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 due to sail with the homeward fleet for instance, that other ships had to wait for it.
Timber supplies at the Cape have always been a major problem. Timber was needed
for ship repairs but also for firewood; irresponsible felling and insufficient replanting
meant that the Company servants had t o move further and further inland t o get wood.
Timber for ship repairs was then mostly obtained from the outward bound ships.
Thesimultaneouspresence attheCapeofanumberofshipsprovidedopportunities
for numerous tranfers of crew members. Men were moved from one ship to another to
fill vacancies due to deaths, or for any other reasons - to separate quarrelsome men for
example. Death of the master or one of the officers en route gave rise at the Cape to a
series of promotions: in such cases the Cape governor had powers to appoint a new master
or mate. It was rule that the succession took place from among the ship's own crew: on
the death of a master the first mate of the ship was the first to be considered as his
All those destined for the Cape left the ship, and among them were not only Company
servants, but also private persons intending to make their living as freeburghers, and,
from Asia, those sentenced to banishment and hard labour on Robben Island. Furthermore
there were the slaves taken along by officers and others on their departure from Asia, to
be sold at the Cape. This slave trade was illegal, and the slaves are therefore not recorded
in Company
numbers were
thus the
HOGE (8091), leaving Batavia in 1783, had at least 25 slaves on board, and in 1790 the
packetboat HAASJE (8288), with only 24 crew, carried 17 slaves.
Most frequent were the transfers of crew due to illness. Sick men were on arrival taken
ashore and to the hospital, while those who had in due course recovered were placed on
another ship to continue the voyage. The negative reports on the Cape hospitals give rise
to the suspicion that the pleasant climate and fresh food did more for the recovery of the
sick than treatment and care in hospital. Although over the gateway of the first hospital
the optimistic words were written 'dit huis, voor zieken opgericht, verquikt de swakken
(this house, founded for the sick, quickens the weak), the building did not contribute
much to quickening. The little hospital, built against the fort, with accommodation for
not more than 25 to 30 patients was far too small and became dilapidated through neglect.
In 1676 a former rice warehouse, situated by the beach, was taken into service as a hospital,
and this had room for 100 patients. Not until 1699 was a stone building, with two galleries
and a separate room for dysentery cases, built to the west of the church - though its rooms
were stuffy and very damp in rainy weather. This building could house 225 patients, whose
stay here does not seem to have been a very pleasant one. Early in the eighteenth century
bars had t o b e put on the windows t o restrain the patients' tendency t o run away. The
hospital keeper had a financial stake in the sick being kept inside for as long as possible,
but convalescing patients were understandably anxious not to stay in this hotbed of infec-
tion and foul air for any longer than necessary. In 1772 the foundations were laid, with
32 See for example the inspection of the PETER EN PAUL (2008) and HAM(6160) in 1707 (VOC
4048, Daghregister Cape, 28.2 and 12.3.1707). On a subsequent homeward voyage (6245) in 1711
the HAM was condemned at the Cape (Böeseken (ed.), Resolusies van die Politieke Raad IV,208).
33 Cf. the Eis van de Caab to the Amsterdam chamber for 1778, in Jeffreys (ed.), Kaapse Archief-
stukken 1778, 462.
34 An exception to this rule was the appointment to the BENTVELD (2078) in 1711 of the master
Leendert de Koning who happend to be at the Cape; this meant that the first mate was passed
over, a decision pushed through by the governor against the will of the majority of the Politieke
Raad (Böeseken (ed.), Resolusies van die Politieke Raad IV, 116).
35 Bruijn and Van Eyck van Heslinga, Muiterij, 128-29.

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