Great Britain: Foreign Policy and the Span of Empire, 1689-1971: A Documentary History - Vol. 3

By Joel H. Wiener | Go to book overview

COLONIZATION OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Account of New Holland and Its Adjacent Islands
by Captain William Dampier, First Published in 1697*

About the latitude of 26° south we saw an opening, and ran in, hoping to find a harbour there; but when we came to its mouth, which was about two leagues wide, we saw rocks and foul ground within, and therefore stood out again; there we had twenty fathom water within two miles of the shore: the land every where appeared pretty low, flat and even, but with steep cliffs to the sea, and when we came near it there were no trees, shrubs, or grass to be seen. The foundings in the latitude of 26° south, from about eight or nine leagues off till you come within a league of the shore, are generally about forty fathoms, differing but little, seldom above three or four fathoms; but the lead brings up very different sorts of sand, some coarse, some fine, and of several colours, as yellow, white, grey, brown, blueish and reddish.

When I saw there was no harbour here, nor good anchoring, I stood off to sea again in the evening of the 2d of August, fearing a storm on a lee-shore, in a place where there was no shelter, and desiring at least to have sea-room, for the clouds began to grow thick in the western board, and the wind was already there, and began to blow fresh almost upon the shore, which at this place lies along north north-west and south south-east. By nine o’clock at night we got a pretty good offing; but the wind still increasing, I took in my main top-sail, being able to carry no more sail than two courses and the mizen. At two in the morning, August 3d, it blew very hard, and the sea was much raised, so that I furled all my sails but my mainsail, though the wind blew so hard, we had pretty clear weather till noon; but then the whole sky was blackened with thick clouds, and we had some rain, which would last a quarter of an hour at a time, and then it would blow very fierce while the squalls of rain were over our heads, but as soon as they were gone the wind was by much abated, the stress of the storm being over: we sounded several times, but had no ground till eight o’clock, August the 4th, in the evening, and then had sixty fathom water, coral-ground. At ten we had fifty-six fathom fine sand. At twelve we had fifty-five fathom fine sand, of a pale blueish colour. It was now pretty moderate weather, yet I made no sail till morning, but then the wind veering about to the south-west, I made sail and stood to the north, and at eleven o’clock the next

* Pinkerton, General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages, XI, 464–74.

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