Page 146 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 with which Van Goens in 1661 had to attack Malabar.5 6 Another drawback were the rocks situated in front of the entrance just below water-level. On entering the bay masters were obliged to use pilots. A s they entered, ships passed close under the fort which covered the entire bay with its guns. This of course made the bay safe from outside attack.
The opening of direct shipping between Ceylon and Europe was closely connected with the ambitious plans of Rijklof van Goens, who from 1658 to 1663 and from 1664 to 1675 as commissaris, governor and finally superintendent was the most influential authority in the island. In V an Goens' opinion Ceylon was a more suitable centre of gravity than Batavia, because of its position in respect to the settlements in India.5 7 A n independent shipping link with Europe was in line with this ambition, with Ceylon serving as rendez- vous for shipping to Bengal, Coromandel and the western factories. For a correspondence with the Republic independent of Batavia such a link was not essential however, for it was possible to use the overland route via Aleppo. Twice yearly V an Goens sent home his reports via this route with ships for Surat and Persia.5 8
Besides the ambition to rival Batavia there was a much more business-like argument for direct sailings from Ceylon to the Netherlands. Cinnamon, the most important export product, was intolerant of storage in the same hold with other spices, and by direct shipment from Galle its quality could be better maintained. On the basis of this last argument the Heren Zeventien in 1664 gave their fiat to direct sailings home from Ceylon. It became a second regular route next to shipping to and from Batavia, and was maintained until close on the Company's end.
The Hoge Regering at Batavia was not very pleased with this development and raised numerous objections.59 One of these was that provisions for such equipages were inade- quate in Ceylon. For repairs of large ships Galle had indeed little to offer, and neither could other ports on the island match the facilities on Onrust. Y et both at Colombo and Galle there were many shipwrights and both places had a rope-walk. For the provision of ship's stores however they were largely dependent on the Netherlands or Batavia, yet it was the government in Batavia that found the 'demands' compiled for the directors independently by the Ceylon government far too extensive.
On a second of Batavia's objections, concerning the availability of sufficient staff and sailors, the eighteenth century yields contradictory data. Van Imhoff confirmed in his Memorie of 1740 that there was a shortage of soldiers and sailors. Work in the rope-walks was practically at a standstill because of a shortage of manpower, and ships to the Nether- lands were sparingly manned. In 1762 however the departing governor Jan Schreuder thought there to be a surplus: though for seafaring personnel no more than 550 or even 450 men were required, during his inspection he had counted no less than 630 seafarers, 404 of them at Colombo and 139 at Galle.6 0 In how far Batavia had made up the shortages remains an open question. Even more difficult to verify is the justice of another remark by the Hoge Regering that smuggling under the eyes of 'one and another subaltern servants' at Galle was easier than under the sharp eyes of the authorities in the capital.
In one respect even Batavia had to agree the direct link was justified: the cinnamon,
56 Roelofsz, Vestiging ter kuste Malabar, 243.
57 Arasaratnam, Dutch power in Ceylon, 47.
58 Memoirs of Ryckloff van Goens, ed. by E. Reimers, 2, 3.
59 See the enumeration of objections of the Hoge Regering in Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 87,
60 Pieters and Anthonisz (eds.), Memoir left by Gustaaf Willem baron van Imhoff; and E. Reimers
(ed.), Memoir of Jan Schreuder, 120-121.

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