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Title: Memoir of Hendrick Zwaardecroon, commandeur of Jaffnapatam (afterwards Governor-General of Nederlands India) 1697

Author: Hendrick Zwaardecroon

Translator: Sophia Pieters

Release date: August 25, 2012 [eBook #40579]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at for Project
Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously
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Newly Designed Front Cover.
Memoirs and Instructions of Dutch Governors, Commandeurs, &c.
Hendrick Zwaardecroon,
Commandeur of Jaffnapatam,

(afterwards Governor-General of Nederlands India),
For the Guidance of
The Council of Jaffnapatam, During His Absence at the Coast of Malabar.
H. C. Cottle, Government Printer, Ceylon.




This Memoir of Commandeur Zwaardecroon was, as stated, compiled and left by him in 1697 for the instruction and guidance of the Political Council of Jaffnapatam during his absence from the “Commandement” on special duty as Commissioner to the Coast of Malabar. He did not, however, return to his post, having been appointed Director of Surat on the termination of his Commission. Of the many compilations of the same kind prepared by successive Commandeurs on the standing orders of the Supreme Government at Batavia, this of Zwaardecroon is one of the most exhaustive and authoritative in regard to the Dutch Company’s affairs in the north of the Island. It was quoted and referred to from time to time during almost the whole period of the Dutch rule in Ceylon. Its value will be found to consist chiefly in the light it throws on such matters as native industries, sources of revenue, and the condition of the people. Many obscure terms, some local, some obsolete, such as “officie gelden,” “adigary,” “alphandigo,” &c, which occur in the old records, will be found explained here for the first time; and the topographical information is both full and accurate. In a word, the work bears the impress not only of a man of great powers of observation and sound judgment, but also of a strong and capable ruler. His independent character is shown in the plain-spoken manner in which he marks his resentment of the methods adopted at headquarters in regard to appeals from the native subjects of the Commandement. That a man possessed of such intelligence and independence of character should in the course of time have risen to the highest post in the Company’s service, viz., that of Governor-General of Nederlands India, was in the natural course of events. [iv]

The following brief personal account of him, based on information collected from various sources, will, I am sure, be of some interest.

Hendrick, or Henricus, Zwaardecroon was born at Rotterdam on January 26, 1667. His father, Theophilus Zwaardecroon, son of an older Henricus Zwaardecroon, was Rentmeester, or Steward, to Jonker Gysbrecht van Mathenesse, his mother being Margaretha van Heulen. He came out to the East in 1684 as Secretary to the High Commissioner Hendrick Adriaan van Rhude, Lord of Mydrecht, to whom frequent reference is made in the Memoir. Having been first attached to the adelborsten (lit. “noble youths”), a regiment composed of gentlemen’s sons, he, shortly after his arrival in Batavia, exchanged from the Military to the Civil Service of the Company, and passed rapidly through the grades of boekhouder, onderkoopman, and koopman. In 1694 he was appointed Commandeur of Jaffnapatam with the rank of opperkoopman. This Memoir is the record of his three years’ administration of the Commandement. After four years’ service at Surat, he was appointed Secretary to the Supreme Government at Batavia, being admitted the following year (August 4, 1704) an Extraordinary Councillor of India (Raad extra-ordinair van Ned. Indië). In 1709 he became President of the Board of Dike-reeves (College van Heemraden), and, in 1715, was elevated to the rank of a Councillor in Ordinary. His modest disposition and unambitious character will be seen from the fact that, although twice offered the Governor-Generalship, he declined the honour on the ground that he did not feel himself qualified to accept it. But he was at last prevailed upon to do so, and formally received his appointment on November 13, 1718. The appointment was confirmed by the Chamber of XVII, in the Netherlands on September 10, 1720. He remained at the head of the Government of India up to October 16, 1724, when he retired at his own instance. He never returned to the Fatherland, but lived a simple and unostentatious life in Batavia up to his death. The following [v]passage, which I quote from my Report on the Dutch Records,1 gives an account of his death and burial:—“His death occurred at Batavia on August 12, 1728, some years after his retirement. At his special desire the burial took place in the graveyard attached to the Portuguese Church outside the town. His grave is still to be seen on the left side of the entrance to the church. This church and graveyard were intended for the humbler section of the community; and Zwaardecroon, says an old writer (Hofhout), chose this burial place, because he wished to lie beside the ‘common people.’ This is said to have been characteristic of the man, who, as long as he lived, took pains to maintain by ostentatious display the dignity and the honour of the Honourable Company which he served, but at his death, though of gentle descent himself, preferred to be buried among the poor and lowly than among the high and mighty of the land.2 His funeral as described in the Dagh Register des Casteels, Batavia, August 16, 1728, was one of great magnificence.”

When Councillor of India, Zwaardecroon was commissioned by the Government of India to compile a descriptive account of Malabar and Coromandel, a work which he appears to have satisfactorily accomplished. During his Governor-Generalship he undertook for the first time, in 1723, the planting of coffee within the territories under his rule. For his exceptional services to the Company in introducing coffee and the silk worm industry into Java he was much commended by the Directors of the East India Company, and was presented by them with a silver tankard inlaid with gold, bearing a suitable inscription on the lid.3 [vi]

Of his marriage and descendants I have not been able to obtain any definite information. He appears to have married in Batavia, but the lady’s name does not occur. By this marriage he had two children: a daughter Hillegonda, who married Cornelis van Berendrecht, “waterfiskal” of Netherlands India, and a son, Hendrick Zwaardecroon, who is mentioned in 1703.

R. G. Anthonisz,

Government Archivist.

1 Note on p. 40.

2 “Want, de keuse van zyne begraafplaats mocht van nederigheid getuigen—zoolang de oud Gouverneur-Generaal onbegraven was had hy zekere rol te spelen, en zelf had Zwaardecroon maatregelen genomen, op dat ook zyne laatste verschyning onder de levenden de compagnie waardig mocht wesen, die hy gediend had.”—De Haan, De Portugeesche Buitenkerk, p. 40.

3 Van Rhede van der Kloot, De Gouverneurs-Generaal en Commissarissen-Generaal van Nederlandsch-Indië, 1610–1888.



For the Instruction of the Honourable the Political Council of Jaffnapatam, compiled and left by Commandeur Hendrick Zwaardecroon on his departure from that kingdom as Commissioner for the Coast of Mallabaar, Cannara, and Wingirula.

It has pleased His Excellency Mr. Willem van Outhoorn, Governor-General, and the Honourable the Government of India, to appoint me Commissioner for the Coast of Mallabaar, and to require me to compile before my departure from here a Memoir or Instructions for the guidance of the Council, stating therein how the affairs of the Company are to be conducted during my absence, which Memoir is to be handed to the said Council after having been submitted to His Excellency the Governor of Ceylon and the Council of Colombo for revision, amplification, and alteration where necessary, as may be seen from the letter of May 23 last, from Their Excellencies at Batavia, sent here by the ship “De stad Leyden.”

In compliance with this esteemed order I compile this Paper, although I am aware that you are all persons who have served the Company for a greater or smaller number of years, and that you must have had ample opportunity to obtain a knowledge of all matters concerning the Company.

Moreover, during the last 38 years which the Company has been in the absolute possession of this territory, many papers have been written with regard to Jaffnapatam which are always accessible to the members of the Political Council at the Secretariate, so that I take it for granted that, in addition to your daily experience, you have obtained a sufficient knowledge of these matters from these documents; because among these are to be found descriptions of whatever is necessary to give the reader a clear idea of all that is required in the Company’s service, and they having been written by wise and circumspect men, some more and others less in detail. I am, therefore, sure that everything that is necessary will be found if carefully looked for. [2]

I will not, for this reason, enter into detail in respect of the manner the Company took possession of this territory, or of the advantages that may be found here both for the inhabitants and for the Company; nor what compulsory services are demanded from the subjects in Jaffnapatam, and the number of castes into which they are divided and under which they are registered; nor will I specify here the licenses for navigation and trade which have been given to them, nor the changes which have taken place in the course of time with regard to these and many other matters not stated here.

Because, if I were to relate all these matters from the very beginning, I would have to write several volumes instead of a few sheets of paper. And this I do not intend to do, as I wish to be as brief as possible.

Moreover, sufficient information may be found in the documents preserved at the Secretariate, which it would be well if Your Honours would make yourselves familiar with. We must be always prepared to take upon ourselves higher and more difficult posts whenever called upon, and in so preparing ourselves we avoid confusion, and the Company would never be in want of capable servants.

I have no doubt you will all see the truth of what I say, yet, in order the more clearly to convey the force of my suggestion, I will specify here some of the documents which I consider it particularly useful to obtain a general insight of.

With regard to Jaffnapatam, I know of no better documents than the Instructions compiled by Admiral Ryclof van Goens, Mr. Anthony Paviljoen, and the Hon. Laurens Pyl, at present Councillor of India at Batavia, left for this Commandement respectively on September 30, 1658, December 12, 1659, July 26, 1661, December 19, 1665, and October 7, 1679, the latter1 having been inserted in the General Instructions left by His Excellency Ryclof van Goens, junior, on his departure on October 3 of the same year, to take up the Governorship of Ceylon. The directions in these Papers must be followed so far as change of time and circumstances will permit. I could not avoid mentioning these before entering into further details.

It was the more necessary because so many observances, customs, institutions, and singular methods of action are to be met with in Jaffnapatam which are not found anywhere else or among any other subjects of the Company, and also because they cannot be discovered or understood without careful investigation and only in process of time. Thus, although the most important matters have been successively treated of [3]in the service of the Company, yet all the necessary information cannot be brought together here, and such a detailed description would be beyond the purpose of ordinary instructions. I will therefore only touch upon such matters as will be unavoidable under the present circumstances.

The mode of government during my absence will be the first point to be decided upon; because formerly the Dessave, as second in the Commandement, used to be appointed to preside, as may be seen in the yearly Memoirs of Commandeur Floris Blom, left by him when he had to travel beyond the Commandement; with the only restriction that the Dessave was not to pass any orders for the warehouses, the Treasury, workshops, &c., which were left to the Administrator, although the Dessave was more often present within the Castle. Later on, in the year 1694, on the death of the same Commandeur Blom of blessed memory, the government of the whole of this Commandement was entrusted to the Political Council by order of the Hon. Thomas van Rhee, Councillor of India and Governor of Ceylon, and the Council of Colombo. The government was then divided, and the authority limited, and rules were laid down, which may be seen from the letters from Colombo bearing date July 20 and August 23, 1694; but experience has proved that this mode of government was not successful in the best interests of the Company; because the subordinate officers and the subject classes often did not know to whom they had to apply; so that they were sent “from Pontius to Pilatus,” as it is sometimes said; which often caused unnecessary waste of time and delay in the Service. I noticed this to have been the case when I was away from this Commandement from the last of March till about the middle of August this year, on the occasion of my being ordered to Colombo, and the authority distributed according to the instructions contained in the letter from Colombo of March 22. But I noticed later on that the letters from Colombo were addressed to Mr. Rykloff de Bitter as Dessave and Secunde of the Commandement and the other members of the Political Council here; which was done again on October 16, 1696, when it was anticipated that I had already left for Mallabaar by the frigate “De Tamboer.”

In the letter from Colombo of April 18 the members of the Council were also recommended to show the said Mr. de Bitter all the respect due to his position as Dessave and Secunde in the Commandement; so that it seems His Excellency the Governor and the Council wished to re-introduce the former mode of government during the absence of the Commandeur, seeing that the Company’s affairs cannot be properly conducted by such divided authority. This at [4]least is my opinion, and I intend to point out that in the absence of the Commandeur the government here ought to be carried on according to the former lines, and consequently the entire administration entrusted to the Dessave, with the assistance of the members of the Political Council; and that he must call the meetings both of the Council and of the Court of Justice, and preside at both; and that he must further sign the orders for the Treasury, the workshop, the arsenal, and even for the warehouses, and in reference to any other of the effects of the Company. This would be in compliance with the Instructions contained in the letter from Colombo of December 5, 1696, where it is said that no orders are to be passed here but by the person in authority. I therefore think that, in the interests of peace and order in this Commandement, the Dessave R. de Bitter should be in authority at such times, especially as I have to be so far away. Besides, he lives just in front of the town, and close by the Castle; so that he is always at hand for those who require his assistance or instruction. But as the Dessave lives outside the fortress, the giving of the watchword, the closing and opening of the gate, and the supervision over the military and their drill, could not very well be delegated to him. This must therefore be left to the Captain as special chief of the Military; unless the Dessave should occasionally remain within the Fort overnight, in which case he will preform those duties. (1)2

With a view to prevent the impression being created that I had formally given over this Commandement and entirely transferred the authority, I will leave without making a written transfer of any of the Company’s effects. I merely entrust these to Your Honours’ care and management; but, on the other hand, it must be understood that I do not want to be held responsible for any mistakes you might make during my absence. I therefore, and in order to show that I do not relinquish my authority in the Commandement, but only absent myself during the mission to Mallabaar or until further orders from the Honourable the Government of India are received, Your Honours are recommended to send to me by Manaar and Tutucorin proper advices, and to communicate to me the principal transactions that take place with regard to the Company’s service, in order that I may not be obliged on my return to ask what had transpired or to look up these things in the books. It will be well here to remind Your Honours of the order contained in the Resolution passed by [5]the Council of India on December 6, 1694, with regard to all Administrators, viz., that they will be held responsible for all cash or articles belonging to the Company which are found missing, and that, if unable to justify themselves, they would have to replace these within two months, or submit to be punished for their offence. (2)

Economy is the first matter which I have to recommend to Your Honours, because this is not only constantly urged both from the Fatherland and from Batavia, but also because it is beyond doubt that what is saved in this manner will be pure profit. It must be understood, however, that in using the word economy I mean care in the administration of the Company’s effects, and not a wrong economy. There are officers who take this word in its narrowest sense, and, failing to have the necessary repairs done in proper time in their endeavour to spend as little as possible, create the necessity in the course of time of a complete restoration, while the existing objects might have stood good for a long time with a small timely expenditure. I must therefore recommend Your Honours to read certain letters from the Hon. Mr. van Mydregt,3 bearing date July 4, 1690, and addressed to the establishment at Jaffnapatam during his circuit on the coast of Madura. (3)

The Wanni is the largest division in this kingdom, and would also be the most profitable to the Company if matters went on as they ought to. It is from there that we have to obtain the elephants which are sold here at considerable profit, as the proceeds of the sale of elephants which are sent here for sale from Galle, Matura, and other places in Ceylon cannot be credited to this Commandement, as the profits are not retained here, but have been so far forwarded to these places. With a view to secure the profits on the elephants which are to be obtained from the Wanni, the Company has divided this large forest and extensive territory into several Provinces, which have been farmed out to Majoraals, known as Wannias, on the condition that they should deliver yearly 42½ alias.4 This practice was followed from the time that the Company first established itself here up to the present day, but the results have proved that these Wannias continually fail to deliver the tribute elephants, and it appears in the Instructions of the late Mr. Paviljoen that their arrears in his time were already 74½ alias, when the Company had possessed this territory only 7 or [6]8 years. In the returns for 1680 it will be seen that these arrears had then increased to 313 alias. The whole of this debt was remitted to them, but in 1694 again the arrears went up to 18½ alias, and last year they had come up to 70 animals, namely:

Don Philip Nellamapane and Don Gaspar Konsjeynaar Ilengenarene Mudaliyar, for the Provinces of Lanengamo, Paleamblancolam, and Poedicoe 48½ alias; Don Diogo Poevenellemapane Wannia, for the Provinces of Karkattemoele and Meelpattoe 18 alias; Peria Meynaar Oediaar, for the Province of Moeliawalle 3½ alias; total 70 alias.

It will therefore be necessary for Your Honours to endeavour to secure as many elephants from these Wannias as possible, both in payment of their arrears and of their present dues. This must be done, with all kindness, and in compliance with the successive orders received from His Excellency van Rhee,5 Governor of Ceylon, and the Council of Colombo, in order that this profitable trade may be maintained, because there has been no lack of purchasers since the year 1689, as the merchants from Golconda come over every year, and there is a possibility that the Bengal Moors will also come over to purchase elephants now that this passage has been opened. The price to be paid to the Wannias for animals delivered above their tribute has been stated in the letter of the Hon. Mr. van Mydregt of blessed memory, sent here on April 3, 1690, from Tutucorin, while the Honourable the Government of India, in their esteemed letter of December 12, 1691, agreed to pay from 10 to 20 Rds. more for each animal, according to their value. I fear, however, that it will take a long time yet before it will be necessary to make such payment. The Wannia Philip Nellamapane may be allowed to sell every year one elephant on his own account to the Moors, in compliance with the orders of the said Governor and Council at the meeting of May 11, 1696, although Your Honours will find a positive refusal to the request made by him and submitted to His Excellency van Mydregt by Commandeur Floris Blom on October 20. The refusal was made in His Excellency’s answer of November 20. There are two other Wannias to whom the same privilege has been granted, viz., Ambele Wannia and Chedoega Wannia, the former holding the Province of Carnawel pattu, and the latter that of Tinnemerrewaddoe. They obtained this permission because their tribute is of little [7]importance compared with that of the other Wannias mentioned above, and because they had paid up their arrears at the closing of the books last August. It seems, however, that they also are not much inclined to deliver any elephants beyond their tribute. Most likely they prefer the tithes which they draw for ruling these Provinces to the payment they would receive from the Company for the delivery of elephants.

I will not state here my opinion as to the manner in which people ought to be ruled or as to their behaviour, nor in what way the Company is to expect the largest number of elephants and the greatest profits from the Wanni; because I would then not only have to write too many sheets of paper in doing so, but the subject would be of little use to enlarge upon and only tend to confuse Your Honours in your actions. I could merely advise you to follow the old instructions of being kind and considerate. Meanwhile, however, Your Honours are well aware of my principal views with regard to the Wannias, as expressed in our conjoined letter to Batavia of August 12, 1695, which letter might serve for your guidance; while you might also read the letters exchanged between Colombo and Jaffnapatam during the years 1674 to 1679, as also the resolutions passed with regard to the Wannias during the same period. From the perusal of these documents you will perceive whether or not my opinion of these people is unfounded. Should you require more information with regard to the Wannias and the Majoraals, you will find it in the Journal kept by Commandeur Laurens Pyl, at present Councillor of India, on his visit to that large forest in 1675 during the months of August to December, and in another Journal written by me in July, 1692, when I accompanied the late Commandeur Floris Blom also on a visit to the Wanni.

These Wannias, by birth subjects of the Company and by descent no more than ordinary caste Bellales, have in the course of time become very conceited, and imagine that the title of Wannia is one invested with awe and so important that, although they have received it from the Company, they do not need to respect the Company or those placed in authority here; and they seem to be in doubt whether they ought to show their due obedience by appearing before its officers. It was on this account that His Excellency van Mydregt gave special orders in his reply of November 29, 1690, that one of the Wannias should always stay at the Castle, each taking his turn for three months. Why this order has not been carried out I do not know. Moreover, it appears that Don Philip and his son, the young Don Gaspar, Master of the Hunt in Ponneryn, together with his brother-in-law Don Gaspar Ilengenarene Mudaliyar, has gone to Colombo instead of presenting himself here at the [8]Castle, as I had summoned them to do, as may be seen in the ola of January 14, 1696, and in the resolutions of Council of the 16th of the same month. I do not know how they obtained audience, but they were received with even greater honour than they ever received from the Governors or Commandeurs here. This was the first time they ever went to Colombo. Still less am I able to say what transpired between them and the Government of Colombo, because when I was there I was not admitted to the meetings of the Political Council, and was only an eye-witness of the outward show. I do not also know for what reason the said Wannia Majoraals were kept here since their return, and why they were not sent back to their forest for the capture of elephants, unless it was because they acted as adjutants or auxiliaries to the Opperkoopluyden6 Jan van Keulen and Pieter Petitfilsz, as I heard that during my absence they acted as Commissioners in this Commandement. Perhaps these matters are better known to Your Honours than to myself, because you were present here at the time. Yet I do not know whether you realize that this action has made these people more conceited than ever, and that they mention it here exultingly. This is proved also by the fact that their arrears have greatly increased since this trip to Colombo, and I have been privately informed that the Master of the Hunt, Don Gaspar Nitcheachaderayen, has, on his own authority and as if he were a sovereign, caused one of the Lascoreens and one of the hunters of his father-in-law, the old Don Gaspar, to be put to death; which has caused great enmity between these two and Don Philip Nellamapane. It is also said that the old Don Gaspar is desirous of revenging himself for this action, so that two people who were such great friends and made such a stir here by going to Colombo have not only become bitter enemies, but by this murder have also given cause for consequences of a serious nature. It will therefore be Your Honours’ duty not only to hold an inquiry with regard to this matter when an opportunity offers, but also to watch the future conduct of these people. In the beginning of 1696 some Waddassen7 also entered the lands of the Wannia Don Diogo Poevenellemapane and committed acts of hostility, whereby the brother of Cottapulle Oediaar, cousin of the said Don Diogo, had been killed, because the latter wrote an ola to the Administrator Biermans while I was away at Colombo and the Dessave was commissioned to the pearl fishery. As he complained publicly to both of us in the month of October of [9]the same year, saying that this happened for no other reason than because he would not act in collusion with Don Philip Nellamapane or join with the seditious company on their trip to Colombo, knowing that he could find here competent rulers. Chedoegawale Mapane of Tinnemerrewaddoe spoke to the same effect. Amblewanne, whom Your Honours wanted to take his turn of staying here at the Castle, has been prevented from doing so by the severe illness of one of his friends. I am obliged to mention all these particulars here in order that Your Honours may be able to keep an eye on the Wannias and their conduct. I wished to do more in this matter, and would have made an effort to discover and punish the murderers, but I was not in a position to do this because it seems that the Government of Jaffnapatam has no longer any influence in Colombo. This is apparent from the fact that while these Wannias were not only heard, but also treated with great honour, unknown to their ruler, I was even personally insulted by being kept out of the Political Council. I considered it inadvisable on my part to bring any charges against them at that time, and I think it would be for Your Honours to do thus. (4)

Mantotte, Moezely, and Pirringaly are just as important to the Company with regard to the capture of elephants as the Wanni; but these Provinces are not under the subaltern rule of any native chief, but are ruled directly by the Company through officers paid by the Company. In Mantotte and Moezely there is an Adigar, paid by the Company, whose work it is to supervise the elephant hunt and the cultivation of the arable fields. For the latter the Company exacts tithes, as from the Wannia Majoraals in the Wanni. The inhabitants of Pirringaly, who were for some time ruled by Wannias, appealed in 1692 to the Commandeur Blom to be relieved of that servitude, and this was granted to them on condition that they yearly delivered to the Wannias 2 alias for this freedom. Since then they have been ruled by their own Moete Carres or Masters of the Hunt, which arrangement has proved to be very satisfactory, as may be seen from the Trade Accounts, which show that these people, as well as the hunters of Mantotte, Moezelypattoe, and Setticoulang have delivered a large number of elephants at Manaar, and would have delivered more were it not that a great many animals had died on the way. Further particulars on this subject may be found by Your Honours in a certain report of September 13, 1690, submitted by Commandeur Blom to His Excellency van Mydregt of blessed memory, in the margin of which His Excellency wrote instructions bearing date October 7 of the same year, where you will find the most important particulars as to the troubles on the borders of the Wanni. Your Honours [10]may also read a short Memoir by the late Commandeur Anthony Paviljoen, dated July 28, 1662, and addressed to the Adigar of Mantotte. This office is held at present by Dimingo Rodrigues, who was transferred from the same office in Ponneryn by order of His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo, as contained in their letter of October 13, 1696. He was sent to Mantotte to take the place of the native Alepander Ananaal, who in the same letter was dismissed from his office, although, as this was done without my knowledge, I am not in a position to state the reason therefor. Some other native officers were likewise dismissed from their offices in this Commandement without communication with me, as you may see from my letter to Colombo of October 15, 1696. The hunters in the Provinces of Mantotte, Pirringaly, and Moezely, who, as stated above, have shown great diligence in the capture of elephants and still continue to do so, must be protected from any ill-treatment on the part of the Adigar or any of the officers at Manaar or elsewhere, in order that they may not be discouraged and lose their interest in the work, which would be prejudicial to the Company. The price paid by the Company for each elephant is stated in a document forwarded by His Excellency van Mydregt to Jaffnapatam bearing date April 3, 1690. (5)

Ponneryn is the third Province from where elephants should be obtained if all be well, because formerly when this Province was ruled by an Adigar or Lieutenant-Dessave appointed by the Company, like the Provinces Ilipoecarwe, Polweramcattoe, and Mantotte, no less than 25 alias on an average were obtained from there yearly, for which purpose two kraals had been made. In 1690 this practice was changed, because His Excellency van Mydregt, by decree of March 2 of the same year, granted the revenue of Ponneryn to the young Don Gaspar, and those of the other two Provinces to the old Don Gaspar, on condition that the former should, as Master of the Hunt, see that all the elephants which were found there were captured and sent down on account of the Company; for which purpose 145 hunters and their Manigares were placed under his command. The project for which this arrangement was made, however, proved to be illusory, for no more than 74 elephants were delivered by the Master of the Hunt in 7 years’ time, while according to the previous account 175 animals ought to have been delivered. This means a loss to the Company of 101 elephants during the same period, besides the tithes of the harvest for these three Provinces, while, moreover, we had to continually hear complaints from the inhabitants of maltreatment on the part of the said Wannias, as happened again lately when the Dessave De Bitter visited Ponneryn. [11]They are not satisfied with the revenues mentioned above, but consider themselves rulers over the inhabitants, which was never meant by His Excellency van Mydregt, and they were always prevented from asserting themselves as such, as may be seen from a report by Commandeur Blom on Jaffnapatam, submitted to His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo on August 28, 1692. About a year after the issue of the deeds of gift of the tithes, His Excellency proposed to change this practice again, and in a document of March 29, 1693, he repeated this proposal, saying that he had already given orders for a general elephant hunt on account of the Company in the said Provinces, in which both the hunters and the inhabitants were to take part. Why this order was not carried out I cannot say; but I know that already, within six months after the issue of the deeds of gift, he noticed that both these Don Gaspars had been favoured too much. This may be seen from a letter from His Excellency dated July 4, 1690, to Jaffnapatam. For these various reasons I have recommended that the form of government in the Wanni should be changed, as would appear in our conjoined letter to Batavia of August 12, 1695. Many more reasons might be brought forward, but it would be trouble in vain. I therefore recommend Your Honours to strictly follow the orders of His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo as contained in their letters of October 13 and November 21, 1696, in favour of the said Wannias, because Messrs. van Kuilen and Petitfilz, who were commissioned to investigate this matter, declared that the inhabitants on the borders of the Wanni are quite content and well satisfied. There is no use therefore in our saying anything, although my experience and that of the Dessave have proved quite the contrary. I cannot help for this reason making a speculative calculation of the amount which the Company has lost since the conquest of this territory by the non-payment of tributes and arrears in the Wanni and Ponneryn. If each animal be calculated on an average to be sold at Rds. 350, or 1,050 Florins, as may be considered to be the case, the amount would be:—

For 1680 discharged from the delivery of 313 alias: estimated price 328,650
For 1694 discharged from the delivery of 18½ alias 19,425
For present arrears 73,500
For arrears over 7 years in Ponneryn 106,050
Total 527,625


This then is the loss the Company has suffered through the Wannias, besides the many annoyances and indirect losses through the inhabitants and the subjects in Jaffnapatam, which might be pointed out, but which I will not do here for the reasons stated above. (6)

The trade here is not very important and does not amount to much, except that in elephants, which was renewed chiefly by His Excellency van Mydregt since 1689; because the merchants from Golconda and Tansjouwer8 had neglected this trade for some years, having driven up the prices by bidding against each other at the public auctions. The endeavour to interest them again in this trade has been successful; the more so because the price for tuskers and elephants without tusks, as also for that of infirm animals has been limited and regulated in the letter of April 3, 1690, often previously referred to. The principal people in Golconda address their payment orders to Philip Sangere Pulle or the Brahmin Timmersa, whom they have chosen as their agents, while the Company employs them as brokers in this trade. This is found to save much trouble in the distribution and selling of the animals and in feeding and transporting them when sold, because these brokers procure the provisions and vessels, giving an account to the merchants. This course was followed from the time the Company took possession of this territory up to 1696, but Sangere Pulle died in 1695, and the Brahmin Timmersa has been discharged from his office, because His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo gave instructions, in their letter of August 23 last, that the trade in elephants with the Moors at Golconda should be carried on in future without any agents or brokers. This office was accordingly taken off the trade accounts in compliance with the said order, after the accounts with the merchants and between them and the agents had been settled. This has brought about a great change, as may be seen from the resolutions of December 17 of the same year, where it is stated that these people intended to give up the trade for the reasons just mentioned, as is known to Your Honours; but it is to be hoped that this new Ordinance which was issued without communication with, or advice from, the Commandeur of Jaffnapatam, may not have the serious effects which are feared. Your Honours are also aware with how much bickering, cavilling, dispute, and vexation, the trade in elephants was kept up last year, so that about 161 animals were sold on behalf of the Company for the sum [13]of Rds. 53,357. It is to be hoped that the sale will increase; but I must seriously advise Your Honours to strictly adhere to the above-mentioned rule, although it was made without my advice or opinion being asked; unless their Excellencies at Batavia should not agree with the view of His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo and send other orders.

Besides the trade in elephants the Company deals here only in pepper, about 40,000 or 50,000 lb. of which is sold yearly; some copper, spiaulter,9 a little pewter, a small quantity of powdered sugar, about 300 or 350 ammunams of Ceylon areca-nut, which are sold to the inhabitants, and a few other articles of little importance which are sold to the Company’s Dutch servants, amounting altogether to no more than Rds. 7,000 or 9,000 a year. Several endeavours have been made to extend the trade, and an effort was made to introduce here the linen manufacture from Tutucorin and Coromandel, but so far without success, as may be seen from the minutes of the meeting of the Council of Ceylon of January 22, 1695, where I brought forward several questions with regard to this matter. It was proposed there to allow private persons in Jaffnapatam to carry on a trade in cloth on the payment of 20 per cent. duty, which proposal was approved by Their Excellencies at Batavia by their letter of December 12 of the same year, but this subject will be treated of under the head of Leases. Considering further means of extending the Company’s trade, it struck me that Jaffnapatam was not only better situated than Calpetty for the areca-nut trade with Coromandel, but also that the roads through the Wanni to the Sinhalese areca-nut forests are very good, so that the nuts could be transported from there in Boyados.10 In our letter of October 26, 1694, to Colombo, I proposed that this should be done, which proposal was referred by His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo to Their Excellencies at Batavia. In their letter of December 12, 1695, our Supreme Government expressed themselves in favour of this proposal, but in a later letter of July 3, 1696, this was cancelled, although it is beyond doubt that this way of transport of the areca-nut would be more advantageous to the Company. This may be seen from the fact that the Portuguese, when they were here, followed the same practise, and with good success as I was told. I will now leave the subject of areca-nut and revert to that of [14]elephants. Many of these animals have been left here after the last sale in 1696, because the purchasers were afraid of meeting with a north wind on their voyage. Many vessels will be required to transport not only these animals but also those that will be sold during the next southern season. There being no agent now, the purchasers will have to look out for themselves. And it will be necessary for Your Honours to give them all possible assistance in order that they may not be entirely discouraged and give up this trade. Your Honours must also inquire whether any suitable vessels are to be procured here which could be sent to Colombo or Galle in March or April, for the transport from there of the Company’s elephants fit for sale: in compliance with the proposals contained in the correspondence between Colombo and Jaffnapatam of April 13 and July 11, 1695, and especially with the orders from Their Excellencies at Batavia in their letter of July 3, 1696, wherein this course was highly approved. The fare for these private vessels is far less than the expenditure the Company is put to when its own vessels are used to transport the elephants from Galle round about Ceylon to Cougature. If the latter course has to be followed, care must be taken that the animals are carefully landed at Manaar, in order that they may be fit to be transported further by land to the place of their destination. It will also be necessary to have some more of these animals trained for the hunt; because at present the Company owns only about 6 tame ones, while there should be always about a dozen; not only in order to fetch the elephants from Manaar and to tame the wild animals, but also to assist the Wannias in case they should capture a large number of elephants, when these animals would be useful in the shipping of those sold to the purchasers. This is not a regular practice, but is followed sometimes at their request when any animals are to be shipped which are not sufficiently tamed to be led into the vessels by themselves. Nothing more need be said with regard to the elephants, except that there are about 6 animals in the stables besides the 6 for the hunt mentioned above. It is to be hoped that this number will soon be considerably increased, and the prices must be regulated according to the instructions contained in the letter from Colombo of January 16, 1696, and in compliance with the decision arrived at on certain questions brought forward by the late Commandeur Blom in the Council of Ceylon on February 17, 1692, and agreed upon on February 19 following; while also, and especially, the instructions from Their Excellencies at Batavia contained in their letter of January 4, 1695, must be observed, [15]where they order that no animals are to be sold or sent except for cash payment, so that there may be no difficulty in recovering the amount. (7)

The trade with the Moors from Bengal at Jaffnapatam and Galle has been opened by order of the Honourable the Supreme Government of India in terms of their letter of August 20, 1694. It is expected that the trade with the Moors will greatly benefit this country, because the inhabitants here are continually in want of grain and victuals, which are imported by the Moors. Some years ago, when food was very scarce in Coromandel, the English at Madraspatnam stopped the Moorish vessels on their way hither, and bought up all their rice, which was a great loss to Jaffnapatam. If the Moors could be induced to come here in future with their rice, butter, sugar, cadjang,11 &c., which are always very much in demand, it must be seen that they are fairly dealt with, and not discouraged from coming to this country. Perhaps they also would buy some elephants if it happened that the Company had too many, or if too few purchasers should arrive here from Golconda. But if the demand for these animals at Golconda continues as it has done for the last few years, we would not need the aid of the Bengal Moors in this matter, although in compliance with the orders of Their Excellencies at Batavia they may be accommodated with a few elephants if they urgently request them. It is the intention besides to sell to them the Ceylon areca-nut; as we cannot as yet transport it through the Wanni, His Excellency the Governor and the Council at Colombo must see that the areca-nut from Calpetty or Trincomalee is sent here, in compliance with the instructions of Their Excellencies at Batavia as contained in their letter of July 3, 1696. Your Honours must therefore send in the orders in due time if the Moors continue to come here, because we cannot sell to them the Chiankos,12 it being the intention of Their Honours at Batavia, according to their letters of January 4 and February 12, 1695, that this sea-product should be chiefly transported to Bengal on behalf of the Company. On the other hand the diving for Chiankos at Manaar is of so little importance that it is hardly worth while mentioning here, and they are also very small, so that it is not likely that the Moors would be willing to pay 12 pagodas a Cour, as was ordered in a letter from Colombo to Jaffnapatam of March 23, 1695. With regard to the further restrictions put upon the [16]trade with the Moors, Your Honours must observe the instructions contained in the letter of January 4, 1695. (8)

The inhabitants of this territory, who are really a perverse race, are far too numerous to be maintained by the produce of this Commandement. This had been expected at the beginning of the Company’s rule, when the late Commandeur, Anthony Paviljoen, stated in his Instructions that there were about 120,000 subjects. How much worse must this be now, when, as shown by the last Census, there were of the people known alone, 169,299 subjects here and in Manaar. I think there would be far more if all those who hide themselves in order to escape from taxes and servitude be included. All these inhabitants are divided into 40 different castes, which are described in the Thombo, so that I will not name them here, as this would involve too much prolixity, especially if I should state what kind of services, impositions, &c., each one is liable to. All this I imagine to be well known to Your Honours; because the late Mr. Blom had given a detailed and accurate account of these matters in his report of August 20, 1692, and I could only re-write what has been already described by others; I therefore refer to the said manuscript, where, besides this subject, much information may be found with regard to other matters concerning Jaffnapatam. In the same document is also found a comparison between the revenue of the Commandement, with the taxes and duty it has to render to the Company, in the payment of which it has been greatly met by the Honourable the Supreme Government of India as will be shown below. In order to prevent any misapprehension during my absence, I will state here the amount of the income of the Company during the last year, viz., from September 1, 1695, to the end of August, 1696, inclusive, viz.:—

Rent from lands, trees, and gardens 16,348. 3.
Tithes 8,632. 7.
Poll tax 5,998. 1. 0
Officie 865. 2. 0
Adigary 1,178. 3.
Total 33,020. 10. 2
Revenue of Manaar 879. 10. 2
33,900. 9. 013


From this amount of Rds. 33,020.10.2 the following expenditure must be deducted, viz.:—

Payment of 216 Majoraals at Rds. 2 each 432. 0. 0
Payment of 218 Cayaals at Rd. 1 each 218. 0. 0
Payment of 8 tax collectors 320. 3.
Payment of 8 Sarraafs14 or Accountants 32. 3.
For elephants delivered in lieu of poll tax and land rent by the tamekares to the value of 373. 4.
Total 1,375. 8. 15

So that Jaffnapatam had from this a clear revenue of Rds. 31,645.2.3/9 last year, which is the second in importance of the sources of revenue which the Company derives from this Commandement, besides the profit on the sale of elephants. So far the land rents have only been calculated in the Mallabaar books. We had therefore to depend entirely on the native officers who were employed in this work and had to translate the accounts; but the Hon. the Extraordinary Councillor of India, Mr. Laurens Pyl, when he was Commandeur of Jaffnapatam, very wisely introduced the practice of having all the fields, trees, houses, and gardens of the inhabitants indicated on maps, and of estimating the impositions of the tithes, and thus compiling a Dutch instead of the Mallabaar Thombo. Because, when a description was made in Mallabaar, in compliance with the orders of Their Excellencies at Batavia in 1675 and 1677, the yearly revenue of the Company increased by no less than Rds. 12,204 and 17/40 fanams. But as the natives were not supposed to have done the work satisfactorily, it was again undertaken by a committee of Dutch surveyors, who, however, wrote a great deal but did not start the work in the right way, and it was never properly completed.

The new description of lands had however become so urgently necessary that His Excellency the Commissioner-General left orders that this work should be started afresh, ignoring what had been done already. During the government of Commandeur Blom this work was commenced again, some soldiers who were qualified surveyors being employed in [18]it, as well as such Cannecappuls16 as were required by the Thombo-keeper to do the writing, while one of the surveyors prepared the maps of the fields which had been surveyed. This was done with a view to obtain a plan of each particular field and thus recover the proper rents, and also to fix the boundaries between the different properties. Maps are also being prepared of each Aldea or village and each Province, of which our authorities in the Fatherland desire to receive a copy as stated in their letter to Batavia of August 27, 1694, which copies must be prepared. On my arrival here from Batavia in 1694, the Thombo-keeper, Pieter Bolscho, pointed out to me that this description of land was again unsatisfactory, and that it would not serve its purpose, as stated by me in the Annual Compendiums of November 30, 1694 and 1695. It was therefore necessary to have this work done for the third time, and to measure again all the lands which had been surveyed already. This time a scheme was drawn up with the help of the said Mr. Bolscho, and the work has succeeded so well that the Province of Walligamme, which alone extends over about half of this territory, has been completely surveyed, and will from the last of August yield an increase of revenue of Rds. 1,509.5.23 or Fl. 4,527.3.4 yearly. I have already written and sent out the bills, as a warning to the people to prepare for the payment, and the tax collectors are responsible for the recovery of the amount; so that the small expenditure of this new description will be recouped, and the inhabitants have no cause of complaint, because they are only asked to pay their due to the lord of the land as they ought to have done long ago. There is also to be recovered an amount of Rds. 500.2.5 for some small pieces of land which were sold on behalf of the Company in 1695 in the village of Copay, which no one appears to have demanded, because I was in Colombo and the Dessave in Negapatam at the time. This must be done now, especially as the expenditure of the new description of lands has, by order of Their Honours contained in the general resolutions of October 4, 1694, been written off the general revenue, to which must therefore be now transferred the amount gained thereby, as also the sum of Rds. 288.7 which has been received by the survey of some lands in Sjeroepittie, Wallalay, and Nierwely, which were occupied and cultivated by the inhabitants, but for which they did not pay any rent while we had the old Thombo, and which we left to them for payment as they had cultivated them. This was in compliance with the instructions contained in the reply to our letter to Colombo of [19]August 22, 1695, received December 15 following. If any one among you should not quite understand this new description of lands, he may find it useful to read certain instructions left by Governor Laurens Pyl with regard to this subject on February 1, 1679, for the Committee appointed to do this work, which instructions must be still observed so far as they are applicable to the present circumstances. Your Honours will most likely be aware also of the extensive Memoir compiled on my orders by the said Mr. Bolscho, and submitted to the Council on December 15, 1696, and of the reply thereto, as also of the report by Mr. Blom of August 20, 1692, on the same subject, to which documents I here refer. The surveyors are at present at work in the Province of Waddemoraatsche, where they have with them two Mudaliyars, in order to settle small differences which might arise among the inhabitants when their lands are being surveyed. The Mudaliyars act as arbitrators in the presence of the Majoraals of the villages, but important matters must be brought before the Dessave, to be disposed of by him or by the Court of Justice or the Civil Court according to the importance of the case. The Dessave must see that the Thombo-keeper, Mr. Pieter Bolscho, receives all the assistance he requires, and also that the natives who have to serve him in this work are kept in obedience, in order that he may not be discouraged and lose the zeal he has shown so far in the service of the Company in this difficult work. Once this work is completed it will not be required to be done again, and we will be able then to prepare separate lists not only of each Province, but also of each village; so that at any time the credits or the debits of each tax collector may be seen. (9)

The tithes are a tax levied on the harvest, and are paid in money. Last year it amounted to the sum of Rds. 8,632.7.3¾, as shown in the above account, and treated of at length in the report of August 20, 1692. I need not therefore dilate on this subject, and only wish to state that I do not agree with the concluding portion of that report, where it is stated that this tax is too heavy, and might be reduced to half the amount as requested by the inhabitants, for which many reasons are given pro and con. I think that it can be proved sufficiently that the inhabitants are able to easily pay this imposition of the tithes; not only because they have never complained against it since the year 1690 during the stay of His Excellency van Mydregt, when they knew His Excellency had the power to grant their request without waiting for further instructions. On that occasion the people of Jaffnapatam tried every means of obtaining their wish, but it may be proved that since that time they have become more prosperous—a subject which may be dealt with perhaps later on. That the payment of the said [20]tithes cannot be very difficult for them is proved by the fact that if half of the amount, viz., Rds. 4,316, be divided over the total number of inhabitants, the rate for each individual amounts to but very little. It is stated as a fact that the rich people possess the largest number of fields, but this shows that they do not need a reduction of the tithes. (10)

Besides these tithes, one-tenth is also paid for the forests, mud lands, &c., which have been granted for cultivation by the successive Dessaves to different persons with the promise of exemption from any impositions for a period of 3, 4, 6, or more years; on the expiry of this period taxes must be paid. As I think that the Majoraals do not look after these matters sufficiently well, and do not give notice in time, the Dessave will have to investigate the matter and see that the tenth of the harvest is brought to the Company’s stores, especially because the natives do not hesitate to steal or keep back their dues if they are not kept constantly in fear of punishment.

The poll tax, shown above to amount to the sum of Rds. 5,998.1, is of quite a different nature, because the rich and the poor pay exactly the same rate. His Excellency van Mydregt on February 28, 1690, caused a decree to be issued, by which all the inhabitants were exempted from the increase of poll tax which they had had to pay since the year 1675, and which amounted on an average to from Rds. 10 to 110. But this exemption was only for the period of ten years, and would have expired therefore in 1699, if the Honourable the Supreme Government of India had not in a spirit of benevolence decided by their letter to Ceylon of December 12, 1695, to make the reduction a permanent one. This was made known to the inhabitants of this Island on November 8 following. They showed themselves very grateful for this generosity; but this must be considered sufficient for the present, and they have not much reason now to insist upon a decrease of the tithes also. The time for a renovation of the Head Thombo, which has to be done every three years, has again arrived, and the Ondercoopman and Thombo-keeper, Mr. Pieter Bolscho, and the Ondercoopman, Mr. Roos, were sent on circuit on November 19, 1696, in order to carry out this work. The names of the old and infirm people and those who have died must be taken off the list, and the names of the youths who have passed from the schools must be entered, in order that those who owe Oely service may be known. It would also be useful if the Dessave were occasionally present at this revision when his other duties do not interfere with it, because an acquaintance with this work is very desirable in a land regent. This new Head Thombo must be completed by the end of next August, in order that the poll tax and the fines for failure of performing [21]Oely services, called Chicos money, may be included in the Trade Accounts for each year, as arranged by me. (11)

The Officie Gelden have also been described at length in the often cited report by Mr. Blom of August 20, 1692. It is stated there how these were first levied, as also how they were raised by the Portuguese, and how they were paid during the rule of the Company. Some of the castes had besides requested to be exempted from the payment of these dues, and it is shown how this had been refused. Last year the aggregate of this tax did not amount to more than Rds. 865.2. It is also spoken of in the Memoir of the Thombo-keeper, Piet Christiaansz Bolscho, which was presented to the Council on October 20, 1696, and the approval of which was conveyed by the letter from Colombo to Jaffnapatam of November 16 following. The instructions contained in this Memoir with regard to the Officie Gelden must still be observed, the chief point being that they must be demanded for each individual and not in the aggregate for the caste as a whole, as it has been done thus far, so that the Majoraals and tax collectors had an opportunity of appropriating a great part of the amount, which could never be exactly calculated. That they could do this easily may be understood when it is considered that most of the castes have increased in number, while the Company has received no more than the lump sum due by each caste. Knowing the covetousness and avarice of the tax collectors and Majoraals, it could hardly be expected that they would excuse any one from the payment; they must, on the contrary, have demanded the money from each person and appropriated the surplus collected by the increase in the number of people in each caste. Your Honours must therefore take note of the matter, and the newly compiled lists must show at a glance how much each aldea or parish owes; and as the payment of this tax will be fairly distributed, no one will be wronged, and the Company will receive its dues. (12)

The Adigary amounted last year to Rds. 1,178.3½. It is paid, like the Officie Gelden, by every person without distinction, but the only castes which pay it are the Bellales, the Chandes, and the Tannatare. It dates from the time of the heathen kings, who used to rule the country through Adigars, who were appointed over the different Provinces, and the same method was followed by the Portuguese. These Adigars were not paid by the king, but the inhabitants had to furnish them with victuals. This was changed in the course of time by their having to contribute to the payment of the Adigar, which did not exceed one fanam for each person. Although the Company, which at first followed the same practice, later on abolished this office, except in the districts of Mantotte and [22]Ponneryn, yet this imposition of the Adigary remained in force on the same castes and is still paid by them. No one however complains of it, but on the contrary, they consider themselves to be the three oldest castes, and look upon it as a mark of distinction and honour conferred on them above the other castes, thinking that only they are worthy to contribute to the maintenance of the king’s Adigars. It is looked upon in the same light by some other castes who consider themselves equal to these three, such as the Maddapallys, Agambadys, Paradeesys, &c. I think, therefore, that the Company could put this point of honour to advantage and levy this tax from many other wealthy castes, who would gladly out of jealousy allow the Adigary to be levied on them; but this is mentioned here only en passant as a suggestion for the consideration of wiser heads. (13)

The Oely service has, like the Officie Gelden, been described in detail by the late Mr. Blom in his report of August 20, 1692, so that I need not expand on this subject here. It may be seen from the document just mentioned what castes up to this time have been obliged to perform this service and how many men have to attend daily, as also how they are classified. The same rules are still observed, but, as I noticed during my residence, these people are very lazy in the performance of their servitudes, although they are only required to attend three days in every three months, or twelve days in a whole year. I think this may be considered as a sign of their increased prosperity; because they seem to find the means for paying their fines for non-attendance without any trouble. This fine is only 2 Dutch stivers for each day, or 1 rix-dollar for the twelve days in a year for each person, and the account for the year 1695 shows that on the 24,021 men Rds. 2,001.9 were paid in fines, and for the year 1696 for eight months (January to August) a sum of Rds. 1,053.9 for 12,640 men; so that the Company during the period of 20 months had to lose the daily labour of 36,661 men. It is therefore to be expected that the works have been considerably delayed at the Castle, in the loading and unloading of the vessels, at the wharf, at the gunpowder mill, at the brick-kiln at Point Pedro, in the burning of lime and the felling of wood on the borders of the Wanni, the digging and breaking of coral stones on the islands, the burning of coals for the smith’s shop, &c. I therefore think that the said Sicos17 money ought to be doubled, so that they would have to pay 1 fanam instead of 2 stivers for each day’s absence; because I do not think this must be considered [23]as a tax levied on the inhabitants, but as a fine and punishment imposed for negligence and as a means to make them perform the necessary labour in order to prevent delay. But, as these my Instructions are to be revised by His Excellency the Governor at Colombo, Your Honours will no doubt receive orders from him, I not being authorized to issue them. The reason why the last account of the Sicos runs only over eight months instead of as usual over a year is that I specially ordered this to be done because the account used to run from the beginning to the end of each year, while the Trade Accounts were closed on the last day of August, which formerly closed on the last day of February, which was always a source of confusion. In order to correct this I ordered the account of the Sicos to be made up for the last eight months only. Meantime Your Honours must not fail to see that these amounts are collected on behalf of the Company, because out of it only Rds. 180 has been received for Patchelepalle for 1695; so that out of the above-mentioned amount for the last 20 months the sum of Rds. 2,975.1 is still due to the Company. Besides the usual Caltementos received by the Collectors as a compensation for the loss they suffer on account of those persons who died or disappeared since the last revision of the Thombo, Your Honour must also keep in mind that a small amount is to be paid yet towards the Sicos for 1693. The whole of the amount was Rds. 993.7, and the greater part was received during my time. I do not know why this was not collected before; perhaps it was due to the departure of the late Mr. Blom to the pearl fishery in 1699, and his death soon thereafter.18 Because, when I arrived in December of the same year from Batavia, I found matters in Jaffnapatam very much in the same condition in which they were on my return from Colombo last August, namely, many necessary things had been neglected and there was great confusion. I will not enter into details over the matter here, as I am not writing with direct reference to them. We will return now to the subject of the Oely service, with regard to which I have merely to add that it must be seen that the old and infirm people, who are exempted from this servitude in the new Thombo, do not fail to deliver such mats and pannegay19 kernels for coals for the smith’s shop, as they are bound to according to the customs of the country; because, although this is only a small matter, yet these things come in very handy for the storehouses, vessels, pearl fishery, &c., while otherwise money would have [24]to be spent on these mats, an expenditure which could be thus avoided. (14)

The tax collectors and Majoraals are native officers appointed by the Company to demand and collect the poll tax, land rent, tithes, and the Officie and Adigary rates which I have treated of above. They also see that the natives perform such servitudes as they owe to the lord of the land, and collect the Sicos money to which I have referred, levied for neglect in attending for Oely service. The expenditure in the appointment of these native officers is very small, as may be seen from the foregoing account, considering that these Collectors and Majoraals have to attend once in three months, or four times a year, at the Castle to hand over one-fourth of the full amount of the taxes for the year; so that the revenue is usually received at the closing of the accounts. As this practice has proved to be successful, the same course must be followed in future. I would wish at the same time to point out here that the facility with which these taxes are collected in Jaffnapatam is another evidence of the improved condition of the inhabitants. In the year 1690 a change was made in the appointment of the Collectors and Majoraals. Up to that time all these and many of the Cannecappuls, Arachchies, &c., belonged to one caste, viz., that of the Bellales, being the farmers or peasants. The principal of these belong to the family of Don Philip Sangerepulle, from Cannengray, a native of evil repute; so much so, that His Excellency the Extraordinary Councillor of India, Laurens Pyl, who was at the time Governor of Ceylon, issued an order on June 16, 1687, by which Commandeur Cornelis van der Duyn and his Council were instructed to have the said Don Philip and several of his followers and accomplices put in chains and sent to Colombo. He succeeded, however, in concealing himself and eventually fled to Nagapatam, where he managed to influence the merchant Babba Porboe to such an extent that through his aid he obtained during the years 1689 and 1690 all the advantages he desired for his caste and for his followers. This went so far as to the appointment of even schoolboys as Majoraals and Cayaals from the time they left school. His late Excellency van Mydregt, who had great confidence in the said Babba, was somewhat misled by him, but was informed of the fact by certain private letters from the late Commandeur Blom during His Excellency’s residence at Tutucorin. His Excellency then authorized Mr. Blom on July 4, 1690, to at once make such changes as would be necessary, under the pretext that some of the Majoraals were not provided yet with proper acts of appointment issued by His Excellency. This may also be seen in the answer to some points brought before His Excellency by Mr. Blom on October [25]20. These replies bear date November 29 following. Finding, however, on my arrival from Batavia, that these appointments were still reserved for the Bellales, through the influence of a certain Moddely Tamby, who had formerly been a betel carrier to Sangerepulle, later on a private servant of Babba Porboe, and last of all Cannecappul to the Commandeur, and another Cannecappul, also of the Bellale caste and a first cousin of the said Sangerepulle, of the name of Don Joan Mandala Nayaga Mudaliyar, I brought this difficulty before my Governor His Excellency the Extraordinary Councillor of India, Thomas van Rhee, on my visit to Colombo in the beginning of 1698. He verbally authorized me to make the necessary changes, that so many thousands of people should no longer suffer by the oppression of the Bellales, who are very proud and despise all other castes, and who had become so powerful that they were able not only to worry and harass the poor people, but also to prevent them from submitting their complaints to the authorities. Already in the years 1673 and 1675 orders had been given that the Collectors should be transferred every three years; because by their holding office for many years in the same Province they obtained a certain amount of influence and authority over the inhabitants, which would have enabled them to take advantage of them; and it has always been a rule here not to restrict the appointment to these offices to the Bellales, but to employ the Maddapallys and other castes as well, to serve as a counter-acting influence; because by this means the inhabitants were kept in peace, and through the jealousy of the various castes the ruler was always in a position to know what was going on in the country. All these reasons induced His Excellency Thomas van Rhee to give me leave to bring about the necessary changes, which have now been introduced. I appointed the Collector of Waddemoraatje as my Cannecappul in the place of Moddely Tamby, whose place I filled with the new Collector of the Maddapally caste, while also a new Collector was appointed for Timmoraatsche in the place of Don Joan Mandala Nayaga, whom the late Mr. Blom had discharged from his office as Cannecappul of the Gate; because no two Bellales are allowed to hold office in one place. He agreed with me on this point, as may be seen from his report of August 20, 1692. I have further transferred two Collectors in the large Province of Wallegamo, so as to gradually bring about the desired change in the interest of the Company and that of the other castes; but I heard that this small change created so much disturbance and canvassing that I had to leave the matter alone. The Bellales, seeing that they would be shut out from these profitable offices and that they would lose the [26]influence they possessed so far, and being the largest in number and the wealthiest of the people, moved heaven and earth to put a stop to the carrying into effect of this plan so prejudicial to their interests. With this view they also joined the Wannias Don Philip Nellamapane and Don Gaspar Ilengenarene Mudaliyar in their conspiracies. The latter two, also Bellales, well aware that they owed many elephants to the Company, as stated at the beginning of this Memoir, and knowing that their turn would also come, organized the riots in which the said Moddely Tamby was the principal instrument. He was a man who first appeared as a rebel, on the plea that, having been prosecuted by the Fiscaal for many offences, he had been injured by a long imprisonment and that this induced him to take revenge, these same two Wannias having been then the first accusers who came to me complaining against this man in the latter part of 1694. Perhaps later on they considered the great assistance they received from him during the time of Babba Porboe in obtaining the various privileges and favours. They also probably understood that it was my intention to diminish the influence of the Bellale caste, and were thus induced to take this course to promote the welfare of their caste. I think that it was also out of their conspiracies that the riots arose from which this Commandement suffered during my absence in the months of May, June, and July. I cannot account for them in any other way, as I have stated previously when treating of the Wanni. I am obliged to repeat this here, in order that Your Honours may be on your guard and watch the movements, alliances, and associations of these Bellales and the Majoraals of the Wanni; because although I may have persisted in bringing about the desired changes, I preferred to leave the matter alone, seeing how much annoyance this first attempt caused me, and how the obsequious subjects of this Commandement are not only given audience in Colombo, but are also upheld against their local ruler, whose explanation is not only not asked for, but who is even prevented from defending the interests of the Company at the place he had a right to do. I will, however, drop this subject, although a great deal more might be said, because I consider it will be useless to do so. I only advise Your Honours not to make the slightest alteration in the appointment of the native officers during my residence at Mallabaar, but to leave them for the present in the state in which they wish so much to remain, as this is a matter within the province of the Commandeur. Lascoreens and Arachchies with their Canganes may, however, be discharged or appointed according to their merits by the Dessave, in accordance with the instructions of the late Admiral Rycloff van Goens, dated [27]February 26, 1661. In the case, however, of any of the Majoraals,20 Cayaals,21 Pattangatyns,22 Cannecappuls, or Collectors resigning their offices or of being dismissed on account of misconduct, the Dessave will be also authorized to provisionally appoint others in their place without issuing the actens23 until my return or until the appointment of another Commandeur in my place, if such be the intention of Their Excellencies at Batavia. Because no provision has been made for such cases, which interrupt the regular course of the administration. (15)

It must be also seen that the lower castes observe the rules with regard to their costumes, &c., because I hear that here also corruption has crept in, and that they do not wear their dress in the proper way, do not cut their hair, and do not wear any golden rings in their ears, so that they cannot be distinguished from the caste-people or Gonoradas as they are called, who consider this an insult to them. A plackaat on this subject was issued by His Excellency Laurens Pyl, Governor of Ceylon, on August 18, 1686. There will be little difficulty in enforcing those rules if the Regent in this Commandement is allowed to assume the authority which is his right, and which he must have if he is to maintain the discipline required to carry on the operations of the Company, for the people of Jaffnapatam are conceited, arrogant, and stubborn. They bring false complaints against their rulers to the higher powers if they find but the least encouragement, while on the other hand they are slavish and cringe under the rod of their rulers so long as they see that their authority is not disputed, but is upheld by the Government. As they were so strictly held down to their duties during the time of the heathen and of the Portuguese, not knowing any other but their own immediate ruler, they often do not understand the position of a subordinate ruler in the service of the Company, and are not able to act with discretion when they find a way from an inferior to a superior. It is not in accordance with the natural government to which their ancestors had been accustomed. It must not, however, be supposed that I ignore the fact that the mild government of the Company always leaves a way of appeal for those of its subjects, whoever they may be, when they consider themselves unjustly treated; but I think that on the other hand the Company should likewise allow their chiefs to punish the delinquents before they are permitted [28]to appeal to the higher powers. This I have found is not always observed as regards Jaffnapatam, although it seems to me necessary that it should be if our officers are not in the course of time to become a laughing stock to the people. It is a well-known fact that the more influential natives always try to oppress the poorer classes, and it will be impossible to prevent their doing this if they are allowed to become stronger than they already are.

The Lascoreens, who are supposed to be soldiers, appear however to be more useful in times of peace for the running of errands, the carrying of letters, the communication of orders to and fro in the country, and to summon the inhabitants, than they are in times of war for the carrying of arms, for they have not the slightest idea of drill or discipline, and are entirely wanting in courage. Yet we have to employ them in these services, and it will be chiefly the duty of the Dessave to see that those whose names are entered as Lascoreens in the Hoofd Thombo are kept under discipline by their officers, and also that their number is complete, so that they may be easily found when suddenly wanted. It must also be observed that no men are entered as Lascoreens who are bound to perform other services. The argument brought forward by His late Excellency Commissioner van Mydregt in his Instructions for Jaffnapatam of November 29, 1690, that it is most difficult to reduce such people afterwards to their more humble service is undoubtedly true and has been proved by experience. Those whose names are at present entered in the Thombo as Lascoreens amount to 834 men, both archers and pikemen, viz.:—

Arachchies 31
Canganas 4
Lascoreens 799
Total 834

Of these, only 200 are paid, and sometimes less than that number, according to circumstances, as may be seen in the monthly accounts. They are commanded by two Mudaliyars, one over the archers and one over the pikemen. The Lascoreens are paid only 7 1/5 fanams per mensem, without rice, and they are required to be ready day and night to carry orders. Their pay is certainly not too high, especially in such times of dearth as we have had during the last three or four years, but I hope that this may be prevented in future to some extent when the Moors from Bengal come here more frequently and the rice from Trincomalee and Cotjaar is received in the required quantities. Otherwise I think that the request of the [29]Lascoreens, if they strongly urge it, should be complied with, namely, that they may be paid Rd. 1 per month should the dearth continue longer. But this can only be done with the special permission of His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo, although the Commandeur and the Council here have been authorized to grant this higher pay by His Excellency Laurens Pyl, Councillor of India, on his visit to Jaffnapatam on June 14, 1687, when this and other requests of the natives were submitted to him. But, considering that besides the 180 or 200 Lascoreens there are also employed other native soldiers in Mannar, Aripo, Calpentyn, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa, who are also drawn from the above-mentioned 834 men, and that they have to be transferred every half year, it is desirable that the same rules should apply to them all, especially because a number of them are also employed in this Commandement in the felling of wood, some at Point Pedro under the Vidaan of the Elephants, some at Kayts in the dyeing industry, some under the Civil Council, others again under the Collectors of taxes in the various Provinces, at the Passes, under the clergy, the Fiscaal, and other of the Company’s servants; since in that way they will be best kept under discipline. This would also prevent fraud, because each person would receive his pay direct from the Company, while at present the two Mudaliyars mentioned above have a chance of favouring those whom they prefer. For this and other reasons Your Honours must see that the Lascoreens are transferred at least once a year, if not twice. (16)

Slaves from the opposite coast are brought here in large numbers, because the accounts state that from December 1, 1694, to the end of November, 1696, no less than 3,589 slaves were brought across, on each of whom was paid to the Company as duty for admittance the amount of 11 fanams, making a total of 39,424 fanams or 9,856 guilders. The people of Jaffnapatam import these slaves only for their own advantage, as they find the sale of these creatures more profitable than the trade in rice or nely, these grain being at present very dear in Coromandel, which again is a reason why these slaves are very cheap there, being procurable almost for a handful of rice. As Jaffnapatam does not yield a sufficient quantity of rice for its large population, I tried to induce the inhabitants to import as much nely as possible, but to no purpose. Therefore, considering that it is likely the scarcity of the necessaries of life will increase rather than decrease, because the Moorish vessels loaded with rice remained at Madraspatam, I thought it best to open the passage to Trincomalee and Batticaloa for the inhabitants of Jaffnapatam. I did so because I was [30]informed that grain is very plentiful there and may be had at a low price, and also because I found that this privilege had been granted to them already by the Honourable the Supreme Government of India by Resolution of November, 1681. This permission was renewed in a letter of December 12, 1695, but as this was cancelled in a letter from Colombo to Jaffnapatam of January 6, 1696, this Commandement continued to suffer from the scarcity of provisions. However, the price of rice was never higher than Rd. 1 a parra, and even came down to 6 fanams for a cut parra, of which there are 75 in a last of 3,000 lb. The question arises, however, whether the Company might not be greatly inconvenienced by the importation of these slaves, because it seems to me that the scarcity of victuals would be thus increased, and I do not consider it advisable for other reasons also. It is true that the Company receives a considerable amount as duty, but on the other hand these slaves have to be fed, and thus the price of victuals will, of necessity, advance. The people of Jaffnapatam are besides by nature lazy and indolent, and will gradually get more accustomed to send their slaves for the performance of their duties instead of attending to them themselves, while moreover these slaves are in various ways enticed outside the Province and captured by the Wannias, who in times of peace employ them for sowing and mowing, and in times of war strengthen their ranks with them. They also sometimes send them to officers of the Kandyan Court in order to obtain their favour. Many of the slaves imported suffer from chicken pox, which may cause an epidemic among the natives, resulting in great mortality. The amount derived from the duty on importation of slaves would therefore not be a sufficient compensation. In my opinion this large importation of slaves is also another evidence of the greater prosperity of the inhabitants of this Commandement, as the purchase and maintenance of slaves require means. (17)

Rice and nely are the two articles which are always wanting in Jaffnapatam, and, as the matter is one which concerns the maintenance of life, great attention must be paid to it if we are to continue to exact from the inhabitants the dues they are paying now. It will be found on calculation from the notes of the Tarrego24 taken for some years that the inhabitants consume on an average no less than 2,000 lasts of rice a year in addition to the quantity produced in the Provinces, The Islands, the Wanni, Ponneryn, and Mantotte, so that it is clear how [31]necessary it is that the inhabitants are not only enabled but also encouraged to import grain from outside. Besides that obtained from the Bengal Moors, they may now also obtain rice from Tanjauwen, Oriza, Tondy, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa, as the latter passage has been re-opened by order of the Honourable the Supreme Government of India at Batavia in terms of their letter of July 3, 1696, which I published in a mandate in Dutch and Mallabaar on October 1, 1696. From this I expect good results in future for this Commandement. I also hope that this will be a means of preventing the undesirable monopoly of victuals, with regard to which subject I refer Your Honours to the letter from Colombo of November 16, 1696, and the reply from here of December 12 following, and I again seriously recommend to Your Honours’ attention this subject of monopoly, without any regard to persons, as the greatest offences are undoubtedly those which affect the general welfare. (18)

The native trade is confined to articles of little importance, which, however, yield them a considerable profit, as many of the articles found here are not found elsewhere. Thus, for instance, the palmyra tree is not only very useful to them, as its fruit serves them as food instead of rice, but they also obtain from it sugar, poenat,25 pannangay,26 calengen,27 mats, carsingos,28 and caddigans29 or olas, and besides, the palmyra timber comes very handy whenever they fell the trees. For all these sundries the inhabitants of Jaffnapatam obtain good prices in Coromandel and Tondy, where also they sell coconuts, kayer,30 oil obtained from coconuts, and margosy, and many other things which are not found in the places mentioned above, or in Trincomalee and Batticaloa. These articles are rising in price from year to year, so that they fetch two and three per cent. more than formerly, and on this account the number of vessels along the seacoast between Point Pedro and Kayts has increased to threefold their number. With a view to prevent the monopoly of grain as much as possible Your Honours are recommended to follow the same method I did, viz., to order all vessels which come into Point Pedro, Tellemanaar, or Wallewitte to go on to Kayts, as the owners often try to land in these places under some pretext or other. They must be made to sell their nely at the bangsaal or the public market, which is under the supervision of this Castle; because if they unload their nely elsewhere they do not bring it to the market, and the people not finding any there have to [32]obtain it from them at any price, which I consider to be making a monopoly of it. Another product which yields a profit to the inhabitants is tobacco. This grows here very abundantly, and the greater part of it is sold by the owners without the least risk to the merchants of Mallabaar, while the rest is sold here among their own people or to the Company’s servants. A part also is sent to Negapatam, because the passage to Mallabaar is too dangerous for them on account of the Bargareese pirates, who infest the neighbourhood. They also make a good profit out of the provisions which the Company’s servants have to buy from them, such as fowls, butter, milk, sheep, piesang,31 soursop, betel, oil, &c., on which articles these officers have to spend a good deal of their salaries, and even the native officers have to devote a great deal of their pay to the purchase of these. The inhabitants are also able to obtain a good deal as wages for labour if they are not too lazy to work, so that, taking all in all, Your Honours will find that the inhabitants of Jaffnapatam are more prosperous now than they have been for some time, although it has been urged in some quarters that they are oppressed and fleeced and are therefore in a miserable condition. These people do not know or pretend not to know that those reports have been circulated by some of the wealthiest Bellales, because endeavours were made to maintain and uphold the poorer castes against them. Their circumstances being so much better, the people of Jaffnapatam ought not to hope for a decrease of the tithes, as spoken of before. Nor did they ask for this during my time, nor even referred to it, because at the general paresse32 of August 2, 1685, they made a unanimous declaration that they had no request to make and no reason for complaint, and that they were perfectly satisfied with the rule of the Company. This may be seen in the Compendium of the last of November of the same year. In my questions of January 22 of the same year several requests of theirs had already been submitted, which had been all disposed of to their satisfaction, as, for instance, that with regard to the free trade in Batticaloa and Trincomalee already mentioned above, while the other matters will be treated of later on. It is true that the late Mr. Blom would seem to recommend the decrease of the tithes in his report of August 20, 1692, but he did not know at the time that so many privileges would be granted to them. Although the granting of these is of little importance to the Company, it is a fact on the other hand that the prosperity of the inhabitants will also be an advantage to the Company, because it enables them to [33]pay their imposts and taxes regularly, as witness the last few years. (19)

The coconut trees are the third source of prosperity granted to the inhabitants, besides the free trade in Batticaloa and Trincomalee and the reduced poll tax; because, in compliance with the orders from Batavia of December 12, 1695, these trees would no longer be subject to taxes in the new Land Thombo, the owners being obliged to feed not only the Company’s elephants, but also those which have been already purchased by the merchants, with coconut leaves. Although this no doubt is more profitable to them, as they are paid for the leaves by the merchants, yet it is true that the trees yield less fruit when their nourishment is spent on the leaves. But although Their Excellencies at Batavia kindly relieved the people of their burden in this respect, the duty was imposed again in another way when His Excellency the Governor and the Council decided, in their letter of October 13, that Jaffnapatam would have to deliver yearly no less than 24 casks of coconut oil besides that which is required for use in this Commandement and at Manaar. This, including what is required at the pearl fishery, amounts according to my calculation to no less than 12 casks. For this reason it will be necessary to prohibit the export of coconuts. This order, like the one with regard to the reform in the sale of elephants, was sent to us without previous consultation with the Commandeur or the Council of Jaffnapatam; yet in the interest of the Company I could not abstain from expressing my opinion on the subject in my reply of November 1, 1696; but as the order was repeated in a subsequent letter from Colombo as also in one of the 21st of the same month, although with some slight alteration, I am obliged to recommend that Your Honours should endeavour to put this order into execution as far as possible, and not issue licenses to any one. I do so although I expect not only that the farmer of the Alfandigo (for the export of all articles permitted to be exported) will complain on this account, and will pay less rent in future, but also, and especially that the inhabitants will object to this regulation, because they receive at least twice as much for the plain coconuts as for the oil which they will have to deliver to the Company. This will be so in spite of some concessions which have been made already in the payment for the oil, upon their petition of June 14, 1687, submitted to His Excellency Laurens Pyl, then Governor of Ceylon, in which they stated that it was a great disadvantage to them to be obliged to give the olas of their trees as food for the elephants, and that they were now also prevented from selling their fruits, but had to press oil out of these for the Company. (20) [34]

The iron and steel tools imported by the Company did not yield much profit, because there was no demand for them. The wealthy people considered them too expensive, and the poor could not afford to purchase them for the ploughing and cultivation of their fields and gardens. They have therefore been stowed away in the storehouses. As may be seen from the questions submitted by me to the Council of Colombo on January 22, 1695, I proposed that the inhabitants should be permitted to obtain these tools direct from Coromandel, which was kindly granted by the Honourable the Supreme Government of India by letter of December 12 of the same year. This may be considered the fourth point in which they have been indulged; another is the license given to them in the same letter from Batavia (confirmed in a letter of July 3, 1696) that they may convey the products of their lands and other small merchandise by vessel to Coromandel, north of Negapatam, without being obliged to stop and pay Customs duty in the former place, as they had to do since 1687. They must not therefore be restricted in this, as I introduced this new rule as soon as the license arrived. (21)

The palmyra timber required by the Company for Colombo and Jaffnapatam used to be exacted from the inhabitants at a very low price which had been fixed for them. They had not only to deliver this, but also that which some of the Company’s servants demanded for their private use at the same low rate, under pretence that it was required for the Company; so that the owners not only lost their trees and what they might obtain from them for their maintenance, but were also obliged to transport this timber and the laths, after they had been split, from their gardens for two or three miles to the harbours from which they were to be shipped, either to the seacoast or to the banks of the river. Besides this they had still to pay the tax fixed for those trees in the Thombo. Moreover, it happened that in the year 1677 there was such a large demand for these planks and laths, not only in Colombo but also in Negapatam, that no less than 50,687 different staves and 26,040 laths were sent to the latter town on account of the Company. Their Excellencies at Batavia, considering that such a practice was too tyrannical and not in keeping with the mild, reasonable, and just government which the Company wishes to carry on, have lessened the burden of the inhabitants in this respect, and have desired that in future no such demand should be made from them, but that they should be allowed to sell this timber in the market. Further particulars with regard to this matter may be found by Your Honours in the letter from Their Excellencies to Ceylon of May 13, 1692, and in the letter from His Excellency the Governor and the [35]Council of Colombo of April 29, 1695, which may serve for your guidance. This may be considered as the fifth favour bestowed on the inhabitants, but it does not extend to the palmyra planks and laths required by the Company for the ordinary works in this Commandement or for the Castle. These are to be paid for at the rate stated in the Trade Account as paid formerly, because this is a duty they have been subject to from olden times, and it is unadvisable to depart from such customs without good reason, the nature of these people being such that they would not consider it a favour and be grateful for it, but if they were relieved of this they would continue to complain of other matters. On the other hand they will, without complaint, pay such duties as have been long customary, because they consider themselves born to these. I therefore think it will be best to observe the old customs. With regard to the purchase of planks and laths on account of the Company, I found on my arrival from Batavia in this Commandement that this had been done with the greatest carelessness, the accounts being in a terrible disorder. I therefore proposed in my letter of December 9, 1694, to Colombo that such purchases should be made by the Dessave, as he, by virtue of his office, has the best opportunity. This was approved of in the letter of the 22nd of the same month, and since then a certain amount of cash, about Rds. 100 or 200, has been handed to him for this purpose, and he accounts for this money in the Trade Accounts and states how many planks and laths have been delivered to the Company. In this way it may be always seen how the account stands, and this practice must be continued. It must also be seen that as many planks and laths are stored up at the outer harbours for Coromandel and Trincomalee and at the inner harbours for Colombo and our own use as will be possible without interfering with the liberty granted to the inhabitants; because the demand both in Negapatam and in Colombo is still very great, as may be seen in the letter of February 10, 1695, to which I have referred. (22)

The felling of timber is a work that must receive particular attention, as this is required for the repair of the Company’s vessels, at least such parts of them as stand above the water level. For repairs under water no timber has so far been obtained in the Wanni that is serviceable, as the timber there is liable to be attacked by a kind of worm under water. Timber can be transported to the Castle only once a year during the rainy season, when the rivers swell so much that the timber which has been felled during the dry season can be brought down to the Passes and from there to the Fort. Sometimes also timber is felled near the seashore, when it is brought [36]down along the coast to Kayts or Hammenhiel by pressed Carrias or fishermen. Occasionally some timber is also felled near the seacoast between Manaar and Jaffnapatam, which is suitable for door posts, window frames, and stocks for muskets and guns, while here also is found the timber for gun-carriages, which comes in very useful, as the Fort must be well provided with ammunition. In the Memoir left by Mr. Laurens Pyl for this Commandement, bearing date November 7, 1679,33 it is stated in detail how the felling of timber is conducted and what class of people are employed in this work. This subject is also dealt with in the report by the late Mr. Blom of August 20, 1692, so that I merely refer to these documents, and recommend that another and an experienced person ought to be trained for the supervision of this work in addition to the sergeant Harmen Claasz, who has done this work for the last 25 years, and has gained much experience during his residence in the forests of the Wanni, and knows exactly when the timber ought to be felled, when it can be transported, and what kinds of trees are the most suitable. Because it must be remembered that like all human beings he also is only mortal. I therefore some time ago appointed the soldier Laurens Hendriksz as his assistant. He is still employed in the same capacity. As these forests are very malarious, there are but few Dutchmen who could live there, and this is the more reason why Your Honours should always see that an able person is trained to the work, so as to avoid inconvenience some time or other. It is impossible to employ a native in this work, because the Wannias would not have the same regard for a native as for a European, and one of their caprices to which they are so often subject might interfere with the work. (23)

Charcoal, made from the kernel of the palmyra fruit, is used here for the smith’s forge. In the Memoir referred to Your Honours will also find stated by whom this is furnished to the Company. As I noticed that the work in the smith’s forge had to be discontinued sometimes for want of charcoal, especially during the months of August, September, and October, which causes great inconvenience to the Government, I proposed to His Excellency the Governor and Council that a quantity of smiths’ coals from Holland should be provided. This has been approved of. It must be used in times of scarcity, and the people who are bound to collect and burn the kernel must be kept to their duty, and compelled to deliver up [37]the full extent of their tax. The coals from Holland must be looked upon as a reserve supply, to be used only when no pannangay kernels are to be had, as happens sometimes when the inhabitants plant these seeds in order to obtain from them a kind of root, called calengen, which they use as food. (24)

Bark-lunt is another article which the Company receives from the inhabitants here without any expense. All inhabitants who go yearly to the Wanni to sow and mow, consisting of about 6,000 or 7,000 and sometimes even 10,000 persons, and who pay 10 of these lunts to the Wannias, have on their return at the Passes to pay a piece of lunt each, 4 fathoms long, and for each cow or bull they have with them and have employed in the Wanni for ploughing or have allowed to graze there they also have to pay the same. This amounts to a considerable quantity yearly, nearly 60,000 lunts. It is a matter of little importance, but a great convenience, because not only the garrison in this Commandement is thus furnished, but a large quantity may also be sent to other places when required, as is done usually to Negapatam and Trincomalee, for which a charge of 1 stiver a piece is made, which amount is entered here with the general income and charged to the said stations. Care must be taken that this duty is paid at the Redoubts, but on the other hand also that not too much is charged to these people, because I have heard complaints that sometimes more than 4 fathoms of the lunt is demanded. This is unfair, because the surplus is appropriated by persons who have no right to it. (25)

Coral stone, used for building purposes and for the burning of lime, is found here in abundance. This also the Company obtains without any expenditure, because it is dug up and broken by ordinary Oeliares. It is also found at Point Pedro, where it is burnt into lime or otherwise sent to the Castle in tonys or pontoons, where it is then either burnt into lime, used for foundations or for the filling up of the body of walls, which are then covered on the outside with cut coral stone, as this makes them strong and durable. For some years the cut stone has also been sent to Negapatam for the fortifications. This must be continued until we receive notice that it is no longer necessary, which I think will be soon, because I noticed that lately not so much stone was asked for. From 1687 up to the present about 52,950 cut stones have been sent to this place. (26)

It may be understood from the above that lime is easily obtained here, and without great expenditure. That which is required for the Company here is delivered free of charge. For the lime sent to Negapatam 7 fanams are paid in place of [38]5 light stivers.34 This is paid to the lime burners at Canganture, who received an advance on this account, of which a small balance is left. Meanwhile the Dessave de Bitter informed us on his return from Coromandel that no more lime was required there, but in order that the Company may not lose by the advance made, a quantity of 8,000 or 9,000 parras of lime is lying ready at Canganture, which must be fetched by the Company’s vessels in March or April and brought to Kayts. This, I think, will make up the amount, and if not, they must reimburse the difference. It will be seen from this that we have tried to comply with the wishes of His late Excellency van Mydregt, who wrote from Negapatam on July 10, 1687, that the new fortifications there were to be supplied with lime and all other building materials which are to be found here. The lime sent there since that date has amounted to 4,751 31/75 lasts. (27)

The dye-root is a product found in this territory which yields the Company a considerable profit. The best kinds are found in Carrediva, but the largest quantity in Manaar. The other kinds, found in the Wanni and The Islands, are so inferior that they cannot be used for dyeing unless they are mixed with the kinds obtained from Manaar and Carrediva, and are found in small quantities only. The inferior kinds are used in this way so that they may not be lost, because it is to be feared that there will be a greater scarcity of root than of cloth. I will not enter into detail here as to how, by whom, where, and when these roots are dug out, or how they are employed in the dyeing of cloth, or again how much is received yearly; as all these matters have been mentioned at length on other occasions, making it unnecessary to do so here. I therefore refer Your Honours to an account by the late Commandeur Blom, dated April 25, 1693, with regard to the cultivation and digging of this root, and another by the same Commandeur of November 12 of the same year with regard to the dyeing of red cloth and the use of dye-root, while Your Honours might also look up the document sent to Colombo on December 29, 1694, by Your Honours and myself, and another of September 16, 1695, where an estimate is made of the quantity of cloth that could be dyed here yearly with the root found in this Commandement. An answer will [39]also be found there to the question raised by the Honourable the Supreme Government of India in their letter to Ceylon of December 12, 1695, as to whether the dye-roots found in Java costing Rds. 5 the picol35 of 125 lb. and sent here might be employed with profit in the service of the Company, and whether these roots from Java could not with advantage be planted here. The reply from Colombo of January 6, 1696, in answer to our letter of September 16, 1695, must also be considered, in order that Your Honours may bear in mind all the arguments that have been urged on this subject. Experiments have been made with the Java roots to see whether they could be turned to any account, and with a view to compare them with the Jaffna roots. It seems to me that good results may be obtained from the Brancoedoe roots, according to the experiments made by myself and afterwards by a Committee in compliance with the orders of Their Excellencies, but as we cannot be quite sure yet another quantity of Java roots for further experiments has been sent, as stated in the letter from Batavia of July 3, 1696. Your Honours must pay great attention to these experiments, so that the result may be definitely known. This was prevented so far by the rainy season. Besides the above-mentioned documents, Your Honours will also find useful information on the subject in two reports submitted by a Committee bearing date July 29 and December 10, 1695. Experiments must also be made to find out whether the Wancoedoe roots used either alone or mixed with the Jaffna roots will yield a good red dye of fast colour, this being the wish of Their Excellencies. Meantime the red cloth ordered in 1694, being 142 webs, and the 60 webs ordered lately, must be sent as soon as the required linen arrives from Coromandel. This cloth must be carefully dyed, and after being examined and approved by the members of Council must be properly packed by the Pennisten of the Comptoiren who are employed in this work, on both which points complaints have been received, and which must be guarded against in future. During my residence 96 webs of cloth have been sent out of the 142 that were ordered, so that 46 are yet to be sent, besides the 60 of the new order. No more cloth and dye-roots must be issued to the dyers at a time than they can use in one dyeing, because otherwise the cloth lies about in their poor dwellings and gets damaged, while the roots are stolen or used for private purposes, which is a loss to the Company, of which many instances might be quoted. There is no doubt the Administrateur Abraham Mighielsz Biermans, [40]who has been entrusted with the supervision of this work for many years, will endeavour to further the interests of the Company in this respect as much as possible and keep these lazy people to their work. For the present there is a sufficient quantity of material in stock, as there were in the storehouses on the last of November, 1696, 60,106 lb. of different kinds of dye-root, with which a large quantity of cloth may be dyed, while a yearly supply is delivered at the Fort from Manaar, Carrediva, &c. In Carrediva and “the Seven Places” as they are called, much less is delivered than formerly, because at present roots are dug up after the fields have been sown, while formerly this used to be done before the lands were cultivated, to the disadvantage of the owners. This practice was abandoned during the time of Commandeur Blom, as it was considered unfair; because the fields are already heavily taxed, and on this account the delivery is 20 to 25 bharen36 less than before. (28)

The farming out of the various duties in this Commandement may be considered as the third source of revenue to the Company in Jaffnapatam, and next to that of the sale of elephants and the revenue derived from the poll tax, land rents, tithes, Adigary, and Officie Gelden mentioned before. The farming out of the said duties on the last of February, 1696, brought to the Company the sum of Rds. 27,518 for the period of one and a half year. The leases were extended on this occasion with a view to bring them to a close with the close of the Trade Accounts, which, in compliance with the latest instructions from Batavia, must be balanced on August 31. The previous year, from March 1 to February 28, 1695–1696, the lease of the said duties amounted to Rds. 15,641, which for 18 months would have been Rds. 23,461½, so that the Company received this year Rds. 4,056½ more than last time; but I believe that the new duty on the import of foreign cloth has largely contributed to this difference. This was proposed by me on January 22, 1695, and approved by the Hon. the Supreme Government of India in their letter of December 12 of the same year. It yielded the first year Rds. 7,100, including the stamping of native cloth with a seal at 25 per cent., while for the foreign cloth no more than 20 per cent. was paid. As Their Excellencies considered this difference unfair, it has pleased them, at the earnest request of the natives, or rather at the request of the Majoraals on behalf of the natives, in a later letter of July 3, 1696, to [41]consent to the native cloth being taxed at 20 per cent. only, which must be considered in connection with the new lease. Meantime the order from Batavia contained in the Resolutions of the Council of India of October 4, 1694, must be observed, where all farmers are required to pay the monthly terms of their lease at the beginning of each month in advance. This rule has been followed here, and it is expressly stipulated in the rent conditions. Whether the farming out of the duty on native and foreign cloth will amount to as much or more I cannot say; because I fear that the present farmer has not made much profit by it, in consequence of the export having decreased on account of the closing of the free passage to Trincomalee and Batticaloa. The sale of these cloths depends largely on the import of nely from the said places, and this having been prevented the sale necessarily decreased and consequently the farmer made less profit. The passage having been re-opened, however, it may be expected that the sale will increase again. With a view to ascertain the exact value of this lease, I sent orders to all the Passes on February 27, 1696, that a monthly list should be kept of how many stamped cloths are passed through and by whom, so that Your Honours will be able to see next August how much cloth has been exported by examining these lists, while you may also make an estimate of the quantity of cloth sold here without crossing the Passes, as the farmer obtains his duty on these. Your Honours may further read what was reported on this subject from here to Colombo on December 16, 1696, and the reply from Colombo of January 6 of this year. (29)

The Trade Accounts are closed now on August 31, as ordered by the Supreme Government of India in their letter of May 3, 1695. Last year’s account shows that in this Commandement the Company made a clear profit of Fl. 121,795.2.9. It might have been greater if more elephants could have been obtained from the Wanni and Ponneryn, or if we were allowed the profits on the elephants from Galle and Colombo sold here on behalf of the Company, which are not accompanied by an invoice, but only by a simple acknowledgment. Another reason that it was not higher is that we had to purchase the very expensive grain from Coromandel. Your Honours must also see that besides observing this rule of closing the accounts in August, they are submitted to the Council for examination, in order that it may be seen whether the discharges are lawful and whether other matters are in agreement with the instructions, and also whether some items could not be reduced in future, in compliance with the order passed by Resolution in the Council of India on September 6, 1694. These and all other orders sent here during the last two years must be [42]strictly observed, such as the sending to Batavia of the old muskets, the river navigation of ships and sloops, the reduction of native weights and measures to Dutch pounds, the carrying over of the old credits and debits into the new accounts, the making and use of casks of a given measure, and the accounting for the new casks of meat, bacon, butter, and all such orders, which cannot be all mentioned here, but which Your Honours must look up now and again so as not to forget any and thus be involved in difficulties. (30)

The debts due to the Company at the closing of the accounts must be entered in a separate memorandum, and submitted with the accounts. In this memorandum the amount of the debt must be stated, with the name of the debtor, and whether there is a prospect of the amount being recovered or not. As shown by Their Excellencies, these outstandings amounted at the closing of the accounts at the end of February, 1694, to the sum of Fl. 116,426.11.19. This was reduced on my last departure to Colombo to Fl. 31,948.9.15, as may be seen in the memorandum by the Administrateur of January 31, 1696. I will now proceed to show that on my present departure no more is due than the amount of Fl. 16,137.8, in which, however, the rent of the farmers is not included, as it is only provisional and will be paid up each month, viz.:—

The Province of Timmoraten 376. 2. 837
The Province of Pathelepally 579. 10. 0
Panduamoety and Nagachitty 2,448. 13. 0
Company’s weavers 167. 15. 0
Manuel van Anecotta, Master Dyer 9,823. 6. 0
The Caste of the Tannecares 1,650. 0. 0
The dyers at Point Pedro and Nalloer 566. 14. 0
Don Philip Nellamapane 375. 0. 0
Ambelawanner Wannia 150. 0. 0
Total 16,137. 0. 8

With regard to the debt of the weavers, amounting to Fl. 2,616.8, I deem it necessary here to mention that the arrears in Timmoratsche and Patchelepally, spoken of in the memorandum by the Administrateur of January 31, 1696, compiled by Mr. Bierman on my orders of November 30, 1695, after the closing of the accounts at the end of August, of which those of Tandia Moety and Naga Chitty and that of the Company’s weavers which refer to the same persons, may, in my [43]opinion, be considered as irrecoverable. It would therefore be best if Their Excellencies at Batavia would exempt them from the payment. This debt dates from the time when it was the intention to induce some weavers from the opposite coast to come here for the weaving of cloth for the Company. This caste, called Sinias,38 received the said amount in cash, thread, and cotton in advance, and thus were involved in this large debt, which having been reduced to the amount stated above, has remained for some years exactly the same, in spite of all endeavours made to collect it, and notwithstanding that the Paybook-keeper was appointed to see that the materials were not stolen and the money not wasted. It has been, however, all in vain, because these people were so poor that they could not help stealing if they were to live, and it seems impossible to recover the amount, which was due at first from 200 men, out of whom only 15 or 16 are left now. When they do happen occasionally to deliver a few gingams, these are so inferior that the soldiers who receive them at the price of good materials complain a great deal. I think it unfair that the military should be made to pay in this way, as the gingams are charged by the Sinias at Fl. 6 or 6.10 a piece, while the soldiers have to accept the same at Fl. 9 and 9.15. The same is the case with the Moeris and other cloths which are delivered by the Sinias, or rather which are obtained from them with much difficulty; and I have no doubt Your Honours will receive instructions from Batavia with regard to this matter. Meanwhile they must be dealt with in the ordinary way; but in case they are exempted from the payment of their debt I think they ought to be sent out of the country, not only because they are not liable to taxes or services to the Company, but also because of the idolatry and devil-worship which they have to a certain extent been allowed to practise, and which acts as a poison to the other inhabitants, among whom we have so long tried to introduce the Dutch Reformed religion.

The debt of the dyers at Annecatte, entered under the name of Manoel of Annecatte, dyer, which amounted at the end of August to Fl. 9,823.6, has been since reduced by Fl. 707.10, and is still being reduced daily, as there is sufficient work at present to keep them all busy, of which mention has been made under the heading of Dye-roots. This debt amounted at the end of February, 1694, to Fl. 11,920.13.6, so that since that time one-third has been recovered. This is done by retaining half the pay for dyeing; for when they deliver red cloth they only receive half of their pay, and there is thus a prospect of the whole of this debt being recovered. Care [44]must be taken that no one gives them any money on interest, which has been prohibited, because it was found that selfish people, aware of the poverty of these dyers, sometimes gave them money, not only on interest but at a usurious rate, so that they lost also half of the pay they received from the Company on account of those debts, and were kept in continual poverty, which made them either despondent or too lazy to work. For this reason an order was issued during the time of the late Commandeur Blom that such usurers would lose all they had lent to these dyers, as the Company would not interfere on behalf of the creditors as long as the debt to the Company was still due. On this account also their lands have been mortgaged to the Company, and Mr. Blom proposed in his questions of December 22, 1693, that these should be sold. But this will not be necessary now, and it would not be advantageous to the Company if the weavers were thus ruined, while on the other hand this debt may on the whole be recovered. (31)

The Tannekares are people who made a contract with the Company during the time of Mr. Blom by a deed bearing date June 7, 1691, in terms of which they were to deliver two elephants without teeth in lieu of their poll tax amounting to Fl. 269.4.17/60 and for their Oely service. It was found, however, last August that they were in arrears for 11 animals, which, calculated at Rds. 50 or Fl. 150 each, brings their debts to Fl. 1,650, just as I expected. As all contracts of this kind for the delivery of elephants are prejudicial to the Company, I proposed on January 22, 1695, that this contract should be annulled, stating our reasons for doing so. This proposal was submitted to Their Excellencies at Batavia in our letter of August 12 of the same year, and was approved by them by their letter of December 12, 1695, so that these people are again in the same position as the other inhabitants, and will be taxed by the Thombo-keeper for poll tax, land rent, and Oely service from September 1, 1696. These they must be made to pay, and they also must be made to pay up the arrears, which they are quite capable of doing, which matter must be recommended to the attention of the tax collector in Waddamoraatsche.

The debt due by the dyers of Nalloer and Point Pedro, which arose from their receiving half their pay in advance at their request, as they were not able to pay their poll tax and land rent (which amounted to Fl. 566.14), has been paid up since.

The debt of Don Philip Nellamapane, which amounts to Fl. 375, arose from the amount being lent to him for the purchase of nely in the latter part of 1694, because there was [45]a complaint that the Wannias, through a failure of the crop, did not have a sufficient quantity of grain for the maintenance of the hunters. This money was handed to Don Gaspar Ilengenarene Mudaliyar, brother-in-law of Don Philip, and at the request of the latter; so that really, not he, but Don Gaspar, owes the money. He must be urged to pay up this amount, which it would be less difficult to do if they were not so much in arrears with their tribute, because in that case the first animals they delivered could be taken in payment. There is no doubt, however, that this debt will be paid if they are urged.

The same is the case with the sum of Fl. 150 which Ambelewanne Wannia owes, but as he has to deliver only a few elephants this small amount can be settled the first time he delivers any elephants above his tribute. (32)

The Pay Accounts must, like the Trade Accounts, be closed on the last day of August every year, in compliance with the orders of the Honourable the Supreme Government of India contained in their letter of August 13, 1695. They must also be audited and examined, according to the Resolution passed in the Council of India on September 6, 1694, so that it may be seen whether all the items entered in the Trade Accounts for payments appear also in the Pay Accounts, while care must be taken that those who are in arrears at the close of the books on account of advance received do not receive such payments too liberally, against which Your Honours will have to guard, so that no difficulties may arise and the displeasure of Their Excellencies may not be incurred. Care must also be taken that the various instructions for the Paybook-keeper are observed, such as those passed by Resolution of Their Excellencies on August 27 and June 29, 1694, with regard to the appraising, selling, and entering in the accounts of estates left by the Company’s servants, the rules for the Curators ad lites, those with regard to the seizure of salaries by private debtors passed by Resolution of August 5, 1696, in the Council of India, and the rules passed by Resolution of March 20, with regard to such sums belonging to the Company’s servants as may be found outstanding on interest after their death, namely, that these must four or six weeks after be transferred from the Trade Accounts into the Pay Accounts to the credit of the deceased. (33)

The matter of the Secretariate not being conducted as it ought to be, cannot be dealt with in full here. It was said in the letters of November 17 and December 12, 1696, that the new Secretary, Mr. Bout (who was sent here without any previous intimation to the Commandeur), would see that all documents were properly registered, bound, and preserved, [46]but these are the least important duties of a good Secretary. I cannot omit to recommend here especially that a journal should be kept, in which all details are entered, because there are many occurrences with regard to the inhabitants, the country, the trade, elephants, &c., which it will be impossible to find when necessary unless they appear in the letters sent to Colombo, which, however, do not always deal very circumstancially with these matters. It will be best therefore to keep an accurate journal, which I found has been neglected for the last three years, surely much against the intention of the Company. The Secretary must also see that the Scholarchial resolutions and the notes made on them by the Political Council are copied and preserved at the Secretariate, another duty which has not been done for some years. I know on the other hand that a great deal of the time of the Secretary is taken up with the keeping of the Treasury Accounts, while there is no Chief Clerk here to assist him with the Treasury Accounts, or to assist the Commandeur. This was felt also by Mr. Blom, and he proposed in his letters of February 12 and March 29, 1693, to Colombo that the Treasury Accounts should be kept by the Paybook-keeper, which, in my humble opinion, would be the best course, as none of the four Onderkooplieden39 here could be better employed for this work than the Paybook-keeper. It must be remembered, however, that Their Excellencies do not wish the Regulation of December 29, 1692, to be altered or transgressed, so that these must be still observed. I would propose a means by which the duties of the Cashier, and consequently of the Secretary, could be much decreased, considering that the Cashier can get no other knowledge of the condition of the general revenue than from the Thombo-keeper who makes up the accounts, namely, that the Thombo-keeper should act as General Accountant, as well of the rent for leases as of the poll tax, land rent, tithes, &c., in which case the native collectors could give their accounts to him. This, I expect, would simplify matters, and enable the Secretary to be of more assistance to the Commandeur. In case such arrangement should be made, the General Accountant could keep the accounts of the revenue specified above, which could afterwards be transferred to the accounts of the Treasury; but Your Honours must wait for the authority to do so, as I do not wish to take this responsibility. I must recommend to Your Honours here to see that in future no petitions with regard to fines are written for the inhabitants except by the [47]Secretaries of the Political Council or the Court of Justice, as those officers in India act as Notaries. This has to be done because the petitions from these rebellious people of Jaffnapatam are so numerous that the late Mr. Blom had to forbid some of them writing such communications, because even Toepasses and Mestices take upon themselves to indite such letters, which pass under the name of petitions, but are often so full of impertinent and seditious expressions that they more resemble libels than petitions. Since neither superior nor inferior persons are spared in these documents, it is often impossible to discover the author. Whenever the inhabitants have any complaint to make, I think it will be sufficient if they ask either of the two Secretaries to draw out a petition for them in which their grievances are stated, which may be sent to Colombo if the case cannot be decided here. In this way it will be possible to see that the petitions are written on stamped paper as ordered by the Company, while they will be written with the moderation and discrimination that is necessary in petitions. There are also brought to the Secretariate every year all sorts of native protocols, such as those kept by the schoolmasters at the respective churches, deeds, contracts, ola deeds of sale, and other instruments as may have been circulated among the natives, which it is not possible to attend to at the Dutch Secretariate. But as I have been informed that the schoolmasters do not always observe the Company’s orders, and often issue fraudulent instruments and thus deceive their own countrymen, combining with the Majoraals and the Chiefs of the Aldeas, by whom a great deal of fraud is committed, it will be necessary for the Dessave to hold an inquiry and punish the offenders or deliver them up for punishment. For this purpose he must read and summarize the instructions with regard to this and other matters issued successively by Their Excellencies the Governors of Ceylon and the subaltern Commandeurs of this Commandement, to be found in the placaats and notices published here relating to this Commandement. The most important of these rules must be published in the different churches from time to time, as the people of Jaffnapatam are much inclined to all kinds of evil practices, which has been the reason that so many orders and regulations had to be issued by the placaats, all which laws are the consequence of transgressions committed. Yet it is very difficult to make these people observe the rules so long as they find but the least encouragement given to them by the higher authorities, as stated already. It was decided in the Meeting of Council of October 20, 1696, that a large number of old and useless olas which were kept at the Secretariate and were a great encumbrance should be sorted, [48]and the useless olas burnt in the presence of a committee, while the Mallabaar and Portuguese documents concerning the Thombo or description of lands were to be placed in the custody of the Thombo-keeper. This may be seen in the report of November 8 of the same year. In this way the Secretariate has been cleared, and the documents concerning the Thombo put in their proper place, where they must be kept in future; so that the different departments may be kept separately with a view to avoid confusion. I have also noticed on various occasions that the passports of vessels are lost, either at the Secretariate or elsewhere. Therefore, even so lately as last December, instructions were sent to Kayts and Point Pedro to send all such passports here as soon as possible. These passports, on the departure of the owners, were to be kept at the Secretariate after renovation by endorsement, unless they were more than six months old, in which case a new passport was to be issued. In case Your Honours are not sufficiently acquainted with the form of these passports and how they are to be signed as introduced by His late Excellency Governor van Mydregt, you will find the necessary information in the letters from Negapatam to Jaffnapatam of 1687 and 1688 and another from Colombo to Jaffnapatam bearing date April 11, 1690, in which it is stated to what class of persons passports may be issued. The same rules must be observed in Manaar so far as this district is concerned, in compliance with the orders contained in the letter of November 13, 1696. (34)

The Court of Justice has of late lost much of its prestige among the inhabitants, because, seeing that the Bellale Mudaly Tamby, to whom previous reference has been made, succeeded on a simple petition sent to Colombo to escape the Court of Justice while his case was still undecided (as may be seen from a letter from Colombo of January 6, 1696, and the reply thereto of the 26th of this month), they have an idea that they cannot be punished here. Even people of the lowest caste threaten that they will follow the same course whenever they think they will not gain their object here, especially since they have seen with what honours Mudaly Tamby was sent back and how the Commissioners did all he desired, although his own affairs were not even sufficiently settled yet. A great deal may be stated and proved on this subject, but as this is not the place to do so, I will only recommend Your Honours to uphold the Court of Justice in its dignity as much as possible, and according to the rules and regulations laid down with regard to it in the Statutes of Batavia and other Instructions. The principal rule must be that every person receives speedy and prompt justice, which for various reasons could not be done in the case of [49]Mudaly Tamby, and the opportunity was given for his being summoned to Colombo.

At present the Court of Justice consists of the following persons:—

  • The Commandeur, President (absent).
  • Dessave de Bitter, Vice-President.
  • Capt. van der Bruggen, Administrateur.
  • Abraham Biermans.
  • Lieut. Claas Isaacsz.
  • The Thombo-keeper, Pieter Chr. Bolscho.
  • The Ensign Arnoud Mom.
  • The Onderkoopman Joan Roos.
  • The Onderkoopman Jan van Groeneveld.
  • The Bookkeeper Jan de Wit, Secretary.

But it must be considered that on my departure to Mallabaar, and in case the Dessave be commissioned to the pearl fishery, this College will be without a President; the Onderkooplieden Bolscho and Roos may also be away in the interior for the renovation of the Head Thombo, and it may also happen that Lieut. Claas Isaacsz will be appointed Lieutenant-Dessave, in which case he also would have to go to the interior; in such case there would be only three members left besides the complainant ex-officio and the Secretary, who would have no power to pronounce sentence. The Lieutenant van Hovingen and the Secretary of the Political Council could be appointed for the time, but in that case the Court would be more a Court Martial than a Court of Justice, consisting of three Military men and two Civil Servants, while there would be neither a President nor a Vice-President. I consider it best, therefore, that the sittings of the Court should be suspended until the return of the Dessave from the pearl fishery, unless His Excellency the Governor and the Council should give other instructions, which Your Honours would be bound to obey.

I also found that no law books are kept at the Court, and it would be well, therefore, if Your Honours applied to His Excellency the Governor and the Council to provide you with such books as they deem most useful, because only a minority of the members possess these books privately, and, as a rule, the Company’s servants are poor lawyers. Justice may therefore be either too severely or too leniently administered. There are also many native customs according to which civil matters have to be settled, as the inhabitants would consider themselves wronged if the European laws be applied to them, and it would be the cause of disturbances in the country. As, however, a knowledge of these matters cannot be obtained without careful study and experience, which not [50]every one will take the trouble to acquire, it would be well if a concise digest be compiled according to information supplied by the chiefs and most impartial natives. No one could have a better opportunity to do this than the Dessave, and such a work might serve for the instruction of the members of the Court of Justice as well as for new rulers arriving here, for no one is born with this knowledge. I am surprised that no one has as yet undertaken this work.

The advice of Mr. Laurens Pyl in his Memoir of November 7, 1679, with regard to the Court of Justice, namely, that the greatest precautions must be used in dealing with this false, cunning, and deceitful race, who think little of taking a false oath when they see any advantage for themselves in doing so, must be followed. This is perhaps the reason that the Mudaliyars Don Philip Willewaderayen and Don Anthony Naryna were ordered in a letter from Colombo of March 22, 1696, to take their oath at the request of the said Mudaly Tamby only in the heathen fashion, although this seemed out of keeping with the principles of the Christian religion (Salva Reverentio), as these people are recognized as baptized Christians, and therefore the taking of this oath is not practised here. The natives are also known to be very malicious and contentious among themselves, and do not hesitate to bring false charges against each other, sometimes for the sole purpose of being able to say that they gained a triumph over their opponents before the Court of Justice. They are so obstinate in their pretended rights that they will revive cases which had been decided during the time of the Portuguese, and insist on these being dealt with again. I have been informed that some rules have been laid down with regard to such cases by other Commandeurs some 6, 8, 10, and 20 years previous, which it would be well to look up with a view to restrain these people. They also always revive cases decided by the Commandeurs or Dessaves whenever these are succeeded by others, and for this reason I never consented to alter any decision by a former Commandeur, as the party not satisfied can always appeal to the higher court at Colombo. His Excellency the Governor and the Council desired very properly in their letter of November 15, 1694, that no processes decided civilly by a Commandeur as regent should be brought in appeal before the Court of Justice here, because the same Commandeur acts in that College as President. Such cases must therefore be referred to Colombo, which is the proper course. Care must also be taken that all documents concerning each case are preserved, registered, and submitted by the Secretary. I say this because I found that this was shamefully neglected during my residence here in the years 1691 and 1692, when several [51]cases had been decided and sentences pronounced, of which not a single document was preserved, still less the notes or copies made.

Another matter to be observed is that contained in the Resolutions of the Council of India of June 14, 1694, where the amounts paid to the soldiers and sailors are ordered not to exceed the balance due to them above what is paid for them monthly in the Fatherland. I also noticed that at present 6 Lascoreens and 7 Caffirs are paid as being employed by the Fiscaal, while formerly during the time of the late Fiscaal Joan de Ridder, who was of the rank of Koopman, not more than 5 Lascoreens and 6 Caffirs were ever paid for. I do not know why the number has been increased, and this greater expense is imposed upon the Company. No more than the former number are to be employed in future. This number has sufficed for so many years under the former Fiscaal, and as the Fiscaal has no authority to arrest any natives without the knowledge of the Commandeur or the Dessave, it will still suffice. It was during the time of the late Onderkoopman Lengele, when the word “independent” carried much weight, that the staff of native servants was increased, although for the service of the whole College of the Political Council not more than 4 Lascoreens are employed, although its duties are far more numerous than those of the Fiscaal. I consider that the number of native servants should be limited to that strictly necessary, so that it may not be said that they are kept for show or for private purposes. (35)

The Company has endeavoured at great expense, from the time it took possession of this Island, to introduce the religion of the True Reformed Christian Church among this perverse nation. For this purpose there have been maintained during the last 38 years 35 churches and 3 or 4 clergymen, but how far this has been accepted by the people of Jaffnapatam I will leave for my successors to judge, rather than express my opinion on the subject here. It is a well-known fact that in the year 1693 nearly all the churches in this part of the country were found stocked with heathen books, besides the catechisms and Christian prayer books. It is remarkable that this should have occurred after His late Excellency Governor van Mydregt in 1689 had caused all Roman Catholic churches and secret convents to be dismantled and abolished, and instead of them founded a Seminary or Training School for the propagation of the true religion, incurring great expenses for this purpose. I heard only lately that, while I was in Colombo and the Dessave in Negapatam, a certain Lascoreen, with the knowledge of the schoolmasters of the church in Warrany, had been teaching the children the most wicked [52]fables one could think of, and that these schoolmasters had been summoned before the Court of Justice here and caned and the books burnt. But on my return I found to my surprise that these schoolmasters had not been dismissed, and that neither at the Political Council nor at the Court of Justice had any notes been made of this occurrence, and still less a record made as to how the case had been decided. The masters were therefore on my orders summoned again before the meeting of the Scholarchen, by which they were suspended until such time as the Lascoreen should be arrested. I have not succeeded in laying hands on this Lascoreen, but Your Honours must make every endeavour, after my departure, to trace him out; because he may perhaps imagine that the matter has been forgotten. Such occurrences as these are not new in Warrany; because the idolatry committed there in 1679 will be known to some of you. On that occasion the authors were arrested by the Company through the assistance of the Brahmin Timmersa Nayk, notwithstanding he himself was a heathen, as may be seen from the public acknowledgment granted to him by His Excellency Laurens Pyl, November 7, 1679. I therefore think that the Wannias are at the bottom of all this idolatry, not only because they have alliances with the Bellales all over the country, but especially because their adherents are to be found in Warrany and also in the whole Province of Patchelepalle, where half the inhabitants are dependent on them. This was seen at the time the Wannias marched about here in Jaffnapatam in triumph, and almost posed as rulers here. We may be assured that they are the greatest devil-worshippers that could be found, for they have never yet admitted a European into their houses, for fear of their idolatry being discovered, while for the sake of appearance they allow themselves to be married and baptized by our ministers. For instance, it is a well-known fact that Don Philip Nellamapane applied to His late Excellency van Mydregt that one of his sons might be admitted into the Seminary, with a view of getting into his good graces; while no sooner had His Excellency left this than the son was recalled under some false pretext. In 1696, when this boy was in Negapatam with the Dessave de Bitter, he was caught making offerings in the temples, wearing disguise at the time. It could not be expected that such a boy, of no more than ten or twelve years old, should do this if he had not been taught or ordered by his parents to do so or had seen them doing the same, especially as he was being taught another religion in the Seminary. I could relate many such instances, but as this is not the place to do so, this may serve as an example to put you on your guard. It is only known to God, who searches [53]the hearts and minds of men, what the reason is that our religion is not more readily accepted by this nation: whether it is because the time for their conversion has not yet arrived, or whether for any other reason, I will leave to the Omniscient Lord. You might read what has been written by His Excellency van Mydregt in his proposal to the reverend brethren the clergy and the Consistory here on January 11, 1690, with regard to the promotion of religion and the building of a Seminary. I could refer to many other documents bearing on this subject, but I will only quote here the lessons contained in the Instructions of the late Commandeur Paviljoen of December 19, 1665, where he urges that the reverend brethren the clergy must be upheld and supported by the Political Council in the performance of their august duties, and that they must be provided with all necessary comforts; so that they may not lose their zeal, but may carry out their work with pleasure and diligence. On the other hand care must be taken that no infringement of the jurisdiction of the Political Council takes place, and on this subject it would be well for Your Honours to read the last letter from Batavia of July 3,1696, with regard to the words Sjuttan Peria Padrie and other such matters concerning the Political Council as well as the clergy. (36)

With regard to the Seminary or training school for native children founded in the year 1690 by His late Excellency van Mydregt, as another evidence of the anxiety of the Company to propagate the True and Holy Gospel among this blind nation for the salvation of their souls, I will state here chiefly that Your Honours may follow the rules and regulations compiled by His Excellency, as also those sent to Jaffnapatam on the 16th of the same month. Twice a year the pupils must be examined in the presence of the Scholarchen (those of the Seminary as well as of the other churches) and of the clergy and the rector. In this college the Commandeur is to act as President, but, as I am to depart to Mallabaar, this office must be filled by the Dessave, in compliance with the orders contained in the letters from Colombo of April 4, 1696. The reports of these examinations must be entered in the minute book kept by the Scriba, Jan de Crouse. These minutes must be signed by the President and the other curators, while Your Honours will be able to give further instructions and directions as to how they are to be kept. During my absence the examination must be held in the presence of the Dessave, and the Administrateur Michiels Biermans and the Thombo-keeper Pieter Bolscho as Scholarchen of the Seminary, the Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz and the Onderkoopman Joan Roos as Scholarchen of the native churches, the reverend Adrianus Henricus de Mey, acting Rector, and three other clergymen. [54]

It must be remembered, however, that this is only with regard to examinations and not with regard to the framing of resolutions, which so far has been left to the two Scholarchen and the President of the Seminary. These, as special curators and directors, have received higher authority from His Excellency the Governor and the Council, with the understanding, however, that they observe the rules given by His Excellency and the Council both with regard to the rector and the children, in their letters of April 4 and June 13, 1696, and the Resolutions framed by the curators of June 27 and October 21, 1695, which were approved in Colombo. Whereas the school had been so far maintained out of a fund set apart for this purpose, in compliance with the orders of His Excellency, special accounts being kept of the expenditure, it has now pleased the Council of India to decide by Resolution of October 4, 1694, that only the cost of erection of this magnificent building, which amounted to Rds. 5,274, should be paid out of the said fund. This debt having been paid, orders were received in a letter from Their Excellencies of June 3, 1696, that the institution is to be maintained out of the Company’s funds, special accounts of the expenditure being kept and sent yearly, both to the Fatherland and to Batavia. At the closing of the accounts last August the accounts of the Seminary as well as the amount due to it were transferred to the Company’s accounts. The capital then was still Rds. 17,141, made up as follows:—

Rds. 10,341 entered at the Chief Counting-house in Colombo.
Rds. 1,200 cash paid by the Treasurer of the Seminary into the Company’s Treasury, December 1, 1696.
Rds. 5,600 on account of church fines.

The latter was on December 1, 1690, on the foundation of the Seminary, granted to that institution, and must now again, as before, be placed by the Cashier on interest and a special account kept thereof; because out of this fund the repairs to the churches and schools and the expenses incurred in the visits of the clergy and the Scholarchen have to be paid. Other items of revenue which had been appropriated for the foundation of the Seminary, such as the farming out of the fishery, &c., must be entered again in the Company’s accounts, as well as the revenue derived from the sale of lands, and that of the two elephants allowed yearly to the Seminary. The fines levied occasionally by the Dessave on the natives for offences committed must be entered in the accounts of the Deaconate or of that of the church fines, for whichever purpose they are most required. [55]

The Sicos40 money must again be expended in the fortifications, as it used to be done before the building of the Training School. The income of the Seminary consisted of these six items, besides the interest paid on the capital. This, I think, is all I need say on the subject for Your Honours’ information. I will only add that I hope and pray that the Lord may more and more bless this Christian design and the religious zeal of the Company. (37)

The Scholarchen Commission is a college of civil and ecclesiastical officers, which for good reasons was introduced into this part of the country from the very beginning of our rule. Their meetings are usually held on the first Tuesday of every month, and at these is decided what is necessary to be done for the advantage of the church, such as the discharge and appointment of schoolmasters and merinhos,41 &c. It is here also that the periodical visits of the brethren of the clergy to the different parishes are arranged. The applications of natives who wish to enter into matrimony are also addressed to this college. All the decisions are entered monthly in the resolutions, which are submitted to the Political Council. This is done as I had an idea that things were not as they ought to be with regard to the visitation of churches and inspection of schools, and that the rules made to that effect had come to be disregarded. This was a bad example, and it may be seen from the Scholarchial Resolution Book of 1695 and of the beginning of 1696, what difficulty I had in reintroducing these rules. I succeeded at last so far in this matter that the visits of the brethren of the clergy were properly divided and the time for them appointed. This may be seen from the replies of the Political Council to the Scholarchial Resolutions of January 14 and February 2, 1696.

On my return from Ceylon I found inserted in the Scholarchial Resolution Book a petition from two of the clergymen which had been clandestinely sent to Colombo, in which they did not hesitate to complain of the orders issued with regard to the visits referred to, and, although these orders had been approved by His Excellency the Governor and the Council, as stated above, the request made in this clandestine petition was granted on March 6, 1696, and the petition returned to Jaffnapatam with a letter signed on behalf of the Company on March 14 following. It is true I also found an order from Colombo, bearing date April 4 following, to the effect that no petitions should be sent in future except through the Government here, which is in accordance with the rules observed all [56]over India, but the letter from Colombo of November 17, received here, and the letter sent from here to Colombo on December 12, prove that the rule was disregarded almost as soon as it was made. On this account I could not reply to the resolutions of the Scholarchen, as the petition, contrary to those rules, was inserted among them. I think that the respect due to a ruler in the service of the Company should not be sacrificed to the private opposition of persons who consider that the orders issued are to their disadvantage, and who rely on the success of private petitions sent clandestinely which are publicly granted. In order not to expose myself to such an indignity for the second time I left the resolutions unanswered, and it will be necessary for Your Honours to call a meeting of the Political Council to consider these resolutions, to prevent the work among the natives being neglected. The College of the Scholarchen consists at present of the following persons:—

  • The Dessave de Bitter, President.
  • The Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz, Scholarch.
  • The Onderkoopman P. Chr. Bolscho, Scholarch.
  • The Onderkoopman Joan Roos, Scholarch.
  • Adrianus Henricus de Mey, Clergyman.
  • Joannes Roman, Clergyman.
  • Philippus de Vriest, Clergyman.
  • Thomas van Symey, Clergyman.
  • The Assistant Godfried Abraham, Scriba.

I am obliged to mention here also for Your Honours’ information that I have noticed that the brethren of the clergy, after having succeeded by means of their petition to get the visits arranged according to their wish, usually apply for assistance, such as attendants, coolies, cayoppen, &c., as soon as the time for their visits arrive, that is to say, when it is their turn to go to such places as have the reputation of furnishing good mutton, fowls, butter, &c.; but when they have to visit the poorer districts, such as Patchelepalle, the boundaries of the Wanny, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa, they seldom give notice of the arrival of the time, and some even go to the length of refusing to go until they are commanded to depart. From this an idea may be formed of the nature of their love for the work of propagating religion. Some also take their wives with them on their visits of inspection to the churches and schools, which is certainly not right as regards the natives, because they have to bear the expense. With regard to the regulations concerning the churches and schools, I think these are so well known to Your Honours that it would be superfluous for me to quote any documents here. I will therefore only recommend [57]the strict observation of all these rules, and also of those made by His Excellency Mr. van Mydregt of November 29, 1690, and those of Mr. Blom of October 20, with regard to the visits of the clergy to the churches and the instructions for the Scholarchen in Ceylon generally by His Excellency the Governor and the Council of December 25, 1663, and approved by the Council of India with a few alterations in March, 1667.

The Consistory consists at present of the four ministers mentioned above, besides:—

  • Joan Roos, Elder.
  • Hendrik Warnar, Elder.
  • Joan Swinas, Deacon.
  • Jacob Jansz, Deacon.
  • Domenicus Hartkamp, Deacon.
  • Jan de Wit, Deacon.

To these is added as Commissaris Politicus, the Administrateur Abraham Michielsz Biermans, in compliance with the orders of December 27, 1643, issued by His late Excellency the Governor General Antony van Diemen and the Council of India at Batavia. Further information relating to the churches may be found in the resolutions of the Political Council and the College of the Scholarchen of Ceylon from March 13, 1668, to April 3 following. I think that in these documents will be found all measures calculated to advance the prosperity of the church in Jaffnapatam, and to these may be added the instructions for the clergy passed at the meeting of January 11, 1651. (38)

The churches and the buildings attached to the churches are in many places greatly decayed. I found to my regret that some churches look more like stables than buildings where the Word of God is to be propagated among the Mallabaars. It is evident that for some years very little has been done in regard to this matter, and as this is a work particularly within the province of the Dessave, I have no doubt that he will take the necessary measures to remedy the evil; so that the natives may not be led to think that even their rulers do not have much esteem for the True Religion. It would be well for the Dessave to go on circuit and himself inspect all the churches. Until he can do so he may be guided by the reports with regard to these buildings made by Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz on March 19 and April 4, 1696. He must also be aware that the schoolmasters and merinhos have neglected the gardens attached to the houses, which contain many fruit trees and formerly yielded very good fruit, especially grapes, which served for the refreshment of the clergymen and Scholarchen on their visits. (39) [58]

The Civil Court or Land Raad has been instituted on account of the large population, and because of the difficulty of settling their disagreements, which cannot always be done by the Commandeur or the Court of Justice, nor by the Dessave, because his jurisdiction is limited to the amount of 100 Pordaus.42 The sessions held every Wednesday must not be omitted again, as happened during my absence in Colombo on account of the indisposition of the President. This Court consists at present of the following persons:—

  • Abraham Michielsz Biermans, Administrateur. President.
  • Jan Fransz, Vryburger, Vice-President.
  • Arnoud Mom, Ensign.
  • Jan Lodewyk Stumphuis, Paymaster.
  • Lucas de Lange, Vryburger.
  • Jan de Wit, Bookkeeper.
  • Louis Verwyk, Vryburger.
  • J. L. Stumphuis, mentioned above, Secretary.

The native members are Don Louis Poeder and Don Denis Nitsingeraye.

The instructions issued for the guidance of the Land Raad may be found with the documents relating to this college of 1661, in which are also contained the various Ordinances relating to the official Secretaries in this Commandement, all which must be strictly observed. As there is no proper place for the assembly of the Land Raad nor for the meeting of the Scholarchen, and as both have been held so far in the front room of the house of the Dessave, where there is no privacy for either, it will be necessary to make proper provision for this. The best place would be in the town behind the orphanage, where the Company has a large plot of land and could acquire still more if a certain foul pool be filled up as ordered by His Excellency van Mydregt. A building ought to be put up about 80 or 84 feet by 30 feet, with a gallery in the centre of about 10 or 12 feet, so that two large rooms could be obtained, one on either side of the gallery, the one for the assembly of the Land Raad and the other for that of the Scholarchen. It would be best to have the whole of the ground raised about 5 or 6 feet to keep it as dry as possible during the rainy season, while at the entrance, in front of the gallery, a flight of stone steps would be required. In order, however, that it may not seem as if I am unaware of the order contained in the letter [59]from Their Excellencies of November 23, 1695, where the erection of no public building is permitted without authority from Batavia, except at the private cost of the builder, I wish to state here particularly that I have merely stated the above by way of advice, and that Your Honours must wait for orders from Batavia for the erection of such a building. I imagine that Their Excellencies will give their consent when they consider that masonry work costs the Company but very little in Jaffnapatam, as may be seen in the expenditure on the fortifications, which was met entirely by the chicos or fines, imposed on those who failed to attend for the Oely service. Lime, stone, cooly labour, and timber are obtained free, except palmyra rafters, which, however, are not expensive. The chief cost consists in the wages for masonry work and the iron, so that in respect of building Jaffnapatam has an advantage over other places. Further instructions must however be awaited, as none of the Company’s servants is authorized to dispense with them. (40)

The Weesmeesteren (guardians of the orphans) will find the regulations for their guidance in the Statutes of Batavia, which were published on July 1, 1642,43 by His Excellency the Governor-General Antonis van Diemen and the Council of India by public placaat. This college consists at present of the following persons:—

  • Pieter Chr. Bolscho, President.
  • Lucas Langer, Vice-President.
  • Joan Roos, Onderkoopman.
  • Gerrit van Hovingen, Lieutenant.
  • Johannes Huysman, Boekhouder.
  • Jan Baptist Verdonk, Vryburger.
  • Jan de Wit, Secretary.

As the Hon. the Government of India has been pleased to send to Ceylon by letter of May 3, 1695, a special Ordinance for the Orphan Chamber and its officials with regard to their salaries, I consider it necessary to remind you of it here and to recommend its strict observance, as well also of the resolution of March 20, 1696, whereby the Orphan Chamber is instructed that all such money as is placed under their administration which is derived from the estates of deceased persons who had invested money on interest with the Company, and whose heirs were not living in the same place, must be remitted to the Orphan Chamber at Batavia with the interest due within a month or six weeks. (41) [60]

The Commissioners of Marriage Causes will also find their instructions in the Statutes of Batavia, mentioned above, which must be carefully observed. Nothing need be said with regard to this College, but that it consists of the following persons:—

  • Claas Isaacsz, Lieutenant, President.
  • Lucas Langer, Vryburger, Vice-President.
  • Joan Roos, Onderkoopman.
  • Jan van Bruggen, Secretary. (42)

The officers of the Burgery,44 the Pennisten,45 and the Ambachtsgezellen46 will likewise find their instructions and regulations in the Statutes of Batavia, and apply them as far as applicable. (43)

The Superintendent of the Fire Brigade and the Wardens of the Town (Brand and Wyk Meesteren) have their orders and distribution of work publicly assigned to them by the Regulation of November 8, 1691, upon which I need not remark anything, except that the following persons are the present members of this body:—

  • Jan van Groenevelt, Fiscaal, President.
  • Jan Baptist Verdonk, Vryburger, Vice-President.
  • Jan van der Bruggen, Assistant.
  • Lucas de Langer, Vryburger.
  • Jacobus Aubert, Schoolmaster.
  • Jan de Wit, Secretary. (44)

The deacons, as caretakers of the poor, have been mentioned already under the heading of the Consistory. During the last five and half years they have spent Rds. 1,145.3.7 more than they received. As I apprehended this would cause inconvenience, I proposed in my letter of December 1, 1696, to Colombo that the Poor House should be endowed with the Sicos money for the year 1695, which otherwise would have been granted to the Seminary, which did not need it then, as it had received more than it required. Meantime orders were received from Batavia that the funds of the said Seminary should be transferred to the Company, so that the Sicos money could not be disposed of in that way. As the deficit is chiefly due to the purchase, alteration, and repairing of an orphanage and the maintenance of the children, as may be [61]seen from the letters to Colombo of December 12 and 17, 1696, to which expenditure the Deaconate had not been subject before the year 1690, other means will have to be considered to increase its funds in order to prevent the Deaconate from getting into further arrears. It would be well therefore if Your Honours would carefully read the Instructions of His late Excellency van Mydregt of November 29, 1690, and ascertain whether alimentation given to the poor by the Deaconate has been well distributed and whether it really was of the nature of alms and alimentation as it should be. A report of the result of your inquiry should be sent to His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo. You might also state therein whether the orphanage has not been sufficiently enlarged yet, for it seems to me that the expenditure is too great for only 14 children, as there are at present. It might also be considered whether the Company could not find some source of income for the Deaconate in case this orphanage is not quite completed without further expenditure, and care must be taken that the deacons strictly observe the rules laid down for them in the Regulation of His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Ceylon of January 2, 1666. The present matron, Catharina Cornelisz, widow of the late Krankbezoeker Dupree, must be directed to follow the rules laid down for her by the Governor here on November 4, 1694, and approved in Colombo. That all the inferior colleges mentioned here successively have to be renewed yearly by the Political Council is such a well-known matter that I do not think it would escape your attention; but, as approbation from Colombo has to be obtained for the changes made they have to be considered early, so that the approbation may be received here in time. The usual date is June 23, the day of the conquest of this territory, but this date has been altered again to June 13, 1696, by His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo. (45)

The assessment of all measures and weights must likewise be renewed every year, in the presence of the Fiscaal and Commissioners; because the deceitful nature of these inhabitants is so great that they seem not to be able to help cheating each other. The proceeds of this marking, which usually amounts to Rds. 70 or 80, are for the largest part given to some deserving person as a subsistence. On my arrival here I found that it had been granted to the Vryburger Jurrian Verwyk, who is an old man and almost unable to serve as an assayer. The post has, however, been left to him, and his son-in-law Jan Fransz, also a Vryburger, has been appointed his assistant. The last time the proceeds amounted to 80 rds. 3 fannums, 8 tammekassen and 2½ duyten, as may be seen from the report [62]of the Commissioners bearing date December 13, 1696. This amount has been disposed of as follows:—

For the Assizer Rds. 60. 0. 0. 0
For the assistant to the Assizer Rds. 6. 0. 0. 0
Balance to the Company’s account Rds. 14. 3. 8.
Total Rds. 80. 3. 8.

It must be seen to that the Assizer, having been sworn, observes his instructions as extracted from the Statutes of Batavia, as made applicable to the customs of this country by the Government here on March 3, 1666.

In compliance with orders from Batavia contained in the letter of June 24, 1696, sums on interest may not be deposited with the Company here, as may be seen also from a letter sent from here to Batavia on August 18 following, where it is stated that all money deposited thus must be refunded. This order has been carried out, and the only deposits retained are those of the Orphan Chamber, the Deaconate, the Seminary, and the Widows’ fund, for which permission had been obtained by letter of December 15 of the same year. As the Seminary no longer possesses any fund of its own, no deposit on that account is now left with the Company. Your Honours must see that no other sums on interest are accepted in deposit, as this Commandement has more money than is necessary for its expenditure and even to assist other stations, such as Trincomalee, &c., for which yearly Rds. 16,000 to 18,000 are required, and this notwithstanding that Coromandel receives the proceeds from the sale of elephants here, while we receive only the money drafts. (46)

No money drafts are to be passed here on behalf of private persons, whether Company’s servants or otherwise, in any of the outstations, but in case any person wishes to remit money to Batavia, this may be done only after permission and consent obtained from His Excellency the Governor at Colombo. When this is obtained, the draft is prepared at Colombo and only signed here by the Treasurer on receipt of the amount. This is specially mentioned here in order that Your Honours may also remember in such cases the Instructions sent by the Honourable the Government of India in the letters of May 3, 1695, and June 3, 1696, in the former of which it is stated that no copper coin, and in the latter that Pagodas are to be received here on behalf of the Company for such drafts, each Pagoda being counted at Rds. 2 in Batavia. (47)

The golden Pagoda is a coin which was never or seldom known to be forged, at least so long as the King of Golconda [63]or the King of the Carnatic was sovereign in Coromandel. But the present war, which has raged for the last ten years in that country, seems to have taken away to some extent the fear of evil and the disgrace which follows it, and to have given opportunity to some to employ cunning in the pursuit of gain. It has thus happened that on the coast beyond Porto Novo, in the domain of these lords of the woods (Boschheeren) or Paligares, Pagodas have been made which, although not forged, are yet inferior in quality; while the King of Sinsi Rama Ragie is so much occupied with the present war against the Mogul, that he has no time to pay attention to the doings of these Paligares. According to a statement made by His Excellency the Governor Laurens Pyl and the Council of Negapatam in their letter of November 4, 1695, five different kinds of such inferior Pagodas have been received, valued at 7⅜, 7⅛, 7⅝, 7⅞, and 8¾ of unwrought gold. A notice was published therefore on November 18, following, to warn the people against the acceptance of such Pagodas, and prohibiting their introduction into this country. When the Company’s Treasury was verified by a Committee, 1,042 of these Pagodas were found. Intimation was sent to Colombo on December 31, 1695. The Treasurer informed me when I was in Colombo that he had sent them to Trincomalee, and as no complaints have been received, it seems that the Sinhalese in that quarter did not know how to distinguish them from the current Pagodas. As I heard that the inferior Pagodas had been already introduced here, while it was impossible to get rid of them, as many of the people of Jaffnapatam and the merchants made a profit on them by obtaining them at a lower rate in Coromandel and passing them here to ignorant people at the full value, a banker from Negapatam able to distinguish the good from the inferior coins has been asked to test all Pagodas, so that the Company may not suffer a loss. But in spite of this I receive daily complaints from Company’s servants, including soldiers and sailors, that they always have to suffer loss on the Pagodas received from the Company in payment of their wages, when they present them at the bazaar; while the chetties and bankers will never give them 24 fanums for a Pagoda. This matter looks very suspicious, and may have an evil influence on the Company’s servants, because it is possible that the chetties have agreed among themselves never to pay the full value for Pagodas, whether they are good or bad. It is also possible that the Company’s cashier or banker is in collusion with the chetties, or perhaps there is some reason for this which I am not able to make out. However this may be, Your Honours must try to obtain as much information as possible on this subject and report on it to His [64]Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo. All inferior Pagodas found in the Company’s Treasury will have to be made good by the cashier at Coromandel, as it was his business to see that none were accepted. With a view to prevent discontent among the Company’s servants the tax collectors must be made to pay only in copper and silver coin for the poll tax and land rent, and out of this the soldiers, sailors, and the lower grades of officials must be paid, as I had already arranged before I left. I think that they can easily do this, as they have to collect the amount in small instalments from all classes of persons. The poor people do not pay in Pagodas, and the collectors might make a profit by changing the small coin for Pagodas, and this order will be a safeguard against loss both to the Company and its servants. It would be well if Your Honours could find a means of preventing the Pagodas being introduced and to discard those that are in circulation already, which I have so far not been able to do. Perhaps on some occasion you might find a suitable means. (48)

The demands received here from out-stations in this Commandement must be met as far as possible, because it is a rule with the Company that one district must accommodate another, which, I suppose, will be the practice everywhere. Since His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo have authorized Your Honours in their letter of June 13,1696, to draw directly from Coromandel the goods required from those places for the use of this Commandement, Your Honours must avail yourselves of this kind permission, which is in agreement with the intention of the late Commissioner van Mydregt, who did not wish that the order should pass through various hands. Care must be taken to send the orders in due time, so that the supplies may not run out of stock when required for the garrisons. The articles ordered from Jaffnapatam for Manaar must be sent only in instalments, and no articles must be sent but those that are really required, as instructed; because it has occurred more than once that goods were ordered which remained in the warehouses, because they could not be sold, and which, when going bad, had to be returned here and sold by public auction, to the prejudice of the Company. To give an idea of the small sale in Manaar, I will just state here that last year various provisions and other articles from the Company’s warehouses were sent to the amount of Fl. 1,261.16.6—cost price—which were sold there at Fl. 2,037, so that only a profit of Fl. 775.3.10 was made, which did not include any merchandise, but only articles for consumption and use. (49) [65]

The Company’s chaloups47 and other vessels kept here for the service of the Company are the following:—

  • The chaloup “Kennemerland.”
  • The chaloup “’t Wapen van Friesland.”
  • The chaloup “Jaffnapatam.”
  • The small chaloup “Manaar.”
  • The small chaloup “Hammenhiel.”
  • The small chaloup “Het Vissertje.”
  • The ponton “De Hoop.”
  • The ponton “De Last Drager.”
  • The ponton “De Os.”

Further, 14 tonys48 and manschouwers,49 viz.:—

4 tonys for service in the Fort.
1 tony in Isle de Vacoa.
1 tony in the islands “De Twee Gebroeders.”
1 tony at Point Pedro.
1 tony at Kayts for the Waterfort.

Three manschouwers for the three largest chaloups, one manschouwer for the ponton “De Hoop,” one manschouwer for the ferry at Colombogamme, one manschouwer for the ferry between the island Leiden and the fort Kayts or Hammenhiel.

The chaloups “Kennemerland” and “Friesland” are used mostly for the passage between Coromandel and Jaffnapatam, and to and fro between Jaffnapatam and Manaar, because they sink too deep to pass the river of Manaar to be used on the west coast of Ceylon between Colombo and Manaar. They are therefore employed during the northern monsoon to fetch from Manaar such articles as have been brought there from Colombo for this Commandement, and also to transport such things as are to be sent from here to Colombo and Manaar, &c. They also serve during the southern monsoon to bring here from Negapatam nely, cotton goods, coast iron, &c., and they take back palmyra wood, laths, jagerbollen,50 coral stone, also palmyra wood for Trincomalee, and corsingos, oil, cayro,51 &c. The sloop “Jaffnapatam” has been built more for convenience, and conveys usually important advices and money, as also the Company’s servants. As this vessel can be made to navigate the Manaar river, it is also used as a cruiser at the pearl banks, during the pearl fishery. It is employed between Colombo, Manaar, Jaffnapatam, Negapatam, and Trincomalee, wherever required. The small sloops “Manaar” [66]and “De Visser,” which are so small that they might sooner be called boats than sloops, are on account of their small size usually employed between Manaar and Jaffnapatam, and also for inland navigation between the Passes and Kayts for the transport of soldiers, money, dye-roots from The Islands, timber from the borders of the Wanni, horses from The Islands; while they are also useful for the conveyance of urgent advices and may be used also during the pearl fishery. The sloop “Hammenhiel,” being still smaller than the two former, is only used for convenience of the garrison at Kayts, the fort being surrounded by water. This and a tony are used to bring the people across, and also to fetch drinking water and fuel from the “Barren Island.” The three pontons are very useful here, as they have daily to bring fuel and lime for this Castle, and they are also used for the unloading of the sloops at Kayts, where they bring charcoal and caddegans,52 and fetch lunt from the Passes, and palmyra wood from the inner harbours for this place as well as for Manaar and Colombo. They also bring coral stone from Kayts, and have to transport the nely and other provisions to the redoubts on the borders of the Wanni, so that they need never be unemployed if there is only a sufficient number of carreas or fishermen for the crew. At present there are 72 carreas who have to perform oely service on board of these vessels or on the four tonies mentioned above. (50)

In order that these vessels may be preserved for many years, it is necessary that they be keelhauled at least twice a year, and rubbed with lime and margosa oil to prevent worms from attacking them, which may be easily done by taking them all in turn. It must also be remembered to apply to His Excellency the Governor and the Council for a sufficient quantity of pitch, tar, sail cloth, paint, and linseed oil, because I have no doubt that it will be an advantage to the Company if the said vessels are kept constantly in repair. As stated under the heading of the felling of timber, no suitable wood is found in the Wanni for the parts of the vessels that remain under water, and therefore no less than 150 or 200 kiate or angely boards of 2½, 2, and 1½ inches thickness are required yearly here for this purpose. His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo have promised to send this yearly, in answer to the request from Jaffnapatam of February 17, 1692, and since this timber has to be obtained from Mallabaar I will see whether I cannot send it directly by a private vessel in case it cannot be obtained from Colombo. Application must be made for Dutch sailors from Colombo [67]to man the said sloops, which are at present partly manned by natives for want of Europeans. According to the latest regulation, 95 sailors are allowed for this Commandement, while at present we have not even half that number, as only 46 are employed, which causes much inconvenience in the service.

The fortifications of the Castle have now for a few years been complete, except the moat, which is being dug and has advanced to the peculiar stratum of rocks which is found only in this country. All matters relating to this subject are to be found in the Compendiums for 1693, 1694, and 1695. Supposing that the moat could be dug to the proper depth without danger to the fort, it could not be done in less than a few years, and it cannot very well be accomplished with the services of the ordinary oeliaars, so that other means will have to be considered. If, on the other hand, the moat cannot be deepened without danger to the foundations of the fort, as stated in the Compendium for 1694, it is apparent that the project ought to be abandoned. In that case the fort must be secured in some other way. The most natural means which suggests itself is to raise the wall on all sides except on the river side by 6 or 8 feet, but this is not quite possible, because the foundation under the curtains of the fortification, the faces of the bastion, and the flanks have been built too narrow, so that only a parapet of about 11 feet is left, which is already too small, while if the parapet were extended inward there would not be sufficient space for the canons and the military. The best plan would therefore be to cut away the hills that are found between the Castle and the town. The earth might be thrown into the tank found eastward of the Castle, while part of it might be utilized to fill up another tank in the town behind the orphanage. This was the plan of His Excellency van Mydregt, although it was never put down in writing. Meantime care must be taken that the slaves and other native servants of persons residing in the Castle do not through laziness throw the dirt which they are supposed to carry away from the fort on the opposite bank of the moat, and thus raise a space which the Company would much rather lower, and gradually and imperceptibly prepare a suitable place for the battery of an enemy. I have had notices put up against this practice, under date July 18, 1695, and these must be maintained and the offenders prosecuted. Considering the situation of the Castle and the present appearance of the moat, I think that the latter is already sufficiently deep if always four or five feet water be kept in it. In order to do this two banks would have to be built, as the moat has communication in two places with the river, while the river also touches the [68]fort at two points. This being done I think the moat could be kept full of water by two or three water mills driven by wind and pumps, especially during the south-west monsoon or the dry season, when an attack would be most likely to occur, and there is always plenty of wind to keep these mills going both by night and day. A sluice would be required in the middle of these banks so that the water may be let out whenever it became offensive by the river running dry, to be filled again when the water rose. It would have to be first ascertained whether the banks could really be built in such a way that they would entirely stop the water in the moat, because they would have to be built on one side against the foundations of the fort, which I have been told consist of large irregular rocks. An experiment could be made with a small mill of the kind used in Holland in the ditches along bleaching fields. They are quite inexpensive and easily erected and not difficult to repair, as they turn on a dovetail. The late Commandeur Anthony Paviljoen also appears to have thought of this plan even before this Castle was built, when the Portuguese fort was occupied by the Company, as may be seen from his instructions of December 19, 1665.53 This would, in my opinion, be the course to follow during the south-west monsoon, while during the north-east monsoon there is usually so much rain that neither the salt river nor the water mills would be required, while moreover during that time there is little danger of an attack. These three plans being adopted, the banks of the moat could be protected by a wall of coral stone to prevent the earth being washed away by the water, as the present rocky bed of the moat is sufficiently strong to serve as a foundation for it. The moat has already been dug to its proper breadth, which is 10 roods.

In my opinion there are two other defects in this Castle: the one is as regards the embrazures, the other is in the new horse stable and carpenters’ yard, which are on the south side just outside the opposite bank of the moat. I think these ought to be altered, for the reasons stated in our letter to Colombo of November 30, 1695. I was however opposed by the Constable-Major Toorse in his letter of December 16 next, and his proposal was approved in Batavia by letter of July 3 following. This work will therefore have to remain as it is, although it appears that we did not explain ourselves sufficiently; because Their Excellencies seem to think that this [69]yard and stable were within the knowledge of His Excellency van Mydregt. It is true that the plan for them was submitted to His Excellency, as may be seen from the point submitted by the late Mr. Blom on February 17, 1692, and April 29, 1691, but no answer was ever received with regard to this matter, on account of the death of His Excellency van Mydregt,54 and I have an idea that they were not at all according to his wish. However, the yard and stable will have to remain, and with regard to the embrazures the directions of the Constable-Major must be followed.

If it be recommended that the deepening of the moat is possible without danger to the fort, and if the plan of the water mills and banks be not approved, so that a dry moat would have to suffice, I think the outer wall might be completed and the ground between the rocks be sown with a certain kind of thorn called in Mallabaar Oldeaalwelam and in Dutch Hane sporen (cock spurs), on account of their resemblance to such spurs in shape and stiffness. This would form a covering of natural caltrops, because these thorns are so sharp that they will penetrate even the soles of shoes, which, besides, all soldiers in this country do not wear. Another advantage in these thorns is that they do not easily take fire and do not grow higher than 2 or 2½ feet above the ground, while the plants grow in quite a tangled mass. I thought it might be of some use to mention this here.

The present bridge of the fort is built of palmyra wood, as I found on my arrival from Batavia; but as the stone pillars have already been erected for the construction of a drawbridge, this work must be completed as soon as the timber that I ordered from the Wanni for this purpose arrives. In the carpenters’ yard some timber will be found that was prepared three years ago for the frame of this drawbridge, which, perhaps, could yet be utilized if it has been well preserved. This work will have to be hurried on, for the present bridge is dangerous for anything heavy to pass over it, such as elephants, &c. It will also be much better to have a drawbridge for the fortification. The bridge must be built as broad as the space between the pillars and the opposite catches will permit, and it must have a strong wooden railing on either side, which may be preserved for many years by the application of pitch and tar, while iron is soon wasted in this country unless one always has a large quantity of paint and linseed oil. Yet, an iron railing is more ornamental, so I leave this matter to Your Honours. (51) [70]

The fortress Hammenhiel is in good condition, but the sand bank upon which it is built has been undermined by the last storm in the beginning of December during the north-east monsoon. The damage must be remedied with stones. In this fortress a reservoir paved with Dutch bricks has been built to collect and preserve the rain water, but it has been built so high that it reaches above the parapets and may thus be easily ruined by an enemy, as I have pointed out in my letter to Colombo of September 8, 1694. As this is a new work it will have to remain as present, until such time as alterations can be made. The ramparts of this fortress, which are hollow, have been roofed with beams, over which a floor of stone and chunam has been laid, with a view to the space below being utilized for the storing of provisions and ammunition. This is a mistake, as the beams are liable to decay and the floor has to support the weight of the canon, so that there would be danger in turning the guns round for fear of the floor breaking down. So far back as the time of Commandeur Blom a beginning was made to replace this roof by an entire stone vault, which is an important work. The gate of the fortress, which is still covered with beams, must also be vaulted. (52)

Ponneryn and the passes Pyl, Elephant, and Buschutter only require a stone water tank, but they must not be as high as that of Hammenhiel. Dutch bricks were applied for from Jaffnapatam on February 17, 1692, and His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo promised to send them here as soon as they should arrive from the Fatherland, so that Your Honours must wait for these. Ponneryn is not so much in want of a reservoir, as it has a well with fairly good drink water. (53)

The work that demands the chief attention in Manaar is the deepening of the moat, as the fortifications, dwelling houses, and stores are completed. But since this work has to be chiefly carried out by the Company’s slaves, it will take some time to complete it. There are also several elevations near the fort which will have to be reduced, so that they may not at any time become a source of danger. During my circuit on two or three occasions the Opperhoofd and the Council at Manaar applied for lime to be sent from here, as no more coral stone for the burning of lime was to be found there. This takes away the Company’s sloops from their usual employment, and the officials have been informed that they must get the lime made from the pearl shells which are found in abundance in the bay of Condaatje as remains of the fishery. It makes very good lime, and the forests in the neighbourhood provide the fuel, and the lime can then be brought to Manaar in pontons and tonys. Information on this subject may be found in the correspondence between this station and Jaffnapatam. Care must [71]be taken that the lime of the pearl shells is used for nothing but the little work that has yet to be done in the fort, such as the pavements for the canons and the floors of the galleries in the dwelling houses. The Opperhoofd and other officers who up to now have been living outside the fort must now move into it, as there are many reasons why it is undesirable that they should reside outside—a practice, besides, which is against the Company’s rules with regard to military stations in India. (54)

Provisions and ammunition of war are matters of foremost consideration if we desire to have our minds at ease with regard to these stations, for the one is necessary for the maintenance of the garrison and the officials, while the other is the instrument of defence. These two things ought at all times to be well provided. His late Excellency van Mydregt for this reason very wisely ordered that every station should be stocked with provisions for two years, as may be seen in the letter sent from Negapatam bearing date March 17, 1688. This is with regard to the Castle, but as regards the outstations it will be sufficient if they are provided with rice for six or eight months. On account of the great expense the Castle has not of late been provided for two years, but this will soon be changed now that the passage to Trincomalee and Batticaloa has been opened, even if the scarcity in Coromandel should continue, or if the Theuver should still persist in his prohibition of the importation of nely from Tondy. I have heard, however, that this veto has been withdrawn, and that vessels with this grain will soon arrive here. If this rumour be true and if a good deal of rice is sent here from Cotjaar, Tammelegan, and Batticaloa, a large quantity of it might be purchased on behalf of the Company with authority of His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo, which might be obtained by means of our sloops. Perhaps also the people of Jaffnapatam who come here with their grain may be prevailed upon to deliver it to the Company at 50 per cent. or so less, as may be agreed upon. This they owe to their lawful lords, since the Company has to spend so much in governing and protecting them. Sanction to this measure was granted by His Excellency van Mydregt in his letter from Negapatam to Jaffnapatam of June 12, 1688, which may be looked up. If a calculation be made of the quantity of provisions required for two years, I think it would be found that it is no less than 300 lasts of rice a year. This includes provisions for the garrison and those who would have to come into the fort in case of a siege, so that 600 lasts would be required for two years, a last being equal to 3,000 lb. or 75 Ceylon parras, thus in all 45,000 parras. At the rate of one parra per month for each person, 1,875 people could be maintained for two years with this store of rice. This [72]would be about the number of people the Company would have to provide for in case of necessity, considering that there are according to the latest regulations 600 Company’s servants, while there are according to the latest enumeration 1,212 women, children, and slaves in the town, making a total of 1,812 persons who have to be fed; so that the above calculation is fairly correct. Sometimes also Manaar will have to be provided, because Mantotte does not yield a sufficient quantity of nely to supply that fort for two years. This must also be included in the calculation, and if Your Honours are well provided in this manner you will be in a position to assist some of the married soldiers, the orphanage, and the poor house with rice from the Company’s stores in times of scarcity, and will be able to prevent the sale in rice being monopolized again. It was the intention of His Excellency van Mydregt that at such times the Company’s stores should be opened and the rice sold below the bazaar price. Care must be taken that this favour is not abused, because it has happened that some of the Company’s servants sent natives on their behalf, who then sold the rice in small quantities at the market price. This was mentioned in our letter to Colombo of October 1 and December 12, 1695. The Company can hardly have too much rice in store, for it can always be disposed of with profit when necessary, and therefore I think 600 lasts need not be the limit, so long as there is a sufficient number of vessels available to bring it. But as rice alone will not suffice, other things, such as salt, pepper, bacon, meat, &c., must also be considered. Salt may be obtained in sufficient quantities in this Commandement, but pepper has to be obtained from Colombo, and therefore this spice must never be sold or issued from the store houses until the new supply arrives, keeping always 3,000 or 4,000 lb. in store. Bacon and meat also have to be obtained from Colombo, and His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo were kind enough to send us on my verbal request ten kegs of each from Galle last August by the ship “Nederland.” But I find that it has become stale already, and it must be changed for new as soon as possible, with authority of His Excellency and the Council, in order that it may not go further bad. In compliance with the orders of His Excellency van Mydregt in his letter of November 23, 1687, the old meat and bacon must be returned to Colombo, and a new supply sent here every three or four years, the stale meat being supplied in Colombo to some of the Company’s vessels. But considering that His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo are not always in a position to supply Jaffnapatam with a sufficient quantity of meat and bacon, as there are so many other stations in Ceylon to be provided for, [73]it would be well to keep in mind the advice of the late Mr. Paviljoen that in emergencies 1,000 or 1,200 cattle could be captured and kept within the fort, where they could be made to graze on the large plain, while as much straw from the nely would have to be collected as could be got together to feed these animals as long as possible. This small loss the inhabitants would have to bear, as the Company has to protect them and their lands, and if we are victorious a recompense could be made afterwards. I would also advise that as much carrawaat55 as could be found in the quarters of the Carreas, Palwelys,56 and other fishermen should be brought into the fort; because this dried fish makes a very good and durable provision, except for the smell. The provision of arrack must also not be forgotten, because used moderately this drink does as much good to our people as it does harm when taken in large quantities. As I have heard so many complaints about the arrack here, as well as in Trincomalee, at the pearl fishery, at Coromandel, &c., it is apparent that the Company is not properly served in this respect. On this account also some arrack was returned from Negapatam and the Bay of Condaatje. Henceforth no arrack must be accepted which has not been tested by experts, neither for storing in the warehouses nor for sending to the different stations, because at present I cannot say whether it is adulterated by the people who deliver it to the Company or by those who receive it in the stores, or even by those who transport it in the sloops. With regard to the munitions of war, I think nothing need be stated here, but that there is a sufficient stock of it, because by the last stock taking on August 31, 1696, it appears that there is a sufficient store of canons, gun-carriages, gunpowder, round and long grenades, instruments for storming, filled fire bombs, caseshot-bags, martavandes for the keeping of gunpowder, and everything that pertains to the artillery. The Arsenal is likewise sufficiently provided with guns, muskets, bullets, native side muskets, &c. I would only recommend that Your Honours would continue to have ramrods made for all the musket barrels which are still lying there, suitable timber for which may be found in the Wanni. It is from there also that the boards are obtained for gun-carriages. And as I found that some had not been completed, I think this work ought to be continued, so that they may be ready when wanted. No doubt His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo will be willing to send a sufficient quantity of pitch and tar for the preservation both of the sloops and the gun-carriages, [74]which otherwise will soon decay during the heavy rains which we have here in India. Although the Arsenal is at present well provided with guns and muskets, it is possible that half of them may be found unfit for use. I have therefore given orders to examine them all carefully, so that those that are unfit may be sent to Colombo and from there to the Fatherland, and new ones returned. Water and fuel are also two of the most important things to think of for the defence of a fortress, and I had therefore a large room built behind the smith’s shop where fuel could be stored away. This room must be stocked and closed, and no fuel issued from it to any one. Those who receive firewood from the Company may be supplied from that which is daily brought from the forest. With regard to the water which is found within this Castle, it is drinkable in cases of emergency, especially in some of the wells found there. (55)

The military and garrison would be sufficiently strong if the full number of Europeans allowed for this Commandement by the latest Batavian regulation of December 29, 1692, could be obtained, which could not be considered too strong for a Commandement numbering 608 men in all, including those for commercial, civil, judicial, ecclesiastical, naval, and military services. At present we have only the following number of persons in the Company’s service, who have to be classified, as they are of different colour and descent, viz.:—

Europeans. Mestises. Toepasses. Total.
In the Castle 287 56 7 350
In Manaar 52 2 9 63
In Hammenhiel 21 4 1 26
In Ponneryn 1 1 21 23
In the redoubts the “Pyl,” “Beschutter,” and “Elephant” 11 3 45 59
For various services, also in the Island, for surveying, wood felling, &c. 13 10 2 25
Total 385 76 85 546

In the number of Europeans is included, as stated above, all manner of Company’s servants employed in the Trade, Church, Navigation, Military Duties, &c., all of which together number 385 men. The 76 mestises and the 85 toepasses will therefore have to be retained until this Commandement can have its full number of Europeans, and it would be well if Your Honours would continue to engage a few more toepasses [75]when they offer themselves, because the Passes are hardly sufficiently guarded; about which matter communication has been made in our letter to Colombo of March 5, 1695. Your Honours must also keep in mind the recommendation of His Excellency van Mydregt in his letter of March 27, 1688, wherein he suggests that a close watch should be kept on the Wannias, as they are not to be trusted in a case of treason on the part of the Sinhalese; and on this account the advanced guards must be always well provided with ammunition and provisions, while discipline and drill must be well attended to, so that as far as lies in our power we may be prepared for emergencies.

I have been rather prolix in treating of the fortifications and all that pertains thereto, not so much because I am ignorant of the fact that the Company’s power in India depends more on her naval force than on her fortresses, but because I consider that since the latter are in our possession it is our duty to preserve them, as otherwise the large amount expended on them at the beginning of the Government in Ceylon would have been spent in vain. (56)

The public works are carried out here without expenditure to the Company by the Oeliaars, because, as stated before, no cooly wages are paid here, payment being made only to the native artisans, such as smiths, carpenters, and masons. The number of men employed is daily entered in a book by one of the Pennisten of the Comptoirs, which he has to hand over in the evening to the person whose turn it will be the next day to do this work. Care must be taken that these assistants personally see and count the men, and the payments must be made according to their list and not according to those of the Dutch foremen or the native Cannecappuls. This is in compliance with the orders from Batavia. The foremen of the carpenters’ yard, the smiths’ shop, the gunpowder mill, and the masonry works must also every evening, at sunset, bring in their reports with regard to the progress of the work. This is to be done by the sergeant Hendrik Rademaker, who, for some years, has been acting as overseer of the Oeliaars. The Oeliaars are changed on Mondays and Thursdays, each of them working only for three days at a time, which suffices for three months, as they owe twelve days of service in the year. Those who have performed their labour receive an ola from the Cannecappul, which is called a Sito, and is marked with a steel stamp thus: I-VOC, which serves them as a receipt. The names of those who fail to appear are written down by the Cannecappul and by the Majoraal, [76]and they have to pay a fine which is called sicos.57 The stamp is in the custody of the Chief, who also arranges and divides the work among the Oeliaars. He must see that the sergeant does not allow any of the coolies to depart before the three days have expired, and making a profit for himself and causing loss to the Company. Care must also be taken that no more than 18 persons are employed as Pandarepulles or native cooly drivers, who are each in charge of 16 to 30 men, whom they have to keep to their work. These 18 Pandarepulles must be appointed by written documents, otherwise the sergeant appoints such officers on his own authority and thus also makes a profit. Then also it must be seen that the materials, such as timber, bricks, lime, &c., are not taken to other places than they have been ordered for by the person in authority, for all these are tricks to which the Company is subject on the part of the overseers when they see that no regard is taken of their doings. The principal of the public works at present in progress is the building of the church within the fort,58 which has advanced to 8 feet above the ground, and may be completed during the southern season, if there is only a sufficient quantity of bricks. According to my calculation about 1,000,000 more will be required, which is a large quantity, but will not cost more than 3 fannums per thousand, and even this expense does not fall to the Company, but may be found out of the sicos or fines. The Dessave has the best opportunity for seeing that the work at the brickworks at Iroewale is pushed on as quickly as possible, so that there may be no waiting for bricks or tiles, which are also baked there and paid at the rate of 3½ fannums a thousand. I consider it a shame that in a country where the cost of building is so small, and where religion is to be promoted, there should not even be a church in the fort, a state of things that has existed these last four years, during which the warehouses had to be used for this purpose, while many old and infirm people could not attend the services because of the inconvenience of the steps that lead to them. It would have been better if the old Portuguese church had not been broken down before the building of the new church was commenced, because an old proverb says: “That one must not cast away old shoes till one has got new ones.”59 However, for the present we must row with the oars we possess, until the new church is completed, the plan for which is in the hands of the surveyor [77]Martinus Leusekam. The sergeant in the Wanni, Harmen Claasz, had already on my orders felled the necessary beams, and now the rafters must be thought of, which would be best made of palmyra wood, if they could be obtained sufficiently long. The timber for the pulpit I hope to send from Mallabaar, but as ebony is also found in the Wanni, some trees might be felled also there and be brought down here without expenditure to the Company. As may be seen in the answers to the questions from Jaffnapatam of March 12, 1691, and February 17, 1692, authority for the building of this church was obtained long ago. The only other works required within the Castle at present are the barracks for the married soldiers; which may be found indicated in the map, and the rebuilding of the four dwelling houses yet remaining of the Portuguese buildings which are old and decayed. They are no longer worth repairing, and it would be best if they were broken down and new and better houses built on their site. But before this is done it will be necessary to rebuild the Armoury, which fell into ruins last December. This building also remained from the Portuguese. Some new tiles are also required for the Company’s building at Anecatte where the red-dyeing is done, the cross-beams of which building I had renewed. Likewise a number of tiles is required for the new warehouses in the island Leyden, which have been built there in compliance with the orders of His late Excellency van Mydregt. This was when it was intended to provide Ceylon with grain from Tansjouwer,60 which was to be laid up there before the northern season. These warehouses may yet come in useful if the Moorish trade flourishes. (57)

The horse stable within the fort has been built in a bad place, and is very close and unhealthy; so that the animals die one after another. It would therefore be better if the stable referred to under the heading of “fortification” and situated outside the fort be used. If this is done it must be provided with the necessary cribs, &c., and not more than seven horses have been allowed by the last regulation. The supervision of the stable has been entrusted for some time to the Captain Jan van der Bruggen, but I could not approve of this, and consider it better that this supervision be also left to the chief person in authority, the more so as the said Captain has been troubled for the last five years with gout and gravel; so that he has often to remain at home for weeks, while, even when he is well, it is impossible for him to go about much, in consequence of weakness arising from the pain. For this [78]reason he cannot properly supervise the stable; and this is not the first time he is excused from his duty, as it was done also during the time of Commandeur Cornelis van der Duyn, who also considered that it was more in the interest of the Company that this and other duties should be performed by the chief instead of by private persons. The Dessave is best aware if the hides of the stags and elks sent to this stable from the Wanny and the Passes are properly utilized for saddles, carriages, &c., in the said stable, and also in the Arsenal for cartridge cases, bandoleers, sword-belts, &c. (58)

The hospital was built too low, so that the patients had to lie in damp places during the northern monsoon. I therefore had the floor raised, in view of the fact that this is a place where the Company shows its sympathy with its suffering servants and wishes them to have every comfort. For this reason also regents are appointed to see that nothing wrong is done by the doctor or the steward. For some time this supervision was entrusted to Captain Jan van der Bruggen, but for the reason stated above I cannot approve of the arrangement any longer, while moreover, his daughter is the wife of the Chief Surgeon Hendrick Warnar, who has a very large family, and suspicious people might try to find fault with the arrangement. The supervision of the hospital must therefore be entrusted every alternate month to the Administrateur Biermans and the Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz, as it is against the principles of the Company to entrust such work to one person only. (59)

The Company’s slaves here are few in number, consisting of 82 individuals, including men, boys, women, and children. But no more are required, as the Oeliaars perform many of the duties for which slaves would be otherwise required. They are employed in the stable, the warehouses, the arsenal, the hospital, and with the shipbuilders and masons. The only pay they receive is 3 fannums and a parra of rice per month, except some of the masons. This payment is sufficient for some of them, but not for all, as there are some employed in masonry work who do their work as well as any of the natives, and, as they have to maintain a wife and children, the master mason has often recommended higher pay for them. There is one among the masons who receives 6 fannums a month, another gets 4, and two others 3 fannums. This might be raised from 6 to 10, from 4 to 8, and from 3 to 6 fannums respectively, so that these poor people may not be discouraged; and on the other hand increased pay often produces increased labour, and thus the Company would perhaps not lose by the extra expense. The matter must, however, be submitted to [79]His Excellency the Governor, as also the request of one of the masons that his daughter may be emancipated, in order to marry a native who has proposed to her. The father offers in her place as a slave another young and capable woman. There is also another application for emancipation from a dyer who is now, he says, 60 years of age. The Company would lose nothing in granting this request, because all he delivers is two or three pieces of ordinary chintz a year. All these matters must be submitted to His Excellency the Governor and the Council. (60)

Having now treated of the Wanny, of the lands of Ponneryn and Mantotte within the Province of Jaffnapatam, and of the fort, we must see what is to be said with regard to the seacoast, and also if any important matter has been forgotten.

Manaar is the last island on this side, and the banks and islets near it form together what is called “Adam’s Bridge,” which closes the passage between Ceylon and Coromandel. This island also protects Jaffnapatam on the south, as no vessel could come here without passing Manaar. The passage through the river is so inconvenient on account of its shallowness that no vessel can pass without being first unloaded. Therefore no vessel is able to pass nor any smuggling take place without its being known in Manaar. It is on this account that an order was issued by His Excellency the Governor and the Council in their letter of March 5, 1695, to Jaffnapatam, to the effect that no smuggled areca-nut from Colombo or Calpentyn must be allowed to pass there. This was when the trade in these waters was re-opened for private enterprise from Coromandel, and the order was conveyed by us to Manaar by letter of March 11. A close watch must be kept, but so long as the passage of Ramacoil or Lembe in the domain of the Teuver is so well known by some people as it is said to be, it is not likely that attempts at smuggling would be made in Manaar. (61)

Manaar not only protects Jaffnapatam, but it also yields to the Company the profits of Mantotte, Moesely, and Setticoulang, and of the capture of elephants. The latter might be more if not for the death of the animals, as, for instance, last year, when not a single animal delivered by the hunters survived. The hunters must therefore be encouraged to bring as many as possible. (62)

About 50 or 60 bharen of dye-roots are also yearly obtained from Manaar, which cultivation must also be attended to, in order that the Company may be in a position to deliver the red cloths ordered from this Commandement. (63) [80]

Some revenue is also obtained from taxes and rents. These are yearly sold to the highest bidder. Last year they were sold for 1½ year, like those in Jaffnapatam. The amount received was Rds. 2,268, as also Rds. 879.7.8 for poll tax and land rent in Manaar. The tithes of the harvest in Mantotte are paid in grain, which is usually issued to the Company’s servants. This amounted on the last occasion to 1,562½ paras of rice. The tax in cooking butter in Mantotte is also paid in kind and likewise issued to the Company’s servants. Besides, there are 3,000 or 4,000 paras of salt and 10,000 or 12,000 coils of straw or bark lunt which the inhabitants of the opposite lands have to deliver, as also chanks from the divers; but these do not amount to much, for, in 1695, were dived five kinds of cauries to the amount of 204 5/8 paras, and in 1696 only 94 7/8 paras; so that the amount for two years was only 299½ paras of cauries. For this reason I submitted on May 10, 1695, to His Excellency the Governor and the Council, a proposal from the Moor Perietamby, who offered to pay the Company yearly Rds. 8,000 for the license to dive for chanks between Manaar and Calpentyn. This was refused by the reply received from Colombo on the 17th of the same month. (64)

From the Instructions to Commandeur Blom sent from Colombo on February 17, 1692, it may be seen what prices are paid to the divers for the chanks, mentioned already under the subject of the Moorish trade, so that it is not necessary to enter into detail on the subject here.

I think that I have now sufficiently explained all matters relating to this station, and would refer for further information to the report compiled by Mr. Blom for Governor van Mydregt, which is kept here at the Secretariate,61 as also the answers thereto of September 13 and October 7, 1690. There are also the Instructions left by Mr. Jorephaas Vosch for the Opperkoopman Jan de Vogel, bearing date August 30, 1666,62 which may also be read, but I think that I have mentioned all the most important matters with regard to Manaar appearing therein.

The pearl fishery is an extraordinary enterprise, the success of which depends on various circumstances; as there are various causes by which the banks or the oysters may be destroyed. It would take too long to mention here all that [81]may be said on the subject, and as it would be tiresome to read it all, I will merely state here that the usual place for the fishery is near Aripo in the Bay of Condaatje, where the banks lie, and if no untoward events take place, a fishery may be held for several years in succession; because the whole bay is covered with different banks, the oysters of which will become successively matured. But sometimes they are washed away and completely destroyed within a very short time. The banks are to be inspected in November by a Commission sent for this purpose, who come in tonys from Jaffnapatam, Manaar, and Madura, and with them also some Patangatyns and other native chiefs who understand this work. The chief points to be considered when a pearl fishery has been authorized are the lodgings for the Commissioners appointed in Colombo; the inclosure of the tanks in Mantotte with banks for obtaining good drinking water; the supply of poultry, butter, oil, rice, sheep, cattle, &c., for provisions; Lascoreens and servants; military men, if they can be spared from the garrison, &c. The fishery usually takes place in the months of March, April, and May. I will not enter into detail on this matter, as it would not be in agreement with the nature of these instructions; while the Commissioners will be able to find ample information in the various documents of the years 1666 and 1667, but especially in those of 1694, 1695, and 1696, including reports, journals, and letters, in case they have not gained sufficient experience yet. These documents relate to the fishery, the collection of the Company’s duties, the purchase and valuation of pearls, &c. I will therefore only state here the successive profits derived from the pearl fishery by the Company, viz.:—

Rds. Fl.
1666 19,655 91/980 58,965.11. 6
1667 24,641 461/968 73,924. 8.13
1694 21,019 19/60 63,057.13. 0
1695 24,708 11/12 74,126.15. 0
1696 25,327 43/60 75,983. 3. 0
Total 115,352 499/960 346,057.11. 363

This is a considerable amount, and it is expected, according to the reports of the Commissioners, that the fishery now [82]authorized for December 31, 1697, will yield still greater profits. I have already given orders for the repair of the banks of the tanks in Mantotte, which were damaged during the last storm, in order that there may be no want of drinking water, which is one of the most important points. Whether the prohibition to export coconuts from this Province applies also to the pearl fishery is a matter to be submitted to His Excellency the Governor and the Council; because many people use this fruit as food. This subject has been already dealt with under the head of Coconuts. (65)

The inhabited little islands are considered as the fifth Province of the Commandement, the others being Walligammo, Waddemoraatsche, Timmeraatsche, and Patchelepalle. Taxes, &c., are levied in these islands in the same way as in the other Provinces, the revenue amounting last time to Rds. 2,767.2.5½, viz.:—

Land rent 1,190. 11. 3
Tithes 712. 8.
Poll tax 605. 1. 0
Adigary 173. 9. 0
Officie 162. 5.
Total 2,844. 11. 8
Deducted as salaries for the Collector, Majoraal, Cayals, &c. 77. 9.
Total 2,767. 2. 64

The islands are named as follows:—

Carredive, called by us Amsterdam; Tamiedive, Leyden; Pongedive, Middleburg; Nerendive, Delft; Neynadive, Haarlem; Aneledive, Rotterdam; Remedive, “de Twee Gebroeders,” or Hoorn and Enkhuisen.

Besides the revenue stated above, Carredive yields the best dye-roots in this Commandement, although the quantity is no more than 10 or 12 bharen a year. The dye-roots from Delft are just as good, but it yields only 4 or 5 bharen a year. Salt, lime, and coral stone are also obtained from these islands, but particulars with regard to these matters have been stated at length in the report by the late Commandeur Blom to His late Excellency van Mydregt, to which I would refer. (66) [83]

Horse-breeding is an enterprise of which much was expected, but so far the Company has not made much profit by it. Yet there is no reason to despair, and better results may be hoped for. Your Honours must remember that formerly in the islands Delft, Hoorn, and Enkhuizen all kinds of horses were bred together; so that but few good animals were obtained. In 1690 and 1691 orders were given to shoot all horses that were too small or defective, and to capture the rest and send them to Colombo and Coromandel. The latter were sold at Negapatam by public auction, while the rest were given to soldiers on the opposite coast in the Company’s service, who used the animals so badly that they were soon unfit for work. In this way the islands have become destitute of horses, and the only thing to be done was to send there some good mares and two or three Persian stallions for breeding purposes. So far no good horses could be obtained, because a foal has to be 4 or 3½ years old before it is fit for use. It is only since 1692, 1693, and 1694 that we had good stallions, and this accounts for the fact that no foals have yet been obtained. The deficit is at present Fl. 8,982.9, so that it would seem as if expenditure and trouble are the only results to be expected from this enterprise; but it must be remembered that at present there are on the island of Delft alone about 400 or 500 foals of 1, 1½, 2, and 2½ years old, while there are also a number of horses on the island “de Twee Gebroeders.” The expenditure was incurred mostly in the purchase of the Persian stallions, and this expenditure has not been in vain, because we possess now more than 400 horses, each of which will be worth about a hundred guilders, so that the whole number will be worth about 40,000 guilders. In compliance with the orders by His Excellency van Mydregt of November 29, 1690, these animals must be sold at Coromandel on account of this Commandement, and the valuation of the horses may be determined from the fact that the Prince of Tansjour has accepted one or two of them in lieu of the recognition which the Company owes him yearly for two Arabian horses. For this reason and in compliance with the said orders the first horses captured must be sent to Negapatam, so that the account in respect of horse-breeding may be balanced. As the stallions kept on the islands have become too old, application has been made for younger animals, and also for five or six mares from Java, which have been granted by His Excellency the Governor and the Council in their letter of April 29, 1695. Your Honours are further advised not to sell any horses from the island of Delft for less than Rds. 25 and from the islands “de Twee Gebroeders” for less than Rds. 35 to the Company’s servants, as they fetch more than that at the public auctions in Negapatam. Even [84]this is a favour to them; but I noticed that the horses from Delft have been sold at 15 and those from Hoorn and Enkhuisen at Rds. 20, which I think cannot be done in future, since the destruction of the defective animals has improved the race. I hope that this will clear up the passage with regard to the horse-breeding in the letter from Batavia to Ceylon of July 3, 1696, as also that Their Excellencies may be satisfied with the result. I think expectations were raised too high at first; as the real advantage could only be known in course of time; while, on the other hand, the capital expended must be looked upon as standing out on interest. (67)

The Passes of this Commandement are various, but all are guarded in such a way that no goods can be brought in or taken out without a license, nor are people able to go through without a passport. At Kayts and Point Pedro passports are issued in the usual way to those who come or go by sea; while to those who travel by land an Acte of Permission is issued, which is written in Mallabaar on ola, and is called Cayoppe. These are issued both by the Dessave and by the Commandeur, but as so many thousands of people come and go, and the signing of these Cayoppes occupies so much of the time of the Commandeurs, a steel stamp is used now by the Dessave to mark these also. I have followed the same practice, and used a seal with the letters H. Z.,65 which I handed over shortly before my departure for Colombo in February, 1696, to the Political Council, together with the seal for the oely service, with instructions that these seals were to be used just as if I were still on the spot, because the Dessave was absent at the pearl fishery, and I was commissioned by the Supreme Government of India to proceed to Mallabaar without being formally relieved of my office in this Commandement. On my return from Colombo in August I found that this order had not been carried out, but that the Captain Jan van der Bruggen had thought it well to have another seal specially made, with the monogram VOC, not only suppressing my order given to him in full Council, but also having a new seal made, which was beyond his authority and seemed to me quite out of place. I cannot account for his extraordinary conduct in any other way than by supposing that he desired to confirm the rumour which had been spread among the natives and Europeans during the time of the Commissioners Messrs. Jan van Keulen and Pieter Petitfilz, that I would never return to this Commandement to rule, and thus by suppressing my seal to give [85]public confirmation to this rumour, and so make it appear to the world that it was no longer legal. I therefore order again that this seal is not to be suppressed, but used for the stamping of the Cayoppes at the Passes in case the Dessave should be absent from this Commandement, it being his province alone to issue and sign such olas. This order is to be carried out as long as no contrary orders are received from higher authorities.

Colomboture and Catsay are two Passes on the inner boundary of this Commandement at the river leading to Ponneryn and the Wanny, and in order to prevent any one passing without a passport a guard is stationed there. The duties on goods are also collected there, being leased out, but they do not amount to much. These Passes, however, must be properly guarded, and care taken that the people stationed there submit their reports regularly. One of these may be found in a letter from here to Colombo of December 12 last.

Ponneryn, a good redoubt, serves as a place from where to watch the doings of the Wannias and to protect the inhabitants from invasions. It is garrisoned by Toepasses under the command of a Dutch Sergeant.

The Passes Pyl, Elephant, and Beschutter serve chiefly to close this Province against the Wannias and to protect the inhabitants from invasions of the Sinhalese, and also to prevent persons passing in or out without a passport, or goods being taken in or out without a license, as also to prevent the theft of slaves and the incursions of elephants and other wild animals into the Provinces. A difficulty is that the earth mounds are not close together, so that notwithstanding the continual patrol of the militia, now and again a person passes through unnoticed. Means of drawing these redoubts together, or at least of making a trench to prevent persons or goods from passing without a license, have often been considered. Some have proposed a hedge of palmyra trees, others a fence of thorns, others a moat, others again a wall, because at this point the Commandement measures only two miles in breadth. But none of these proposals have been adopted all these years, as stated in our letter of August 24, 1695, to Batavia. Their Excellencies replied in their letter of July 3, 1696, that this is a good work, but as it is entirely to the advantage of the inhabitants it must be carried out without expense to the Company. This, in my humble opinion, is quite fair, and the Dessave, whom this matter principally concerns, will have to consider in what way such a trench as proposed could be made. The yearly Compendium will give much information on this subject, and will show what defects and obstacles have been [86]met with. It has been stated already how the Passes are garrisoned, and they are commanded by an Ensign according to the regulations.

Point Pedro, on the outer boundary of this Commandement, has resident only one Corporal and four Lascoreens, who are chiefly employed in the sending and receiving of letters to and from Coromandel and Trincomalee, in the loading of palmyra wood and other goods sent from there to the said two places, and in the search of departing and arriving private vessels, and the receipt of passports. These men also supervise the Oeliaars who have to work at the church which was commenced during the time of Commandeur Blom, and also those who have to burn lime or break coral stone from the old Portuguese fortress.

The fortress Kayts or Hammenhiel serves on the north, like Manaar in the south, to guard the passage by water to this Castle, and also serves the same purposes as Point Pedro, viz., the searching of private vessels, &c. Next to this fort is the island Leyden, where is stationed at present the Assistant Jacob Verhagen, who performs the same duties as the Corporal at Point Pedro, which may be found stated more in detail in the Instructions of January 4, 1696, compiled and issued by me for the said Assistant. The Ensign at the Passes received his instructions from Commandeur Blom, all of which must be followed.

As the Dessave is Commander over the military scattered in the country, and therefore also over those stationed at the said Passes and stations, it will chiefly be his duty to see that they are properly guarded so far as the small garrison here will permit, and also that they are provided with sufficient ammunition and provisions. The latter consist mostly of grain, oil, pepper, and arrack. This is mostly meant for Hammenhiel, as the other places can always be provided from the land side, but rice and ammunition must be always kept in store. Hammenhiel must be specially garrisoned during the southern monsoon, and be manned as much as possible by Dutchmen, who, if possible, must be transferred every three months, because many of these places are very unhealthy and others exceedingly lonesome, for which reasons it is not good to keep the people very long in one place. The chief officers are transferred every six months, which also must not be neglected, as it is a good rule in more than one respect.

Aripo, Elipoecarrewe, and Palmeraincattoe were formerly fortresses garrisoned like the others, but since the revolution of the Sinhalese and the Wannias of 1675, under the Dessave Tinnekon, these have become unnecessary and are [87]only guarded now by Lascoreens, who are mostly kept on for the transport of letters between Colombo, Manaar, and Jaffnapatam. (68)

Water tanks are here very necessary, because the country has no fresh water rivers, and the water for the cultivation of lands is that which is collected during the rainfall. Some wealthy and influential natives contrived to take possession of the tanks during the time the Company sold lands, with a view of thus having power over their neighbours and of forcing them to deliver up to them a large proportion of their harvests. They had to do this if they wished to obtain water for the cultivation of their fields, and were compelled thus to buy at high price that which comes as a blessing from the Lord to all men, plants, and animals in general. His Excellency Laurens Pyl, then Governor of Ceylon, issued an order in June, 1687, on his visit to this Commandement, that for these reasons no tanks should be private property, but should be left for common use, the owners being paid by those who require to water their fields as much as they could prove to have spent on these tanks. I found that this good order has not been carried out, because the family of Sangere Pulle alone possesses at present three such tanks, one of which is the property of Moddely Tamby. Before my departure to Colombo I had ordered that it should be given over to the surrounding landowners, who at once offered to pay the required amount, but I heard on my return that the conveyance had not been made yet by that unbearably proud and obstinate Bellale caste, they being encouraged by the way their patron Moddely Tamby had been favoured in Colombo, and the Commandeur is not even recognized and his orders are passed by. Your Honours must therefore see that my instructions with regard to these tanks are carried out, and that they are paid for by those interested, or that they are otherwise confiscated, in compliance with the Instructions of 1687 mentioned above, which Instructions may be found among the papers in the Mallabaar language kept by the schoolmasters of the parishes. Considering that many of the Instructions are preserved in the native language only, they ought to be collected and translated into our Dutch language. (69)

The public roads must be maintained at a certain breadth, and the natives are obliged to keep them in order. But their meanness and impudence is so great that they have gradually, year by year, extended the fences along their lands on to these roads, thus encroaching upon the high road. They see more and more that land is valuable on account of the harvests, and therefore do not leave a foot of ground uncultivated when the time of the rainy season is near. This is quite different from [88]formerly; so much so, that the lands are worth not only thrice but about four or five times as much as formerly. This may be seen when the lands are sold by public auction, and it may be also considered whether the people of Jaffnapatam are really so badly off as to find it necessary to agitate for an abatement of the tithes. The Dessave must therefore see that these roads are extended again to their original breadth and condition, punishing those who may have encroached on the roads. (70)

The Company’s elephant stalls have been allowed to fall into decay like the churches, and they must be repaired as soon as possible, which is also a matter within the province of the Dessave. (71)

Great expectations were cherished by some with regard to the thornback skins, Amber de gris, Besoar stones, Carret, and tusks from the elephants that died in the Company’s stalls, but experience did not justify these hopes. As these points have been dealt with in the Compendium of November 26, 1693, by Commandeur Blom, I would here refer to that document. I cannot add anything to what is stated there. (72)

The General Paresse is a ceremony which the Mudaliyars, Collectors, Majoraals, Aratchchies, &c., have to perform twice a year on behalf of the whole community, appearing together before the Commandeur in the fort. This is an obligation to which they have been subject from heathen times, partly to show their submission, partly to report on the condition of the country, and partly to give them an opportunity to make any request for the general welfare. As this Paresse tends to the interest of the Company as Sovereign Power on the one hand and to that of the inhabitants on the other hand, the custom must be kept up. When the Commandeur is absent at the time of this Paresse Your Honours could meet together and receive the chiefs. It is held once during the northern and once during the southern monsoon, without being bound to any special day, as circumstances may require it to be held earlier or later. During my absence the day is to be fixed by the Dessave, as land regent. Any proposal made by the native chiefs must be carefully written down by the Secretary, so that it may be possible to send a report of it to His Excellency the Governor and the Council if it should be of importance. All transactions must be carefully noted down and inserted in the journal, so that it may be referred to whenever necessary. The practice introduced by the Onderkoopman William de Ridder in Manaar of requiring the Pattangatyns from the opposite coast to attend not twice but twelve times a year or once a month is unreasonable, and the [89]people have rightly complained thereof. This practice must not be introduced again. Mr. De Ridder also appointed a second Cannekappul, which seems quite unnecessary, considering the small amount of work to be done there for the natives. Jeronimo could be discharged and Gonsalvo retained, the latter having been specially sent from Calpentyn by His Excellency Governor Thomas van Rhee and being the senior in the service. Of how little consequence the work at Manaar was considered by His Excellency Governor van Mydregt may be seen from the fact that His Excellency ordered that no Opperhoofd should be stationed there nor any accounts kept, but that the fort should be commanded by an Ensign as chief of the military. A second Cannekappul is therefore superfluous, and the Company could be saved the extra expense. (73)

I could make reference to a large number of other matters, but it would be tedious to read and remember them all. I will therefore now leave in Your Honours’ care the government of a Commandement from which much profit may be derived for the Company, and where the inhabitants, though deceitful, cunning, and difficult to rule, yet obey through fear; as they are cowardly, and will do what is right more from fear of punishment than from love of righteousness. I hope that Your Honours may have a more peaceful time than I had, for you are well aware how many difficulties, persecutions, and public slights I have had to contend with, and how difficult my government was through these causes, and through continual indisposition, especially of late. However, Jaffnapatam has been blessed by God during that period, as may be seen from what has been stated in this Memoir. I hope that Your Honours’ diligence and experience may supplement the defects in this Memoir, and, above all, that you will try to live and work together in harmony, for in that way the Company will be served best. There are people who will purposely cause dissension among the members of the Council, with a view to further their own ends or that of some other party, much to the injury of the person who permits them to do so. (74)

The Political Council consists at present of the following members:—

  • Ryklof de Bitter, Dessave, Opperkoopman.
  • Jan van der Bruggen, Captain.
  • Abraham M. Biermans, Administrateur.
  • Claas Isaacsz, Lieutenant.
  • Pieter Boscho, Onderkoopman, Store- and Thombo-keeper.
  • Johannes van Groenevelde, Fiscaal.
  • Pieter Bout, Cashier and Secretary.


With a view to enable His Excellency the Governor and the Council to alter or amplify this Memoir in compliance with the orders from Their Excellencies at Batavia, cited at the commencement of this document, I have purposely written on half of the pages only, so that final instructions might be added, as mine are only provisional. In case Your Honours should require any of the documents cited which are not kept here at the Secretariate, they may be applied for from His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo. Wishing Your Honours God’s blessing, and all prosperity in the administration of this extensive Commandement,

I remain, Sirs,
Yours faithfully,
H. Zwaardecroon.

1 That of Laurens Pyl.

2 These figures at the end of paragraphs refer to the marginal remarks by way of reply made by the Governor Gerrit de Heer in the original MS. of the Memoir, and which for convenience have been placed at the end of this volume. See p. 96.

3 Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede of Drakestein, Lord of Mydrecht, High Commissioner to Bengal, Coromandel, Ceylon, &c., from 1684–1691. For a fuller account of him, see Report on the Dutch Records, p. 39.

4 Elephants without tusks.

5 Thomas van Rhee, Governor of Ceylon, 1693 to 1695.

6 The old plural of opperkoopman, upper merchant, the highest grade in the Company’s Civil Service.

7 Veddas.

8 Tanjore.

9 Zinc.

10 Probably bullock carts, from Portuguese boi, an ox. Compare boiada, a herd of oxen.

11 Palm leaves dressed for thatching or matting, from the Malay kajang, palm leaves.

12 Chanks.

13 These figures are taken from the original MS. It is difficult to explain the discrepancy in the total.

14 This is the pure Arabic word, from which the word Shroff in our local vocabulary is derived.

15 See note on p. 16.

16 Accountants, Tamil.

17 A variation in spelling of chicos. See p. 21.

18 Commandeur Floris Blom died at Jaffna on July 3, 1694, and is buried inside the church.

19 Kernels of the palmyra nut.

20 An irrigation headman in the Northern and Southern Province.

21 Probably from kaiya, a party of workman doing work without wages for common advantage.

22 A corruption of the Tamil word pattankatti. The word is applied to certain natives in authority at the pearl fisheries.

23 Acts of appointment.

24 From Tamil tarahu, brokerage. Here applied apparently to the person employed in the transaction.

25 The juice of the palmyra fruit dried into cakes.

26 The fruit itself.

27 The palmyra yam.

28 Palm oil.

29 See note on p. 15 (cadjang).

30 Coir.

31 Bananas: the word is in use in Java.

32 Durbar.

33 This has been translated into English, and forms an Appendix to the Memoir of Governor Ryckloff van Goens, junior, to be had at the Government Record Office, Colombo.

34 The full value of the rix-dollar was 60 Dutch stivers; but in the course of time its local value appears to have depreciated, and as a denomination of currency it came to represent only 48 stivers. Yet to preserve a fictitious identity with the original rix-dollar, the local mint turned out stivers of lower value, of which 60 were made to correspond to 48 of the Dutch stivers.

35 In China a picol is equal to 133⅓ lb. avoir.

36 Probably the Malay word bahar. It was equal to 419 lb. avoir. The word is also found spelt baar, plural baren, in the Dutch Records. A baar is equal to 600 lb.

37 Florins, stivers, abassis.

38 These are now known as cheniyas.

39 Plural of onderkoopman.

40 The same as chicos. See p. 21.

41 Pupil teachers?

42 Pardaõ, a popular name among the Portuguese for a gold and afterwards for a silver coin. That here referred to was perhaps the pagoda, which Valentyn makes equal to 6 guilders.

43 A copy of these is among the Archives in Colombo.

44 The Militia, composed of Vryburgers as officers, and townsmen of a certain age in the ranks.

45 Pen-men, who also had military duties to perform.

46 The Artisan class in the Company’s service.

47 Sloops.

48 Same as dhoneys.

49 Lit. “man searchers.” These were probably small boats rowed by men.

50 Cakes of palmyra sugar.

51 Coconut shells.

52 See note on p. 15.

53 This is what he says: “It was my intention to have a new drawbridge built before the Castle, with a small water mill on one side to keep the canals always full of sea water; and a miniature model has already been made.”

54 He died on December 15, 1691, on board the ship Drechterland on a voyage from Ceylon to Surat.

55 Cured and dried fish.

56 Pallars?

57 See page 21 supra.

58 The church was completed in 1706, during the administration of Commandeur Adam van der Duyn.

59Van geen oude schoenen te verwerpen, voor dat men met nieuwe voorsien is.

60 Tanjore.

61 This is unfortunately no longer forthcoming, having probably been destroyed or lost with the rest of the Jaffna records; and there is no copy in the Archives at Colombo. But an older report of Commandeur Blom dated 1690 will be translated for this series.

62 Also lost.

63 The figures are as given in the MS. It is difficult to reconcile these equivalents with the rate of 3 guilders to the rix-dollar. The denominations given under florins (guilders) are as follows:—16 abassis = 1 stiver; 20 stivers = 1 florin.

64 See note on p. 16.

65 Hendrick Zwaardecroon.



A.—The above Instructions were ready for Your Honours when, on January 31 last, the yacht “Bekenstyn” brought a letter from Colombo dated January 18, in which we were informed of the arrival of our new Governor, His Excellency Gerrit de Heere. By the same vessel an extract was sent from a letter of the Supreme Government of India of October 19 last, in which my transfer to Mallabaar has been ordered. But, much as I had wished to serve the Company on that coast, I could not at once obey the order owing to a serious illness accompanied by a fit, with which it pleased the Lord to afflict me on January 18. Although not yet quite recovered, I have preferred to undertake the voyage to Mallabaar without putting it off for another six months, trusting that God will help me duly to serve my superiors, although the latter course seemed more advisable on account of my state of health. As some matters have occurred and some questions have arisen since the writing of my Memoir, I have to add here a few explanations.

B.—Together with the above-mentioned letter from Colombo, of January 18, we also received a document signed by both Their Excellencies Governors Thomas van Rhee and Gerrit de Heere, by which all trade in Ceylon except that of cinnamon is made open and free to every one. Since no extract from the letter from Batavia with regard to this matter was enclosed, I have been in doubt as to how far the permission spoken of in [91]that document was to be extended. As I am setting down here my doubt on this point, His Excellency the Governor and the Council of Colombo will, I have no doubt, give further information upon it. I suppose that the trade in elephants is excepted as well as that in cinnamon, and that it is still prohibited to capture, transport, or sell these animals otherwise than on behalf of the Company, either directly or indirectly, as has been the usage so far.

C.—I suppose there will be no necessity now to obtain the areca-nuts as ordered in the Instructions from Colombo of March 23, 1695, but that these nuts are included among the articles open to free trade, so that they may be now brought from Jaffnapatam through the Wanni to Tondy, Madura, and Coromandel, as well as to other places in Ceylon, provided the payment of the usual Customs duty of the Alphandigo,1 which is 7½ per cent. for export, and that it may also be freely transported through the Passes on the borders of the Wanni, and that no Customs duty is to be paid except when it is sent by sea. I understand that the same will be the rule for cotton, pepper, &c., brought from the Wanni to be sent by sea. This will greatly increase the Alphandigo, so that the conditions for the farming of these must be altered for the future accordingly. If the Customs duty were also charged at the Passes, the farming out of these would still increase, but I do not think that it would benefit the Company very much, because there are many opportunities for smuggling beyond these three Passes, and the expenditure of keeping guards would be far too great. The duty being recovered as Alphandigo, there is no chance of smuggling, as the vessels have to be provided with proper passports. All vessels from Jaffnapatam are inspected at the Waterfort, Hammenhiel and at the redoubt Point Pedro.

D.—In my opinion the concession of free trade will necessitate the remission of the duty on the Jaffnapatam native and foreign cloths, because otherwise Jaffnapatam would be too heavily taxed compared with other places, as the duty is 20 and 25 per cent. I think both the cloths made here and those imported from outside ought to be taxed through the Alphandigo of 7½ per cent. This would still more increase the duty, and this must be borne in mind when these revenues are farmed out next December, if His Excellency the Governor and the Council approve of my advice. The duty of 25 per cent. is far too high, and it must be remembered that this was a duty imposed with a view to prevent the weaving of cloths and to secure the monopoly of the trade to the Company, and [92]not in order to make a revenue out of it. This project did not prove a success; but I will not enter into details about it, as these may be found in the questions submitted by me to the Council of Ceylon on January 22, 1695, and I have also mentioned them in this Memoir under the heading of Rents.

E.—It seems to me that henceforth the people of Jaffnapatam would, as a result of this free trade, be no longer bound to deliver to the Company the usual 24 casks of coconut oil yearly before they are allowed to export their nuts. This rule was laid down in a letter from Colombo of October 13, 1696, with a view to prevent Ceylon being obliged to obtain coconut oil from outside. This duty was imposed upon Jaffnapatam, because the trees in Galle and Matura had become unfruitful from the Company’s elephants having to be fed with the leaves. The same explanation was not urged with regard to Negombo, which is so much nearer to Colombo than Galle, Matura, or Jaffnapatam, and it is a well-known fact that many of the ships from Jaffnapatam and other places are sent with coconuts from Negombo to Coromandel or Tondel, while the nuts from the lands of the owners there are held back. I expect therefore that the new Governor His Excellency Gerrit de Heere and the Council of Colombo will give us further instructions with regard to this matter. More details may be found in this Memoir under the heading of Coconut Trees.

F.—A letter was received from Colombo, bearing date March 4 last, in which was enclosed a form of a passport which appears to have been introduced there after the opening of the free trade, with orders to introduce the same here. This has been done already during my presence here and must be continued.

G.—In the letter of the 9th instant we received various and important instructions which must be carried out. An answer to this letter was sent by us on the 22nd of the same month. One of these instructions is to the effect that a new road should be cut for the elephants which are to be sent from Colombo. Another requires the compilation of various lists, one of which is to be a list of all lands belonging to the Company or given away on behalf of it, with a statement showing by whom, to whom, when, and why they were granted. I do not think this order refers to Jaffnapatam, because all fields were sold during the time of Commandeur Vosch and others. Only a few small pieces of land were discovered during the compilation of the new Land Thombo, which some of the natives had been cultivating. A few wild palmyra trees have been found in the Province of Patchelepalle, but these and the lands have been entered in the new Thombo. We cannot therefore [93]very well furnish such a list of lands as regards Jaffnapatam, because the Company does not possess any, but if desired a copy of the new Land Thombo (which will consist of several reams of imperial paper) could be sent. I do not, however, think this is meant, since there is not a single piece of land in Jaffnapatam for which no taxes are paid, and it is for the purpose of finding this out that the new Thombo is being compiled.

H.—The account between the Moorish elephant purchasers and the Company through the Brahmin Timmerza as its agent, about which so much has been written, was settled on August 31 last, and so also was the account of the said Timmerza himself and the Company. A difficulty arises now as to how the business with these people is to be transacted; because three of the principal merchants from Galconda arrived here the other day with three cheques to the amount of 7,145 Pagodas in the name of the said Timmerza. According to the orders by His Excellency Thomas van Rhee the latter is no longer to be employed as the Company’s agent, so there is some irregularity in the issue of these cheques and this order, in which it is stated that the cheques must bear the names of the purchasers themselves, while on the other hand the purchasers made a special request that the amount due to them might be paid to their attorneys in cash or elephants through the said Timmerza. However this may be, I do not wish to enter into details, as these matters, like many others, had been arranged by His Excellency the Governor and the Council without my knowledge or advice. Your Honours must await an answer from His Excellency the Governor Gerrit de Heere and the Council of Colombo, and follow the instructions they will send with regard to the said cheques; and the same course may be followed as regards the cheques of two other merchants who may arrive here just about the time of my departure. I cannot specify the amount here, as I did not see these people for want of time. The merchants of Golconda have also requested that, as they have no broker to deal with, they may be allowed an advance by the Company in case they run short of cash, which request has been communicated in our letter to Colombo of the 4th instant.

I.—As we had only provision of rice for this Commandement for about nine months, application has been made to Negapatam for 20,000 paras of rice, but a vessel has since arrived at Kayts from Bengal, belonging to the Nabob of Kateck, by name Kaimgaarehen, and loaded as I am informed with very good rice. If this be so, the grain might be purchased on behalf of the Company, and in that case the order for nely from [94]Negapatam could be countermanded. It must be remembered, however, that the rice from Bengal cannot be stored away, but must be consumed as soon as possible, which is not the case with that of Negapatam. The people from Bengal must be well treated and assisted wherever possible without prejudice to the Company; so that they may be encouraged to come here more often and thus help us to make provision for the need of grain, which is always a matter of great concern here. I have already treated of the Moorish trade and also of the trade in grain between Trincomalee and Batticaloa, and will only add here that since the arrival of the said vessel the price has been reduced from 6 to 5 and 4 fannums the para.

K.—On my return from Colombo last year the bargemen of the Company’s pontons submitted a petition in which they complained that they had been obliged to make good the value of all the rice that had been lost above 1 per cent. from the cargoes that had been transported from Kayts to the Company’s stores. They complained that the measuring had not been done fairly, and that a great deal had been blown away by the strong south-west winds; also that there had been much dust in the nely, and that besides this it was impossible for them to prevent the native crew who had been assigned to them from stealing the grain both by day and night, especially since rice had become so expensive on account of the scarcity. I appointed a Committee to investigate this matter, but as it has been postponed through my illness, Your Honours must now take the matter in hand and have it decided by the Council. In future such matters must always be brought before the Council, as no one has the right to condemn others on his own authority. The excuse of the said bargemen does not seem to carry much weight, but they are people who have served the Company for 30 or 40 years and have never been known to commit fraud. It must also be made a practice in future that these people are held responsible for their cargo only till they reach the harbour where it is unloaded, as they can only guard it on board of their vessels.

L.—I have spoken before of the suspicion I had with regard to the changing of golden Pagodas, and with a view to have more security in future I have ordered the cashier Bout to accept no Pagodas except directly from the Accountant at Negapatam, who is responsible for the value of the Pagodas. He must send them to the cashier in packets of 100 at a time, which must be sealed.

M.—The administration of the entire Commandement having been left by me to the Opperkoopman and Dessave Mr. Ryklof de Bitter and the other members of the Council, this does not [95]agree with the orders from the Supreme Government of India contained in their letter of October 19 last year, but since the Dessave de Bitter has since been appointed as the chief of the Committee for the pearl fishery and has left already, it will be for His Excellency the Governor and the Council to decide whether the Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz is to be entrusted with the administration, as was done last year.

Wishing Your Honours for the second time God’s blessing,

I remain,
Yours faithfully,
(Signed) H. Zwaardecroon.

1 Customs duty.


Short notes

by Gerrit de Heere, Governor of the Island of Ceylon, on the chief points raised in these Instructions of Commandeur Hendrick Zwaardecroon, for the guidance of the Opperkoopman Mr. Ryklof de Bitter, Second in authority and Dessave of the Commandement, and the other members of the Political Council of Jaffnapatam. Where the notes contradict the Instructions the orders conveyed by the former are to be followed. In other respects the Instructions must be observed, as approved by Their Excellencies the Governor-General and the Council of India.

1. The form of Government, as approved at the time mentioned here, must be also observed with regard to the Dessave and Secunde, Mr. Ryklof de Bitter, as has been confirmed by the Honourable the Government of Batavia in their special letter of October 19 last.

2. What is stated here is reasonable and in compliance with the Instructions, but with regard to the recommendation to send to Mr. Zwaardecroon by Manaar and Tutucorin advices and communications of all that transpires in this Commandement, I think it would be sufficient, as Your Honours have also to give an account to us, and this would involve too much writing, to communicate occasionally and in general terms what is going on, and to send him a copy of the Compendium which is yearly compiled for His Excellency the Governor. This we authorize Mr. de Bitter and the other members of Council to do.

3. We fully confirm the recommendation here given.

4. The Wanni, the largest territory here, has been divided by the Company into several Provinces, which have been given in usufruct to some Majoraals, who bear the title of [97]Wannias, on the condition that they should yearly deliver to the Company 42½ alias (elephants). The distribution of these tributes is as follows:—

Don Philip Nellamapane and Don Gaspar Ilengenarenne, for the Provinces of—
Pannegamo 17
Pelleallacoelan 2
Poedicoerie-irpoe 2
—— 21
Don Diogo Poevenelle Mapane, for the Provinces of—
Carrecattemoele 7
Meelpattoe 5
—— 12
Don Amblewannar, for the Province of—
Carnamelpattoe 4
Don Chedoega Welemapane, for the Province of—
Tinnemerwaddoe 2
Don Peria Meynaar, for the Province of—
Total 42½

The accumulated arrears from the years 1680 to 1694, of which they were discharged, amounted to 333½ elephants. From that time up to the present day the arrears have again accumulated to 86¾ alias, namely:—

Don Philip Nellamapane 57½
Don Diogo Poevenelle Mapane 23
Peria Meynaar Oediaar
Chedoega Welemapane
Total 86¾

The result proves that all the honour and favours shown to these people do not induce them to pay up their tribute; but on the contrary, as has been shown in the annexed Memoir, they allow them to go on increasing. This is the reason I would not suffer the indignity of requesting payment from them, but told them seriously that this would be superfluous [98]in the case of men of their eminence; which they, however, entirely ignored. I then exhorted them in the most serious terms to pay up their dues, saying that I would personally come within a year to see whether they had done so. As this was also disregarded, I dismissed them. Don Philip Nellamapane and Don Gaspar Ilengenarenne, who owed 57½ alias, made the excuse that these arrears were caused by the bad terms on which they were with each other, and asked that I would dissociate them, so that each could pay his own tribute. I agreed that they should arrange with the Dessave about the different lands, writing down on ola the arrangements made, and submitting them to me for approval; but as I have heard no more about the matter up to the present day, I fear that they only raised these difficulties to make believe that they were unable to pay, and to try to get the Company again to discharge them from the delivery of their tribute of 21 elephants for next year. It would perhaps be better to do this than to be continually fooled by these people. But you have all seen how tremblingly they appeared before me (no doubt owing to a bad conscience), and how they followed the palanquin of the Dessave like boys, all in order to obtain more favourable conditions; but I see no reason why they should not pay, and think they must be urged to do so. They have promised however to pay up their arrears as soon as possible, so that we will have to wait and see; while Don Diogo Poevenelle Mapane also has to deliver his 23 alias. In compliance with the orders from Colombo of May 11, 1696, Don Philip Nellamapane will be allowed to sell one elephant yearly to the Moors, on the understanding that he had delivered his tribute, and not otherwise; while the sale must be in agreement with the orders of Their Excellencies at Batavia, contained in their letter of November 13, 1683. The other Provinces, Carnamelpattoe, Tinnemerwaddoe, and Moeliawalle are doing fairly well, and the tribute for these has been paid; although it is rather small and consists only of 9½ alias (elephants), which the Wannias there, however, deliver regularly, or at least do not take very long in doing so. Perhaps they could furnish more elephants in lieu of the tithes of the harvest, and it would not matter if the whole of it were paid in this way, because this amount could be made up for by supplies from the lands of Colombo, Galle, and Matara, or a larger quantity could be ordered overland.

That the Master of the Hunt, Don Gasper Nitchenchen Aderayen, should, as if he were a sovereign, have put to death a Lascoreen and a hunter under the old Don Gaspar on his own responsibility, is a matter which will result in very bad consequences; but I have heard rumours to the effect that it was [99]not his work, but his father’s (Don Philip Nellamapane). With regard to these people Your Honours must observe the Instructions of Mr. Zwaardecroon, and their further actions must be watched; because of their conspiracies with the Veddas, in one of which the brother of Cottapulle Odiaar is said to have been killed. Time does not permit it, otherwise I would myself hold an inquiry.

5. Mantotte, Moesely, and Pirringaly, which Provinces are ruled by officers paid by the Company, seem to be doing well; because the Company received from there a large number of elephants, besides the tithes of the harvest, which are otherwise drawn by the Wannias. The two Wannias, Don Philip Nellamapane and Don Gaspar, complain that they do not receive the tribute of two elephants due to them from the inhabitants of Pirringaly, but I do not find in the decree published by Commandeur Blom on June 11, 1693, in favour of the inhabitants, any statement that they owe such tribute for liberation from the rule of the Wannias, but only that they (these Wannias) will be allowed to capture elephants. These Wannias, however, sent me a dirty little document, bearing date May 12, 1694, in which it is stated that the hunters of Pirringaly had delivered at Manaar for Pannengamo in the year 1693 two alias, each 4–3/8 cubits high. If more evidence could be found, it might be proved that such payment of 2 alias yearly really had to be made, and it would be well for Your Honours to investigate this matter, because it is very necessary to protect and assist the hunters as much as possible, as a reward for their diligence in the capture of elephants. Payment must be made to them in compliance with the orders of His Excellency van Mydregt.

6. Ponneryn, the third Province from which elephants should be obtained, and which, like Illepoecarwe, Polweraincattoe, and Mantotte, was ruled formerly by an Adigar or Lieutenant-Dessave, was doing fairly well; because the Company received yearly on an average no less than 25 alias, besides the tithes of the harvest, until in 1690 the mode of government was changed, and the revenue of Ponneryn was granted by public decree to the young Don Gaspar by the Lord Commissioner van Mydregt, while those of the other two Provinces were granted to the old Don Gaspar, on condition that the young Don Gaspar would capture and deliver to the Company all elephants which could be obtained in the said Provinces, while the inhabitants of Ponneryn would be obliged to obey the Master of the Hunt as far as their services should be required by the Company and as they had been accustomed to render. This new arrangement did not [100]prove a success; because, during seven years, he only delivered 44 elephants, although in the annexed Memoir it is stated that he delivered 74. Of these 44 animals, 7 were tuskers and 37 alias, viz.:—

For 1690 4
1691–92 6
1692–93 5
1693–94 16
1694–95 13
Total 44

During the last two years he did not deliver a single animal, so that the Company lost on account of this Master of the Hunt, 131 elephants. He only appropriated the tithes of the harvest, and did not care in the least about the hunt, so that the Company is even prevented from obtaining what it would have received by the old method; and, I must say, I do not understand how these privileges have been granted so long where they are so clearly against the interest of the Company, besides being the source of unlawful usurpation practised over the inhabitants, which is directly against the said deeds of gift. The elephant hunters have repeatedly applied to be relieved of their authority and to be allowed to serve again under the Company. For these reasons, as Your Honour is aware, I have considered it necessary for the service of the Company to provisionally appoint the sergeant Albert Hendriksz, who, through his long residence in these Provinces, has gained a great deal of experience, Adigar over Ponneryn; which was done at the request of the elephant hunters. He will continue the capture of elephants with the hunters without regard to the Master of the Hunt, and Your Honour must give him all the assistance required, because the hunt has been greatly neglected. Your Honour may allow both the Don Gaspars to draw the tithes of the harvest until our authorities at Batavia will have disposed of this matter.

7. The trade in elephants is undoubtedly the most important, as the rest does not amount to much more than Rds. 7,000 to 9,000 a year. During the year 1695–1696 the whole of the sale amounted to Fl. 33,261.5, including a profit of Fl. 15,137.9.11. We find it stated in the annexed Memoir that the merchants spoilt their own market by bidding against each other at the public auctions, but whether this was really the case we will not discuss here. I positively disapprove of the complicated and impractical way in which this trade has been carried on [101]for some years, and which was opposed to the interests of the Company. I therefore considered it necessary to institute the public auctions, by which, compared with the former method, the Company has already gained a considerable amount; which is, however, no more than what it was entitled to, without it being of the least prejudice to the trade. I will not enlarge on this subject further, as all particulars relating to it and everything connected with it may be found in our considerations and speculations and in the decisions arrived at in accordance therewith, which are contained in the daily resolutions from July 24 to August 20 inclusive, a copy of which was left with Your Honours, and to which I refer you. As to the changed methods adopted this year, these are not to be altered by any one but Their Excellencies at Batavia, whose orders I will be obliged and pleased to receive. As a number of elephants was sold last year for the sum of Rds. 53,357, it was a pity that they could not all be transported at once, without a number of 126 being left behind on account of the northern winds. We have therefore started the sale a little earlier this year, and kept the vessels in readiness, so that all the animals may be easily transported during August next. On the 20th of this month all purchasers were, to their great satisfaction, ready to depart, and requested and obtained leave to do so. This year the Company sold at four different auctions the number of 86 elephants for the sum of Rds. 36,950, 16 animals being left unsold for want of cash among the purchasers, who are ready to depart with about 200 animals which they are at present engaged in putting on board. The practice of the early preparation of vessels and the holding of public auctions must be always observed, because it is a great loss to the merchants to have to stay over for a whole year, while the Company also suffers thereby, because in the meantime the animals do not change masters. It is due to this reason and to the want of ready cash that this year 16 animals were left unsold. In future it must be a regular practice in Ceylon to have all the elephants that are to be sold brought to these Provinces before July 1, so that all preparations may be made to hold the auctions about the middle of July, or, if the merchants do not arrive so soon, on August 1. Meanwhile all the required vessels must be got ready, so that no animals need be left behind on account of contrary winds. As we have now cut a road, by which the elephants may be led from Colombo, Galle, and Matura, as was done successfully one or two months ago, when in two trips from Matura, Galle, Colombo, Negombo, and Putulang were brought here with great convenience the large number of 63 elephants, the former plan of transporting the animals in [102]native vessels from Galle and Colombo can be dropped now, a few experiments having been made and proving apparently unsuccessful. It must be seen that at least 12 or 15 elephants are trained for the hunt, as a considerable number is always required, especially if the animals from Putulang have to be fetched by land. For this reason I have ordered that two out of the 16 animals that were left from the sale and who have some slight defects, but which do not unfit them for this work, should be trained, viz., No 22, 5⅜ cubits high, and No. 72, 5½ cubits high, which may be employed to drive the other animals. Meanwhile the Dessave must see that the two animals which, as he is aware, were lent to Don Diogo, are returned to the Company. These animals were not counted among those belonging to the Company, which was very careless. As is known to Your Honours, we have abolished the practice of branding the animals twice with the mark Ⓥ, as was done formerly, once when they were sent to these Provinces and again when they were sold, and consider it better to mark them only once with a number, beginning with No. 1, 2, 3, &c., up to No. 100. Ten iron brand numbers have been made for this purpose. If there are more than 100 animals, they must begin again with number 1, and as a mark of distinction a cross must be put after each number, which rule must be observed in future, especially as the merchants were pleased with it and as it is the best way of identifying the animals. We trust that with the opening of the King’s harbours the plan of obtaining the areca-nut from the King’s territory by water will be unnecessary, but the plan of obtaining these nuts by way of the Wanni will be dealt with in the Appendix.

8. The trade with the Moors from Bengal must be protected, and these people fairly and reasonably dealt with, so that we may secure the necessary supply of grain and victuals. We do not see any reason why these and other merchants should not be admitted to the sale of elephants, as was done this year, when every one was free to purchase as he pleased. The people of Dalpatterau only spent half of their cash, because they wished to wait till next year for animals which should be more to their liking. His Excellency the High Commissioner informed me that he had invited not only the people from Golconda, but also those of Tanhouwer,1 &c., to take part in that trade, and this may be done, especially now that the prospects seem to all appearances favourable; while from the districts of Colombo, Galle, and Matura a sufficient number of elephants may be procured to make up for the deficiency [103]in Jaffnapatam, if we only know a year before what number would be required, which must be always inquired into.

As the Manaar chanks are not in demand in Bengal, we have kept here a quantity of 36½ Couren of different kinds, intending to sell in the usual commercial way to the Bengal merchants here present; but they did not care to take it, and said plainly that the chanks were not of the required size or colour; they must therefore be sent to Colombo by the first opportunity, to be sent on to Bengal next year to be sold at any price, as this will be better than having them lying here useless.

9. The subject of the inhabitants has been treated of in such a way that it is unnecessary for me to add anything.

10. With regard to the tithes, I agree with Mr. Zwaardecroon that the taxes need not be reduced, especially as I never heard that the inhabitants asked for this to be done. It will be the duty of the Dessave to see that the tenth of the harvest of the waste lands, which were granted with exemption of taxes for a certain period, is brought into the Company’s stores after the stated period has expired.

11. Poll tax.—It is necessary that a beginning should be made with the work of revising the Head Thombo, and that the names of the old and infirm people and of those that have died should be taken off the list, while the names of the youths who have reached the required age are entered. This renovation should take place once in three years, and the Dessave as Land Regent should sometimes assist in this work.

12. Officie Gelden.—It will be very well if this be divided according to the number of people in each caste, so that each individual pays his share, instead of the amount being demanded from each caste as a whole, because it is apparent that the Majoraals have profited by the old method.

13. No remarks are at present necessary with regard to the Adigary.

14. The Oely service, imposed upon those castes which are bound to serve, must be looked after, as this is the only practicable means of continuing the necessary works. The idea of raising the fine for non-attendance from 2 stivers, which they willingly pay, to 4 stivers or one fanam,2 is not bad, but I found this to be the practise already for many years, as may be seen from the annexed account of two parties of men who had been absent, which most likely was overlooked by mistake. This is yet stronger evidence that the circumstances of the inhabitants have improved, and I [104]therefore think it would be well to raise the chicos from 4 stivers to 6 stivers or 1½ fanam, with a view to finding out whether the men will then be more diligent in the performance of their duty; because the work must be carried on by every possible means. Your Honours are again seriously recommended to see that the sicos or fines specified in the annexed Memoir are collected without delay, and also the amount still due for 1693, because such delay cannot but be prejudicial to the Company. The old and infirm people whose names are not entered in the new Thombo must still deliver mats, and kernels for coals for the smith’s shop. No objections will be raised to this if they see that we do not slacken in our supervision.

15. Tax Collectors and Majoraals.—The payment of the taxes does not seem satisfactory, because only Rds. 180 have been paid yet out of the Rds. 2,975.1 due as sicos for the year 1695. It would be well if these officers could be transferred according to the Instructions of 1673 and 1675. It used to be the practice to transfer them every three years; but I think it will be trouble in vain now, because when an attempt was made to have these offices filled by people of various castes, it caused such commotion and uproar that it was not considered advisable to persist in this course except where the interest of the Company made it strictly necessary. Perhaps a gradual change could be brought about by filling the places of some of the Bellales when they die by persons of other castes, which I think could be easily done. Although Mr. Zwaardecroon seems to think it desirable that the appointment of new officials for vacancies and the issuing of the actens should be deferred till his return from Mallabaar or until another Commandeur should come over, we trust that he does not mean that these appointments could not be made by the Governor of the Island or by the person authorized by him to do so. If the Commandeur were present, such appointment should not be made without his knowledge, especially after the example of the commotion caused by the transfer of these officers in this Commandement, but in order that Your Honours may not be at a loss what to do, it will be better for you not to wait for the return of Mr. Zwaardecroon from Mallabaar, nor for the arrival of any other Commandeur, but to refer these and all other matters concerning this Commandement, which is subordinate to us, to Colombo to the Governor and Council, so that proper advice in debita forma may be given.

16. The Lascoreens certainly make better messengers than soldiers. The Dessave must therefore maintain discipline among them, and take care that no men bound to perform [105]other duties are entered as Lascoreens. This they often try to bring about in order to be excused from labour, and the Company is thus deprived of labourers and is put to great inconvenience. I noticed this to be the case in Colombo during the short time I was in Ceylon, when the labour had to be supplied by the Company’s slaves. There seems to be no danger of another famine for some time, as the crop in Coromandel has turned out very well. We cannot therefore agree to an increase of pay, although it is true that the present wages of the men are very low. It must be remembered, however, that they are also very simple people, who have but few wants, and are not always employed in the service of the Company; so that they may easily earn something besides if they are not too lazy. We will therefore keep their wages for the present at the rate they have been at for so many years; especially because it is our endeavour to reduce the heavy expenditure of the Company by every practicable means. We trust that there was good reason why the concession made by His Excellency the Extraordinary Councillor of India, Mr. Laurens Pyl, in favour of the Lascoreens has not been executed, and we consider that on account of the long interval that has elapsed it is no longer of application. The proposal to transfer the Lascoreens in this Commandement twice, or at least once a year, will be a good expedient for the reasons stated.

17. The importation of slaves from the opposite coast seems to be most profitable to the inhabitants of Jaffnapatam, as no less a number than 3,584 were brought across in two years’ time, for which they paid 9,856 guilders as duty. It would be better if they imported a larger quantity of rice or nely, because there is so often a scarcity of food supplies here. It is also true that the importation of so many slaves increases the number of people to be fed, and that the Wannias could make themselves more formidable with the help of these men, so that there is some reason for the question whether the Company does not run the risk of being put to inconvenience with regard to this Commandement. Considering also that the inhabitants have suffered from chicken-pox since the importation of slaves, which may endanger whole Provinces, I think it will be well to prevent the importation of slaves. As to the larger importation on account of the famine on the opposite coast, where these creatures were to be had for a handful of rice, this will most likely cease now, after the better harvest. The danger with regard to the Wannias I do not consider so very great, as the rule of the Company is such that the inhabitants prefer it to the extreme hardships they had to undergo under the Wannia chiefs, and they would kill them if not for fear of the power of the [106]Company. Therefore I think it unnecessary to have any apprehension on this score.

18. Rice and nely are the two articles which are always wanting, not only in Jaffnapatam, but throughout Ceylon all over the Company’s territory, and therefore the officers of the Government must constantly guard against a monopoly being made of this grain. This opportunity is taken to recommend the matter to Your Honours as regards this Commandement.

19. I do not consider any remarks necessary with regard to the native trade. I agree, however, with the method practised by Mr. Zwaardecroon in order to prevent the monopoly of grain, viz., that all vessels returning with grain, which the owners take to Point Pedro, Tellemanaar, and Wallewitteture, often under false pretexts, in order to hide it there, should be ordered to sail to Kayts. This matter is recommended to Your Honours’ attention.

20. With regard to the coconut trees, we find that more difficulties are raised about the order from Colombo of October 13 last, for the delivery of 24 casks of coconut oil, than is necessary, considering the large number of trees found in this country. It seems to me that this could be easily done; because, according to what is published from time to time, and from what is stated in the Pass Book, it appears that during the period of five years 1692 to 1696 inclusive, a number of 5,397,800 of these nuts were exported, besides the quantity smuggled and the number consumed within this Commandement. Calculating that one cask, or 400 cans of 10 quarterns, of oil can be easily drawn from 5,700 coconuts (that is to say, in Colombo: in this Commandement 6,670 nuts would be required for the same quantity, and thus, for the whole supply of 24 casks, 160,080 nuts would be necessary), I must say I do not understand why this order should be considered so unreasonable, and why the Company’s subjects could not supply this quantity for good payment. Instead of issuing licenses for the export of the nuts it will be necessary to prohibit it, because none of either of the kinds of oil demanded has been delivered. I do not wish to express my opinion here, but will only state that shortly after my arrival, I found that the inhabitants on their own account gladly delivered the oil at the Company’s stores at the rate of 3 fanams or Rd. 1/4 per marcal of 36 quarterns, even up to 14 casks, and since then, again, 10 casks have been delivered, and they still continue to do so. They also delivered 3 amen of margosa oil, while the Political Council were bold enough to assert in their letter of April 4 last that it was absolutely impossible to send either of the two kinds of oil, the excuse [107]being that they had not even sufficient for their own requirements. How far this statement can be relied upon I will not discuss here; but I recommend to Your Honours to be more truthful and energetic in future, and not to trouble us with unnecessary correspondence, as was done lately; although so long as the Dessave is present I have better expectations.

21. No remarks are necessary on the subject of the iron and steel tools, except that there is the more reason why what is recommended here must be observed; because the free trade with Coromandel and Palecatte has been opened this year by order of the Honourable the Supreme Government of India.

22. It is very desirable that the palmyra planks and laths should be purchased by the Dessave. As reference is made here to the large demand for Colombo and Negapatam, I cannot refrain from remarking that the demand from Negapatam has been taken much more notice of than that from Colombo; because, within a period of four years, no more than 1,970 planks and 19,652 laths have been sent here, which was by no means sufficient, and in consequence other and far less durable wood had to be used. We also had to obtain laths from private persons at Jaffnapatam at a high rate and of inferior quality. I therefore specially request that during the next northern monsoon the following are sent to this Commandement of Colombo,3 where several necessary building operations are to be undertaken:—4,000 palmyra planks in two kinds, viz., 2,000 planks, four out of one tree; 2,000 planks, three out of one tree; 20,000 palmyra laths. Your Honour must see that this timber is sent to Colombo by any opportunity that offers itself.

23. It will be necessary to train another able person for the supervision of the felling of timber, so that we may not be put to any inconvenience in case of the death of the old sergeant. Such a person must be well acquainted with the country and the forests, and the advice here given must be followed.

24. Charcoal, which is burnt from kernels, has been mentioned under the heading of the Oely service, where it is stated who are bound to deliver it. These persons must be kept up to the mark, but as a substitute in times of necessity 12 hoeden4 of coals were sent last January as promised to Your Honour. This must, however, be economically used. [108]

25. As stated here, the bark-lunt is more a matter of convenience than of importance. It is, however, necessary to continue exacting this duty, being an old right of the lord of the land; but on the other hand it must be seen that too much is not extorted.

26. The coral stone is a great convenience, and it would be well if it could be found in more places in Ceylon, when so many hoekers would not be required to bring the lime from Tutucorin.

27. The lime found here is also a great convenience and profit, as that which is required in this Commandement is obtained free of cost. When no more lime is required for Coromandel, the 8,000 or 9,000 paras from Cangature must be taken to Kayts as soon as possible in payment of what the lime-burners still owe. If it can be proved that any amount is still due, they must return it in cash, as proposed by Commandeur Zwaardecroon, which Your Honour is to see to. But as another order has come from His Excellency the Governor of Coromandel for 100 lasts of lime, it will be easier to settle this account.

28. The dye-roots have been so amply treated of here and in such a way that I recommend to Your Honour to follow the advice given. I would add some remarks on the subject if want of time did not prevent my doing so.

29. The farming out of the duties, including those on the import of foreign cloth of 20 per cent., having increased by Rds. 4,056½, must be continued in the same way. The stamping of native cloth (included in the lease) must be reduced, from September 1 next, to 20 per cent. The farmers must also be required to pay the monthly term at the beginning of each month in advance, which must be stipulated in the lease, so that the Company may not run any risks. There are prospects of this lease becoming more profitable for the Company in future, on account of the passage having been opened.

30. With regard to the Trade Accounts, such good advice has been given here, that I fully approve of it and need not make any further comments, but only recommend the observance of the rules.

31. The debts due to the Company, amounting to 116,426.11.14 guilders at the end of February, 1694, were at the departure of Mr. Zwaardecroon reduced to 16,137.8 guilders. This must no doubt be attributed to the greater vigilance exercised, in compliance with the orders from the Honourable the Supreme Government of India by resolution of 1693. This order still holds good and seems to be still [109]obeyed; because, since the date of this Memoir, the debt has been reduced to 14,118.11.8 guilders. The account at present is as follows:—

The Province of Timmoraatsche 376. 2.8
The Province of Patchelepalle 579.10.0
Tandua Moeti and Nagachitty (weavers) 2,448.13.0
Manuel of Anecotta 8,539. 6.0
The Tannecares caste 1,650. 0.0
Don Philip Nellamapane 375. 0.0
Ambelewanner 150. 0.0
Total 14,118.11.8

Herein is not included the Fl. 167.15 which again has been paid to the weavers Tandua Moeti and Naga Chitty on account of the Company for the delivery of Salampoeris, while materials have been issued to them later on. It is not with my approval that these poor people continue to be employed in the weaving of cloth, because the Salampoeris which I have seen is so inferior a quality and uneven that I doubt whether the Company will make any profit on it; especially if the people should get into arrears again as usual on account of the thread and cash issued to them. I have an idea that I read in one of the letters from Batavia, which, however, is not to be found here at the Secretariate, that Their Excellencies forbid the making of the gingams spoken of by Mr. Zwaardecroon, as there was no profit to be made on these, but I am not quite sure, and will look for the letter in Colombo, and inform Their Excellencies at Batavia of this matter. Meantime, Your Honours must continue the old practice as long as it does not act prejudicially to the Company. At present their debt is 2,448.13 guilders, from which I think it would be best to discharge them, and no advance should be given to them in future, nor should they be employed in the weaving of cloth for the Company. I do not think they need be sent out of the country on account of their idolatry on their being discharged from their debt; because I am sure that most of the natives who have been baptized are more heathen than Christian, which would be proved on proper investigation. Besides, there are still so many other heathen, as, for instance, the Brahmin Timmerza and his large number of followers, about whom nothing is said, and who also openly practise idolatry and greatly exercise [110]their influence to aid the vagabonds (land-loopers) dependent on him, much to the prejudice of Christianity. I think, therefore, that it is a matter of indifference whether these people remain or not, the more so as the inhabitants of Jaffnapatam are known to be a perverse and stiff-necked generation, for whom we can only pray that God in His mercy will graciously enlighten their understanding and bless the means employed for their instruction to their conversion and knowledge of their salvation.

It is to be hoped that the debt of the dyers, amounting to 8,539.6 guilders, may yet be recovered by vigilance according to the instructions.

32. The debt of the Tannekares, who owe 1,650 guilders for 11 elephants, and the amount of 375 guilders due by Don Gaspar advanced to him for the purchase of nely, as also the amount of Fl. 150 from the Ambelewanne, must be collected as directed here.

33. With regard to the pay books nothing need be observed here but that the instructions given in the annexed Memoir be carried out.

34. What is said here with regard to the Secretariate must be observed, but with regard to the proposed means of lessening the duties of the Secretary by transferring the duties of the Treasurer to the Thombo-keeper, Mr. Bolscho (in which work the latter is already employed), I do not know whether it would be worth while, as it is best to make as few changes as possible. The instructions with regard to the passports must be followed pending further orders.

35. I will not comment upon what is stated here with regard to the Court of Justice, as these things occurred before I took up the reins of Government, and that was only recently. I have besides no sufficient knowledge of the subject, while also time does not permit me to peruse the documents referred to. Mr. Zwaardecroon’s advice must be followed, but in case Mr. Bolscho should have to be absent for a short time (which at present is not necessary, as it seems that the preparation of the maps and the correction of the Thombo is chiefly left to the surveyors), I do not think the sittings of the Court need be suspended, but every effort must be made to do justice as quickly as possible. In case of illness of some of the members, or when the Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz has to go to the interior to relieve the Dessave of his duties there, Lieut. van Loeveningen, and, if necessary, the Secretary of the Political Council, could be appointed for the time; because the time of the Dessave will be taken up with the supervision of the usual work at the Castle. I think that there are several law books [111]in stock in Colombo, of which some will be sent for the use of the Court of Justice by the first opportunity; as it appears that different decisions have been made in similar cases among the natives. Great precaution must be observed, and the documents occasionally submitted to us. I think that the number of five Lascoreens and six Caffirs will be sufficient for the assistance of the Fiscaal.

36. I will not make any remarks here on the subject of religion, but will refer to my annotations under the heading of Outstanding Debts.

37. I agree with all that has been stated here with regard to the Seminary and need not add anything further, except that I think this large school and church require a bell, which may be rung on Sundays for the services and every day to call the children to school and to meals. As there are bells in store, the Dessave must be asked to see that one is put up, either at the entrance of the church on some steps, or a little more removed from the door, or wherever it may be considered to be most convenient and useful.

38. All that is said here with regard to the Consistory I can only confirm.

39. I approve of the advice given to the Dessave to see to the improvement of the churches and the houses belonging thereto; but I have heard that the neglect has extended over a long period and the decay is very serious. It should have been the duty of the Commandeur to prevent their falling into ruin.

40. The Civil or Landraad ought to hold its sittings as stated in the Memoir. I am very much surprised to find that this Court is hardly worthy of the name of Court any more, as not a single sitting has been held or any case heard since March 21, 1696. It appears that these sittings were not only neglected during the absence of the Commandeur in Colombo, but even after his return and since his departure for Mallabaar, and it seems that they were not even thought of until my arrival here. This shows fine government indeed, considering also that the election of the double number of members for this College had twice taken place, the members nominated and the list sent to Colombo without a single meeting being held. It seems to me incomprehensible, and as it is necessary that this Court should meet again once every week without fail, the Dessave, as chief in this Commandement when the Commandeur is absent, is entrusted with the duty of seeing that this order is strictly observed. As Your Honours are aware, I set apart a meeting place both for this Court as well as the Court of Justice, namely, the corner house next to the house of the Administrateur Biermans, consisting [112]of one large and one small room, while a roof has been built over the steps. This, though not of much pretension, will quite do, and I consider it unnecessary to build so large a building as proposed either for this Court or for the Scholarchen. The scholarchial meetings can be held in the same place as those of the Consistory, as is done in Colombo and elsewhere, and a large Consistory has been built already for the new church. As it is not necessary now to put up a special building for those assemblies, I need not point out here the errors in the plan proposed, nor need I state how I think such a place should be arranged. I have also been averse to such a building being erected so far outside the Castle and in a corner where no one comes or passes, and I consider it much better if this is done within the Castle. There is a large square adjoining the church, where a whole row of buildings might be put up. It is true that no one may erect new buildings on behalf of the Company without authority and special orders from Batavia. I have to recommend that this order be strictly observed. Whether or not the said foul pool should be filled up I cannot say at present, as it would involve no little labour to do so.

41. I approve of the advice given in the annexed Memoir with regard to the Orphan Chamber.

42. I agree with this passage concerning the Commissioners of Marriage Causes, except that some one else must be appointed in the place of Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz if necessary.

43. Officers. As above.

44. Superintendent of the Fire Brigade and Wardens of the Town. As above.

45. As stated here, the deacons have a deficit of Rds. 1,145.3.7 over the last five and half years, caused by the building of an Orphanage and the maintenance of the children. At present there are 18 orphans, 10 boys and 8 girls, and for such a small number certainly a large building and great expenditure is unnecessary. As the deficit has been chiefly caused by the building of the Orphanage, which is paid for now, and as the Deaconate has invested a large capital, amounting to Fl. 40,800, on interest in the Company, I do not see the necessity of finding it some other source of income, as it would have to be levied from the inhabitants or paid by the Company in some way or other.

46. No more sums on interest are to be received in deposit on behalf of the Company, in compliance with the instructions referred to.

47. What is stated here with regard to the money drafts must be observed. [113]

48. Golden Pagodas.—I find a notice, bearing date November 18, 1695, giving warning against the introduction of Pagodas into this country. It does not seem to have had much effect, as there seems to be a regular conspiracy and monopoly among the chetties and other rogues. This ought to be stopped, and I have therefore ordered that none but the Negapatam and Palliacatte Pagodas will be current at 24 fannums or Rds. 2, while it will be strictly prohibited to give in payment or exchange any other Pagodas, whether at the boutiques or anywhere else, directly or indirectly, on penalty of the punishment laid down in the statutes. Your Honours must see that this rule is observed, and care must be taken that no payment is made to the Company’s servants in coin on which they would have to lose.

49. The applications from outstations.—The rules laid down in the annexed Memoir must be observed.

50. With regard to the Company’s sloops and other vessels, directions are given here as to how they are employed, which directions must be still observed. Further information or instructions may be obtained from Colombo.

51. The Fortifications.—I think it would be preferable to leave the fortifications of the Castle of Jaffnapatam as they are, instead of raising any points or curtains. But improvements may be made, such as the alteration of the embrazures, which are at present on the outside surrounded by coral stone and chunam, and are not effective, as I noticed that at the firing of the salute on my arrival, wherever the canons were fired the coral stone had been loosened and in some places even thrown down. The sentry boxes also on the outer points of the flank and face had been damaged. These embrazures would be very dangerous for the sentry in case of an attack, as they would not stand much firing. I think also that the stone flooring for the artillery ought to be raised a little, or, in an emergency, boards could be placed underneath the canon, which would also prevent the stones being crushed by the wheels. I noticed further that each canon stands on a separate platform, which is on a level with the floor of the curtain, so that if the carriage should break when the canon are fired, the latter would be thrown down, and it would be with great difficulty only that they could be replaced on their platform. It would be much safer if the spaces between these platforms were filled up. The ramparts are all right, but the curtain slopes too much; this was done most likely with a view of permitting the shooting with muskets at even a closer range than half-way across the moat. This deficiency might be rectified by raising the earthen wall about half a foot. These are the chief deficiencies I noticed, [114]which could be easily rectified. With regard to the embrazures, I do not know at present whether it would be safer to follow the plan of the Commandeur or that of the Constable-Major Toorse. For the present I have ordered the removal of the stones and their replacement by grass sods, which can be fixed on the earthen covering of the ramparts. Some of the soldiers well experienced in this work are employed in doing this, and I think that it will be far more satisfactory than the former plan, which was only for show. The sentry boxes had better be built inside, and the present passage to them from the earthen wall closed up, and they must be built so that they would not be damaged by the firing of the canon. The Dessave has been instructed to see that the different platforms for the artillery are made on one continuous floor, which can be easily done, as the spaces between them are but very small and the materials are at hand.

I wish the deficiencies outside the fort could be remedied as well as those within it. The principal defect is that the moat serves as yet very little as a safeguard, and it seems as if there is no hope of its being possible to dig it sufficiently deep, considering that experiments have been made with large numbers of labourers and yet the work has advanced but little. When His Excellency the Honourable the Commissioner van Mydregt was in Jaffnapatam in 1690, he had this work continued for four or five weeks by a large number of people, but he had to give it up, and left no instructions as far as is known. The chief difficulty is the very hard and large rocks enclosed in the coral stone, which cannot be broken by any instrument and have to be blasted. This could be successfully done in the upper part, but lower down beneath the water level the gunpowder cannot be made to take fire. As this is such an important work, I think orders should be obtained from Batavia to carry on this work during the dry season when the water is lowest; because at that time also the people are not engaged in the cultivation of fields, so that a large number of labourers could be obtained. The blasting of the rocks was not undertaken at first for fear of damage to the fortifications, but as the moat has been dug at a distance of 10 roods from the wall, it may be 6 or 7 roods wide and a space would yet remain of 3 or 4 roods. This, in my opinion, would be the only effectual way of completing the work, provision being made against the rushing in of the water, while a sufficient number of tools, such as shovels, spades, &c., must be kept at hand for the breaking of the coral stones. It would be well for the maintenance of the proper depth to cover both the outer and inner walls with coral stone, as otherwise this work would be perfectly useless. [115]

With regard to the high grounds northward and southward of the town, this is not very considerable, and thus not a source of much danger. I admit, however, that it would be better if they were somewhat lower, but the surface is so large that I fear it would involve a great deal of labour and expenditure. In case this were necessary, it would be just as important that the whole row of buildings right opposite the fort in the town should be broken down. I do not see the great necessity for either, while moreover, the soil consists of sand and stone, which is not easily dug. With regard to the horse stables and the carpenters’ yard just outside the gate of the Castle, enclosed by a wall, the river, and the moat of the Castle, which is deepest in that place (although I did not see much water in it), I think it would have been better if they had been placed elsewhere; but yet I do not think they are very dangerous to the fort, especially as that corner can be protected from the points Hollandia and Gelria; while, moreover, the roof of the stable and the walls towards the fort could be broken down on the approach of an enemy; for, surely no one could come near without being observed. As these buildings have been only newly erected, they will have to be used, in compliance with the orders from Batavia.

Thus far as to my advice with regard to this fort; but I do not mean to oppose the proposals of the Commandeur. I will only state here that I found the moat of unequal breadth, and in some places only half as wide as it ought to be, of which no mention is made here. In some places also it is not sufficiently deep to turn the water by banks or keep it four or five feet high by water-mills. Even if this were so, I do not think the water could be retained on account of the sandy and stony soil, especially as there are several low levels near by. Supposing even that it were possible, the first thing an enemy would do would be to direct a few shots of the canon towards the sluices, and thus make them useless. I would therefore recommend that, if possible, the moat be deepened so far during the south-west monsoon that it would be on a level with the river, by which four or six feet of water would always stand in it. With regard to the sowing of thorns, I fear that during the dry season they would be quite parched and easily take fire. This proposal shows how little the work at the moat has really advanced, in fact, when I saw it it was dry and overgrown with grass. So long as the fort is not surrounded by a moat, I cannot see the necessity for a drawbridge, but the Honourable the Government of India will dispose of this matter. Meantime I have had many improvements made, which I hope will gain the approval of Their Excellencies. [116]

52. The fortress Hammenhiel is very well situated for the protection of the harbour and the river of Kaits. The sand bank and the wall damaged by the storm have been repaired. The height of the reservoir is undoubtedly a mistake, which must be altered. The gate and the part of the rampart are still covered with the old and decayed beams, and it would be well if the project of Mr. Blom be completed. This is a very necessary work, which must be hurried on as much as circumstances permit, and it is recommended to Your Honours’ attention, because the old roof threatens to break down.

53. As I have not seen any of these places, I cannot say whether the water tanks are required or not. As the work has to wait for Dutch bricks, it will be some time before it can be commenced, because there are none in store here.

54. Manaar is a fortress with four entire bastions. I found that the full garrison, including Europeans and Mixties,6 consists of 44 men, twelve or fifteen of whom are moreover usually employed in the advanced guard or elsewhere. I do not therefore see the use of this fortress, and do not understand why instead of this fortress a redoubt was not built. Having been built the matter cannot now be altered. It has been stated that Manaar is an island which protects Jaffnapatam on the south, but I cannot see how this is so. The deepening of the moat cannot be carried out so soon, but the elevations may be removed. Lime I consider can be burnt there in sufficient quantities, and my verbal orders to the Resident have been to that effect. The pavement for the canons I found quite completed, but the floors of the galleries of the dwelling houses not yet. The water reservoir of brick, which is on a level with the rampart, I have ordered to be surrounded with a low wall, about 3 or 3½ feet high, with a view to prevent accidents to the sentinels at night, which are otherwise likely to occur. The Dessave must see whether this has been done, as it is not likely that I would go there again, because I intend returning to Colombo by another route.

55. Great attention should be paid to the provisions and ammunition. The order of His Excellency van Mydregt was given as a wise precaution, but has proved impracticable after many years of experience, as His Excellency himself was also aware, especially with regard to grain and rice, on account of the variable crops to which we are subject here. However, the plan must be carried out as far as possible in this Commandement, with the understanding that no extraordinary prices are paid for the purchase of rice; while, on the other [117]hand, care must be taken that the grain does not spoil by being kept too long; because we do not know of any kind of rice except that from Coromandel which can be kept even for one year. At present rice and nely are easily obtained, and therefore I do not consider it necessary that the people of Jaffnapatam should be obliged to deliver their rice at half per cent. less to the Company. The ten kegs of meat and ten kegs of bacon must be sent to Colombo by the first opportunity, to be disposed of there, if it is not spoilt (which is very much to be feared). In case it is unfit for use the loss will be charged to the account of this Commandement, although it has to be borne by the Company all the same. Greater discrimination should be exercised in future to prevent such occurrences, and I think it would be well in emergencies to follow the advice of the late Mr. Paviljoen, viz., to capture 1,000 or 1,200 cattle around the fort and drive them inside it, while dry burs, &c., may also be collected to feed them. The arrack must never be accepted until it has been proved to be good. In Batavia it is tested by burning it in a silver bowl, and the same ought to be done here, it being tested by two Commissioners and the dispenser. In future bad arrack will be charged to the account of the person who accepted it. The acceptance of inferior goods proves great negligence, to say the least, and Your Honours are recommended to see that these orders are observed. It is a satisfaction to know that there is a sufficient stock of ammunition. An attempt must be made to repair the old muskets, and those which are unfit for use must be sent to Colombo. Pitch and tar will be sent. The storing away of fuel is a praiseworthy precaution; but on my arrival I found only very little kept here, and the space for the greater part empty.

56. The military and the garrison are proportionately as strong here as in other places, the want of men being a general complaint. However, in order to meet this defect in some way, 34 of the military men who came here with me are to remain, and also the three men whom I left at Manaar and appointed to that station. I therefore do not think it necessary to employ any more oepasses,7 especially as we intend to reduce the number of these people in Colombo to a great extent, so that if they are really required, which I cannot see yet, some of them might be sent here. At present we have nothing to fear from the Sinhalese. We are on good terms with them, and it would be inexcusable to employ any new men whose maintenance would be a heavy expenditure. [118]Strict discipline and continual military drill are very important points, specially recommended to the attention of the Dessave.

57. Public Works.—Care must be taken that no more native artisans are employed than is necessary, as this means a considerable daily expenditure. The various recommendations on this subject must be observed. The four old and decayed Portuguese houses, which I found to be in a bad condition, must be rebuilt when circumstances permit, and may then serve as dwellings for the clergy and other qualified officers,8 but orders from Batavia must be awaited. Meantime I authorize Your Honours to have the armoury rebuilt, as this is indispensable.

58. I agree with the recommendations with regard to the horse stables, and also think that they could very well be supervised by the Chief, and that it is undesirable for private overseers to be employed for this purpose. The stable outside the fort has been brought into readiness, and it may now be considered for what purpose the stable in the Castle could be utilized.

59. It is well that the floor of the hospital has been raised, but the floor of the back gallery is also too low, so that it is always wet whenever it rains, the water both rising from the ground and coming down from the roof, which has been built too flat. It is also necessary that a door be made in the ante-room and the entrance of the gallery, in order to shut out the cold north winds, which are very strong here and cause great discomfort to the patients. I also think that the half walls between the rooms should be raised by a half stone wall up to the roof, because it is too cold as it is at present for such people. These and other improvements are also recommended to the attention of the Dessave.

60. It is always the case with the Company’s slaves, to ask for higher pay as soon as they learn a trade. I cannot countenance this on my part, because I consider that they already receive the highest pay allowed for a slave. They deserve no more than others who have to do the heaviest and dirtiest work. These also if put to the test would do higher work, as experience has proved. It is true that the number here is small, but I think the rules should be the same in all places. As there are, however, some slaves in Colombo also who receive higher pay, the wages of the man who draws 6 fanams might be raised to 8, 4 to 6, and 3 to 5 fanams, on the understanding that no increase will be given hereafter. The [119]emancipation of slaves and the intermarrying with free people has also been practised and tolerated in Ceylon, but whatever may be the pretext, I think it is always to the prejudice of the Company in the case of male slaves. In the case of women without children the matter is not quite so important, and I would consent to it in the present case of the woman whom a native proposes to marry, provided she has no children and is willing to place a strong and healthy substitute. Until further orders no more slaves are to be emancipated or allowed to intermarry with free people. Those who are no longer able to work must be excused, but those who have been receiving higher pay because they know some trade will, in that case, receive no more than ordinary slaves. It is not wise to emancipate slaves because they are old, as it might have undesirable consequences, while also they might in that case very soon have to be maintained by the Deaconate.

61. It is in compliance with our orders that close regard should be paid to all that passes at Manaar. This has been confirmed again by our letter of June 1, especially with a view to collect the duty from the vessels carrying cloth, areca-nut, &c., as was always done by the Portuguese, and formerly also by the Company during the time of the free trade. Further orders with regard to this matter must be awaited from Batavia. Meantime our provisional orders must be observed, and in case these are approved, it will have to be considered whether it would not be better to lease the Customs duty. Personally I think that this would be decidedly more profitable to the Company.

62. With regard to the ill-fated elephants, I have to seriously recommend better supervision. It is unaccountable how so many of these animals should die in the stables. Out of three or four animals sent to Jaffnapatam in 1685, and once even out of ten animals sent, only one reached the Castle alive. If such be the case, what use is it to the Company for efforts to be made for the delivery of a large number of elephants? Moreover, experience proves that this need not be looked upon as inevitable, because out of more than 100 elephants kept in the lands of Matura hardly two or three died in a whole year, while two parties of 63 animals each had been transported for more than 120 miles by land and reached their destination quite fresh and well, although there were among these six old and decrepit and thirteen baby elephants, some only 3 cubits high and rather delicate. It is true, as has been said, that the former animals had been captured with nooses, which would tire and harm them more than if they were caught in kraals, but even then they make every effort to regain their liberty, and, moreover, the kraals were in use here also formerly, and even [120]then a large number of the animals died. These are only vain excuses, for I have been assured by the Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz and others who have often assisted in the capture of elephants, both with nooses and in kraals, that these animals (which are very delicate and must be carefully tended, as they cannot be without food for 24 hours) were absolutely neglected both in the stables at Manaar and on the way. An animal of 5 or 6 cubits high is fed and attended there by only one cooly, while each animal requires at least three coolies. They are only fed on grass, if it is to be had, and at most 10, 12, or 15 olas or coconut leaves, whereas they require at least 50 or 60, and it is very likely that those that are being transported get still less, while the journey itself also does them a great deal of harm. How little regard is paid to these matters I have seen myself in the lands of Mantotte and elsewhere, and the Chief of Manaar, Willem de Ridder, when questioned about it, had to admit that none of the keepers or those who transported the animals, who are usually intemperate and inexperienced toepas soldiers or Lascoreens, had ever been questioned or even suspected in this matter. This is neglect of the Company’s interests, and in future only trustworthy persons should be employed, and fines or corporal punishment ordered in case of failure, as the death of such a large number of elephants causes considerable loss to the Company. I think it would be best if the Chief of Manaar were held mostly responsible for the supervision and after him the Adigar of Mantotte. They must see that the animals are fed properly when kept in the stalls during the rainy season; and these animals must always have more than they eat, as they tread upon and waste part of it. During the dry season the animals must be distributed over the different villages in the Island, some also being sent to Carsel. Care must be taken that besides the cornak9 there are employed three parrias10 for each animal to provide its food, instead of one only as at present, and besides the Chief and the Adigar a trustworthy man should be appointed, either a Dutch sergeant or corporal or a reliable native, to supervise the stalls. His duty will be to improve the stables, and see that they are kept clean, and that the animals are properly fed. The tank of Manaar, which is shallow and often polluted by buffaloes, must be cleaned, deepened, and surrounded with a fence, and in future only used for the elephants. The Adigar must supervise the transport of the elephants from Mantotte and Manaar to the Castle, and he must be given for his assistance all such men [121]as he applies for. At the boundary of the district of Mantotte he must give over his charge to the Adigar of Pringaly, and the latter transporting them to the boundary of Ponneryn must give them over to the Adigar of Ponneryn, and he again at the Passes to the Ensign there, who will transport them to the Castle. Experience will prove that in this way nearly all the animals will arrive in good condition. The Dessave de Bitter is to see that these orders are carried out, and he may suggest any improvements he could think of, which will receive our consideration. This is all I have to say on the subject. It seems that the Castle, &c., are mostly kept up on account of the elephants, and therefore the sale of these animals must counterbalance the expenditure.

63. The cultivation of dye-roots is dealt with under the heading of the Moorish Trade.

64. I approve the orders from Colombo of May 17, 1695, with regard to the proposal by Perie Tamby, for I think that he would have looked for pearl oysters more than for chanks.

65. With regard to the pearl fishery, some changes will have to be made. The orders will be sent in time from Colombo before the next fishery. In my Memoir, left at Colombo, I have ordered with regard to the proposal of the Committee that four buoys should be made as beacons for the vessels, each having a chain of 12 fathoms long, with the necessary adaptations in the links for turning. With regard to the question as to the prohibition of the export of coconuts on account of the large number of people that will collect there, I cannot see that it would be necessary. When the time arrives, and it is sure that a fishery will be held, Your Honours may consider the question once more, and if you think it to be so, the issue of passports may be discontinued for the time. Most likely a fishery will be held in the beginning of next year, upon which we hope God will give His blessing, the Company having made a profit of Fl. 77,435.12½ last time, when only three-fourths of the work could be done on account of the early south-west monsoon.

66. All particulars having been stated here with regard to the inhabited islets, I do not consider it necessary to make any remarks about them.

67. Horse breeding surely promises good results as stated in the annexed Memoir. I visited the islands De Twee Gebroeders, and saw about 200 foals of one, two, and three years old. I had some caught with nooses, and they proved to be of good build and of fairly good race. On the island of Delft there are no less than 400 or 500 foals. Many of those on the islands De Twee Gebroeders will soon be large enough to be captured and trained, when 15 animals, or three teams, must be sent to [122]Colombo to serve for the carriages with four horses in which it is customary to receive the Kandyan ambassadors and courtiers. They must be good animals, and as much as possible alike in colour. At present we have only ten of these horses, many of which are too old and others very unruly, so that they are almost useless. Besides these, 15 riding horses are required for the service of the Company in Colombo and Galle, as not a single good saddle horse is to be found in either of these Commandements. Besides these, 25 or 30 horses must be sent for sale to private persons by public auction, which I trust will fetch a good deal more than Rds. 25 or 35, as they do in Coromandel. The latter prices are the very lowest at which the animals are to be sold, and none must be sold in private, but always by public auction. This, I am sure, will be decidedly in the interest of the Company and the fairest way of dealing. I would further recommend that, as soon as possible, a stable should be built on the islands De Twee Gebroeders like that in Delft, or a little smaller, where the animals could be kept when captured until they are a little tamed, as they remain very wild for about two months. Next to this stable a room or small house should be built for the Netherlander to whom the supervision is entrusted. At present this person, who is moreover married, lives in a kind of Hottentot’s lodging, which is very unseemly. The Dessave must see that the inhabitants of the island Delft are forbidden to cultivate cotton, and that the cotton trees now found there are destroyed; because the number of horses is increasing rapidly. The Dessave noticed only lately that large tracts of land of two, three, and more miles are thus cultivated, in direct opposition to the Company’s orders. It seems they are not satisfied to be allowed to increase the number of their cattle by thousands, all of which have to derive their food from the island as well as the Company’s horses, but they must also now cultivate cotton, which cannot be tolerated and must be strictly prohibited. Once the horses perished for want of water; on one occasion they were shot on account of crooked legs; and it would be gross carelessness if now they had to perish by starvation.

68. The Passes of Colomboture, Catsjay, Ponneryn, Pyl, Elephant, and Beschutter; Point Pedro; the Water fortress, Kayts or Hammenhiel; Aripo; Elipoecareve; and Palwerain-cattoe. No particular remarks are necessary with regard to these Passes and stations, except that I would recommend the Dessave, when he has an opportunity to visit the redoubts Pyl, Elephant, and Beschutter with an expert, to see in what way they could be best connected. I think that out of all the different proposals that of a strong and high wall would deserve [123]preference, if it be possible to collect the required materials, as it would have to be two miles long. As to the other proposals, such as that of making a fence of palmyra trees or thorns, or to dig a moat, I think it would be labour in vain; but whatever is done must be carried out without expense or trouble to the Company, in compliance with the orders from the Supreme Government of India.

69. The instructions with regard to the water tanks must be carried out as far as possible.

70. I agree with what is said here with regard to the public roads.

71. That the elephant stalls and the churches should have been allowed to fall into decay speaks badly for the way in which those concerned have performed their duty; and it is a cause of dissatisfaction. The orders for the stalls in Manaar must also be applied for here, and repairs carried out as soon as possible. I have been informed that there are many elephants scattered here and there far from each other, while only one Vidana acts as chief overseer, so that he cannot possibly attend to his duty properly. It has been observed that the elephants should have more parias or men who provide their food. These and other orders with regard to the animals should be carried out.

72. No remarks are required with regard to this subject of thornback skins, Amber de gris, Carret, and elephants’ tusks.

73. The General Paresse11 has been held upon my orders on the last of July. Three requests were made, two of which were so frivolous and unimportant that I need not mention them here. These were dropped. The third and more important one was that the duty on native cloth, which at present is 25 per cent., might be reduced. It was agreed that from the 31st December it would be only 20 per cent. I was in a position to settle this matter at once, because orders had been already received from Batavia that they could be reduced to 20 per cent., but no more. As shown in the annexed Memoir, the inhabitants are not so badly off as they try to make us believe. The further instructions in the annexed Memoir must be observed; and although I have verbally ordered the Onderkoopman De Bitter to have the Pattangatyns appear only twice instead of twelve times a year, as being an unbearable inconvenience, the Dessave must see that this order is obeyed. He must also make inquiries whether the work could be done by one Cannekappul, and, if so, Jeronimus must be discharged. [124]

74. Conclusion.—The advice in this conclusion may be useful to Your Honours. I confirm the list of members of the Political Council, to whom the rule of this Commandement in the interest of the Company is seriously recommended. Reports of all transactions must be sent to Colombo.

1 Tanjore.

2 A fanam, according to Valentyn’s table, was equal to 5 stivers.

3 During the early years of the Dutch rule in Ceylon there was, besides the Governor, a Commandeur resident in Colombo. This post was subsequently abolished.

4 An old Dutch measure for coal and lime, equal to 32 bushels.

5 See note on p. 42.

6 A mixties was one of European paternity and native on the mother’s side.

7 Portuguese descendants of the lower class.

8 The term “qualified officers,” here and elsewhere, probably refers to those who received their appointment direct from the supreme authorities at Batavia.

9 The elephant keeper.

10 The men who attend on the elephants, feed them, &c.

11 Durbar.


Notes to Appendix.

A.—No remarks are necessary in regard to the introduction.

B.—In elucidation of the document sent by us with regard to the opening of the harbours of the Kandyan King, as to how far the instructions extend and how they are to be applied within the Company’s jurisdiction, nothing need be said here, as this will be sufficiently clear from our successive letters from Colombo. We would only state that it would seem as if Mr. Zwaardecroon had forgotten that the prohibition against the clandestine export of cinnamon applies also to the export of elephants, and that these may not be sold either directly or indirectly by any one but the Company.

C.—It is not apparent that our people would be allowed to purchase areca-nut in Trincomalee on account of the opening of the harbours. Mr. Zwaardecroon’s plan has been submitted to Their Excellencies at Batavia, who replied in their letters of December 12, 1695, and July 3, 1696, that some success might be obtained by getting the nuts through the Wanny from the King’s territory. An experiment might be made (provided Their Excellencies approve) charging Rds. 1/3 per ammunam, as is done in Colombo, Galle, Matura, &c. This toll could be farmed out, and the farmers authorized to collect the duty at the passes, no further duties being imposed whether the nuts are exported or not. If the duty were levied only on the nuts that are exported, the inhabitants who now buy them from the Company at Rds. 6 per ammunam would no longer do so, and this profit would be lost. Whether the duty ought to be higher than Rds. 1/3 remains yet to be seen. The same rule must be applied to pepper, cotton, &c., imported at the passes, 7½ per cent. being charged as alphandigo.1 This being paid, the articles may be sold here, exported, or anything done as the inhabitants please, without further liability to duty.

D.—In the proclamation referred to here, in which free trade is permitted at all harbours in Ceylon in the Company’s territory, it is clearly stated that the harbours may be freely entered with merchandise, provided the customary duties [125]are paid, and that only the subjects of the Kandyan King are exempted from the payment of these. It does not seem to me that this rule is in agreement with the supposition that because of this free trade the duty on foreign and native cloth would be abolished. If Mr. Zwaardecroon had made inquiries he would have been informed that, as far as the import of foreign cloth is concerned, the duty is the same as that in Colombo and Galle. The proposed change would apparently bring about an increase of the alphandigo, but where then would be found the Rds. 7,1 0 as duty on the native and foreign cloths? I cannot see on what basis this proposal is founded, and I therefore think that the Customs duty of 20 per cent. on the imported foreign cloths and the 20 per cent. for the stamping of native cloths must be continued when, on the 31st December next, the lease for the duty of 25 per cent. expires, the more so as it has been pointed out in this Memoir wherever possible that the inhabitants are increasing in prosperity. This agrees with what was discussed at the general Paresse. With regard to the Moorish merchants from Bengal, there would be no objection to the duty on the cloths imported by them being fixed at 7½ per cent., because they have to make a much longer voyage than the merchants from Coromandel and other places on the opposite coast; while we have to humour them in order to induce them to provide us with rice. Moreover the Bengal cloths are not very much in demand, and these people usually ask to be paid in elephants, which do not cost the Company very much, rather than in cash, as has been done again by the owner of the ship that is here at present on behalf of the Bengal Nabob Caungaarekan. He also complained of the duty of 20 per cent. and said he would pay no more than the Company pays in Bengal. He said his master the Nabob would be very angry, &c. We therefore considered whether the duty could not be reduced to 7½ per cent., as may be seen in the resolutions of June 4 last. On December 12, 1695, a letter was received from Batavia in answer to the difficulties raised by Mr. Zwaardecroon with regard to these impositions, in which it is said that the Customs duty for Bengal from the date of the license for free trade should be regulated as it had been in olden times, with authority to remove difficulties in their way and to give them redress where necessary. I found that the duty paid by them formerly on these cloths was 7½ per cent., both in Galle and here, and I therefore authorize Your Honours to levy from them only that amount. This must be kept in mind at the farming out of these revenues at the end of the year, in order to prevent difficulties with the farmer, as happened only lately. I trust, however, that the farming [126]out will not yield less than other years. Meantime, and before any other vessels from Bengal arrive, the approbation of Their Excellencies at Batavia must be obtained with regard to this matter, so that alterations may be made according to their directions without any difficulty.

E.—I must confess that I do not understand how the subject of free trade can be brought forward again as being opposed to the Company’s interests, as is done again with regard to the 24 casks of coconut oil which the inhabitants have to deliver to the Company, which are properly paid for and are not required for the purpose of sale but for the use of the Company’s servants, or how any one dares to maintain that the lawful sovereign who extends his graciousness and favours over his subjects and neighbours would be tied down and prejudiced by such rules. It is true that the coconut trees in Matura are required for the elephants, but in Galle and Colombo it is not so; but the largest number of trees there is utilized for the drawing of surie2 for arrack, &c. It is true that some nuts are exported, but only a small quantity, while the purchasers or transporters have to sell one-third of what they export to the Company at Rds. 2 a thousand, while they must cost them at least Rds. 3. Out of these we had the oil pressed ourselves, and this went largely to supplement the requirements for local consumption, which are very large, since the vessels also have to be supplied, because as a matter of economy the native harpuis (resin) has been largely used for rubbing over the ships, so as to save the Dutch resin as much as possible, and for the manufacture of this native resin a large quantity of oil is required. Your Honours must therefore continue to have all suitable casks filled with oil, and send to Colombo all that can be spared after the required quantity has been sent to Coromandel, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa, reserving what is necessary for the next pearl fishery and the use of the Commandement. In order to avoid difficulties, Your Honours are required to send to Colombo yearly (until we send orders to the contrary) 12 casks of coconut oil and 2 casks of margosa oil, which are expected without failure. For the rest we refer to what is said under the heading of Coconut Trees.

F.—This form for a passport was sent for no other purpose but that it should be introduced according to instructions.

G.—There is sufficient time yet for the opening of the road from Putulang to Mantotte. I am well pleased with the work of the Dessave, and approve of the orders given by him to the [127]Toepas Adigar Rodrigo, and the various reports submitted by him. In these he states that the roads are now in good condition, while on June 5, when 34 elephants arrived from Colombo, on this side of Putulang nothing had been done yet, and even on July 16 and 17 when His Excellency the Governor passed part of that road the work had advanced but very little. I therefore sent on the 14th instant the Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz, who had successfully transported the animals from Colombo to Putulang, and is a man who can be depended upon, with two surveyors to see that the roads, which were narrow and extraordinary crooked, were widened to 2 roods and straightened somewhat in the forest, and to cut roads leading to the water tanks. Sixty Wallias or wood-cutters, 150 coolies, and 25 Lascoreens were sent to complete this work, so that in future there will be no difficulties of this kind, except that the dry tanks must be deepened. I will see Mr. Isaacsz on this subject on my return. On account of his shameful neglect and lying and for other well-known reasons I have dismissed the Adigar Domingo Rodrigo as unworthy to serve the Company again anywhere or at any time, and have appointed in his place Alexander Anamale, who has been an Adigar for many years in the same place. In giving him this appointment I as usual obtained the verbal and written opinions of several of the Commandeurs, who stated that he had on the whole been vigilant and diligent in his office, but was discharged last year by the Commission from Colombo without any reasons being known here, to make room for the said incapable Domingo Rodrigo, who was Adigar of Ponneryn at the time. I suppose he was taken away from there to please the Wannia chiefs Don Philip Nellamapane and Don Gaspar Ilengenarene, whose eldest son Gaspar, junior, was appointed Master of the Hunt, as stated under the heading of the Wanny and Ponneryn. With regard to the instructions to compile various lists, this order must be carried out in so far as they are now complete. With regard to the significant statement that the Honourable Company does not possess any lands in Jaffnapatam, and that there is not the smallest piece of land known of which the Company does not receive taxes, and that it therefore would be impossible to compile a list of lands belonging to or given away on behalf of the Company, and in case of the latter by whom, to whom, when, why, &c., I am at a loss to follow the reasoning, and it seems to me that there is something wrong in it, because the protocols at the Secretariate here show that during the years 1695, 1696, and 1697 five pieces of land were given away by Mr. Zwaardecroon himself, and this without the least knowledge or consent of His Excellency the Governor; while, on the other hand, I know that [128]there are still many fields in the Provinces which are lying waste and have never been cultivated; so that they belong to the Company and no one else. At present the inhabitants send their cattle to these lands to graze, as the animals would otherwise destroy their cultivated fields, but in the beginning all lands were thus lying waste. With a view to find out how many more of these lands there are here, and where they are situated, I have instructed the Thombo-keeper, Mr. Bolscho, to draw up a list of them from the newly compiled Thombo, beginning with the two Provinces Willigamme and Waddamoraatschie, the Thombo of which is completed; the other three Provinces must be taken up later on. Perhaps the whole thing could be done on one sheet of paper, and it need not take two years, nor do we want the whole Thombo in several reams of imperial paper. As soon as the surveyors and Mr. Bolscho return from their work at the road to Putulang, this work must be taken in hand and the list submitted as soon as possible. I also do not see the difficulty of compiling a list of all the small pieces of land which, in the compiling of the new Thombo, were discovered on re-survey to have been unlawfully taken possession of. Since my arrival here I had two such lists prepared for the Provinces Willigamme and Waddamoraatschie covering two sheets of paper each. This work was well worth the trouble, as the pieces of cultivated land in the Province of Willigamme amounted to 299,977½ and in Waddamoraatschie to 128,013 roods, making altogether 427,990½ roods. These, it is said, might be sold to the present owners for about Rds. 7,000. I think it would be best if these lands were publicly leased out, so that the people could show their deeds. I think this would not be unreasonable, and consider it would be sufficient favour to them, since they have had the use of the lands for so many years without ever paying taxes. When the new Thombo is compiled for the Provinces of Patchelepalle and Timmeraatsche and the six inhabited islands, some lands will surely be discovered there also.

H.—It is in compliance with instructions, and with my approbation, that the accounts with the purchasers of elephants in Golconda and with the Brahmin Timmerza have been settled. For various reasons which it is not necessary to state here he is never to be employed as the Company’s broker again, the more so as the old custom of selling the elephants by public auction has been reintroduced this year, as has been mentioned in detail under the heading of Trade.

Your Honours must comply with our orders contained in the letter of May 4 last from Colombo, as to how the cheques from Golconda are to be drawn up and entered in the books. With regard to the special request of the merchants [129]that the amount due to them might be paid in cash or elephants through the said Timmerza to their attorneys, this does not appear in their letter of December 7, 1696, from Golconda, but the principal purchasers of elephants request that the Company may assist the people sent by them in the obtaining of vessels, and, if necessary, give them an advance of 300 or 400 Pagodas, stating that these had been the only reasons why they had consented to deal with the said Timmerza. In our letter of May 4 Your Honours have been informed that His Excellency Laurens Pit, Governor of Coromandel, has consented at our request to communicate with you whenever necessary, as the means of the Golconda merchants who desire to obtain advances from the Company, and how much could be advanced to their attorneys. Such cases must be carefully dealt with, but up to the present no such request has been made, which is so much the better.

I.—The 20,000 paras or 866⅔ lasts of nely applied for from Negapatam will come in useful here, although since the date of this Memoir or the 6th of June the Council agreed to purchase on behalf of the Company the 125⅕ lasts of rice brought here in the Bengal ship of the Nabob of Kateck Caim Caareham, because even this does not bring the quantity in store to the 600 lasts which are considered necessary for Jaffnapatam, as is shown under the heading of provisions and ammunition. It will be necessary to encourage the people from Bengal in this trade, as has been repeatedly stated.

K.—The petition mentioned here, submitted by the bargemen of the Company’s pontons, stating that they have been made to pay all that had been lost on various cargoes of rice above one per cent., that they had not been fairly dealt with in the measuring, &c., deserves serious investigation. It must be seen to that these people are not made to refund any loss for which they are not responsible and which they could not prevent, and the annexed recommendation should be followed as far as reasonable. The point of the unfair measuring must be especially attended to, since such conduct would deserve severe correction.

L.—The instructions given here with regard to the receipt of Pagodas must be carried out, but none but Negapatam or Palicatte Pagodas must be received or circulated. Our instructions under the heading of Golden Pagodas must be observed.

M.—The Dessave de Bitter is to employ the Lieutenant Claas Isaacsz in the Public Works Department on his return from Putulang after the transport of the elephants, being a capable man for this work. The most necessary work must be carried out first. Last year the Commissioners, Messrs. [130]van Keulen and Petitfilz, presented the son of the deceased Don Philip Sangerepulle with a horse and a sombreer3 by order of His Excellency the Governor, apparently because he was the chief of the highest caste, or on account of his father’s services. Much has been said against the father, but nothing has been proved, and indeed greater scoundrels might be found on investigation. I now see that Mr. Zwaardecroon, because no act of authority was shown to him, has rejected this presentation and ordered the Political Council here from the yacht “Bekenstyn” on March 29 of this year to demand back from the youth this horse and sombreer. This having been done without my knowledge and consent, I countermand this order, and expect Your Honours to carry out the orders of His late Excellency the Governor.4 With regard to the administration of this Commandement, I have stated what was necessary under the heading of the Form of Government at the conclusion of the Memoir to which I herewith refer. I will only add here that since then I have had reason to doubt whether my instructions with regard to the Political Council and the manner in which the administration is to be carried out has been properly understood. I reiterate therefore that the Dessave de Bitter will be looked upon and respected as the Chief in the Commandement during the absence of the Commandeur, and that to him is entrusted the duty of convening the meetings both of the Political Council and of the Court of Justice. Also that he will pass and sign all orders, such as those for the Warehouses, the Treasury, the Workshop, the Arsenal, and other of the Company’s effects. Further, that when he stays over night in the Castle, he is to give out the watch-word and see to the opening and the closing of the gates, which, in the event of his absence, is deputed to the Captain. The Dessave will see that order and discipline are maintained, especially among the military, and also that they are regularly drilled. He is further to receive the daily reports, not only of the military but also of all master workmen, &c.; in short, he is to carry out all work just as if the Commandeur were present. Recommending thus far and thus briefly these instructions as a guidance to the Administrateur and the Political Council, and praying God’s blessing—

I remain, Sirs, etc.,
(Signed) Gerrit de Heere.

1 Customs duty.

2 Toddy.

3 Umbrella.

4 Thomas van Rhee.


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Colombo, Ceylon.

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The following corrections have been applied to the text:

Page Source Correction
N.A. ot of
iv Indie Indië
v * * [Deleted]
v Nederlandsch-Indie Nederlandsch-Indië
10 dimissed dismissed
39 pecol picol
53 Omnicient Omniscient
59 atend attend
59 Bookhouder Boekhouder
60 , [Deleted]
60 Croenevelt Groenevelt
89 dilligence diligence
91 are a-nuts areca-nuts
109 If It
120 sodiers soldiers
121 85 65