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SOUTH AFRICA TABLET 8: Additional instructions concerning the expedition

by TimeTraveler

In those days ships were not dispatched on long voyages with such expedition as at present, and hence it need not cause any surprise to find the Dromedaris and her consorts still in Netherland waters in December 1651.

On the 4th of that month the directors resolved that Mr. Van Riebeek should have power to convente the broad council of the ships, and should preside therein, or, in other words, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the little fleet.

On the 12th additional instructions were issued concerning the expedition.

Precautions were to be observed against surprise by an enemy.

No offence whatever was to be given to any one calling at the Cape, except to subjects of the king of Portugal residing within the limits of the Company's charter, who were open and declared foes.

No representatives of any nation were to be interfered with who should attempt to form a settlement beyond the Company's boundaries, but marks of occupation were to be set up without delay wherever the ground was servicable.

The Reiger was to be sent to Batavia as soon as her cargo for the Cape should be landed.

The Dromedaris was to remain in Table Bay until the completion of the fort.

There were strange rumours concerning the designs of Prince Rupert, and although the directors did not credit all they heard, it was necessary to be constantly on guard.

Ships returning homeward from beyond the Cape were therefore to be warned to sail in company and to be always prepared for battle.

Attached to these instructions was an extract from a despatch of the chamber of Middelburg, giving an account of Prince Rupert.

One Captain Aldert, who had been cruising off the coast of Portugal, had just arrived at Flushing, and stated that he had frequently met the prince's fleet of eight ships, all of heavy burden, and had seen them plunder a vessel of Castile in which was a large amount of specie.

The prince had prevented him from making prize of a Portuguese ship laden with sugar.

It was supposed that he intended to proceed to St. Helena, and lie in wait there for the return fleet of the English East India Company.

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


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