Long after they had come back, an administrator of learning of the V.O.C., to whom they have given oral information, mentioned two of the saved castaways of the "Sperwer". With one exception the others didn't leave a known trace. During their stay on the island of Deshima, the bookkeeper of the "Sperwer", Hendrick Hamel from Gorkum, made himself useful. He wrote down the adventures of him and his partners in misfortune. In this he wrote down what was stuck in his memory about the country and people of Korea. On December 2, 1667 Hamel and his seven companions had the honor to appear in Batavia "in Council"(*). In the Batavian Daily Registers is written on the 11th of that month that Hendrick Hamel handed over his Journal "to Their Highnesses" (Dagr. Bat, 1667, December 11,):
"Hendrick Hamel, previously bookkeeper (*) on the jaght the Sperwer, wrecked on 16th of August 1653 on one of the Corean islands, called by us Quelpaerts eylandt together with another 7 persons, having arrived here last 28th November from Japan, with the Fluyt the Spreeuw, has now handed over to the honorable a daily register of what happened since that time till their arrival here, containing a story of the wreckage of mentioned jaght, also what misery and trouble they had to endure there, how and in what way they finally escaped from their prison; furthermore a short description of the kingdom Coree, the contact with their inhabitants, her justice, police, Religion, and other matters of speculation, putting the mentioned daily register under the papers received this year from Japan."
At the end of the edition of Saagman of Hamel's journal is written:
"After some days we left with a Ship, which laid there in cargo to Batavia, where we arrived the 20th of November, and were [summoned] before the General [Governor] which we told our story: we have also handed him over a Journal, and he received us furthermore well, had given us permission to leave for the Fatherland",
Hamel had given the manuscript to the Chief [Opperhoofd] in Nagasaki, therefore he couldn't fill in the date of arrival Batavia nor could he say something about way was received.(*) On November 20, the council of the Indies didn't assemble, but Hamel could have been summoned another time on the Castle since the General Governor wanted to know details about his stay in Korea by himself or because the General Director wanted to know how he thought about the possibilities for the trade with this realm. Hamel's Journal that, according to the quoted note in the daily register, "putting the mentioned daily register under the papers received this year from Japan [with the Spreeuw]" was received, was available in the General Office and could be retrieved there to give him the opportunity to offer it to "Your Honorable" (General Governor and Counsels).
Another possibility is that it was handed over on the assembly of the government in December 2, and that the keeper of the daily register (The First Clerk of the General Office Camphuijs), only recorded this on December 11. This happened more (Compare de Haan, Priangan II, h1. 38 (26). A second copy of this Journal was obviously in the possession of his companions in distress, who arrived before him on July 20, 1668, in Holland. and was handed over to the Heeren XVII soon after that.(*) Publishers laid hand on the text soon as well. That the publishers didn't overestimate the popularity of Hamel's story, proofs the fact that in Holland alone there were six different publications, three of them in 1668.
Soon in other countries translations were published, separately or in a collection of itineraries (See the Bibliography). For a long time Hamel's story concerning Korea remained the only source of pure western origin. The first author to draw from that was Montanus, of whose hand a folio was published in 1669 about the mission of the V.O.C. "aen de Kaisaren van Japan" (To the Kaisers of Japan) (A. Montanus, Gedenkwaerdige Gesantschappen etc.). In the last part of it he mentions the shipwreck of the "Sperwer" and the adventures of the castaways on some pages (page 429 - 436); He didn't mention however how he laid hand on those messages, and though mentions Hamel, Montanus didn't think it noteworthy to that wrote a Journa,. this journal is however, in one or the other form, used by him.
Nicolaas Witsen (1641-1717) provides us with much interesting information about that country in his Noord en Oost Tartarye. Witsen, whose motto was Labor omnia vincit, was the scion of a prominent and wealthy family in Amsterdam. He studied law, philology, mathematics and astronomy at Leyden University where he took his L.L.D. in 1664. He also applied himself to the study of geography, cartography and hydraulic engineering.
He was an able etcher and became a specialist in shipbuilding. In 1697/98 he taught this art to Czar Peter the Great who was then studying in the Netherlands. Between 1682 and 1705 he was thirteen times mayor of Amsterdam; he represented that city nearly continuously in the States of Holland and General Netherlands. As a young man he had also served his country diplomat Moscow. The first print was finished 1692 but never brought to public (Noord en Oost Tartarye, Amsterdam 1692) (One copy is in the University library of Utrecht). In it he calls some times upon the "Dutchmen who have been taken captive in Korea" and shows to be familiar with their shipwreck and captivity on Quelpaerts-island and on the mainland.
He even gives some details that can't be found anywhere else. Therefore it's likely that he has been in touch with some of the salvaged castaways. He doesn't mention them and doesn't mention the Journal either. The second edition is most useful for our purpose. (Noord en Oost Tartarye, Amsterdam 1705; One copy is in the Maritime Museum Amsterdam) Witsen's messages about Korea are much more comprehensive.
For his description of Korea Witsen made use of the following sources: Martini, Martino (*), Novus atlas sinensis, Amsterdam 1655; Montanus, Arnoldus, Gedenkwaerdige Gezantschappen aen de Kaisaren van Japan (Memorable Envoys to the Emperors, i.e. Shôgun, of Japan), Amsterdam 1669; a report of a court journey (Nagasaki-Edo) made by the Dutch in 1637; a description of Korea by a "certain Slavonic (i.e. Russian) author"; information provided by Anreas Cleyer, chief merchant at Deshima in 1683 and 1686; "a" report from Japan. Benedictus Klerk and Master Mattheus Eibokken, two of Hamel's companions-in-distress, furnished eyewitness information.
He doesn't limit himself to what he could copy from the "Itinerary of the Dutchmen who have been imprisoned in Korea ", as Hamel's journal is called in the only place in his book where it is mentioned (volume I, page 148.), but this time he quotes several times his informants: the junior (third) surgeon Mattheus Eibokken from Enkhuizen and the cabin boy Benedictus Klerk from Rotterdam (*). Ship's surgeons in that period actually combined the functions of physician and barber, and were especially expert at applying leeches. Among the survivors of the shipwreck he was considered as a man of some importance, for on October 19, 1653, he was together with Hendrick Janse (chief pilot) and Hendrick Hamel (secretary/accountant) invited to visit the Prefect of Cheju -do at his residence.
Witsen rightly considered Master Eibokken's statements as true assets. Hamel himself however is never mentioned. That Witsen has known the Journal of Hamel and consulted it, appears convincing from what has been written in his work and on top of that from an error. In the first print of "Noord en Oost Tartarye" he clarifies the position of the island which is called Fungma by the Chinese with the remark: "Now Moese or Quelperts island", while he speaks on another place of: "Quelpaerts island, called Moese by th' inhabitants." Also in the second print he repeats that the inhabitants called this island Moese.
Compare now the place in Hamel''s Journal: "'arrived in the afternoon a city called Moggan, being the place of residency of the Governor of th' island, calledMocxo by them". *) Only in this way Quelpaerts-island is mentioned in the editions of Stichter and Van Velsen. Most likely it comes from the Mokkwan (an official form of Moksa, Hamel calls this Mocxo, (*) Moese is the Chinese pronunciation of Moksa). Publishers printed: "called by them Moese" (Publ. - Saagman: "Moggaen, being the place of residence of the Governor of th' Island, called Mocxa by them". On the other hand we see in the publication of Stichter and Van Velsen... "called Moese by them". Then it becomes clear that Witsen used a printed Journal of Hamel and that he read the Korean word for the title of the Governor as if the island was meant. The data, provided by Hamel and his companions are processed and mixed in a peculiar way by Witsen, because of that curious collages come into being like this one; "The villages there are uncountable and to catch someone by the hair is there dishonest and despised " (Witsen, 2e edition, page 59.). From some remarks it also appeared he used Nieuhof since Nieuhof writes:
"They don't keep their wives as conscientious and carefully at home as the Sineezen, (in which these people mainly differ from them), but let them appear also in the company of the men, therefore they are called [or abused] by the Sineezen as unmannered and immoral people. A very big difference between these people and the Sineezen is to marry off their Sons and Daughters. Each takes a woman according to his wishes, without to request the approval of father or mother, or next of kin, which is maintained completely differently by the Sineezen, like such is long-winded reported on page 49."
It is however less strange that the publishers of Hamel's Journal didn't follow his text faithfully. They will have taken the taste of public for whom these booklets were meant into account and made therefore changes that seemed suitable. One (Stichter>, Rotterdam, 1668) has split the text in two independent pieces: the story of what happened to the castaways and the description of Korea. Another (van Velsen, Amsterdam, 1668) even left this description away. Perhaps because it suited his purpose to use some of the pictures in his possession a third one (Saagman, "th' Sincere Journal", Amsterdam, page 30 - 31) inserted an elaboration about elephants and crocodiles, which don't exist in Korea. He did that in his second edition. This insertion was done with a description that was done somewhere else: "Host meal at the Court of Mataram" (*). On top of that the printed texts differ, both among themselves and from the manuscript, sometimes at important places.
Foreign authors who had to use such a translation spread in their turn the alterations further. The text of the in Churchill's Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol IV (1732) recorded English translation is reprinted in Transaction of the Korea Branch of the R. A. S. Vol. 9 1918. Now with a "Foreword" of the president Mark Napier Trollope, Methodist Bishop in Korea, which judges favorable about Hamel's Journal but makes the remark: ">there are points, like his circumstantial account of the man-eating "crododils" to be found in Chosen, which sound rather like a "traveller 's tale". He adds quite gullibly: "though it is possible that such animals may have existed two hundred and fifty years ago and yet be extinct now". Hamel is to be excused; in his Journal neither crocodiles nor elephants are mentioned. This version is reprinted in Gari Ledyards The Dutch come to Korea, page 207. Even Jean Paul Buys who translated Hoetink's transcription, which comes closest to the original manuscript, copied the mistakes made by Hoetink. We can therefore state that Hamel's Journal isn't made known as he has written it.
Maybe a copy of Hamel's Journal has never been stored in the archives in Weltevreden, Batavia. At least in Hoetink's time it wasn't present (>Hoetink page XXIV). It is unknown where the verbatim report, which was in the hands of the Heeren XVII in 1668, is and it doesn't appear from the existing daily registers and letters in those days from Nagasaki, that the existence of the Journal was known there.
Maybe Hamel himself took a copy with him on his return to Holland, to be able to research or find that back, data about his life after his return to Holland 1670 should turn up. Research for similar data didn't do any good. Luckily in the department of the Colonial Archives of the General Archives in the Hague a specimen of Hamel's Journal is kept. It the one that was send by Government of Indies to Chamber Amsterdam. part papers are collected and bound in ">Second part of the incoming letters from Batavia. Come over from the respective quarters from the Indies per the ships the Wapen van Hoorn, Alphen, Hollants Tuijn, Vrijheijdt, Cattenburgh, Amerongen, Wassende Maan, Loosduijnen and Vlaardingen, on May 18, July, 13, 20, 23 and 25 respectively arrived in Tessel and 't Vlie. Fourth Book Ao 1668", and is also mentioned in the that part existing "Register of the received letters etc. since December 6, of this [year] 1667 till 23rd of the same month for the Chamber of Amsterdam", as follows: "Japan. Daily register kept by the salvaged persons of the wrecked Jaght the Sperwer of that what passed and their adventures in the realm of Coree, since August 18, 1653 till September 14, 1666."
That it doesn't become clear who composed and offered the Journal isn't that strange. Even petitions were often offered unsigned in those days. For example the old-Governor General Hendrik Zwaardecroon> offered a petition to the Government of the Indies without signing it. (See Indische Gids, 1917, II, page 1539). Also the requests mentioned in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Landen Volkenkunde van N. I, volume 73, page 401, were unsigned. Similar reports like Hamel's Journal are found regularly without date or signature amongst the papers of the Compagnie. Hamel speaks about himself in the Journal as "den bouck houder"(*) [the bookkeeper] and nowhere he shows that he is the composer; because of that impersonal redaction there was no reason to sign it. Because of this the authorship is not established without doubt. However it is plausible, even likely that he called for the help of the memories of his companions, only he will have had the education, which was needed for the composition of the Journal. This is, as far known, never attributed to someone else. Even if the still existing manuscript is just a copy that the government of Batavia had made for the Chamber Amsterdam, origin and destination are a guarantee that the text is reliable.
Is the manuscript a copy or the original of Hamel, which was offered according to the notes in the Batavian Daily Register of December 11, 1667, when it was offered to the Government of the Indies? Answering the call of the Chief in Nagasaki, Hamel will have spent an important part of his time there on writing down an extensive account (which is alluded to in the missive of October 18, 1666 from Nagasaki to the Government in the Indies (*)) and at least have had made two written copies by the clerk of the factory in Deshima. Hamel will have finished the text of his Journal completely, since he was convinced that in 1667 before departure ships V.O.C. permission to leave would arrive. With this permission the castaways of the "Sperwer" could leave Japan. "the arrival of the new governor" and on which the anchors were weighed (so that only the arrival in Batavia stayed open). Hereafter he will have handed over the copy, which was intended for the Government in Batavia, to be added to the rest of the papers for that government. This Chief will have written the dedication for the General Governor and the Counsels of the Indies, since this is written in a different handwriting than the rest of the text. (*)
If one further assumes that which is mentioned in this Journal in 1667, will have been appended by Hamel during his journey from Japan to the Indies, then one assumes that the manuscript, which is written from beginning to end in the same handwriting, except for the just mentioned dedication, is written by Hamel. This however is unlikely, since some improvements and some errors exist, which most likely could not have been made by the author himself.
Does one further assume that the copy offered by Hamel in Batavia, stayed there and was lost later? Therefore the manuscript will have been a copy for the Chamber of Amsterdam, written by the General Secretariat. With this, the different handwritings is sufficiently explained. Still the question arises why the date of arrival isn't filled in? Furthermore one can ask the question why the dedication to the Governor and Counsels is written in a different handwriting than the rest of the copy?
It's also unlikely that Hamel himself had corrected the manuscript, likely already on Deshima, is for sure. For the time lapsed by when the both companions in distress of Jan Janse Weltevree lost their life, was first written: "19 to 20 years" this has been changed later into "17 to 18 years". (*) The latter also found in the printed copies. This must have been done by Hamel himself or on his directions.
It's also unlikely that Hamel will have had the opportunity to check a copy made in Batavia and both in that and in the original specimen (therefore also in the, shortly after their arrival taken specimen to Holland, by his companions) have jotted down the corrections. Why would he have refrained from filling in the date of arrival in Batavia? Mind you, if it went this way, then the manuscript would have gotten the value of an original document, thanks to Hamel's cooperation.
Most likely is that the Batavian government, will have sent the piece received from Japan to the Chamber in Amsterdam. Therefore is Hamel's Journal printed as he had drafted it and handed it over? In the meantime it is possible that in the text, which we have here, some words might have been left out which have remained in the specimen that was taken by Hamel's companions to Holland and was published there. Also in the early publications some errors will have been corrected and some expressions been clarified. Though Hamel's Journal has been published and translated several times, it became according to Tiele, never really popular, since there were too little atrocities. "The murders & other excesses are rarer in this journal than those in the voyage of Pelsaert. Also it became less popular" (Tiele, Memoire bibliogr., page 275).
According to the taste of Hamel's contemporaries his story might have been too sober and maybe his story would have been more popular if he affronted the Koreans, described them as blood thirsty savages and had made his journal more lively by making up stories which would have aroused alternately disgust, horror and pity while reading it. What makes Hamel's Journal so attractive is the fact that he admits that he and his companions have been generally treated well. He depicted in a simple style what they have experienced and observed during their exile. Nowhere one can catch him at deliberate inaccuracies, and if one can proof that he makes things out to be better than they really are, then research shows that one can only blame him for protecting his comrades.
For instance, the meeting with the previously stranded countryman Jan Janse Weltevree. According to Hamel Weltevree says that he"came in 1627 with the jaght Ouwerkerck to Japan going by contrary winds on the Coast of Corea"(*) was, while it is established that this ship didn't go to these regions. (*) From the documentation written in the Daily Registers in Nagasaki (*) it appears that at their arrival, the castaways have told the right facts about Weltevree's arrival in Korea, so that can be assumed that he is guilty of an inaccuracy by answering the questions of the Japanese authorities and later when he recorded Weltevree's adventure.
Tiele's remark that Hamel isn't scientific is completely correct "The story of their adventures however very simple and not at all scientific, don't lack of interest". (Memoire bibliogr., page 274). Griffis also wrote that "Hamel the supercargo of the ship, wrote a book on his return, recounting his adventures in a simple and straightforward style" (Griffis, Corea, 1905, page 176). Could we expect anything else from someone who went to the Indies on the age of twenty, was a couple of years in the service of the V.O.C. and lived for thirteen years in an oriental surrounding, in complete isolation, without any contact with educated countrymen or other Westerners?
It is very questionable if we would have been better off if Hamel was a scholar instead of the ship's bookkeeper. Wouldn't the chance be big, that he wouldn have limit himself with a simple story of his adventures and description country people, but would given so-called scientific treatise? You don get high opinion quality scholars time if read essays Montanus and Witsen. Also if you have seen how freely they copy from each other. Hamel was at least original and honest. Churchill writes in 1732: "When this account was printed in Holland, the eight men mention'd at the end if this journal, were all in Holland, and examin'd by several persons of reputation, concerning the particulars here deliver'd, and they all agreed in them; which seems to render the relation sufficiently authentick ... There's nothing in that carries the face of a fable invented by a traveller to impose upon the believing of the world" (Churchill's Collection of Voyages IV (1732), Preface page 574).
This makes his style acceptable; if he makes mistakes it happened in good faith. It would have been desirable that he had given more details about the life of the castaways in Korea, but we can't hold it against him that he refrained from giving information that would be held against them as an offence or at least would be seen as unfavorable. He withholds information about the castaways, of which some of them were maybe married in Holland, had relations with Korean girls and had left children and wives behind: "They abandoned children and wives, who some of them have married " (Witsen 1st edition, page 23; 2nd edition, I, page 53).This would explain why the first seven at their return to Holland were ready to make a journey which purpose was to tie commercial relations with Korea (*). It also doesn't become clear how they supported themselves during their exile. The impression is established that they were a constant victim of bitter poverty. But how then were they able to gather money to buy houses and clothes and later to buy the boat to escape at high cost? "These people... said most lived from the offering meat, and didn't have bad days" (Witsen, 1st edition, page 23; 2nd edition 1, page 53.) This information, probably coming from Master Eibokken is just as unsatisfactory as what we can learn from Hamel's story.
Would Hamel, while he wrote his Journal, have made use of notes? After the shipwreck of the "Sperwer" couldn't the castaways save not only some food, but also a few binoculars and books. These books, to which the ship's journal would have belonged, will have been given back to Hamel; possibly he made in this his notes and took those on his flight to Nagasaki. Like a favorably disposed critic of his Journal thought, that however Hamel had enough time to collect data and to write a much more extensive description of the country and its people, than he has given us, but he wouldn't have felt like doing so, because he might never have the chance to tell others what he had experienced.
"Thirteen years residence in Corea, was time enough to have given a much more perfect description, and many men in that time would have made it more ample and satisfactory but the author gave what he had, and I suppose his memoirs were small and ill digested, having leisure enough, but perhaps little inclination, to write in that miserable life, as not knowing whether ever he should obtain his liberty, to present the World with what he writ" (Churchill's Collection IV, Preface, page 574).
It's just as well possible that the idea to write down the story of the adventures of the castaways of the "Sperwer"; just occurred with Hamel when he had to wait idle in Nagasaki for his release and that he had to rely for that job on the memory and reminisce of his companions. However it may be, in Hamel's time it was already acknowledged that his remarks concerning Korea were not conflicting with what known from other resources.
"The Secretary of the Vessel who made that journal, had put nothing forward in the Description of the State of the Kingdome of Coree which doesn't collate with what Palafox has written and those who have treated the invasion of the Tartarians " (Relation du Naufrage d'un vaisseau holandois sur la Coste de l'Isle de Quelpaerts etc. Avertissement au Lecteur).
"The book, which contains a racy description of the country and people, deserves careful study. It throws some interesting sidelights on the history of the "Coresians" two and a half centuries ago, then as always between the upper and nether mill-stones of the "Japoneses" and the "Chineses" to north and south of them" (Foreword of M. N. Trollope at the publication of Hamel's Journal in Transactions Corea Branch R. A. S. IX, 1918, page 93-94).
"The French translator indulges in skepticism concerning Hamel's narrative, questioning especially his geographical statements. Before a map of Corea, with the native sounds even but approximated, it will be seen that Hamel's story is a piece of downright unembroidered truth. It is indeed to be regretted that this actual observer of Corean life, people, and customs gave us so little information concerning them" (Griffis, Corea, 1905, page 176).
The rocky coast of the island on which the jaght the "Sperwer" dashed was known in the 7th century by the Chinese as Tan Lo ("the envoy from Quelpart.... circa Ao. 1650" (Parker, China Review XVI, 41. 309). Since the beginning of the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644) as Cheju and according to European maps from the 17th century as Fungma. The Portuguese, the oldest western seafarers there, obviously had a bad impression of the inhabitants and called it therefore "Ilha de Ladrones" (Island of thieves).
"On the map of Jan Huijgen van Linschoten (1595) is Korai indicated as an Island with the Inscription Ilha de Corea, I dos Ladrones, Costa de Conray from which the South point lies under 33 22' N. L., Likewise is also to be seen on a Joannes Janssonius Map of Japan (1650) Coraij Insula and in the South of the same a small Island which bears the name I. de Ladrones; the Latter has become known since some years later as Quelpaard Eiland" (Von Siebold, Nippon I, Page 89).
So since Hamel's Journal the name Quelpaerts-eiland became popular for Cheju-do.
"After Hamel's Escape from captivity is the notorious Island Quelpaard charted in Seamaps of Dutch East Indian Compagnie. On above mentioned "Paskaart" Eskild Juel lies the middle of the Island under 33o 15' N.L. and around 127o E.L..... However on the maps in the second half of the 17th and on the first half of the 18th century lies Ilha de Ladrones which is without doubt the same as Quelpaard, about 20 geogr, Miles north west of the same; likewise lies also under the name Fong Ma on the by d' Anville reprinted "Carte generale de la Tartarie Chinoise" and on the "Royaume de Coree" and revives, even if only as a shadow, on the newest maps of these regions" (Von Siebold, Nippon I, page 89).
On the "Carte generale de la Tartarie Chinoise" in d' Anville's atlas of March 1732 (Universiteits-bibliotheek Utrecht) lies the island "Fongma" northwest of "Quelpaert Isle suivant les cartes hollandoises". [Quelpaert island according to the Dutch maps] (See for more about maps the part about maps).
Even on the TREATY OF PEACE WITH JAPAN drawn up on Sept. 8, 1951 in San Francisco, California, USA we find:
(a) Japan recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet.
Dagelet is Ull?do, De la P?use, about which you can find more in the chapter about maps, gave this name. Port Hamilton is Komundo wich Britain had decided to occupy in 1885.
Why and when did it receive the name Quelpart? The name has nothing to do with the shipwreck of the "Sperwer". That Hamel and his companions would have baptized the island like this is a conclusion that is inaccurate.
According to N. G. van Kampen (Geschiedenis der Nederlanders buiten Europa II, page 121): "Accordingly they continued their trip to Japan but stranded south of Corea on an island which they called Quelpaert".
According to Dr. J, de Hullu, Iets over den naam Quelpaertseiland, [Something about the name Quelpaerts Island] Tijdschrift Kon. Ned. Aardr; Gen., 2e ser., Volume XXXIV (1917) page 860: "that it has received its Europeeschen name from them, they show themselves in the journal".
See also: "F. E. Mulert, Nog iets over den naam Quelpaertseiland, T.K.A.G. 2e ser. volume XXXV (1918) page 111)
Compare furthermore Witsen, 2e edition I, page 46; "On the coast of this Korea, 13 mijl from the coast, lies an island, called by the Dutch Quelpaerts Eiland and by th' Islanders even Moese, and in the Sineese maps Fungma".
One finds namely already in 1648, five years before the wrecking of "Sperwer", that there is mentioning of "'t Eijland 't Quelpaert".
September 18, 1648: "Unloading of Campen was finished in the afternoon, to the Witte Valck started a normal parade, that desirably continued; while there aboard, came the Flute ship the Patientie also sailing into this bay and moored near the Koe; the noble Dircq Snoucq had left on the same from Taijouan on August 27, with a cargo of f 23172:13:11 besides on the Tonquinse silk taken out of the Witte Valck f 68413:38:7 and cow hides from Siam out of the Witte Druijff f 3990:17. On the 't Eijland 't Quelpaert [which] lies 30 mijlen west of Firando, had tried to fetch water, land with the boat, th' inhabitants themselves had turned them away, a few moments later shot a musket, and hit one of our men at the from of his chin, that lumps bruised the bone and deeply stuck into it, without us having done them any harm". "Daily-Register of the Compie' in Nangasackij since Novembr 3, Ao 1647 till Decembr 8,1648". (Col. Arch. no. 11678). See also Valentijn V, 2nd piece, 9th book, 9th chapter page 89.
A notice in a "Register on the resolutions of the Chamber of Amsterdam since 1603 till 1743" we find: the "Galjodt is previously also named a quelpaerd". (Col. Arch. number 434) But also in J. E. Heeres, in his "Tasman's Journal of his discovery of Van Diemens Land etc.", (1898, page 116, note 2), Quel is another name for a galiot"; and furthermore on page 1 note 33: "Quelpaert" an old name for a galiot". There are also two quotes about resolutions of that Chamber, there it appeared that in the first half of the 17th century there were in Holland already a type of ships of the V.O.C. which were called "quelpaert". These resolutions were, in their turn quoted from the previously mentioned essay of Dr. J. de Hullu (page 856). These were advisory ships of a small charter and obviously seaworthy, ships which sailed fast and suitable for shallow water. The assumption speaks for itself that Quelpaerts-island is derived from such a ship. Indeed more than one "quelpaert" has sailed before 1648 in East Asia.
On December 8, 1639 the Heeren XVII sent a message to the government of Batavia that they had sent the "quel de Brack" to test it and wanted to know if "such quel" would be useful for the V.O.C. Sailed out on January 17, 1640, this ship arrived safely in Batavia on July 30, 1640 next to the two big ships which it had accompanied. It had done well! The judgment of the Government in the Indies was favorable. For the service in Taijoan this "quelpaert" was even considered to be so good that two or three more of this type were requested. Immediately it becomes noticeable that the Heeren XVII speak of the "Quel de Brack" and the Government in the Indies of "'t Galjot 't Quelpeert". Else we also find about the same type mentioned as: "t'Quelpaert", "t'Quel", "'tGaliot den Brack" and even "t' Galiot t' Quelpaert de Brack". The naming convention becomes understandable if we know that "such Quel" was of about the same type as the in the Indies better known galliots and "de Brack" was the first ship of its kind, which was spotted there, and therefore will have been mentioned as Quelpaert or Quel.
Only when more of these types of ships appeared in the Indies, there were reasons to distinguish and to mention the factual name of the ship explicitly ("'t quel de Brack", " 't quel de Hasewindt", "'t quel de Visscher"). When "de Brack" was anchored at the roadstead of Batavia, the siege of Malaka was in full swing, so this advisory ship came in handy. Instead of going to Taijoan, the "Quelpaert" was immediately sent after its arrival to Malaka. At least De Jonge mentions in his "Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen" (History of the Dutch Maritime Affairs), in volume I, on page 799; "List of the Dutch naval power on November 30, Ao 1640 found in India, around Malacca: t' Quelpaert". In the course of 1640 it made two more journeys thither. Only on May 15, 1641 it set course to Taiwan, where it arrived on June 21, 1641. Initially the Batavian Government wanted to send the "Quelpaert" to Japan.
Besides the enforced move from the factory from Hirado to Nagasaki, the V.O.C. found out, by the several hindrances thrown up by the Japanese, that the arrival of their ships with their precious cargos, was not as much appreciated as they were used to. The move alone, was from a commercial point of view, hardly harmful:
"For the incapacity of the harbor of Firando because of the difficult access caused by the hot currents and the inconvenience caused by the Japanse tuffons there, to our ships" (Miss. Batavia to President Couckebacker in Japan, July 2, 1636).
"So we are well satisfied with the transport of the Comp'. apportionment from Firando in Nangasacqui, with Your Honorable understanding that the more situated place for trade be than in Firando" (Miss. Batavia to the Regent of the Island Schisima [Deshima] April 23, 1643).
The profits were endangered and it looked as if the Japanese powers were intending to force the V.O.C. to stop the trade on their country voluntarily. Hoping to bring improvement in the trade, the Batavian Government decided to transfer the, at the time to Jacques Specx issued, pass to Taijoan and from there with the "Quelpaert" to Japan. Hoetink found this pass in the General Secretariat in Batavia amongst the papers of the V.O.C.
"From the old Kaisers pass, grandfather of the ruling Majesty there in Japan many times examined and requested for, for reasons supported was the same more civil and more favorable for the freedom of the Dutch as the retinue was established." (Miss. Batavia to Japan, August 2, 1641).
Compare Van Dijk, Iets over onze vroegste betrekkingen met Japan, (Something about our earliest relations with Japan) page 40. - In the "Verbatim report of the advices from several quarters" (November 16, 1641 - October 16, 1642) is said, "Our pass differs little with the pass that steadily stays in Japan given to Mr. Hendrick Brouwer and recently shown [to] the high and mighty".
When however Chief Merchant Laurens Pith arrived with this state property in Taijoan on September 5, 1641, the "Quelpaert" had just before broken its gaff. That will have been the reason that the flute ship "de Saijer" was appointed in its place to sail Chief Merchant Cornelis Caesar, to whom the delivery of the pass was ordered. Only in the next year (1642) was it the turn of the "Quelpaert" to be sent from Taijoan to Japan. The goal of this journey was also to make the Japanese Regents favorable for the V.O.C.
As an advisory ship, the "Quel de Bracq" was excellently suitable for that task and since it was "well sailed and calmly driven", it was able to get to Japan in the relatively short time of one month. It hoisted sail on September 11, from Taijoan, and entered the bay of Nagasaki on October 12, and left on the 29th of the same month from there and arrived safely on November 7 back in Taijoan.
The messages concerning this voyage of the "Quelpaert de Brack" are relatively abundant, but nowhere has been said that something special happened during its trip to or from Japan. No mentioning of calling in on an unknown island or even having spotted one or a hostile meeting had taken place in the vicinity of it. On the other hand, also exclusively in the Japanese Daily registers one can find a mentioning of what happened to the "Patientie" in 1648 on Coast of Korea: The flute Patientie left on November 20, 1648 via Taijoan to Batavia, where it arrived on January 11, 1649. Nor in a letter from the Chief Coijett dated in Nagasaki on November 19, 1648 to Batavia, nor in his simultaneous writing to Taijoan, is any mentioning of an incident or something else special near or on Quelpaerts-island.
Chief Jan van Elseracq, who kept the Daily Registers in 1642, wouldn't have thought it worth to mention anything else what didn't relate to the trade of relation V.O.C. with Japan. We only find that "Quelpaert", maybe because his slender form or its small dimension, had caught attention Governor Nagasaki. (Daily Register Japan, October 27, 1642)(*).
In the meantime it's of course possible that the "Quelpaert" on its return journey from Japan to Taijoan, maybe drifted off the normal course because of bad weather and took bearings on an island which was not mentioned in the sailing orders or maybe they passed it. The skipper will have kept notice of that in his journal. The authorities in Taijoan and Batavia have noted this experience and will have drawn the other skippers' attention to the island mentioned by the "Quelpaert." However we can't find any mentioning of the Quelpaerts Island in sailing orders ships directly from Batavia to Japan at time that Sperwer headed for north. (e.g. de Smient and the Morgenster (July 1, 1652), the Haes and the Witte Valck (July 21, 1653), Calff (July 13, 1654):
"... when then again visiting the Coast of Aijnam and thus further can run [=sail] into the Gulf of Japan; however [if] so it happened, meeting some contrary winds in the Gulf of Japan, then will have to go north as much as possible - in case you don't have to doubt about your journey, although be it nice that [in case] to fall upon th' Islands of Couree [Coeree, Coerre], and would be able to get out of there and could steer the bow at the destined place."
In this way the name "Quelpaerts-island" could have become gradually known with the Dutch seafarers. First navigator Hendrik Jansz, of the "Sperwer" might have known a map or maybe had one on which the "Quelpaerts-island" was indicated. Therefore he might have been able to conclude where the ship wrecked. (1) The oldest printed and published map on which the Quelpaerts-island was mentioned with that name was that of Joan Blaeu in 1687. When one further assumes that this name was the name given by the Dutch, then one can only derive from the known data that this naming has to be connected with the journey of the "Quelpaert de Bracq" to Japan in 1642. Nor before, nor thereafter has this or another "quelpaert" been in the vicinity of Korea. This has neither been the case with the other "quelpaerden" "Hasewind" and "de Visscher".
As far as we can gather from the preserved messages, are these both "quelpaerden", when they were in service after 1642 and before 1648 at Taijoan, only sent out with squadrons which hunted Chinese junks and Spanish Silver ships in southern waters (in the vicinity of Manila). However they were never used or even drifted off to places north of Taiwan. The question how, in a different way, Quelpaerts-island received its name is unclear. Obviously this is one of those riddles of which the solution in due course might show up by coincidence. "Possibly these riddles might be solved if life were long enough to devote a dozen years or more to explore the hidden corners of knowledge" (The voyage of Captain John Saris to Japan, Preface, page VIII).
Hoetink reasons further if the common name "quelpaert" like "galjot", is from Portuguese origin and if maybe an accident which happened to a Portuguese ship of that type on its way from Macao to Japan, was for Portuguese seafarers the cause to rename the Korean Ilha de Ladrones, a name which was also used for other oriental islands, more precise as: "Quelpaerts-eiland". He further says: maybe the word "quelpaard" has a Portuguese origin, like leopard comes from "leo" and "pardus", "quelpaard" might have been formed from "quelpardus", a compounding of "pardus" and "quelly" or "quel", a kind of leopard which lives on the Coast of Guinee. (Quelly - s.m. Mamm, Espece de leopard de Guinee (Dictionnaire national par M. Bescherelle aine. Paris, 1851).
Concerning Hamel himself, there is little to be added to what he mentions himself. When the Japanese authorities interrogated Hendrick Hamel at his arrival in Nagasaki in 1666, he said to be 36 years old (*). He is therefore baptized on August 22, 1630 in Gorkum [a.k.a. Gorinchem] (*). Furthermore noted the Chief in Batavia in the Daily Register that Hamel came in 1651 with the "Vogel Struijs" to the Indies (*). This ship sailed out from the Land-diep of Texel on November 6, 1650 (Patr. Miss. March 25, 1651) and arrived on July 4, 1651 on the roadstead of Batavia (Gen. Miss. December 25, 1651). Hamel was enlisted as soldier or bosschieter. This doesn't mean however that he left Europe as a pauper.
If for instance we know Wiese, who became General Governor, went to the Indies as hooplooper this means ordinary seaman. If we also know that Wiese had to call Van der Parre, at that time governor, grand-uncle, one has to draw the conclusion that his name was only put on the ships rolls to give him free passage (Dr. F. de Haan Uit oude notarispapieren II: Andreas Cleyer, Tijdschr. Bat, Gen. XLVI, 1893, page 423). Maybe Hamel came with good recommendations to the Indies and owes his promotion as "soldier on the pen" to this. First as assistant and later as bookkeeper. Therefore was his starting salary increased to f 30 per month. The salary of his fellow passenger of the "Vogel Struijs", the bosschieter Jan Pieters van Hoogeveen was in 1653 f 11 per month (*).
Why he stayed in Batavia for a year after he returned from Japan in 1667 is hard to say. What happened after 1670, when he came back after a twenty-year absence is unknown. He is mentioned in a notary deed of December 7, 1671 as a bookkeeper on the Flute "Opmeer". There is also a manuscript from 1734 in the archive of Gorkum, which genealogical tables are recorded (*). In this we find: "Hendrick Hamel has sailed to the East Indies and coming from there, to travel to Japan, has been smitten by a hurricane, suffering shipwreck, on the Island Corea, where he was kept in slavery for 13 years and flees with a boat to Japan and comes thus back to Gorcum, travels for the second time to the Indies and comes back to Gorcum and dies there still being bachelor on February 12, 1692". Here we also find that he is born from the marriage of Dirck Hamel and Margaretha Verhaar, daughter of Hendrik Verhaar and Cunera van Wevelinckhoven. The family used a coat of arms with a silver Hamel (a castrated ram) on a gold field. For an article about the family of Hendrick see (*)
But for his baptismal record we find something else: Heyndrick, th' child of Dirck Frericks Hamel and Margrietgen Heyndricks; witnesses Baltus Jans van Wevelinghoven, Ariaen Middelaer, Kuyntgen Jans and Jenneken Jelis. ( Source Collection baptismal, marriage and funeralbooks, inventarynumber 1, page 209). Since his father has been married three times, which was quite normal in those days, it seems clear that the people who made the genealogical table had some facts mixed up.
Hoetink wrote further:
Further research will have to be done if there is or has been any relationship between Hendrick Hamel and the following namesakes:
1e Heyndrick Hamel, patron of the colony on the South River (New-Nederland), See Korte historiael, etc. by David Pieterszoon de Vries, 1618 - 1644, ed. Dr. H. T. Colenbrander. [Edition Linschoten-Vereeniging (1911), page 147].3e Joan Hamel and Adriaan Hamel, according to Resolution from the General Governor and Counsels, February 7, 1653, then clerks on the general secretariat in Batavia.
Mr Johan Hamel was a brother of Heijndrick Hamel and was born in 1583 as son of L.L.M. Gerrit Hamel (1557 - 1633). He was, "doctor in both laws and secretary in Amersvoordt" when he married. He swore the compulsory oath on April 27 and stayed in this post till 1630. He died on November 13, 1636.
Joan and Adriaan could be children of Nicolaas Hamel. Nicolaas on his turn was a full nephew of Heijndrick and Johan Hamel. Nicolaas had a child named Adriaan and possibly also a son with the name Joan, further nothing is known about them, further research would reveal how the relationship is. Nicolaas was a nobleman in the artillery and on notary deeds of November 1, 1639 and April 13, 1641 he was called captain of the draught horses. Later he becomes burgomaster of Vianen. If Joan and Adriaan were indeed the person who were clerks in Batavia, than that could be an explanation why Hendrick stayed a year in Batavia when he came back from Deshima. Up to 6 generations it is still possible to consider each other as family, in previous centuries and in a foreign country more likely than now.
Maria Hamel was a daughter Heijndrick Hamel. Further data about her has not been found. Above-mentioned data comes from C.A. Hamel. He published a book on his own titled: Hamel; kroniek van een FAMILIE (Hamel; chronicle of a family)
In Beschryvinge der stadt van Gorinchem en landen van Arkel, door Mr. Cornelis van Zomeren, 1755 (Description of the city Gorinchum and countries Arkel) name "Hamel" could not be found.
Reading the Journael of the Ongeluckige Voyagie van 't Jacht de Sperwer (the unhappy voyage of the jaght the Sperwer) makes one wonder what made people throw themselves in an adventure like this. One may consider the shipwrecking of the Sperwer and the involuntary stay of the surviving crew as a company accident, but who enlisted as a sailor on a VOC ship, should have known that one exposed himself at a considerable risk.
Though the Heeren XVII did everything in their power to make these risks as small as possible. And not totally without success. The health conditions of the crew for instance became little by little better. Around the middle of the seventeenth century contagious diseases like cholera, didn't occur more on board of the ships than in Amsterdam.
From the records which have been kept, we know that he, who survived the first
journey, made statistically a good chance to keep up for years. According to
present standards these ships would have been hardly called seaworthy. Nevertheless
it appeared from the 'daghregisters' (daily records) in
which the departures and arrivals of the ships were written down, that from
the so-called return ships on route to the Indies in two centuries only two
percent perished. And from the ships on their way home only four percent. So
it is well possible that the perspective of being separated for a long time
from family and acquaintances was a bigger drawback for signing on then the
fear of possible dangers. But maybe was the desire for adventure sometimes bigger
than the family ties. According to Arthur van Schendel the scent of pepper
and nutmeg , which floated around the warehouses of the
VOC, turned into many a young man's head, and they let themselves seduce by
the exiting stories which old seamen told, while sitting on their "lie
This might have played a role. But the most important reason to take service with the VOC, will have been poverty.
A research done by the Department of Agricultural History of the former Agricultural Academy of Wageningen, shows that in the period, which is called in the History books of the Netherlands: the Golden Age, many civilians suffered from hunger. And for these people a VOC-contract meant a living. In the 17th century the social lower classes in Holland were better fed then in the rest of Europe, but hunger amongst them was not a rare occurrence. In 1653, the year in which the unhappy voyage of the Sperwer took place, many failed grain harvests in the East-Sea countries and war violence on the North-Sea (first English War) led in many cities of the Republic to severe shortage of food. J.A. Faber, Death and Famine in Pre-Industrial Netherlands (1980).
It appeared that when life circumstances of the lower class improved little by little, less and less Hollanders seemed to be willing to sign in as a sailor at the VOC. In the beginning of the 18th century only the officers on most VOC-ships were still Hollanders. The rest of the crew members were Scottish, Scandinavian or other immigrant workers. And already in the 17th century conjunctural fluctuations caused problems with getting people to sign on. Sometimes the shipbuilding industry of the VOC competed with the shipping industry. When many ships had to be built, there was much employment and this created a lack of sailors.
Then some coercion had to be practiced. Everywhere recruiters were active. With fine words and empty promises they appeased the doubters and irresolutes. A contract was signed easily. Illiterate, and those were the most, could suffice with putting a cross. How much would be known to them of the contents of the contract? Who signed once, stayed usually loyal to the VOC. Who was strong and didn't drown, because the sea demanded its toll as well, completed his tour of duty and signed on for the next period. Because it was not easy to find a job ashore, and who had been at sea for a long time could not thrive well as a landlubber.
Few happy ones made a career, and became eventually a skipper. Ex-captains of the VOC sometimes had beautiful dwellings build in their place of birth. They had made it.
By the end of the 16th century smaller, fast, but usually completely rigged, transomships, whatever their type, are indicated by the merchant navy with the word "jaght" (yacht, which is derived from the Dutch word).
Well-known jaghts are the Duyfken, which partook in a voyage to the Indies under the command of Cornelis Houtman in 1595, the Halve Maen, which Hudson sailed to North America in 1609, and the Sperwer, its voyage being described before, ending in a shipwreck on the coast of Quelpaert in 1653. Since the Sperwer was launched in Amsterdam in 1648, the year of the Munster peace treaty, by the time it was shipwrecked it was only five years old.
By its build the Sperwer should be considered a "Vlieboot" (also called a vliet, a boat that could be sailed through the "Vlie", ie. to open sea). The size of such seaworthy jaghts was between the 15 and 80 last (A last is a: A measure of volume for ships; and b: A measure of cargo/deadweight capacity; a last is 2000 kg), at a maximum length of 135 voet (A voet is a measure of length; a Rijnlandse voet is about 30 cm) and a width of 25 voet.
The rigging consisted of three masts; a square
rigged jibmast (or mast with a fore-sail), a big mast, a mizzen
with a gallant, a top-sail and a latin sail. jaghts were calculated
for the transportation of artillery.
"Jaght" was not an absolute type indication but a relative one. A jaght was built more for speed, where other ships of the same type would be built more for transport. A jaght would therefore have had smaller hold, and less guns. It would still have been armed, though: The jaght the Sperwer had 30 pieces on board, which actually made it rather heavily armed, for a jaght.
That "jaght" is not the name of a fixed type is demonstrated by the fact that sometimes the smallest type of warship was called "jaght" as well, though it was more commonly indicated as "pinnace". Usually, however, the name was limited to the types directly below the warships in size.
Apparently sometimes even the transom was not considered a requirement. At least, this is apparently the only way to explain the occasional mix-ups with the transom-less Flutes, such as the following one:
The daily record of Batavia tell us that December 11, 1667, 'Hendrick Hamel, gewesen boeckhouder (*) van het jagt de Sperwer, nevens nog seven 7 personen van gemelte jagt, den 28e November jongsteden met de FLUYT de Spreeuw is aengecomen'. (Hendrick Hamel, former bookkeeper of the jaght the Sperwer , beside 7 other person of the mentioned jaght, did arrive on last November 28 with the FLUTE the Spreeuw). But in the Hollantsche Mercurius, XIX, 1668, page 113, it is written that " 't JACHT de Spreeuw 20 Julij 1668 in Tessel wel gearriveert" (the jaght de Spreeuw was well arrived).
The flute itself was derived from the "Vlieboot", but it was shaped longer, which may account for its name. The first flute was built in 1595 by Pieter Jansz. Liorne. Though Flutes did not have transoms, they were nevertheless
built in two styles. Flutes sailing to England or sailing South had an ordinarily shaped deck. However, since Danish taxes were calculated in relation to the size of the deck, flutes sailing North or East were built with relatively small deck and bulky trunk, to lower the costs of visiting Norway or passing through the Sont.
It has been established, however, that at least the Sperwer was indeed a jaght. Like any ship in the service of the VOC, jaghts were primarily meant for the transport of merchandise. Furthermore, since they were fast ships, they were used to transport persons and messages, and occasionally ammunition.
The bigger part of the trunk was taken by holds for the cargo. This left little room for the crew, who were accommodated rather tightly. Most of the crew was quartered on the tween deck, an area where one could hardly stand
up straight. Here the mates slept and used their meals. There were no beds, inner walls or closets; their personal possessions were kept in chests. In the bow were some primitive toilets, however, in heavy weather when the bow
plunged into the waves these sanitary provisions could not be used.
The officers were accommodated slightly more comfortably. They slept in cabins near the stern of the ship. However, most officers had to share a cabin, sleeping in bunks or hammocks, and sharing a common room next to the
galley. The bookkeeper had his own office with a writing desk, where writing was done standing up, and a closet for the ship papers and the money chest, of which chest both bookkeeper and skipper had a key.
The most beautiful cabin on the ship was the cabin for the skipper. This was located on deck at the rear of the ship. It had windows to the front as well as windows that looked out through the transom, to let in as much light as possible. The aft windows also gave the captain the only clear view aft on the whole ship, except for guard in the crow's nest, and it
must have been through those aft windows that skipper Reijnier Egberse of the jaght the Sperwer saw, by coincidence, on August 1, 1653, the island the jaght had drifted precariously close to.
Outside the territorial waters of the Republic, the skipper represented both
the Company and the country of which his ship hoisted the flag. That's why his
cabin had a representative function and was furnished distinguishably. The skipper
sometimes received highly placed guests over here. Important functionaries of
the VOC, who sailed as passengers, used, with their family, this cabin as a
day room. That's why it was relatively spacey. On most of the jaghts
there were two big cabinets, in which glassware, crockery and cutlery was stored.
In the other the sea charts were stored. These were in brass cases. There was
also a list, on which all the charts were mentioned, which was signed by the
skipper. Because the skipper paid deposit for the charts, which was refunded
when he handed back the undamaged charts after the journey.
|Initially all these charts were made in Amsterdam. Later there was a map manufactory in Batavia. The charts were drawn by hand. They had only the coastlines with all the bays, coves and shoals. Again some time later the professional cartographs also published charts.. Of course these were printed.|
They were beautifully decorated with mythological characters, like the sea god Neptune, depictions of existing or legendary animals and of ships. On board there were a limited number of navigational instruments, amongst which a compass, the cross staff, the back staff, and the mariners astrolabe. They formed the set of instruments that 17th century Dutch mariners used to measure altitude of objects and calculate latitude. The longitude could be determined with a clock, based on the determined latitude. The first marine clock however, did not appear until 1735, invented by John Harrison and it was 40 years later that Harrison developed a clock that won the prize from the English Board of Longitude. Marine chronometers were exceedingly rare aboard ships until well into the 19th century. Oceanic sailors used dead reckoning and empirical measures to determine longitude. Dead reckoning was a deductive way of reckoning; estimating location and speed using a variety of different methods including wind, waves, bird sightings, and current. Dutch ships of the 17th century did not carry sextants, which were not invented until about 1760. Even then, it was not practical until mechanical dividing machines were developed about 1775. The octant was more commonly used, with the sextant coming into greater use in the 19th century. The octant came into being in the early 18th century (1730s) 1).In the 10th century, Abd al-Rahmân b. Umar al-Sufî(d. 986-7) wrote 386 chapters, describing 1000 uses for the astrolabe, including finding latitude. Chaucer wrote the first English technical manual (1391?) on the astrolabe with similar procedures for solar sightings. Altitude readings could be taken with any available instrument and then applied to an astrolabe to use it as an analog calculator rather than a sighting instrument.
The cross-staff in use was a simple device that worked reasonably well for measuring the angle of the sun above the horizon at noon. It was fitted with one movable vane (transversary) that, with the end of the staff placed at the eye of the observer, was positioned so that it appeared to touch both the horizon and the sun. The angle was then read from a scale on the staff.
The mariner's astrolabe in common use by the Dutch seamen at the time was
a wheel-shaped, cast-brass instrument of perhaps 17 to 20 centimeter in diameter
with a thumb ring at the top. The ring mount was designed to allow the
instrument to hang vertically plumb and to provide for precise rotational control by the user. The disk was divided into four quadrants, two or more of which had scales divided into 90 degrees each. The astrolabe had a rotating sighting arm
(alhidada), mounted through the center. Though the astrolabe offered a reliable and accurate method of measuring altitude, the mariner's ability to read the degree scales along the rim was a limiting factor on the precision of the observation. Since each degree division for a 17 cm diameter instrument was only about one centimeter, the mariner could read the angle only to the nearest half degree. As with the quadrant, the mariner's ability to make an astrolabe sighting at sea could be completely frustrated by movement of the ship.
A barometer was neither on board, this instrument was only invented in 1643 by the Italian Toricelli. It didn't belong to the standard equipment of the VOC-ships in the 17th century. A thermometer was missing as well. Celsius made his scale division only in the year 1742. Because these instruments were missing, a hurricane announced itself often, for crew and skipper alike, totally unexpected.
jaghts like the Sperwer made their journey from
Holland or Zeeland to the East-Indies only once
in their existence. They stayed there subsequently to maintain the connection
between the several factories. The connection with the mother country was done
by the so-called return-ships. These were much bigger than the jaghts,
sometimes twice as big. During a trip to and from the East-Indies, they sailed
always in convoy. Such a convoy was called a return-fleet.
Most return-fleets had Amsterdam as their home port. The ships from Amsterdam sailed out of the IJ via the Zuiderzee to the roadstead of Texel. There they waited for the ships from Hoorn and Enkhuizen. Then the convoy sailed southward till the mouth of the Meuse. Here the ships from Rotterdam and Delft/Delftshaven joined the convoy. From there they sailed further until the mouth of the Scheldt, where they waited for the ships from Middelburg. Only after all the ships had joined, the journey started.
One of the skippers, most of the time somebody from Amsterdam, was in command of the convoy. He was called the commander and his ship the flagship.
A critical phase was passing the Iberian peninsula. To limit the chance of meeting a Spanish or Portuguese convoy, a western course was followed via the Cape-Verdian Islands and the Azores Islands. Off these islands, on the African coast there was a Hollands factory called Goree (see part of the map from 1806, nowadays Dakar. Click on it to see the whole map). The convoy anchored here; fresh water, vegetables and fruits were taken in and messages exchanged. But nobody was allowed to leave the ship. Most of the times the convoy sailed on in 24 hours.
Usually the next place where the convoy anchored was the factory Elmina on the Ivory Coast (Jan Boonstra has been in Elmina and says it's on the Goldcoast nowadays Ghana). Thus some other factories were frequented and finally the convoy arrived after several months in Cape Town, where it stayed for at least one month. Everybody embarked and before they sailed on, the ships were cleaned thoroughly. There were almost always sick persons who had to stay behind. Sometimes there were so many sick persons that one of the ships had to stay behind as well.
Now the most dangerous part of the journey began: the crossing from Cape of Good Hope to the Island of Java, right across the Indian Ocean. It started already right east of Cape Town, in the area where the treacherous Cape storms raged (The Portuguese called the cape for a while Cape of Storms, but then the sailors didn't want to go there anymore, so John II renamed it to Cape of Good Hope). When the convoy came into a hurricane, the skippers not rarely stayed on their post for days in a row. While the mates worked in shifts and were regularly relieved, the skippers didn't get out of their clothes. A myth had to be kept up. (Think of the myth of the flying Dutchman) If a skipper would hand over his task to his coxswain, the mates might conclude that he was just as well or maybe even better than the skipper. When the convoy had passed the area of the Cape storms, soon the island of Mauritius came into sight. This island was conquered in 1598 by the Hollanders. It was called Mauritius after the then Stadtholder Maurits of Nassau. The trip was interrupted for the last time over here. As much fresh water as possible was taken in and furthermore some fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. Damage caused by the storm was repaired over here. After that the journey continued. For several weeks after that, the persons on board didn't see anything else than sky and water. Especially a lot of water. Sometimes towering waves. Like tiny nutshells the ships of the convoy floated on the immeasurable ocean. In the middle of the day it was often unbearably hot, the pitch ran out the splits.
To protect themselves against the burning sun, pieces of sails were stretched horizontally over the deck. The mates walked half-naked, but the skipper stood completely dressed on the castle. He even kept on his hat. The decorum demanded that.
At the end of the journey, there was often lack of certain foods. Cockroaches seemed to have eaten the beans and peas, worms were crawling in the flour and the drinking water started to smell. Though there was a regular hunt at rats, their numbers remained constant. The mates were also troubled by lice and fleas. On top of that they started to become bored, they longed to the end of the journey.
Everybody became overjoyed when the watch at the end of the journey of two months after Mauritius shouted: "Land a shore."The commander and the other skipper skimmed the horizon with their binoculars. Had they sailed the right course? Or did the convoy go too much to the south and were they in front of the unknown Southland" terra australis?" The coast became clearer and clearer, the charts of street Sunda were taken out of their cases. On these was also a silhouette of the southwestern point of Java and of the south coast of Sumatra, as well as the small islands in-between. Finally the tension was broken. The convoy was in the entrance of Strait Sunda. Cheering went in the air. The mates received a drink. Carefully they sailed on. The first land birds were flying over the ship. On the horizon a dot appeared which became bigger and bigger. It appeared to be a VOC- jaght, which was on the outlook.
Some salute shots were exchanged, after which the jaght turned around and sailed to Batavia as fast as possible to report the arrival of the convoy.
The northwestern point of Java was rounded. They sailed that close to the coast
that palm-trees could be seen with the bare eye. Some local ships appeared,
fisherman boats and perahus. They passed Bantam. More ships could be seen. And
there it was; the roadstead of Batavia. Again salute-shots were exchanged between
the convoy and the batteries ashore. Some hours later the ships anchored. Relieved
the bookkeeper of the flagship closed his Journael with the following
|Heden den 18en Maij, zijn Godtloff, behouden te Batavia gearriveerd, na weijnigh tegenspoet, de Tijger, de Witte Leeuw, de Constantia en de Hollantsche Tuyn uyt Amsterdam, 't Wapen van Hoorn en de Westfrysia uyt Hoorn, de Lelie en de Vryheijt uyt Enkhuizen, De Hollandia uyt Rotterdam, De Spreeuw uyt Delft en het Wapen van Middelburg uyt Zeeland..|
Today, May 18, safely arrived at Batavia , praise to the Lord, after little adversity, The Tijger , the Witte Leeuw , the Constantia and the Hollantsche Tuyn from Amsterdam, 't Wapen van Hoorn and the Westfrysia from Hoorn, the Lelie and the Vryheijt from Enkhuizen, the Hollandia from Rotterdam, the Spreeuw from Delft and the Wapen van Middelburg from Zeeland.
Next Chapter IV: Korea under influence of foreign powers