A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 661 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.

[96] The country of Jeso, which has so long been a stumbling-block to our
    modern geographers, was first brought to the knowledge of Europeans by
    the Dutch vessels mentioned in the preceding notes.  The name appears,
    from the earliest accounts, to have been well known, both to the
    Japanese and the Kamtschadales; and used by them, indiscriminately,
    for all the islands lying between Kamtschatka and Japan.  It has since
    been applied to a large imaginary island, or continent, supposed to
    have been discovered by the Castricom and Breskes; and it may not,
    therefore, be improper to consider the grounds of this mistake, as far
    as can be collected from the journals of that expedition.  The object
    of the voyage, in which those ships were engaged, was to explore the
    eastern shore of Tartary; but, being separated by a storm off the S.E.
    point of Japan, they sailed in different tracks along the E. side of
    the island; and, having passed its northern extremity, proceeded
    singly on their intended expedition.

The Castricom, commanded by De Vries, steering northward, fell in with land on the third day, in latitude 42 deg..  He sailed along the S.E. coast about sixty leagues in a constant fog; and, having anchored in various places, held a friendly intercourse with the inhabitants.  Thus far the journal.  Now, as the islands of Matimai, Kunashir, and Zellany appear, from Captain Spanberg’s discoveries, to lie exactly in this situation, there can be no doubt of their being the same land; and the circumstance of the fog sufficiently accounts for the error of De Vries, imagining them to be one continent; without having recourse to the supposition of an earthquake, by which Mr Muller, from his desire to reconcile the opinion generally received, with the later Russian discoveries, conceives the several parts to have been separated.  The journal then proceeds to give an account of the discovery of Staten Island and Company’s Land, of which I have already given my opinion, and shall have occasion to speak hereafter.  Having passed through the Straits of De Vries, says the journal, they entered a vast, wild, and tempestuous sea, in which they steered, through mists and darkness, to the 48 deg.  N. latitude; after which they were driven by contrary winds to the southward, and again fell in with land to the westward, in latitude 45 deg., which they unaccountably still imagined to be part of the continent of Jeso; whereas, whoever examines Jansen’s map of their discoveries, (which appears to be exceedingly accurate, as far as his information went,) will, I believe, have no doubt, that they were, at this time, on the coast of Tartary.  Having traced this land four degrees to the northward, they returned to the southward through the Straits they had passed before.
It is not necessary to trouble the reader with the journal of the Breskes, as it contains
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