Page 122 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 masters could buy no livestock at all because the population had moved inland. The writer of a missive from the yacht HAAN (0268) in 1621 was probably right when he pointed to his predecessors' hostile treatment of the population, which 'would have made the tamest spirits wild', as the cause of this move.4
For those on board, and most certainly for the sick, the Cape was a place to be looked forward to eagerly. When the ships stayed in the bay for some time an encampment was set up, guarded by soldiers and sometimes even guns. The sick were taken ashore and the able bodied went in search of food. The sojourn provided an opportunity for the fleet commanders to re-assemble convoys and to discuss shipping affairs.5
Quite soon the usefulness of placing a permanent garrison at the Cape came under consideration: in 1619 in consultations on cooperation between VOC and EIC the plan for a settlement was put forward. Things went as far as an inquiry which pointed to Table Bay with "t soet rivierke' (sweet streamlet) as the most suitable site. But these plans were not put into practice. The planting of the English flag at the Cape by two English captains, who took possession of the place on behalf of King James I in 1620, had no further consequences either. Not until thirty years later did the directors show a renewed interest in the Cape. Towards the mid-seventeenth century the importance of S. Helena as port of call for the homeward fleet began to decline: the small island could not supply the increasing number of ships with sufficient fresh food. In addition the Heren Zeventien began to fear that England, now that relations were deteriorating, would steal a march on the VOC by founding an EIC settlement at the Cape.6
Under these circumstances it was most opportune that the directors had at their disposal extensive and quite recent information on Table Bay. For on March 25th, 1647, the homeward bound ship HAARLEM (5346) had been stranded there and sixty crew under the junior merchant Leendert Jansz had been forced to remain at the Cape for a year. Not until March 1648 were they released from their lonely post by the homeward fleet under Wollebrant Geleijnsen de Jong (5349-5360). By request of the directors Leendert Jansz, after his return home, composed a Remonstrantie in which the advantages of a permanent settlement at Table Bay were very fully expounded. A garrison of sixty to seventy men, encamped in a fort, was to be sufficient for the functioning of a victualling station. The fertile soil would yield abundant produce, and cattle and sheep were to be bought cheaply from the native population. By the construction of a jetty and wooden gutters for the fresh water supply the refilling of water barrels would be made easier. In only eight days at the Cape ships would be better able to take in fresh supplies than in a fortnight at S. Helena, quite apart from the shortages there.7
Leendert Jansz' account was presented to the Amsterdam chamber in 1649 and in 1650 it was put before the meeting of the Heren Zeventien. In 1651 preparations for the enter- prise were taken in hand. Jan van Riebeek was put in charge of the prospective settlement. In December 1651 he set out, in the rank of senior merchant, with the ships DROMEDA- RIS (0738), GOEDE HOOP (0739) and REIGER (0740), for his new station.
4 VOC 1057, f. 197-198, Letter from Pieter Francquen W agensveit from Table Bay to the Amsterdam chamber, 26.4.1615; V O C 1066, f. 137, Pieter Reijersz. Croock to Amsterdam, 21.3.1618; V O C 1072, f. 380-384, Johan Libener to Amsterdam, 6.6.1621, and f. 387v., Isaack Cornells v.d. Werck to Amsterdam, 6.7.1621. With thanks to Dr. J. Lucassen, who drew our attention to these letters.
5 For example Warnsinck, Reisen van Nicolaus de Graaff, 6-8, for a description of a stay at Table Bay. De Graaff, on board the NASSAU (0530), does not give an exact date for the call at the Cape.
6 Godée Molsbergen, De stichter, 66-67.
7 De Jong, 'De reis van de retourvloot van 1648'. The Remonstrantie is printed in Godée Molsbergen,
De stichter, 206-214.

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