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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

Instructions for Further Voyage

Instructions for Further Voyage.

Noble, worshipful, wise, provident, and very discreet gentlemen.

From our latest advices you will have seen that we have fitted out certain ships for the further discovery of the south land, both known and unknown, and what instructions we had page 37 given to the leaders for their guidance in the said expedition. The yacht “Heemskerck” and the flute-ship “Zeehaen,” sent out for the purpose under the command of Skipper-commander Abel Tasman, returned safe to this roadstead on the 15th of June last, having made the home voyage between Halemachera and Nova Guinea through the narrows or passage of Maba along Ceram and through Bouton Strait; in the course of their voyage they lost ten men through illness, and four others besides that were slain by the savages on the coast of Staten Land. Several new lands and islands have by them been discovered in the south, besides which they affirm that they have found an open passage into the South Sea to get to Chili. It would carry us too far to detail in this place the particulars of this voyage, nor would it be necessary, since everything is most fully and amply set forth in the Batavia minutes, under the date of June 15, while for your Worships' further information we also send along with the present the daily registers kept by the aforesaid Tasman and the Pilot-major Francois Jacobsen Visscher, the said registers pertinently showing the winds and the courses held, and faithfully delineating the aspect and trend of the coasts, and the outward figure of the natives, &c. We have, however, observed that the said commander has been somewhat remiss in investigating the situation, conformation, and nature of the lands discovered, and of the natives inhabiting the same, and, as regards the main point, has left everything to be more closely inquired into by more industrious successors. It also appears that in running to southward from the Island of Mauritius they did not sight any land until they had come to the 49th degree; but thence going eastward they finally got into the South Sea to the south of the south land. Now, that in this latitude there really is a passage to Chili and Peru, as the discoverers stoutly affirm, we are not prepared to take for granted, since, if they had run a few more degrees to the south they might not unlikely have come upon land again, perhaps even upon the Staten Land (thus named by them) which they had left south of them, and which may possibly extend as far as Le Maire Strait, or may be even many more miles to eastward. All this is mere guesswork, and nothing positive can be laid down respecting unknown matters.

In spite of all this, after the return of the discoverers aforesaid we did not give up our plan of having the same voyage undertaken a second time in October last with a fitting number of ships, yachts, and men, with orders to further explore the passage to Chili, to form alliances and trade-connections with the Chilese, with God's aid to wrest from the Spaniards the island of ChilyWay, and to establish a permanent settlement there, and by the page 38 way endeavour to obtain some good booty in the South Sea; all which bade fair to be crowned with success and to result in considerable profit to the company. But these plans of ours were frustrated by the machinations of the Portugese over here (with whom we were compelled to renew hostilities, and, to vindicate the company's right, to employ our forces against them, as we shall further show in the fitting place). Meanwhile the overbold Portugese in these parts are bringing about their own destruction, but at the same time are doing the Spaniards such staunch service that for the moment we are forced to leave the latter unmolested in the South Sea and elsewhere. Besides this, they would probably have met the Lord General Brouwer in the waters of Chili (unless they should have been there before his Worship), which might have given rise to unexpected encounters on both sides. Still, we have resolved to stand by our plan of taking the matter in hand again towards September or October next (provided the company's affairs will allow of it), this time arms in hand, and to have conveyed to Chili such goods as we know to be in request there, unless your Worships should send us counter-orders to the effect that we are forbidden to navigate and trade thither in virtue of the West India Company's charter, decision on which point on your part we look forward to receiving in March or April next.

At all events, about that time the further discovery of the south lands will be vigorously taken in hand again, in the wellfounded hope that something profitable will ultimately turn up there. And, in order to prevent their being idle in the interim, we intend to dispatch the said Tasman and Pilot-major Frans Visscher with two yachts to the north coast of Nova Guinea by way of Banda about the month of February next; and to have the said land discovered and surveyed from Cabo Keerweer in 17 degrees to westward, in order to ascertain whether the known south land is connected with the same or divided from it—which point, if decided, is likely to be of material assistance in the exploration subsequently to be undertaken. The result of which expedition shall in due time be reported to you.

* * * *

Written in your Worships' Castle of Batavia, December 22, 1643.…

Antonio van Diemen


Anth. Caen


Cornelis Van der Lijn


Joan Maetsuijcker


J. Schouten

, and

Salomon Sweers.

page 39