Page 151 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
P. 151

 anchorage before nightfall. A t low water a pilotboat went ahead, constantly sounding depth, and thus the ships after about six days reached the Falta roadstead, just south of Chinsura. There the VOC had some warehouses and a carpenter's shop. In view of the many shallows it was not possible to use East Indiamen of the first rate on the Bengal route.7 4
The intention of the Hoge Regering in 1719 to ship the Bengal textiles to the Netherlands as early as November with the so-called second contingent, turned out to be impracticable. The goods were not shipped until January and arrived at the chambers so late that the auctions had to be postponed well into the autumn. In 1730 the Heren Zeventien had the journals examined of any ships that between 1685 and 1690 had sailed home from Bengal either directly or via Ceylon. The result of this research, added to renewed vexation about the late arrival of goods in 1732 - one of the ships with Bengal goods, the MIDLOO (6837), went down in a September gale - made the Heren Zeventien decide in 1733 to re-route sailings from Bengal once more via Ceylon.7 5
They would have preferred direct sailings, but acquiesced in the Hoge Regerings view that for the VOC this was simply not possible or rather not desirable - although other European companies did so. But the servants in Bengal did not agree with Batavia: they saw direct shipping to the Republic as the best solution. With the reproach, that Governor- General and Councillors in 1718 had deprived Ceylon of the Bengali cargoes so that its government could not 'show off such impressive cargoes', Batavia was confronted in the Heren Zeventien s next letter with the choice of two ships from Hooghly sailing home in future either directly or via Ceylon. But in Batavia the choice in favour of the latter had already been made. In December 1734 the ALSEM and KRONENBURG (6925 and 6926) sailed this route.7 6
But still the problems had not been solved, since these two ships could carry no more than half the Bengal goods, so that the other half still arrived too late. Therefore in 1736 the Hoge Regering was told to have four ships sail from Hooghly to the Cape and home, any remaining goods to be shipped to Batavia and stored for a year if necessary: to send these expensive materials with ships departing so late would be too risky. Of the four ships from Bengal two were to sail for Amsterdam, one for Zeeland and one alternately for Delft and Rotterdam or Hoorn and Enkhuizen.7 7
The cargo value of these ships was often extremely high, not infrequently higher than the value in 1751 prescribed by the Heren Zeventien of fi 800,000 for ships for Amsterdam and Zeeland and of fl 600,000 for the ship for the smaller chambers. In 1759 permission was granted for a fifth ship to sail home from Hooghly when required, and in 1764 the maximum values of return cargoes were enlarged by Batavia: the ships departing early (around November) were allowed to carry cargoes of fl 900,000, those leaving in January of fl 800,000.78
Meanwhile the directors had also studied the possibilities of direct sailings to Bengal. The advantages would be that the servants in Bengal were to have the 'demand' from the Republic earlier at their disposal and could avail themselves sooner of an important part
75 A R A , V O C 164, res. Heren 17, 21.10.1730; V O C 165, id., 7.4.1731 and 30.10.1733; VOC 328,
Heren 17 to Batavia, 31.10.1733. See also earlier p. 79.
76 A R A , VOC 328, Heren 17 to Batavia, 11.9.1734.
77 ARA, VOC 166, res. Heren 17 of 12.11.1736; VOC 328, Heren 17 to Batavia, 19.9 and 14.11.1738.
78 Realia I, 136 (15.10.1751), 139 (30.7.1759), 142 (25.7.1764).

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