the North-west Coast,) to run across, very near eastward, to complete the discovery of Arnhem's and Van Diemen's Lands; and to ascertain perfectly, whether these lands are not one and the same island."
It is a great obstacle to tracing correctly the progress of early discovery in Terra Australis, that no account of this voyage of Tasman has ever been published; nor is any such known to exist. But it seems to have been the general opinion, that he sailed round the Gulph of Carpentaria; and then westward, along Arnhem's and the northern Van Diemen's Lands; and the form of these coasts in Thevenot's chart of 1663, and in those of most succeeding geographers, even up to the end of the eighteenth century, is supposed to have resulted from this voyage. The opinion is strengthened by finding the names of Tasman, and of the governor-general and two of the council, who signed his instructions, applied to places at the head of the Gulph; as is also that of Maria, the daughter of the governor, to whom our navigator is said to have been attached. In the notes, also, of Burgomaster Witsen, concerning the inhabitants of Nova Guinea and Hollandia Nova, as extracted by Mr. Dalrymple; Tasman is mentioned amongst those, from whom his information was drawn.
The President De Brasses gives, from the miscellaneous tracts
1705. of Nicolas Struyck, printed at Amsterdam, 1753, the following account of another, and last voyage of the Dutch, for the discovery of the North Coast.
"March 1, 1705, three Dutch vessels were sent from Timor, with order to explore the north coast of New Holland, better than it had before been done. They carefully examined the coasts, sand banks, and reefs. In their route to it, they did not meet with any land, but only some rocks above water, in 11° 52' south latitude:" (probably the south part of the great Sahul Bank; which, according
to captain Peter Heywood, who saw it in 1801, lies in 11° 40'.)
- Hist. des Nav. aux Terres Aust. Tome I. page 439.