Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/25

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master Witsen, in 1705; of which there will be occasion to speak in the sequel.

It is necessary, however, to geographical precision, that so soon as New Holland and New South Wales were known to form one land, there should be a general name applicable to the whole; and this essential point having been ascertained in the present voyage, with a degree of certainty sufficient to authorise the measure, I have, with the concurrence of opinions entitled to deference, ventured upon the re-adoption of the original Terra Australis; and of this term I shall hereafter make use, when speaking of New Holland and New South Wales, in a collective sense; and when using it in the most extensive signification, the adjacent isles, including that of Van Diemen, must be understood to be comprehended.

There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude; the name Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical importance of this country, and of its situation on the globe: it has antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference to either of the two claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable than any other which could have been selected.[1]

In dividing New South Wales from New Holland, I have been guided by the British patent to the first governor of the new colony, at Port Jackson. In this patent, a meridian, nearly corresponding to the ancient line of separation, between New Holland and Terra Australis, has been made the western limit of New South Wales; and is fixed at the longitude of 135° east, from the meridian of Greenwich. From hence, the British territory extends eastward,

  1. Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth.