Page 124 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
P. 124

Capetown. A s a result of their proposal the rule to appoint commanders of homeward fleets to commissioners at the Cape was abolished in 1794. Their no doubt valid argument was that whenever the commissioner carried out his task conscientiously the homeward fleet would be delayed in Table Bay for far too long, and that on the other hand, when a timely departure of the homeward ships was maintained, the inspection could only be a most superficial one.1 2
After 1685 the administration remained more or less unchanged up to the end of the Company era, in spite of the fact that all this time alongside Company servants more and more private citizens were settling at the Cape. T h e directors continued to regard the Cape first and foremost as a victualling station, and no thought was given to the develop- ment of the colony for the benefit of those settling there as farmers. The interests of the free-burghers were always subordinate to those of the Company, and free-burghers were given only minimal influence in local government.1 3
Calling at the Cape
In the same year in which Van Riebeek laid the foundation for the Cape settlement, the masters' obligation to call at the Cape on the voyage out and home was written into the printed sailing instructions.14 Three years later, in 1655, the additional regulation was made that the number of waiting days at the Cape was not to be counted in the calculation of the bounties received by officers for speedy voyages. If on the other hand the Cape had been bypassed without good reason, the officers lost their bounties.1 5
The instructions for the masters were adjusted and modified several times in the course of the eighteenth century. These modifications and the reasons for them have been des- cribed in chapters 4 and 5. During the Cape winter Table Bay offered insufficient protection against the then frequent northwesterly gales, as the Company found to its cost o n a number of occasions, e.g. in 1722, 1728, 1737 and 1790.16 Not that the directors reacted very energetically to these shipping disasters. In 1729 they pointed out to the masters that anchoring in Table Bay had to be done 'navigationally'. A t the same time the authorities at the Cape were instructed to have False Bay, east of the Cape, and Saldanha Bay to the north of Table Bay, charted and surveyed for good anchor grounds. Saldanha Bay offered ships better protection than Table Bay, but its drawback was lack of fresh water; moreover this bay was at quite a distance from the Cape settlement. False Bay was nearer, but lack of facilities made this bay equally unattractive to the ships.1 7
In 1737 and 1740 masters were left the choice between calling at either Table Bayor False Bay. In 1742, due to Van Imhoff s doing, strict rules were laid down. Shipsarriving at the Cape between mid-May and mid-August were obliged to put into False Bay. In 1743 Van Imhoff was at the Cape as commissioner, on his way from the Republic to Batavia, and gave instructions for the necessary facilities to be set up at False Bay for the reception of ships.1 8 In 1792 the regulations were again modified on the proposal of
12 Böeseken, Die Nederlandse kommissarisse, 124.
13 On the relations between the various population groups at the Cape, see Elphick and Giliomee
(eds.). The shaping of South African society (including the contribution by G . J. Schutte on
relations between V O C and private citizens).
14 Sigmond,'Deweg',42.
15 V O C 103, res. Heren 17, 8.4.1655.
16 See preceding pages 69, 81 and 84.
17 V O C 165, res. Heren 17, 10.3.1729.
18 VOC, res. Heren 17,5.4. and 16.8.1740,14.3.1742; Böeseken, Die Nederlandse kommissarisse, 16.

   122   123   124   125   126