Page 218 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
P. 218

 ships and sometimes records of ships' officers and passengers, or total numbers on board homebound ships. In addition the letters from the commander of Galle, where most of the ships from the Republic called and sailed from, provide details on dates and return cargoes. But on the whole the data on Ceylon and Bengal shipping are far less complete and less detailed than those on shipping to Batavia.
The contents lists of the O B P volumes make it possible of course to refer in them to sources on shipping with the Republic,other than the annually recurring ones. To these occasional sources belong for instance reports and declarations of masters or others about accidents or unusual incidents on the way. Sometimes Batavia sent home reports of sur- geons containing information about voyage and crew.
For the period up to 1652, i.e. before the Company founded a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope, the OBP's contain letters written during ships' stay at Table Bay. These letters were sometimes handed over by masters of outward bound vessels to returning colleagues, when a rendez-vous with homeward bound ships offered the opportunity to do so, while at other times the letters were put under marked stones and later collected by returning ships to be taken home.25 On the basis of these letters it was possible, in a number of cases, to insert data in the Lists on calls at the Cape, while in a few cases it could be established with certainty that a ship had bypassed the Cape.
For the period after 1652 documents written at the Cape itself are available. Much information about the first ten years of the settlement is given in the published Daghregister gehouden by den oppercoopman Jan Anthonisz van Riebeeck.26 In addition the set of Overgekomen brieven van de Kaap de Goede Hoop has been consulted. This set, modest in size compared to the sets of OBP's covers the period 1651-1794 and consists of 372 volumes, in the new numbering VOC 3988 to VOC 4360, in the old order according to the Koloniaal Archief KA 3966-KA 4338.
These sets also begin with a handwritten contents list.27 Out of these Cape papers one annually recurring source has been used: the Rolle of arriving and departing ships. In this 'roll' or table, date of arrival and departure from the Cape is recorded, including the date and place where the ship sailed from. Nearly always the number of deaths on the way to the Cape is given, and the number of the sick, disembarking at the Cape. Sometimes the total number on board at departure from the Cape is mentioned, sometimes the number embarking at the beginning of the voyage. In the latter case the military, artisans, passen- gers and 'impotenten are usually mentioned separately. The tables are concerned with periods of about a year, depending on the intervals between dispatches to the Republic.
These tables compiled at the Cape provide an important addition to the data, in parti- cular for the homeward bound voyage. The Cape data on the outward bound voyages are of course already known from the uitloopboeken (for the years after 1688) and from the journals and other documents from Batavia. But for calls on the 'Afrikaanse uithoek' (the African far corner) by homeward bound ships these Cape rolls are the sole source, while also recording data on those on board the returning ships not available elsewhere.
25 Information from these letters was made available by dr. J. M. W . Lucassen.
26 D.B. Bosman and H.B. Thorn (eds.), Daghregister gehouden bij den oppercoopman Jan Antonisz
van Riebeeck, 3 vols. (Cape Town 1952-1957).
27 Typed copies of these contents lists are now also available in the reading room of the Algemeen

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