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.
except that the Dutch were continually beaten in all their attempts to land upon this coast.  On their settlement, however, at Batavia, the then general and council of the Indies thought it requisite to have a more perfect survey made of the new-found countries, that the memory of them at least might be preserved, in case no further attempts were made to settle them; and it was very probably a foresight of few ships going that route any more, which induced such as had then the direction of the Company’s affairs to wish that some such survey and description might be made by an able seaman, who was well acquainted with those coasts, and who might be able to add to the discoveries already made, as well as furnish a more accurate description, even of them, than had been hitherto given.

This was faithfully performed by Captain Tasman; and from the lights afforded by his journal, a very exact and curious map was made of all these new countries.  But his voyage was never published entire; and it is very probable that the East India Company never intended it should be published at all.  However, Dirk Rembrantz, moved by the excellency and accuracy of the work, published in Low Dutch an extract of Captain Tasman’s Journal, which has been ever since considered as a very great curiosity; and, as such, has been translated into many languages, particularly into our own, by the care of the learned Professor of Gresham College, Doctor Hook, an abridgment of which translation found a place in Doctor Harris’s Collection of Voyages.  But we have made no use of either of these pieces, the following being a new translation, made with all the care and diligence that is possible.


On August 14, 1642, I sailed from Batavia with two vessels; the one called the Heemskirk, and the other the Zee-Haan.  On September 5 I anchored at Maurice Island, in the latitude of 20 degrees south, and in the longitude of 83 degrees 48 minutes.  I found this island fifty German miles more to the east than I expected; that is to say, 3 degrees 33 minutes of longitude.  This island was so called from Prince Maurice, being before known by the name of Cerne.  It is about fifteen leagues in circumference, and has a very fine harbour, at the entrance of which there is one hundred fathoms water.  The country is mountainous; but the mountains are covered with green trees.  The tops of these mountains are so high that they are lost in the clouds, and are frequently covered by thick exhalations or smoke that ascends from them.  The air of this island is extremely wholesome.  It is well furnished with flesh and fowl; and the sea on its coasts abounds with all sorts of fish.  The finest ebony in the world grows here.  It is a tall, straight tree of a moderate thickness, covered with a green bark, very thick, under which the wood is as black as pitch, and as close as ivory.  There are other trees on the island, which are of a bright red, and a third sort as yellow as wax.  The ships belonging to the East India Company commonly touch at this island for refreshments on their passage to Batavia.

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