Early Australian Voyages
by John Pinkerton
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Transcribed from the 1886 Cassell & Company edition by David Price, email



Introduction Pelsart Tasman Dampier


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.

H. M.


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 mainmast, 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-place.

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 rainwater, 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 shallops.

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 Batavia.

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-east.

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, he 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 driftwood 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 Island.

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.

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