Page 172 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 242 deserted and the ship could only resume its voyage to Asia after the Delft chamber had sent, apart from 12 passengers, 190 men to re-man the ship with sailors and soldiers.
With the exception of the Cape, where probably the odd deserter from one ship was caught and transferred to another ship for Asia, such desertions must be considered a loss to the Company of human resources in which much effort and some advanced wages had been invested. Although data on desertion in the Lists of vols. 2 and 3 are far from complete, the addition of the listed figures produces some impression of this loss. For the seventeenth century we know of 168 deserters - 1650/60: 89. For the eighteenth century far more cases are known: a total of 1,090 for three decades alone -1700-10: 200,1740-50: 491, and 1770-80: 399 men. Explicit mention of the pressing of men into English service in an English port of call is made only occasionally.
Meanwhile it is hardly probable that most desertions were brought about by the bad physical conditions on board. Often there was not sufficient time to get to know these between departure from the home port and an enforced stay in an English port of call, where, so close to home, the desertion was greatest. Inadequacies of food, drink and accommodation will usually not have become apparent until later, and the fearful diseases took time to cut down more than an occasional victim. Much has been published on the physical conditions on board VOC ships, so a summary will suffice here.3 0 Possible inade- quate clothing was perhaps the only problem soon apparent: during the first days of sailing this would soon be obvious in storm, cold or rain. On embarkation it was left to each individual what to bring in his kitbag in clothing and footwear, and probably many a volkhouder, in taking care of this for his boarder, will have spent the minimum. Often clothing was inadequate: shoddy materials, sometimes worn out, and usually insufficient spares for a change of clothing. In bad weather in the North Sea, the Channel or the Atlantic Ocean the men could not keep warm enough and boots or shoes were leaking, while in the tropics little attention was paid to regular washing and changing. This some- times proved fatal in case of illness: vermin kept on vexing, the body-louse carried typhus and a state of filth was demoralizing and perhaps therefore unhealthy as well.
In food and drink the crew received fixed rations, once at sea. A n example of what stocks of food and drink were generally laid in on VOC ships is the lijst van victualiƫn en ordre op rantsoen (list of victuals and order of rationing) of around 1724, reproduced in Appendix 2. Junior officers received double drink rations and senior officers and passen- gers were exempted from rationing, enjoying their meals in a separate cabin, but neces- sarily limited in their choice of food and drink to what was in stock. The crew was divided by the steward into so-called bakken (messes) of seven men, who throughout the voyage were served from one dish or 'bak'. In view of the months to be spent on the high seas, quite soon after departure only imperishable food could be served out. Once the bread and fresh vegetables had run out the main dish at all three main meals soon consisted of dried or salted products only, such as ship's biscuits, groats, peas and beans, as well as meat, pork and dried fish, mostly prepared in water or fat. Fresh meat was only served on special occasions, in the form of chickens, pigs or sheep kept on board, or of fish caught on the way. It appears that butter and water were thought fit for use in cooking for a long time, even after becoming somewhat rancid or musty, which will have had unpleasant consequences for stomachs and intestines.
All the same, that nutrition was given attention and care is clear from several measures.
30 In particular De Hullu, 'Op de schepen' in: Bruijn & Lucassen, Op de schepen der Oost-Indische Compagnie, 49-134.

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