II. The Shipwreck of the Sperwer

To menu

II.1 The Sperwer

As written before, it was decided to use the Sperwer to take Caesar to Taiwan for the following reason:

"Thus it has been understood also that the Jaght Sluijs which has been used for the Taijouanse shipments, has been moored up for some time, to use in its place instead to Taijouan the Fluijt the Sperwer, which is somewhat bigger in load" (Res. May 9, 1653).

Initially "de Sperwer" was destined to be part of "the first supply" to Taijoan; it was however delayed to transport some soldiers who were expected from Holland. When however these didn't arrive and "the monsoon started to come close", was decided to provide for soldiers in Taiwan in a different way and to give "the Sperwer" "its farewell"

"Thus the Jaght the Sperwer which, according to a resolution, dated May 9th, was moored for the first Taijouanese supply, was held up till the arrival of the national return fleet to transport some armed force, which we awaited eagerly, to be able to serve, and thus the same without doubt, has been delayed, the monsoon starts to come close to have this shipment progress... is therefore approved in the counsels and understood to give mentioned Jaght its farewell on the 17th of this month and to serve as transportation for Sir Caesar who is about to leave as Governor to Taijouan and to embark with the same 50 military heads to strengthen the Taijouanese garrison" (Res, June 6, 1653). See also the "Zeijlaas ordre" (Sailing orders).

To transport the high employee of the V.O.C.  "de Sperwer" has been probably preeminently suitable; also Joan Cunaeus "Ordinary Counsel of India and express Ambassador to the Magnanimous King of Persia" had made the journey aboard this ship, two years before. On September 15, 1651 de Sperwer hoisted sail on the roadstead of Batavia and returned there on September 12, 1652. As a Secretary of the embassy, Cornelis Speelman took part in this journey. (See Speelman, Journaal van Cunacus, published by A. Hotz).

It didn't hurt the Sperwer on its journey to Taiwan that it left somewhat late; without any problems it arrived on July 16, 1653 in Taijoan. We read in the Gen. Miss. January 19, 1654  (see also) "After that the Noble Sir Cornelis Caesar had arrived per the jaght de Sperwer in Taijoan on July 16", so it was better than the flute [a narrow type of ship also called a flyship ] "de Smient", which was sailed out just before that on May 27 straight to Taijoan and of which was never heard anymore. It belonged to the first group of ships that left from Batavia. We read further on May 27, 1653 "left from her directly to Taijouan the flutes Trouw, Wittepaert, Smient, and also the pilot boat Ilha Formosa for the first shipment" (notes of the ships as they have arrived from other places as they, from here, have left elsewhere, since January 4 till December 31 thereupon following). - In Res. June 7, 1652 the Smient was called: "a solid, also well sailed ship". The "Sperwer" didn't stay long in Taijoan; after having unloaded its cargo and having loaded a new one for Japan, skipper Reijnier Egberts weighed the anchors on July 29, 1653 for the trip to Nagasaki "To continue the Japanese trade, are from Taijoan July 20 and 29 then send hither the flute the Wittepaert and the jaght the Sperwer, namely the Wittepaert loaded with a cargo of NFL. 33803.12.4 and the Sperwer with a ditto to the amount of NFL. 33819.14.15" (Gen. Miss. January 19, 1654) (see also)

To menu

II.2. The shipwreck and arrival at Deshima

When the jaght didn't show up there and no further message came in, it lay at hand to suppose that it went down with all hands on board in the storm which suddenly rose up, so that the V.O.C. had to write off the loss of the ship and its cargo and the "costelijck volck" (valuable crew), 64 men strong, had perished. For the Heeren XVII this disaster was the reason to urge the government of the Indies to "pay well attention on the monsoons and not to send the ships thither too late, in this way preventing big calamities," (see ), but the sake of the trade, "the Bride around which one dances"  (Patr. Miss. September 25, 1642), would not always have allowed to keep this request and the sailors of those times, who were accustomed to dangers, wouldn't have asked themselves anxiously if this was the right time to sail out.

And though the loss of the "Sperwer" could be called a heavy blow for the Compagnie, the leaders in Batavia and in Holland would have accepted it. They would do so without many complaints, despite the financial setbacks. The profits of the trade with Japan were in the seventeenth century that high that the participants in the V.O.C. had more than enough reasons to be grateful (O. Nachod, Die Beziehungen, etc., page 330 and Beilage 63 A.).  According to the "Name list of the in Japan having governed Chiefs as well as the number of arrived and perished ships", which was kept till 1850, 716 ships have arrived and only 27 were wrecked, so in principal "only" a loss of about 4%.

To menu

II-3. Korean sources about Hamel during his stay in Korea.

We can read in the manuscript what happened during the stay of the castaways during their stay in Korea and their perception of that. But what do we find in the Korean sources? Gari Ledyard and Yi Pyongdo both have researched that extensively.

When Hamel and his mates stranded on Cheju-do, (see 1 ) they were very soon taken to the capital of the island and brought before the Head of the Department (Hamel's governor). The report of this Head of the Department (Yi Wonjin 李元鎭) reached Seoul only on September 26 where we can also find the document which he translated into English. In it we can find a description of the cargo, how the men looked like: " The people have blue eyes, high noses, blond hair and short beards, though some have their beards shaved with only a mustache remaining. As for their coats, they are long, reaching to the thigh in four layers; the lapel is at the side, the sleeves low. The lower garment is gathered in pleats, somewhat like a skirt." They thought they were at Goto, and confirmed they were "Kirishitan" [Christians]. (Ledyard page 21)

Some of the items of the cargo of the boat ( see 1 ) were gone. Ledyard already noted that this might be due to the loss of dissolvable material in water (alum and sugar). Intriguing is the place of the landing 33o 32', ( see 1 ) The city Cheju is located at 33o 31' and the beach of Mosulpo where the current monument is, 33o 13'. Ledyard (2 Apr 1998) in a private email wonders if this spot was not chosen because of tourism. On the 8th of May 1999 a document was found in academic circles, written by Lee Ik Tae, who was in service with the governor of Cheju in the period 1694 - 1696 (see also at the end of the following paragraph where the whole document is cited). It says: "A ship wrecked in the area of Taeyasu, which belongs to Ch'agwi-jin which belongs to the county of Taejong on the 24th of the 7th Month in 1653, the year of the Kyesa. In the fourth year of King Hyojong, 1653, 7th month 24th day, 64 people were found, among them Hendrik Yamse. 26 people died and 2 were ill. Only 36 people lived." (In fact the place Hanjang-dong lies in the West). Most likely Hamel remembered only the name of the county Taejong and mixed up the name of the city and county.

They stayed in the house of the dethroned King Kwanghaegun, so they can't have had such a bad treatment ( 1 , Ledyard page 148, Note 1). Also Yi Wonjin visited them on a regular base and took care that their circumstances were not too bad and they started to learn Korean. All of a sudden they were confronted with their compatriot Weltevree. ( 1 )

II-4 Jan Janse Weltevree or Pak Yôn

Jan Janse Weltevree is a mysterious person. Comparison of the texts in which he is mentioned gives us some contradictions, which are difficult to explain. For instance Hamel mentions in his Journael that he and his mates saw Weltevree for the last time in 1656 at the ferry over the river Han near Seoul and that they never heard anything of him again. We find the same back at the interrogation in Nagasaki. To the question of the Japanese if Weltevree is still alive, the Hollanders reply that they don't know, because they didn't see him for ten years.

There was according to the Journael a certain kind of mail traffic (see 1). It was possible to send messages. After all it was Hamel who mentions that the three mates who were lured from Seoul under the pretense that they had to function as an interpreter, informed them by letter that they were captured in the south.
One and the other raises the suspicion that there have been contacts between Weltevree and the other Hollanders, also in the period after 1656. This suspicion is becomes stonger by the fact that according to the daily records of the chief of the factory in Deshima, Hamel has said on or during the same day that the interrogation took place, to this chief, that Weltevree at their departure was still alive and was about 70 years old. Did Hamel lie to the Japanese or to the chief?

Also regarding the circumstances under which Weltevree was captured in 1627 by the Koreans, the several sources are contradicting themselves. In the Journael is written that Weltevree was on board of the jaght the Ouwerkerck , when it stranded off the coast of Korea. With a number of mates he rowed to the shore to fetch water. While doing this they were surprised by the Koreans who captured Weltevree and two of his mates, while the rest managed to escape. But what do we read in the above-mentioned daily record of the chief in Deshima? Here is written that Weltevree was not at all on board of the Ouwerkerck. One day the crew of this ship had privatized a Chinese junk. Weltevree was put on this ship together with some other Hollanders to take this ship to Taiwan. Because of a storm, this ship ended up on the coast of a Korean island. Here the three Hollanders were overwhelmed by the Chinese and handed over to the Koreans. This version is confirmed in a letter from the governor of Formosa to the governor-general in Batavia , dated July 22, 1627. In which the governor of Formosa announced that the Ouwerkerck on July 16 had privatized a Chinese junk, which was on his way to Amoy. 70 of the 150 Chinese were brought from the junk to the Ouwerkerck , while 16 men moved over to the junk to bring them with the rest of the Chinese crew to Taiwan. The junk however had drifted away by a storm in northeastern direction and is since then without any trace, so it maybe feared that the ship is perished. The Ouwerkerck itself was privatized some months later by a Portuguese ship and burned in Macao. The jaght has never been in Korean waters. From the above mentioned it is clear that Weltevree belonged to a group of Hollandse privateers, who were captured by their victims and were handed over to the Koreans. And Hamel knew this. It is understandable that he didn't mention these less honorable events in the Journael. And also that he didn't speak about it during the interrogation by the Japanese. It is less clear however, why he, both in the Journael and during the interrogation, claims that he hadn't heard from Weltevree during ten years.

There is more by the way, which Hamel doesn't mention concerning Weltevree. In a Korean edition of the Journael, the interpreter Yi Pyong Do cites in a supplement a document of about 1700, in which Weltevree is described as follows:

Yon was tall from stature and rather heavily build. He had blue eyes, a pale face and a blond beard which hangs until his belly. He was married to a Korean woman who gave him two children; a boy and a girl. (Van Hove page)

The father and the uncle of the writer of the document were both connected as high officials to the court of king of Korea in the time that Weltevree was there too. Weltevree can be found in several Korean sources. Let's see what Ledyard writes about that. The first of those sources are the writings of Chong Chaeryun (1648 - 1723), who was the son of Chong T'aehwa (1602 - 1673) and the adopted son of his uncle Chong Ch'i hwa (1609 - 1677). (Ledyard page 27) His report is limited to Park Yôn or Weltevree. Most likely it is representative for the general impression that the Dutchman made for the Koreans of those times. Like in any place where foreigners are rare, people start to look for nothing else but strange customs, strange clothes and likely some strange skills in this "barbarian". The name "Southern Ocean Barbarians" comes from the Ming scholars, who called them such, as soon as they were confronted with the first westerners, based upon their geographical knowledge and level of culture. (Toynbee page 114)

It is clear that the way he describes his country, he must be referring to The Dutch Indies, the remarks "he had lived in a frontier area" and "then the old people say, 'Today it is snowing in China" make that clear. (Ledyard, p. 27 - 29) There's in the same document a story about cannibalization, which is also strange but even nowadays, people like to fantasize about people they don't know.

One may therefore assume that the document is a reliable source. If Weltevree had a wife and children, it was most unlikely that Hamel didn't know that. It speaks for itself to assume that he and the other Hollanders visited him during their stay in Seoul . In the Journael however Hamel leaves this interesting fact unnoticed. Possibly he considered that mentioning of the marital state of Weltevree would raise some questions by the readers about the marital state of the other Hollanders, questions who might be painful since most of them had a wife and children after all in Holland as well. In another Korean document, cited by Yi Pyong Do and translated by Ledyard Ledyard page 30,31 we find he had more descendants or sons. Another peculiar thing is that it is mentioned that "Yon's original name was Hot'anman".

The explanation about Pak Yon's Dutch name, is hard to interpret. "Houteman" (in those days that would be someone who buys wood) seems to come close, it could also be, that he was limping, and therefore called him "houten man" as a nickname (source Middelnederlandsch handwoordenboek: houte: east middle Dutch for limping), but "houten man" [= wooden man] could also indicate that he was a "stiff" man and mockingly called him "houten man", since in Dutch there is an expression "Houten Klaas" which means the same. Hopman (in those days meaning "the captain of the ship"), as Ledyard suggests, seems to be another possibility, maybe he behaved himself as the chief of the three and they mockingly called him like that. But he has never been a captain and Hotanman sounds definitely more like "Houten man." Last possibility is Hofman, which would mean court man or a man of court, this is also likely but only if he referred to himself as such, but it sounds less like hotanman.

The in this quote mentioned training office was a government institution which was established to the end of the 16th century for the production of firearms and for the practice of the use of them. The military register contained the names of the technicians skillful in professions like the manufacturing of canons. Like in many countries professions where hereditary in Korea and from another source we know that Weltevree was in charge of making firearms in Seoul and that he was considered to be an expert in this field.

What we also read in this document and also find back in for instance Dutch sources is that Japan saw Holland as a vassal state.

That Hamel and his mates had much knowledge about arms and had many skills in manufacturing them, doesn't match with what Hamel tells in his Journael about the way he and his mates had to make a living, begging and all kind of petty jobs. There was, on board of a VOC-ship usually a man, a blacksmith or an instrument maker, who could do some simple repairs on the arms, like muskets and pistols and 25 to 30 pieces of artillery with which the ships were armed. But in case of dire need, everyone on board had to be able to do anything. Then the blacksmith baked bread. Everybody on board probably knew how to handle arms and knew how they were put together. Maybe Weltevree had more special knowledge in this field. But he might have been the one-eyed man in the country of the blind. Because the Koreans didn't have a highly-developed arms industry. It seems that they imported canons from China.

Nicolaes Witsen writes in his Noord en Oost Tartarije:

Snaphaunces are unknown to them; they use rifles with a fuse. Furthermore they use leather pieces of artillery which is fitted on the inside with copper plates, half a finger thick. The leather is 2 till 5 thumbs thick and consists of several layers on top of each other. These pieces of artillery are transported at the back of an army , on horseback, two on one horse. It is possible to fire relative big cannonballs with these canons.

The Korean author Song Haeng, who lived from 1760 till 1839, describes the Hollanders in a historical essay as follows:

In the fourth year of Hyo Jong (1653) a strange ship was wrecked in the coastal waters of the Chindo-district. On board were 36 men. They were remarkably dressed, and also their stature was remarkable. Their noses were high in their face and their eyes sunk deep. They didn't understand our language, nor orally nor in writing. The court requested Park Yon to figure out what kind of people they are.
When Yon saw these people he was very moved. His beard was wet of tears. He said they were his countrymen and that they spoke his language. That's why the king decided to use him as an interpreter.
Many years these people lived in our country. They were incorporated in the garrisons which were camped in or around our capital, because they had much knowledge about arms and were also skilled in manufacturing arms.
When they had been with us for fourteen years, eight of them escaped in a fisherman's boat from a place in the south where they were accommodated. They reached Nagasaki. The governor of that city wrote in a letter to the king that they were people from Haranda (Holland), which is a vassal state of Japan. That's why he requested the king to send the remaining Haranda's who still remained in our country, also to Nagasaki. And so it happened.
(Van Hove page)

According to experts this description points out that the Hollanders used muskets of the type which is known as the miquelet lock. In "The age of fire arms, a Pictorial Study", written by Robert Held and published in 1957 at Harper, New York, one can read the following about this firearm:

The miquelet, in simplest terms, was a snapping lock like a snaphaunce, but refined by the revolutionary feature of having the battery combined with the flashpan cover in one L-shaped piece hinged at the toe, the upright section being struck by the flint and the horizontal forming the flashpan cover. To shoot a miquelet lock, the shooter first cocked it in the half-cock position, and no amount of pressure could release the cock to snap. To fire it nothing remained but to cock it in full-cock and pull the trigger. But at times a worn or defective gun-lock did snap out of half-lock while being carried about, an always unexpected as usually disastrous occurrence commemorated in the saying 'to go half-cocked'.

W. Keith Neal, Spanish Guns and Pistols, 1955 ..."By the commencement of the seventeenth century a characteristic form of Spanish gun was evolved. This gun was fitted with what Solér refers to as the 'snap-lock' and what the collector to-day calls a 'miquelet lock'." pg 5 ....."Very early examples exist which appear to be before 1600, made in both countries." ...."As far as can be judged from written accounts and certainly from the evidence of paintings as well as that of the actual weapons which have survived to the present day, Spain is the country to which the honour should be given." pg 6 ( both countries, meaning Italy and Spain)

This type of musket was developed by the Spaniards, at the end of the 16th century, and the Hollanders got to know it when they were shot with it. But in 1600 during the Battle of Nieuwpoort, the soldiers of Prince Maurits already shot back with it. Prince Maurits was a military innovator, he was for instance convinced that the lance was becoming obsolete and the miquelet was the future, so he changed the ratio from two lancers to one musketeer, (Spanish system) to two musketeers and one lancer. In this way they won the battle of Nieuwpoort.

So it seemed that the Koreans were way behind compared to the Hollanders when it comes to the manufacturing and plying of guns. Gratefully they would have used the knowledge of the Hollanders. It will be for that reason that they were assigned to the bodyguard of the king. Song Haeung writes that all the guns from the wreck of the Sperwer have been taken to Seoul . There they would have been investigated by the people from the 'training office'. After that the Hollanders transferred their knowledge. When the incident occurred with the Tartarian envoy, several Koreans proposed to kill the Hollanders.

Instead of that they were exiled to a province in the south of the country. And since that time they had to make a living with all kind of futile jobs and even with begging. They were lucky that some of the governors were kindly disposed to them and let them go us much as possible.

Hamel probably didn't think it wise to mention during the interrogation the fact that they taught the Koreans in Seoul about the use of modern guns. He also tells that only some of the guns were salvaged from the water, and that these were heavily affected by the water. That is of course strange, because they have been in the water only for a short time. From the Korean sources we know that 'all from the wreck' were transported to Seoul.

In the light of what is known now about Weltevree, is the question of the Japanese if the crew of the Sperwer also had the assignment to privatize Chinese junks, intriguing. The answer of Hamel was to be expected: They didn't get that assignment.

Nevertheless there was an order from the Heeren XII, applicable to all skippers that the trade between the different nations had to be obstructed as much as possible, by privatizing their ships and confiscate their cargo. For each confiscated ship skipper and crew received a reward.

There are some other orders which can't bear the daylight. There is for instance an order concerning the fetching of water. For this the skippers were to choose preferably an uninhabited island. There were fixed points where regularly water was taken. But by storm and headwind people sailed often in unknown waters. The orders prescribed that the ship had to anchor at a safe distance from the coast and that the crew of the sloop had to be armed sufficiently. Then follows this hair-raising sentence: "When savages show up, they have to be killed immediately".

The general states of the Seven Provinces had granted the VOC a patent, which gave her the right to declare war and to commit war-actions, like hijacking ships and shooting of savages. They were however only allowed to do so in the area east of Cape of Good Hope. In Ledyard we can find that the landing place was reported by Weltevree in 1667 to the Korean government as Kyongsan-do, in the district of Kyong-ju.

Futhermore Ledyard mentions that initially Weltevree was mentioned as being illiterate but in later sources that he was skilled in the military way of writing. So he was most likely familiar with at least Hankul and probably also had a minimal knowledge of the Chinese character set (Hanja). Finally Ledyard find in the Injo sillok that "ninety-four people including Pak Yôn, 朴淵 have passed the military exams" in 1648. The fact that he was the only one mentioned would suggest that he passed as the first in the examinations (Ledyard page 32). That this is possible shows the Russian Pavel Vasilyevich Shkurkin, he took top honors in the Chinese Palace Han-lin Academy Examinations. He was also the best in the examinations. (V.V. Shkurkin, a grandson of P.V.Shkurkin. private communication)

When Hamel and his companions were banished from the capital in 1656 he writes that after that they have never seen nor heard from Weltevree anymore. He says the same when the Japanese authorities in Nagasaki interrogated him on September 14, 1666. But on the same day he tells the chief that Weltevree "was still alive and about seventy years old" (1). If we look at the following passage:

".... said, I am also a Dutchman, born from de Rijp, and my name was Jan Jansz. Weltevreen and have been here already for 26 years, told further how he had sailed ao 1627 on the Jacht Ouwerkerck, Also that he on certain junk by mentioned Jaght has come in this Northern waters, being transferred, and had fallen around these Islands, with some of his company sailed ashore to fetch water and being taken prisoner with two other person and taken prisoner by the Chinese, also that the previous mentioned two companions were killed during the time that these Island were taken by the Tartarians, have died; mentioned Jan Jansz. Weltevreen was at the departure of often mentioned 8 persons from Corre still alive and rather more than 70 years old"(1)

So he didn't arrive aboard of the Ouwerkerck but aboard of a junk and probably wasn't captured immediately but handed over by the Chinese crew of the junk. Furthermore we read in a missive from the Governor of Taiwan to the one in Batavia (1) that the Ouwerkerck had captured a Chinese junk which was on his way to Amoy (Macao). Seventy of the hundred and fifty Chinese were brought from the junk to the Ouwerkeck, in their turn, sixteen crew-members from the Ouwerkerck were brought aboard the junk, with the orders to take the rest of the crew to Taiwan. But a little bit further we read that "mentioned junk was driven away from them and till this date not shown up, fearing that [it] is wrecked." The Ouwerkerck itself was captured a few months later by the Portuguese and burned:

"... from the Chinese robbers we have understood that the Ouwerkerck [was] taken by surprise at night around Maccauw by some Portuguese fusten [a type of ship] and burned; eighteen heads would have been taken prison; like [they] also have gotten the artillery; the remaining people altogether died".

Thus it was clear that one tried to keep behind that Weltevree was a pirate or in the language of the V.O.C. a "kaapvaarder" [a "hijack" sailor], why one wanted to keep his status in Korea so vague has probably to do with the fact that the relationship of the V.O.C. with Japan was not so simple. Possibly Weltevree left also a wife and child in Holland behind. This is being suggested by loose pieces of archive material in the baptismal records in Vlaardingen and probably Weltevree didn't come from the Rijp at all.

When Hendrick Hamel met Jan Janse Weltevree, Jan had problems speaking Dutch, since he didn't speak it for more then 26 years. A ship called "De Rijp" was sailing in Asian waters. For instance Nicolaes Coeckebakker was asked to help the shôgun to suppress a revolt on the peninsula Shimibara. He requested for the use of the guns of "De Rijp" to bombard the fort from the shore. The shôgun withdrew at the last minute his request to avoid the loss of face. Maybe Jan Janse meant that he had been on that ship. At least there are several explanations possible as to why this mentioning of "De Rijp" comes up.

In the ship's rolls of the "Hollandia" there is no mentioning of Weltevree, but on the other hand a Jan Jansz from Vlaardingen is mentioned. In the same year 1626 two ships named "Hollandia" sailed off, on which one was Jan Janse? Since he had reasons to keep his existence in Korea secret, he might have mentioned the name De Rijp, the village where one of his mates was born, instead of Vlaardingen. Because of the big fire in De Rijp in 1654 all archives are lost. In the baptism books since 1655 the name Weltevree is not mentioned. A document showed up that which mentions a Jan Janse Weltevree in Vlaardingen. Also if we look at the following document which recently showed up. The document is called 'Ji Yeong Ruk'. In a foreword, Lee Ik-tae describes the beauty and fame of Halla-san, meaning Jeju-do. He mentions three sources of history writing, adding that the quality of those writings was bad. Therefore, he decided in late spring 1696 to rewrite the reports. The translation from Hanmun is done by Kim Ik-su, with personal comments, Gary Ledyard, is currently working on the documents as well. Apart from mentioning the location of the stranding, in this document there are some remarkable details that cannot be found in other documents:

They (the castaways) are dressed in three colors clothes, black white and red. They were sitting face to face and some people sit on objects, some people stand. They tried to talk to us by writing. They wrote three crosses (XXX) and added 6 and then they moved their heads, nodding "yes". Then they wrote XX, adding 6 and closed their eyes, pretending to fall dead. We understood that 36 people lived and 26 people died. It was remarkable that even we did not speak the same language, we could communicate and understand that nodding "yes" meant alive and closing eyes meant dead. We counted the living people and the dead bodies and found that they were right. But because we could not communicate well, we could not ask more. We guessed that they came from the south west.

Because we were wondering, we requested the government to send Bak Yeon, who also came to this country as a castaway, but became a Korean. He acts as a diplomat and his (foreign) name is Jan Janse Weltevree. He came to interrogate the people, translate it and send it to the government.
Bak Yeon and 3 people met. They were staring to each other for a long time and then they said: "you look like my brother". And then, while talking, they cried, Bak Yeon also. The next day Bak Yeon called all the castaways and asked them where they lived. All people said "Netherlands". One of them, a boy of 13 years old by name of Denijs Govertsz, was born in Rotterdam, but lived near Bak Yeon's home village. Bak Yeon asked him about his relatives. He answered that on the place where Bak Yeon's relatives lived, the house was broken down and only grass was growing. His uncle appeared to have passed away, but some other relatives still lived. Bak Yeon was so sad to hear this. Bak Yeon asked more: "why do your clothes look so different from what I know as common". They answered: "You left a long time ago and the way we dress and many other things have changed over the years"
[translation Jan Boonstra and his wife]

The report continues with the interrogation about the contents, origin and destination of the cargo. Also, the manuscript describes how Bak Yeon explained that they had to give up the hope of ever leaving Korea for their home country.

Why would Weltevree have spoken with Denijs Govertz and not the father? Probably the father has been away already for a long time and this was the maiden voyage of Denijs. Rotterdam and Vlaardingen are neighboring cities, far away from the Rijp, again suggesting that Weltevree came from Vlaardingen and not De Rijp.

II-5 After the meeting with Weltevree

We can read further in the manuscript that after having met Weltevree, they were treated better, obviously the governor drew his conclusions and Yi Wonjin liked them and even organized a party to cheer them up. They had many meetings and the conversations were documented and translated by Weltevree who spoke better and better Dutch. Weltevree visited them daily with an "een van sijn officiers ofte opper Benjoesen" (one of his officers or Opper Benjoesen)

However at the end of the year his term as prefect was expired and he he had to go back to the capital. Before he went back to Seoul he returned their personal belongings and presents like each a long lined skirt and a few leather socks and had made shoes made, since it was going to be cold. He gave them back the salvaged books and also a big tankard of cod-liver oil, so that they could pass the winter well. He gave them a farewell party and told them by way of Weltevree that he was sad that he couldn't send them to Japan nor could take them to the mainland. They shouldn't be sad about his departure since he would appeal to the court for them. They thanked him profusely. (see 1) Hamel writes that they got those winter clothes thanks to the charity of Yi Wonjin but according to Ledyard this was merely due to a decision in Seoul, and was more at their disadvantage then their advantage. Since deerskins were needed for the tribute of the Manchu's envoy, the king remembered that there were many deerskins from the shipwreck on Cheju-do. Only four or five hundred of those skins were good enough to be used and recommendations were made that the castaways would be compensated. The remaining skins were later returned to them but Hamel writes insects and the like deteriorated them by the time they received them. Further Ledyard mentions that they there is no indication that they got compensation for the Borneo camphor or "dragon brains", which was used by the palace doctor for medical use. (Ledyard page 39 and further)

Go to the next page