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.
have attempted heretofore, or even now, the establishing colonies in those countries, would be impolitic, because it would be grasping more than the East India Company, or than even the republic of Holland, could manage; for, in the first place, to reduce a continent between three and four thousand miles broad is a prodigious undertaking, and to settle it by degrees would be to open to all the world the importance of that country which, for anything we can tell, may be much superior to any country yet known:  the only choice, therefore, that the Dutch had left, was to reserve this mighty discovery till the season arrived, in which they should be either obliged by necessity or invited by occasion to make use of it; but though this country be reserved, it is no longer either unknown or neglected by the Dutch, which is a point of very great consequence.  To the other nations of Europe, the southern continent is a chimera, a thing in the clouds, or at least a country about which there are a thousand doubts and suspicions, so that to talk of discovering or settling it must be regarded as an idle and empty project:  but, with respect to them, it is a thing perfectly well known; its extent, its boundaries, its situation, the genius of its several nations, and the commodities of which they are possessed, are absolutely within their cognisance, so that they are at liberty to take such measures as appear to them best, for securing the eventual possession of this country, whenever they think fit.  This account explains at once all the mysteries which the best writers upon this subject have found in the Dutch proceedings.  It shows why they have been at so much pains to obtain a clear and distinct survey of these distant countries; why they have hitherto forborne settling, and why they take so much pains to prevent other nations from coming at a distinct knowledge of them:  and I may add to this another particular, which is that it accounts for their permitting the natives of Amboyna, who are their subjects, to carry on a trade to New Guinea, and the adjacent countries, since, by this very method, it is apparent that they gain daily fresh intelligence as to the product and commodities of those countries.  Having thus explained the consequence of Captain Tasman’s voyage, and thereby fully justified my giving it a place in this part of my work, I am now at liberty to pursue the reflections with which I promised to close this section, and the history of circumnavigators, and in doing which, I shall endeavour to make the reader sensible of the advantages that arise from publishing these voyages in their proper order, so as to show what is, and what is yet to be discovered of the globe on which we live.


In speaking of the consequences of Captain Tasman’s voyage, it has been very amply shown that this part of Terra Australis, or southern country, has been fully and certainly discovered.  To prevent, however, the reader’s making any mistake, I will take this opportunity of laying before him some remarks on the whole southern hemisphere, which will enable him immediately to comprehend all that I have afterwards to say on this subject.

Project Gutenberg
Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook