In the beginning of the year 1598, some eminent merchants in the united provinces, among whom were Peter van Bueren, Hugo Gerritz, and John Bennick, formed a design of sending some stout ships through the Straits of Magellan into the South Sea, to cruise against the Spaniards; to which design they were chiefly instigated by the reports of many English seamen, who had served in these parts, under Drake, Candish, and Hawkins, and other experienced officers. The purpose of the present expedition, was to cruise upon the coasts belonging to the Spaniards, and to force the enemy of peace to bear the expences of those wars in which he obliged other people unwillingly to engage. They also proposed by it to gain nautical experience, if it should be found practicable to continue the voyage by the Philippines, and so round by the Cape of Good Hope, circumnavigating the globe.
As the success of this important enterprise greatly depended upon the choice of a general, for so in those days the Dutch, and most other nations, denominated the commander in chief, whether by sea or land, the adventurers took great care to provide themselves with a person of established character, both in regard to conduct and courage. The person chosen on this occasion was Oliver van Noort, a native of Utrecht, in the flower of his age, and who had a strong passion to acquire glory. To him they communicated their scheme, which he readily embraced; and their terms being speedily adjusted, they proceeded to fit out two stout vessels one named the Maurice, and the other the Henry Frederick, together with two yachts, railed the Concord and the Hope, the whole being manned by 248 persons of all ranks and conditions.
Of this small fleet, Oliver van Noort was appointed admiral, and sailed in the Maurice; James Claas van Ulpenda was captain of the Henry Frederick, with the title of vice-admiral, Captain Peter van Lint commanded the Concord, and John Huidecoope was captain of the Hope. These were all men of experience in sea affairs, and capable of maintaining their authority on all occasions, and were all interested in the success of the voyage, by means of shares in the outfit; a proper precaution then, and ever since usual among the Dutch in all such cases, to prevent their expeditions from suffering by private views, or want of hearty concurrence in their officers: which, among other nations, is often the cause of failure, and for which this method is, perhaps, the only cure.
All things being in readiness, and crews provided for all the vessels, the proprietors presented a petition to the Board of Admiralty of Rotterdam, upon which all who were concerned were summoned to compeer: and, on the 28th June, 1598, the rules and regulations for the government of all concerned in this expedition, having been previously drawn up by the company of adventurers, revised by the admiralty and approved of by the Stadtholder, Prince Maurice, were publicly