Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/37

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
North Coast.]
xv
INTRODUCTION.

Cook.
1770.

did not land upon the main; but, at Possession Island, he saw ten natives: "Nine of them were armed with such lances as we had been accustomed to see, and the tenth had a bow, and a bundle of arrows, which we had never seen in the possession of the natives of this country before."[1]

 

At the end of the year 1791, lieutenant John Mc. Cluer of the Bombay marine, in returning from the examination of the west side Mc. Cluer
1770.
of New Guinea, made the Land of Arnhem, in longitude 135¼°, east of Greenwich. He then sailed westward, along the shore, to 129° 55'; when the coast was found to take a southern direction. The point of turning is placed in 11° 15' south latitude; and is, doubtless, the Cape Van Diemen of the old charts, and the west extremity of the north coast of Terra Australis.

It does not appear that any other account has been given of this navigation, than the chart published by Mr. Dalrymple, in 1792. According to it, though lieutenant M*. Cluer constantly had soundings, in from 7 to 40 fathoms; yet he was generally at such a distance from the land, that it was not often seen; and, consequently, he was unable to identify the particular points. No landing seems to have been effected upon the main; but some service was rendered to navigation, by ascertaining the positions of several small islands, shoals, and projecting parts of the coast; and in conferring a certain degree of authenticity upon the discoveries of the early Dutch navigators.

Lieutenant Mc. Cluer is the last person, who can strictly be said to have added to our knowledge of the north coast of Terra Australis, previously to the time in which the voyage of the Investigator was planned; but several navigators had followed captain Cook through Torres' Strait, and by considerably different routes: these it will be proper to notice; as their discoveries are intimately connected with the present subject.

  1. Hawkesworth's Voyages, Vol. III. page 211.