Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/28

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the coast, approaches too near to the truth, for the whole to have been marked from conjecture alone. But, combining this with the exaggerated extent of Great Java in a southern direction, and the animals and houses painted upon the shores, such as have not been any where seen in Terra Australis, it should appear to have been partly formed from vague information, collected, probably, by the early Portuguese navigators, from the eastern nations; and that conjecture has done the rest. It may, at the same time, be admitted, that a part of the west and north-west coasts, where the coincidence of form is most striking, might have been seen by the Portuguese themselves, before the year 1540, in their voyages to, and from, India.

But quitting those claims to original discovery, in which conjecture bears so large a share, we come to such as are supported by undeniable documents. Before entering upon these, it is proper to premise, that, instead of following precisely the order of time, these discoveries will be classed under the heads of the different coasts upon which they were made: an arrangement which will obviate the confusion that would arise from being carried back from one coast to another, as must, of necessity, be the case, were the chronological order to be strictly followed.

The discoveries made in Terra Australis, prior to the Investigator's voyage, will, therefore, be divided into four Sections, under the following heads: 1. The North Coast; 2. The Western Coasts; 5. The South Coast; and, 4. The East Coast with Van Diemen's Land. But the articles in the fourth Section, being numerous and more extensive, will be divided into two parts: Part I. will contain the early discoveries, and such of the later, as were made independently of the British colony in New South Wales; and Part II. those which were made in vessels sent from that colony; and which may be considered as a consequence of its establishment.