In 1859 R. H. Major brought out his well-known book Early Voyages to Terra Australis, now called Australia, containing translations of some of the archival pieces and of other documents pertaining to the subject. And though, from P. A. Leupe’s work, entitled De Reizen der Nederlanders naar het Juidland of Nzeuw-Holland in de 17e en 18e eeuw, published in 1868, and from a book by L. C. D. Van Dijk, brought out in the same year in which MAJOR’S work appeared, and entitled Twee togten naar de golf van Carpentaria; though, I say, from these two books it became evident that MAJOR’S work was far from complete, still it cannot be denied that he had given a great deal, and what he had given, had in the English translation been made accessible also to those to whom Dutch was an unknown tongue. This circumstance could not but make itself felt in my treatment of the subject, since it was quite needless to print once more in their entirety various documents discussed by Major. There was the less need for such republication in cases which would admit of the results of Dutch exploratory voyages being exhibited in the simplest and most effective way by the reproduction of charts made in the course of such voyages themselves: these charts sometimes speak more clearly to the reader than the circumstantial journals which usually, though not always, are of interest for our purpose only by specifying the route followed, the longitudes and latitudes taken, and the points touched at by the voyagers. These considerations have in some cases led me only to mention certain documents, without printing them in full, and the circumstance that my Tasman publication has been brought out in English, will sufficiently account for the absence from this work of the journal of Tasman’s famous expedition of 1642/3.[*]
[* I would have the present work considered as forming one whole with my Tasman publication and with the fascicule of Remarkable Maps, prepared by me, containing the Nolpe-Dozy chart of 1652-3 (Cf. my Life of Tasman, pp. 75 f). Together they furnish all the most important pieces of evidence discovered up to now, for the share which the Netherlanders have had in the discovery of Australia.]
The documents, here either republished or printed for the first time, are all of them preserved in the State Archives at the Hague[*], unless otherwise indicated. They have been arranged under the heads of the consecutive expeditions, which in their turn figure in chronological order. This seemed to me the best way to enable readers to obtain a clear view of the results of the exploratory voyages made along the coasts of Australia by the Netherlanders of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
[* My best thanks are due to Jhr. Th. Van Riemsdijk, LL. D., Principal Keeper, and to Dr. T. H. Colenbrander, Assistant-Keeper, of the State Archives of the Hague.]