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.

[** The eighty years’ war was still going on]

[*** Van Diemen died April 19, 1645.]

Is it wonderful that, where the supreme authorities of the E.I.C. regarded matters in this light, there was no longer question of exploratory voyages of any importance?  The period of the great voyages of discovery undertaken by Netherlanders, accordingly terminates with Van Diemen’s death.  It is true that occasionally voyages of this nature were planned [*]; that Australia—­not to go further afield—­was also visited now and then in later times, but such visits either bore an incidental character, or formed part of expeditions undertaken for other purposes [**], the occasion being then used to “obtain once for all some full and reliable information touching the situation and coast-lines” of lands previously discovered.

[* See p. 72 and Note below:  1645 and 1646.]

[** Now, for instance (No.  XXVIII, 1648), for the purpose of seeking another route than the customary one from Batavia to Banda, at another time (No.  XXIX, 1656-1658) to inquire into the fate of a shipwrecked crew; or to prevent the voyages of William Dampier from entailing unpleasant consequences for the Dutch E.I.C. (1705, No.  XXXIII).—­Thus, in 1718, a Swiss of the name of J. P. Purry submitted to the Managers of the E.I.C. proposals for the further discovery of Nuytsland.  The proposal was duly reported on, but ultimately laid aside (Resolutions of the “Heeren XVII”, Oclober 3, 1718, and March 11 1719; Resolution of the Amsterdam Chamber, April 17, 1719).]

Still, we must not omit to mention that at the close of the seventeenth century a desire to contribute to the enlargement of geographical knowledge for a moment got a voice in the question of equipping vessels for expeditions sent out for this purpose.  And this scientific impulse originated in the mother-country [*].  The impulse was undoubtedly given by the well-known burgomaster of Amsterdam and Manager of the E. I. C., Nicolaas Corneliszoon Witsen, LL D, author of the work entitled {Page xvii} Noord en Oost Tartarije.  He took a diligent part in the preparations for the voyage of skipper De Vlamingh:  “We are having the vessels manned mainly with unmarried and resolute sailors; I have directed a draughtsman to join the expedition that whatever strange or rare things they meet with, may be accurately depicted”.  And Witsen anxiously awaited the outcome of De Vlamingh’s expedition.  He was disappointed by the results:  the commander had indeed “surveyed and made soundings on the coasts, but had made few landings.”  At the same time Manager Witsen mentions not without some satisfaction the results of this voyage, meagre though they may be in his eyes, in letters to friends both at home and abroad, imparting to them what he has learned on the subject [**].  A few years later, however, he bitterly complains of the indifference of many of his countrymen in those days:  “What does Your Worship care about curious learning from India,” he grumbles in a letter to one of his friends [***] “no, sir, it is money only, not learned knowledge that our people go out to seek over there, the which is sorely to be regretted.”

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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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