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.
dispute; for as the inhabitants of Moa are well enough acquainted with the superiority which the Europeans have over them, it cannot be supposed that they will ever hazard their total destruction by committing any gross act of cruelty upon strangers who visit their coast; and it is certainly very unfair to treat people as savages and barbarians, merely for defending themselves when insulted or attacked without cause.  The instance Captain Tasman gives us of their delivering up the man who wounded his sailor is a plain proof of this; and as to the diffidence and suspicion which some later voyagers have complained of with respect to the inhabitants of this island, they must certainly be the effects of the bad behaviour of such Europeans as this nation have hitherto dealt with, and would be effectually removed, if ever they had a settled experience of a contrary conduct.  The surest method of teaching people to behave honestly towards us is to behave friendly and honestly towards them, and then there is no great reason to fear, that such as give evident proofs of capacity and civility in the common affairs of life should be guilty of treachery that must turn to their own disadvantage.

CHAPTER XVIII:  PROSECUTES HIS VOYAGE TO CERAM.

On the 12th of May, being then in the latitude of 54 minutes south, and in the longitude of 153 degrees 17 minutes, we found the variation 6 degrees 30 minutes to the east.  We continued coasting the north side of the island of William Schovten, which is about eighteen or nineteen miles long, very populous, and the people very brisk and active.  It was with great caution that Schovten gave his name to this island, for having observed that there were abundance of small islands laid down in the charts on the coast of New Guinea, he was suspicious that this might be of the number.  But since that time it seems a point generally agreed, that this island had not before any particular name; and therefore, in all subsequent voyages, we find it constantly mentioned by the name of Schovten’s Island.

He describes it as a very fertile and well-peopled island; the inhabitants of which were so far from discovering anything of a savage nature, that they gave apparent testimonies of their having had an extensive commerce before he touched there, since they not only showed him various commodities from the Spaniards, but also several samples of China ware; he observes that they are very unlike the nations he had seen before, being rather of an olive colour than black; some having short, others long hair, dressed after different fashions; they were also a taller, stronger, and stouter people than their neighbours.  These little circumstances, which may seem tedious or trifling to such as read only for amusement, are, however, of very great importance to such as have discoveries in view; because they argue that these people have a general correspondence; the difference of their

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