Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier eBook

John Pinkerton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Early Australian Voyages.

On the 21st the tide was so low, and an east-south-east wind blew so hard, that during the whole day the boat could not get out.  On the 22nd they attempted to fish upon the wreck, but the weather was so bad that even those who could swim very well durst not approach it.  On the 25th the master and the pilot, the weather being fair, went off again to the wreck, and those who were left on shore, observing that they wanted hands to get anything out of her, sent off some to assist them.  The captain went also himself to encourage the men, who soon weighed one chest of silver, and some time after another.  As soon as these were safe ashore they returned to their work, but the weather grew so bad that they were quickly obliged to desist, though some of their divers from Guzarat assured them they had found six more, which might easily be weighed.  On the 26th, in the afternoon, the weather being fair, and the tide low, the master returned to the place where the chests lay, and weighed three of them, leaving an anchor with a gun tied to it, and a buoy, to mark the place where the fourth lay, which, notwithstanding their utmost efforts, they were not able to recover.

On the 27th, the south wind blew very cold.  On the 28th the same wind blew stronger than the day before; and as there was no possibility of fishing in the wreck for the present, Captain Pelsart held a council to consider what they should do with the prisoners:  that is to say, whether it would be best to try them there upon the spot, or to carry them to Batavia, in order to their being tried by the Company’s officers.  After mature deliberation, reflecting on the number of prisoners, and the temptation that might arise from the vast quantity of silver on board the frigate, they at last came to a resolution to try and execute them there, which was accordingly done; and they embarked immediately afterwards for Batavia.


This voyage was translated from the original Dutch by Thevenot, and printed by him in the first volume of his collections.  Pelsart’s route is traced in the map of the globe published by Delisle in the year 1700.

As this voyage is of itself very short, I shall not detain the reader with many remarks; but shall confine myself to a very few observations, in order to show the consequences of the discovery made by Captain Pelsart.  The country upon which he suffered shipwreck was New Holland, the coast of which had not till then been at all examined, and it was doubtful how far it extended.  There had indeed been some reports spread with relation to the inhabitants of this country, which Captain Pelsart’s relation shows to have been false; for it had been reported that when the Dutch East India Company sent some ships to make discoveries, their landing was opposed by a race of gigantic people, with whom the Dutch could by no means contend.  But our author says nothing of the extraordinary

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Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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