Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/36

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
xiv
[Prior Discoveries.
INTRODUCTION.

Three Dutch
Vessels.
1705.

"They saw the west coast of New Holland 4° to the eastward of the east point of Timor. From thence they continued their route towards the north; and passed a point, off which lies a bank of sand above water, in length more than five German miles of fifteen to a degree. After which, they made sail to the east, along the coast of New Holland; observing every thing with care, until they came to a gulph, the head of which they did not quite reach. I (Struyck) have seen a chart made of these parts."

What is here called the West, must have been the North-west Coast; which the vessels appear to have made somewhat to the south of the western Cape Van Diemen. The point which they passed, was probably this same Cape itself; and in a chart, published by Mr. Dalrymple, Aug. 37, 1783, from a Dutch manuscript (possibly a copy of that which Struyck had seen), a shoal, of thirty geographic miles in length, is marked as running off, from it; but incorrectly, according to Mr. Mc. Cluer. The gulph here mentioned, was probably a deep bay in Arnhem's Land; for had it been the Gulph of Carpentaria, some particular mention of the great change in the direction of the coast, would, doubtless, have been made. From this imperfect account of the voyage of these three vessels, very little satisfactory information is obtained; and this, with some few exceptions, is the case with all the accounts of the early Dutch discoveries; and has usually been attributed to the monopolizing spirit of their East-India Company, which induced it to keep secret, or to destroy, the journals.

 

The north coast of Terra Australis does not appear to have been Cook.
1770.
seen by any succeeding navigator, until the year 1770; when our celebrated captain James Cook passed through Endeavour's Strait, between Cape York and the Prince of Wales' Islands; and besides clearing up the doubt which, till then, existed, of the actual separation of Terra Australis from New Guinea, his more accurate observations enabled geographers to assign something like a true place to

the former discoveries of the Dutch, in these parts. Captain Cook