History of Holland > Holland on sea history > The Ship Wapen van Hoorn touches the West coast of Australia

The Ship Wapen van Hoorn touches the West coast of Australia

Letter from the G.-G. and Counc. to the Managers of the Dutch East-India Company, September 6, 1622: On the 5th of July there arrived here a boat with ten men forming part of the crew of an English ship, named the Triall, and on the 8th do. her pinnace with 36 men. They state that they have lost and abandoned their ship with 97 men and the cargo she had taken in, on certain rocks situated in Latitude 20 degrees 10' South, in the longitude of the western extremity of Java. These rocks are near a number of broken islands, lying very far apart, South-east and North-west, at 30 miles' distance northwest of a certain island which in our charts is laid down in 22 degrees S. Lat. The said ship Triall ran on these rocks in the night-time in fine weather, without having seen land, and since the heavy swells caused the ship to run aground directly, so that it got filled with water, the 46 persons aforementioned put off from her in the greatest disorder with the boat and pinnace each separately, leaving 97 persons in the ship; whose fate is known to God alone. The boat and pinnace aforesaid arrived here each separately, without knowing of each other.

The ship 't Wapen van Hoorn has also been in extreme peril; at night in a hard wind she got so near the land of d'Eendracht or the South-land of Java that she was in six fathom before they saw land, which they could noways put off from, so that they ran on it. But shortly after the storm abating, they got the landwind, and came off safe, for which the Lord be praised.

The ships Amsterdam and Dordrecht likewise got into great peril near the land just mentioned in the year 1619. Whereas it is necessary that ships, in order to hasten their arrival, should run on an eastward course for about 1,000 miles from the Cape de Bona Esperance between 40 and 30 degrees Southern Latitude, it is equally necessary that great caution should be used and the best measures taken in order to avoid such accidents as befell the English ship Triall. They say that they met with this accident through following the course of our ships; that they intend to dissuade their countrymen from imitating their example, and that their masters are sure to take other measures accordingly.

For the further discovery of the lands aforesaid we intend, in conformity with your orders, to send a ship thither as soon as practicable, for which purpose we have selected the yacht Hazewint. May God Almighty preserve all your worships' ships from accidents and bring them safe to port...

Instructions for the yachts Haringh and Hasewint having destination jointly to discover and explore the South-land, September 29, 1622
Inasmuch as Our Masters ("Heeren Majores") earnestly enjoin us to dispatch hence certain yachts for the purpose of making discovery of the South-land; and since moreover experience has taught, by great perils incurred by sundry of our ships - but specially by the late miscarrying of the English ship Triali on the said coast - the urgent necessity of obtaining a full and accurate knowledge of the true bearing and conformation of the said land, that further accidents may henceforth be prevented as much as possible; besides this, seeing that is highly desirable that an investigation should be made to ascertain whether the regions or any part of the same are inhabited, and whether any trade might with them be established.

Therefore, for the purpose before mentioned, we have resolved to fit out the yachts Haringh and Hasewint for undertaking the said voyage, and for ascertaining as much of the situation and nature of these regions as God Almighty shall vouchsafe to allow them.

You will accordingly set sail from here together, run out of Sunda Strait, and steer your course for the South-land from the western extremity of Java, keeping as close to the wind as you will find at all possible, that by so doing you may avoid being driven too far westward by the South-easterly winds which generally blow in those waters. You may therefore run on as far as the 32nd or 33rd degree, if you do not fall in with land before that latitude; having got so far without seeing land, you may conclude that you have fallen off too far to westward, for sundry ships coming from the Netherlands have accidentally come upon the South-land in this latitude; you will in this case have to turn your course to eastward, and run on in this direction until you sight land.

In running over to the South-land aforesaid, you will have to keep a careful lookout, as soon as you get in 14 or 15 degrees, seeing that the English ship Trial before mentioned got aground in 20 degrees 10' Southern Latitude on certain sunken rocks, bearing north-east and south-west for a length Of 7 miles, according to the observation of the English pilot, but without having seen any mainland thereabouts. But the men who saved themselves in the pinnace and the boat, and thus arrived here, deposed that in the latitude of 13 or 14 degrees they had seen sundry pieces of wood and cane, and branches of trees floating about, from which they concluded that there must be land or islands near there. The sunken rocks aforesaid on which the Triall was wrecked, were exactly south of the western extremity of Java according to the statements made by the English sailors.

When you shall have come upon the South-land in the said latitude or near it, you will skirt the coast of the same as far as Latitude 50 degrees, in case the land should extend so far southward; but if the land should fall off before you have reached the said latitude, and should be found to trend eastward, you will follow its eastern extension for some time, and finding no further extension to southward, you will not proceed farther east, but turn back. You will do the same if you should find the land to turn to westward. In returning you will run along the coast as far as it extends to northward, next proceeding on an eastern course or in such wise as you shall find the land to extend: in which manner you will follow the coast as close inshore and as long as you shall find practicable, and as you deem your victuals and provisions to be sufficient for the return-voyage, even if in so doing you should sail round the whole land and emerge to southward.

The main object for which you are dispatched on this occasion, is, that from 45 or 50 degrees, or from the farthest point to which the land shall be found to extend southward within these latitudes, up to the northernmost extremity of the South-land, you will have to discover and survey all capes, forelands, bights, lands, islands, rocks, reefs, sandbanks, depths, shallows, roads, winds, currents and all that appertains to the same, so as to be able to map out and duly mark everything in its true latitude, longitude, bearings and conformation. You will moreover go ashore in various places and diligently examine the coast in order to ascertain whether or no it is inhabited, the nature of the land and the people, their towns and inhabited villages, the divisions of their kingdoms, their religion and policy, their wars, their rivers, the shape of their vessels, their fisheries, commodities and manufactures, but specially to inform yourselves what minerals, such as gold, silver, tin, iron, lead, and copper, what precious stones, pearls, vegetables, animals and fruits, these lands yield and produce.

To all which particulars and whatever else may be worth noting, you will pay diligent attention, keeping a careful record or daily journal of the same, that we may get full information of all your doings and experiences, and the Company obtain due and perfect knowledge of the situation and natural features of these regions, in return for the heavy expenses to which she is put by this expedition.

To all the places which you shall touch at, you will give appropriate names such as in each instance the case shall seem to require, choosing for the same either the names of the United Provinces or of the towns situated therein, or any other appellations that you may deem fitting and worthy. Of all which places, lands and islands, the commander and officers of these yachts, by order and pursuant to the commission of the Worshipful Governor-General Jan Pieterszoon Coen, sent out to India by their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands, and by the Lords Managers of the General Chartered United East India Company established in the same, will, by solemn declaration signed by the ships' councils, take formal possession, and in sign thereof, besides, erect a stone column in such places as shall be taken possession of; the said column recording in bold, legible characters the year, the month, the day of the week and the date, the persons by whom and the hour of the day when such possession has been taken on behalf of the States-General above mentioned. You will likewise endeavour to enter into friendly relations and make covenants with all such kings and nations as you shall happen to fall in with, and try to prevail upon them to place themselves under the protection of the States of the United Netherlands, of which covenants and alliances you will likewise cause proper documents to be drawn up and signed.

According to the written statements of Jan Huygen, and the opinion of sundry other persons, certain parts of this South-land are likely to yield gold, a point into which you will inquire as carefully as possible.

For the purpose of making a trial we have given orders for various articles to be put on board your ships, such as ironmongery, cloths, coast-stuffs and linens; which you will show and try to dispose of to such natives as you may meet with, always diligently noting what articles are found to be most in demand, what quantities might be disposed of, and what might be obtained in exchange for them; we furthermore hand you samples of gold, silver, copper, iron, lead and pearls, that you may inquire whether these articles are known to the natives, and might be obtained there in any considerable quantity.

In landing anywhere you will use extreme caution, and never go ashore or into the interior unless well-armed, trusting no one, however innocent the natives may be in appearance, and with whatever kindness they may seem to receive you, being always ready to stand on the defensive, in order to prevent sudden traitorous surprises, the like of which, sad to say, have but too often been met with in similar cases. And if any natives should come hear your ships, you will likewise take due care that they suffer no molestation from our men.

When you get near the northern extremity and the east coast of the South-land, you will diligently inquire whether it yields anywhere sandal-wood, nutmegs, cloves or other spices; likewise whether it has any good harbours and fertile tracts, where it would be possible to establish settlements, which might be expected to yield satisfactory returns. In a word, you will suffer nothing to escape your notice, but carefully scrutinise whatever you find, and give us a full and proper report on your return, by doing which you will render good service to the United Netherlands and reap special honour for yourselves.

In places where you meet with natives, you will either by adroit management or by other means endeavour to get hold of a number of full-grown persons, or better still, of boys and girls, to the end that the latter may be brought up here and be turned to useful purpose in the said quarters when occasion shall serve.

The command of the two yachts has been entrusted to Jan Vos, who during the voyage will carry the flag, convene the council and take the chair in the same, in virtue of our special commission granted to the said Vos for the purpose.

Given in the Fortress of jacatra, this 29th of September, A.D. 1622.