Le Maire and Schouten - First Voyage Round Cape Horn

A BELIEF that to the south of the strait of Magellan there would be found an open sea, or some other passage leading to the South Sea, had many years been gaining ground, when a company of Dutch merchants determined to make the experiment, which, if successful, would open to them, as they belived, the trade to India, by a new, instead of an interdicted passage, which the strait of Magellan then was.

Jacob le Maire was appointed principal merchant, and president of the ships; and Wilhelm Schouten, an able seamen, received the charge of patron or master mariner. The vessels fitted out were the Eendracht, ship of three hundred and sixty tons, nineteen guns, and sixty-five men, and a galliot, named the Horne, of one hundred and ten tons, eight guns and twenty-two men. The president, Le Maire, and Patron Schouten, sailed in the former the latter was commanded by Jan Schouten, brother to the patron, with Adrian Claesz as merchant.

June the 4th, 1615, they quitted the Texel, and in three days anchored in the Downs, where an English gunner was hired. On the 30th of August, dropped anchor in the road of Sierra Leone, where a stock of twenty-five thousand lemons was purchased from the natives, for a few beads. On the 5th of October, were in latitude four degrees seventeen minutes N. when a great noise was heard on board the Eendracht, and immediately after the sea around it became red with blood. Afterwards a piece of the horn of some sea animal was found sticking in the bottom of the ship, seven feet below the water line, having penetrated through the planking, and into one of the ribs about the same length remained without; it was similar in shape and size to the end of an elephant's tooth.

Having passed the line, they struck soundings in seventy-five fathoms depth, on the 4th of December, and two days after saw the American coast. On the 8th, anchored in Port Desire, where they took a large supply of birds, etc. On the 19th, the Horne caught fire, and was totally consumed. On the 13th of January, 1616, the Eendracht quitted Port Desire, and on the 20th, passed the latitude of the entrance of the straits of Magellan. On the 24th saw Terra del Fuego to the right, not more than a league off, and on the 29th passed to the north of some rocky islets: Terra del Fuego appeared to the W. N. W. and W., all hilly land covered with snow, with a sharp point which they called Cape Horne, in honor of the vessel which they had lost. On the 30th, having passed to the south of the Cape, steered west, encountering great waves with a current to the westward; and afterwards steered north. The ship continued to advance northward, and on the 1st of March, made the island of Juan Fernandez, and caught two tons of fish, but could find no anchorage. Steering for the East Indies they visited a number of small islands, and on the 5th of August came to the Isle of Goley, subject to the King of Tidore. Sailed again next day; and, after being much delayed by calms, met, September the 7th, with a ship of their own country, anchoring the same day at the Island of Ternate. They were kindly received by the people in power; the Eendracht had not lost one of her crew in her long cruisings, and they had discovered a new passage to the South Sea; yet these merits did not avail them, for on the arrival of the ship at Batavia, she was seized and condemned, on a supposed infringement of the rights of the Dutch East India Company, the officers and crew being put on board other ships, to be conveyed to Europe.

On the 31st of December, during the passage home, died the president, Jacob Le Maire, a victim to the unworthy treatment he had received - a worthy man and a skillful navigator; and on the 1st of July, 1617, his companions arrived at Holland, by the way of Good Hope, having been absent two years and seventeen days.