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SOUTH AFRICA TABLET 4: The ships for the mission identified

by TimeTraveler

The memorial of Janssen and Proot was referred by the chamber of Amsterdam to the supreme directory of the Company, who, after calling for the opinions of the other chambers, and finding them favourable, on the 30th of August 1650 resolved to establish such a victualling station as was proposed.

The deputies at the Hague, who were instructed to draw up a plan for this purpose, availed themselves further of the experience of Nicolaas Proot, who was then residing at Delft, and to whom the post of commander of the expedition was offered.

(Four deputies from the chamber of Amsterdam, two from the chamber of Zeeland, and one from each of the small chambers formed a committee called the Haagsche Besoignes, whose duty it was to arrange documents for the assembly of seventeen. The Indian correspondence, in particular, was prepared by this body for submission to the supreme directory. The committee had no power to issue orders or instructions of any kind.)

On the 20th of the following March the supreme directory approved of the plan submitted by the deputies at Hague, and the chamber of Amsterdam was empowered to put it in execution. Thus twenty months were occupied in discussion before anything else was done towards carrying out the project.

Five days later, instructions concerning the expedition were issued to the skippers of the ships Dromedaris and Reiger, and of the yacht Goede Hoop. These vessels, which were destined to bring the party of occupation to our shores, were then lying in the harbour of Amsterdam.

The Dromedaris was one of those old-fashioned Indiamen with broad square sterns and poops nearly as high as their maintops, such as can be seen depicted upon the great seal of the Company. In size she was but a fourth rate. Like all of her class, she was fitted for war as well as for trade, nd carried an armament of eighteen great guns.

The Reiger was smaller, with only one deck, which was flush. She was armed also, but the number of her guns is not stated.

The Goede Hoop was merely a large decked-boat, and was intended to remain at the Cape to perform any services that might be required of her.

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


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