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SOUTH AFRICA TABLET 3: Advantages of forming a settlement in Table Valley

by TimeTraveler

The document which Janssen and Proot laid before the directors of the East India Company pointed out many and great advantages, and overlooked all dificulties in the way of forming a settlement in Table Valley.

The author considered it beyond doubt that fruit trees of every kind would thrive as well as vegetables had done in the garden made by the Haarlem's crew, that horned cattle and sheep could be purchased in plenty, that cows could be bred and cheese and butter made, and that hogs could be reared and fattened in numbers sufficient to supply the needs of the Company's ships.

Then there were birds to be shot, and fish to be caught, and salt to be gathered.

He pointed out how little was to be had at St. Helena, and how necessary for the refreshment of the sick was a victualling station between the Netherlands and the sources of trade in the East.

Already there was ample experience of the benefits derived by the purchase of a few head of cattle and the gathering of wild herbs at the Cape.

There were sources of wealth also. Whales put into Table Bay at times in shoals, and could easily be made prize of. Seals were to be had in hundreds, and their oil and skins were valuable. The hides of the large antelopes would also in time readily find a market.

The sickness caused in getting fresh water, by the men being compelled to wade in the surf at all seasons of the year, was referred to, and, as a contrast, a jetty and wooden pipes were pointed out.

The Hottentots were spoken of as a people indeed without such institutions or forms of government as those of India, but peaceably disposed and capable of being taught. It was true that the Netherlanders had sometimes been killed by them, but that was because other Europeans had taken their cattle by force.

There was no doubt that they could learn the Dutch language, and in course of time could be educated in the Christian religion.

Finally, the author expressed surprise that the enemies of the Netherlands had not already formed a settlement at the Cape, and with a small war fleet captured all of the Company's ships as they were about to pass.

Reference: History and Ethnography of Africa South of the Zambesi by George McCall Theal.


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