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If ever there was a season for bourbon, it's fall. While the presidential election is still a year away, some business owners see their Callander's collection, entitled Terra Australis Cognita , contained those voyages and also a short historical summary of the Dutch explorations from to These portions of the collection were—like the rest of it—mere translations from a French original. By far the most popular publications on the subject were the various editions of Dampier. His New Voyage Bound the World appeared in , and his Voyage to New Holland in the year was published in ; each passing rapidly through several editions.
How much they suited the taste of the age may be seen in a French translation published at Amsterdam in , in four neat duodecimos—evidently intended for the ship's cabin as well as the library on shore. Dampier's popularity seems to have spread over all Europe, and naturally, for up to that time no such tales of the sea had appeared in print. There was none of the romance about them which made the voyages of the great discoverers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries seem so marvellous; but they were distinguished from all other works of the kind by the author's power of observation and the graphic style of his narrative, which almost rivalled that of his contemporary De Foe.
So far as New Holland was concerned, his account of it became stereotyped in the memory of his countrymen; an unfortunate fact for the country itself, since the impression left behind was as unfavourable as it could well be. The land rose up before the reader's imagination in the shape of a barren, sandy region, "destitute of Water, except you make Wells", and of everything else that could make a new country attractive to either trader or traveller; inhabited, too, by a race of beings described as the lowest and most degraded type of mankind.
Such were the ideas associated with every mention of New Holland, down to the time when the lieutenant in command of the Endeavour determined to explore its eastern coast on his way home from New Zealand. It is not a very difficult task to identify the known geography of the country at that time; and it is well worth the trouble to do so, in order to get some clear idea of the opinions held by Cook and his companions on the subject.
We have only to recall to mind the various works then in circulation, and to glance in imagination at the book-shelves in the cabins of the Endeavour. The little library on board, we may be sure, comprised every work of any value to the geographer and naturalist in the South Sea. First on the list we may place the two quartos published by de Brosses in , containing a complete collection of all the known voyages to the South Lands— p.
The charts published with each volume showed the position and extent of Nouvelle Hollande as it was then known, and were no doubt consulted with peculiar interest as the Endeavour neared its eastern coast. When he was leaving it in September, , Cook mentioned them in his journal:—"The charts with which I compared such parts of this coast as I visited, are bound up with a French work entitled Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes, which was published in , and I found them tolerably exact. Nouvelle Hollande. Why this doubt should have been expressed by de Brosses when the position of the straits is shown so clearly in his charts, is a question not easily answered.
The discovery of the fact that Torres had sailed through the straits in is attributed to Dalrymple, who made it known to the world in his Account of the Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean previous to , published in —a work which we may safely assume had its place in the Endeavour's library— p.
Flinders states in his introduction that "the existence of such a strait was generally unknown until , when it was again discovered and passed by our great circumnavigator. Captain Cook. Dalrymple had discovered some traces of such a passage having been found before, yet those traces were so obscure and so little known in the present age that", among other things, "the President de Brosses had not been able to satisfy himself about them. This is one of the many little puzzles connected with Australian geography of the last century which deserve the attention of those who are interested in it.
The only answer to the question seems to be that de Brosses looked upon New Holland as an island, probably considering that fact established; but not having seen the Relation written by Torres of his passage through the straits, he thought that there was just room for a doubt on the subject. Nothing was known about Tasman's second voyage in his time. Dalrymple's Historical Collection of Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean was another work of great authority at the time it was published— It contained a chart of the South Pacific, "pointing out the discoveries made therein previous to ", which showed Torres' track in through the straits.
The work made its appearance too late to form part of the Endeavour's library; but its influence on the geographical speculation of the age may be seen at a glance if we compare the introduction and the chapter entitled "Investigation of what may be farther expected in the South Sea", with the introduction to Cook's Voyage towards the South Pole. Dalrymple was an enthusiast on this subject, but he was not entitled to any credit for originality in his speculations; he merely revived the old theory of the southern continent, but he did it with so much force of argument and illustration that an expedition to determine the question was a natural result.
It was perhaps unfortunate for us that his work was not published before the Endeavour sailed; because we may be allowed to suppose that if Cook had had an opportunity of reading it, his attention would have been directed to the name AUSTRALIA , from its frequent appearance in capital letters—suggesting the idea that the author intended to point it out as the proper name for the country.
By such an accident, the land discovered by Cook mighty peradventure, have escaped the unsatisfactory name it has since borne.
APPENDIX I - Colonial Society of Massachusetts
Callander's translation of de Brosses appeared in — p. The three volumes had the advantage of being published in a handy form; but the literary execution was slovenly, and it is manifest that Callander was not a geographer of much discrimination. He published two charts, reproductions from the French work, the larger one showing the outlines of New Holland and the discoveries of de Quiros. Let us suppose that, as soon as the Endeavour was steered westward from Cape Farewell in New Zealand, Cook and his companions read the following account of the country they were about to explore:—.
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The last paragraph shows that Callander, following de Brosses, imagined that the land discovered by de Quiros formed part of the mainland, as shown on the chart. But this error was detected by Cook before he passed out of the reefs into the open sea. How correctly he had judged the matter may be seen from his statement on the 13th August, , when he wrote:—. It is worth while to remember that Dampier intended, in , to begin his discoveries "upon the Eastern and least known Side of the Terra Australis.
IT is necessary here to clear away a very prevalent misapprehension with respect to the land known to geography as Terra Australis, or Terra Australis Incognita. It has been supposed by many writers that the southern continent which formed the main object of Cook's first voyage was identical with the country then known as New Holland.
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The great discovery that he had in view had nothing to do with that part of the world. His object was to settle the question—about which the geographers were still uncertain—whether the southern continent, classically termed the Terra Australis, really existed or not. As he put it in the introduction to his Second Voyage, he had to determine "whether the unexplored part of the southern hemisphere be only an immense mass of water, or contain another continent. The common misconception on this subject may perhaps be traced to a mistaken construction of the word Terra.
As used by the old geographers, it evidently meant a continent as distinguished from an island. When, for instance, the Spaniards passed from Hispaniola to the mainland, they called it the Tierra firme , to distinguish it from the islands. So, too, when the geographers gave the name Terra Australis Incognita to the undiscovered land in the south, they were thinking of a vast continent stretching from east to west through the South Pacific, and running round the South Pole.
The land discovered by the Dutch—which they afterwards called Hollandia Nova in their charts and Nieuw Holland in their conversation—was always supposed to be either one island or several islands separated by straits. In the sixteenth century, it was described on the map drawn by John Rotz as The Londe of Java; the idea being that it was an immense island—a sort of appendage to the little Java.
On the other hand, the map drawn by Pierre Descelliers in ,— p. Both these maps have been accepted by modern geographers as authentic. The Londe of Java. When the Dutch began their explorations of our coast in the seventeenth century, they usually named their discoveries either after the captains who made them, or the ships in which they sailed. Dirk Hartog's discovery on the west coast was named Landt de Endraght, after his ship; the land of Leeuwin was also called after the ship; De Witt's Land obtained its name from the captain; so also did the Land of Peter Nuyts, Edel's Land, and Arnhem's Land.
After the second voyage of Tasman in , the country was called Hollandia Nova; a name which passed into common use among European geographers, in its translated forms, until it was superseded by Australia.
But according to Flinders—. The only authority mentioned by Flinders for this statement is a chart published by Thevenot in , which "was originally taken from that done, in inlaid work, upon the pavement of the new Stadt House at Amsterdam. A little consideration will show that he had no substantial grounds for his conclusion.
There is nothing to prove that the chart referred to by Thevenot was authentic; or that it was designed by geographers; or that it was in any other way entitled to be considered an authority. There is room for doubt on all these points. Burney tells us that Sir Joseph Banks, during his stay at Amsterdam in , "was at much pains in making enquiry concerning the Stadt House map; but he could obtain no proof of the work having been visible within the memory of man.
The idea that the Dutch called the undiscovered portion of the country Terra Australis, as stated by Flinders, is disposed of by Burney's description of the map:—"Eastward on the same land, but without defined limits, is inserted the name Terre Australe , which, being in the French language, was probably an explanatory addition introduced by M.
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Thevenot himself. Let us now consider the evidence on the other side. In the first place, there is the striking fact that Cook does not speak of the country as Terra Australis, but as New Holland. When considering his route after having explored New Zealand, he said:—"It was therefore resolved that we should return by the West Indies, and that with this view we should, upon leaving the coast [of New Zealand] steer westward till we should fall in with the east coast of New Holland.
Why then should he speak of it as New Holland, if Terra Australis was not only "the original name", but the one by which it continued to be known in his own time? In the second place, we have only to consult the authorities of his day to see that he used the name which every one else used.
In the charts published by Dalrymple and Callander, it was named New Holland; and in those of de Brosses, it was marked Nouvelle Hollande.
The name was continued by later geographers. It is singular that an author of the present day, having this fact before him in his own pages, should nevertheless have followed the example set by Flinders in adopting a misleading title for his work. The inaccuracy may be compared with another in p. In the fourth place, the French geographers, whose opinions are entitled to very great weight, appear to have uniformly observed the Dutch practice in this matter; that is, in not confounding New Holland with Terra Australis.
It is evident from the work of de Brosses that when he spoke of the Terres Australes , he meant nothing more than the lands discovered in the South Seas.
He drew a clear line of distinction between the unknown continent and the discoveries in New Holland, New Guinea, and New Zealand, of which he says tom. Although this passage is correctly translated by Callander vol. Callander's title may be largely responsible for the confusion of ideas which misled Burney and Flinders, as well as others; although the name Terra Australis was applied to this country in many publications before his time. But he, too, thought that New Holland was an island;—"I found that other parts of this great Tract of Terra Australis , which had hitherto been represented as the Shore of a Continent, were certainly Islands; and 'tis probably the same with New Holland.
The fact that he believed the country to be an island at the same time that he spoke of it as part of the unknown continent, shows how unsettled his opinion was about it. At the time he wrote, there was nothing but uncertainty on the subject; Tasman's second voyage had not been made known to the world; and even the hydrographers of a much later period had not succeeded in getting any accurate ideas.
While there is no doubt that the name Terra Australis was sometimes applied to the discovered portions of this country two centuries ago, there was no more reason for giving it to them than there would have been for giving it to the New Hebrides or Juan Fernandez. A chart of the islands discovered in the South Sea to the year , published in Burney's Collection of Voyages, shows an outline of the north-west coast marked "Part of the Great Terra Australis"; and speaking of the discoveries of de Quiros, he said:—"The Australia del Espiritu Santo was long supposed to be part of the Great Terra Australis, and in some charts of so recent a date as the middle of the eighteenth century, the two lands are drawn joined.
The French cartographers were celebrated for their charts and mappermondes even in the earliest years of their art. TO understand exactly what the old geographers had in their minds when they wrote about Terra Australis, we must go back at least three centuries, when the theory of its existence was in high favour among them. What they thought about it may be seen in the map of the world published with the account of Frobisher's voyages in the year , and the description of the country given by the writer:—. Terra Australis. This is perhaps the earliest description we have of the supposed continent from, the pen of an English geographer.
How the idea was gradually developed in succeeding ages may be seen from a short statement of it in Purchas, whose folios appeared in Speaking of "the Lands on the Southerne side of the [Magellan] Straits", he says:—. As stated by Burney, the Tierra del Fuego was considered to be "part of a great continent, extending both eastward and westward to New Guinea, and round the South Pole, occupying nearly all the space which had not been cut off by the tracks of European navigators; and this ideal continent they have not left destitute of its capes and gulfs.
He gives as his authority one Master Brerewood, professor of Astronomy in Gresham College from to Master Brerewood was a contemporary of Bacon and Raleigh, and it is not unlikely that he discussed this subject with them; but unfortunately we have no indication of their ideas about it. All we know is that the ponderous reasoning which satisfied the learned professor seemed to satisfy his great contemporaries as well as the little ones, for there was no division of opinion among them.
The theory maintained its vitality until it was exploded by Captain Cook—who, by the way, thought that de Quiros was "the first who had any idea of the existence of a southern continent. The idea had been floating about in the minds of men for ages before the Spaniard became possessed of it; as he said in his eighth petition to the King of Spain, it had grown up with him from his cradle. Probably he heard of it as soon as he began to take any interest in nautical matters. He lived in a time when men of all maritime countries were full of speculations—mercantile as well as theoretical—with respect to undiscovered lands beyond their own seas; and he seems to have been about the last of the enthusiastic sailors of his own race who, from the days of Prince Henry of Portugal, had made the discovery of new worlds the great ambition of their lives.
Of all the early navigators who had sailed the South Pacific, he is the only one of whom it can be said with certainty that he set out on his voyage with the distinct intention of discovering the ideal Terra Australis. Geography is not usually a rich field for poetic invention; but the unknown continent appealed so powerfully to the imagination that it could not expect to escape poetic treatment.
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