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 to the admiral's ship in the roads. On board this ship one of the masters or captains took
charge of the supervision of ships in the roads. The other masters usually stayed in town,
whichwasnotforbiddenuntiltheendoftheeighteenth century. Onthisadmiral'sor
guard ship the seafarers waitingfor transfer to other ships were accommodated; this ship
was sometimes referred to as 'Mits dezen' (herewith) after th e opening phrase o f th e
transfer form.
As soon as the anchor was dropped the water-fiscal and the equipagemeester came
aboard and were welcomed with food and wine freshly imported from Europe. They
received the letters for the Governor-General and Council, if these had not been handed
over in Sunda Strait, they mustered the crew and they inspected the cargo, the ship's
condition and equipment. Soon the sick were rowed ashore in sloops and taken to hospi-
On departure ships were seen off by several yachts, sometimes letters were carried after
them as far as Strait Sunda. The farewells to the commander o f the homeward fleet were
accompanied b y d u e ceremonial, t h e day before sailing t h e homeward bound officers
being treated to a copious meal. On sailing through the Sunda Strait those lucky enough
to have gained a place on the homeward fleet sang, according to Herport, 'adieu Batavia,
wij varen nu naar patria!" (farewell Batavia, we are now sailing home).
The 'direct consignments' to offices outside Batavia
In the preceding chapters on the sea route to and from Asia it was already apparent that
next t o Batavia there were other ports involved i n shipping between Europe and Asia.
Reference was made to directe bezending (direct consignments) to these offices. At first
it wasa matter of the ports on the Coromandel Coast, and of Surat, combined with
Gamron in Persia. After 1666 the direct shipping link with Ceylon was opened, involving
Bengal as well, and again Coromandel. In the eighteenth century shipping to Bengal was
detached from the Ceylon consignments, and in addition a regular link with Canton deve-
The advantage ofdirectsailingswasselfevident:goodsonorderarrivedsooner attheir
destinations in Asia, and exports reached the home country much faster without extra
transfers o r lengthy storage in Batavia warehouses. Thus supply and demand were better
coordinated and loss o f quality i n perishable products was reduced. A t first Company
servants in Batavia themselves pointed out the advantages of direct sailings. But in later
years the Hoge Regering regarded the direct sailings to other settlements as a threat to
the centralizing function of the rendez-vous. This is why Batavia in the second half of the
put u p stiff
devised b y
the directors for this traffic, resulting in a vacillating policy with decisions being followed
by counter decisions.
The Coromandel Coast
It was known to the Dutch on their arrival in Asia that the Coromandel Coast produced
the textiles which made such excellent items for ba ter in the Archipelago. In the well
known words o f Hendrik Brouwer the coast was the 'left arm' o f the Moluccas: without
the import of the cotton textiles of that area the spice trade in the Moluccas wouldnot
36 De Haan, Oud Batavia, 246, 365-366.
37 Herport, Reise nach Java, 167. For the ceremonial on departure see Böeseken, Die Nederlandse

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