Captain Watkin Tench
1789 Dutch edition
One of the single most important books for the founding of Australia is the Captain Watkin Tench account, one of the first published accounts of the first fleet voyage and the early settlement of Australia.
It was first published in 1789 by Debrett's as A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay: With an Account of New South Wales, Its Productions, Inhabitants, &c.
The book is a must have for Australian book collections, and good copies are highly sought-after. For instance, the 1793 presentation copy from the Denis Joachim Collection auctioned for AUD 35,392 (Australian Book Auctions, June 2016, lot 88).
Much rarer than the English original is the prompt Dutch translation and appendix with formal protest, on behalf of the VOC and the Dutch republic, by Martinus de Bruijn. It was published rightaway in 1789, the same year as the Tench original, with Dutch title:
BESCHRIJVING VAN DEN TOGT
van de Oprechting der Engelsche
Volkplanting aan Port-Jackson
en van de Luchtegesteldheid,
Inboorlingen, Dieren, Voortbrengselen
en andere Bijzonderheden van Nieuu-
Kapitein Watkin Tench
naar den Tweeden Druk uit het
Engelsch Vertaald, en door den
Vertaaler met een Aanhansel, de Jongste
Berichten uit Port-Jackson enz.
which translates as:
DESCRIPTION OF THE VOYAGE TO
of the Foundation of the English Colony
at Port Jackson, and of the Climate,
Natives, Fauna, Products and other
Characteristics of New South Wales
by Captain Watkin Tench
translated from the Second Impression,
and enlarged with an Appendix by the
Translator containing the Latest News,
etc. from Port Jackson
The Appendix contains the legal protest against the British establishment of the English Settlement of Port Jackson and New South Wales, with title:
AANHANGSEL VAN DEN VERTAALER
Behelzende, – deels, sommige nader en jonger
BERICHTEN aangaande de ENGELSCHE
VOLKPLANTING, in het begin des jaars 1788,
aan de HAVEN van PORT-JACKSON in
deels, eenige korte AANMERKINGEN over de
groote UTGESTREKTHEID dier Provincie.
Martinus de Bruijn
which translates as:
Containing, — in part, some more recent
REPORTS concerning the ENGLISH
SETTLEMENT founded at the beginning of the
year 1788 at the HARBOUR of PORT-JACKSON in
NEW SOUTH WALES; — and, in part, some brief
COMMENTS concerning the great EXTENT of that territory.
The Dutch translation and protest is so rare, that there are no auction records of it in modern history, even though many records go back a century. It is lacking in nearly all collections.
The Dutch legal protests seriously concerned the British at the time, because international law at the time was on the side of the Dutch.
The Dutch book and claims were so important, that the first three papers on this website are dedicated to the Dutch book:
The first two papers are by Robert J. King, one of the most important historians on Australia.
The third paper is anonymous and weighs in on the British defenses, partly by attributing the discovery of New Holland to de Quiros.
Pristine condition. A flawless copy of an unobtainable foundation book for the English settlement of Australia.