Today’s installment concludes «SERIESNAME»,
our selection from The Naval Pioneers of Australia by Louis Becke and Walter Jeffrey published in 1899.
If you have journeyed through all of the installments of this series, just one more to go and you will have completed a selection from the great works of three thousand words. Congratulations!
Previously in Australia Discovered.
Continuing an extract from Therenot’s Recueil de Voyages curieux,
Having with him forty-five men, he resolved to keep upon his guard, and to defend himself from their assassins if they should make an attack upon his company, which in effect they designed to do, and to treat the other party in the same manner; for they feared lest their company, or that which remained upon the third island, should inform the commander upon his arrival, and thus prevent the execution of their design. They succeeded easily with the party last mentioned, which was the weakest, killing the whole of them, excepting seven children and some women. They hoped to succeed as easily with Weybehays’ company, and in the mean while broke open the chests of merchandise which had been saved from the vessel. Jerome Cornelis caused clothing to be made for his company out of the rich stuffs which he found therein, choosing to himself a bodyguard, each of whom he clothed in scarlet, embroidered with gold and silver. Regarding the women as part of the spoil, he took one for himself, and gave one of the daughters of the minister to a principal member of his party, abandoning the other three for public use. He drew up also certain rules for the future conduct of his men.
After these horrible proceedings he caused himself to be elected captain-general by a document which he compelled all his companions to sign. He afterward sent twenty-two men in two shallops to destroy the company of Weybehays, but they met with a repulse. Taking with him thirty-seven men, he went himself against Weybehays, who received him at the water’s edge as he disembarked, and forced him to retire, although the lieutenant and his men had no weapons but clubs, the ends of which were armed with spikes.
Finding force unavailing, the mutineer had recourse to other means. He proposed a treaty of peace, the chaplain, who remained with Weybehays, drawing up the conditions. It was agreed to with this proviso, that Weybehays’ company should remain unmolested, and they, upon their part, agreed to deliver up a little boat in which one of the sailors had escaped from the island where Cornelis was located to that of Weybehays, receiving in return some stuffs for clothing his people. During his negotiations Cornelis wrote to certain French soldiers who belonged to the lieutenant’s company, offering to each a sum of money to corrupt them, with the hope that with this assistance he might easily compass his design. His letters, which were without effect, were shown to Weybehays, and Cornelis, who was ignorant of their disclosure, having arrived the next day with three or four others to find Weybehays and bring him the apparel, the latter caused him to be attacked, killed two or three of the company, and took Cornelis himself prisoner. One of them, by name Wouterlos, who escaped from this rout, returned the following day to renew the attack, but with little success.
Pelsart arrived during these occurrences in the frigate Sardam. As he approached the wreck he observed smoke from a distance, a circumstance that afforded him great consolation, since he perceived by it that his people were not all dead. He cast anchor, and threw himself immediately into a skiff with bread and wine, and proceeded to land on one of the islands. Nearly at the same time a boat came alongside with four armed men. Weybehays, who was one of the four, informed him of the massacre, and advised him to return as speedily as possible to his vessel, for that the conspirators designed to surprise him, having already murdered twenty-five persons, and to attack him with two shallops, adding that he himself had that morning been at close quarters with them. Pelsart perceived at the time the two shallops coming toward him, and had scarcely got on board his vessel before they came alongside.
He was surprised to see the people covered with embroidery of gold and silver, and weapons in their hands, and demanded of them why they approached the vessel armed. They replied that they would inform him when they came on board. He commanded them to cast their arms into the sea or otherwise he would sink them. Finding themselves compelled to submit, they threw away their weapons, and, being ordered on board, were immediately placed in irons. One of them, named Jan de Bremen, confessed that he had put to death or assisted in the assassination of twenty-seven persons. The same evening Weybehays brought his prisoner on board.
On September 18th the captain and the master pilot, taking with them ten men of Weybehays’ company, passed over in boats to the island of Cornelis. Those who still remained thereon lost all courage as soon as they saw them, and allowed themselves to be placed in irons.”
Pelsart remained another week at the Abrolhos, endeavoring to recover some of the Batavia’s treasure, and succeeded in finding all but one chest. The mutineers were tried by the officers of the Sardam, and all but two were executed before the ship left the scene of their awful crime. The two men who were not hanged were put on shore on the mainland, and were probably the first Europeans to end their lives upon the continent. Dutch vessels for many years afterward sought for traces of the marooned seamen, but none was ever discovered.
The 1644 voyage of Tasman was made expressly for the purpose of exploring the north and northwestern shores of the continent, and to prove the existence or otherwise of straits separating it from New Guinea. Tasman’s instructions show this, and prove that while the existence of the straits was suspected, and although Torres had unconsciously passed through them, they were not known. Tasman explored a long length of coast line, establishing its continuity from the extreme northwestern point, Arnhem Land, as far as the twenty-second degree of south latitude, Exmouth Gulf. He failed to prove the existence of Torres Straits; but to him, it is generally agreed, is due the discovery and naming of the Gulf of Carpentaria — Carpenter, in Tasman’s time, being president at Amsterdam of the Dutch East India Company — and the naming of a part of North Australia, as he had previously named the island to the south, after Van Diemen. From this voyage dates the name “New Holland.” The great stretch of coast lines embracing his discoveries became known to his countrymen as Hollandia Nova, a name which, in its English form, was adopted for the whole continent, and remained until it was succeeded by the more euphonious name of Australia. Tasman continued doing good service for the Dutch East India Company until his death, about 1659, at Batavia.
This ends our series of passages on Australia Discovered by Louis Becke and Walter Jeffrey from his book The Naval Pioneers of Australia published in 1899. This blog features short and lengthy pieces on all aspects of our shared past. Here are selections from the great historians who may be forgotten (and whose work have fallen into public domain) as well as links to the most up-to-date developments in the field of history and of course, original material from yours truly, Jack Le Moine. – A little bit of everything historical is here.