Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/22

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It was at the close of 1642 that a couple of small Dutch vessels were struggling with the rough billows of the Southern Ocean, Their prows were plunging into unknown seas. The adventurous commander, Abel Jansen Tasman, sought new fields of discovery, new homes for his roving, thrifty countrymen. Glistening peaks of quartz ranges emerged from the waters. A white crest adorned the eastern horizon for many miles, succeeded by darker columnar masses of rock. A stormy bay was traversed, a frowning peninsula was rounded, and in a little cove the weary voyagers found rest and shelter. The startling novelties of that southern land, its charming climate, its animate and inanimate wonders, attracted attention and extorted applause. A name must be given to it. In the colony from which the captain had sailed, the Dutch settlement of Java, lived a fair girl, the daughter of the governor, whose sweet image followed the wanderings of the good ship Zeehaarn. Tasman called the country after the name of herself and parent,—Van Diemen's Land.

But my object is to introduce the sailor's first notice of the inhabitants of this new region,—the hapless Tasmanians. I cannot do better than give an extract from his journal:—

"I anchored," said Tasman, "on the 1st of December, in a bay which I called the Bay of Frederick Henry. I heard, or at