothecary at Harlem. This man,
when they were on the coast of Africa, had plotted with the pilot
and some others to run away with the vessel, and either to carry her
into Dunkirk, or to turn pirates in her on their own account. This
supercargo had remained ten days on board the wreck, not being able
in all that time to get on shore. Two whole days he spent on the
mainmast, floating to and fro, till at last, by the help of one of
the yards, he got to land. When he was once on shore, the command,
in the absence of Captain Pelsart, devolved of course upon him,
which immediately revived in his mind his old design, insomuch that
he resolved to lay hold of this opportunity to make himself master
of all that could be saved out of the wreck, conceiving that it
would be easy to surprise the captain on his return, and determining
to go on the account--that is to say, to turn pirate in the
captain's vessel. In order to carry this design into execution, he
thought necessary to rid themselves of such of the crew as were not
like to come into their scheme; but before he proceeded to dip his
hands in blood, he obliged all the conspirators to sign an
instrument, by which they engaged to stand by each other.

The whole ship's company were on shore in three islands, the
greatest part of them in that where Cornelis was, which island they
thought fit to call the burying-place of Batavia. One Mr. Weybhays
was sent with another body into an adjacent island to look for
water, which, after twenty days' search, he found, and made the
appointed signal by lighting three fires, which, however, were not
seen nor taken notice of by those under the command of Cornelis,
because they were busy in butchering their companions, of whom they
had murdered between thirty and forty; but some few, however, got
off upon a raft of planks tied together, and went to the island
where Mr. Weybhays was, in order to acquaint him with the dreadful
accident that had happened. Mr. Weybhays having with him forty-five
men, they all resolved to stand upon their guard, and to defend
themselves to the last man, in case these villains should attack
them. This indeed was their design, for they were apprehensive both
of this body, and of those who were on the third island, giving
notice to the captain on his return, and thereby preventing their
intention of running away with his vessel. But as this third
company was by much the weakest, they began with them first, and cut
them all off, except five women and seven children, not in the least
doubting that they should be able to do as much by Weybhays and his
company. In the meantime, having broke open the merchant's chests,
which had been saved out of the wreck, they converted them to their
own use without ceremony.

The traitor, Jerom Cornelis, was so much elevated with the success
that had hitherto attended his villainy, that he immediately began
to fancy all difficulties were over, and gave a loose to his vicious
inclinations in every respect. He ordered clothes to be made of
rich stuffs that had been saved, for himself and his troop, and
having chosen out of them a company of guards, he ordered them to
have scarlet coats, with a double lace of gold or silver. There
were two minister's daughters among the women, one of whom he took
for his own mistress, gave the second to a favourite of his, and
ordered that the other three women should be common to the whole
troop. He afterwards drew up a set of regulations, which were to be
the laws of his new principality, taking to himself the style and
title of Captain-General, and obliging his party to sign an act, or
instrument, by which they acknowledged him as such. These points
once settled, he resolved to carry on the war. He first of all
embarked on board two shallops twenty-two men, well armed, with
orders to destroy Mr. Weybhays and his company; and on their
miscarrying, he undertook a like expedition with thirty-seven men,
in which, however, he had no better success; for Mr. Weybhays, with
his people, though armed only with staves with nails drove into
their heads, advanced even into the water to meet them, and after a
brisk engagement compelled these murderers to retire.

Cornelis then thought fit to enter into a negotiation, which was
managed by the chaplain, who remained with Mr. Weybhays, and after
several comings and goings from one party to the other, a treaty was
concluded upon the following terms--viz., That Mr. Weybhays and his
company should for the future remain undisturbed, provided they
delivered up a little boat, in which one of the sailors had made his
escape from the island in which Cornelis was with his gang, in order
to take shelter on that where Weybhays was with his company. It was
also agreed that the latter should have a part of the stuffs and
silks given them for clothes, of which they stood in great want.
But, while this affair was in agitation, Cornelis took the
opportunity of the correspondence between them being restored, to
write letters to some French soldiers that were in Weybhays's
company, promising them six thousand livres apiece if they would
comply with his demands, not doubting but by this artifice he should
be able to accomplish his end.

His letters, however, had no effect; on the contrary, the soldiers
to whom they were directed carried them immediately to Mr. Weybhays.
Cornelis, not knowing that this piece of treachery was discovered,
went over the next morning, with three or four of his people, to
carry to Mr. Weybhays the clothes that had been promised him. As
soon as they landed, Weybhays attacked them, killed two or three,
and made Cornelis himself prisoner. One Wonterloss, who was the
only man that made his escape, went immediately back to the
conspirators, put himself at their head, and came the next day to
attack Weybhays, but met with the same fate as before--that is to
say, he and the villains that were with him were soundly beat.

Things were in this situation when Captain Pelsart arrived in the
Sardam frigate. He sailed up to the wreck, and saw with great joy a
cloud of smoke ascending from one of the islands, by which he knew
that all his people were not dead. He came immediately to an
anchor, and having ordered some wine and provisions to be put into
the skiff, resolved to go in person with these refreshments to one
of these islands. He had hardly quitted the ship before he was
boarded by a boat from the island to which he was going. There were
four men in the boat, of whom Weybhays was one, who immediately ran
to the captain, told him what had happened, and begged him to return
to his ship immediately, for that the conspirators intended to
surprise her, that they had already murdered 125 persons, and that
they had attacked him and his company that very morning with two

While they were talking the two shallops appeared; upon which the
captain rowed to his ship as fast as he could, and was hardly got on
board before they arrived at the ship's side. The captain was
surprised to see men in red coats laced with gold and silver, with
arms in their hands. He demanded what they meant by coming on board
armed. They told him he should know when they were on board the
ship. The captain replied that they should come on board, but that
they must first throw their arms into the sea, which if they did not
do immediately, he would sink them as they lay. As they saw that
disputes were to no purpose, and that they were entirely in the
captain's power, they were obliged to obey. They accordingly threw
their arms overboard, and were then taken into the vessel, where
they were instantly put in irons. One of them, whose name was John
Bremen, and who was first examined, owned that he had murdered with
his own hands, or had assisted in murdering, no less than twenty-
seven persons. The same evening Weybhays brought his prisoner
Cornelis on board, where he was put in irons and strictly guarded.

On the 18th of September, Captain Pelsart, with the master, went to
take the rest of the conspirators in Cornelis's island. They went
in two boats. The villains, as soon as they saw them land, lost all
their courage, and fled from them. They surrendered without a blow,
and were put in irons with the rest. The captain's first care was
to recover the jewels which Cornelis had dispersed among his
accomplices: they were, however, all of them soon found, except a
gold chain and a diamond ring; the latter was also found at last,
but the former could not be recovered. They went next to examine
the wreck, which they found staved into an hundred pieces; the keel
lay on a bank of sand on one side, the fore part of the vessel stuck
fast on a rock, and the rest of her lay here and there as the pieces
had been driven by the waves, so that Captain Pelsart had very
little hopes of saving any of the merchandise. One of the people
belonging to Weybhays's company told him that one fair day, which
was the only one they had in a month, as he was fishing near the
wreck, he had struck the pole in his hand against one of the chests
of silver, which revived the captain a little, as it gave him reason
to expect that something might still be saved. They spent all the
19th in examining the rest of the prisoners, and in confronting them
with those who escaped from the massacre.

On the 20th they sent several kinds of refreshments to Weybhays's
company, and carried a good quantity of water from the isle. There
was something very singular in finding this water; the people who
were on shore there had subsisted near three weeks on rainwater, and
what lodged in the clefts of the rocks, without thinking that the
water of two wells which were on the island could be of any use,
because they saw them constantly rise and fall with the tide, from
whence they fancied they had a communication within the sea, and
consequently that the water must be brackish; but upon trial they
found it to be very good, and so did the ship's company, who filled
their casks with it.

On the 21st the tide was so low, and an east-south-east wind blew so
hard, that during the whole day the boat could not get out. On the
22nd they attempted to fish upon the wreck, but the weather was so
bad that even those who could swim very well durst not approach it.
On the 25th the master and the pilot, the weather being fair, went
off again to the wreck, and those who were left on shore, observing
that they wanted hands to get anything out of her, sent off some to
assist them. The captain went also himself to encourage the men,
who soon weighed one chest of silver, and some time after another.
As soon as these were safe ashore they returned to their work, but
the weather grew so bad that they were quickly obliged to desist,
though some of their divers from Guzarat assured them they had found
six more, which might easily be weighed. On the 26th, in the
afternoon, the weather being fair, and the tide low, the master
returned to the place where the chests lay, and weighed three of
them, leaving an anchor with a gun tied to it, and a buoy, to mark
the place where the fourth lay, which, notwithstanding their utmost
efforts, they were not able to recover.

On the 27th, the south wind blew very cold. On the 28th the same
wind blew stronger than the day before; and as there was no
possibility of fishing in the wreck for the present, Captain Pelsart
held a council to consider what they should do with the prisoners:
that is to say, whether it would be best to try them there upon the
spot, or to carry them to Batavia, in order to their being tried by
the Company's officers. After mature deliberation, reflecting on
the number of prisoners, and the temptation that might arise from
the vast quantity of silver on board the frigate, they at last came
to a resolution to try and execute them there, which was accordingly
done; and they embarked immediately afterwards for Batavia.


This voyage was translated from the original Dutch by Thevenot, and
printed by him in the first volume of his collections. Pelsart's
route is traced in the map of the globe published by Delisle in the
year 1700.

As this voyage is of itself very short, I shall not detain the
reader with many remarks; but shall confine myself to a very few
observations, in order to show the consequences of the discovery
made by Captain Pelsart. The country upon which he suffered
shipwreck was New Holland, the coast of which had not till then been
at all examined, and it was doubtful how far it extended. There had
indeed been some reports spread with relation to the inhabitants of
this country, which Captain Pelsart's relation shows to have been
false; for it had been reported that when the Dutch East India
Company sent some ships to make discoveries, their landing was
opposed by a race of gigantic people, with whom the Dutch could by
no means contend. But our author says nothing of the extraordinary
size of the savages that were seen by Captain Pelsart's people; from
whence it is reasonable to conclude that this story was circulated
with no other view than to prevent other nations from venturing into
these seas. It is also remarkable that this is the very coast
surveyed by Captain Dampier, whose account agrees exactly with that
contained in this voyage. Now though it be true, that from all
these accounts there is nothing said which is much to the advantage
either of the country or its inhabitants, yet we are to consider
that it is impossible to represent either in a worse light than that
in which the Cape of Good Hope was placed, before the Dutch took
possession of it; and plainly demonstrated that industry could make
a paradise of what was a perfect purgatory while in the hands of the
Hottentots. If, therefore, the climate of this country be good, and
the soil fruitful, both of which were affirmed in this relation,
there could not be a more proper place for a colony than some part
of New Holland, or of the adjacent country of Carpentaria. I shall
give my reasons for asserting this when I come to make my remarks on
a succeeding voyage. At present I shall confine myself to the
reasons that have induced the Dutch East India Company to leave all
these countries unsettled, after having first shown so strong an
inclination to discover them, which will oblige me to lay before the
reader some secrets in commerce that have hitherto escaped common
observation, and which, whenever they are as thoroughly considered
as they deserve, will undoubtedly lead us to as great discoveries as
those of Columbus or Magellan.

In order to make myself perfectly understood, I must observe that it
was the finding out of the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, by the
Portuguese, that raised that spirit of discovery which produced
Columbus's voyage, which ended in finding America; though in fact
Columbus intended rather to reach this country of New Holland. The
assertion is bold, and at first sight may appear improbable; but a
little attention will make it so plain, that the reader must be
convinced of the truth of what I say. The proposition made by
Columbus to the State of Genoa, the Kings of Portugal, Spain,
England, and France, was this, that he could discover a new route to
the East Indies; that is to say, without going round the Cape of
Good Hope. He grounded this proposition on the spherical figure of
the earth, from whence he thought it self-evident that any given
point might be sailed to through the great ocean, either by steering
east or west. In his attempt to go to the East Indies by a west
course, he met with the islands and continent of America; and
finding gold and other commodities, which till then had never been
brought from the Indies, he really thought that this was the west
coast of that country to which the Portuguese sailed by the Cape of
Good Hope, and hence came the name of the West Indies. Magellan,
who followed his steps, and was the only discoverer who reasoned
systematically, and knew what he was doing, proposed to the Emperor
Charles V. to complete what Columbus had begun, and to find a
passage to the Moluccas by the west; which, to his immortal honour,
he accomplished.

When the Dutch made their first voyages to the East Indies, which
was not many years before Captain Pelsart's shipwreck on the coast
of New Holland, for their first fleet arrived in the East Indies in
1596, and Pelsart lost his ship in 1629--I say, when the Dutch first
undertook the East India trade, they had the Spice Islands in view:
and as they are a nation justly famous for the steady pursuit of
whatever they take in hand, it is notorious that they never lost
sight of their design till they had accomplished it, and made
themselves entirely masters of these islands, of which they still
continue in possession. When this was done, and they had
effectually driven out the English, who were likewise settled in
them, they fixed the seat of their government in the island of
Amboyna, which lay very convenient for the discovery of the southern
countries; which, therefore, they prosecuted with great diligence
from the year 1619 to the time of Captain Pelsart's shipwreck; that
is, for the space of twenty years.

But after they removed the seat of their government from Amboyna to
Batavia, they turned their views another way, and never made any
voyage expressly for discoveries on that side, except the single one
of Captain Tasman, of which we are to speak presently. It was from
this period of time that they began to take new measures, and having
made their excellent settlement at the Cape of Good Hope, resolved
to govern their trade to the East Indies by these two capital
maxims: 1. To extend their trade all over the Indies, and to fix
themselves so effectually in the richest countries as to keep all,
or at least the best and most profitable part of, their commerce to
themselves; 2. To make the Moluccas, and the islands dependent on
them, their frontier, and to omit nothing that should appear
necessary to prevent strangers, or even Dutch ships not belonging to
the Company, from ever navigating those seas, and consequently from
ever being acquainted with the countries that lie in them. How well
they have prosecuted the first maxim has been very largely shown in
a foregoing article, wherein we have an ample description of the
mighty empire in the hands of their East India Company. As for the
second maxim, the reader, in the perusal of Funnel's, Dampier's, and
other voyages, but especially the first, must be satisfied that it
is what they have constantly at heart, and which, at all events,
they are determined to pursue, at least with regard to strangers;
and as to their own countrymen, the usage they gave to James le
Maire and his people is a proof that cannot be contested.

Those things being considered, it is very plain that the Dutch, or
rather the Dutch East India Company, are fully persuaded that they
have already as munch or more territory in the East Indies than they
can well manage, and therefore they neither do nor ever will think
of settling New Guinea, Carpentaria, New Holland, or any of the
adjacent islands, till either their trade declines in the East
Indies, or they are obliged to exert themselves on this side to
prevent other nations from reaping the benefits that might accrue to
them by their planting those countries. But this is not all; for as
the Dutch have no thoughts of settling these countries themselves,
they have taken all imaginable pains to prevent any relations from
being published which might invite or encourage any other nation to
make attempts this way; and I am thoroughly persuaded that this very
account of Captain Pelsart's shipwreck would never have come into
the world if it had not been thought it would contribute to this
end, or, in other words, would serve to frighten other nations from
approaching such an inhospitable coast, everywhere beset with rocks
absolutely void of water, and inhabited by a race of savages more
barbarous, and, at the same time, more miserable than any other
creatures in the world.

The author of this voyage remarks, for the use of seamen, that in
the little island occupied by Weybhays, after digging two pits, they
were for a considerable time afraid to use the water, having found
that these pits ebbed and flowed with the sea; but necessity at last
constraining them to drink it, they found it did them no hurt. The
reason of the ebbing and flowing of these pits was their nearness to
the sea, the water of which percolated through the sand, lost its
saltness, and so became potable, though it followed the motions of
the ocean whence it came.

By direction of the Dutch East India Company. [Taken from his
original Journal.]


The great discoveries that were made by the Dutch in these southern
countries were subsequent to the famous voyage of Jaques le Maire,
who in 1616 passed the straits called by his name; in 1618, that
part of Terra Australia was discovered which the Dutch called
Concordia. The next year, the Land of Edels was found, and received
its name from its discoverer. In 1620, Batavia was built on the
ruins of the old city of Jacatra; but the seat of government was not
immediately removed from Amboyna. In 1622, that part of New Holland
which is called Lewin's Land was first found; and in 1627, Peter
Nuyts discovered between New Holland and New Guinea a country which
bears his name. There were also some other voyages made, of which,
however, we have no sort of account, except that the Dutch were
continually beaten in all their attempts to land upon this coast.
On their settlement, however, at Batavia, the then general and
council of the Indies thought it requisite to have a more perfect
survey made of the new-found countries, that the memory of them at
least might be preserved, in case no further attempts were made to
settle them; and it was very probably a foresight of few ships going
that route any more, which induced such as had then the direction of
the Company's affairs to wish that some such survey and description
might be made by an able seaman, who was well acquainted with those
coasts, and who might be able to add to the discoveries already
made, as well as furnish a more accurate description, even of them,
than had been hitherto given.

This was faithfully performed by Captain Tasman; and from the lights
afforded by his journal, a very exact and curious map was made of
all these new countries. But his voyage was never published entire;
and it is very probable that the East India Company never intended
it should be published at all. However, Dirk Rembrantz, moved by
the excellency and accuracy of the work, published in Low Dutch an
extract of Captain Tasman's Journal, which has been ever since
considered as a very great curiosity; and, as such, has been
translated into many languages, particularly into our own, by the
care of the learned Professor of Gresham College, Doctor Hook, an
abridgment of which translation found a place in Doctor Harris's
Collection of Voyages. But we have made no use of either of these
pieces, the following being a new translation, made with all the
care and diligence that is possible.


On August 14, 1642, I sailed from Batavia with two vessels; the one
called the Heemskirk, and the other the Zee-Haan. On September 5 I
anchored at Maurice Island, in the latitude of 20 degrees south, and
in the longitude of 83 degrees 48 minutes. I found this island
fifty German miles more to the east than I expected; that is to say,
3 degrees 33 minutes of longitude. This island was so called from
Prince Maurice, being before known by the name of Cerne. It is
about fifteen leagues in circumference, and has a very fine harbour,
at the entrance of which there is one hundred fathoms water. The
country is mountainous; but the mountains are covered with green
trees. The tops of these mountains are so high that they are lost
in the clouds, and are frequently covered by thick exhalations or
smoke that ascends from them. The air of this island is extremely
wholesome. It is well furnished with flesh and fowl; and the sea on
its coasts abounds with all sorts of fish. The finest ebony in the
world grows here. It is a tall, straight tree of a moderate
thickness, covered with a green bark, very thick, under which the
wood is as black as pitch, and as close as ivory. There are other
trees on the island, which are of a bright red, and a third sort as
yellow as wax. The ships belonging to the East India Company
commonly touch at this island for refreshments on their passage to

I left this island on the 8th of October, and continued my course to
the south to the latitude of 40 degrees or 41 degrees, having a
strong north-west wind; and finding the needle vary 23, 24, and 25
degrees to the 22nd of October, I sailed from that time to the 29th
to the east, inclining a little to the south, till I arrived in the
latitude of 45 degrees 47 minutes south, and in the longitude of 89
degrees 44 minutes; and then observed the variation of the needle to
be 26 degrees 45 minutes towards the west.

As our author was extremely careful in this particular, and observed
the variation of the needle with the utmost diligence, it may not be
amiss to take this opportunity of explaining this point, so that the
importance of his remarks may sufficiently appear. The needle
points exactly north only in a few places, and perhaps not
constantly in them; but in most it declines a little to the east, or
to the west, whence arises eastern and western declination: when
this was first observed, it was attributed to certain excavations or
hollows in the earth, to veins of lead, stone, and other such-like
causes. But when it was found by repeated experiments that this
variation varied, it appeared plainly that none of those causes
could take place; since if they had, the variation in the same place
must always have been the same, whereas the fact is otherwise.

Here at London, for instance, in the year 1580, the variation was
observed to be 11 degrees 17 minutes to the east; in the year 1666,
the variation was here 34 minutes to the west; and in the year 1734,
the variation was somewhat more than 1 degree west. In order to
find the variation of the needle with the least error possible, the
seamen take this method: they observe the point the sun is in by
the compass, any time after its rising, and then take the altitude
of the sun; and in the afternoon they observe when the sun comes to
the same altitude, and observe the point the sun is then in by the
compass; for the middle, between these two, is the true north or
south point of the compass; and the difference between that and the
north or south upon the card, which is pointed out by the needle, is
the variation of the compass, and shows how much the north and
south, given by the compass, deviates from the true north and south
points of the horizon. It appears clearly, from what has been said,
that in order to arrive at the certain knowledge of the variation,
and of the variation of that variation of the compass, it is
absolutely requisite to have from time to time distinct accounts of
the variation as it is observed in different places: whence the
importance of Captain Tasman's remarks, in this respect,
sufficiently appears. It is true that the learned and ingenious Dr.
Halley has given a very probable account of this matter; but as the
probability of that account arises only from its agreement with
observations, it follows those are as necessary and as important as
ever, in order to strengthen and confirm it.


On the 6th of November, I was in 49 degrees 4 minutes south
latitude, and in the longitude of 114 degrees 56 minutes; the
variation was at this time 26 degrees westward; and, as the weather
was foggy, with hard gales, and a rolling sea from the south-west
and from the south, I concluded from thence that it was not at all
probable there should be any land between those two points. On
November 15th I was in the latitude of 44 degrees 33 minutes south,
and in the longitude of 140 degrees 32 minutes. The variation was
then 18 degrees 30 minutes west, which variation decreased every
day, in such a manner, that, on the 21st of the same month, being in
the longitude of 158 degrees, I observed the variation to be no more
than 4 degrees. On the 22nd of that month, the needle was in
continual agitation, without resting in any of the eight points;
which led me to conjecture that we were near some mine of loadstone.

This may, at first sight, seem to contradict what has been before
laid down, as to the variation, and the causes of it: but, when
strictly considered, they will be found to agree very well; for when
it is asserted that veins of loadstone have nothing to do with the
variation of the compass, it is to be understood of the constant
variation of a few degrees to the east, or to the west: but in
cases of this nature, where the variation is absolutely irregular,
and the needle plays quite round the compass, our author's
conjecture may very well find place: yet it must be owned that it
is a point far enough from being clear, that mines of loadstone
affect the compass at a distance; which, however, might be very
easily determined, since there are large mines of loadstone in the
island of Elba, on the coast of Tuscany.


On the 24th of the same month, being in the latitude of 42 degrees
25 minutes south, and in the longitude of 163 degrees 50 minutes, I
discovered land, which lay east-south-east at the distance of ten
miles, which I called Van Diemen's Land. The compass pointed right
towards this land. The weather being bad, I steered south and by
east along the coast, to the height of 44 degrees south, where the
land runs away east, and afterwards north-east and by north. In the
latitude of 43 degrees 10 minutes south, and in the longitude of 167
degrees 55 minutes, I anchored on the 1st of December, in a bay,
which I called the Bay of Frederic Henry. I heard, or at least
fancied I heard, the sound of people upon the shore; but I saw
nobody. All I met with worth observing was two trees, which were
two fathoms or two fathoms and a half in girth, and sixty or sixty-
five feet high from the root to the branches: they had cut with a
flint a kind of steps in the bark, in order to climb up to the
birds' nests: these steps were the distance of five feet from each
other; so that we must conclude that either these people are of a
prodigious size, or that they have some way of climbing trees that
we are not used to; in one of the trees the steps were so fresh,
that we judged they could not have been cut above four days.

The noise we heard resembled the noise of some sort of trumpet; it
seemed to be at no great distance, but we saw no living creature
notwithstanding. I perceived also in the sand the marks of wild
beasts' feet, resembling those of a tiger, or some such creature; I
gathered also some gum from the trees, and likewise some lack. The
tide ebbs and flows there about three feet. The trees in this
country do not grow very close, nor are they encumbered with bushes
or underwood. I observed smoke in several places; however, we did
nothing more than set up a post, on which every one cut his name, or
his mark, and upon which I hoisted a flag. I observed that in this
place the variation was changed to 3 degrees eastward. On December
5th, being then, by observation, in the latitude of 41 degrees 34
minutes, and in the longitude 169 degrees, I quitted Van Diemen's
Land, and resolved to steer east to the longitude of 195 degrees, in
hopes of discovering the Islands of Solomon.


On September 9th I was in the latitude of 42 degrees 37 minutes
south, and in the longitude of 176 degrees 29 minutes; the variation
being there 5 degrees to the east. On the 12th of the same month,
finding a great rolling sea coming in on the south-west, I judged
there was no land to be hoped for on that point. On the 13th, being
in the latitude of 42 degrees 10 minutes south, and in the longitude
of 188 degrees 28 minutes, I found the variation 7 degrees 30
minutes eastward. In this situation I discovered a high mountainous
country, which is at present marked in the charts under the name of
New Zealand. I coasted along the shore of this country to the
north-north-east till the 18th; and being then in the latitude of 40
degrees 50 minutes south, and in the longitude of 191 degrees 41
minutes, I anchored in a fine bay, where I observed the variation to
be 9 degrees towards the east.

We found here abundance of the inhabitants: they had very hoarse
voices, and were very large-made people. They durst not approach
the ship nearer than a stone's throw; and we often observed them
playing on a kind of trumpet, to which we answered with the
instruments that were on board our vessel. These people were of a
colour between brown and yellow, their hair long, and almost as
thick as that of the Japanese, combed up, and fixed on the top of
their heads with a quill, or some such thing, that was thickest in
the middle, in the very same manner that Japanese fastened their
hair behind their heads. These people cover the middle of their
bodies, some with a kind of mat, others with a sort of woollen
cloth, but, as for their upper and lower parts, they leave them
altogether naked.

On the 19th of December, these savages began to grow a little
bolder, and more familiar, insomuch that at last they ventured on
board the Heemskirk in order to trade with those in the vessel. As
soon as I perceived it, being apprehensive that they might attempt
to surprise that ship, I sent my shallop, with seven men, to put the
people in the Heemskirk upon their guard, and to direct them not to
place any confidence in those people. My seven men, being without
arms, were attacked by these savages, who killed three of the seven,
and forced the other four to swim for their lives, which occasioned
my giving that place the name of the Bay of Murderers. Our ship's
company would, undoubtedly, have taken a severe revenge, if the
rough weather had not hindered them. From this bay we bore away
east, having the land in a manner all round us. This country
appeared to us rich, fertile, and very well situated, but as the
weather was very foul, and we had at this time a very strong west
wind, we found it very difficult to get clear of the land.


On the 24th of December, as the wind would not permit us to continue
our way to the north, as we knew not whether we should be able to
find a passage on that side, and as the flood came in from the
south-east, we concluded that it would be the best to return into
the bay, and seek some other way out, but on the 26th, the wind
becoming more favourable, we continued our route to the north,
turning a little to the west. On the 4th of January, 1643, being
then in the latitude of 34 degrees 35 minutes south, and in the
longitude of 191 degrees 9 minutes, we sailed quite to the cape,
which lies north-west, where we found the sea rolling in from the
north-east, whence we concluded that we had at last found a passage,
which gave us no small joy. There was in this strait an island,
which we called the island of the Three Kings; the cape of which we
doubled, with a design to have refreshed ourselves; but, as we
approached it, we perceived on the mountain thirty or five-and-
thirty persons, who, as far as we could discern at such a distance,
were men of very large size, and had each of them a large club in
his hand: they called out to us in a rough strong voice, but we
could meet understand anything of what they said. We observed that
these people walked at a very great rate, and that they took
prodigious large strides. We made the tour of the island, in doing
which we saw but very few inhabitants; nor did any of the country
seem to be cultivated; we found, indeed, a fresh-water river, and
then we resolved to sail east, as far as 220 degrees of longitude;
and from thence north, as far as the latitude of 17 degrees south;
and thence to the west, till we arrived at the isles of Cocos and
Horne, which were discovered by William Schovten, where we intended
to refresh ourselves, in case we found no opportunity of doing it
before, for though we had actually landed on Van Diemen's Land, we
met with nothing there; and, as for New Zealand, we never set foot
on it.

In order to render this passage perfectly intelligible it is
necessary to observe that the island of Cocos lies in the latitude
of 15 degrees 10 minutes south; and, according to Schovten's
account, is well inhabited, and well cultivated, abounding with all
sorts of refreshments; but, at the same time, he describes the
people as treacherous and base to the last degree. As for the
islands of Horne, they lie nearly in the latitude of 15 degrees, are
extremely fruitful, and inhabited by people of a kind and gentle
disposition, who readily bestowed on the Hollanders whatever
refreshments they could ask. It was no wonder, therefore, that,
finding themselves thus distressed, Captain Tasman thought of
repairing to these islands, where he was sure of obtaining
refreshments, either by fair means or otherwise, which design,
however, he did not think fit to put in execution.


On the 8th of January, being in the latitude of 30 degrees 25
minutes south, and in the longitude of 192 degrees 20 minutes, we
observed the variation of the needle to be 90 degrees towards the
east, and as we had a high rolling sea from the south-west, I
conjectured there could not be any land hoped for on that side. On
the 12th we found ourselves in 30 degrees 5 minutes south latitude,
and in 195 degrees 27 minutes of longitude, where we found the
variation 9 degrees 30 minutes to the east, a rolling sea from the
south-east and from the south-west. It is very plain, from these
observations, that the position laid down by Dr. Halley, that the
motion of the needle is not governed by the poles of the world, but
by other poles, which move round them, is highly probable, for
otherwise it is not easy to understand how the needle came to have,
as our author affirms it had, a variation of near 27 degrees to the
west, in the latitude of 45 degrees 47 minutes, and then gradually
decreasing till it had no variation at all; after which it turned
east, in the latitude of 42 degrees 37 minutes, and so continued
increasing its variation eastwardly to this time.


On the 16th we were in the latitude of 26 degrees 29 minutes south,
and in the longitude of 199 degrees 32 minutes, the variation of the
needle being 8 degrees. Here we are to observe that the eastern
variation decreases, which is likewise very agreeable to Doctor
Halley's hypothesis; which, in few words, is this: that a certain
large solid body contained within, and every way separated from the
earth (as having its own proper motion), and being included like a
kernel in its shell, revolves circularly from east to west, as the
exterior earth revolves the contrary way in the diurnal motion,
whence it is easy to explain the position of the four magnetical
poles which he attributes to the earth, by allowing two to the
nucleus, and two to the exterior earth. And, as the two former
perpetually alter the situation by their circular motion, their
virtue, compared with the exterior poles, must be different at
different times, and consequently the variation of the needle will
perpetually change. The doctor attributes to the nucleus an
European north pole and an American south one, on account of the
variation of variations observed near these places, as being much
greater than those found near the two other poles. And he
conjectures that these poles will finish their revolution in about
seven hundred years, and after that time the same situation of the
poles obtain again as at present, and, consequently, the variations
will be the same again over all the globe; so that it requires
several ages before this theory can be thoroughly adjusted. He
assigns this probable cause of the circular revolution of the
nucleus that the diurnal motion, being impressed from without, was
not so exactly communicated to the internal parts as to give them
the same precise velocity of rotation as the external, whence the
nucleus, being left behind by the exterior earth, seems to move
slowly in a contrary direction, as from east to west, with regard to
the external earth, considered as at rest in respect of the other.
But to return to our voyage.


On the 19th of January, being in the latitude of 22 degrees 35
minutes south, and in the longitude of 204 degrees 15 minutes, we
had 7 degrees 30 minutes east variation. In this situation we
discovered an island about two or three miles in circumference,
which was, as far as we could discern, very high, steep, and barren.
We were very desirous of coming nearer it, but were hindered by
south-east and south-south-east winds. We called it the Isle of
Pylstaart, because of the great number of that sort of birds we saw
flying about it, and the next day we saw two other islands.


On the 21st, being in the latitude of 21 degrees 20 minutes south,
and in the longitude of 205 degrees 29 minutes, we found our
variation 7 degrees to the north-east. We drew near to the coast of
the most northern island, which, though not very high, yet was the
larger of the two: we called one of these islands Amsterdam, and
the other Rotterdam. Upon that of Rotterdam we found great plenty
of hogs, fowls, and all sorts of fruits, and other refreshments.
These islanders did not seem to have the use of arms, inasmuch as we
saw nothing like them in any of their hands while we were upon the
island; the usage they gave us was fair and friendly, except that
they would steal a little. The current is not very considerable in
this place, where it ebbs north-east, and flows south-west. A
south-west moon causes a spring-tide, which rises seven or eight
feet at least. The wind blows there continually south-east, or
south-south-east, which occasioned the Heemskirk's being carried out
of the road, but, however, without any damage. We did not fill any
water here because it was extremely hard to get it to the ship.

On the 25th we were in the latitude 20 degrees 15 minutes south, and
in the longitude of 206 degrees 19 minutes. The variation here was
6 degrees 20 minutes to the east; and, after leaving had sight of
several other islands, we made that of Rotterdam: the islanders
here resemble those on the island of Amsterdam. The people were
very good-natured, parted readily with what they had, did not seem
to be acquainted with the use of arms, but were given to thieving
like the natives of Amsterdam Island. Here we took in water, and
other refreshments, with all the conveniency imaginable. We made
the whole circuit of the island, which we found well-stocked with
cocoa-trees, very regularly planted; we likewise saw abundance of
gardens, extremely well laid out, plentifully stocked with all kinds
of fruit-trees, all planted in straight lines, and the whole kept in
such excellent order, that nothing could have a better effect upon
the eye. After quitting the island of Rotterdam, we had sight of
several other islands; which, however, did not engage us to alter
the resolution we had taken of sailing north, to the height of 17
degrees south latitude, and from thence to shape a west course,
without going near either Traitor's Island, or those of Horne, we
having then a very brisk wind from the south-east, or east-south-

I cannot help remarking upon this part of Captain Tasman's journal,
that it is not easy to conceive, unless he was bound up by leis
instructions, why he did not remain some time either at Rotterdam or
at Amsterdam Island, but especially at the former; since, perhaps,
there is not a place in the world so happily seated, for making new
discoveries with ease and safety. He owns that he traversed the
whole island, that he found it a perfect paradise, and that the
people gave him not the least cause of being diffident in point of
security; so that if his men had thrown up ever so slight a
fortification, a part of them might have remained there in safety,
while the rest had attempted the discovery of the Islands of Solomon
on the one hand, or the continent of De Quiros on the other, from
neither of which they were at any great distance, and, from his
neglecting this opportunity, I take it for granted that he was
circumscribed, both as to his course and to the time he was to
employ in these discoveries, by his instructions, for otherwise so
able a seaman and so curious a man as his journal shows him to have
been, would not certainly have neglected so fair an opportunity.


On February 6th, being in 17 degrees 19 minutes of south latitude,
and in the longitude of 201 degrees 35 minutes, we found ourselves
embarrassed by nineteen or twenty small islands, every one of which
was surrounded with sands, shoals, and rocks. These are marked in
the charts by the name of Prince William's Islands, or Heemskirk's
Shallows. On the 8th we were in the latitude of 15 degrees 29
minutes, and in the longitude of 199 degrees 31 minutes. We had
abundance of rain, a strong wind from the north-east, or the north-
north-east, with dark cold weather. Fearing, therefore, that we
were run farther to the west than we thought ourselves by our
reckoning, and dreading that we should fall to the south of New
Guinea, or be thrown upon some unknown coast in such blowing misty
weather, we resolved to stand away to the north, or to the north-
north-west, till we should arrive in the latitude of 4, 5, or 6
degrees south, and then to bear away west for the coast of New
Guinea, as the least dangerous way that we could take.

It is very plain from hence, that Captain Tasman had now laid aside
all thoughts of discovering farther, and I think it is not difficult
to guess at the reason; when he was in this latitude, line was
morally certain that he could, without further difficulty, sail
round by the coast of New Guinea, and so back again to the East
Indies. It is therefore extremely probable that he was directed by
his instructions to coast round that great southern continent
already discovered, in order to arrive at a certainty whether it was
joined to any other part of the world, or whether, notwithstanding
its vast extent, viz., from the equator to 43 degrees of south
latitude, and from the longitude of 123 degrees to near 190 degrees,
it was, notwithstanding, an island. This, I say, was in all
appearance the true design of his voyage, and the reason of it seems
to be this: that an exact chart being drawn from his discoveries,
the East India Company might have perfect intelligence of the extent
and situation of this now-found country before they executed the
plan they were then contriving for preventing its being visited or
farther discovered by their own or any other nation; and this too
accounts for the care taken in laying down the map of this country
on the pavement of the new stadthouse at Amsterdam; for as this
county was henceforward to remain as a kind of deposit or land of
reserve in the hands of the East India Company, they took this
method of intimating as much to their countrymen, so that, while
strangers are gaping at this map as a curiosity, every intelligent
Dutchman may say to himself, "Behold the wisdom of the East India
Company. By their present empire they support the authority of this
republic abroad, and by their extensive commerce enrich its subjects
at home, and at the same time show us here what a reserve they have
made for the benefit of posterity, whenever, through the
vicissitudes to which all sublunary things are liable, their present
sources of power and grandeur shall fail."

I cannot help supporting my opinion in this respect, by putting the
reader in mind of a very curious piece of ancient history, which
furnishes us with the like instance in the conduct of another
republic. Diodorus Siculus, in the fifth book of his Historical
Library, informs us that in the African Ocean, some days' sail west
from Libya, there had been discovered an island, the soil of which
was exceedingly fertile and the country no less pleasant, all the
land being finely diversified by mountains and plains, the former
thick clothed with trees, the latter abounding with fruits and
flowers, the whole watered by innumerable rivulets, and affording so
pleasant an habitation that a finer or more delightful country fancy
itself could not feign; yet he assures us, the Carthagenians, those
great masters of maritime power and commerce, though they had
discovered this admirable island, would never suffer it to be
planted, but reserved it as a sanctuary to which they might fly,
whenever the ruin of their own republic left them no other resource.
This tallies exactly with the policy of the Dutch East India
Company, who, if they should at any time be driven from their
possessions in Java, Ceylon, and other places in that neighbourhood,
would without doubt retire back into the Moluccas, and avail
themselves effectually of this noble discovery, which lies open to
them, and has been hitherto close shut up to all the world beside.
But to proceed.


On February 14th we were in the latitude of 16 degrees 30 minutes
south, and in the longitude of 193 degrees 35 minutes. We had
hitherto had much rain and bad weather, but this day the wind
sinking, we hailed our consort the Zee-Haan, and found to our great
satisfaction that our reckonings agreed. On the 20th, in the
latitude of 13 degrees 45 minutes, and in the longitude of 193
degrees 35 minutes, we had dark, cloudy weather, much rain, thick
fogs, and a rolling sea, on all sides the wind variable. On the
26th, in the latitude of 9 degrees 48 minutes south, and in the
longitude of 193 degrees 43 minutes, we had a north-west wind,
having every day, for the space of twenty-one days, rained more or
less. On March 2nd, in the latitude of 9 degrees 11 minutes south,
and in the longitude of 192 degrees 46 minutes, the variation was 10
degrees to the east, the wind and weather still varying. On March
8th, in the latitude of 7 degrees 46 minutes south, and in the
longitude of 190 degrees 47 minutes, the wind was still variable.


On the 14th, in the latitude of 10 degrees 12 minutes south, and in
the longitude of 186 degrees 14 minutes, we found the variation 8
degrees 45 minutes to the east. We passed some days without being
able to take any observation, because the weather was all that time
dark and rainy. On March 20th, in the latitude of 5 degrees 15
minutes south, and in the longitude of 181 degrees 16 minutes, the
weather being then fair, we found the variation 9 degrees eastward.
On the 22nd, in the latitude of 5 degrees 2 minutes south, and in
the longitude of 178 degrees 32 minutes, we had fine fair weather,
and the benefit of the east trade wind. This day we had sight of
land, which lay four miles west. This land proved to be a cluster
of twenty islands, which in the maps are called Anthong Java. They
lie ninety miles or thereabouts from the coast of New Guinea. It
may not be amiss to observe here, that what Captain Tasman calls the
coast of New Guinea, is in reality the coast of New Britain, which
Captain Dampier first discovered to be a large island separated from
the coast of New Guinea.


On the 25th, in the latitude of 4 degrees 35 minutes south, and in
the longitude of 175 degrees 10 minutes, we found the variation 9
degrees 30 minutes east. We were then in the height of the islands
of Mark, which were discovered by William Schovten and James le
Maire. They are fourteen or fifteen in number, inhabited by
savages, with black hair, dressed and trimmed in the same manner as
those we saw before at the Bay of Murderers in New Zealand. On the
29th we passed the Green Islands, and on the 30th that of St. John,
which were likewise discovered by Schovten and Le Maire. This
island they found to be of a considerable extent, and judged it to
lie at the distance of one thousand eight hundred and forty leagues
from the coast of Peru. It appeared to them well inhabited and well
cultivated, abounding with flesh, fowl, fish, fruit, and other
refreshments. The inhabitants made use of canoes of all sizes, were
armed with slings, darts, and wooden swords, wore necklaces and
bracelets of pearl, and rings in their noses. They were, however,
very intractable, notwithstanding all the pains that could be taken
to engage them in a fair correspondence, so that Captain Schovten
was at last obliged to fire upon them to prevent them from making
themselves masters of his vessel, which they attacked with a great
deal of vigour; and very probably this was the reason that Captain
Tasman did not attempt to land or make any farther discovery. On
April 1st, we were in the latitude of 4 degrees 30 minutes south,
and in the longitude of 171 degrees 2 minutes, the variation being 8
degrees 45 minutes to the east, having now sight of the coast of New
Guinea; and endeavouring to double the cape which the Spaniards call
Cobo Santa Maria, we continued to sail along the coast which lies
north-west. We afterwards passed the islands of Antony Caens,
Gardeners Island, and Fishers Island, advancing towards the
promontory called Struis Hoek, where the coast runs south and south-
east. We resolved to pursue the same route, and to continue
steering south till we should either discover land or a passage on
that side.

It is necessary to observe, that all this time they continued on the
coast, not of New Guinea but of New Britain, for that cape which the
Spaniards called Santa Maria is the very same that Captain Dampier
called Cape St. George, and Caens, Gardeners, and Fishers Islands
all lie upon the same coast. They had been discovered by Schovten
and Le Maire, who found them to be well inhabited, but by a very
base and treacherous people, who, after making signs of peace,
attempted to surprise their ships; and these islanders managed their
slings with such force and dexterity, as to drive the Dutch sailors
from their decks; which account of Le Maire's agree perfectly well
with what Captain Dampier tells us of the same people. As for the
continent of New Guinea, it lies quite behind the island of New
Britain, and was therefore laid down in all the charts before
Dampier's discovery, at least four degrees more to the east than it
should have been.


On April 12th, in the latitude of 3 degrees 45 minutes south, and in
the longitude of 167 degrees, we found the variation 10 degrees
towards the east. That night part of the crew were wakened out of
their sleep by an earthquake. They immediately ran upon deck,
supposing that the ship had struck. On heaving the lead, however,
there was no bottom to be found. We had afterwards several shocks,
but none of them so violent as the first. We had then doubled the
Struis Hoek, and were at that time in the Bay of Good Hope. On the
14th, in the latitude of 5 degrees 27 minutes south, and in the
longitude of 166 degrees 57 minutes, we observed the variation to be
9 degrees 15 minutes to the east. The land lay then north-east,
east-north-east, and again south-south-west, so that we imagined
there had been a passage between those two points; but we were soon
convinced of our mistake, and that it was all one coast, so that we
were obliged to double the West Cape and to continue creeping along
shore, and were much hindered in our passage by calms. This
description agrees very well with that of Schovten and Le Maire, so
that probably they had now sight again of the coast of New Guinea.

It is very probable, from the accident that happened to Captain
Tasman, and which also happened to others upon that coast, and from
the burning mountains that will be hereafter mentioned, that this
country is very subject to earthquakes, and if so, without doubt it
abounds with metals and minerals, of which we have also another
proof from a point in which all these writers agree, viz., that the
people they saw had rings on their noses and ears, though none of
them tell us of what metal these rings were made, which Le Maire
might easily have done, since he carried off a man from one of the
islands whose name was Moses, from whom he learned that almost every
nation on this coast speaks a different language.


On the 20th, in the latitude of 5 degrees 4 minutes south, and in
the longitude 164 degrees 27 minutes, we found the variation 8
degrees 30 minutes east. We that night drew near the Brandande
Yland, i.e., burning island, which William Schovten mentions, and we
perceived a great flame issuing, as he says, from the top of a high
mountain. When we were between that island and the continent, we
saw a vast number of fires along the shore and half-way up the
mountain, from whence we concluded that the country must be very
populous. We were often detained on this coast by calms, and
frequently observed small trees, bamboos, and shrubs, which the
rivers on that coast carried into the sea; from which we inferred
that this part of the country was extremely well watered, and that
the land must be very good. The next morning we passed the burning
mountain, and continued a west-north-west course along that coast.

It is remarkable that Schovten had made the same observation with
respect to the drift-wood forced by the rivers into the sea. He
likewise observed that there was so copious a discharge of fresh
water, that it altered the colour and the taste of the sea. He
likewise says that the burning island is extremely well peopled, and
also well cultivated. He afterwards anchored on the coast of the
continent, and endeavoured to trade with the natives, who made him
pay very dear for hogs and cocoa-nuts, and likewise showed him some
ginger. It appears from Captain Tasman's account that he was now in
haste to return to Batavia, and did not give himself so much trouble
as at the beginning about discoveries, and to say the truth, there
was no great occasion, if, as I observed, his commission was no more
than to sail round the new discovered coasts, in order to lay them
down with greater certainty in the Dutch charts.


On the 27th, being in the latitude of 2 degrees 10 minutes south,
and in the longitude of 146 degrees 57 minutes, we fancied that we
had a sight of the island of Moa, but it proved to be that of Jama,
which lies a little to the east of Moa. We found here great plenty
of cocoa-nuts and other refreshments. The inhabitants were
absolutely black, and could easily repeat the words that they heard
others speak, which shows their own to be a very copious language.
It is, however, exceedingly difficult to pronounce, because they
make frequent use of the letter R, and sometimes to such a degree
that it occurs twice or thrice in the same word. The next day we
anchored on the coast of the island of Moa, where we likewise found
abundance of refreshments, and where we were obliged by bad weather
to stay till May 9th. We purchased there, by way of exchange, six
thousand cocoa-nuts, and a hundred bags of pysanghs or Indian figs.
When we first began to trade with these people, one of our seamen
was wounded by an arrow that one of the natives let fly, either
through malice or inadvertency. We were at that very juncture
endeavouring to bring our ships close to the shore, which so
terrified these islanders, that they brought of their own accord on
board us, the man who had shot the arrow and left him at our mercy.
We found them after this accident much more tractable than before in
every respect. Our sailors, therefore, pulled off the iron hoops
from some of the old water-casks, stuck them into wooden handles,
and filing them to an edge, sold these awkward knives to the
inhabitants for their fruits.

In all probability they had not forgot what happened to our people
on July 16th, 1616, in the days of William Schovten: these people,
it seems, treated him very ill; upon which James le Maire brought
his ship close to the shore, and fired a broadside through the
woods; the bullets, flying through the trees, struck the negroes
with such a panic, that they fled in an instant up into the country,
and durst not show their heads again till they had made full
satisfaction for what was past, and thereby secured their safety for
the time to come; and he traded with them afterwards very peaceably,
and with mutual satisfaction.

This account of our author's seems to have been taken upon memory,
and is not very exact. Schovten's seamen, or rather the petty
officer who commanded his long boat, insulted the natives grossly
before they offered any injury to his people; and then,
notwithstanding they fired upon them with small arms, the islanders
obliged them to retreat; so that they were forced to bring the great
guns to bear upon the island before they could reduce them. These
people do not deserve to be treated as savages, because Schovten
acknowledges that they had been engaged in commerce with the
Spaniards; as appeared by their having iron pots, glass beads, and
pendants, with other European commodities, before he came thither.
He also tells us that they were a very civilised people, their
country well cultivated and very fruitful; that they had a great
many boats, and other small craft, which they navigated with great
dexterity. He adds also, that they gave him a very distinct account
of the neighbouring islands, and that they solicited him to fire
upon the Arimoans, with whom it seems they are always at war; which,
however, he refused to do, unless provoked to it by some injury
offered by those people. It is therefore very apparent that the
inhabitants of Moa are a people with whom any Europeans, settled in
their neighbourhood, might without any difficulty settle a commerce,
and receive considerable assistance from them in making discoveries.
But perhaps some nations are fitter for these kind of expeditions
than others, as being less apt to make use of their artillery and
small arms upon every little dispute; for as the inhabitants of Moa
are well enough acquainted with the superiority which the Europeans
have over them, it cannot be supposed that they will ever hazard
their total destruction by committing any gross act of cruelty upon
strangers who visit their coast; and it is certainly very unfair to
treat people as savages and barbarians, merely for defending
themselves when insulted or attacked without cause. The instance
Captain Tasman gives us of their delivering up the man who wounded
his sailor is a plain proof of this; and as to the diffidence and
suspicion which some later voyagers have complained of with respect
to the inhabitants of this island, they must certainly be the
effects of the bad behaviour of such Europeans as this nation have
hitherto dealt with, and would be effectually removed, if ever they
had a settled experience of a contrary conduct. The surest method
of teaching people to behave honestly towards us is to behave
friendly and honestly towards them, and then there is no great
reason to fear, that such as give evident proofs of capacity and
civility in the common affairs of life should be guilty of treachery
that must turn to their own disadvantage.


On the 12th of May, being then in the latitude of 54 minutes south,
and in the longitude of 153 degrees 17 minutes, we found the
variation 6 degrees 30 minutes to the east. We continued coasting
the north side of the island of William Schovten, which is about
eighteen or nineteen miles long, very populous, and the people very
brisk and active. It was with great caution that Schovten gave his
name to this island, for having observed that there were abundance
of small islands laid down in the charts on the coast of New Guinea,
he was suspicious that this might be of the number. But since that
time it seems a point generally agreed, that this island had not
before any particular name; and therefore, in all subsequent
voyages, we find it constantly mentioned by the name of Schovten's

He describes it as a very fertile and well-peopled island; the
inhabitants of which were so far from discovering anything of a
savage nature, that they gave apparent testimonies of their having
had an extensive commerce before he touched there, since they not
only showed him various commodities from the Spaniards, but also
several samples of China ware; he observes that they are very unlike
the nations he had seen before, being rather of an olive colour than
black; some having short, others long hair, dressed after different
fashions; they were also a taller, stronger, and stouter people than
their neighbours. These little circumstances, which may seem
tedious or trifling to such as read only for amusement, are,
however, of very great importance to such as have discoveries in
view; because they argue that these people have a general
correspondence; the difference of their complexion must arise from a
mixed descent; and the different manner of wearing their hair is
undoubtedly owing to their following the fashion of different
nations, as their fancies lead them. He farther observes that their
vessels were larger and better contrived than their neighbours; that
they readily parted with their bows and arrows in exchange for
goods, and that they were particularly fond of glass and ironware,
which, perhaps, they not only used themselves, but employed likewise
in their commerce. The most western point of the island he called
the Cape of Good Hope, because by doubling that cape he expected to
reach the island of Banda; and that we may not wonder that he was in
doubts and difficulties as to the situation on of these places, we
ought to reflect that Schovten was the first who sailed round the
world by this course, and the last too, except Commodore Roggewein,
other navigators choosing rather to run as high as California, and
from thence to the Ladrone Islands, merely because it is the
ordinary route.

In the neighbourhood of this island Schovten also met with an
earthquake, which alarmed the ship's company excessively, from an
apprehension that they had struck upon a rock. There are some other
islands in the neighbourhood of this, well peopled, and well
planted, abounding with excellent fruits, especially of the melon
kind. These islands lie, as it were, on the confines of the
southern continent, and the East Indies, so that the inhabitants
enjoy all the advantages resulting from their own happy climate, and
from their traffic with their neighbours, especially with those of
Ternate and Amboyna, who come thither yearly to purchase their
commodities, and who are likewise visited at certain seasons by the
people of these islands in their turn.


On the 18th of May, in the latitude of 26 minutes south and in the
longitude of 147 degrees 55 minutes, we observed the variation to be
5 degrees 30 minutes east. We were now arrived at the western
extremity of New Guinea, which is a detached point or promontory
(though it is not marked so even in the latest maps); here we met
with calms, variable and contrary winds, with much rain; from thence
we steered for Ceram, leaving the Cape on the north, and arrived
safely on that island; by this time Captain Tasman had fairly
surrounded the continent he was instructed to discover, and had
therefore nothing now farther in view than to return to Batavia, in
order to report the discoveries he had made.

On the 27th of May we passed through the straits of Boura, or
Bouton, and continued our passage to Batavia, where we arrived on
the 15th of June, in the latitude of 6 degrees 12 minutes south, and
in the longitude of 127 degrees 18 minutes. This voyage was made in
the space of ten months. Such was the end of this expedition, which
has been always considered as the clearest and most exact that was
ever made for the discovery of the Terra Australis Incognita, from
whence that chart and map was laid down in the pavement of the
stadt-house at Amsterdam, as is before mentioned. We have now
nothing to do but to shut up this voyage and our history of
circumnavigators, with a few remarks, previous to which it will be
requisite to state clearly and succinctly the discoveries, either
made or confirmed by Captain Tasman's voyage, that the importance of
it may fully appear, as well as the probability of our conjectures
with regard to the motives that induced the Dutch East India Company
to be at so much pains about these discoveries.


In the first place, then, it is most evident, from Captain Tasman's
voyage, that New Guinea, Carpentaria, New Holland, Antony van
Diemen's Land, and the countries discovered by De Quiros, make all
one continent, from which New Zealand seems to be separated by a
strait; and, perhaps, is part of another continent, answering to
Africa, as this, of which we are now speaking, plainly does to
America. This continent reaches from the equinoctial to 44 degrees
of south latitude, and extends from 122 degrees to 188 degrees of
longitude, making indeed a very large country, but nothing like what
De Quiros imagined; which shows how dangerous a thing it is to trust
too much to conjecture in such points as these. It is, secondly,
observable, that as New Guinea, Carpentaria, and New Holland, had
been already pretty well examined, Captain Tasman fell directly to
the south of these; so that his first discovery was Van Diemen's
Land, the most southern part of the continent on this side the
globe, and then passing round by New Zealand, he plainly discovered
the opposite side of that country towards America, though he visited
the islands only, and never fell in again with the continent till he
arrived on the coast of New Britain, which he mistook for that of
New Guinea, as he very well might; that country having never been
suspected to be an island, till Dampier discovered it to be such in
the beginning of the present century. Thirdly, by this survey,
these countries are for ever marked out, so long as the map or
memory of this voyage, shall remain. The Dutch East India Company
have it always in their power to direct settlements, or new
discoveries, either in New Guinea, from the Moluccas, or in New
Holland, from Batavia directly. The prudence shown in the conduct
of this affair deserves the highest praise. To have attempted
heretofore, or even now, the establishing colonies in those
countries, would be impolitic, because it would be grasping more
than the East India Company, or than even the republic of Holland,
could manage; for, in the first place, to reduce a continent between
three and four thousand miles broad is a prodigious undertaking, and
to settle it by degrees would be to open to all the world the
importance of that country which, for anything we can tell, may be
much superior to any country yet known: the only choice, therefore,
that the Dutch had left, was to reserve this mighty discovery till
the season arrived, in which they should be either obliged by
necessity or invited by occasion to make use of it; but though this
country be reserved, it is no longer either unknown or neglected by
the Dutch, which is a point of very great consequence. To the other
nations of Europe, the southern continent is a chimera, a thing in
the clouds, or at least a country about which there are a thousand
doubts and suspicions, so that to talk of discovering or settling it
must be regarded as an idle and empty project: but, with respect to
them, it is a thing perfectly well known; its extent, its
boundaries, its situation, the genius of its several nations, and
the commodities of which they are possessed, are absolutely within
their cognisance, so that they are at liberty to take such measures
as appear to them best, for securing the eventual possession of this
country, whenever they think fit. This account explains at once all
the mysteries which the best writers upon this subject have found in
the Dutch proceedings. It shows why they have been at so much pains
to obtain a clear and distinct survey of these distant countries;
why they have hitherto forborne settling, and why they take so much
pains to prevent other nations from coming at a distinct knowledge
of them: and I may add to this another particular, which is that it
accounts for their permitting the natives of Amboyna, who are their
subjects, to carry on a trade to New Guinea, and the adjacent
countries, since, by this very method, it is apparent that they gain
daily fresh intelligence as to the product and commodities of those
countries. Having thus explained the consequence of Captain
Tasman's voyage, and thereby fully justified my giving it a place in
this part of my work, I am now at liberty to pursue the reflections
with which I promised to close this section, and the history of
circumnavigators, and in doing which, I shall endeavour to make the
reader sensible of the advantages that arise from publishing these
voyages in their proper order, so as to show what is, and what is
yet to be discovered of the globe on which we live.


In speaking of the consequences of Captain Tasman's voyage, it has
been very amply shown that this part of Terra Australis, or southern
country, has been fully and certainly discovered. To prevent,
however, the reader's making any mistake, I will take this
opportunity of laying before him some remarks on the whole southern
hemisphere, which will enable him immediately to comprehend all that
I have afterwards to say on this subject.

If we suppose the south pole to be the centre of a chart of which
the equinoctial is the circumference, we shall then discern four
quarters, of the contents of which, if we could give a full account,
this part of the world would be perfectly discovered. To begin then
with the first of these, that is, from the first meridian, placed in
the island of Fero. Within this division, that is to say, from the
first to the nineteenth degree of longitude, there lies the great
continent of Africa, the most southern point of which is the Cape of
Good Hope, lying in the latitude of 34 degrees 15 minutes south.
Between that and the pole, several small but very inconsiderable
islands have been discovered, affording us only this degree of
certainty, that to the latitude of 50 degrees there is no land to be
found of any consequence; there was, indeed, a voyage made by Mr.
Bovet in the year 1738, on purpose to discover whether there were
any lands to the south in that quarter or not. This gentleman
sailed from Port l'Orient July the 18th, 1738, and on the 1st of
January, 1739, discovered a country, the coasts of which were
covered with ice, in the latitude of 54 degrees south, and in the
longitude of 28 degrees 30 minutes, the variation of the compass
being there 6 degrees 45 minutes, to the west.

In the next quarter, that is to say, from 90 degrees longitude to
180 degrees, lie the countries of which we have been speaking, or
that large southern island, extending from the equinoctial to the
latitude of 43 degrees 10 minutes, and the longitude of 167 degrees
55 minutes, which is the extremity of Van Diemen's Land

In the third quarter, that is, from the longitude of 150 degrees to
170 degrees, there is very little discovered with any certainty.
Captain Tasman, indeed, visited the coast of New Zealand, in the
latitude of 42 degrees 10 minutes south, and in the longitude of 188
degrees 28 minutes; but besides this, and the islands of Amsterdam
and Rotterdam, we know very little; and therefore, if there be any
doubts about the reality of Terra Australis, it must be with respect
to that part of it which lies within this quarter, through which
Schovten and Le Maire sailed, but without discovering anything more
than a few small islands.

The fourth and last quarter is from 270 degrees of longitude to the
first meridian, within which lies the continent of South America,
and the island of Terra del Fuego, the most southern promontory of
which is supposed to be Cape Horn, which, according to the best of
observations, is in the latitude of 56 degrees, beyond which there
has been nothing with any degree of certainty discovered on this

On the whole, therefore, it appears there are three continents
already tolerably discovered which point towards the south pole, and
therefore it is very probable there is a fourth, which if there be,
it must lie between the country of New Zealand, discovered by
Captain Tasman, and that country which was seen by Captain Sharpe
and Mr. Wafer in the South Seas, to which land therefore, and no
other, the title of Terra Australis Incognita properly belongs.
Leaving this, therefore, to the industry of future ages to discover,
we will now return to that great southern island which Captain
Tasman actually surrounded, and the bounds of which are tolerably
well known.

In order to give the reader a proper idea of the importance of this
country, it will be requisite to say something of the climates in
which it is situated. As it lies from the equinoctial to near the
latitude of 44 degrees, the longest day in the most northern parts
must be twelve hours, and in the southern about fifteen hours, or
somewhat more, so that it extends from the first to the seventh
climate, which shows its situation to be the happiest in the world,
the country called Van Diemen's Land resembling in all respects the
south of France. As there are in all countries some parts more
pleasant than others, so there seems good reason to believe that
within two or three degrees of the tropic of Capricorn, which passes
through the midst of New Holland, is the most unwholesome and
disagreeable part of this country; the reason of which is very
plain, for in those parts it must be excessively hot, much more so
than under the line itself, since the days and nights are there
always equal, whereas within three or four degrees of the tropic of
Capricorn, that is to say, in the latitude 27 degrees south, the
days are thirteen hours and a half long, and the sun is twice in
their zenith, first in the beginning of December, or rather in the
latter end of November, and again when it returns back, which
occasions a burning heat for about two months, or something more;
whereas, either farther to the south or nearer to the line, the
climate must be equally wholesome and pleasant.

As to the product and commodities of this country in general, there
is the greatest reason in the world to believe that they are
extremely rich and valuable, because the richest and finest
countries in the known world lie all of them within the same
latitude; but to return from conjectures to facts, the country
discovered by De Quiros makes a part of this great island, and is
the opposite coast to that of Carpentaria. This country, the
discoverer called La Australia del Espiritu Santo, in the latitude
of 15 degrees 40 minutes south, and, as he reports, it abounds with
gold, silver, pearl, nutmegs, mace, ginger, and sugar-canes, of an
extraordinary size. I do not wonder that formerly the fact might be
doubted, but at present I think there is sufficient reason to induce
us to believe it, for Captain Dampier describes the country about
Cape St. George and Port Mountague, which are within 9 degrees of
the country described by De Quiros. I say Captain Dampier describes
what he saw in the following words: "The country hereabouts is
mountainous and woody, full of rich valleys and pleasant fresh-water
brooks; the mould in the valleys is deep and yellowish, that on the
sides of the hills of a very brown colour, and not very deep, but
rocky underneath, yet excellent planting land; the trees in general
are neither very straight, thick, nor tall, yet appear green and
pleasant enough; some of them bear flowers, some berries, and others
big fruits, but all unknown to any of us; cocoa-nut trees thrive
very well here, as well on the bays by the sea-side, as more remote
among the plantations; the nuts are of an indifferent size, the milk
and kernel very thick and pleasant; here are ginger, yams, and other
very good roots for the pot, that our men saw and tasted; what other
fruits or roots the country affords I know not; here are hogs and
dogs, other land animals we saw none; the fowls we saw and knew were
pigeons, parrots, cocadores, and crows, like those in England; a
sort of birds about the bigness of a blackbird, and smaller birds
many. The sea and rivers have plenty of fish; we saw abundance,
though we catched but few, and these were cavallies, yellow-tails,
and whip-wreys."

This account is grounded only on a very slight view, whereas De
Quiros resided for some time in the place he has mentioned. In
another place Captain Dampier observes that he saw nutmegs amongst
them, which seemed to be fresh-gathered, all which agrees perfectly
with the account given by De Quiros; add to this, that Schovten had
likewise observed, that they had ginger upon this coast, and some
other spices, so that on the whole there seems not the least reason
to doubt that if any part of this country was settled, it must be
attended with a very rich commerce; for it cannot be supposed that
all these writers should be either mistaken, or that they should
concur in a design to impose upon their readers; which is the less
to be suspected, if we consider how well their reports agree with
the situation of the country, and that the trees on the land, and
the fish on the coast, corresponding exactly with the trees of those
countries, and the fish on the coasts, where these commodities are
known to abound within land, seem to intimate a perfect conformity

The next thing to be considered is, the possibility of planting in
this part of the world, which at first sight, I must confess, seems
to be attended with considerable difficulties with respect to every
other nation except the Dutch, who either from Batavia, the
Moluccas, or even from the Cape of Good Hope, might with ease settle
themselves wherever they thought fit; as, however, they have
neglected this for above a century, there seems to be no reason why
their conduct in this respect should become the rule of other
nations, or why any other nation should be apprehensive of drawing
on herself the displeasure of the Dutch, by endeavouring to turn to
their benefit countries the Dutch have so long suffered to lie, with
respect to Europe, waste and desert.

The first point, with respect to a discovery, would be to send a
small squadron on the coast of Van Diemen's Land, and from thence
round, in the same course taken by Captain Tasman, by the coast of
New Guinea, which might enable the nations that attempted it to come
to an absolute certainty with regard to its commodities and
commerce. Such a voyage as this might be performed with very great
ease, and at a small expense, by our East India Company; and this in
the space of eight or nine months' time; and considering what mighty
advantages might accrue to the nation, there seems to be nothing
harsh or improbable in supposing that some time or other, when the
legislature is more than usually intent on affairs of commerce, they
may be directed to make such an expedition at the expense of the
public. By this means all the back coast of New Holland and New
Guinea might be thoroughly examined, and we might know as well, and
as certainly as the Dutch, how far a colony settled there might
answer our expectations; one thing is certain, that to persons used
to the navigation of the Indies, such an expedition could not be
thought either dangerous or difficult, because it is already
sufficiently known that there are everywhere islands upon the coast,
where ships upon such a discovery might be sure to meet with
refreshments, as is plain from Commodore Roggewein's voyage, made
little more than twenty years ago.

The only difficulty that I can see would be the getting a fair and
honest account of this expedition when made; for private interest is
so apt to interfere, and get the better of the public service, that
it is very hard to be sure of anything of this sort. That I may not
be suspected of any intent to calumniate, I shall put the reader in
mind of two instances; the first is, as to the new trade from
Russia, for establishing of which an Act of Parliament was with
great difficulty obtained, though visibly for the advantage of the
nation; the other instance is, the voyage of Captain Middleton, for
the discovery of a north-west passage into the south seas, which is
ended by a very warm dispute, whether that passage be found or not,
the person supposed to have found it maintaining the negative.

Whenever, therefore, such an expedition is undertaken, it ought to
be under the direction, not only of a person of parts and
experience, but of unspotted character, who, on his return, should
be obliged to deliver his journal upon oath, and the principal
officers under him should likewise be directed to keep their
journals distinctly, and without their being inspected by the
principal officer; all which journals ought to be published by
authority as soon as received, that every man might be at liberty to
examine them, and deliver his thoughts as to the discoveries made,
or the impediments suggested to have hindered or prevented such
discoveries, by which means the public would be sure to obtain a
full and distinct account of the matter; and it would thence
immediately appear whether it would be expedient to prosecute the
design or not.

But if it should be thought too burdensome for a company in so
flourishing a condition, and consequently engaged in so extensive a
commerce as the East India Company is, to undertake such an
expedition, merely to serve the public, promote the exportation of
our manufactures, and increase the number of industrious persons who
are maintained by foreign trade; if this, I say, should be thought
too grievous for a company that has purchased her privileges from
the public by a large loan at low interest, there can certainly be
no objection to the putting this project into the hands of the Royal
African Company, who are not quite in so flourishing a condition;
they have equal opportunities for undertaking it, since the voyage
might be with great ease performed from their settlements in ten
months, and if the trade was found to answer, it might encourage the
settling a colony at Madagascar to and from which ships might, with

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