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Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier eBook

John Pinkerton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 151 pages of information about Early Australian Voyages.

On the 14th, in the latitude of 10 degrees 12 minutes south, and in the longitude of 186 degrees 14 minutes, we found the variation 8 degrees 45 minutes to the east.  We passed some days without being able to take any observation, because the weather was all that time dark and rainy.  On March 20th, in the latitude of 5 degrees 15 minutes south, and in the longitude of 181 degrees 16 minutes, the weather being then fair, we found the variation 9 degrees eastward.  On the 22nd, in the latitude of 5 degrees 2 minutes south, and in the longitude of 178 degrees 32 minutes, we had fine fair weather, and the benefit of the east trade wind.  This day we had sight of land, which lay four miles west.  This land proved to be a cluster of twenty islands, which in the maps are called Anthong Java.  They lie ninety miles or thereabouts from the coast of New Guinea.  It may not be amiss to observe here, that what Captain Tasman calls the coast of New Guinea, is in reality the coast of New Britain, which Captain Dampier first discovered to be a large island separated from the coast of New Guinea.


On the 25th, in the latitude of 4 degrees 35 minutes south, and in the longitude of 175 degrees 10 minutes, we found the variation 9 degrees 30 minutes east.  We were then in the height of the islands of Mark, which were discovered by William Schovten and James le Maire.  They are fourteen or fifteen in number, inhabited by savages, with black hair, dressed and trimmed in the same manner as those we saw before at the Bay of Murderers in New Zealand.  On the 29th we passed the Green Islands, and on the 30th that of St. John, which were likewise discovered by Schovten and Le Maire.  This island they found to be of a considerable extent, and judged it to lie at the distance of one thousand eight hundred and forty leagues from the coast of Peru.  It appeared to them well inhabited and well cultivated, abounding with flesh, fowl, fish, fruit, and other refreshments.  The inhabitants made use of canoes of all sizes, were armed with slings, darts, and wooden swords, wore necklaces and bracelets of pearl, and rings in their noses.  They were, however, very intractable, notwithstanding all the pains that could be taken to engage them in a fair correspondence, so that Captain Schovten was at last obliged to fire upon them to prevent them from making themselves masters of his vessel, which they attacked with a great deal of vigour; and very probably this was the reason that Captain Tasman did not attempt to land or make any farther discovery.  On April 1st, we were in the latitude of 4 degrees 30 minutes south, and in the longitude of 171 degrees 2 minutes, the variation being 8 degrees 45 minutes to the east, having now sight of the coast of New Guinea; and endeavouring to double the cape which the Spaniards call Cobo Santa Maria, we continued to sail along the coast which lies north-west.  We afterwards passed the islands of Antony Caens, Gardeners Island, and Fishers Island, advancing towards the promontory called Struis Hoek, where the coast runs south and south-east.  We resolved to pursue the same route, and to continue steering south till we should either discover land or a passage on that side.

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