Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/31

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North Coast.]
ix
INTRODUCTION.

Torres
1606

island; and then continued his course westward, in prosecution of the research.

About the month of August 1606, and in latitude 11½° south, he fell in with a coast, which he calls "the beginning of New Guinea;" and which appears to have been the south-eastern part of the land, afterwards named Louisiade, by Mons. de Bougainville, and now known to be a chain of islands. Unable to pass to windward of this land, Torres bore away along its south side; and gives, himself, the following account of his subsequent proceedings.

"We went along 300 leagues of coast, as I have mentioned, and diminished the latitude 2½°, which brought us into 9°. From hence we fell in with a bank of from 3 to 9 fathoms, which extends along the coast above 180 leagues. We went over it along the coast to 7½ S. latitude, and the end of it is in 5°. We could not go further on for the many shoals and great currents, so we were obliged to sail S. W. in that depth to 11°. S. latitude. There is all over it an archipelago of islands without number, by which we passed, and at the end of the 11th degree, the bank became shoaler. Here were very large islands, and there appeared more to the southward: they were inhabited by black people, very corpulent, and naked: their arms were lances, arrows, and clubs of stone ill fashioned. We could not get any of their arms. We caught in all this land 20 persons of different nations, that with them we might be able to give a better account to Your Majesty. They give much notice of other people, although as yet they do not make themselves well understood.

"We were upon this bank two months, at the end of which time we found ourselves in 25 fathoms, and in 5° S. latitude, and 10 leagues from the coast. And having gone 480 leagues, here the coast goes to the N. E. I did not reach it, for the bank became very shallow. So we stood to the north."[1]

  1. See the letter of Torres, dated Manila, July 12, 1607, in Vol. II. Appendix, No I. to Barney's "History of Discoveries in the South Sea;" from which interesting work this sketch of Torres' voyage is extracted.