The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 186 pages of information about The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765.
seen fires from afar, some of the men fancying that two or three times they have seen a number of naked blacks, whom however they have never been able to come near to, or to come to parley with; nor have they found there any peculiar animals or birds, excepting that especially in the Swaene-revier [*] they have seen a species of black swans, three of which they have brought to Batavia alive, which we should have been glad to send over to Your Worships, but that shortly after their arrival here they all of them died one after another.  Nor, so far as we know, have they met with any vestiges of the lost ship de Ridderschap van Hollant or of any other bottoms, either in those parts or near the islands of Amsterdam and St. Paulo, so that in sum nothing of any importance has been discovered in this exploratory voyage.  Only, we must not omit to mention that in an island situated in 25 deg.  S.L. near or before the South-land, they have found fastened to a pole, which though half-rotten stood still erect, a common pewter dish of medium size, which had been flattened and nailed to the pole aforesaid, where they found it still hanging; the said dish bearing the following words engraved on it, still distinctly legible: 

[* Opposite to the Rottenest island.]

“A.D. 1616, on the 25th of October there arrived here the ship den Eendragt, of Amsterdam; supercargo Gillis Miebais, of Liege; skipper Dirck Hartog, of Amsterdam; she set sail again for Bantam, on the 27th do.; subcargo Jan Steyn, upper-steersman Pieter Ledocker van Bil.”

This old dish which skipper Willem de Vlaming brought us, has now likewise been handed to the Commander [*] in order to be delivered to Your Worships, who with us will no doubt stand amazed that the same has for so long a series of years been preserved in spite of its being exposed to the influence of sky, rain and sun [**].

[* Viz. of the fleet with which this letter was sent to the Netherlands.]

[* The dish would seem to be no longer extant.]

In the same spot they have again erected a new pole with a flattened pewter dish nailed to it in commemoration of their visit, having first had the following inscription engraved on the dish, as is more amply set forth in the Journals: 

“A.D. 1697, on the 4th of Febr. there arrived here the ship de Geelvinck, skipper Willem de Vlaming, of Vlieland; assistant Joannes van Bremen, of Copenhaguen; upper-steersman Michiel Blom, of Bremen; the hooker de Nijptang, skipper Gerrit Collart, of Amsterdam; assistant Theodorus Heermans, of do.; upper-steersman Gerrit Gerrits, of Bremen; the galiot ’t Weseltje, master Cornelis de Vlaming, of Vlieland; steersman Coert Gerrits, of Bremen; the whole of our flotilla sailed from here on the 12th do., in order to explore the South-land with destination for Batavia” [*]

[* This dish was afterwards brought to Paris by the French expedition, with the ships l’Uranie and la Physicienne (1817-1820), (see L. DE FREYCINET, Voyage autour du monde, sur les corvettus l’Uranie et la Physicienne, Historique, Paris, 1825. pp. 449, 482-486) and would seem to be no longer extant there.  An evidently inaccurate copy of the inscription engraved on the dish, is here reproduced on a reduced scale from Planche 14 of the Atlas Historique accompanying De Freycinet’s work.]

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The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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