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 27th of May we passed through the straits of Boura, or Bouton, and continued our passage to Batavia, where we arrived on the 15th of June, in the latitude of 6 degrees 12 minutes south, and in the longitude of 127 degrees 18 minutes.  This voyage was made in the space of ten months.  Such was the end of this expedition, which has been always considered as the clearest and most exact that was ever made for the discovery of the Terra Australis Incognita, from whence that chart and map was laid down in the pavement of the stadt-house at Amsterdam, as is before mentioned.  We have now nothing to do but to shut up this voyage and our history of circumnavigators, with a few remarks, previous to which it will be requisite to state clearly and succinctly the discoveries, either made or confirmed by Captain Tasman’s voyage, that the importance of it may fully appear, as well as the probability of our conjectures with regard to the motives that induced the Dutch East India Company to be at so much pains about these discoveries.


In the first place, then, it is most evident, from Captain Tasman’s voyage, that New Guinea, Carpentaria, New Holland, Antony van Diemen’s Land, and the countries discovered by De Quiros, make all one continent, from which New Zealand seems to be separated by a strait; and, perhaps, is part of another continent, answering to Africa, as this, of which we are now speaking, plainly does to America.  This continent reaches from the equinoctial to 44 degrees of south latitude, and extends from 122 degrees to 188 degrees of longitude, making indeed a very large country, but nothing like what De Quiros imagined; which shows how dangerous a thing it is to trust too much to conjecture in such points as these.  It is, secondly, observable, that as New Guinea, Carpentaria, and New Holland, had been already pretty well examined, Captain Tasman fell directly to the south of these; so that his first discovery was Van Diemen’s Land, the most southern part of the continent on this side the globe, and then passing round by New Zealand, he plainly discovered the opposite side of that country towards America, though he visited the islands only, and never fell in again with the continent till he arrived on the coast of New Britain, which he mistook for that of New Guinea, as he very well might; that country having never been suspected to be an island, till Dampier discovered it to be such in the beginning of the present century.  Thirdly, by this survey, these countries are for ever marked out, so long as the map or memory of this voyage, shall remain.  The Dutch East India Company have it always in their power to direct settlements, or new discoveries, either in New Guinea, from the Moluccas, or in New Holland, from Batavia directly.  The prudence shown in the conduct of this affair deserves the highest praise.  To

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