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Full text of "Old Cape Colony; a chronicle of her men and houses from 1652-1806"

^VCjV' 





THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



A 



( 



V 



OLD CAPE COLONY 




johan van rlebeeck, flrst commander of the 
Cape of Good Hope. 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

A Chronicle of Her Men and Houses 
From 1652 to 1806 



By MRS. A. F. TROTTER 



WESTMINSTER 
ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE k CO Ltd 
2 WHITEHALL GARDENS 

1903 



Butler & Tanner, 

The Selwood Printing Works, 

Frome, and London. 






TO THE CONSTANT COMPANION OF MY SKETCHING EXPEDITIONS, 
WITHOUT WHOSE SUPPORT ON LONG HOT JOURNEYS 
THIS WORK WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE ; 
BROWN AS THE DUST, 
SILENT AS THE VELD WE TRAVERSED TOGETHER, 
TO MY UNPUNCTURED BICYCLE 
I DEDICATE THIS BOOK. 



li:±23St 



PREFACE 

THIS is not a history. It is the outcome of 
work begun entirely for my own pleasure, 
wherein I collected all the things about the Colony 
which interested me personally. These were, the 
history of the oldest farms, and the earliest settlers, 
Governors, and Company's men who assisted in 
naming the country, in drawing up its first laws, 
and in building its gabled houses. Some of the 
material was incorporated in a Christmas number 
of the Cape Times of 1898, which I undertook for 
Mr. Edmund Garrett, then editor. Some of the 
drawings have been reproduced in a picture book 
published by Messrs. Batsford, of High Holborn. 
Some portions of the present book appeared as 
articles in Country Life, and are reproduced by 
kind permission. 

Calamity falls on houses as well as on people. 
I learn that to several buildings has come, since I 
drew them, that vv'orst of fates, " modern im- 
provement." I make no apologies for including 
the drawings of houses that can never be seen 
again as they stood a few years ago, or for mention- 

7 



PREFACE 

ing obscure persons who have been connected 
with the old story of the Colony. To the pioneers 
of a new country we after-comers owe too much to 
allow their names to be entirely lost. 

Very little could I have done without the help 
given me by Mr. H. C. V. Leibbrandt, Librarian 
of the Houses of Parliament and keeper of the 
archives of the Cape of Good Hope. With never- 
faihng kindness he specially translated for me 
certain passages of the archives and papers about 
which I asked him, and his sheaf of letters have 
been my most valuable reference, next to his 
fascinating Precis of the Archives of the Cape of 
Good Hope, published at Cape Town. I have to 
thank the friends who helped me translate the old 
Dutch title deeds and got for me local information 
and stories. Antiquarian and historical autho- 
rities in Holland have also been most kind. 

ALYS FANE TROTTER. 

August, 1903. 



LIST OF CONTENTS AND 
ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

I. Table Bay Settlement .... 13 

The ship sign of the Dutch East India Com- 
pany, carved on a stone in The Castle, Cape 
Town — " Post Office " stone — East India Com- 
pany's house, Amsterdam — Company's drink- 
ing cup — Van Riebeeck and his wife — Very 
old house in Cape Town — Old Rustenberg 
summer house — Garden seat, Rustenberg — 
Table Bay and the Old Fort, after Dapper, 
1668. 

II. Simon van der Stel, Builder and Governor 41 

Coat of Arms of the Six family — View of the 
Castle, showing the " Kat " and the balcony — 
Teak Fanlight, once in The Castle — Van Rheede 
tot Drakenstein, Heer van Mydrecht — Groot 
Constantia, 1685 — Plan of Groot Constantia — 
Escutcheons: Groot Constantia and Hottentots 
Holland — Side gables, groot Constantia — 
Wine house at Groot Constantia — Wine house 
steps, Groot Constantia — Old bath, Groot Con- 
stantia — Map from the Voyage de Siam des 
9 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Peres Jesuites, 1686 — Gateway of the Castle, 
Cape Town — Platte Kloof in the Tygerberg — 
Very old farm buildings, Koornhoop. — Old 
districts and modern roads. 

III. The Younger van der Stel, • • • 93 

Wellington — Farm bell, Groot Constantia — 
Farm bell, Meerlust, Eerste Rivier — Parel 
Vallei. 

IV. The Accusation of Willem Adriaan van der 

Stel ....... 117 

Meerlust, Eerste Rivier — Hen house at 
Meerlust — Plan of Vergelegen from the " Ac- 
cusation " — Picture of Vergelegen from the 
" Defence "—The old octagon wall at Vergel- 
egen — Vergelegen — The farm bell at Vergel- 
egen. 

V. Early Grants of Land .... 143 

Zwaanswijk — Usual plan of house in the 
peninsula — Walled river, Elsenberg — Old teak 
door at Paarde Vallei — Frescoed wall and 
teak doored fireplace at Libertas — Meerlust, 
Eerste Rivier — Vredenberg in the Moddergat — 
Late gable of Vredenberg — Burial Place, Wel- 
moed — Vergenoegd. 

VI. Stellenbosch 165 

A gate in Stellenbosch — A vine trellised 
stoep, Stellenbosch — Shutter hinges, Stellen- 
bosch and Drakenstein — " La Gratitude," 
10 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

built 1704 — Arsenal, Stellenbosch — Very old 
house in Stellenbosch — A shady street, 
Stellenbosch. 

VII. Drakenstein and Frenchhoek . . . 183 

Schoongezigt — Good Hope — Rhone and 
Languedoc — Usual plan of house in the country 
— Bosch en Dal — Bosch en Dal stoep — Door 
furniture at Drakenstein and the Cape — Bien 
Donne, front gable — Bien Donne — Pome- 
granates at Frenchhoek — Teak china cup- 
board in a Drakenstein farm — Dauphine — 
Bochenhouts Kloof — View across French- 
hoek from La Cotte. 

VIII. Paarl, Tulbagh, Ceres and Beyond . . 207 

A quaint gable in Paarl — Old colonial chair 
once in Paarl Church — Paarl Church — The Par- 
sonage, Paarl — The Drosdty, Tulbagh — 
Roodezand Pass, Tulbagh Valley — Old Church, 
Tulbagh — Walls of the Churchyard, Tulbagh 
— Leeuwfontein — Ceres Bridge. 

IX. Money, Ships and China .... 227 

The Dutch East India Company's coins — 
The shore that has seen so many MTecks. 

X. From Seventeen Hundred for Fifty Years 241 

Sundial in the Company's Garden — Common 
Seal of the VereenigdeOost-Indische Compagnie 
(United East India Company) — Coat of Arms 
II 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

of Joan Blesius — Klastenberg, Wynberg — 
Zwaanswijk, built 1711-17 — Morgenster, Hot- 
tentots Holland. 

XI. The Tavern of the Indian Ocean . . 267 

Cape Town Church, from a print — Old 
Lutheran Parsonage — Steps at Alphen, Wyn- 
berg — Haazendal in the Bottelary — Gate 
of the Slave Enclosure, Boshof — Gate of Wel- 
gelegen, Mowbray — Elsenburg. 

XII. Men and Houses ..... 289 

Late window in Cape Town — Old Colonial- 
made chair — Very old Colonial-made Armoire 
— Old Colonial bench in " stink- wood " — Ar- 
moire in " stink-wood " and " yellow- wood " — 
Bergvliet — The Old Gate to Government House 
and the Slave Lodge beyond — Stellenberg Gate 
— Little Terrace at Tokai — Hall at Stellenberg 
— Tailpiece. 



12 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 



Table Bay Settlement 

IT is true that at first sight Adderley Street, the 
main thoroughfare of the old " Tavern of the 
Indian Sea," is as vulgar a street as you can find. 
Yet I marvel to hear the town always suggested 
as a smelly, unattractive place in which the visitor 
has, or has not, found the friend or the information 
he wished for. Even Adderley Street is backed 
by the imposing wall of Table Mountain, and 




THE SHIP SIGN OF THE DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY, CARVED ON A 
^STONE IN THE CASTLE, CAPE TOWN. 

15 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

beneath the town lie the blue waters of the bay. 
Know but a Httle of its history, and the place is 
transformed for you. Take your choice of periods, 
none are too distant, and you may visualise ^^ith 
sufficient clearness. You can pass over those 
early days when the Portuguese explorers feared 
to land at Table Bay, though they planted com- 
memorative crosses on the western and southern 
coasts of Africa, and their cartographers drew 
those dehghtful sixteenth century maps on which 
strange beasts fill the vacua of ignorance, and give 
a cheerful impression of the boundless desert. 
The four Hollander ships, the forerunners of the 
East India Companies', sailed in 1595 on their 
first visit to Java, by the " Portingalles sea cards." 
So they, too, passed Cape Bona Sperance, and 
landed at another haven where the inhabitants 
spoke very strangely — " clocking like Turkey 
cocks," they said ; no doubt having heard the 
Zulu " chcks." 

By this time many of the Hollanders had fallen 
sick and died, for in crossing the fine, they \\Tite, 
" the extreme heat of the ayre " had spoiled all 
their food. They pushed on to Java, where, 
falling foul of the Portuguese, who were annoyed 
that they should " seek to have pepper better 
cheape," many of their best men were taken 
prisoner, and rescued with difficulty from the 
King of Bantam, for " the Portingalles," says the 
translation of their published book, " could not 

16 




Maria de Quereli.eri, wife of Johan van Riebeeck 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

brook " their company. At last they returned 
home by the " firme lande of Ethiopia/' about a 
hundred miles from the Cape of Bona Sperance, 
and arrived in April, 1597, their sailors for the 
most part sick, and two-thirds of the company 
lost ; but bringing with them spices and mer- 
chandise of the East, for which up to now they, 
the middle-men of Europe, had traded with the 
Portuguese ; bartering their Delft-ware, their 
embroidered quilts, and their silver-handled fur- 
niture, on the crowded quays of Lisbon. 

Reading the old travellers, one marvels unceas- 
ingly at the love of adventure for ever inspiring 
one set of men to risk their lives for the gain of 
another. Water was, of course, essential on the 
long-sailing journeys, and the " sweet water " of 
Table Mountain soon made Bona Sperance the 
favourite anchorage for captains on their journey 
Eastwards. WTien, in 1600, the Dutch, and a few 
years later the English, East India Companies were 
formed, what fleets of spice-laden ships swept into 
Table Bay ! Weary and miserable enough were 
the men on those gallant-looking vessels ; longing 
for fresh water and fresh meat, and such green 
food as they might find, and to lay their scurvy- 
stricken sailors under tarpaulins on the beach. 

The passing ships left their letters beneath 
large stones, tied in secure packets, as I hear is 
still done in Torres Straits and Magellan. But on 
the stones and boulders of the shore at Table Bay 

17 B 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

they engraved the name and captain of their ship, 
and the date of their arrival and departure. It is 
thought that some ships carried a skilled stone- 
cutter for the purpose, and these " post-ofhce 
stones," buried for years, and still found at the 
Cape, while digging foundations for houses, have 
for the most part fine lettering. One, now at the 
entrance of the General Post Office in Cape Town, 
was unearthed in Adderley Street ; another is in 
the Cape Town Museum. 




Cf ON ^ARJv^D4?To^^lKn)/ ' 
lip M « SVRAT^ B OVND ^FO}^ * - ' 
'AhD ' D EPAR °:F£» XO/' DICTO 



^€XRE Vr^tr.vLOOKD^ 



forletteS-^J ■..v^\ 



v 







/iAvi-Ri:y 'clock , 

' v., C/^sV BLRilGlCU'- 




POST OFFICE STONE. 



M. BeauHeu, in 1619, going to Bantam by 
Table Bay, says : " Some of our men going ashore 
happened to light upon a great stone, with 
two little packs of pitch'd canvass underneath, 
which we afterwards found to be Dutch letters. 

18 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

WTien we opened them we found first a strong 
piece of pitch' d canvas, then a piece of lead 
wrapped round the packet, under that two pieces 
of red cloth, then a piece of red frize, all wrapped 
round a bag of coarse linen in which were the 
letters very safe and dry. They contained an 
account of several ships that had passed that 
way ; particularly of an English advice boat that 
was gone to England to acquaint the Company 
with the injury the Dutch had done 'em in the 
East Indies. They likewise gave notice to ships 
that passed that way ; to take care of the natives 
who had murdered several of their crew, and stole 
some of their water casks. ..." 

It is wonderful that Portugal should have held 
the adventure of the east for so many years in her 
own hands, together with its silks and tea, spices 
and pepper. Tradition has it that the secret was 
thrown open to the States of Holland by an 
obscure merchant from Gouda, Cornelius Hont- 
man, who was detained at Lisbon for debt. All 
the seafarers of the world now went on the same 
quest. The English and the Dutch held the 
largest fleets and disputed the seas, sometimes 
against each other, and more often against their 
common enemies. But the Dutch first formed 
factories and settlements ; and soon Batavia, 
" Queen of the East," with her tile-paved streets 
and the water ways, whose unhealthiness caused 
at last the abandonment of the beautiful old 

19 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

town, and the " great and merry canal-rich 
Island of Ceylon, the most beautiful pearl of the 
Indian Ocean," as eloquent old Wouter Schouten 
has it, were to testify in the far ends of the earth 
to the curious artistic taste of the not too scru- 




EAST INDIA company's HOUSE, AMSTERDAM. 

(From Commelin's Beschryving der stad Amsterdam, 1693.) 



pulous trader of the Netherlands. The tomb- 
stones of these distant settlements, where men 
and women died young, are interesting and 
pathetic reading, and record many names familiar 
at the Cape; whilst at home were unloaded " the 
strange and rich wares of other countries," for 
which the pioneers had sought. "So as they 



20 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

should not be brought unto them by strangers," 
they had said, " but by their own countrymen, 
which some would deem to be impossible, and 
rather esteem it madnesse than any point of 
wisdome, and folly rather than good considera- 
tion." The impossible had come true. At 
Middelburgh, at Veere, at Amsterdam, most 
stately houses were built in which the " fine 
Indian wares " were unshipped, and where business 
was gorgeously transacted. 

The administration of the Dutch East India 
Company consisted of six Boards or Chambers. 
The most considerable, that of Amsterdam, had 
twenty-four directors, eight chosen by the magis- 
trates of Amsterdam, and two by the Provinces of 
Gelderland and Friesland. The second chamber 
was that of Middelburgh, where the work of the 
Directors was carried on half the year. It is said 
that the town and the country round supplied 
the greater number of seafarers for the ships. 
This Chamber consisted of twelve Directors chosen 
by the cities of Zeeland, and one by Gelderland. 
The other Chambers were that of Delft, which 
included one representative from Overyssel ; 
Rotterdam, including one from Dort ; Hoorn, 
which had one from Alkmaar ; and Enkhuizen, 
of which one was nominated by the nobles of 
Holland. But the supreme control was invested 
in the Assembly of Seventeen, of which eight were 
deputed from the Chamber of Amsterdam, four 

21 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

from Middelburgh, and one from each other 
Chamber, including one alternatively from the 
specially nominated towns. There was also a 




company's drinking cup, inscribed : 
" de gesontheydt van de vaderlandse vrinden." 



Council of the Directors, through which the Com- 
pany communicated with the States General. 

We all know that in 1652 the Dutch Company 
resolved to found a victuaUing station for their 

22 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

vessels at Table Bay. Then landed the first 
Commander of the Cape, Johan van Riebeeck, 
and his wife, Marie de Querelleri. They estab- 
lished themselves ashore under miserable shel- 
ters, and van Riebeeck set his handful of men. 
Company's sailors and soldiers, to work. The 
first act was to dig foundations for a wooden 
fort ; the second was characteristically Dutch : 
they made a canal with sluices, with which a moat 
round the fort could be filled ; the third was 
to begin the kitchen garden which was before 
long to be an important influence in the history 
of the world. 

The Commander himself is an interesting 
personality. His father, Antonius van Riebeeck, 
was a seafarer, who died in the Brazils in 1639, 
and was buried in the church of San Paolo at 
Olonda de Pharmambuco. Johan had already 
been in Formosa, China, Japan, the West Indies 
and Greenland. He is said to have been a 
ship's surgeon, and there is certainly a smack of 
science about some of his observations. His wife, 
Marie de Querelleri, is first of a long line of intrepid 
women pioneers, of whom we only know that they 
came to the Cape, and there had children, and 
lived or died as the case may be. Her son, 
Abraham van Riebeeck, born at the Cape in 1653, 
rose in 1709 to be Governor-General of the Dutch 
East Indies : the most important post in the gift 
of the Company. 

23 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

The Fort was designed with wooden walls, and 
within the enclosure were wooden hving houses, 
and a large dining hall. The four points of the 
fortification were named after the four ships in 
the Bay, the Dromedaris, the Reiger, the Walvis, 
and the Oliphant, and the yacht Goede Hoop gave 
her beautiful title to the whole building. 

It was the end of summer, and no herbs could 
be found for the sick. The earth was too dry for 
cultivation, and when the south-easter wind blew 
the workers on the ramparts were choked with 
dust. The hungry men were thankful to kill a 
hippopotamus or two, for the natives would not 
supply cattle ; and the stores had to be saved for 
the ships. Later came the rains ; the labourers, 
ill with scurvy and fever, were hardly able to work. 
" Life is growing a misery," says the journal kept 
for the instruction of the Company, " but we trust 
in God's mercy." In the midst of their distress 
arrived the ship Hof van Zeeland with a record of 
thirty-seven dead, of whom three, sub-merchant 
Nancius and three others had jumped overboard 
in despair. And not long after, the first European 
child was born. 

To this day Cape Town owes its disposition to 
Van Riebeeck's plan. The " gardens " in which 
Government House and the South African College 
are built are the remains of the Company's garden. 
The canal into which he conducted the fresh river 
from the face of Table Mountain is now meta- 

24 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

morphosed into Adderley Street. The present 
" Castle " of Cape Town, built for the Dutch 
Governors and Company's officials, is not far from 
the site of the old wooden Fort. If you are go- 
ing to Cape Town, walk down Waterkant and 
Riebeeck Streets ; they are the oldest quarters of 
the town. To ensure against their being blown 








VERY OLD HOUSE IN CAPE TOWN. 



down in the raging south-easterly winds, the first 
houses were one-storied — rude enough in building, 
I daresay — and heavily thatched with reeds cut 
on the Lion Hill. After several terrifying fires, 
caused, it was thought, by sparks from the pipes 
of the sailors, flat roofs were used. You may come 
on an old flat-roofed house, forgotten in a corner 
of the town, which still keeps its divided door, 

25 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

designed to shut out straying animals, and 
decorated with some rude ornamentation. Such 
houses are of as early a date as you can find among 
the streets. For long the part between Orange 
and Wale Streets was called the Compagnie's 
Tuyn — Company's Garden. 

The gallows and the wheel of torture, shown 
in later maps, did not at this early date become 
an important feature of the town. In a volume 
called The Regions of Africa, published in 1688 by 
Dr. Dapper (who had received a privilege from 
the States of Holland and West Friesland to make 
extracts from other books — a mode of authorship 
still extant, and now exercised without such 
sanctions), he says of the Cape : "At the foot of 
the mountain is the Fort of the East India Com- 
pany, fortified by cannon, standing in a square 
enclosure, so strong that an army of 100,000 
Hottentots only could take it. There is a large 
garden with different plants and fruit trees, 
various plantations on the other side of the 
mountain. . . . Round the Fort are several houses 
belonging to Hollanders, free burghers who worked 
on their own lands. But though free, they have 
to give part of their produce to the Governor, it 
being to the advantage of the Company that they 
[he ?] should be thus profited." 

Despite their splendid qualities, I cannot help 
thinking those early settlers unpractical. In the 
midst of semi-starvation, and much misery from 

26 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

insufficient shelter and attacks from wild beasts, 
we find them requisitioning from home one hundred 
pairs of silk stockings. Bread was sent from 
Amsterdam, arriving mouldy and uneatable. 
There is the flavour of an Irish bull in the demand 
for forty or fifty cotton blankets, which were to 
be placed in silk bags to make feather beds for 
the men. Another request is for arrack to treat 
the natives, who were " much pleased and drawn 
nearer by it." 

Van Riebeeck did good work. The garden 
prospered, though he was sorely vexed at his 
failure to grow parsley — still a difficult thing to 
raise on the peninsula. So did the vines he 
planted on the leeward side of the mountain at his 
farm of Boscheuval, mentioned long afterwards 
in the Company's journal as one of the most 
beautiful places at Table Bay. Boscheuval is 
now known as Bishopscourt, where the palace of 
the Archbishop of Cape Town is built ; and the 
Wine Mountain, on the eastern side of which the 
village grew up, was named Wijnberg by the Com- 
mander when he planted his first Muscatel grapes. 
After a very few years Wouter Schouten tells us 
that the Company's garden grew not only all the 
fruits from home, such as apples, pears, and nuts, 
but many East Indian trees and plants brought 
from Batavia, and mentions that besides pot- 
herbs and spices, many fine cabbages, carrots, 
lettuces, radishes, and water melons were brought 

27 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

to the ship. Corn was at first grown at the garden 
in Cape Town, but it never prospered, and the 
south-easter winds blew the dry grain out of the 
husk. So a second plantation of grain was made 
not far from the small fort on the Liesbeeck River, 
and called Koornhoop. The corn hoped for was 
not very successful ; and Batavia, forced by a 
paternal Government to accept supplies from 
Table Bay, revenged herself by making unpleasant 
remarks about it, as you may read for yourself 
in Leibbrandt's translations of the Company's 
journal. A second and more satisfactory Com- 
pany's garden was made on the adjoining land 
near the Rondebosch or Round Wood, and the 
produce was stored, together with the corn, in the 
Groote Schuur or Great Barn. I believe the 
foundations and arches of the old barn were 
distinctly traced in rebuilding the present beau- 
tiful house. A second residence for the Com- 
mander, or Company's House, where distinguished 
visitors. Company's inspectors and the like, were 
lodged, was built near by and called Rustenberg. 
The old buildings were all burnt except a summer 
house and two charming old seats made of brick, 
plastered and whitewashed like all the old Colonial 
work. They stand on the grounds of the modern 
Groote Schuur, in the shadows of the mountain 
behind. When they were built, lions and leopards 
lurked not far off amongst the rocks and crevasses ; 
wild cats from the great forest of undergrowth 

28 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

around made nightly depredations in the home- 
steads ; on the sandy stretches below were the 
rude huts of some of the lowest native races ever 
known, now for the most part died out. A herd 
of elephants, or of zebras, might have been seen 




OLD RUSTENBERG SUMMER HOUSE. 



moving over the plain, and in the squelching pools 
of the low-lying ground wallowed many a hippo- 
potamus. Yet more than one old " Company's 
man " has sat on those seats and gazed at the 
clear blue of the sky and the far-off outline of the 
unchanging mountains as you and I may do to-day. 

2Q 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

From the first van Riebeeck realized that want 
of labour would be one of his chief difficulties, 
and he prayed the Directors to send Chinese 
emigrants to make bricks and tiles. Slaves 
were badly wanted for the rougher work. He 
asked leave from Batavia to keep the yacht 
Goede Hoop at Table Bay, so as to explore the 
coast with this end in view, and he begged for 
the notes of Commander van der Stel, father of 
the future Governor of the Cape, who had been to 




GARDEN SEAT, RUSTENBERG. 



Madagascar and " there made a good thing in 
slaves." 

In 1654 the vessel Tulp returned from Mada- 
gascar, having made terms with the King of 
Antogil, who had, it appeared, undoubtedly 
loved the Commander van der Stel. Fortu- 
nately, too, on the arrival of the ship the king 
had been suffering from a dose of poison adminis- 
tered by one of his subjects, and the ship's barber 
had succeeded in saving his life ; so that he was 
disposed to grant favours. " The opportunity 
offers itself," says the journal, " to make such 

30 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

arrangements ... as to secure all the rice in 
the island, and so leave the French in the lurch ; " 
for the French, it continues, go there to gather 
hides and to have a refreshment station for their 
Red Sea pirates. 

In the year 1657 "^^e entire population of Table 
Bay was only 134 persons, including the Com- 
pany's men, a few retired servants of the Com- 
pany, the women and children. There were only 
eight slaves. In the following year a Dutch 
slaver, the Amersfoort, captured a Portuguese 
slaver, and brought the survivors of the 236 
captives to the Cape. 

It was a hard life, that of the first settlers, who, 
as an early traveller puts it, had to " dig a sluice, 
sow and mow, plough and plant " in order to get 
the land into better order ; who lived in miserable 
little houses, which were cold enough on the 
winter nights, having only glass in the windows 
of the one best room ; and who were half naked 
into the bargain. The community had a cer- 
tain desperate element, too, which made terrific 
punishments necessary. We hear of a deserter 
being keelhauled, while he and another had to 
work in irons for two years ; of a sailor who was 
condemned to fall from the yardarm and receive 
fifty cuts ; and so on. Soldiers and sailors were 
often half starved, as the stores of bread and 
rice had to be economised for the Company's 
ships ; and the Company's garden required 

31 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

jealous guarding. A law was made a year after 
the foundation of the settlement which gave two 
years in irons as a penalty for robbers. Later it 
was enacted that no one might enter the garden 
save members of Council and the principal officials 
of the fleet. For the first trespass twenty-five 
lashes were given ; for the second, fifty, with a 
fine of two dollars ; whilst to meddle with a fruit 
tree entailed forfeiture of all personal liberty 
and goods. The Company's men very much 
dishked the killing and flaying of the seals at 
Saldanah Bay and Dassen Island ; but good profit 
it must have been for the Company, and for this 
reason van Riebeeck implores the men not to 
mind a little dirt and smell. Young seals were 
so abundant that they could be picked up by 
hand, and a ship freighted with them, and in one 
catch 2,733 skins were secured. 

Gradually the cattle, fowls, and pigeons in- 
creased, and the green grew more plentiful, so 
that it was no longer necessary to " fill five casks 
with penguins to save the cabbages," a diet 
against which we are not surprised the men 
rebelled, saying that they would all lie down flat 
and refuse to do any work ; or break the necks of 
the officers. Gifts of Dutch cheese and butter, 
and Spanish wine, had softened the hearts of the 
" Hottentoos," as they called the natives. Those 
who had good supplies of cattle grew less hostile 
and more willing to trade, and the Saldanhas 




33 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

brought copper and ivory to barter. " Hotten- 
toos " were not, however, an unmixed blessing 
in the community. They killed the herds in 
lonely places and pilfered the unarmed people. 
They coaxed the children on one side in order to 
cut the brass buttons off their clothes ; and the 
mothers of this far-off settlement felt justly 
aggrieved at the irreparable damage. For none 
of these offences could punishment be meted to 
a native, for the Directors, whose pohcy was 
solely a policy of trade, had proclaimed that 
" Whoso ill treats, beats, or pushes any of the 
natives, whether he be in the right or wrong, 
shall, in their presence, be scourged with fifty 
lashes in order that they may perceive that such 
conduct is against our will." In 1673 a man 
was banished to Robben Island, then to Batavia, 
and thence to the new penal settlement of 
Mauritius, for " wantonly shooting and mortally 
wounding a Hottentot." And this although the 
man (who was called Willem Willems) had 
escaped from the Company in a Danish ship, 
and returned with what purported to be a pardon 
from the Prince of Orange. For such discipline 
the chief reason of the Commander was that 
settlers should " not give rise to any new dis- 
turbance amongst the Hottentots, who are a 
people revengeful beyond all comparison." After 
all, the Directors at home might not have objected 
to a little more rough handling had it been 

34 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

unauthorized by them ; at one time Commander 
Wagenaar says that he has been recommended to 
wink at it all by the masters in the Fatherland. 

The settlement must have been a good deal set 
back by the danger of any place at all isolated ; 
cultivators outside the circle immediately round 
the Fort took their lives in their hands. " The 
garden Rustenberg, otherwise called Rondebosje," 
was in 1676 tilled by two men, H. Thiel- 
man and Hendrik E. Smidt, for 4,000 guilders 
annually, but Thielman was massacred by the 
Hottentots. Governor Goske stated that agri- 
culture had been retrograding in consequence of 
the difficulties with murderous tribes. He pro- 
posed, as soon as the new Castle was complete, to 
lodge the Madasgacar slaves, who were an in- 
dustrious set of people, at Hottentots Holland, 
to defend the corn land and cattle from the 
attacks of natives. Compared to the terrible 
experiences of American pioneers with the warlike 
Indians, the adventures of the Cape are insignifi- 
cant. Still, it was a plucky set of men who 
started on their gabled homesteads in wilds 
peopled by the most degraded set of savages 
ever known — cunning, dirty, and utterly without 
tradition or the most primitive code of morality. 
Some protection to the boers was given by the 
three watch-houses along the Liesbeeck river, 
represented on early maps of Table Bay. Theal 
says they were called respectively " Turn the 

35 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Cow," " Hold the Bull," and " Look Out." Less 
poetic, the names remind one of the naming 
of the three great dykes, one inside the 
other, the " Watcher," the " Sleeper," and the 
" Dreamer," which stand between Holland and 
the perpetual beat of the North Sea waves. 

Excursions were gradually made inland. The 
mountain of the Paarl was named the " Pearl 
and Diamond " mountain, from the granite lump 
atop which glistens in the sun ; " Klapmuts," or 
" Sailor's Cap," was the nickname of the conical 
hill which served as a place of outlook or defence 
against native invasions, and which is now so well 
known as a favourite meeting place for the Cape 
Hunt Club. We hear of few diversions, and 
those are sombre enough. The sailors dabbled 
with black art to discover who had thieved their 
belongings, and perhaps as a form of amusement. 
" Has Cornehs Oldrichson taken or mislaid my 
ring ? U so, turn thyself round in God's name," 
says the mate of the Roode Vos, striking on his 
Testament with a key. " At first," says the 
surgeon who related the story to his superiors, 
" the Testament remained motionless, but after 
the third question it turned round by itself." 
The surgeon was frightened, and cried, " Mate, 
this has not been done by your will." But the 
mate said, "Look well," and the Testament 
went on turning. Then said the surgeon, " I 
wish for a dollar that I did not see it." 

36 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

At last, in 1662, Van Riebeeck, who outstayed 
his contract of five years, moved on to Malacca, 
where his wife died, and where he married again 
a daughter of the Commissioner Gruys, who was 
killed on the west coast of Sumatra. It is 
thought that the East Indian prisoners kept in 
chains at the Cape about 1667 were concerned 
with this murder. He afterwards returned to 
Batavia, where he died and was buried in the 
Groote Kerk, with this inscription on his tomb- 
stone : " Hereunder lies buried the Honble. Mr. 
Johan van Riebeeck, first founder of the Colony of 
Cabo de Bona Esperance, and ex-president of 
Malacca, lately Secretary to the High Govern- 
ment of India. Died the i8th Jan., 1677, 58 
years old." 

For seventeen years after van Riebeeck' s de- 
parture, the Cape was at a standstill. A few 
tracts of land were cultivated ; we hear that a 
Pieter Visagie and Jan Mostert, names still known 
at the Cape, owned land in the Tygerberg or 
Leopard Mountain, the long low hill facing Table 
Mountain. About there also the Company used 
to cut hay ; for the sandy tract now covered with 
brushwood, protea, and the gummy sapped 
mesembryanthemum, then waved with coarse 
grass, and I do not know that any good explana- 
tion has been given for the change. But the 
efforts of the Governors were confined to the 
building of a castle which was to replace van 

37 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Riebeeck's wooden fort, now dilapidated and 
considered inefficient. Wouter Schouten says in 
1658 that the fort had a " church where the word 
of God was preached/' but according to Theal, 
the large hall decorated with skins was the only- 
church. It had a stuffed zebra at the entrance, 
and the attractive beast was removed before 
the service began, lest the attention of the congre- 
gation should be diverted. Increasing trade had 
brought increasing rivalry, and a stronger fort 
was certainly necessary, for the whole structure 
threatened to crumble away during the rains. 
The English were considered a special source of 
danger, though they occasionally arrived with 
an open letter from the directors of the Dutch 
Company saying that hostilities had ceased, and 
that they were to be well treated. The officers 
were then entertained at dinner, and went on 
board at night, in the words of the journal, 
" pretty sweet and jolly, and well pleased." The 
building work progressed only when danger seemed 
imminent, and languished in the intervals. One 
of the Company's best men. Governor Goske, 
was sent out to begin this new fort or castle, 
and laid the foundation stone in 1666. But he 
was soon withdrawn. His successor. Governor 
Bax, is said to have stopped every one who 
passed and made them carry one basketful of 
earth for excavating the moat. 

A more stirring time was to come. In the old 

38 



TABLE BAY SETTLEMENT 

crowded countries inaction often appears more 
useful than energy ; so much work has already 
been done, so many results are developing slowly, 
and shaping themselves on the lines of least 
resistance, that a sudden movement may pre- 
cipitate matters and destroy more than it creates. 
In newer, cruder surroundings it is the man him- 
self, the leader of imagination, who must invent 
what is to be developed ; and a single individual 
of power may give his own bias to a chapter of 
history. In 1679 "the command of the Cape was 
offered to Simon van der Stel, who was in the 
employ of the Dutch Company in Amsterdam ; 
son of the Commander van der Stel already men- 
tioned. The settlement was an unimportant 
one, but he accepted the post and sailed for Table 
Bay. I can almost imagine his arrival at the 
jetty below the old fort. How curiously he must 
have scanned the handful of houses that formed 
the little town, the rude canal, the strip of green 
garden above. Did he realize that his feet would 
never leave that sandy shore, and that his name 
would be identified with the place for ever ? 



39 



SIMON VAN DER STEL, BUILDER 
AND GOVERNOR 



II 

Simon Van Der Stel, Builder and 
Governor 

WHEN, in the year 1679, Simon van der Stel 
was appointed by the Dutch East India 
Company to the command of Table Bay Settle- 
ment, it was still a mere victualling station. 
Still must it have been as van Riebeeck described 
it, "a lonesome and melancholy place where 
there was nothing to be done but barter cattle 
with the lazy and filthy Hottentots." Along 
the shore was the town of the first commander 
and a few Hottentot huts, and near the more 
distant forts was the Company's garden of Rusten- 
berg, with its agricultural lands and Great Barn. 
A cattle station was also at Klapmuts. Few 
people would have been bold enough to prophesy 
that, under the influence of Simon and his son, 
the country around would become covered with 
graceful homesteads, and that, in speaking of old 
houses at the Cape, the name of van der Stel 
would instinctively rise to the lips. The family 
of the commander were all " Company's men." 

43 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Captain Adriaan van der Stel, his father, had 
been commander of the Mauritius Settlement ; 
he succeeded the first commander, Pieter de 
Geyser, in 1639, in which year Simon was born 
there. Simon's second son, Adriaan, became in 
1705 Governor of Amboyna. On that part of 
Wynberg now called " Waterloo Green," below 
the camp and where the Dutch and EngUsh 
Churches and the Roman Catholic Convent are 
now built, there was an old farm, probably once 
covering the whole district, called De Oude 
Wijnberg, which in 1720 belonged to burgher 
Conraad Feit, who made a memorial that it had 
been granted in 1683 to this Adriaan van der 
Stel. The eldest son, Willem Adriaan, held two 
posts at the Cape in 1680-83, ^.nd, after a short 
interval as magistrate of Amsterdam, succeeded 
his father as Governor. His third son, Cornells, 
was lost in an East Indiaman, the Ridderschaap. 
The youngest, Franz, took up some of the Com- 
pany's land, and how he fared I shall speak of 
later. Simon's wife, Johanna Jacoba Six, was 
daughter of Caterina Hinlopen and Willem Six, 
one of the great Amsterdam family, the friends 
and patrons of Rembrandt. A Johan Six was 
burgermaster of Amsterdam in 1578. The Hon. 
Joan Six, to whom many payments are noted in 
the Cape archives (to be transmitted by him to Mrs. 
van der Stel), was married to one of the Tulps, 
but to what relation of the celebrated Dr. Tulp, of 

44 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

Rembrandt's '' Anatomy Lesson," I have not been 
able to find out. Simon's wife never came to the 
Cape. Kolbe, the inaccurate historian, who hated 
the van der Stels, writes that she was " not so 
complaisant as to follow her husband into Africa," 
and wrongly adds that her name was Constantia. 
All the poetry and interest of the Cape Penin- 





COAT OF ARMS OF THE SIX FAMILY. 



sula, and of much of the country further afield, 
is identified with the van der Stels. They had a 
genius and passion for making beautiful places 
to live in — dwellings of grave and quiet beauty 
nestling amongst trees. We reap the benefit of 
their taste, the van der Stels suffered for it ; and 
so immeasurably do these old buildings gain by 
the tender shade of the oak trees they planted — 
trees found almost exclusively near the " van der 
St el farms " — that if for no other reason, a tribute 

45 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

is due to their memory. Simon van der St el 
himself has many monuments : the leafy town of 
Stellenbosch, with its thatched and gabled houses, 
set amongst fantastic mountain ridges, was 
founded by him. The beautiful site he chose 
on one of his first expeditions, the long streets, 
drowsy with the monotonous sound of their tiny 
tinkling streamlets, were planted by his orders. 
The name of his family is recorded in the name 
he gave it — his own ; in the serrated peak so 
noticeable from the Cape, Simonsberg, the last 
mountain to hold the flash of sunset. Simon's 
Bay, too, familiar to us of the twentieth century, 
is called after this Governor of the seventeenth 
who first explored it. 

I do not know why historians, with the ex- 
ception of Mr. Leibbrandt, have done him such 
scant justice, for the work of no other commander 
is at all comparable. He explored, he planted, 
he built. Of his house in the Company's 
garden (not far from the present Government 
House) we have a description from the visitors 
he lodged in it. His hospital on the canal, of 
which we shall hear later, was considered very 
fine. Here, say the archives, the free blacks 
might bring to the patients all sorts of food, 
whether " pastry cakes or apple tarts." Simon 
took in hand, on arriving, the dusty unfinished 
beginnings of the Castle, covered with sand 
blown off the beach ; and in a very short time 

46 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

we hear of the dwelling house within the forti- 
fications which he built. The materials were 
brought from the Fatherland. In Commis- 
sioner de Mist's time there was a tradition that 
the woodwork and beams of this part of the 
Castle were made of " iron trees/' as they were 
called, which grew on the slopes of Table Moun- 
tain, and which were considered indestructible. 
But by this time we know, from experience, 
that the wood is most perishable. 

Simon was specially responsible for the Gover- 
nor's House and the block of buildings next it, con- 
nected by a great archway, which was the house 
of the Secunde or chief merchant : a handsome 
place, now used for military offices, which in 
its day was the centre of all the official life of 
the settlement. The Council held their meet- 
ings in the large hall, in which a church service 
was held on Sundays, and the balcony, with 
its beautiful little ironwork balustrade, was a 
prominent factor, as here the placaats or orders 
of Council, which formed practically the laws 
of the little community, were displayed from 
time to time ; and from it the Governors made 
speeches to the assembled burghers. The whole 
block was called the " Kat " or Cat, and always 
spoken of as such in the despatches. The word 
was also used for a defence or rampart. Pro- 
bably the Secunde' s dwelhng was not finished 
for some years, as we hear in the despatches 

47 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

that the Chief Merchant Elzevier had a house 
adjoining the wall of the burial ground which 




VIEW OF THE CASTLE, SHOWING THE " KA T " AND THE BALCONY, 

then surrounded the foundations of the un- 
finished church. 

48 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

It is said that Simon himself designed the 
gateway of the Castle, which in the original 
plan had faced the sea, considering it safer to 
make the opening towards Signal Hill, where 
there was a post of look-out for the ships. It 
is ornamented by the monogram of the Company, 
and under the pediment are the arms of the 




'^ 



TEAK FANLIGHT, ONCE IN THE CASTLE. 



different towns of the Netherlands which had a 
share in the Directory. All these buildings were 
official, and the designs were probably supplied 
by the Company's architects. The Castle in- 
deed has much the same character as the old 
gateways and Dutch Company's Houses in 
Ceylon. 

In 1682 Governor-General Ryklof van Goens, 
Governor of Batavia, invalided from the Indies, 

49 D 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

stopped at the Cape on his way home to recruit 
the ship and inspect the settlement. As he 
is mentioned in the history of the Cape, it may 
be interesting to note his adventurous career. 
A fine, truculent gentleman in his pictures, he 
had put in many years' good service to the Dutch 
East India Company. In 1661 he had led the 
first expedition to Cochin against the Portu- 
guese, who were ousted in 1663. During the 
war between Holland and England he had 
threatened Bombay with a fleet of 6,000 men, 
and captured two English ships off Musilipatam. 
Later, during the Dutch and English alliance, 
he in 1674 recovered St. Thome from the French. 
By the time he arrived at the Cape Commander 
van der Stel had founded Stellenbosch, which 
van Goens visited. Civilization was gradually 
advancing outside Table Bay settlement, and 
there were outposts of the Company at the 
Cuylen or Pools, Diep River, Riet Vlei and 
Vissers Hoek. The origin of this Cape word 
" vlei " has been a good deal discussed, meaning, 
as it does there, a pool or lake. It was probably 
first intended for vallei or valley, but has been 
corrupted and somehow retained where water 
lay in the valley, while " vallei " is used in the 
ordinary sense. 

In 1684 the younger Ryklof van Goens, Coun- 
cillor of India and Governor of Ceylon, arrived. 
Seven years earlier he had buried at Ceylon his 

50 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

wife Jacomina Roosegaarde ; the year following 
his second wife, Esther de Solemne. He lodged 
at the Company's House of Rustenberg, where 
he lay ill nearly the whole of his stay. Under 
his inspection a few changes were made amongst 
the officials of the Cape. Johannes de Greven- 
broek, afterwards a bitter enemy of the van 
der Stels, was appointed Secretary of Council. 
His signature is familiar on many an old title- 
deed. Van Goens developed a great affection, 
says Theal, for the younger Adriaan van der 
Stel, who had been Issuer of Stores at the Cape, 
and gave him a grant of land, and the rights 
of a full burgher ; permission also to catch fish 
in False Bay, and to have a fowling net, and 
to shoot any game or birds he pleased. The 
order was approved by Council ; but it gave a 
great deal of dissatisfaction to the farmers, 
who were only allowed each of them to shoot 
in one year one rhinoceros, one hippopotamus, 
one eland, and one hartebeeste, and for more 
than this had to apply for special leave. It 
was the first expression of discontent with the 
van der Stels. There was yet another member 
of the family in the employ of the Company 
at the Cape at this time — Lodewyk van der St el, 
who seems to have been a relation of Simon's, 
but not one to be proud of, as he was connected 
with the fraudulent proceedings of the cashier and 
cellar-master, Gerrit Vieroot, who was dismissed the 

51 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Company's service with heavy fines. In the j ournal 
of 1689 the Governor complained of his neglect in 
not making out monthly statements. In the same 
year Lodewyk was made an elder of the church. 
We hear in 1693 that he obtained promotion 
and went on with his family to India. 

Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Draken- 
stein, Lord of Mydrecht, touched at Table Bay 
in 1685 on his round to the East Indies. He 
had with him a commission of three other 
directors, and was about to examine into the 
affairs of the Company in Hindustan and Ceylon. 
He inspected all the pubhc bodies : the Burgher 
Council, the Matrimonial Court, the Board of 
MiHtia and the Orphan Chamber, and, to the 
credit of the Commander, made no alterations. 
A great man in his way, botanists still remember 
him as the Governor of Malabar who published 
twelve illustrated folio volumes, entitled Hortus 
Malabricus ; splendid books, full of careful 
drawings and dissertations by various experts 
printed in Arabic and Dutch. It is dedicated, 
amongst others, to "Johanni Huddi Heer van 
Waeveren, and Director of the East India Com- 
pany," and "iEgido Valkenier Consuli et Senetori 
urbis Amstello." The latter is either the same, 
or one of the same family as the Commissioner 
Valkenier, who in 1700 granted to Simon van 
der Stel the grazing rights of the Steenberg. 
His coat of arms were, together with those of the 

52 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

Six, van Loon, Hoorn, Tulp, van Outshoorn, 
and many other families connected in some 
way with the Cape, emblazoned on the great 
window of the Oude Kerk at Amsterdam. The 
name of van Rheede, who, by the by, signs himself 
" van Reede tot Draackesteyn," in variance 
with the usual spelling, appears many times in 
the Company's journal and in the books of 
eighteenth century travellers. He was buried 
at Surat under a splendid monument, which 
may exist still ; it was kept in repair at the 
expense of the Company, at one time six thou- 
sand rupees or nine thousand Dutch guilders 
being spent on it. 

Van Rheede was on friendly terms with Simon 
van der Stel, whose schemes for the acclimatiza- 
tion of plants must have interested him. From 
the earliest times the Governors had been allowed 
to acquire land. Van Riebeeck, as we know, 
had planted vines on his farm. Crudorp was 
given, while Governor, the freehold of some land 
he had cultivated in Table Valley. Governor 
Wagenaar, too, had owned a '' certain square 
piece of land, . . . with houses, stables, and 
plantations," which lay between the Castle and 
the town. Van Rheede tot Drakenstein granted 
to Simon van der Stel 891 morgen (about 1,782 
acres), probably as a natural and obvious way 
of rewarding him for his services, and giving 
him a stake in the country; but in later times 

53 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

it was suggested by those who disHked the van 
der Stels that he had been bribed into so doing 
by the Governor, who named after him the beau- 
tiful tract of country beyond Stellenbosch. 

There is outside Cape Town a pine-bordered 
road, dusty with soft red dust, as romantic a 
highway as you could wish. You will find it 
past Newlands, once the New Lands reclaimed from 
the mountain-side, or through Wynberg, the 
old Wine Mountain of the early settlers. It 
leads you (rather breathless if you have come 
up the hill on a bicycle) to the vineyards of Groot 
Constantia. Far off to the south-east stretches 
the Muizenberg Plain, with its lines of shim- 
mering sand and the pool of the Zee Koe Vlei ; 
beyond that the sea and the serrated mountains 
lessening to the rocks of Hanglip Point. It 
was not without care that the old Governor 
chose this piece of land on which to make his 
home. A man told Admiral Stavorinus in 
1798 that his father had helped to test baskets 
of earth taken up along the shore every hundred 
roods over a great tract of country, and mixed 
with water, for the Governor to decide upon 
its quality. Here, well satisfied with the rich- 
ness of the soil, he built a house with a stoep 
and a great hall. Gabled like the houses of the 
fatherland, it resembles the Dutch farm houses 
on the island of Walcheren, houses with interiors 
like those of Pieter de Hoogh's pictures, designed, 

54 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

some say, with a reminiscence of the Malay Archi- 
pelago, yet not entirely like any, but individual and 
distinct : the first great homestead of the Cape. 
Few of the many visitors to Constantia trouble 
their heads about the man who planned, more 
than 200 years ago, to make a home on the 




GKOOT CONSTANTIA, 1685. 



mountain slopes, who cleared a space for his 
vines and his gabled house amongst the wild 
geraniums, the gladioli, and the lihes. Yet what 
a place it is to dream in ! Below lies False Bay, 
and the wonderful brilliance of its sandy shores ; 
behind, the steep pass of the "Nek" and the 
rocky heights above Hout Bay. Here, on a still 



oo 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

afternoon, you may hear the hoarse bark of some 
adventurous baboon ; great oak trees throw 
their blue shadows on the flat sunlit walls, planted 
by the Governor whose history had so strange 
an ending. 

Constantia wine had once a world-wide fame. 
Under the Dutch Company I believe the wine 
could not be bought in Europe, as they reserved 
to themselves the exclusive sale ; but the old 
farm account books show great export to Eng- 
land at the beginning of the nineteenth century. 
At the Cape it cost two Spanish dollars or eleven 
shillings and sixpence a bottle, and was not 
given lightly to every guest, says a traveller, 
but to a rich visitor from whom benefits were 
expected. You may remember that the broken- 
hearted Marianne Dashwood of Miss Austen's 
Sense and Sensibility was comforted by a " glass 
of the finest Constantia wine that ever was tasted." 
March of time has transformed the place into 
a Government wine farm, worked by convict 
labour, and the men pick purple and golden 
bunches, and call to each other in the silence 
of the great heat, much as would have done 
the slaves of the Commander. Perhaps it was 
named Constantia as a protest of constancy 
to the wife he was never to see again, though 
he yearly sent her money. Or this, too, may 
have been a mark of affection for the van Rheedes, 
as it seems to have been a name in their family : 

56 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

a little Constantia van Rheede of six months 
old was buried at Colombo in 1696 ; her me- 
morial tablet is in Wolfendahl Church. 

That invaluable book, The Child's Guide, 
written " by a Lady/' of which the thirty-fifth 
edition was published in 1835, says : " Con- 
stantia is a rich sweet wine, made some eight 




iL 



h .lo.r^^ Ho.ll. ^ 



r „T 



Hall 




PLAN OF GROOT CONSTANTIA. 



miles from Cape Town ; some peculiarity of 
the soil causes the excellency of the grapes, and 
the wine is made with great care." There is 
a second farm, old, but not with the historic 
associations of Groot Constantia, which seems 
to have been most often visited by eighteenth 
century travellers. It is called Klein Constantia, 
and used to be divided from the domain of the 

57 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

older place by myrtle hedges. It is of this second 
farm that the naturalist Sparrmann writes in 
1772, when it belonged to Mynheer van der 
Spoi, and he speaks vaguely of the building, 
which he calls " old or red Const ant ia." All 
the old houses are made of little red bricks, 
plastered and whitewashed, the ornamentation 
in strong lime plaster ; but I have sometimes 
wondered if Groot Constantia, being built early 
and almost certainly of good bricks from the 
Netherlands, was originally left unplastered, save 
for the ornamentation. 

The place is so associated with its mellow 
whiteness that it is difficult to visualize it in 
colour. Thatched, like all those which followed 
it, with reeds, cut short, of a deep velvety appear- 
ance, the roofing has a texture quite impossible 
to reproduce in any drawing, and which vanishes 
to nothing in a photograph. About the cutting 
and preserving of these reeds Governor Simon 
made severe regulations. The plan differs from 
and is rather more complicated than the plan 
of the usual Cape house, for which no doubt it 
stood as a model. There is even a short stair- 
case, and two or three rooms built on an upper 
story to the right as you face it — a very un- 
usual thing, as the houses are universally one- 
storied. The tall window in the gable is never 
the window of a room in the Colonial house, 
but lights the great storage loft which runs be- 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

neath the rafters. These lofts are floored usually 
with brick and a layer of clay^ called brandsolder, 
and intended to give a non-inflammable sur- 
face for the burning thatch to fall on should 
there be a fire, as too often happens. Like 
nearly all the oldest houses, the woodwork of 





ESCUTCHEONS : GROOT CONSTANTIA AND HOTTENTOTS HOLLAND. 



Constantia — shutters, doors, floorings, are solid 
teak, but the hall is paved with old square flags, 
and one room with Dutch glazed tiles. Latches, 
bolts and hinges are finely designed, probably 
by the skilled workmen going out via Table Bay 
to the Indies and other settlements. We hear 
in 1690 of a coppersmith, carpenters and masons 

59 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

being sent from Good Hope to Mauritius, to- 
gether with other workmen, tailors and the 
hke ; also a silversmith is mentioned, and the 
Company would not have been at the expense 
to send out indifferent labour. The shape of 




SIDE GABLES, GROOT CONSTANTIA. 



the gable is, with some modifications, the gable 
of the old houses of Holland. I think they 
almost certainly belonged to the original house, 
though it has been suggested that the statue 
of Plenty in the fagade was placed there later. 
To the right as you approach the house are 

60 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

stables and small outbuildings, built in the 
Batavian fashion, outside the main structure, 
for visitors and servants. In one of these, van 
der Stel's elder son is said to have lived, and 




WINE HOUSE AT GROOT CONSTANTIA. 



it still goes by the name of the Jonkers house. 
Architecturally the little gables here are inter- 
esting, showing as they do the transition of the 
Dutch gable into the gable of the Cape. 

Facing the courtyard behind Constantia 

61 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

homestead is the old wine house. The thatch 
was removed and a fine stucco pediment placed 
there in 1779, when the place belonged to a Cloete. 
The pediment holds a medallion of Ganymede 
on his swan, surrounded by children pelting 
a curious species of tiger with bunches of 
grapes. It is modelled in some sort of hard 
plaster in very high relief, with a good deal of 
charm, by a French architect who did other 
work in Cape Town. The "cellar," as these 
wine houses invariably are called, the two 
great brick and plaster seats, the flickering 
shadows, blue as only South African shadows 
can be, the faint smell of the wine-making, the 
great quiet of the place, all combine in a curious 
fascination which I think even the most un- 
imaginative people have felt at Groot Con- 
stantia. Behind the wine-house the ground falls 
suddenly away towards the stream which is 
dammed up at the bottom of the ravine. Down 
this slope some old artist designer, Simon van 
der Stel or a successor, has run a magnificent 
flight of steps leading from the cellar door to 
the bottom of the valley. 

Strangely enough, none of the early writers 
give any description of the architecture of the 
place. Sparrmann, the naturalist, mentions the 
little weevils (colandra) which are still so trouble- 
some amongst the vines, and were caught, a 
few years ago, and may be still, by curious little 

62 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

nests of leaves placed at the foot of each vine. 
Captain Hop, in his Historical Journal of the 
Cape in 1778, frankly says of the two Constantias 
that one was built by Governor van der Stel, 
and that the other was more modern and in the 




WINE-HOUSE STEPS, GROOT CONSTANTIA. 



taste of the habitations of the day. So it is 
possible that the old Constantia had at that 
time fallen into bad repair. In his day the 
Company only drew a third of the wine pro- 
duced on the farms, at a special price, and the 
rest was sold to ordinary merchants. A great 

60. 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

deal of his information, however, is taken from 
de la Caille's observations in 1751, and de Bougain- 
ville's narrative of 1769. 

A truly British and unconsciously entertain- 
ing account is given by Captain Percival, an 
English officer at the Cape during the second 
English occupation (1806). The then owner he 
calls Mr. Pluter, evidently meaning Cloete. " I 
was so unfortunate as not to find the gentleman 
in a good humour," says Percival, " and I could 
scarcely get a good bottle of wine. . . . On my 
requesting to see the place, he himself came out 
and informed me that the gentleman was not 
at home." Percival and his friends then got 
some of the slaves, for a present, to procure them 
wine, and to show them the plantations and 
cellars. " Nor did we take any notice of the 
owner's surliness and boorish manners when we 
afterwards met him, but went on to satisfy our 
curiosity, and obtain the wine and information 
we wanted." He thoughtfully adds that " some 
allowance must be made for Mijn Heer Pinter's 
moroseness, as it is impossible for him at all 
times to attend to the reception of his visitors, 
some of whom by their teasing and forward 
loquacity, might render themselves extremely 
troublesome and disagreeable to his grave and 
solemn habits." He tells us very little that is 
new, though, like Sparrmann, he praises the 
care taken in growing and cleaning the grapes 

64 




Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede Tot Drakenstein 
Lord of Myurecht. 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

and making the wine ; but one is glad to have 
a description of the leaguers or butts in which 
the wine was kept, all in his day elegantly 
carved, the bung-holes covered with brass plates, 




OLD BATH, GROOT CONSTANTIA. 



hasped down and locked, so that none of the 
slaves might embezzle the wine. 

Relics of the old time are scanty, but there 
is a broken sun-dial with the half-effaced name 
of Cloete, and the cannon-balls piled on the 
gateposts of the lower vineyard are said to have 
been collected on the plain of Muizenberg after 
the half-hearted battle with the English in 1795. 
The circular basin of water with a deep curved 

65 E 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

rim, which goes by the name of the " bath," is 
well worth seeing, though you must walk a 
quarter of a mile up the garden between high 
oak hedges. \\Tiether the fascination of the 
place lies in these comparatively simple things 
made by man or in the wonderful beauty of 
surrounding nature, who shall say ? The sun- 
scorched hillside behind with its scent of hot 
earth, the great orchards of peach and apricot, 
the vineyards and vine trails with their back- 
ground of distant sea and mountain, the clear 
blue sky and hush of the hot noontide, and the 
sough of the wind in the branches of a moonlit 
night — all these go to create it. I cannot tell 
you to which century belongs the teak Triton, 
through whose horn the mountain stream splashes 
on to the old swimming-bath. But I know that, 
despite all modern changes, you will, if you 
dream there long enough, see wandering amongst 
the flickering shadows the shade of Governor 
Simon van der Stel. 

We are fortunate in having a very realistic con- 
temporary account of the Cape in the year 1685. 
An embassy, going from Louis XIV. of France to 
Siam, put in at Table Bay. Its objects were 
said to be religious, and it is true that the great 
monarch had given his sanction equally to the 
propagation of Christianity and of trade. I find 
that at the first meeting of the French East India 
Company in 1664, " at the house of M. Faveroles, 

66 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

merchant, at Paris/' the projectors were given 
formal permission by the King to settle ecclesi- 
astics in various places, while the company was 
to "go on boldly under the banner of the in- 
vincible Louis." 

The ambassador and his missionaries were 
most hospitably treated by Governor Simon. 
They wrote enthusiastically of the extraordinary 
merit of M. van der Stellen. Father Tachard 
gives a charming description of their reception 
in one of the large rooms at the Castle, " opening 
out of the large hall where a sermon is preached 
on Sundays." Those who know the Castle of 
Cape Town will have no difficulty in locating it. 
He tells us, too, that the Governor gave them tea 
" in the Indian fashion," and that the officials 
took the air of an evening on the flat roof of the 
building, a " beautiful terrace paved with large 
stones and surrounded by balconies and balus- 
trades of iron." 

The embassy had arrived at the Cape during 
the visit of van Rheede tot Drakenstein. They 
were welcomed by " Monsieur de van der St el 
and Monsieur de van der Hey den " (the latter the 
commissioner of the Company, then in port). 
They had much polite conversation in Portu- 
guese, and were offered by them the use of the 
pavilion in the Company's garden for their 
astronomical observations. Placed as it was in 
" such a sterile and terrible spot," they con- 

67 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

sidered the garden the most curious and beautiful 
they had ever seen. About the middle of the 
garden wall beyond the slave lodge was the 
Governor's house or pavilion, consisting of a 
hall or vestibule below, with two doors, one open- 
ing towards the fort, the other towards the garden, 
and a reception-room on each side. Here they 
were lodged for some time and received the best 
of treatment. Later, when two of their ships, 
the Loire and the Dromadaire, carrying several 
of the missionaries sailing back to France, were 
wrecked at Cape Agulhas, the survivors were to 
experience more kindness from van der Stel. No 
sooner did he hear of their misfortune than he 
sent an escort of soldiers and horses to bring them 
to the town. They were taken to the Castle, 
and received by the commander " at the foot of 
the steps outside his house," with " every mark 
of respect and affection." He invited them into 
a room, made them sit down while tea and wine 
were brought them, and caused a volley of twelve 
cannon to be fired in their honour. Tachard 
and the others, including two Siamese ambassa- 
dors, were quartered at a house in the town, and 
liberally furnished with refreshments. It must be 
confessed that the bill for these expenses, as well 
as for the soldiers who mounted guard before 
their door, was afterwards sent in to the French 
Government, and the chronicler remarks thereon 
with some bitterness. 

68 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

After leaving the Cape, and returning again to 
Siam, Tachard yet again stopped at Table Bay on 
his homeward journey and received " les memes 
honetetez que les voyages precedens." " I had 
assured Monsieur de Vanderstellen/' he writes, 
" that I would return in the following year in 
good company ; on which he made me many 
offers." The Fathers appeared grateful ; but to 
Simon van der Stel they were false friends. Their 
time had been employed in collecting information 
which might be useful to them, and in gaining 
from the Walloon burghers who came to confess, 
details about the interior of the colony, and the 
possibility of Catholic settlements there. From 
newly-arrived Huguenot settlers, hardly off their 
ships, they received an impression of disappoint- 
ment, which they published forthwith in two 
delightful volumes, illustrated by pictures of the 
houses, fauna and flora of the countries they had 
seen. The botanical drawings of the books are 
excellent, but the authors give rein to their 
imagination in the matter of houses at the Cape. 
The chameleon also greatly pleases them ; he is 
depicted in " the grand style," trampling with 
uplifted paw some highly decorative flowers, and 
appears also in their map of the " Country and 
people of the Cape of Good Hope," patrolhng the 
boundary between the land of the Griquiquas and 
of the Namaquas. Amongst their pictures a 
strange horned lizard of large size is given ; on 

69 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the map it is seen running into the mountains of 
the Gouriquas ; and a " Httle hzard of the Cape/' 
with three crosses on his back — decorative, but 
unknown to modern naturahsts. The year fol- 




p<y^?f - 



MAP FROM THE " VOYAGE DE SIAM DES PERES JESUITES," 1686. 



lowing (1687) a large fleet, under Admiral Van- 
drecourt and Vice-Admiral du Quesnes, put in at 
Table Bay with many sick on their way to Siam. 
Tachard was now in charge of fourteen mathe- 

70 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

maticians for the King of Siam. But the situation 
had altered. 

For long Simon van der Stel had prayed the 
company at home for colonists and assured them 
that nothing could be done without more labour. 
The settlement consisted of a mere handful of 
people. By the time Constantia was built the 
slaves numbered 230 men, 44 women and 36 
children. A few agriculturists had been sent out 
from the fatherland, and the burghers numbered 
altogether 254 men, 88 women, and 231 children ; 
there were 39 European servants. Intent on his 
Colony, Simon was eager for more men to cultivate 
the land, and for more women, to induce them to 
marry and settle. He had promised freeholds to 
any of the Company's servants who had good 
characters and were willing to farm. But they 
were a lawless, roving set, and comparatively few 
of the discharged soldiers and sailors cared to 
settle as tillers of the soil. In 1685 the Orphan 
Chambers of Amsterdam, in response to requests 
made by the Company, consented to send out 
48 girls ; but at the last moment only three would 
embark. 

For the next few years small groups of seven 
and eight occasionally appeared. In consequence 
of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by 
Louis XIV., there was at this time a large though 
forbidden emigration of French Protestants into 
the Netherlands. Often they barely escaped with 

71 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

their lives, and crossed the frontier destitute. A 
certain number of Piedmontese had also found 
their way to the United Provinces. Out of these 
refugees the East India Company determined to 
choose a number of colonists, who were offered 
grants of land if they would settle at the Cape. 
It was not easy to persuade a landsman in those 
days to undertake the horrors of the long voyage, 
but about 176 settlers were sent out in detach- 
ments. Mr. Leibbrandt, keeper of the Cape 
archives, says that contemporary writers mention 
eighty more families brought there by Du Quesnes, 
but that the archives do not allude to them. The 
newcomers were all of the congregations called 
" under the cross," or suffering persecution ; the 
European population of the Cape had up to that 
time been Lutheran and Roman Catholic. 

Had the French missionaries in their published 
volumes been content with descriptions of the 
animals and the topography of Table Bay all 
would have been well . But they had asserted that 
amongst the people of the "religion pretendue," 
who had arrived as colonists, there was not one 
who was not filled with disappointment at the 
far-off land to which he had been brought ; and 
that many -of the emigrants would willingly have 
made reparation for their mistaken ideas and 
returned to France had not every means of doing 
so been closed to them. Simon had been per- 
turbed to discover that every detail about the 

72 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

colony and his inland expeditions was known. He 
had already sent away a French gardener, who was 
found with a suspicious letter in his possession ; 
and an apothecary discharged who had given in- 
formation to Pere Tachard. In view of the con- 
tinually hostile attitude of Louis XIV., the Dutch 
Company were naturally jealous of their own foot- 
ing at Table Bay ; and Simon was not unaware of 
the danger of such a large fleet as that of Admiral 
Vandrecourt. He wrote afterwards that he had 
secured the powder magazines, and determined 
should the least act of hostility occur, to set fire 
to the settlement and leave the French nothing : 
a plucky resolution for a man who had taken so 
much pains to extend and improve the colony. 
But he received the visitors with his usual courte- 
ousness, and on leaving they presented him with 
a medallion or miniature of the " grand Mon- 
arque," and a gold chain with quadruple links. 
Rather artificial were these friendly relations. 
The ship La Maligna, which on the departure of the 
fleet from the Cape, put back to France to report 
progress, spread also reports of the insufficient 
fortifications of Table Bay, and Du Quesnes 
when he arrived in Batavia gained a stiff reception. 
The Governor-General told him that if the Jesuits 
were seen he could not answer for the conduct of 
the populace, so irritated were they at the last 
news from France brought by the Dutch fleet. 

Governor van der Stel did not come off scot free. 

70 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Both the authorities at home and in Batavia 
were indignant at his want of caution. Had he 
not accepted a medalUon and chain ? Had not the 
Siamese Ambassador given him a jewelled kris ? 
Had he not allowed his visitors to see the defence- 
less state of the Castle and the weakness of the 
garrison ? Strangers who had been permitted to 
wander about at will had on their return to France 
declared that they could easily have taken the 
Castle sword in hand, and that if the Dutch 
Company thought so little of their settlement, 
and afforded it so little protection, it could be 
attacked and taken on the very first outbreak of 
hostility between France and the Netherlands. 
Two years more and the storm had burst. In 
1689 war was declared by Holland and Eng- 
land, who had elected the Stadholder, WiUiam 
of Orange, as her King, against France, and van 
der Stel was ordered to treat the Frenchmen 
everywhere as enemies and cause them all the 
injury possible. There is little ambiguity about 
these old despatches. 

Meanwhile the Huguenot emigrants were being 
granted their new freeholds of lands along the 
Drakenstein valley. Whatever disaffection may 
have been induced by the long sea journey and 
the experiences of first arrival, the Dutch autho- 
rities at any rate did not consider there was much 
to fear from impoverished refugees. Many of 
the emigres had been living^in the Netherlands 

74 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

for some time, and could hardly be suspected of 
anti-Dutch sympathies. Others, who were thought 
particularly valuable settlers, as they understood 
wine and brandy making and the cultivation of 
the olive, were mere peasants, and had every 
inducement for making a home in the new colony, 




J '/(! ,, 



GATEWAY OF THE CASTLE, CAPE TOWN. 

where each arrival was given, or offered, a gift of 
money, and each family allotted a grant of land. 
They had brought out their own minister, a 
refugee from Zierickzee, says Theal, at a salary 
of £y 19s. gd. per month. In 1687 the Voor- 
schouten had sailed from Delftshaven, bringing 
twenty-two French settlers. The next year the 

75 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Oosterland left Middelburg with twenty-four emi- 
grants and the China of Rotterdam with thirty- 
four ; twelve of whom, poor people, were saved 
any more privations and disappointments by 
dying on the way out. Another ship, the Borssen- 
burg, also sailed with French refugees, and the 
Suid Beveland brought a number of French from 
Middelburg; but the passenger Hst is lost, and 
the only names known are those of Pierre Simond, 
minister of Dauphine, and his wife Anne de Beront. 
In the China came also eight young women from 
the Orphan Chamber of Rotterdam, who were 
said to be " industrious, of unblemished reputa- 
tion, and skilled in farm work." 

The new comers, thought the Company's 
Directors, would be an important addition to the 
350 burghers capable of bearing ' arms against 
the threatened French invasion. Van der Stel, 
therefore, issued an order to Stellenbosch and 
Drakenstein, for the burghers to " collect without 
delay men and houses, fully armed and equipped, 
and provided with powder and lead, and to 
leave only ten or twelve men to protect the wives 
and children against Hottentots or other danger." 
The signal for starting was a gun fired from 
the Castle, for which the men were to "listen 
attentively ; " and on hearing it to move simul- 
taneously from Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Hotten- 
tots Holland, the Cu^den and Rondebosch. 
Occasionally Governor Simon's orders are so 

76 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

purely perfunctory as to appear issued to appease 
the Seventeen at home rather than for any practical 
use at Table Bay. Difficult, indeed almost impos- 



^^m^vw? 







PLATTE KLOOF IN THE TYGERBERG. 



sible, it would have been to hear this gun signal 
at Drakenstein and Hottentots Holland ; the 
authorities probably were satisfied of this later, 

77 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

for at the top of the Tygerberg behind Platte 
Kloof farm, granted by Simon van der Stel to 
van der Hiet, but afterwards a Company's station, 
used to be an old cannon for giving to the farmers 
inland warnings which had been signalled from 
the Castle. 

After all, the invasion never took place, 
Louis XIV. having other things to do at home 
and abroad. But van der Stel put in force his 
orders to treat the Frenchmen as enemies, on the 
return of the second expedition to Siam in 1689. 
The ensign, Le Chevalier de la Machefoliere, came 
ashore in a cutter, foolishly sure of a favourable 
reception, and bringing the " compliments " of 
his captain. He was immediately disarmed, with 
what surprise and anger on his part we may 
imagine, and placed with his crew under arrest 
at the Castle. The boat was then sent back with 
the French flag flying, but manned with Company's 
officers and Dutch sailors. Other boats, manned 
and armed, from the East Indiamen lying in the 
Bay, the Nederland and the Saamslagh, were to 
remain near. M. de Courcelles, Captain of the 
French ship La Normande, seeing the cutter 
returning with a French flag, ordered a salute of 
nine guns to the Castle ; which politeness cost 
him dear. For under cover of the smoke, the 
Normandc was boarded by the cutter and the 
boat of the Saamslagh. " They at once fell to," 
says Simon's despatch, " and after eight of their 

78 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

men and two of ours had been wounded, they 
cried for quarter, which was granted." The ship 
was immediately looted by the Company's men, 
the prisoners and the officers stripped to the skin. 
Diamonds, jewels, and everything but the mer- 
chandise in the hold, requisitioned by the Com- 
pany, was taken by the captains and sailors of 
the victorious party. A fortnight later, La Coche, 
the third ship of the Siam expedition, " coming 
in opportunely," says the despatch, " for refresh- 
ments," was also taken and plundered like the 
first. The Normande was afterwards sent back 
to Amsterdam, where it was rechristened Dc 
Goede Hoop, and became a ship of the Dutch fleet. 
To Governor van der Stel, whose ideal had been 
a Dutch settlement, the emigrants were dis- 
appointing. He was out of conceit with the 
French ; those particular men were difficult to 
deal with, and the conditions on which they had 
accepted their lands were a matter of endless 
complaint. They were not to retain their own 
language ; they were to be spread about amongst 
the burghers, so that a French colony should be 
impossible. Van der Stel was bound to enforce 
the regulations of the Seventeen Directors ; in 
addition, he suspected the new colonists of wish- 
ing to form a party with Vice-Admiral Du Quesnes 
at their head. When a deputation, consisting of 
the minister Simond, Jacques de Savoy e, Abra- 
ham de Villiers, and two others, bearded the 

79 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Governor at the Castle, in 1689, and asked permis- 
sion for their countrymen to have a church of 
their own, he flew into a passion and accused 
them of ingratitude and impertinence. "It is 
evident," he wrote, " that they not only want 
their own church, but their own magistrate and 
their own prince." They pretended to have 
left France, said Simon bitterly, because of their 
religious convictions, but in reality they wanted 
opportunities of leading a lazy and indolent life ; 
were people of the wrong stamp, he declared, 
entirely unacquainted with and unfit for the hard 
life which was the lot of the farmer. He wished 
that for the future no " cadets or persons of 
quality might be sent," but industrious and well- 
behaved agriculturists and tradesmen, preferably 
of Dutch or German origin. " The crotchetty 
(wispelturige) nature of the French still adheres 
to them," he writes another time in a burst of 
irritation, " and they resemble the Children of 
Israel, who when fed by God's hand in the wilder- 
ness still longed for onions." 

All these responsibilities increased the burden 
of government, and the despatches of the Seven- 
teen and from the station of the Indies, 
abound in fault-finding. The Company had 
recognized his services, for they had raised his 
title of Commander to that of Governor. But 
they were not pleased by the reports of the hand- 
some houses springing up at the Cape, nor did 

80 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

van der St el's ambition to found a colony where 
they had only wanted a kitchen garden really 
find favour with his employers. The Batavian 
government had more personal grievances. Van 
der Stel was apt to detain skilled locksmiths and 
artizans going out to the Queen of the East for 
the houses of her merchant princes, and to set 
them en route to work instead at the Cape. Owing 




VERY OLD FARM BUILDINGS, KOORNHOOP. 



to the representations of Governor Simon, Batavia 
was under orders to receive the indifferent Cape 
wheat, and corn growing, for some time temporarily 
neglected at Table Bay, had again been taken in 
hand. New grain stores were built, say the 
despatches, " on the side of the cross wall which 
runs through the Fort," and Simon had invented 
some air-tight vaults in which corn could be kept 
for a considerable time. He was accused by his 
superiors in the East of protecting the Cape to 

8i F 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the prejudice both of the ships and of the Indies. 
" Whether it will be convenient for the company," 
says an indignant letter from Batavia, *' to bear 
in the interest of the Cape agriculturists any more 
such losses, the Directors will be able to tell you. 
We, at least, do not think so, nor find any fairness 
in it, to let the people here, only for the sake of 
benefiting the Cape farmers, eat so much dearer 
and worse bread than they can obtain cheaper 
and better elsewhere." And they asserted that 
the vegetables supplied to passing fleets were 
musty and black, and the meat so old that no 
teeth could bit it through. 

Simon's despatches are intensely interesting, 
full of vitality and a kind of magnificence, but 
they abound in expostulation which cannot have 
pleased the Company. " The Fort is in a good 
state of defence," wrote he in 1697, " so that we 
need fear no enemy." The corn vaults, he adds, 
have been finished without expense to the Com- 
pany. The hospital was in process of building. 
Eight hundred beds had been provided, stuffed 
with grass, and a large number of blankets. Fault 
had been found with the Governor for not sending 
a certain advance ship to Batavia. The skippers 
had protested, he says, writing to Amsterdam, 
that they could not leave sooner as the men were 
all so helplessly sick there was not enough to 
man a vessel. The Governor submitted that 
certain misunderstandings which caused the home- 

82 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

bound fleet to return without calling at the Cape, 
were the fault of the East India Government. 
" Viewed impartially, the Governor cannot con- 
ceive that any blame can be attached to him, or 
that his conduct can be suspected by you." 

Writing to the Seventeen at Middelburg, he 
says that the deserters to Holland in 1694 sent 
back by the Directors, have been released by him 
and restored to their old position, in consideration 
of the long voyage, and of their having been in 
irons for a whole year. Another time, in answer 
to a letter of complaint about the victualling of 
the ships, he observes through the medium of the 
Council, " We cannot refrain from mentioning 
that the ships are not supplied badly and sparingly, 
but well and abundantly, to the full satisfaction 
of the commanding officers . . . whilst during 
the last fifteen years the Governor has supplied 
206,000 more cattle than his predecessors did 
during the same period." Some of the contentions 
are highly amusing. " We cannot always refuse 
altogether to the English," he says in 1698, " what 
they require after a long voyage, or damages 
sustained at sea, because of the close alliance 
between their kingdom and our state. They 
are generally most pressing, and threaten to com- 
plain as soon as they arrive in England should 
we refuse. . . . (To) the Enghsh ship Mary, we 
sold two sails, as we stated, which were more than 
half damaged by the rats, and you mention it 

83 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

with disapproval in your letter ; but if we had 
not done so she could not have left the place, as 
she was almost destitute of sails. It was the 
same with the EngUsh ship King William, which 
has almost had a " lost " voyage, and whose 
officers were so destitute of money that they could 
not have paid their expenses if v>^e had not lent 
them 308 florins. . . . They professed that if we 
did not do it they would be obliged to remain here 
under protest, not believing our reiterated excuses 
that we were almost destitute of money our- 
selves. ..." 

The coast stood in continual fear of pirates. 
There was the vessel whose commander's name 
was Kit, carrying thirty-two guns and two hundred 
men, lying not far off, and a vessel called the 
Loyal Russell then in port, suspected of being 
hand-and-glove with the pirate. There was the 
yacht Amy held to be of the same character. 
Her van der Stel apparently seized, and spent 
much time in explaining his reasons for doing so 
— that the passes and commissions of the men 
were forgeries ; that their answers before the court 
of justice were confused and contradictory ; that 
*' after the sloop had been already twenty-four 
hours in our possession twelve men were dis- 
covered hidden away among the sails and vats 
and casks, so that if they were innocent of piracy, 
and honest seamen, they would have had no need 
to hide themselves. ... To end the matter, 

84 




OLD DISTRICTS AND MODERN ROADS. 



85 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

therefore/' continues the Governor, " we hope 
that you will now see it in a clearer light, and 
with a more equitable and favourable eye, and 
we cannot imagine otherwise than that you will 
be pleased in every way to understand that we 
acted in this matter properly." 

In 1697 it is noted that ten French refugees 
had sailed on the Vosmaery but that five had died 
on the voyage. The other five were sent to 
Drakenstein, "where they have settled," says the 
despatch, " and according to report we do not 
see that they will to-day or to-morrow become 
an encumbrance to the Company. At Robben 
Island (where, by-the-by, rabbits are mentioned 
even at that date) a sergeant who had been 
superintendent had apparently sold sheep in 
some prohibited way to the " ship's friends," 
without the knowledge of the Governor; 
some accusations with regard to the food of 
the ships and the hospital had also been 
made. This, the Governor submitted, did " taste 
more of an injury to himself than of truth, as he 
is quite sure that it can never be proved by any 
one in the world." Of the first accusation the 
Governor and Council submitted that " under 
such a charge, so peremptorily and loosely made 
... an honest mind feels oppressed, and people 
of good service and reputation are suspected 
before the world ; but we trust that you will 
take no notice of the matter." With all the 

86 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

sordid details, want of knowledge brings from 
time to time a touch of romance. We hear of 
" nine strange animals " which the French or 
Walloons have obtained from the Hottentots in 
the mountains. Danger from pirates, from war, 
from condemned and escaped Company's men, 
from scourges of bhght, locusts, cattle sickness 
and consequent lack of food, and the recurrent 
shipwreck disasters of the Bay, effectually pre- 
vented life from being humdrum or indolent. 

Some one has cleverly said, " Your keen intel- 
lects, like razors, are considered too sharp for 
common service." Reflecting on the amount of 
work accomphshed by the elder van der Stel, it 
seems to have been on those grounds he received 
so many reprimands. He had founded Stellen- 
bosch, colonized Drakenstein. Frenchhoek and 
beyond. He had won the confidence of the 
natives, who consulted him in their difficulties. 
To their " captains " he gave sticks with brass 
plates, engraved with the arms of the Company, 
and he conciliated them in every way with a view 
to increased barter. " You are to let them 
have five or six pounds weight of tobacco," he 
writes from Constantia to the Chief Merchant, 
in order to keep the taste of that herb among 
them." Ever mindful of the ships, he had begun 
a canal or cutting, through the sand at Salt River 
as a refuge from the heavy winds ; but in conse- 
quence of the silting of the sand the excavations 

87 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

had to be abandoned. A burgher guard now 
patrolled the town at night, receiving each after- 
noon a new countersign from the Governor. Simon 
had made an expedition to Namaqualand to investi- 
gate the copper which had been brought for barter 
from time to time by the natives. Would any 
other Company's commander of the day have 
made such a stately journey ; in a coach followed 
by forty wagons, three hundred sheep, and one 
hundred and fifty oxen ; whilst he carried with 
him two trumpets, several hautboys, and five or 
six violins "in order to charm the aborigines"? 
It is worth noticing that the Governor recom- 
mended the separation of the scabby sheep from 
the rest of the flocks : so far back do we find the 
germs of the modern Cape Colony wrangles over 
cheap food and Scab Acts. 

Thousands of oak trees had been planted all 
over the Colony, and thousands more were standing 
ready for removal at Rustenberg. A special 
order had been made to induce the burgher coun- 
cillors to undertake some planting themselves ; 
and a piece of land had been given them for this 
purpose behind the Wijnberg, called the Wolven- 
gat. Constantia was built, homesteads were 
dotted over the veld. Weary of his work, in 
1696 Simon van der Stel asked leave to retire. 
The request was coldly received by the Company. 
*' Although we have found and resolved to relieve 
you of the office and rank you have hitherto held," 

88 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

runs the despatch, ..." you are nevertheless 
... to continue in the appointment until you 
shall have been replaced by some other person." 

During the last few years of Simon's Governor- 
ship several new characters came upon the stage, 
ready for the end of the drama, almost, one might 
say, of the tragedy. Captain Olof Bergh 
arrived in 1690, a Company's soldier with thirty- 
five men to strengthen the garrison. The Rev. 
Peter Kalden, intimately connected with the 
coming difficulties, was sworn in as minister in 
the same year, when minister van Loon went for 
a time to Batavia. The new Secunde Samuel 
Elsevier, who fell with the fall of the Governor's 
family, arrived in 1697. Finally, not without 
honour to his father, Willem Adriaan, Simon van 
der Stel's eldest son, was appointed by the Com- 
pany to the now vacant Governorship of the Cape 
of Good Hope. 

" With great pleasure," runs the despatch of 
June, 1698, " the Governor saw . . . that you 
were pleased to appoint as his successor his son 
Willem Adriaan van der Stel, ex-magistrate of 
Amsterdam, and to promote him to the rank of 
Councillor-General of India. For this favour he 
most dutifully and cordially thanks you. On his 
arrival everything will be transferred to him, and 
the Governor will give him the necessary informa- 
tion in the interests of the Company, to whose 
favour he continues to recommend himself." 

89 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Simon was now free to retire to Constantia. 
His individuality was too deeply woven with the 
life of the Colony for his name at once to drop 
out of its records, and to his death it appears 
again and again. But, curiously, few personal 
traces of the van der Stels have come down to us. 
I hear on good authority that a suit of armour 
belonging to Governor Simon was once in the 
Cape Town Museum, but it seems to have dis- 
appeared. One bitter anecdote of the man comes 
to us from the inimical and inaccurate pen of 
Peter Kolbe. " He took an infinite pleasure in 
imposing all the fictions and sotteries he could 
upon every one. Having the honour, forsooth, 
to be once " (and perhaps in that " once " is the 
secret of the bitterness) " in his company at his 
seat of Constantia, he took it into his head to 
assure me very gravely, that in a journey from 
the Cape towards Monotapia, he reached at the 
distance of 200 miles a very high mountain ; 
where passing the night he ascended to the top, 
and discovered from thence very plainly that the 
moon was not so far from the earth as the astrono- 
mers asserted, ' for as that planet,' he said, ' passed 
over my head, the night being very still and clear, 
I could plainly perceive the grass to wave to and 
fro, and the noise of its motion in my ears. You 
set up for an astronomer and philosopher,* said 
he, * What think you of this matter ? ' * Think, 
sir,' I replied, seeing him very grave and knowing 

90 



SIMON VAN DER STEL 

his temper, ' I think that your Excellency's eyes 
and ears are as good as most people's, and that 
it would be very ill manners for me to dispute the 
evidence.' " 



91 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 



Ill 

The Younger van der Stel 

ABOUT noon on January 23, 1699, two shots 
were fired from the Lion's Head, and at 
sunset the vessels Stad Ceulen and Drie Kroonen 
swept on to the Bay. They were, said the Com- 
pany's journahst, " in a fair state of health and 
condition." Texel had been left on the 2nd of 
the previous September, and their lost was only 
forty sick and sixty dead. On board was Gover- 
nor Willem Adriaan van der Stel and his wife and 
family. 

" Although the south-east wind commenced to 
blow very heavily during the evening, the governor 
and his family were conducted from the ship by 
the Chief Merchant Sieur Samuel Elzevir and the 
Hon. Fiscal Joan Blesius, and landed at the sand- 
hills, where he was most civilly received by his 
father and other members of Council." The mili- 
tary burghers, both foot and horse, had come 
under orders for the same purpose, and stood in 
double line. The members of the Council who 
were present, and some of the burgher officers, 

95 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

returned to Government House (i.e. the Castle) 
where " they were treated to a glass of wine, and 
once more solemnly welcomed His Honour." 
Little did they all think that before eight years 
were passed the young man, broken-hearted and 
disgraced, would be refused his request to remain 
on those shores " as a forgotten burgher," and 
return, shorn of all authority, to the fatherland 
he had just left with so much hope and ambition. 
It was not, as we know, the first time that 
Willem Adriaan had stood in the shadow of 
Table Mountain. At Good Hope he had entered 
the Company's service first as assistant or clerk, 
then as secretary of the Orphan Chamber. Three 
years later (1683) he was acting as Secretary of 
Council, for his signature is on a placaat forbidding 
grass to be fired or cattle pastured in Table Valley 
above a certain line, marked out by poles bearing 
the arms of the Company. But he had been for 
some years in the fatherland, and when appointed 
Governor was a magistrate of Amsterdam. His 
father had arrived at Table Bay Settlement ; 
the son returned to a Colony. White walled 
farms gleamed with their enclosures on the dis- 
tant mountains, young oak trees were everywhere 
planted; vineyards and gardens, vital with the 
wonderful vitality of virgin soil made the 
peninsula a paradise in the eyes of the tired sea- 
farers. Beyond the Wynberg on one side, on 
the other at Hottentots Holland on the far shore 

96 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

of False Bay, Company's stations were flourishing. 
Stellenbosch could almost be called a town : it 
had a Landdrost, and the new minister van Loon 
had been appointed. There were settlers all along 
the great and small Drakenstein valleys, to 
Fransche Hoek and the Paarl Mountain ; and 
two years earlier Governor Simon had drafted 
about thirty of the poorer people from Stellen- 
bosch and Drakenstein, on to the Wagon-makers, 




WELLINGTON. 



Valley beyond Paarl and under the Limietberg ; 
making the nucleus of what is now the town of 
Wellington. A wild enough country even now, 
burnt pale by the hot southern sun, where in the 
fruit season baboons in long, single-file parties 
make raids on the orchards outside the town. It 
has the usual strange fascination of those older 
places of South Africa, the green, cosy, oak- 
shaded oases, domestic and European, set in the 
heart of the dry yellow and pink mountains. 

97 G 



OLD^ CAPE COLONY 

The day after his arrival Willem Adriaan was 
busy on the pier, seeing after the young trees 
which he had brought for the Company's garden. 
A few days later, the Commissioners having taken 
stock of all the Company's property, the whole 
was formally handed over to him as Governor ; 
the drums were beaten, the military and the bur- 
ghers appeared under arms, and " the son was 
solemnly introduced to the people by his father, 
the ex-Councillor Extraordinary and Governor van 
der Stel." During the last ten years of Simon's 
administration the usual inspections from the 
Governor-Generals of India seem to have been 
suspended. But a month after the instalment 
of his son the " Councillor Iixtraordinary of India 
and Inspector of Cape Affairs " (they had long 
titles, these old officials) arrived. The most interest- 
ing part of his inspection was the decision to take a 
journey in search of better anchorage for the ships. 
Eleven years earlier Simon, going by sea, had dis- 
covered and named Simon's Bay. Now the Com- 
missioner, Daniel Heyns, with the new Governor, 
the Rear-Admiral, two skippers and two Council- 
lors, started off on a land journey in that direction. 
Steep and high mountains were said to intercept 
their journey, across which the tracks were so 
perilous that they had to walk all the way. Their 
cattle became exhausted, their wagons were only 
got over the rocks with danger and difficulty ; 
finally, the boat not being able to reach them on 

98 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

account of the wind, they were unable to pass the 
mountain facing them. After a night in a sandy 
creek where there was not enough fuel to stock 
a good sized return ship, nor soil rich enough to 
grow vegetables, they returned home discom- 
fited, saying that the anchorage was foul. 

Now that civilization has made rough places 
smooth, the difficulties of the pioneers are hard 
to realize. They had been as far as Kalk Bay, 
to which the children of the Cape now go in half 
an hour by rail for their hohday afternoons. 
But it is good to remember our own advantages. 
The path over the headland to Simon's Bay was 
only cut with much trouble and expense many 
years later ; and a very short time ago indeed, 
travellers were glad enough to make use of " Far- 
mer Peck's " old inn at Muizenberg as a place to 
rest and bait the horses before crossing the 
dangerous sands of Fish Hoek. 

Next year a second inspector arrived at the 
Cape. The Hon. Wouter Valkenier " ordinary 
Councillor and Commissioner of the Government, 
likewise Admiral of the Fleet," was delegated 
from Batavia to give an exact account of the Cape 
to their honours in the fatherland. But Val- 
kenier was either a friend of the van der Stels, or 
indolent ; perhaps both. He said it would be 
more convenient for Willem Adriaan himself to 
redress grievances, and declined to be presented 
to the people. Later, his grant of lands to the 

99 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

young Governor was called in question, and one 
is convinced that he aroused the jealous temper 
of the burghers. 

At this time the population of the whole colony 
numbered 418 men, 222 women, 310 daughters, 
295 sons, 60 servants, 702 men slaves, 109 women, 
and 40 boy and 40 girl slaves. We are told that 
the wooden pipes which brought fresh water to 
the ships at the Company's wharf below the Fort 
had been repaired. It had not been possible to 
kill the lion who had lurked about the watering 
place ; later we hear that the same hon seized 
some cattle near the watch-house and at " Roode- 
bloem," the house of a freeman about a quarter 
of an hour's distance from the Fort. 

The year after his arrival (1700) Willem Adriaan 
made a journey to inspect the outside stations of 
the Company, and the condition and character of 
the land of the freemen of the Tyger Berg, Stellen- 
bosch and Drakenstein. Almost due north from 
the end of the French Hoek valley, there runs for 
forty-five miles a long range of mountains. The 
southern extremity is called the Klein Draken- 
stein mountains, and to the north are the Hawe- 
quas ; these two ranges are opposite the town of 
Paarl. Farther north, and separated from the 
Hawequas by the pass now known as Bain's 
Kloof, but not yet discovered in these early days, 
lie the Limietberg mountains. In an almost 
straight line, are the Elandskloof, the Vogel 

100 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

Vallei, and the Ubiqua or Obiqua mountains. 
Some settlers had lately been sent out by the 
States of Holland, and farms were to be 
given them. Beyond the Ubiqua mountains he 
discovered a beautiful valley " about eighteen 
or twenty hours distant from the Castle." " It 
has a breadth of four hours on foot," he says, 
" beyond the Roodezand, which is merely a steep 
pass going over the aforesaid Ubiqua mount- 
ains." As these regions had hitherto had no 
names for Europeans, the Governor named 
them the Land of Waveren. The district is 
now known as the Tulbagh valley, but was for 
long called Roodezand. Here the new emigrants 
were granted land, and a few men, unsuccessful 
in the Drakenstein, were also sent to people it. 
Thus started the third " colony " of the Cape. 

Almost from Ihe first, friction arose between 
the burghers and Willem Adriaan. He had 
brought out with him from the Netherlands 
quantities of young oaks which were put 
into the plantations behind Rondebosch. Next 
year twelve thousand were sent from there to 
Stellenbosch, and eight thousand to Drakenstein. 
To van Loon, the Stellenbosch minister, was en- 
trusted the superintendence of tree planting, but 
because the burghers and farmers would not take 
proper care of the young trees, van der Stel revived 
the old regulations of forty years earlier, which 
imposed twelve months' hard labour on any one 

101 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

who injured a garden or tree. I do not know if 
the penalty of the law was enforced, for it was 
characteristic of the man to prefer threats to 
punishment. But we find him quaintly sending 
a picture, drawn by himself, of the " punishment 
of a tree-injurer " to the Landdrost of Stellen- 
bosch. It was to be placed on a suitable spot in 
the most frequented roads " to terrify the male- 
factor." Indeed eighteenth century punishments 
were not likely to be disregarded ; for the same 
offence in 1740 the punishment was " to serve two 
years in chains as a convict of the public works, 
or to be brought to the place of execution and 
there severely scourged ; while twenty ryks 
dollars were given to the informer, whose name 
was to be kept secret." 

Like his father, not only tree planting, but 
planning of houses, was dear to the heart of the 
younger van der Stel. Immediately on his 
arrival he had set about procuring more slaves, 
and told the director that since the garrison had 
been reduced nothing could be effected without 
slave labour. In June, 1699, he had written to 
the King of Magellage and Prince of Madagascar 
to remind him of the " friendship cherished for 
that king by the Directors of the Company " ; 
and to hope that his officers may be allowed to 
obtain a large number of slaves. " We trust by 
the blessing of God," he says, in that curious 
mixture of piety and callousness which runs 

102 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

through so many of the eighteenth century refer- 
ences to the business, " that the slave-trade will 
be more favourable than last year." The first 
expedition seems to have been rewarded with 
success. The ship Peter and Paul put in to the 
Bay of Maningare, and after a successful barter 
with King Simanata carried away 198 slaves. 
Fourteen of these died, but the others, says the 
despatch, were well cared for and warmly clothed, 
and should the majority remain alive it will not be 
necessary for some years to send for more. " Sub- 
limest King," ran three other duplicate letters 
to three Kings of Madagascar, " how high the 
Directors of the Company esteemed the friendship 
of His Majesty your father, of glorious memory, 
in their voyages made to your island for slaves, 
when the officers and merchants were kindly 
treated, you will remember." They end by per- 
suasively wishing to their " Most Sublime Majes- 
ties " prosperity and a long term of health, and 
are signed, " Your most obedient friend and neigh- 
bour the Councillor Extraordinary of the Nether- 
lands East India Company, and Governor of the 
Cape of Good Hope." 

The trade was much interfered with by English 
pirates, and the ships brought back strange wild 
tales of these men, who had been rendered des- 
perate by the treachery of their own countrymen. 
Pardons had been sent out to them for sale, and 
they had boarded the ships in good faith, for the 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

purpose of buying them. Some, after the money 
had been extorted, were sent back to the island ; 
some had been taken home, and despite the 
letters of pardon, had been punished by death. 
" I believe," writes the Governor wistfully, " that 
a profitable trade might be opened with these 
people on the island, but ... it is most un- 
christian to go hand in hand with robbers." 

Enough workmen were probably now secured ; 
certainly building operations were going on rapidly 
everywhere. Urgent requisitions were sent to 
the Directors for more building materials : " three 
hundred more deals for the burghers to save the 
forests for some time longer, twelve stable and 
hanging bells, and three hundred fire-locks for the 
Madagascar slave trade, without which no slaves 
are obtainable." And again, for " More Norse 
deals and spar ribs for the citizens, whose houses 
are rapidly increasing." Some of these hanging 
bells, ornamented and dated, still ring the dinner 
hour in the little roofed bell-towers of the farms. 
In the old days they were used too as bells of 
warning, and to attract the attention and secure 
help of neighbours within hearing. 

Then, as now, the greatest hindrance to pro- 
gress in South Africa, next to the want of labour, 
was the lack of wood and all other appliances. 
The Governor wrote once that he had not 
even enough wood to mend the wheelbarrows, 
and that all building operations had therefore 

104 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

ceased. The difficulty was no doubt increased by 
the misfortunes of the httle colony at Mauritius, 
soon afterwards abandoned. To the Netherlands 
Mauritius sent quantities of ebony and teak, cut 
into blocks in the forests and so shipped, as well 
as a good deal of ambergris found on the shore. 
She supplied the Cape with timber and fuel and 
plank beds for the slaves, the Mauritius Governor 
receiving orders from the Cape, as did the Cape 
from the Governor-General of Batavia. From this 
unfortunate island came tale after tale of disaster ; 
complaints of English ships, who, notwithstanding 
that William of Orange was now King of England, 
left the island showing, say the Mauritius de- 
spatches, " the ordinary English impertinence 
and their thievish nature by refusing to pay." 
Worse tales of pirates who harassed the Com- 
pany's men, hurricanes that destroyed their 
homes and their harvests, and slaves and muti- 
neers who had escaped to the surrounding wilds 
and plotted to regain their freedom by setting fire 
to the Company's buildings, and putting an end 
to the whole Settlement. So that probably from 
this time the wood supply from here came to an 
end. 

The first serious quarrel of the Governor with 
the burghers was three years after his arrival, and 
was on account of the new church. Foundations 
of a church had been dug in Cape Town thirty- 
five years before, but they were very bad and 

105 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

small. Willem van der Stel caused them to be 
made of a proper depth and shape, and either 
designed or had the church designed in the shape 
of an octagon. For this the Governor, to the in- 



dignation of the 



burghers, 



appropriated the 




FARM BELL, GROOT CONSTANTIA. 



charitable funds and legacies of the church 
council. The burghers contended that the Com- 
pany was bound to provide church and schools 
free of expense. The Governor, who probably 
knew that the money was not otherwise forthcom- 
ing, argued that their charity could not be put to a 
better use. He seems to have been in possession of 
the local funds, and the church, splendid in its way, 
was finished in 1704 ; with what heartburnings, 
the next few years were to demonstrate. A 
Coetzee was the first person married in it. 

106 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

Governor Willem's post was no sinecure ; there 
was a growing dissatisfaction amongst the bur- 
ghers. At Drakenstein they had been ordered 
to supply the Roodezand colonists with wagons, 
as the Stellenbosch burghers had done for them 
years before, but they calmly disobeyed the man- 
date and wrote instead seven pages of palaver. 
Hay ordered from Klapmuts for Stellenbosch was 
not supplied, and wool required from the free 
burghers was not sent to the Cape. For some 
time there had been disturbances with the Hotten- 
tots. It was difficult to ascertain whether or not 
the Company's regulations were enforced at the 
outposts. Natives had stolen two hundred head of 
cattle from Henning Huising, the meat contractor. 
Then Gerrit Cloete was robbed of some hundred 
head near the far-off grazing lands of Riebeecks 
Kasteel. It was perhaps after this that he gave 
his farm the melancholy name of Alles Verloren. 
Cloete took a summary and personal vengeance 
on the raiders of his flocks, and was in conse- 
quence brought to the Castle to be tried. Perhaps 
had Governor Willem been less thorough things 
might have righted themselves ; but he had an 
uncomfortable way of probing everything to the 
bottom. 

In 1700 the burgher companies of Stellenbosch 
mutinied. The yearly parade had in consequence 
to take place at the Cape under the eye of authority. 
The three companies of infantry and cavalry, 

107 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

fully armed, were to assemble separately. The 
officers, Captain Barend Burchard, Lieutenant F. 
du Toit, and Ensign Gerrit Cloete were allowed 
to retain their appointments. But those who 




FARM BELL, MEERLUST, EERSTE RIVIER. 



remained absent without lawful cause were to be 
fined ten ryks dollars and to be punished at the 
Governor's discretion. They were " seriously 
advised to carry out these orders promptly." 
The " parrot shooting," which had taken place 
yearly ever since the founding of the township, 

io8 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

was to go on as usual. As times went, the rule of 
Willem Adriaan was far from severe. His con- 
duct to the French settlers was eminently that of 
a peacemaker, and judging from the signatures 
of the protest made in his favour a few years 
afterwards, the Frenchmen almost unanimously 
wished him well. Of forty-five persons had up 
for marauding and stealing cattle from the Cabu- 
quas or great Kafirs, more than 120 miles from 
the Castle, he writes that he will not punish 
them because of the poor wives and innocent 
children who would be thrown into great misery. 
" Moreover," he adds, with the usual shrewd- 
ness and grasp of ultimate issues of the van 
der Stel despatches, " it was greatly to be feared 
that as soon as the Fiscal apprehended any of 
them, the rest would flee inland in order to escape 
punishment. In that case, wood and mountain 
would become entirely unsafe, and the well- 
disposed inhabitants would never be secure on 
their farms." 

But something unfortunate about the man's 
character embroiled him both with his superiors 
and the burghers under his rule. His despatches 
were full of independent expressions, details of 
interest " collected," as he says " out of curiosity," 
and ambitious suggestions which apparently gave 
little satisfaction. He was charged with having 
communicated secret messages to others besides 
the commander of the return fleet, who always 

109 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

brought and received certain " secret orders," 
mainly connected with the flags to be displayed 
as signals, which were continually changed, the 
Governor and the Council at home alone know- 
ing the proposed alteration. The Amsterdam 
Chamber, specially charged with Cape affairs, 
complained that he wrote meagrely to the Chamber 
and exhaustively to the Directors — I suppose to 
individual Directors. The Governor did not deny 
these charges, but replied in an extraordinarily 
humble tone, " as what I have done has been over- 
looked, I will take care punctually to carry out 
the orders of the Directors, without departing 
from them in the least." 

The first open evidence of personal animosity 
to the Governor was shown by one Jan Rotterdam. 
Under the Company's laws, all burghers were 
bound to stand up in church on the Governor's 
entry. This Jan Rotterdam refused to do. On 
being questioned, he alleged physical infirmities. 
But he was also found to have entered into a 
" detestable conspiracy against the Governor." 
He was sent to be judged at Batavia, with the 
unfortunate result that he was looked on by the 
other malcontents as a martyr. Soon afterwards 
various changes had to be made in the civil 
appointments, " with an eye to the vile and faith- 
less conduct and evil intentions of some burgher 
officers at the Cape, Stellenbosch, and Draken- 
stein, but especially at the two last mentioned 

no 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

Colonies." The country districts now grew more 
and more disturbed. At last even the shooting 
contest on the " parrot mountain " near Stellen- 
bosch had to be suspended. This was the finishing 
touch. One morning in September twenty men 
from Drakenstein and beyond the Berg River, 
with the wives of van der Byl and Wessel Pre- 
torios, marched into Stellenbosch beating drums 
and demanding the restoration of the shooting 
contest and the annual parade. After some 
parley with the Landdrost Starrenburgh, a personal 
friend of the van der Stels, who found not a single 
officer or corporal amongst them, the mutin- 
eers announced that if assured they had done 
their duty, they were prepared to return home. 
" The talk of the women," writes Starrenburgh to 
the Governor, " I pass over in order not to trouble 
you more than occasion requires. ... I therefore 
went to where the drum was beaten hastily, and 
found a large number of people dancing round it. 
Having asked the drummer who had ordered him 
to beat his noisy instrument, he replied that he 
did not understand Dutch. The whole day," 
continues the Landdrost with some pride, " I 
remained in the street to keep my eye on every- 
thing, and found that owing to my presence there 
was peace and quiet. I hope," he adds, " to 
progress by means of gentleness, but Hon. Sir ! 
the women are as dangerous as the men, and do 
not keep themselves quiet." Grevenbroek the 

III 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Secretary, and Adam Tas and his wife he said 
instigated and corresponded with the disaffected 
people. To this communication the Governor 
repUed praising the conduct of the Landdrost, 
and adding somewhat grimly that the audacious 
drummer should be " sent to the Castle at Cape 
Town, where means would be found in French, 
as he professed not to understand Dutch, to make 
him acknowledge his presumption, and at whose 
instigation he had acted." 

The excitement roused was not easy to quell. 
What had merely been the uprising of a handful 
of country folk quickly developed into an active 
combination of several of the richest burghers 
against any one who supported the van der Stel 
family. For long they had resented the agri- 
cultural schemes of the Governor, who likely 
enough took little pains to make himself under- 
stood, and thought too lightly of their opinions 
to escape the accusation of insolence. Now the 
smouldering hatred could find expression. The 
whole story reproduces on a smaller and humbler 
scale the attitude of the burghers of Holland, a 
few years earlier, towards the house of Orange. 
The family was simply too much in the ascendant. 
Too many of the van der Stels occupied important 
positions as Company's officers, arri\dng at the 
Cape with salutes and ceremonial receptions. 
The name cropped up continually in the jour- 
nal. There Vv'as Lodewyk van der Stel cashier 

112 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

at Table Bay, a third Adriaan is mentioned as 
Junior Merchant of the return fleet. Adriaan, 
Governor of Amboina, younger brother of Willem 
Adriaan, when he visited the Cape with General 
Harman de Wilde to inspect the fortress, was 
received as befitted his station, salutes being fired 
from the Castle and answered from the ships ; and 
on the birthdays of the old Governor bunting was 
displayed in the Bay, and the highest oflicials 
went out to Constantia to congratulate him. 
Worse than this. Governor Willem was making 
efforts to improve the general condition of the 
Colony by the efforts of the individual. Later he 
wrote through his Council to the Company at home : 
** It is clear as the sun that our striving must be 
that corn, meat, and wine should be obtainable in 
abundance and cheaply, that the Company's 
ships may obtain enough supplies. This, how- 
ever, is once for all against the interests of the 
farmers, who will not see it with satisfaction. 
They prefer a lazy and jolly life, and to make 
much out of small wares ... if they bred wool 
sheep, they would more than cover the loss sus- 
tained by the fall in the price of meat mentioned 
above." Such a man was a dangerous and 
uncomfortable Governor. Without much trouble 
the burghers prepared papers of indictment, got 
signatures of people who hitherto had been loyal 
to van der Stel and his friends, and forwarded 
them to Holland and Batavia. 

113 H 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

It was a difficult moment for the Council at the 
Cape. They were unable to take any extreme 
measure without permission from the Company, 
and they knew too well that a prompt answer 
was impossible. Meanwhile discipline had to be 
maintained, and some show of authority and 
order. Papers which more than proved his guilt 
were seized in the desk of Adam Tas and brought 
to the Castle. After deliberation it was de- 
cided to send back the chief malcontents to be 
judged by the Seventeen Directors in the father- 
land. The homebound fleet of 1706 carried with 
it the five ringleaders : Henning Huising, Jacobus 
van der Heyden, Ferdinand Appel, Pieter van der 
Byl, and Jan van Meerlant. Adam Tas had 
drawn up an " accusation " illustrated by en- 
gravings of the unauthorized magnificence of 
Willem van der Stel, and full of anecdotes of the 
evil conduct of the family. Briefly, it stated that 
the Governor, his father, brother, and all his 
friends had built themselves splendid houses, 
and there lived in princely style, oppressing the 
burghers. To build the Governor's mansion of 
Vergelegen in Hottentots Holland, the best timber 
and the best workmen had been employed, and the 
draught oxen of the burghers, requisitioned for 
carrying the materials, had died of fatigue. Old 
Governor Simon had unjustly acquired grazing 
land on the Steenberg beyond Constantia, to the 
exclusion of all other burghers. Frans van der 

114 



THE YOUNGER VAN DER STEL 

Stel at his farm of Parel or Paarl Vallei (Pearl 
Valley), adjoining Vergelegen, held a monopoly 
of fishing. His adjacent land was Paarde Vallei, 
or Horse Valley, probably once a haunt of zebras. 




PAREL VALLEI. 



We know that the mountain at the Cape lying 
between Riebeecks Casteel and the Koeberg was 
named Paardeberg on account of the zebras. 
Koeberg was named from the hippopotami, which 

115 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the settlers wrongly called zeekoe or seacows. 
From Paarde Vlei the waters of False Bay are 
visible, and Frans was said to keep a watch on 
the shore to enforce his rights, beating and ill- 
treating all who opposed him. 

The Honourable Company were greatly im- 
pressed by these indictments. Perhaps the men 
sent home detected, astutely enough, a certain 
jealousy in the attitude of the Directors, For 
the van der Stels the catastrophe was swift and 
complete. In 1707 a peremptory despatch arrived 
from the Company. The Directors, it said, had 
been unable to discover the guilt of the burghers 
sent home on charge of mutiny. Governor Willem 
Adriaan van der Stel was to be recalled to the 
fatherland, together with the Secunde Elzevir, 
the Landdrost Starrenburgh, and the minister 
Kalden. Frans van der Stel was to have as soon 
as possible " the districts and limits of the Com- 
pany described by charter as belonging to her." 
The Company's servants were for the future to 
build for use and not for show. The house of 
Vergelegen was to be destroyed. 



116 



THE ACCUSATION OF WILLEM 
ADRIAAN VAN DER STEL 



IV 

The Accusation of Willem Adriaan 
van der Stel 

IT is a strange lesson in human nature to 
discover that all the burghers who accom- 
plished the recall of Willem Adriaan van der Stel 
on account of his fine house and magnificent 
way of living, were men who owed their own 
grants of land and advancement to one or other 
of the two Governors, and that with three excep- 
tions they themselves owned the best houses 
in the Colony. The ringleader, Henning Huising, 
was the same who many years before had obtained 
large grazing rights near Eerste River. Once a 
shepherd from Hamburg, he had been rescued 
by the van der Stels from extreme poverty, and 
had married one of their servants. The elder 
Governor had granted him the monopoly of the 
meat contract, and in doing so had come under 
the Company's displeasure. " The house of Hui- 
sing," pleaded the younger van der Stel, " was 
in all respects larger, higher and grander than 
Vergelegen . . . who then would have sup- 

119 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

posed that fault would have been found with the 
house of the Governor." Meerlust is still a stately 
pile amongst the simpler surrounding farms. A 
river runs through the oak woods of the valley 
beyond where the trees have towered to an immense 
height, though on the stony ground round the 
homestead they are blighted. Through Eerste 
River below passes the old " Company's drift," 




MEERLUST, EERSTE RIVIER. 



in which Simon and his wagon once stuck, as he 
relates in an early despatch dated from Meerlust. 
However much the house may have been improved 
in later years, the ground plan, for a seventeenth 
century colonial farm, indeed, for a farm any- 
where, is unusual enough. 

Most of the flooring of the house is of teak, and 
there are teak cupboards to the walls and a teak 
fire-place with a particularly fine fire back and 
folding doors, after a fashion found in one other 

120 



i 



THE ACCUSATION 

house of the same period. Within, the old pave- 
ment of small red bricks has worn out, but there 
is some handsome large square red tiling. About 
are a great number of farm buildings, all orna- 
mented with emblems of their use. The forge 
has implements above it,the carpenter's shop a tool 
box, another out building has two geese, which, 
I was told, were an emblem of early rising. The 




HEN HOUSE AT MEERLUST. 



hen-house is carefully designed and ornamented, so 
are the wine-house and the sheds ; never was there 
such an expenditure of plaster curlicues as runs 
riot over the walls. Apart, on the wind-swept 
hill, is the little walled graveyard of the farm ; 
within, amongst the overgrown tombs may be 
that of Huising himself. But possibly he was 
buried in the old church at Table Bay, for, as we 
shall see, he grew to be one of the props of church 

121 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

and state ; and his house at Cape Town was 
mentioned as " particularly handsome, and be- 
longing to the richest burgher in the Colony." 

To the end the man pursued Willem Adriaan 
with incredible hatred. During the brief period 
of his quasi-disgrace in Holland, his wife, Mrs. 
Huising, entered into a conspiracy on her own 
account with the minister of Drakenstein, Le 
Boucq, who seems to have been something of a 
lunatic, as well as ill-disposed to the Governor's 
authority. Having to preach one Sunday at the 
Cape, he invited his " adherents," says the de- 
spatch, to come, saying they would have a " con- 
fertiesje " or divertisement. He then, from the 
pulpit, publicly dismissed the Secretary of Justice 
and the deacon ; with earnest exhortations to the 
Christian congregation no longer to acknowledge 
them as members of the same. He interspersed 
his discourse with " many hateful expressions," 
and finally let the congregation sing the last two 
verses of the 149th Psalm, to the utmost con- 
sternation of his audience. The wife of Lieutenant 
Adriaan van Rheede (who was apparently now 
sent out to inquire into the business, perhaps as 
son of an old friend of the van der Stels) fainted 
from agitation and had to be carried into the house 
of the sexton. 

Le Boucq, having been suspended for this 
offence until the arrival of the new Governor, 
now wandered through the country, with a pair of 

122 



THE ACCUSATION 

pistols and a good sword at his side, having with 
him two slaves who carried heavy sticks shod with 
iron ; in this guise he proceeded to visit the 
farmers, to secure their protection against the 
Government. Indeed, he was so far successful 
that some of the elders and deacons of Stellen- 
bosch suggested that the " Rev., godly, and highly 
learned Mr. Engelbertus Frangiscus Le Boucq 
might be sent to minister to and comfort them." 
At this juncture Mrs. Huising was asked to give 
evidence against Le Boucq ; he was said to have 
made use of defamatory expressions against 
Administrator D'Ableing at her house, and in the 
presence of herself and the widow of the minister 
van Loon. But Mrs. Huising, even when very 
" civilly required " by the acting Administrator, 
refused to confirm any statement whatever ; 
alleging that her memory was short. She was, 
therefore, on December 27, 1706, imprisoned at 
the Castle at her own cost. On January 5, an 
indignant petition " filled," says the journal, with 
" very tart, libellous, and hateful expressions 
towards the Government, and signed by twenty- 
seven freemen," demanded that Mrs. Linden- 
hovius or Huising be set at liberty. It was very 
painful, said the petitioners, with delightful frank- 
ness, " to behold such a matron, summoned under 
such a vile, stinking, and fictitious pretext," by the 
Court of Justice. Whether because of these " tart " 
expressions or because at this juncture Mrs. 

123 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Huising offered to confirm her statement by oath, 
she was Uberated the same day. 

By this time Willem van der Stel was no longer 
responsible for the legislation. But Huising was 
none the less furious against him. He summoned 
the ex-Governor before the Council demanding 
44,000 florins and payment for 9,000 sheep ; 
declared that rather than keep him a day longer 
in the Colony he would abandon his claim and 
bring it on again in the fatherland, and, falling 
into a passion, he swore that the name of van der 
Stel should be eradicated from the country. 

When the first news came of his recall, van der 
Stel had refused to beheve it. He seems to have 
been only dimly aware of the animosity of the 
burghers. Their " accusation " does not err on 
the side of restraint. The Governor, it says, is a 
scourge of the land, a tyrant and a cause of 
suicides. He envies the prosperity of the burghers 
and frequently says that " a poor community is 
more easily governed." His best friends, it 
continues, are " coarse knaves who live by roguery 
and theft," ; also he " lends his ears to insipid 
people and flatterers, being afraid of the truth." 
He was accused of employing more than sixty 
of the Company's servants besides a hundred 
slaves in his own service, and of absenting himself 
for long periods at Vergelegen when he should 
have been at the Cape. He harboured run- 
away slaves, and his cruelty had made freemen 

124 






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•J -^jJ ,«5Js «jj «««,; .RrJ 
>^' »»^ ^J <tH 



^'^ij^r^t^^W- -jy --^ ■tiv- 







1 U^' i^UBi'; 




^' -^■'■^'^iriJ- 



ilS^.^ 



125 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

take their own lives. He had forbidden the wine 
trade, kept his forests to himself, and while he and 
his brother Frans sold their wheat to the Company's 
bakers at a high price, they paid no tithes them- 
selves. The family not only grasped all they 
could, but furthered in every way the interest of 
their personal friends. Several accusations were 
made against old Governor Simon. Finally, 
a large drawing had been prepared of the Governor's 
house called Vergelegen ; whose grounds stretched, 
said Kolbe (vaguely, but always ready to throw 
a stone at the family)," in the direction of Natal." 
The property, declared the rebels, was more like 
a small town in the extent of its buildings than 
the house of a private person. 

Against Frans van der Stel there seemed to have 
been even a more inveterate spite. He is as full 
of evil ways as his brother, said the accusers, 
as " full of them as an egg is full of milk." It 
had pleased " this pretended squire Frans to make 
a beastly coarse and shameless request to a certain 
burgher, viz., that it would greatly please the squire 
and his brother and show great friendship to both 
if he would give a good thrashing to two ex- 
burgher Councillors (who are men of honour) so 
that they felt it." We cannot help suspecting 
Frans of a fatal sense of humour, and he was 
probably a fantastic person. His little deeds are 
made out to " Monsieur Francois van der Stel." 
He sent a flippant reply to the Directors saying 

126 



THE ACCUSATION 

that he was ready to go if they would tell him 
where to go to, but that as he did not know in what 
direction, or with what ships, or how far the 
Company's boundaries extended, and as the 
Council at the Cape could not inform him, he 
respectfully asked for further orders. It would 
almost appear that he doubted the seriousness 
of the recall, for he had a second grant of land, 
that of Paarde Vallei, made out to him in 1707, 
after this first command, and just before his final 
exile. 

The elder brother was filled with dismay which 
he did not try to conceal. His trees were begin- 
ning to grow, his agricultural schemes to succeed. 
The disgrace was hard to bear, and the loss to 
himself and his family would be heavy both in 
prestige and in actual money. Moreover, he 
loved the place. In a most touching despatch 
he prayed the Directors to allow him to remain 
longer at Vergelegen if only for a year, " as a for- 
gotten burgher who had striven to release him- 
self from the companionship of his fellow men." 

I hold no brief for Governor Willem van der 
Stel. The pages of his administration have fewer 
instances of slave cruelty than any of those follow- 
ing, but without doubt a sinister note was struck 
here and there. One has to remember that torture 
was used pretty freely by the Dutch in their 
Colonial settlements, and only a few years earlier 
was treated everywhere as a legitimate means 

127 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

of extracting information ; indeed, a Hollander 
author of 1624, referring to the tortures at Am- 
boina, states, whether rightly or wrongly I do not 
know, that the acts of the Governor there were 
merely the " administration of justice according 
to the laws of the Netherlands," and argues that 
their condemnation by England or any other 
country where torture was not generally used 
was inadmissible. Under Willem van der St el 
at the Cape one instance of torture is mentioned, 
that of a man accused of murdering a Hottentot, 
of whom is entered that " though he confessed a 
little he confessed nothing at all of what was 
required." One remembers too the audacious 
drummer who was ordered to go to the Castle 
where " means were to be found " to make him 
speak. The Governor was evidently greatl}^ tena- 
cious of forms, and apt to resent any demon- 
stration of respect shown to others than himself. 
His letters are forcible and in a way artless. Here 
is one written to Robben Island in 1704 — 

" We have read your reasons why the day before 
yesterday you fired five guns at the island when 
you saw all the flags and pennants flying from 
the passing yacht Hamer, as you believed the 
Governor to be on board. We therefore do not 
blame you, but consider what you did proper and 
well done. But as regards the mate who had 
such assurance and boldness under our very eyes, 
we will certainly make him feel our displeasure, 

128 



THE ACCUSATION 

and treat him according to his desserts, (so) that 
neither he nor any one else on board any ship 
will feel inclined to do anything of the kind again. 
You may depend on this. We wish you all 
prosperity." 

The letter is signed by Willem van der Stel 
alone, and is more private than official. Petulant 
enough and perhaps terrifying for the " mate." 
Yet, for the life of me, I cannot help believing that 
there was a good deal of bluster about the sug- 
gested punishments ; and that the man who so 
loved his far-away farm amongst the mountains 
as to be willing to live there, shorn of authority, 
and " released from the companionship of his 
fellow men," had something a little better in him 
instead of a little worse than the majority of the 
East India Company's officials. 

No man can extract sympathy from a company. 
The Directors replied uncompromisingly that it 
seemed " strange " that the Governor should 
wish to be a forgotten burgher, and that he was 
to obey their former commands and to return 
as soon as the business of confiscation could be 
got through. As to Frans, " the protest," they 
observed, " of the free man or colonist, Frans 
van der Stel, about the district and the limits of 
the Company, and that he does not know in what 
manner he is to depart, appears to us very frivo- 
lous ; we therefore do not intend to reply to it, 
only saying we persist in our despatch of October 

129 I 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

30, 1706^ that he shall leave the Cape and the 
Company's land, and as soon as possible proceed 
beyond the Company's limits." 

Starrenburgh had already left Good Hope with the 
return fleet. Minister Kalden had prayed to have 
his departure postponed, so as to sell his chattels 
and goods. Sieur Elzevier had sent in a humble 
petition, together with those of the van der St els. 
It was refused, and both were ordered to embark 
at the same time as the Governor and his 
brother. 

Nearly a year of suspense and disgrace had been 
endured by the accused men, and perhaps when 
the despatch of 1708 arrived they experienced, 
with all their bitterness of heart, some feelings 
of relief. 

One of the last functions at which the old 
Governor Simon and his son were to be present 
together was the miUtary funeral of Nicholas 
Welters, the Commander of Galle, who had died 
at sea and was now buried in the church in Cape 
Town. Starting from the house of the Captain 
Olof Bergh, the bier was preceded by the mihtary 
with arms reversed, and pikes dragging, while the 
coat-of-arms of the dead commander was carried 
by the lieutenant of the Castle, and a staff, a pair 
of gloves, and a sword sheathed in a crape- 
covered scabbard were carried by the ensign. The 
coffin was borne by sailors and six merchants, 
and six skippers of the fleet were pall-bearers. 

130 



THE ACCUSATION 

We can fancy the stately procession as it wound out 
of the Castle — a line of pygmies under the great 
bare wall of the mountain above, across the 
" Plein/' turning in at the burial ground of the 
newly finished church. In the rear came the 
Commissioner, the Governor, the two ex-Governors, 
the officers of the fleet, and all the chief Cape 
burghers. How the sick men in the hospital 
across the canal must have crowded to the windows 
and into the courtyard in front, to spy what they 
could, for the entrance to the church was not on 
the Heerengracht in front of the hospital but on 
the other side ; the side now called " Church 
Square." 

Innumerable discussions now took place in 
Council about the disposal of Vergelegen, and in 
what manner they should secure the largest 
revenue to the Company. What compensation 
should be given to the Governor for the wine then 
inc ask ,and for corn sown and not yet reaped ; 
whose was the ownership of the wine potentially 
in the grapes planted by Willem Adriaan ? Cheese- 
paring policy is unpleasantly in evidence, and it 
is clear that at all events the van der Stels were 
the best gentlemen of the lot. Perhaps with men 
whose aims and ambitions were far beyond the 
limited outlook of the burgher of Table Bay, and 
the commercial instinct of the director at home, 
misunderstandings were inevitable. The title 
deeds of the elder van der Stel were called in 

131 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

question and investigated, but only one unim- 
portant bit of grazing land seemed to have a 
doubtful title deed. 

On May 6, 1707, the new Secunde d'Ableing 
arrived. Landing after dark, he was courteously 
received by the disgraced Governor and taken to 
the Castle. A few days after he was presented 
to the people on the balcony of the Castle by 
Willem Adriaan, and installed as Administrator 
and acting Governor. 

There is just that touch of human interest 
about the van der Stel story which makes it 
impossible for any one to remain quite dis- 
passionate. Theal, the Cape historian, has given 
it against them, and says the Governor merited 
his exile. On his return to Amsterdam Willem 
Adriaan published a " defence " in which he 
refuted nearly all the charges made against him. 
He gives a drawing of Vergelegen very like indeed 
to the one depicted by the burghers in the " Accusa- 
tion," but not on the same scale of grandeur, 
and set amongst lonely mountains. To mark its 
desolate situation, Hottentots and fierce mid 
animals are seen in the immediate neighbourhood. 

The farm was, he asserted, undertaken mth a 
view to agricultural experiments which would 
have been all to the benefit of the Colony. He 
admitted that he had given harbourage to run- 
away slaves, but only, he said, because they had 
been cruelly treated. In most cases he gave a 

132 



THE ACCUSATION 

complete denial to the charges, and a certain 
amount of intimidation seems to be the only mis- 
deed proved against him. 

Interrogated as to the truth of various threats 
made by him to burghers whose cattle strayed on 
his grazing land, he quaintly replied by another 




PICTURE OF VERGELEGEN FROM THE DEFENCE. 



question. " Would any one possessing land/' 
he asked, " look with kind eyes when another's 
cattle came on it and ate up the pasture, leaving 
his own to die ? " He spoke of his pain and disgrace 
at his recall to the Fatherland, and the destruction 
of Vergelegen. Of the grievous injury to his 
reputation done him by those who spoke of him as 
" a tyrant, a scourge of the land," and other like 

133 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

things. Above all, of the injustice of saying that 
he was the cause of several suicides ; and that he 
had " by deceit and violence taken away their 
sheep from some of the people." As to the gran- 
deur of the building, he proved pretty conclusively 
that his house was not really so fine as that of 
several of the other burghers, who owned in 
addition large grants of land. That of the 
Governor, given by Wouter Valkenier in 1700, was 
400 morgen in area. Henning Huising had re- 
ceived from the van der Stels five separate grants, 
lands covering an area of nearly 600 morgen, and he 
had encouraged and advised the Governor and 
the Secunde each to take a piece of land and culti- 
vate it. Moreover, " when the Company's ser- 
vants had no land for their requirements and 
domestic purposes, all, including the Governor, 
were compelled to buy at the dearest rates their 
necessary corn, cattle, wines, and vegetables, etc., 
from the freemen, besides having to depend upon 
their grace whether or not they would be inclined 
to help the Company's servants with all these 
necessaries, which indeed would be an unbearable 
burden for a Governor and other high placed 
officers." 

Perhaps the oddest thing in all this miserable 
business was the denial, when it was too late, of 
their own charges, and the plea of ignorance 
made by the very men who were hounding van 
der Stel from the country. Adam Tas was 

134 



THE ACCUSATION 

examined at the Cape by Adriaan van Reede. 
He denied that he had ever been injured by the 
Governor. Questioned as to his reasons for 
asserting that the Governor was a " fellow lost 
to all honour, an accursed tyrant, a shameless 
slanderer, a false-hearted rogue," he replied that 
he was sorry from the bottom of his heart that 
he wrote it down, and that it was done in a fit 
of mad passion. Interrogated on all the other 
points, he could not substantiate one accusation, 
but stated that he only had them by report or 
from hearsay. Of the other men questioned 
on the same subject, several said that they were 
sorry from the bottom of their heart that they 
signed the letter of accusation against Willem 
Adriaan. They appeared quite unaware of the 
charges conveyed by it, and acknowledged that 
they had signed in ignorance of what it con- 
tained, in the hope that by doing so they would 
induce the Government to readjust the wine 
licence and meat contract. He had signed 
" through his simplemindedness," said one, and 
" because of Huising, who had always advanced 
him money." A letter in warm praise of the 
Governor, who had " done right and justice to 
all ; protected the good, punished the evil, and 
helped forward and placed on their legs all the 
people who had by their good conduct deserved 
it ; as much as possible and as far as the interests 
of the Hon. Company allowed him to do so^" 

135 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

was signed by 255 men^ many of them well- 
known burghers, such as Jacob Vogel, Claus 
Prinsloo, J. ten Damme, the Kotzees, Pieter 
de Vos, Jacob von As, Jan Roux of Provence, 
the brothers de Villiers, Pieter Jordaan of Cabris 
(Cabriere), Gideon Malherbe, Jean Gardiol, and 
other of the French settlers, besides Louws, 
van der Merwes, and many names still found 
at the Cape. 

The animosity of the ringleaders persisted 
to the last. The feeling of irritation, said the 
Council in a despatch to the Directors, "was 
incredibly bitter." Jacobus van der Heyden 
and Adam Tas at one time decided to return 
by the same fleet as the exiled Governor, in 
order to represent the cause of those whose 
wrongs were still unredressed, and the Council 
confessed they would in no way regret the de- 
parture of the delegates, who were " the most 
passionate amongst them all, who made the 
greatest commotion, and professed to have 
suffered the most." After all, the burghers 
altered their mind at the last moment and did 
not go. Tas, as I said, adopted even an apolo- 
getic attitude ; but on the day before Willem's 
departure, by his desire the papers of Adam's 
desk were again overlooked, and were found 
to be full of treasonable matter. 

The new Governor, van Assenburgh, had arrived 
a short time before, received with demonstra- 

136 



THE ACCUSATION 

tions from the burgher companies of infantry 
and the dragoons from Stellenbosch, while the 
Company's soldiers were collected outside the 
Castle enclosure, trumpets sounding, the burghers 
ranged before the gates. From the balcony of 
the Castle, assisted by the Honourable Political 
Council, " he had made," says the journaUst, 
" a very affectionate sweet speech." Were the 
people willing to receive him as their lawful 
governor and chief ? they were asked, to which 
the burghers replied, loudly and joyfully, "Yes." 
After which the Secunde had given up the keys, 
and he and all the members of Council, with 
" many signs of tender love and affection " 
(I quote from the journal), had wished van 
Assenburgh happiness, and been thanked by 
his Honour " in the sweetest, kindest, and most 
agreeable manner." The Company's men within 
the Castle and the burghers without fired three 
volleys, answered by the Castle guns, and re- 
joicings were general. 

The last morning came. The drums were 
beaten through the streets to signify that the fleet 
of fifteen ships was ready to sail home. Quietly 
enough the exiled man embarked with his friends, 
Frans, who had married one of the Wessels family, 
leaving without his wife and baby of three 
weeks old, who followed him later. Only old 
Governor Simon, with what thoughts we do not 
know, remained behind to finish his days in 

137 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the sunshine amongst the vineyards of Groot 
Constantia. 

Strict orders had been sent from Holland for 
the despoiling of Vergelegen. The wine house, 
the slave house, the mill and the cattle sheds 
were to be left standing. But the estate itself 
was to be divided into allotments for the good 
of the Company, and the dwelling house was 
to be entirely demolished. The exile was only 



THE OLD OCTAGON WALL AT VERGELEGEN. 

to keep a certain proportion of the value on the 
farm produce. 

As you study the house as it stands now, 
comparing it with the old drawings and plans, 
you are convinced that after all the old place 
was never entirely destroyed. Perhaps his 
enemy, burgher Jacobus van der Heyden, who 
bought a good deal of the property, managed 
in some way to evade the decree. The farmhouse 
(Boeren-huis) which stood at the far side of the 
walled octagonal garden has been pulled down, 

138 



THE ACCUSATION 

but the walls are practically still in place. 
The mill is standing, and many of the outer 
structures, though heaps of small old bricks 
about the property point to a certain amount of 
alteration and decay. I cannot help thinking 
that the house, which fits so comfortably into 
the design of the enclosure, must be the 
original, although the front shows only one 




VERGELEGEN. 



gable instead of the three pictured in the 
eighteenth century print. In the fine hall 
within is a glazed partition screen ('' porte de 
visite " is the old colonial name), not unlike 
that of Stellenberg house. From the space 
covered by the ground plan, the building can 
never have been very large, though the avenue, 
gardens, and outbuildings are planned with a 
kind of magnificence. A golden desolateness 

139 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

hangs over the place. Sheets of sunHght, as 
I saw itj enveloped the house, slanting through 
gnarled oaks and the small blue-green leaves 
of the towering camphor trees. Confronted with 
the old drawings, their young stiffly-set planta- 
tions and trim orange groves, you realize, with 
a throb, the change and march of time. The open 
veld of Governor Willem's picture is screened 
away by great green branches ; the place, and 
the human passions which haunt it, are dwarfed 
into insignificance by the lavishness of nature. 
Only the mountain tops which peer through 
the mass of foliage are the same as in the days 
when the garden was planned, and the oaks 
of the " Company's wood " beyond were young 
saplings ; and the river Lourens, which forms 
part of the road through which you enter the 
curtilage, would have flowed clear and brown 
then as now. 

The story of the van der Stels is ended. 
Gradually their names dropped out of the Com- 
pany's roll. Hendrik van der Stel died in Ba- 
tavia in 1722, president of the College of Heem- 
raden. The last mention of the family in the 
official papers is in 1740. The last trace I can 
find anywhere in Holland is in the year 1818, 
when Barbara Hillegonde van der Stel, wife 
of Mynardus Ruysch, died at Delft, aged 92. 
The Cape of Good Hope Almanack and Directory 
for 1837 contains an " African Gardener's and 

140 



THE ACCUSATION 

Agriculturist's Calendar, by his Excellency 
W. A. van der Stel, formerly Governor of the 
Cape of Good Hope." It has rules for all sorts 
of agricultural pursuits. Cabbages were to be 







THE FARM BELL AT VERGELEGEN. 



sown about the full moon in July, August veget- 
ables with a declining moon, and in September 
when the moon was full ; regulations are given 
for cutting rushes, sowing grain, grafting trees 
.and tending vineyards ; and directions for the 

141 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

care of sheep, fowl, ducks and geese. Whether 
these are superstitions it is not for me to say ; 
at least it proves that after more than a hundred 
years the suggestions of van der Stel the 
younger were thought worthy of reprint. 



142 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 



V 

Early Grants of Land 

WHEN were the farmhouses of the peninsula 
and fifty miles inland actually built ? 
At first the question was puzzling. One was 
instinctively sure that their history had grown 
with the colony, yet the dated gables are often 
comparatively modern. Since identifying the 
freeholds and comparing the design of the gable 
forms, I have become more and more convinced 
that it is only the plaster-work as a rule which 
has been renewed. All these interesting houses 
have old grants of land dating from the end of 
the sixteenth century. 

The earliest example of all is either at Koorn- 
hoop or at Zwaanswijk farm, granted in 1682, 
two years before the title deeds of Constantia 
were made out to Caterina, widow of Hans 
Ras, " bounded on the east by the land of the 
Commander," according to the old deed which 
was actually drawn up six years later. This 
early home, from which you can see and alnost 
hear the thundering breakers of Bay Falso, has 

145 K 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

a primitive little gable, typical of what may 
be called the parent shape, from which all the 
others are developments, and of which there 
are specimens in the seventeenth century houses 
of Holland. It is now used as a barn, but the 
woodwork is all of solid teak, and an avenue 




ZWAANSWIJK. 



of oaks consequently leads up to the barn in- 
stead of the later dwelHng house. 

The colonial builder, whoever he was, designed 
houses one-storied, wider, and suited to the 
vast surroundings of the veld rather than to the 
tall narrow streets at home. Their prototypes 
are more often to be discovered in old prints 

146 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 



of Netherlands houses now destroyed, than in 
any now existing ; but a great many similar 
outlines can be found in very old houses about 
Utrecht, through Holland and Belgium, and 
in England in the Isle of Thanet. Here 
a Flemish colony had been settled since 
very early days, their special charter being 
renewed in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, when 
a fresh influx of workers 
came over. Connexion 
with Batavia no doubt 
has given a distinct 
flavour of the Indies 
to the colonial house 
of the Cape. The old 
American dwelling of 
" New Amsterdam " 
had, says Washing- 
ton Irving, '^ gable ends 
of small black and 
yellow Dutch bricks, 

facing the street, furnished with abundance 
of large doors and small windows on every 
floor, the date of its erection curiously desig- 
nated by iron figures on the front." This is 
distinctly a town building, an adaptation from 
the street houses at home. The Cape design, 
with its stoep front and back and the central 
hall, used as a dwelling room, and sometimes par- 

147 




USUAL PLAN OF HOUSE IN THE 
PENINSULA. 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

titioned with a screen into a " voorhuis " or en- 
trance, and a dining-room behind, is, on the 
other hand, suitable to open spaces, and clearly 
Batavian in origin ; only that in the latter the 
open-air " stoep " of Table Bay is represented 
by the covered " gallery " or verandah before 
and behind, and the central hall goes by the 
name of " middengallerij ." 

The history of a new country is practically 
the history of a few individuals, and it is com- 
paratively easy to trace, through a handful of 
men, the owners of the oldest farms. The 
five ringleaders of the van der Stel cabal, the 
" mutinous and malicious people " who were 
removed to the Fatherland, were Henning Huis- 
ing. Jacobus van der Heyden, Ferdinandus Appel, 
Pieter van der Byl and Jan van Meerlant. In 
the words of the despatch of 1706 : "As before 
stated, their envy and jealousy are directed 
against the Company's servants who possess 
any land, viz. the Governor, the Second Merchant 
Samuel Elzevier, the Fiscal Johan Blesius, the 
minister Petrus Kalden, the captain, Olof Bergh, 
the cellar-master, Jacobus de Wet, and the 
chief surgeon, Willem ten Damme." Starting 
with those men and with their friends, we come 
to nearly all the best of the old freeholds, with 
the exception of those granted to the French 
settlers, and occasionally to the forgotten history 
of old names and old divisions of land. 

14S 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 

Let us first take the " Company's men " and 
Frans van der Stel. No doubt some houses 
have been lost sight of by reason of the con- 
fiscation of property held by the Company's 
officers at the time of the van der Stel exile. 

Jacobus de Wet, the cellar-master, would 
have been obliged to relinquish his farm on the 
Liesbeeck River. Possibly it was the inter- 
esting house Valkenberg : gabled, with walls 
and gates like the earliest homesteads ; named 
too, evidently, after Commissioner Valkenier, 
which he, as a Company's officer, could have 
done. More land at " Tiger Vlei, in the Cape 
district," was granted him by Governor Willem 
in 1704 ; it must, I think, have been near by. 
Willem ten Damme had a modest enough farm 
at Oliphants Kop in the Koeberg ; you may 
see it any day on the road to Malmesbury, under 
the shelter of an odd-shaped little hill. Fiscal 
Blesius, though he was accused of receiving 
bribes from the Governor's friends, seems to have 
escaped without reprimand, and there is no 
mention of his farm at Simon's Vallei passing 
away from him. The homestead, called after the 
elder van der Stel who granted it, was one of 
the most considerable of the time. " Together 
with the house of Huising," said Governor Willem, 
it " was larger and higher " than his own. The 
long white walls are spread out wdth a kind of 
grandeur on the stretch of land between Klap- 

149 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

muts and the kopje of Babylons Toren, or Tower, 
and show what a large space was enclosed, though 
they now encircle an altered and modernized 
house. Captain Olof Bergh had bought the old 
Company's station of the Kuylen across the 
flats (Kuils River). It was sold in 1701, to- 
gether with " Elsjes Kraal and a good large 
shed," and considered to be '^ about four hours 
from the Castle." Elsjes Kraal is about twelve 
miles out ; one has to imagine the bullock carts 
ploughing over the sand and the brushwood at 
three miles an hour. The Kuylen consisted 
only of "an old homestead, with two fairly good 
sheds and an earthen kraal," and certainly no 
trace of any old house is left. 

I do not know if the present Elsenberg, Sieur 
Samuel Elzevier's house, represents the building 
of the exiled Secunde; the "splendid house" 
of which the mutineers speak so much. It had 
been granted him by Simon van der Stel, and 
was doubtless fine enough from the first, since 
it caused so much jealousy. The " Accusation " 
asserts that he had included within his domain 
some of the Company's grazing land at Klap- 
muts. Later it was much altered and built 
over ; but the mill belongs to the time of Elzevier, 
and is mentioned in the Company's Journal. 
Although a later writer speaks of the walled 
river, so wonderfully picturesque as it lies below 
the old house, being made at the end of the 

150 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 

eighteenth century, I think it probably belongs 
to Elzevier's period. It brings us back to a very 
early time, when the buildings of the settlers 
were full of such canal-like reminiscences of 
Holland. Like Simon's Vallei, though in a 
less degree, walls and gates of plastered brick 
separate the homestead from the rolling country 




WALLED RIVER, ELSENBERG. 



that sweeps downward towards Stellenbosch. 
It was an artistic thought indeed which prompted 
the old founder to enclose the policy of his house 
within low walls, detaching it from the limitless 
mountain side, much as an artist rules a line 
to cut off his drawing from a waste of white paper. 
All the old houses are thus enclosed, though in 
some cases when materials were very scarce in 
the Colony, the wall was sold to a neighbour 

151 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

for repairs or reconstruction, or used to put up 
outbuildings for the homestead itself. Elsen- 
berg is haunted by legends of many periods, and 
the eighteenth century owner Melk did much 
to improve it. But the plan of the place is 
probably that of Sieur Samuel Elzevier. The 
name is not unknown in England, since the 
Government of the Cape have taken over the 
farm as an agricultural college. 

Zandvliet, the house of minister Kalden, lies 
on the edge of the sandy veld between the sea 
and Hottentots Holland. His land, Jacobus van 
der Heyden the caballer asserted, should have 
belonged by right to the church at Stellenbosch, 
and on those grounds minister Le Boucq was 
greatly concerned against him. Admiral Stavor- 
inus, who collected the gossip of sixty years later, 
says that Kalden was exceedingly unpopular ; in- 
deed, he was accused of asking, " what he would 
do at the Cape if the Governor and Secunde were 
not there." He " occupied himself," says the 
Admiral, " more with his farm than his pulpit." 
Once when preaching at the Cape, he stopped in 
his sermon on hearing several heavy carts go by 
the church. " Prithee, my friend," called he to 
the clerk, " look out and see if that is my wine 
passing." The oldest buildings of the farm were 
being pulled down the very day I had made a pil- 
grimage to draw them. 

The two freeholds of Frans van der Stel, Parel 

152 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 



Vallei, according to Valentyn within sight of the 
stoep or balcony of Vergelegen (this evidently 
while the thickly-surrounding trees were still 
young), and Paarde Vallei, set in a fold of the 
Heldeberg, are both beautiful spots. The second 
house is certainly very old as the Colony counts 
age ; the woodwork in the earlier part of the 
building is of teak, the slightly later additions 
are in colonial yellow- wood. I hear that the 




OLD TEAK DOOR AT PAARDE VALLEI. 

house has gone through a period of " improve- 
ment " since I saw it. It commands one of 
the most enchanting views of that romantic 
scenery : the glistening sand of the shore and the 
rolling breakers in full view, while oak trees stand 
about the enclosure, and a panorama of blue 
mountains surround you. Admiral Stavorinus, 
travelling thither at the end of the eighteenth 
century, was kindly received by the owner de Vos. 
" It was already dark," says the Admiral, " when 

153 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

we arrived, and five of us came in together. . . . 
We received a hearty welcome from this hospit- 
able countryman, and were soon as easy and 
familiar together as if we had known each other 
all our lives. We observed no derangement or 
extraordinary bustle in the family on account of 
so many unexpected guests. A good supper of 
nine dishes, and comfortable separate beds for 
each of us, proved that we were not the first 
people who had experienced the hospitality of 
these honest people." It was strange to find on 
one of the window-panes, amongst a collection of 
old names, that of De Vos, clearly enough cut. 
If grants made to the French settlers are ruled 
out, I think all the other fine old houses belonged 
to enemies of the Van der Stels. Adam Tas had 
owned his farm near the Papagaiberg at Stellen- 
bosch since 1683, three years before the building 
of Constantia, and it is therefore one of the 
oldest houses. He is said to have named it 
" Libert as " on his successful return from trial 
in the Fatherland, after he had brought about 
the disgrace of the men he hated. Much of the 
house was rebuilt some ninety years later and is 
dull to look at. But the hall, lighted by small 
deep-set windows, with a teak-doored fireplace 
like that of Meerlust, teak beamed roof, doors 
and flooring, is evidently the original room. Here, 
hatching the movement against the unlucky 
Governor, together with the "godly Englebertus 

154 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 

Franciscus Le Boucq," and the " chaste Mrs. 
Maria van Loon/' has sat the " virtuous Mrs. 
Tas/' called by the caballers an '* example to all 
Cape women." A German artist, who decorated 
several of the homesteads about the year 1771, 
has done some very creditable frescoes at Libertas, 
and at the wine house is a pretty old farm bell, 
inscribed " me fecit amstellodami, anno 1732." 




FRESCOED WALL AND TEAK DOORED FIREPLACE AT LIBERTAS. 



Meerlust, the freehold of Huising, was built, 
according to Valentyn, in the time of Willem 
Adriaan's administration. If so, the 541 planks, 
beams, and spars bought by Huising from the 
Company between the years 1701 and 1703, 
were probably for its raising. To the old house 
belong some anecdotes of later times. Behind 
is a door leading by steps into the old hall. It 

155 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

was probably on this stoep facing the mountains 
that many years after the time of Huising, when 
the Enghsh took possession of the Cape, General 
Janssens sat gloomily, with bitter thoughts in 
his heart of the Waldeck allies whose desertion 
had lost him the day at the battle of Blaauwberg. 
To him appeared the captain of this very regiment, 
for the purpose of making some futile apology. 
But his intentions were frustrated by the em- 
bittered General, who in a fit of passion kicked 
him from the top of the steps to the bottom. 

In the time following, when Colonists were 
required to take an oath of allegiance to the 
English, Mr. Myburgh, the owner of Meerlust, who 
was strongly anti-English, absolutely refused 
to conform. In protest against his protest, a com- 
pany of dragoons were then quartered on him. 
But the clever old farmer knew his men. His 
hospitable South African spirit would probably 
have rendered him incapable of rudeness even to 
a compulsory guest, and he gave a warm invita- 
tion to the newly-married wife of the captain of 
the dragoons (Captain Story by name) to come 
and stay at his house. But in addition, he threw 
open the contents of his cellar to the soldiers, 
and treated them so royally that they became his 
devoted slaves, working in his vineyards, and 
seeking their orders from him rather than their 
captain. At last the discipline became so lax, 
and the situation so absurd, that the men had to 

156 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 

be removed ; and we do not hear that the old 
gentleman was ever forced to take the oath which 
he so bitterly resented. 

Jacobus van der Heyden, one of the five chief 
malcontents, had a house in Table Valley not far 
from the Castle. His farm was Overvellen, in 
the Berg River, but though entered in the book 




MEERLUST, EERSTE RIVIER. 



of freeholds, I could not trace it anywhere. Per- 
haps the name has been altered. Guilliam du 
Toit's farm, " Aan het Pad," at Stellenbosch is 
now called Cloetesdal. The present well-known 
farm of Meerlust, in the Drakenstein, where a 
colony of young Englishmen fruit-farm under 
the most approved methods, was once that of the 
caballer Claas Diepenaaw, granted him in 1693 
by Simon van der Stel, and by him called " De 

157 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Enzaamheid," or the Solitary. Jan van Meerland 
had been granted by Willem Adriaan the farm of 
Meerendal in the Tygerberg, three miles north- 
east of the modern village of d' Urban. The 
district was then wine-growing, but now is corn- 
producing, and somehow, perhaps because I hap- 
pened on less attractive people than in the other 
divisions, the country seemed to lack charm. The 




VREDENBERG IN THE MODDERGAT. 



old house is quite modernized and ordinary, but 
the view from it is superb, and as you gaze at the 
roads, still sandy, and crossing drifts whose stony 
beds may upset the unwary, you marvel at both 
the energy and the leisure of these eighteenth 
century men who appear to have met so often 
and from such distances. 

Moddergat district was at one time cut off from 
Stellenbosch by the river, and though Willem 
van der Stel built a bridge, it was not afterwards 

158 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 

kept in repair. The name means " mud hole," 
owing, I suppose, to the overflow of the Eerste 
Rivier on one side and the river Laurens on the 
other. To Pieter van der Byl had been granted 




LATE GABLE OF VREDENBERG. 



Vredenberg in the Moddergat, under the Helder- 
berg or Clear mountain, the spur of the Hottentots 
Holland range. He it was who had persuaded 
men to sign the " Accusation," by simply telhng 
them it was a petition to trade freely with their 
wines. The beautiful old homestead lies under 

159 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the peak of the Helderberg, enclosed in its long 
white walls. The gable is modern, dated 1800, 
and very hke the gable added to Parel Vallei in 
the same year, serving well to show the small 
alterations in detail which give to the houses, all 
so alike, a special individual interest. The stables, 
wine house and slave quarters are old, and live in 
tradition as the scene of one of the slave murders, 
for here the owner, it is said, was killed in cold 




BURIAL PLACE, WELMOED. 



blood and the body hidden in the stables was 
discovered later by the family. 

Wessel Pretorius owned a large farm at Eerste 
Rivier. Here one of the petitioners against van 
der Stel signed after a " jolly day," but did not 
quite know what was meant by it, except that it 
was " for the good of the public." In the original 
book of freeholds the land is unnamed. Welmoed, 
it may have been, set amongst mellow old build- 
ings, with near by one of the quiet little grave- 
yards which are so strange and touching to the 

160 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 

European, but which are a matter of course in 
a lonely, far-off place. Or maybe Vergenoegd 
(close to the house of Meerlust), whose walls tell 
brightly against the blue distances of the flats 
facing Table Mountain. The little enclosed 
garden here is extraordinarily pretty in its quaint 
formal design, shut in from the buffeting of the 




VERGENOEGD. 



winds that sweep over the plain. There is a 
charming archway to the stables here ; and indeed 
each of the houses have some special variation of 
the usual scheme, which makes it delightful to 
the eye. Gateways specially form a feature in 
this simple architecture. They are built for 
the pure joy of building, and are as non- 
utilitarian as the triumphal arch of the ancients. 

i6i 1- 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

For these dwellings of the Cape^ even of the early 
days of the eighteenth century, really belong to a 
remoter past, to the days of slavery : days when it 
was no object to the worker to scamp his work 
and " get on to a new job "; or to the master to 
squeeze the maximum amount of labour out of 
the smallest outlay of time. So that with that 
curious factor in them of the sacrifice of some one, 
which seems to underlie all success however 
apparently easy, they will be, as long as they are 
suffered to remain, a perpetual pleasure to the 
artistic mind. 

Geduld, granted to Ferdinand Appel, was near 
by, but there seem to be no remaining buildings. 
Later he was to make large sums of money from 
a right to put up houses of accommodation at 
the warm springs of Hottentots Holland (Caledon), 
very simple arrangements indeed, as the travellers 
tell us. 

Jan Rotterdam, the first so-called *' \dctim " 
of the exiled Willem Adriaan, had a farm in the 
Bottelarij, the district called by Kolbe a " vast 
desert lying between the Capian and the Stellen- 
boschian Colonies," granted to him by the 
Governor. When the freehold was made out it too 
was unnamed ; so I do not know which house it is. 
If is not quite certain that he remained at the Cape. 
"The ex-Burgher, Councillor Jan Rotterdam," says 
a despatch of 1707, " has returned from Batavia 
. . . and requested permission to remain here a 

162 



EARLY GRANTS OF LAND 

year, to wind up his affairs, and in consequence 
of his pretended illness. This we have granted, 
though we think that he will now remain longer 
here amongst his comrades, who have been justified 
by the Hon. Directors in everything, and have no 
wish to proceed to the fatherland." Many men of 
the name of the old rebel were in the employ of 
the East India Company ; one traces them by 
graves ; and graves of the Rotterdams are at 
Palicat, and along the Coromandel coast. At 
the Cape he seems to be the only representa- 
tive of his family. 

Other old farms there were about here, but 
not many ; a homestead near the Bottelary is 
Saxendal, just built at the beginning of the eight- 
eenth century by Michael Sax, a German. The 
majority of the grants were made by, and 
connected with, the van der Stel family ; and 
the ancient story of the country seems to be 
woven into their history. Passing along the 
sandy tracks would once have come the " Rev. 
godly and highly-learned Franciscus Engelbertus 
Le Boucq " with his two slaves and his iron- 
shod staff, as he canvassed the country against 
the Governor and his family. A distant cannon 
shot may be heard across the veld. It is Simon 
van der Stel's signal of danger off the coast, 
warning the colonist of a possible call to arms. 
Or perhaps you might come on Sheik Joseph, a 
Hadji of great repute, exiled to the Cape for com- 

163 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

billing with the EngHsh against the Dutch 
Company at Java. He hved under surveillance 
at the Company's station of Eerste Rivier, and 
was buried amongst the sandhills of the coast of 
Bay Falso, beyond the farm of Zandvhet. To his 
tomb the Malays of the Cape still make pilgrimages, 
cart after cart full of women, bright as tropical 
flowers in their clothes of green and pink and 
purple, clean and starched, and men with keen 
intelligent faces, those with silken coats and 
turbans having made the pilgrimage to Mecca. 
But whether the bones of the Sheik are there still 
in reality who shall say ? for when in the year 1704 
Joseph's widow and children were allowed at 
the oft-repeated request of the King of Macassar 
to leave the Cape, the Company's Council, under 
Willem van der Stel, wrote cautiously, " Should 
they be willing to take under their care and 
carry with them the bones of that same priest, we 
shall allow it to pass by, shutting our eyes and 
doing as if we did not see it." 



164 



STELLENBOSCH 



VI 

Stellenbosch 

HARDLY, a writer on South Africa, has 
failed to note the beautiful situation of 
Stellenbosch, and the artistic feeling which 
prompted old van der Stel in his choice. He 
was on his first tour of inspection and exploration. 
The " Kuilen " or pools (called in old Dutch 
the Cuylen), whose name is now corrupted into 
Kuils River, was the first outpost of the Company 
across the " Flats." Simon rested here for the 
night, and then turned inland, and after some 
wandering chose a place for bivouacking on what 
he called an island, probably between two branches 
of the Eerste River, which still waters the district. 
The spot had been named " Wilde Bosch " or 
" Wild Wood " by some pioneer. Trees grew 
there ; above the valley lay a long range of 
serrated mountains, at their feet ran the clear, 
brown river stained by the roots of the aroma- 
tic undergrowths. Once outside the farms and 
their vineyards I do not think there can be much 
difference between the scenery of the place now 

167 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

and in the seventeenth century. The mountains, 
blue and opalescent, or pink with sunset, are the 
same. The ordinary growths of the old veld 
are there ; the protea or sugar bush, that curious 
plant which belongs, I believe, to the coal period 
and is found in fossil growths, beloved by birds 
who strew its great pink blossoms on the ground, 
searching for the sweet within ; the bamboo-like 
plants of the watercourse, which bend and rustle 
as the scarlet fink flits in and out of his nest 
overhanging the water. Perhaps there were 
more puff adders and yellow cobras (it is ex- 
traordinary how little you think of them nowa- 
days, and all I ever saw were dead in the dust 
of the high road), and the wild animals abounded. 
Simon van der Stel would have seen buck and 
zebras and elephants, while the baboons would 
have been more numerous and courageous, and 
the leopard more often come down the scored 
side of the mountain to look for his prey. 

Here the Commander made up his mind to 
found a township and to call it by his name. It 
should be " worthy of the fatherland," he wrote 
to the Directors, asking their sanction for his new 
proposal ; rather a cheap bit of sentiment, for 
he cared so little about the fatherland that he 
never returned to it ; but no doubt a wise con- 
cession to their jealous spirit. For his suggestion 
was a bold one and quite outside the scheme of 
the Company. 

1 68 



STELLENBOSCH 

Lack of energy was no fault of the Commander, 
and the scheme was put into action at once — 
perhaps without permission. Land was given 
free to such of the Company's servants as would 
brave the dangers of wild beasts and the attacks 
of Hottentots, and three years later a Municipal 
Council (in old Dutch a Heemad or farm 
Council) was formed. In the next year, 1682, 




A GATE IN STELLENBOSCH. 



a school was built. Theal gives several anec- 
dotes of the early life at Stellenbosch, and tells 
us that the Company supplied the masons and 
nails for building the school, and the farmers 
gave the materials. The instruction consisted 
in learning to read the Bible, to count, to say 
the Heidelberg catechism, and to sing psalms 
to the tunes commonly used. At Christmas 
the Company gave prizes, and the Commander 

169 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

bestowed a cake on each child. The better the 
child the larger was the cake. As in all the early 
colonies, the question of religious instruction 
was much fought over, and religious legislation 
was curiously detached from all rules of conduct, 
and was anything but an element of peace. At 
first there was no church at Stellenbosch, but 
the minister from the Cape officiated there from 
time to time and a " sick visitor " was appointed 
to read the service on Sundays. The parsonage, 
said to be the pretty house called " La Gratitude," 
was finished in 1704, and Minister Bek was the 
first to live in it. 

When Ryklof van Goens, Governor-General of 
the Indies, stayed at the Cape on his way from 
Batavia, he went to Stellenbosch, and advised 
the settlers to plant flax, hemp, and indigo ; 
but none of those were suitable for the climate. 
Tobacco growing he forbade, as the Company 
made a profit over its sale. We next hear of its 
inspection by van Rheede tot Drakenstein, who 
authorized it to have a Landdrost (old Dutch 
for Magistrate) ; with two Europeans, a horse, 
and a slave, to assist him. The Landdrost was 
given a good many powers, and might impose 
taxes on the inhabitants and compel the burghers 
to supply wagons, cattle, slaves, or their own 
personal labour for public purposes. A mill 
was also to be built to grind corn. Then it was 
that the Commander named after van Rheede 

170 



STELLENBOSCH 

the beautiful stretch of country beyond Stellen- 
bosch, and the traveller Kolbe insinuates that 
by doing so he wormed himself into his favour. 




A VINE TRELLISED STOEP, STELLENBOSCH. 



So developed the little town which was to 
figure so largely in the history of the van der 
Stels. Many fires have devastated the place and 
it is difficult to know when the finer houses 
were begun. But Kolbe, the traveller, at quite 

171 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

an early date speaks of the houses built for 
outward show, and certainly the ironwork 
which is so admirable in this and Drakenstein 
district — shutter hinges, clasps, and handles — 
was made by the Company's smith at Stellen- 
bosch to save the trouble and expense of bringing 
it from the Cape. The " town " was for many 
years hardly more than the nucleus of a 
district. A few of the French settlers, as we 




SHUTTER HINGES, STELLENBOSCH AND DRAKENSTEIN. 



know stopped there, but for the most part the 
French settlers were moved on to the newer and 
poorer districts in the Drakenstein and beyond 
Simonsberg. The power of the Landdrost extended 
into Drakenstein. Thus we find a letter from 
the Council in 1704, saying that the freeman 
Daniel Hugod had complained of a Hottentot 
kraal near his vineyard, and damage caused to 

172 



STELLENBOSCH 

to it by cattle ; and of a dispute caused by 
Hercules du Free " assisted by Pieter Becker 
and Frangois du Free." Landdrost Ditmar 
was to inquire into this ; and in consequence 
of blows given to Hugod by Fieter Becker, the 




^s 



"LA gratitude"; built 1704. 



latter was to be told to leave for Mauritius by 
the next ship. 

It is difficult to realize that in the days when 
Landdrost Starrenberg listened in consternation 

173 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

to the unruly drum of the rebels against Willem 
van der Stel, the heavily shaded streets were 
merely planted with oak saplings. Walking 
under the dense leafy shade of trees whose 
protection made so much for the unpopularity 
of the old Governor, you understand how Em- 
merson, who lived in a country with a short 
past, would rank amongst his " men of heroic 
mind " the man who plants trees for posterity. 
The place has figured so largely in the history of 
the van der St els, that there seems little else to 
tell ; indeed, save for the many fires, its annals 
have been quiet enough. In 1710 all the Com- 
pany's property and twelve houses were burnt ; 
ten years later another fire destroyed the 
Drosdty where an East Indian exile, the Matheran 
Prince Loring Passir, was being detained by the 
Company. After this we again hear in the journal 
that the people were rebuilding and improving 
the houses. The little arsenal or watch tower 
marked with the V.O.C. of the Company is 
said to be a considerable age. It bears the 
late date 1777, but this may have been put on 
when the more modern market house was built 
round the earlier structure. It is the date 
of Governor Tulbagh, when we hear Stellen- 
bosch was improved and that Heemraad Martin 
Melk (the same who built the Lutheran Church 
in Cape Town) altered the course of the 
river, which had flooded the village. Within 

174 



STELLENBOSCH 

the arsenal, amongst bricks and rubbish were 
kept a few years ago twenty-one small cannon, 
abandoned in the Stellenbosch mountains by 
General Janssens. These cannon, said the 
guardian who showed me the arsenal, had been 
taken from the twenty-one different nations 




ARSENAL, STELLENBOSCH. 



who occupied the Cape prior to the Dutch. He 
mentioned Denmark and Portugal, but left the 
others as a matter for individual research. The 
old church was not far from the present one, 
and had a large circular burial ground that was 
cut up for building purposes in 1782. About 
this time the burnt Drosdty was rebuilt. Alas! 
the house has been remodelled in the nineteenth 

175 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

century and as the modern Theological College 
presents an unattractive fagade to the old-world 
street. 

At Stellenbosch, the pet child of the Corn- 
man der/there was a specially organized fair, when 
the militia was drilled. The target practice 
which demonstrated the burgher skill, played 
an important part in the disturbances of later 
years. The marksmen shot at a target which 
was shaped like a parrot (Papegaai), and the hill 
just to the west of Stellenbosch is still called 
Papegaai Berg. A good description of the old 
custom is given by Theal. The great prize was 
for the entire smashing of the Papegaai. It 
was £5 from the Honourable Company and 
whatever subscription-money there was on hand. 
This fair was a yearly function, wagons of 
visitors went up to it from the Cape, joined, when 
ships were in the Bay, by as many sailors as 
could get leave. Uproarious parties they must 
have been, shouting as they jolted across country 
in their heavy carts, and brawling in the quiet 
village street. 

From the farms about here has come much 
fine old furniture, spoiled too often by the de- 
predations of the pedlar, who once on a time 
persuaded the owners to sell him the silver 
handles and mountings, keyhole escutcheons, 
and hinges. The settlers were rich enough, and 
we hear in the papers of a robbery in 1707 where 

176 



STELLENBOSCH 

more than a hundred Ryks dollars, a silver purse 
with eight diamonds, a silver mounted belt, 




VERY OLD HOUSE IN STELLENBOSCH. 



an under waistcoat with twenty- four silver buttons, 
sixteen buttons with silver plates, and other 
minor things, were stolen from an inconsiderable 

177 M 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

house. Blue and white Oriental china has been 
found in the gabled houses around, here, too, 
the handsome brass charcoal burners for warming 
coffee, and the comically massive " cuspidores " 
or spittoons of brass. Nooitgedacht, not far 
off, has a good rather late curved gable and a 
fine hall. It is said to have once been a manu- 
factory or workshop of the beautiful Cape 
furniture. Many locally historic houses are 
about. Idas Vallei, the old home of the Cloete 
family. Coetzenberg, the farm of Dirk Coetzee, 
v/ho joined the mutiny against Willem van der 
Stel. Mulders Vallei, belonging in 1087 to 
Landdrost Mulder (he seems first to have been 
granted ** Welvernoegd " in the Paardenberg). 
Aan het Pa, given in 1687 by the elder van der Stel 
to the rebel Guilliam du Toit . It is recorded that on 
passing the door of the Company's Secretary at 
Stellenbosch he called out, " If you wish to have 
some fatherland line with which to make halters 
for hanging yourself, I have one ready at my 
house." Further off to the south-east lies 
Jonkers Hoek, known in England from the 
Government trout farm in the valley. Here, in 
17 15, was a great flood, when a waterspout burst 
in the mountain behind Jan de Jonkers farm, 
and the swirling water tore out the banks of 
the river, and thousands of tons of soil from 
the vineyards, filling the holes with drift sand. 
The houses of the village were damaged, says 



STELLENBOSCH 

the Company's journal; but there is no village 
now, only scattered houses, fine, and finely 
set amongst the overhanging sides of the mountain, 
and up the long narrow valley. 

Captain Hendrik Hop, descendant no doubt 
of the old Amsterdam merchant family, making 
a journey inland by order of Governor Ryk 
Tulbagh in 1778, tells us that in the fire of 1710 
which had been caused by the slave of Landdrost 
de Meurs, who was bringing his master a light 
for his pipe, all the houses of Stellenbosch save 
two or three had been burnt. One could resent 
the importance of the pipe, almost absurdly char- 
acteristic, were it not that the fifty houses which 
now constituted the village were subsequently 
rebuilt '' better than before." The oaks had 
by this time grown huge, and the streets with 
their rivulets must have been much as now. 
John Barrow, about ten years later, gives a more 
detailed and charming account of the place 
with its vineyards and gardens, and says that 
there were about seventy inhabitants and that 
the trees were " not inferior in size to the larger 
elm.s in Hyde Park." Yet several of the largest 
had been sacrificed a few years before to raise a 
small sum for parish expenses, the finest being 
sold for 20 Ryks dollars, or £4. " For such 
a barbarous act " he remarks, " the villagers in 
some countries would have been apt to hang 
both the Landdrost and Heemraaden upon the 

179 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

branches." Also he says, " the most excellent 
house of the Landdrost is guarded by two vener- 
able oaks." Admiral Stavorinus speaks of the 
handsome iron gate to the circular churchyard. 
I have often wondered where the old gates have 
gone which almost certainly belonged to the 
many beautiful gateways. I do not think 



A SHADY STREET, STELLEXBOSCH. 



one now exists, either at Stellenbosch or anywhere 
else. 

If you arrive at Stellenbosch at two or three 
o'clock of a summer afternoon, an extraordinary 
stillness reigns. The whole town is asleep ; shutters 
are closed, hardly a dog barks, the rustle of the 
heavy leaved branches and the tinkle of stream- 
lets are the only audible sounds. It is said that a 
Stellenbosch burgher consulted his doctor for 

i8o 



STELLENBOSCH 

insomnia, and on being asked at what hour of 
the night he most suffered, exclaimed : ** It is not 
at night that I suffer ; I sleep well at night. But 
nowadays I cannot get to sleep in the afternoon." 
I do not know if the story is true. As afternoon 
wears on, the sleepers awake. Day cools to the 
fresh South African evening, coffee and pipes 
appear on the stoep, and through flickering tree 
shadows the sunshine of the afternoon slants 
low. Alas for the time when the old-world 
life shall have disappeared with the gable and 
the stoep of the old-world builder ! for they 
are disappearing. Never again will you find 
a better expression of the past, a quaint every- 
day past, forgotten of history and laid aside 
by the trend of modern thought, as in these little 
townships built by a northern race, developed 
under a southern sun, apart from fashion and 
jostle, without the great ambitions which for the 
most part make for misery. So that for a brief 
time the new-comer feels as one " carried awaie 
by the fairies into some pleasant place." 



i»i 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 



VII 
Drakenstein and Frenchhoek 

DRAKENSTEIN;' wrote Governor Willem 
van der Stel, "is a bad and watery 
country where people live too near each other and 
cannot get on." The sentence reads quaintly 
enough to-day, when so many a translucent 
plum and smooth nectarine, which make Covent 
Garden Market in \\dnter a thing of beauty, ripen 
their sunburnt faces in the district. As you drop 
over the long hill from Stellenbosch you leave 
behind you many charming houses with twisted 
chimneys and curved gables, with bell towers for 
their old " hanging bells " : houses with high stoeps, 
shaded by oak trees, where finks weave their 
hanging nests and chatter in the branches. 
Schoongezigt, with its peach trees and violet 
beds, the farm of Mr. J. X. Merriman, is one of 
the most attractive of those quiet homes, basking 
in the golden sunshine, set in a panorama of 
mountain peaks, faintly outlined one behind the 
other. You are now entering what Kolbe in the 
eighteenth century called the district of " Bange 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Hoek " or Fearful Corner. "It is frequently 
infested/' he says, " with lions and tigers, and 
leads you on the edge of precipices and pits of 
water." True it is that the Rev. Bek, the minister 
from Stellenbosch, complained very bitterly of 




SCHOONGEZIGT. 



having to go over this same track to officiate to 
the French congregation of Drakenstein. It was 
three hours off, he said, and hard work in the cold 
and wet, and when the roads were so slippery and 
full of mud holes. 

But you must dream yourself back for a mom.ent 
into the days of the first settlers in Groot Draken- 

i86 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 

stein ; the days of the elder and the younger van 
der Stel. The valley has been named after van 
Rheede tot Drakenstein ; Simonsberg, the moun- 
tain which dominates it, after Governor Simon. 
The little town of Stellenbosch is founded ; indeed 
the minister's house is probably built, and the 
streets are marked out by rows of young oaks, 
bearing here and there those awe-inspiring notices 
of the flogging meted to any one who injured 
them. The 176 Huguenot emigrants have arrived, 
and helped by wagons from the burghers of the 
neighbourhood, have been settled in a long line 
down the Drakenstein Valley. The origina.1 books 
of these old freeholds may still be looked through 
in the Surveyor-General's ofhce at Cape Town. 

But though the settlers are kindly enough 
treated, and the rich merchant city of Batavia has 
sent them over a thousand dollars as a gift, they 
are not content, for the Company has stipulated 
that they should not live near each other. There- 
fore in many cases they have relinquished the 
lands portioned to them, and taken service with 
each other. We will follow the valley, and the 
farms lie on each side of us. 

To the right of the high road is Bethliem farm, 
granted to the French minister Simond; but 
everything points to his having lived elsewhere. 
Then comes " Good Hope " In the tall peak 
behind was once a silver and copper mine, men- 
tioned indeed by Kolbe, but never of any im- 

187 



OLD CAPE COLONY 



portance. A little fur- 
ther down the pass 
(you are now about 
ten miles from Stellen- 
bosch and thirty-eight 
from Cape Town) you 
come to " Rhone and 
Languedoc " ; in the 
heart now of the fruit 
valley. This freehold 
was granted in 1691 
to Pierre Benozzi ; 
probably the Pierre 
Benezet or Benozzi 
who, together with 
Pierre Sabatier (the 
latter a notable Hugue- 
not name) received 
170 guilders from the 
Batavian gift of 1690. 
" ~ The beautiful little 

house is, like nearly all the country houses, 
planned with a long central hall running 
from front to back, with wings on each side. 
These leave an open space in the centre. The 
space forms a little court, where you may sit at 
peace though the wind booms like great guns in 
the mountains. Like many of the finer houses, 
Rhone has a central screen of teak, which can 
be pushed back at will, and the whole length of 




GOOD HOPE. 




i89 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the house made available. In Lutheran days the 
halls were used for dancing and general festivities. 
A mile further on, according to the regulation 
of the Company, is Bosch en Dal (wood and valle}^). 
Here the screen is inlaid with ebony in fan patterns, 
v/hich give it something of a Chippendale air. 
The great stoep runs all round the house, with 




USUAL PLAN OF HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY. 

circular steps leading to the garden and vineyard 
below, and the wine house and old slave quarters 
form, as usual, a second courtyard behind. Once, 
before the days of the orange disease (the dol- 
thesia, a fluffy white scale to look at), the garden 
here was full of orange trees. Vines replaced the 
oranges. Then came the vine disease, the 
phylloxera, and destroyed the vines. It is the 
brief history of many a farm in this district. But 

190 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 

the phylloxera has been successfully combated ; 
and a useful ladybird, imported from California 
with some trepidation, as it was feared it might 
play the part of the rabbit in Australia, has, I 




BOSCH EN DAL. 



understand, finally destroyed the orange blight. 
Bosch en Dal freehold was granted by van der 
Stel in 1690 to the de la Nois, or de Lanoy, 
family, who had been refugees in Holland since 

191 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

1648. The gable is late, and dated 1812. These 
three houses are amongst those bought, with their 
land, by Mr. C. J. Rhodes as fruit farms. 




BOSCH EN DAL STOEP. 



Within sight is Lekkerwyn, Mr. Pickstone's 
farm, a little house finely modernized, full of 
Colonial-made furniture and blue and white 

192 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 

Oriental china. Long ago it belonged to Ary 
Lekkerwyn, whose pleasant name of " good wine " 
has stuck to the place. His grant was in 1690, and 
we know no more of him than that he married 
one of the de Lanoys of Boschendal near by, 
and that the Frenchman, Jacques de Savoye, 




DOOR FURNITURE AT DRAKENSTEIN AND THE CAPE. 

mentions in a letter that Ary had been " struck 
on the head with a stick in Drakenstein." 

Without appearing to exaggerate, it is not easy 
to describe the extraordinary impression of beauty 
these old farms make upon the newcomer. At 
the first introduction no one could have been 
less inclined to appreciate them than myself. 

193 N 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Dusty, hot, tired, bicycling on a loose sandy road, 
with a gusty wind sweeping over the veld ; 
ignorant of the history of the place, one after the 
other white gables and long low walls came into 
sight, and personal discomfort was forgotten. 
Even then half the magic of the place was un- 
revealed ; the cool Berg river beyond the slope 
of the orchards and vineyards : bathe there in 
the very early morning, if you have the chance, 
and eat apricots afterwards. The radiant starlit 
nights, when you watch perhaps the flame of 
fields of immortelles, lit by some chance spark, 
burning themselves out in lonely splendour against 
the sky-line of the mountains. And the wonderful 
detail of the houses, the lowered screens, the teak 
wall cupboards and ebony inlaid woodwork, the 
panelled doors with their ornamental escutcheons 
and crutch handles. 

Leaving on your right Meerlust with its old 
gables, a few miles further you come to the little 
village of Simondium. Undoubtedly it was 
called after the first French minister, Pierre 
Simond, and I believe that here he lived under the 
protection of Jacques de Savoye, the richest and 
most influential of the French refugees. About 
this gentleman, who had a curious reputation for 
truculence and self-assertion, the Company's 
officers held some correspondence, in which they 
discussed the possibility of reasons other than 
religious which had caused him to become a 

(94 



DRAKENSTEIN AND ERENCHHOEK i 

Colonist. Simon van der Stel complained that 
these, the two most important members of the 
community, the minister Simond and the Heem- 
raad Jacques de Savoye, were continually wrang- 
ling, causing troubles amongst the husbandmen, 
and interrupting their work. The ornamental 
gables of ** Vrede en Lust next to Lust en Vrede," 
as it stands in the old book of freeholds, show 
amongst the trees at Simondium, a house with a 
large ground plan, and with the only example I 
saw of a slave house with barred windows. Under 
the high stoep is a sort of cellar which was used, 
says tradition, for punishing the slaves. The 
farm was granted by Simon van der Stel to de 
Savoye, and perhaps the beautiful little house of 
" Bien Donne," not far off, may have been built 
by him for the minister. The name, the design 
of the house, and the woodwork are all very old, 
though I could not find it mentioned in the book 
of freeholds. The shell ornament of the gables is 
the same as in de Savoye's homestead, but the 
plaster work on the front is comparatively modern. 
No sooner had the Frenchmen built shelters 
for themselves than they had applied for a school, 
for which permission was granted ; Paul Roux 
of Orange being appointed master. Then they 
asked for a church, but Simon van der Stel, 
harassed by his obligations to the Company and 
the probability of a war with France, refused 
point blank ; and with some, temper told them 

195 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

to " remain a branch of the Stellenbosch congre- 
gation," Permission for a church was conceded 
later, on condition that the Colonists were sepa- 
rated. But likely enough they never waited for 




BIEN DONNfi, FRONT GABLE. 

leave, as the injunction to live apart was dis- 
regarded. A church of some sort, probably the 
" sorry barn " mentioned by Kolbe, was certainly 
built at Simondium ; people still remember its 
remains : piles of small red bricks near what is 

196 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 

now the high road. Simond, the minister, eventu- 
ally returned to France. Marguerite de Savoye, 
daughter of the turbulent old Jacques, who by his 
demands and his discontent w^as a continual thorn 
in the flesh of Governor van der Stel, married a 




BIEN DONNE. 



man entitled variously by the schoolmaster as 
Christoffe Cnayman, Senayment, Seniemen, Seni- 
man, and finally Snijman. It is a pleasure to find 
that Paul Roux of Orange mastered the name 
at last. 

The second van der Stel certainly made great 
efforts to support the French, which must have 
contributed to his disfavour with the burghers. In 

197 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

1 701 Simond returned home and a new minister 
was sent out by the Company. In 1703 we find 
Willem Adriaan writing to beg for the congrega- 
tion of Drakenstein, who consisted of " more than 
a hundred adult and married persons, with a large 
number of children/' might have the services of 
the new minister, the Rev. Bek. ** Since the 
departure of their minister, Pierre Simond, they 
are, so to speak, entirely deprived of their reli- 
gious services, and the more so that the Rev. 
Hendrik Bek, who has taken the place of the Rev. 
Simond and is well versed in French and Dutch, 
has been ordered by you in your despatch of the 
2oth September, 1701, to preach only in the Dutch 
language, though the aged among them who do 
not know our language should be visited by him, 
advised and comforted. And as the congregation 
most humbly prays, and the Rev. Bek considers 
himself able to preach the Word of God in their 
own language once a fortnight, we have not been 
able to refrain from writing in their favour, at 
their pressing request, and beg of you according 
to your usual kindness that you may be pleased 
to make some alteration in that order and to 
lighten it." 

I do not find in any of the old dispatches a 
suggestion that Frenchhoek was treated as a 
different colony, and I believe it was included in 
the Drakenstein. Eighteenth century authority 
had decided that it was safer for farmers in lonely 

198 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 

places to reside within sight and earshot of each 
other, for terrible tragedies had occurred in the 
lonely districts of the earlier settlements, Stellen- 
bosch and Tygerberg. All along the road from 
Groot Drakenstein Valley to the rocky ridges 
which close in the mountain circle of the 
Frenchhoek basin, gabled farms are set amongst 
the trees. Here at least there was no pretence of 
mingling the two nationalities. The names all 
attest their origin. La Cotte, Cabriere, La Pro- 
vence, Champagne, La terre de Lucque, Burgundy, 
Dauphine, are found one after the other, though 
in the modern pronunciation they are not always 
recognizable. Before the advent of the French 
the valley had been called Oliphant's Hoek, or 
Elephant's Corner. Undergrowth and thick 
scrub abounded, and the great animals came there 
in the breeding season, leaving soon after. One 
of the Frenchhoek people (he is an old man), tells 
how his grandfather watched the departure of 
the last elephant with her calf. Eastwards over 
the mountain side they went, and none were ever 
seen again. On the slippery side of the ridge 
which circles the valley is a curious path, half 
rock, half great stones, laid in a kind of rude 
order. Tradition there says that it was made by 
the elephants, and indeed, a despatch of Governor 
Simon van der Stel in the seventeenth century 
mentions the same thing. A great hole is still 
shown, which was a favourite lair. 

199 



OLD CAPE COLONY 



The place is only forty-five miles or so from 
Cape Town. A railway will soon be made, and 
greatly may it increase the prosperity. Yet one 
has regrets ; the eternal regret for the thing that 

is passing. Only a very 
short time ago in entering 
Frenchhoek you entered 
an earlier century with 
its quaintness and its 
charm. No doubt things 
had changed even then. 
The cattle no longer 
went to Saldanah Bay 
for winter pasturage, 
looking forward restlessly 
to their journey, and on 
the road lying at night 
like docile children round 
the camp fire. Soon, 
perhaps, the farmer will 
no longer press his own 
wine, be his vineyard 
only the size of a dining 
table, and the jolting 
carts will rattle no more 
from the grape rows to the little wine houses. 

The present houses are charming, but the 
shelters of the first settlers were hastily built and 
poor. They cut their way through the bushes, 
and chose indeed one superb site after another ; 

200 




POMEGRANATES AT FRENCHHOEK. 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 



it would have been difficult to do otherwise, but 

there was little time and money to spend on the 

adornment of the sheltering walls. Hence you 

will find near most of these graceful little houses 

the remains of an earlier ruder erection. Three 

of the finest houses are on sites granted to the 

three brothers de Villiers. Abraham de Villiers 

owned the farm of Laborie 

(commonly called L'Abri), 

surrounded by great oaks, 

with teak ceilings and floors 

to the dwelling rooms, teak 

china cupboards let into the 

walls. Alas ! the thatch 

is gone, as it will soon 

go everywhere, on account 

of the heavy insurance 

asked for it ; and with 

the thatch down in most 

cases, for want of a little 

care and a little knowledge of how to do things, 

comes the old gable. 

Nearer the mountain side are Burgundy and 
Dauphine, the farms of Pierre and Jacob de 
ViUiers. The men were married respectively to 
Margarithe Gardiol, whose father owned La Cotte, 
and Elizabeth Taillefer, whose farm of Picardie is 
mentioned by eighteenth century travellers as 
very luxuriant and well cared for. Behind the 
two houses are the ruins of the first building, 

201 




TEAK CHINA CUPBOARD 
IN A DRAKENSTEIN FARM. 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Dauphine^ fine and ornamental, is dated 1800. 
It is surrounded by huge trees, and has a tall 




DAUPHINE. 



cypress which must date from the earliest times. 
Burgundy, a quaint little barn-like house with 



202 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 

rude elaborate plaster-work patterns, is charming 
too, with its green shutters and mountain back- 
ground. Large leaved oaks, which only in early 
springtime when the greenery is young and 
small, look like their cousins of Europe, grow 
almost up the steep sides of the mountain behind. 
In this the Frenchman most faithfully carried out 
orders from headquarters, so that his farm has 
become in many cases a wonder of beauty. The 
trees have shot up so rapidly that this wood is of 
very little use as timber. Their green heads tell 
grandly against the desolate rocks ; where the 
" tyger " or leopard of the district still lingers, 
and m.ay surprise the farmer by a midnight atten- 
tion to his sheep, or where the dog-face of a baboon 
may peer at you curiously from above a kranz. 
Passing another fine old tree-shaded homestead, 
you find very near these wild cliffs the curious 
little house of Bochenhouts Kloof, a farm granted 
by Simon van der Stel to Jan Roux. It is the 
house of a pioneer, with its tiny heavy shuttered 
windows, easy to barricade and defend, and high 
platform or stoep ; and the extraordinary gro\\d:h 
of the trees, planted when the house was built, 
make it a characteristic " van der Stel farm." 
There are but few more old houses ; for the place 
was merely a cluster of homesteads. Perhaps the 
most interesting of these is La Cotte, granted in 
1694 to Jean Gardiol by the elder van der Stel. 
Gardiol is said to have planted the ancient oak 

203 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

which grows by the house from an acorn brought 
over in his pocket from the sunny land of France. 




BOCHENHOUTS KLOOF. 



A few years ago descendants of Daniel Hugod 
lived there ; he, you will find, was granted Zion 
farm in the Drakenstein by Governor Simon. 

204 



DRAKENSTEIN AND FRENCHHOEK 

Another farm, where the visitor to Frenchhoek 
most often stays, is called " Keer Weder," or " Turn 
Back/' after the name given in discouragement 
by the weary pioneers to the mountain which 
barred their progress. 

Nearly all the old furniture has passed away 
from Frenchhoek, the silver-handled wardrobes 
the cane-seated chairs. An interesting old chair, 







VIEW ACROSS FRENCHHOEK FROM LA COTTE. 



evidently one of those carved by Indian or Malay 
exiles at Robben Island, belongs to one family. 
This, with a little fine old china and a great German 
Bible, were the only relics I could find. By 
reason of their history it is unlikely that the 
French fugitives ever owned so much furniture as 
the Dutch Colonist, and the miniatures and snuff- 
boxes of which I heard have been sold or dispersed, 
and I think were not very numerous. More 
strange is the total lack of tradition, for those old 

205 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

refugees should have had stirring tales to tell, and 
from two or three hundred years is not an unpre- 
cedented record. But poverty is a great oblit- 
erator, and the Company's rule was severe. 
Already is 1782 the French traveller Le Valliant 
could find no trace of nationality save in the hair 
and complexions of the settlers, which was slightly 
darker than their Dutch neighbours, and in their 
bread, which they made " after the French 
manner." 



206 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND 
BEYOND 



I 



VIII 
Paarl, Tulbagh, Ceres and Beyond 

T was long before Paarl owned many in- 
teresting houses. The " pearl and diamond 
mountain " was indeed discovered and named 
by the earliest explorers, but the men who 
built their homes round it were drafts of 
the less successful farmers from Stellenbosch 
and Drakenstein. They had begun, remarked 
Kolbe, with " encumbrances and were obliged to 
contract many debts which were undischarged, 
and these encumbrances ... in all probability, 
hinder 'em from erecting houses for Pleasure and 
Parade, as the Capians and Stellenboschians have 
done in great numbers. Some of the refugees and 
their descendants who have had better success than 
ordinary have erected such houses, but the gener- 
ality of 'em are still content to dwell in cots." 

The Paarl church was begun in 1717, partly out 
of funds bequeathed by Henning Huising, who 
soon after the van der Stel exile became one of the 
most important men in the Colony, and com- 

209 o 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

pounded with his conscience by giving to various 
charitable funds. Kolbe's account of the place is 
very vague, and his description of the " sorry 
building which you could take for an ordinary 
barn " would point to the Simondium church, 
as he speaks of the fine estates lying each 
side of the road near it, and " leading to the Berg 
River and from thence to the wagon makers 
valley," on which, near the church, was a sort of 
market for the poor people from a distance, who 




A QUAINT GABLE IN PAARL. 

could there provide themselves with groceries and 
domestic wares when they came in for service. 
The mill and the church were the two centres of 
the district in his day ; and Paarl still owns the 
largest water-mill for many a mile around. 

Sparrman, visiting Paarl in 1792, arrived in the 
afternoon at the miller's house. He was taking 
a nap, and on waking, set before the naturalist an 
old crazy chair, and without asking who he was, 

210 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

said directly, " Wat zal ye bruiken." Sparrman 
said that he was hungry and thirsty too. " What ! 
have you eaten nothing to-day ? " cried the miller. 
" Girl, bring some meat, and bread, and a bottle of 
wine," and he relapsed into silence while Sparrman 
ate, ** poring over an astrological almanack " of the 
seventeenth century. A little further on lived a 
sexton, '' a set of people " says the naturalist, 
*' more respected with the Calvinists than with 
us." He was of ** black extraction on the mother's 
side." Sparrman went in and drank with him " a 
dish of miserable tea without sugar." The church 
did not impress him favourably. " By this edifice,' ' 
says he, " I could perceive that the boors bestowed 
no more pains on God's house than their own," 
which is ungrateful of him, as elsewhere he men- 
tions the handsome houses. " The church was 
indeed as big as one of our largest sized hay barns, 
and neatly covered as are the other houses, with 
dark coloured reeds, but without arching or ceiling, 
so that the transoms and beams within made a 
miserable appearance. There were benches on 
the sides for the men, but the women have each of 
them their chair or stool in the aisle." These 
chairs involved a good deal of etiquette. A young 
girl would be placed at the back of the church, and 
as her elders died, married, or moved away, her 
seat came forward, until in her old age she would 
find herself under the pulpit, in the front row. 
Certain old Colonial families still possess these 

211 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

chairs as heirlooms. In eighteenth century Cape 
Town they once gave rise to a pretty quarrel. Van 
Noot, afterwards the so-called "wicked Governor," 
was on a visit to Table Bay as Inspector-General 




OLD COLONIAL CHAIR ONCE IN PAARL CHURCH. 

of Fortifications. His wife was given the 
front seat in church. But Madam Cranendonk, 
wife of the Chief Merchant, strongly objected 
to taking the less prominent position. Her 
husband the Secunde spoke of the dignity 
of his appointment. Van Noot protested he 

212 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

did not care a button where his wife was placed. 
The quarrel was duly reported to the Company's 
Directors at home^ who replied with some exaspera- 
tion that they could not listen to such trivialities. 
Sparrman set off on foot from Paarl, with 
eighteen " china oranges " which he had bought 
for one schelling — Dutch — evidently not much 
impressed with the place. But John Borrow 
about thirty-five years later gives a better account 
of the thirty houses placed apart from each other 




PAARL CHURCH. 



with gardens and vineyards between^ so as to form 
a street. In the middle stood the church, now 
called a " neat octagonal building with thatch," 
and " at the upper end a parsonage with a garden, 
vineyard and fruit trees." 

It says a good deal for the high standard of 
beauty of the day, that the old parsonage should 
not have called for greater notice ; for it is a very 
fine example of the later Colonial style, in which 
the decorative effect is produced by a mere repeti- 

213 




214 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

tion of the large windows without, somehow, an 
effect of stiffness. 

Very few remain untouched of the thirty 
houses of old Paarl. The town is prosperous, 
and gabled houses are unfashionable. Yet the 
heavily timbered street has the charm, and 
the same curious Colonial anomalies of the 
European life developed in alien surroundings. 
The mountain with its shining lump of granite 
lacks the fine outlines of the wild peaks of Stellen- 
bosch and Drakenstein, but at the entrance to 
Paarl is an avenue of pines noble enough for the 
approach to any Greek city. Ciccalas shrill under 
the aromatic branches, brown labourers pass to 
and fro with baskets of melons and grapes, or a 
long ox team ploughs through the soft white dust. 
Surely the Shepherds of Theocritus must sing to 
their pipes not far off, and old Pan himself, the 
Pan of the old pagan world, will wander amongst 
the shadows when the sun goes down. 

Almost as soon as you get away inland from 
Paarl a change comes over the country. I suppose 
one of the first things which strikes a new-comer 
at the Cape is the silence of the wind-swept veld, 
which shows hardly a sign of human or animal life 
though it may be within an hour of modern civil- 
ization and close to squalor and over-crowding. 
Near to the houses and around the green centres 
of the farms you will find bird life in plenty : 
swallows, coming, some have thought, by way of 

215 



OLD CAPE COLONY " 

Egypt from Europe ; little " white eyes " greenish 
in colour^ with white circles round each eye ; grey 
finks, building most often in the trees nearest to 
the homestead itself. Above all the bold butcher 
bird with his black and white plumage ; so bold 
that once, lying very quietly on a mountain slope 
behind Frenchhoek, one perched on me for some 
time. A wicked little creature, whose throaty 
imitations of other singing birds in some extra- 
ordinary way fascinates them ; caged pets creep 
nearer and nearer to the bars to hsten to the 
treacherous allurements, until the sharp beak 
pierces their brains. But away from houses, from 
river beds, you may dream for an hour among the 
heather and aromatic undergrowth, and save for 
the busy little beetles rolhng their balls of dust, 
and the husks of invisible life, such as a shed snake- 
skin, a porcupine quill, you will see no living crea- 
ture, and hear no bird but the melancholy call, as it 
swoops and soars, of the South African lark. 

Further afield maybe, the contrast is less 
marked ; for there are fewer houses, fewer trees, 
and the undergrowth and protea is replaced by 
karoo bush and milky-stemmed plants of an arid 
sandy soil. But unless in some mountain ravine 
you come on a myriad joyous green canaries, whose 
shrill happiness is more fascinating than can be 
described, or see in some favoured spot a long- 
tailed " honey bird," signs of life are even rarer, 
the silence almost more profound. 

216 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

Few people now use the Roodezand pass over 
which the old settlers crossed the Ubiqua moun- 
tains to the Land of Waveren ; but the later 
one of the New Kloof, where, wrote Borrow in 
1804, baboons screamed at him from the rocks. 
At the foot of the Roodezand was once a Com- 
pany's station, and there is still a Drosdty or Magis- 
trates' Court. It is not particularly ancient, 







THE DROSDTY, TULBAGH. 



having been built after the first English occupa- 
tion, during the short rule of Commisioner de Mist. 
Yet as it stands there dignified and desolate, the 
blue mountains showing, as in an old Italian 
picture, through its brick arches, the place might 
belong to any age. Clinging to it is that strange 
desolation which Hes round some places human 

217 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

beings have made their own, a thousand times 
more desolate than the wildest desert spot. Be- 
neath the halls within, now partitioned into dwell- 
ing rooms by wooden screens, are prison dungeons ; 
and farmers digging near by have uncovered 
skeletons of chained prisoners or convicts ; though 
indeed the practice of burying in fetters was con- 
demned on the score of economy by the Dutch 
Company, as you may see in the dispatches. It is 




KOODEZAND PASS, TULBAGH VALLEY. 

an eerie place ; the wind was hot that blew over the 
mountain pass, carrying little eddies of dust and 
sand up the wide steps, but it made me shudder. 
What sinister thing had happened at that beautiful 
mountain station, that the straggling little town of 
Tulbagh, three miles off, should seem a haven of 
refuge ? 

A wide plain, outlined by barren mountains 
exquisite in form and colour ; dusty roads, sparse 
clumps of trees : this is Tulbagh district for the 

2T8 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

greater part of the year. Yet in early spring the 
unpromising-looking veld is covered by sweet 
grass, and ixias and wax-like heaths star the 
country round. To this, the old Land of Waveren, 
did Governor Willem van der Stel in 1699 draft 
parties of farmers from Drakenstein. The place 
he named after a '' great family to which he was 
allied/' says Captain Hop ; probably either that of 
JohanHudde, Heer van Waveren, Director of the 
East India Company, or one of the family of Bors 
of Waveron, to whom, together with the High 
Sheriff Hinlopen and Willem Six, burgomaster of 
Amsterdam (Governor Willem van der Stel's two 
grandfathers), Commelin's book of the Old Build- 
ings of Amsterdam is dedicated. He desired, wrote 
Governor van der Stel to the Directors, to form a 
new settlement which should grow by the pros- 
perity of its own people. '^ Who will not do," con- 
tinued he, " as the majority of those who come 
out, who, when they have scraped together some- 
thing, then depart, which as your Honours will be 
able to perceive tends to the great injury of this 
growing Colony." 

Tulbagh Church, dated 1795, is interesting 
within its encircling wall, standing forlornly 
enough when I saw it, with windows broken and out 
of repair, whilst opposite a spick-and-span edifice 
stared triumphantly at the disarray of its pre- 
decessor. Its real beauty lies in the curved lines 
■of the gateway, set against the wild loneliness of 

219 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

mountain and open country. I can imagine that 
to the pioneers gathered for prayer, this Httle 
oasis, beautiful in its way, must have worked 
unconsciously into their Sunday restfulness : a 
haven of peace in a desert place. John Borrow, 
in 1806, practical and commonplace, calls it a 
" small neat church and parsonage " (the latter 
has very graceful gables) and says that near the 




OLD CHURCH, TULBAGH. 



church was a " row of houses," the number of 
which had " lately been increased." 

The elders of the old church were Jacobus du 
Pre, Gerrit van der Merwe and Jacobus Theron. 
Wandering forty or fifty miles farther in the steps 
of the pioneers, to the higher plateaux beyond 
Waveren, you come to a charming little house, 
which carries on its gable the initials of the Therons 
and van der Merwes combined in a monogram . The 
name of the place is Leeuwfontein, for here the 



220 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

last lion of the district was killed not so many 
years ago whilst drinking at the cool stream of the 
ravine below. The farm is set under the bare 
mountains of the Warm Bokkeveld ; attractive 
enough with its large cool hall and old cane-seated 
furniture, with a great fire-place and chimney 
which one looked at^ somehow, as a curiosity, 
because it was treated as such by the kind people 
of the place. Go on, if you are there, up the steep 




WALLS OF THE CHURCHYARD, TULBAGH. 

pass and over the mountain. Wild and lonely 
enough ; here and there an ostrich taking a dust 
bath in the road as you descend on the further 
side, or a tiny " Winkle " or shop (in one of these 
I found a solitary Jewish store-keeper faithfully 
holding the Passover ; his Bible and phylacteries 
spread on the table of the room where he hospit- 
ably entertained the passing stranger). In the 
plain beyond stand the two great headlands which 

221 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

terminate the mountain range ; they form a 
kind of door which lead to the blue mysterious 
karoOj and seen as I saw them, standing black 
against a sunset sky, the vague ocean-like distance 
already growing dim, they had, I know not why, an 




LEEUWFONTEIN. 



intensely tragic air, as of leading from an old worn- 
out world into a new future full of unknown 
dangers and possibilities. This also is Old Cape 
Colony, for it is the early road to the Kimberley 
diamond mines, and through the " Poort " once 



222 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

eagerly hastened a stream of speculators and 
miners : men in wagons, carts and coaches ; men 
wheeling their worldly goods in handbarrows, all 
with the eternal desire of gold in their eyes. Hard 
sand, covered with sparse rhenoster plants, lies 
between the contorted mountains ; in summer 
there will be hardly another plant except the 
succulent " milk bush " ; and after a drought 
the melancholy of the landscape is intensified by 
enfeebled cattle and mules lying here and there by 
the wayside unable to move. So far from modern 
touch is it, that in 1898 no bicycles had ever been 
seen, long mule teams shied all over the veld at 
their appearance,and one charming little fair-haired 
child asked if they were used as punishments for 
evil conduct. 

Whether you come to hospitality and fine 
courtesy at the farms, or to reticence, suspicion or 
suUenness, is a matter of chance ; help, if you are 
in need of it, you are sure to find. The country 
may move your imagination strongly, holding as 
it does something of the sun-dried fascination of 
the East ; or the desolation may overwhelm you, 
so that you return with a thankful spirit thirty 
miles or so back to the simple civilization of the 
township of Ceres. For Ceres has wide shady 
streets threaded by watercourses, and on the stoep 
of the Inn do the wool dealers of the district 
congregate, discussing business, politics, and their 
neighbours. Here in_summer-time many visitors 

223 




CERES BRIDGE. 



224 



PAARL, TULBAGH, CERES AND BEYOND 

arrive ; laden carts toiling up " Mitchell's Pass " 
from the railway station in Tulbagh plain below, 
and over the wooden bridge that spans the moun- 
tain stream. Amongst the rocks of Mitchell's 
Pass are some of the Hottentot paintings, perhaps 
the oldest work of man in Cape Colony. 



225 



MONEY, SHIPS, AND CHINA 



IX 

Money, Ships, and China 

NOTHING is more strange than the absohite 
disappearance of things — their apparent 
annihilation ; for if you reflect on it, the words 
" lost " and " disappeared " have a very limited 
meaning. Practically not a bit of the old Dutch 
Company's money is found at the Cape. Copper 
" Company's coins " are to be bought by the handful 
in bazaars of the coast towns of India, and are sold 
as scrap metal in Ceylon ; but at Cape Town, 
though no doubt individuals may own a coin or 
two, not even in the Museum or the Archive Ofhce 
is there a specimen of those, or of the more 
valuable gold coins sent from Holland. A few of 
the Company's stations had the right of coinage. 
The ducatoon was principally put in circulation 
at Batavia, and was given an artificial value of 
thirteen escalins (or schillingen of six sous) instead 
of the usual value of ten and a half ; thus the 
Company made a profit of two and a half escalins 
or fifteen sous on each ducatoon. Of the copper 
money, eighty stuivers went to a ducatoon and 

22g 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

forty-eight or fifty to a rix dollar. Two rix 
dollars went to a ducaat. The gold double 
ducaat was sent from Holland ; these were the 
" Dutch Dubbeltjees " which the Company's 
men made such heroic efforts to save in the many 
wrecks of the Cape of Storms. Coinage of the 
East India Company bore the crowned lion of 
Holland, and on the obverse the V.O.C. : Vereenigde 
Oost-indische Compagnie (United East India 
Company) monogram of the Dutch Company. It 
is easy enough to detect the difference between 
those minted at home and in the Indies. 

In the early days " reals " seem to have been 
in use at Table Bay. For instance, in 1659 no 
one might pass through the pega-pega hedge of 
the Company's garden, and the penalty for 
breaking the law was three years' hard labour in 
chains, with a fine of a hundred reals. Later, 
guilders were in use, two and a half Dutch gulden 
were equal to a rix dollar. In addition to other 
disabilities, the coinage of the settlements was 
liable to be changed by the Company. In 1706 
an order came from Batavia to the Cape to deal 
no longer in guilders and stuivers but in rix 
dollars and " eights," and the price of goods had 
to be readjusted to meet the alteration. The 
reward for each lion killed was then fixed at eight 
rix dollars, I find that Haazendal farm was 
sold by Haazenwinkel in 1728 to two burghers, 
Christiaan Rasp and Jacob van Bochem, for 

230 





Stuiver Piece coined by ihe Dutch East India Company. 







Gold Double Ducaat. 





Tvvo-STUivER Piece coined in the East by the 
Dutch East India Company. 



MONEY, SHIPS, AND CHINA 

12,050 " even " Cape guilders or sixpences, of 
which 2,410 sixpences were paid in cash and a 
mortgage given for the rest. Under Ryk Talbugh, 
in 1762, the same farm was sold to burgher van 
As for 13,500 guilders, and in 1831 the father of 
the present owner bought it for £1,150 or 46,000 
guilders. Dollars and guilders were used until 
well into the nineteenth century, and a French 
Hoek friend of mine, recalling the old slave sales, 
remembered his father having paid 200 rix 
dollars each for two special men about the year 
1830. 

Rate of exchange seems to have varied from 
time to time. " The silver ducatoon which goes 
in India for eighty stuivers," wrote Admiral 
Stavorinus in 1798, " is only current here for 
eighty-two rupees, whether of Batavia, Surat or 
Bengal, ninety for twenty-four stuivers. Coins of 
Holland have the same currency as at home, 
except Zeeland rix-dollars, which are only worth 
fifty stuivers. Sest halfs (pieces of five and a half 
stuivers) go for schillings (pieces of six stuivers). 
As in Batavia accounts are kept here in rix-dollars 
of forty-eight stuivers. At public sales prices are 
taken in Cape guilders of sixteen stuivers each." 

How much of this old money is buried in the 
tons of silting sand at Salt River, who shall say ? 
Almost the worst misfortunes of the early days 
at Table Bay were the terrible shipping disasters 
of the unsheltered haven. In the tremendous 

231 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

winter gales the vessels at the roadstead dragged 
their anchors, and were driven on the rocks or 
beaten to pieces in the pitiless breakers of the 
long sandy stretch beyond the Castle. An evil 
place to look at, sad and sinister, calling up only 
too easily the disasters of the past. Of all the 
shining treasure heaps under the sea, Good Hope has 
her share. The breakers must still wash up from 
their oozy bed many a golden piece. Diamonds 
from the East, once tied in the " little packets " 
of the despatches, ebb too and fro, worthless as 
the most worthless pebble of the shore. Here 
went down cargoes of tea and china, silk and linen, 
teak, ebony and sandal wood, rice and opium and 
ambergris, and all the spices, the mace, the 
cloves, the nutmegs, the pepper, which play such 
a singular, such an almost deadly part ; when you 
think of the lives lost in procuring them, and the 
old story of trade. 

In 1697, in the stormy month of June, three big 
ships found their doom in Table Bay. The 
Swarte Leeuw was smashed in front of the Com- 
pany's wharf, the Oosterland and the Waddinxveen 
broken at Salt River ; the cargo scattered and only 
sixteen saved out of all the crew. In this terrible 
time the Governor, the Secunde Elsevier, Olof 
Bergh, Captain of the Garrison, with officers, 
soldiers and slaves, were busy day and night 
" even with lanterns in rain and wind, diligently 
and zealously." " Often," says the despatch, 

232 




23: 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

" the Governor stood up to his knees in water to 
keep things going, and continually had boats 
afloat in order to despatch cables and anchors to 
the return fleet which . . . were in such great 
danger." The crew of the three ships were 
unrecognizable when found, and the money chests 
and two small bags of diamonds, tied round him 
by the steward at the last moment — one of those 
terrible moments of heroism, so futile and pathetic, 
— were all irretrievably dispersed. 

At Robben Island the Dageraad was lost with all 
the money she carried. The broken chests were 
washed ashore, but the money is still beneath 
the surf, which hides its treasure for evermore. 
Then there was the Craijensteen with her consign- 
ment of money ; a large ship which drifted on to 
the rocks between Hout Bay and the Lion's 
Kloof in a thick mist at the " third glass of the 
dog watch." And often a mist still hangs about 
this foaming sea, where the cold Atlantic dashes 
into spume and spray, as it rolls in from distant 
Antarctic ice-floes. 

Above, between the rocks and the craggy sides 
of Table Mountain winds the wide Victoria Road. 
To drive round it is one of the easiest and most 
beautiful expeditions. Go on a clear morning in 
the early spring of the Cape. The slopes are 
jewelled by thousands of flowers; the lizards, 
grey " Kokelmannetje," the little cooking man, 
and the blue blinking Agora, have hardly yet crept 

234 



MONEY, SHIPS, AND CHINA 

out to bask in the sun. The twelve grey crags, 
called the Apostles, rear their heads into a pale 
cloudless sky. 

Yet with all its peaceful beauty it is not difficult 
to imagine down by these rocks the great ship 
with its twisted masts and spars, and to hear the 
cries of the sailors as the wreck was whirled 
round and round in the boiling sea and finally 
thrown slanting with its bows on the rocks, 
stern under water. Fiscal Blesius and Secunde 
Elsevier were at the place as soon as the news 
reached headquarters, but the saloon was sub- 
merged ; three of the money chests and most of the 
cargo lost. The Governor found the track almost 
impassable and inaccessible both by foot and on 
horseback ; and seems to have contented himself 
by writing voluminous letters addressed " To the 
Commissioners watching the Craijensteen behind 
the Kloof of the Lion " ; but the men were saved, 
and returned exhausted but with sixteen cases 
of the treasure. 

That the service of the Honourable Company 
was attended with risks none knew better than the 
van der Stels. Perhaps it was because so many men 
he knew and cared for were in its employ, that old 
Simon took infinite pains to improve their case. 
He not only replaced the old hospital along the 
unhealthy beach by the new one near the Com- 
pany's garden, but wrote long letters explaining 
that want of food and clothing caused much of 

235 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the mortality. " They lose heart through want 
of nourishment," he says, " and all germs of 
strength faihng them, they die." They did indeed 
die in appalling numbers, and war could have had 
few terrors for men whose daily life was carried on 
under such fearful conditions. One fleet of ten ships 
came in with two hundred and twenty-eight dead 
and six hundred and seventy-eight sick and very 
miserable persons. An English fleet arrived with 
one hundred and twenty-one dead and one hundred 
and eighteen sick, the commander himself so ill 
and lame that he had to be carried ashore to 
lodge at the house of the Chief Merchant. Simon 
recommended for use aboard and as a remedy for 
illness, a meal of barley, plums, raisins and cur- 
rants boiled, with " a good dash of rum, or some 
Spanish wine." 

The old Governor himself had a son, Cornells, 
who set sail on the Ridderschap and never 
returned. A frigate was sent in 1666 to inquire 
for the missing ship and to get slaves at Madagas- 
car. It returned with a hundred and nineteen 
slaves, " dearer than they were formerly," but 
with no news of Cornells van der Stel. Two years 
afterwards a small slave boy, bought at the Cape 
off The Swift, a suspicious enough English ship 
which " bristled with Lion dollars and Mexican 
dollars," and was going from Madagascar to New 
York with slaves, gave an account of a large 
three-master thrown ashore at Amosse, on which 

236 



MONEY, SHIPS, AND CHINA 

he saw two persons answering to the missing 
CorneHs and his httle slave Damon. But the 
commander had no means of sending to the rescue, 
and when at last he was able to put off a search 
party, it returned, with a large number of slaves 
indeed, but without news of the wrecked vessel. 

Many a good gold piece lies in Saldanah Bay. 
In 1702 a great ship, the Merestein, loaded with 
money, was dashed to bits in fourteen fathoms of 
water off Jutten Island, trying to make the Bay. 
Commissioners went out with the mate, carefully 
examined the place and meditated on means to 
recover the chests, they found it would be im- 
possible because of the surf, equally violent 
whether the wind blew or there was a dead calm. 
But one of the most terrible shipping tragedies at 
Good Hope was some years later in 1722, on May 
16, when "the sea," says the journal, " was run- 
ning mountains high." All the vessels in the Bay 
parted anchor, and one after the other drifted on 
the rocks and sand between the jetty of the Castle 
and the mouth of Salt River. Morning light 
showed the shore strewn with dead sailors ; over 
six hundred men, Enghsh and Dutch, had perished. 
An opening called Rogge Bay was then com- 
pletely filled up and obliterated by sand. Again, 
in 1728, was a repetition of the disaster ; this time 
in the Governorship of Gysbert van Noot. A 
heavy north wind had risen, on the evening of 
July I, and the next day at one in the afternoon 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

the ships began to drift. At three o'clock one 
vessel, the Haarlem, had stranded near the Castle, 
a second had struck, a third had drifted towards 
Salt River. " Then," says the journal, " a red 
flag was hoisted on the tower of the Castle, and 
the bell was rung three times to collect all the 
Company's servants and the burghers under their 
officers in order to give orders under these mournful 
circumstances. All came together, but as nothing 
remained for the burghers to do they were allowed 
to retire, and the military took possession of the 
beach to prevent theft and disorder." Apparently 
no effort at all was made to save the men ; perhaps 
in those terrific breakers help would have been 
impossible. Yet there is something horrible in 
the cynical account, for in the morning a gallows 
was erected on the beach on which to hang any 
one who should touch the cargo washed up, and 
" when all was safe " the Governor appeared on 
the spot to give orders about the Company's 
goods. Carried ashore with the bodies of the 
seventy-five sailors who manned the ill-fated 
Middenoak were pieces of the money chests in 
which " Dutch dubbeltjees " were jammed and 
twisted. The rest lie buried in the sand. A story 
not unlike this we find in a traveller's account of 
fifty years later; then, too, the Company's officials 
cared only for the cargo, and the half-drowned sailors 
were not allowed to use the clothing washed ashore. 
It is strange that Simon's Bay was not thought 
238 



MONEY, SHIPS, AND CHINA 

of sooner by the authorities as a winter anchorage. 
The English pirate ship, the Great Alexander, with 
sixty men and twenty-six guns (she was sighted 
by burgher Russouw Uving at Zwaanswyk in the 
Steenberg), could have told them better. Earlier 
than this Peter Dunn, the captain, had said he 
found a sounder anchorage in Bay Falso than in 
Table Bay. But the place was unused for many 
yeajrs later, and the stone pier from which anchors 
and cables could be conveyed to ships in danger 
of parting was not put up at Table Bay in 1831, 
under Sir Lowry Cole. 

Fragile and dainty is the only part of the 
wrecked cargo that comes down to us. China, 
blue and white cups and flowered dishes, dredged 
up from the bottom of the sea. Table Bay has 
yielded lumps embedded in barnacles, hardened 
sand, and shelly concretion ; together with pieces 
fresh and new looking. From Saldanah Bay 
quantities of egg-shell china have been rescued, 
probably belonging to the Chien Lung period 
between 1736 and 1795. Packed in cases which 
have long since rotted away, the porcelain lies 
spread on the soft sandy ocean bed, a silent tea 
party, as it were, laid out for the ghosts of the dead 
sailors. Many of the tiny cups without handles 
are absolutely perfect, though they have lain in 
the wash of the waves for a hundred and fifty 
years and more. The ships of the Dutch Company 
had an enormous trade with the Celestials, not 

239 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

from China itself, but from islands near, to which 
their traders carried likely wares. 

There is rather an indignant entry in one 
journal of van der Stel's time to the effect 
that " no tea and china " have come in the 
fleet. The household crockery of Good Hope 
was entirely brought from the East ; probably 
also the metal pots, pans and bowls, for 
there is a special order for copper bowls from 
Tutucoryn for use in van der Stel's hospital. In 
some dusty vineyard far out in the country, you 
may unearth great pieces of beautiful blue and 
white porcelain, hidden there as likely as not 
after some eighteenth century domestic smash by 
a frightened slave. We know from the indentures 
of 1798 how much of this fine stuff was regularly 
imported. Sent yearly from the East for ordinary 
use were eighteen thousand five hundred dishes, 
twenty thousand basins and bowls and twelve 
thousand cups and saucers. They were all to be of 
blue and white colour alone. But you can find, too, 
curious lacquered china, old Chinese figures, and 
rare jars of pale brown, wonderful in texture and hue. 
So valuable are these things of art, of restrained 
beauty of design in a new country, which threatens 
to become newer and more crude every day, that I 
think of begging from a more powerful pen than 
my own a solemn curse to be read over all 
persons who remove, for payment or otherwise, their 
neighbours' old china and export it to Europe. 

240 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED FOR 
FIFTY YEARS. 



X 

From Seventeen Hundred for Fifty 

Years 

TN the early part of the eighteenth century 
-^ only the settlement of Table Bay was termed 
the " Cape/' and was thus distinguished from the 
outlying farms. Waveren (Tulbagh) had not a 
Landdrost and Heemrade (magistrate and farm 
council), but was included in the colony of 
Stellenbosch, of which Drakenstein and French- 
hoek formed a sub-division. A great deal of 
discussion arose as to the right way of enlarging 
the town at the Cape, as the burghers wisely 
thought that a fixed plan should be made. 
" Should the town be along the watering place 
parallel with the shore, or towards the Company's 
garden ? " They decided that the town was to 
spread on the upper slopes, which were healthier 
than the shore and better provided with water. 
The plein (parade) was to be left open from the 
house of Fiscal Blesius, which faced the parade, 
" to that of the burgher David Heufke," and a 
town house was to be built on the site of the old 

243 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

watch-house, the freehold of which had belonged 
to the exiled Elzevir. The two houses of Huising 
and Blesius joined each other. Just possibly 
they were the two very high stoeped houses at 
the bottom of Strand Street. 

In 1714, five years later than these decisions 
of the Governor and Council, the traveller Valen- 
tyn counted 254 houses, small and large, in the 
town ; many more than he had seen on his first 
visit to the Cape in 1685, when the remains of 
van Riebeeck's old fort were being cleared away. 
Most of the houses now were thatched and very 
comfortable, with several good rooms. Those 
with double storeys had two drawing-rooms to 
the front, several rooms in the middle or back 
of the house, and a very large yard or court 
behind. The houses of Fiscal Blesius and Hen- 
ning Huising were the handsomest in the town, 
and built with stoeps and gables. Henning 
by this time was member of the Municipal 
Council, and one of the richest men at the Cape. 
Valentyn speaks of " Brommers Row," which 
faced the Strand where Mr. Brommer, the ship- 
ping master, had a " big handsome house with 
a large stoep," and describes the four large 
straight streets going towards Table Mountain, 
and the four cross streets from the Castle, towards 
the Lion Mountain, which you can still easily 
trace. Going towards the " Lion's Rump " were 
pumps from which the ships were watered, 

244 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

another was " in the Square at the first straight 
street to Table Mountain" ; a third, from which 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century slaves 
used to fetch water for household purposes, was 
on the way to the Castle. For at these places, 
says Valentyn, " Mr. Willem Adriaan van der 
Stel has made ever-springing fountains." I think 
one of the old pumps is still in existence." 

For these building operations bricks were 
both made at the Cape and sent from Holland, 
and though people often speak of " Batavian 
bricks," I cannot find that any were imported. 
We hear that the Governor-general inspected the 
potteries and tile factories at Table Bay, and found 
the work very compact and good, and the tiles 
better than those of Batavia. According to 
Valentyn, some of the houses were built of Cape 
stone, but I never heard of any stone houses, 
though the quarry on the Steenberg beyond 
Constantia supplied good stone for flooring, and 
the pavement of Constantia is said to have come 
from there. Chinese convicts are spoken of as 
masons. 

Several alterations had become necessary in 
Simon van der Stel's hospital facing the church. 
The canal was a source of anxiety, as it was 
continually being filled up by deposits of sandy 
soil from the mountain water, and the patients 
could get across to the canteens. Frogs and 
crabs undermined the banks, and the water was 

245 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

unwholesome. So it was filled in, and the addi- 
tional space enclosed by a high wall and planted 
with trees. A gateway was made in the wall 
opposite the church and another into the Com- 
pany's garden. 

To our ideas this old hospital of Van der Stel 
which occupied all the upper part of what is 
now the west side of Adderley Street, and was 
the most important building next to the Castle, 
was altogether fearful. But the report says that 
the 225 patients, all Europeans, were fairly well 
provided with necessaries, better than had been 
expected; excepting that some had no pillows, 
and that ten or twelve were lying on mats or 
pieces of sail instead of beds. " A lantern was 
to be slung with a lighted match in a central 
place where the sick could light their pipes, in 
order that they should not run to and fro or 
have fires made with bushes." A later traveller 
describes it as a building of some magnificence 
with its large glazed windows and four wings, at 
each corner of which were four little houses each 
with a " terrace " — perhaps meaning a flat roof. 
The patients, poor folk, were then looked after by 
eight or ten slaves who came on in relays, brought 
food and drink to those who were too weak to 
move, and told the '* father of the hospital " 
when any one was worse or had died. 

For about twenty-two years after WiUem 
Adriaan van der Stel's exile, the colonies of the 

246 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

Cape were at a standstill. The settlers were 
without the hopes and excitements of the pioneers, 
and the burghers had enough to do to pay their 
taxes and to buy the necessaries of life. For, 
*' the duty of the officials/' wrote Commissioner 
d'Ableing, was " to add to the Company's profits." 
These profits resulted principally from the sale 



SUNDIAL IN THE COMPANY'S GARDEN. 

of imports. He trusted so to arrange and 
regulate the sale of goods that the Company 
should secure even greater profits, and wrote 
to the Landdrost of Stellenbosch, telling him 
cynically that the Company had a great quantity 
of unsaleable tobacco on hand, for which he was 

247 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

to induce the burghers to exchange their wheat. 
It was proposed to further increase the revenue 
by the simple expedient of buying up all the 
grain and selling it to the bakers and the licensed 
victuallers at a profit. Severe laws were made 
against wine smuggling. Offenders were to pay 
300 rix dollars, or in default to be flogged and 
serve for three months as convicts without 
distinction of person. Wine farmers and other 
producers of the Cape district from the hill of 
the " so called Roodebloem at a quarter of an 
hour behind the Castle and the Salt River, to the 
Witteboom in the direction of Hout Bay and 
its surroundings/' were forbidden to sell wine, 
brandy or liquor in any quantity whatever, and 
it was thought to turn the surplus wine into 
vinegar for the ships. 

A petition signed amongst others by Henning 
Huising protested that hitherto they had " never 
been asked to pay tithes on their seed-corn, and 
bread, and that if as it appears this is now de- 
manded of them, they will be totally ruined 
the more so that they have to bring everything 
to the Castle in their own wagons." The Directors 
were advised that if they put a tithe on peas 
and beans, the colonists would give up planting 
them. To its discredit the Company had always 
carried on a trade with the natives in " dagga," 
the wild hemp still used for smoking, with such 
terrible stupefying and intoxicating results on 

248 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

the smoker. We note that the meat contract, 
which had fallen through in 1705 and been divided 
by Willem Adriaan amongst four butchers, had 
been renewed in favour of Henning Huising. 

There was little incentive amongst the officials 
to improve or beautify their surroundings. The 
new regulations made any ambition of this sort 
impossible. From the time of the van der Stel 
exile, the Company's servants from the highest 
to the lowest, were ordered to get rid of any land 




COMMON SEAL OF THE VEREENIGDE OOST-INDISCHE COMPAGNIE 

(United East India Company). 

they might possess by selling or otherwise, on 
pain of forfeiture should the order be disobeyed. 
No Company's officer was any longer to hire, 
own, or occupy as proprietor any piece of land. 
Thev were to do no trade in corn, cattle, or 
wine. They were to remain satisfied with their 
pay. There is a certain smack of Socialism 
about this, and in the order that even amongst 
the burghers equality was to be obtained, as far 
as possible, by forbidding those who had " suffi- 
cient amount of land " from buying more from 

249 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

their neighbours. Who was to decide the regu- 
lation amount I do not know. 

Want of timber again became a serious diffi- 
culty, and how to obtain a supply so puzzling a 
question that at one meeting of Council every one 
was invited to write on paper what he considered 
the best course to pursue. Van der Stel's un- 
popular regulations as to tree planting on the 
farms w^ere kept up as far as possible. But even 
when the farms were granted free, on conditions 
that timber was planted and preserved, the 
men were unwilling to abide by the terms, and 
excused themselves by saying that the branches 
of the trees harboured birds, and that the 
birds ate the grain. Van Assenburgh revived at 
Stellenbosch the placaat by which tree injurers 
were flogged. Landdrosts were ordered to visit 
all farms and choose suitable places for tree 
planting ; shoemakers who denuded the under- 
growth for their tanning were severely cautioned. 
In 1708, the year after the Van der Stel exile, 
the new Governor sent a galiot to Natal and 
Rio de la Goa for timber. " We are specially 
urged to do this," he wrote, " by the great want 
of timber in which we find ourselves, so that if 
we do not get a good supply from home, things 
will look very bad." 

For some reason the Governor and Council grew 
weary of the so called " astronomer " Kolbe, and 
wrote about this time to the Directors that he 

250 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

did not perform any burgher service and must 
be either taxed as a colonist or sent home. The 
two Uttle books by which he justified his stay 
at the Cape are as full of local colour in their 
own way as Mr. Pepys' diary, but it is said that 
he remained at Table Bay and invented his 
descriptions of the country. We are pleased to 
hear of the men walking about during a south- 
easter wind anxiously holding on to their wigs 
as well as to their hats. His breakfast party at 
the tea-table of Mr. Ortman is nice reading. 
There was present his ''friend Mr. Rotterdam, 
a gentleman of 70 years of age, lately come from 
Batavia"; hearing of some remarkable tides 
they went down to the shore, and afterwards 
got out chairs and " sat in such a manner 
as to have full view of the sea." The '' gentle- 
man " was in fact the Jan Rotterdam exiled by 
Willem van der Stel for insubordination, and 
the host was probably Notary Nicolas Oortman, 
who owned part of the Zwaanswyk farm. I 
suppose Kolbe was sent home, for we hear no 
more of him ; there are, however, cultivated 
representatives of the name in the colony. 
Gradually mention of what may be called the 
" van der Stel set " drops out of the journal. 
Lieutenant Adriaan van Rheede, son of van 
Rhreede tot Drakenstein, died in 1708, and was 
buried with honours. In 171 1 old Fiscal Johan 
Blesius died, and Governor Simon was present 

251 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

at his funeral. There is in the Cape Archive 
office the small hatchment of a Joan Blesius, 
who must be his grandson. 

Here and there is a mention of Governor Simon, 
still living at Constantia. The Governor-General 




COAT OF ARMS OF JOAN BLESIUS. 



van Hoorn, at the Cape in 171 1, with his wife 
and daughter, paid him a visit of several days, 
driving, we may be sure, by the old track past 
van Riebeeck'sfarmof Boscheuval, thought " the 
most beautiful place in the Colony," which they 
went to see another day. We have a graphic 
account in the journal of van Hoorn's departure, 

252 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

starting from the jetty amidst salutes from the 
Castle, and volleys fired by the burghers, while 
the ladies of the Cape gathered on the beach 
in their carriages to watch the fleet sweep out 
of the Bay. 

A beautiful sight must these ships have been, 
carrying great lanterns above their heavily 
carved sterns, flying their pennons, saluting, 
as they passed it, the Company's flag on the 
Castle. Boom ! go the guns in a parting fare- 
well. Thin puffs of smoke and spreading sails, 
already swelled by the wind, show brightly 
against the clear blue of the sea and sky. Quietly, 
with a certain solemnity in its state, the fleet 
moves off from the hospitable shore ; are not 
her dangers from fire and sword, shoal and sick- 
ness, so great that each voyage is achieved with 
a certain astonishment, and a thankfulness of 
heart most touching and beautiful. The great 
bodies of her ships, full of men and costly mer- 
chandise, grow small, far off, distinct in the 
southern atmosphere, and the horizon closes 
over them. You and I, ploughing along the 
tropic seas on one of the great liners, may well 
cast back our minds to the days of the old Com- 
pany, and earlier. Threshing through the phos- 
phorescent waves, we would have heard, instead 
of the melancholy, reassuring "All's well" of the 
night watch, the nasal hymn of the leather- jerkined 
sailors chanting to awaken the sleepers — 

253 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

" Hier zeylen wy met God verheven, 
God wil ons onse Sonden vergeven ; 
Al onse Sonden en misdaed. 
God wil ons goede Schip bewaeren, 
Met alle de lieden daeren vaeren. 
Voor Zee, voor Sand, voor Vyer, en Brand, 
Voor de Helsche, boose, Vyand, 
Voor alle quaed ons God bewaere. 

they sang, according to Christopher Schweitzer, 
1675-1683. Done into Enghsh it runs thus — 

" Here we sail and God is nigh us, 
God will us our sins forgive ; 
All evil deeds committed by us. 
Our good ship is in His keeping, 
With the men that in her live. 
From sea, from shoal, from fire, and sword. 
From hellish enemy abroad 
And from all ills, preserve us, Lord." 

In 171 1 came the sickness and death at Good 
Hope of the new Governor. A last sinister 
accusation of having poisoned van Assenburgh 
was made against old Simon van der Stel, but 
it does not seem to have met with general belief. 
Van Assenburgh seems to have been popular, 
though it is said that he drank. The journal 
at any rate sings his praises, and talks of the 
many dinners he gave the officials, and how once 
he even organized a bull-fight for them in the 
courtyard of the Castle. In 1712 Simon van der 
Stel died, lonely enough it may be, at Constan- 
tia, seventy-three years old. His property was 
taken over by Olof Bergh, and with the death 

254 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

of the old Company's soldier its early associations 
passed away. 

New people had been arriving at Table Bay, 
and new men are mentioned in the journal, 
A Pierre Cronje was spoken of in 1708, when he 
shot two Hottentot women, and was banished 
for twenty-five years, with half his goods con- 
fiscated ; and I note that Douw Gerbrantz Steyn 
is the surveyor of the Steenberg property, for 
Nicolas Oortmans, when Governor van Assen- 
burgh made out the title deeds of the second 
grant. 

An unusual gloom hung over the colonies 
after the death of Van Assenburgh and Simon 
van der Stel. William Helot, once " first clerk " 
to Governor Simon, was now Secunde, and he 
became Administrator for the time being ; it 
was he who, finding the punishment of flogging 
not severe enough to act as a deterrent on 
the slaves, suggested branding them on the face 
and neck, a suggestion which was adopted. 
The summer of 1713 was intensely hot and, 
though the disease is usually worse during the 
damp weather of the Cape, small-pox raged 
at Table Bay and the surrounding country. Of 
the Europeans, 120 died between the months 
of April and June, and in the Drakenstein there 
were hardly twenty, people in good health left. 
Large quantities of slaves died, and there was 
great mortality amongst the Hottentots ; some 

255 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

of them flying inland to escape the pestilence, 
met with a hostile tribe and were exterminated. 
The sickness had abated, though people had 
not yet, says the journal, begun to marry, when 
at the end of the year 17 13 Governor de Chavonnes 
arrived from the fatherland. He was received 
with the usual congratulations ; moreover, a 
picnic in a tent of leaves was organized in the 
Company's gardens ; but by the usual fate of 
picnics, the rain came down and the guests had 
to adjourn to the Castle. The two sons of 
Chavonnes, Captain Dominicus Marius and Ensign 
Peter de Chavonnes, arrived at the same time 
as their father, and were introduced to the bat- 
talion ; both were in the Company's service and 
later were given posts in the Dutch Indies. 
Soon after a fire broke out at the Leerdam point 
of the Castle, near the powder magazine, which 
must have been sufficiently alarming, the courtier- 
Hke journahst says, that '' though heavy rain was 
falling the Governor gave such orders that the 
fire was soon extinguished." In 1715 General 
de Chavonnes laid the first stone of the Fort 
or battery on the seaside below the Lion's Rump, 
called by him Mauritius, but now, I think, usually 
known as the Chavonnes Battery. 

Very little of note is entered in the journal 
of this period. In 17 16 the ships arrived with 
news of the death of Louis XIV, who had " reigned 
so many years and by his domineering ways had 

2.^6 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

thrown Europe and our fatherland especially into 
confusion." In May of the same year we hear 
that the Christmas ships had not yet arrived. 
Delayed fleets were a perpetual source of anxiety 
at Table Bay ; cut off from all other means of 
information about the outside world, want of 
news filled them with apprehensions of every kind 
of disaster, political and to the ships. It was now 
feared that trouble had arisen with Great Britain. 

The condition of the people inland was most 
deplorable. Cattle were dying in thousands, and 
the Superintendent of the Schuur, who needed 
more draught oxen, was ordered to proceed as 
far inland as possible with an armed escort to 
barter cattle with the Hottentots. Bushmen 
in 1719 swept down on the pastures of Hottentots 
Holland, carrying off the cattle of van der 
Heyden, who had bought most of Governor 
Willem Adriaan's estate of Vergelegen ; all over 
the country the horses were dying. There does 
not seem to have been a large Company garrison. 
Five men in the Groene Kloof, seven in the land 
of Waveren, six at Klapmuts, four on the yacht 
d'Amy, the old English pirate boat annexed by 
Governor Simon, five on the land boat, and one 
unemployed, make up the record, besides seven- 
teen workmen and nineteen convicts on Robben 
Island. 

In 1724 Governor de Chavonnes died (they 
were short-lived men these Company's com- 

257 R 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

manders), and the bells tolled mournfully for 
him for six weeks. Van Noot, who followed him, 
died in 1729, suddenly, one afternoon, sitting 
in his chair. By the ignorant, his end was con- 
sidered a visitation from heaven, as he had two 
days earlier sentenced several deserters to punish- 
ment and death. The popular story has it that 
he died the moment he pronounced the sentence, 
and that his spirit haunts the fine old house 
now called the Normal College, where tradition 
says that he lived. In reality, though his sen- 
tences were severe, and had several horrible 
accompaniments, they were not more severe 
than those of other commanders ; neither does 
he seem to have been more cruel or more wicked 
than his contemporaries though a certain can- 
did brutality made him in time of shipwreck 
openly declare for the Company's cargo rather 
than the drowning men. He is known as the 
" wicked Governor." 

Chief Merchant de la Fontaine was then chosen 
Administrator, and the Fiscal van Kerval pro- 
moted to be Secunde, to the general joy of every 
one. I note that more slaves seem to have been 
broken on the wheel and branded and more con- 
victs put to death during the de la Fontaine 
short administration than in any other, and 
that the sermons of the two pastors, the Rev. 
Henricus Bek and the Rev. Franciscus Le Sueur, 
both names still represented at the Cape, are 

258 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

mentioned with much admiration. The modern 
mind is badly attuned to these alternating sen- 
tries of religion and torture, and the details of 
the scourgings, brandings, and breaking on the 
wheel, " without the mercy stroke," and the 
subsequent offering of the corpse to the fowls 
of the air, is sickening. After each entry it is 
usually stated that the " prisoner is to pay all 
expenses." Confident in his virtue, and his 
superior position in the scale of humanity, the 
writer of the journal takes life as he finds it 
with simple confidence, and after pages of those 
horrible entries has the courage to end his year 
book with a devout prayer for temporal prosperity 
and eternal happiness. 

La Fontaine retired in 1736, sailing to Holland 
in the rather perplexing position of Admiral 
of a fleet of five ships. After him came Van 
Kerval, who died in three weeks, and was buried, 
by his own wish, without pomp or ceremony. 
Temporarily Daniel van Heugel was appointed, 
and in 1739, after some wrangling, the Secunde 
Swellengrebel was chosen Governor. 

I have not traced much building or many 
freeholds outside the town to this early half of 
the seventeenth century, though a few of the 
undated houses have special characteristics which 
seem to belong to the period ; less ornamental 
gables but fine fanlight tracery and woodwork. 

Whatever may have been the private dramas, 

259 



OLD CAPE COLONY 



outside the town, with its fleets, its soldiers and 
sailors, there was little public excitement, and 
as far as I can make out, nothing in way of 
educational progress ; but the life has a fascina- 
tion for the curious minded. Strange punish- 
ments come down to us in the pages of the 
journal. Of the boat-master, for instance, who 




KLASTENBERG, WYNBEKG. 



had to stand at the church door for three suc- 
cessive Sundays with a board on his breast on 
which " Blasphemer " was written. " Under a 
Roman Catholic government," remarks the secre- 
tary, proud of religious toleration, " he would 
not have escaped so easily." Names of passing 
English ships are homelike and interesting, the 
Addison, the Heathcote, the Walpole, all in the 
pay of John Company. 

260 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

In 1737, two years before Swellengrebel's 
appointment, a little advance was made in the 
colony, when the well known mission station 
of Baviaans Kloof — literally Baboon Valley — 
was formed ; now called Genadendal. The pro- 
nunciation of the name is a stumbling-block 
to a new arrival at the Cape. In 1744 the church 
of Zwaartland was built in the prosperous if 
uninteresting corn-growing district now called 
Malmesbury. In 1740 the district of Swellendam, 
named after the Governor, was opened up ; 
many charming houses of the usual gabled type 
were built, and fine old furniture may still be 
discovered here and there in the district. But 
no roads were yet made on to the interior, and 
even the best track to places so near to Cape 
Town as Stellenbosch and Hottentots Holland, 
was only marked by a row of poles stuck in the 
sand. The fortunes of the Cape as a Company's 
settlement are sad to contrast with the colonies 
in America, which, whilst mere infants in years, 
had possessed printing presses, manufactories, 
books, schools and colleges. Hand looms and 
weaving were very early introduced into New 
England, and a bonus offered on every yard of 
cotton, woollen and linen cloth ; the beginnings 
of Harvard College were planned eight years 
after the arrival of the Massachussetts settlers. 
At the Cape leather too often took the place of 
woven stuffs ; and I can only hear of the most 

261 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

primitive kind of school. The Company's officers 
from home must often have experienced the feel- 
ings of the journal writer, who entered about 
1716 : " We live in far distant land and corner 
of the earth, thousands of miles away from 
Christian churches and rational beings ; where 
waters lifted as high as the heavens and the very 
extreme violence of the sea are to be experienced 
and borne." 

Towards the middle of the century a great 
change was made in the policy of the Company. 
Her power had declined ; foreign ships were no 
longer kept out of the Bay, though English 
vessels sometimes caused great indignation by 
failing to salute, as required, the flag of their 
" High Mightynesses the Directors." Amongst 
the various reasons for not doing so the most 
amusing is that given by the vessel Marlborough. 
She was indignantly boarded by a wharf-master, 
and told that no one might land until the usual 
salutes had been fired. On which a subaltern 
went ashore and explained that they carried an 
elephant from Madras, and feared to frighten him. 
The excuse was accepted by the kindly Dutch 
officials. 

Far from discouraging vessels from entering 
the ports, it was now the interest of the Company, 
whose profits were steadily diminishing, to induce 
strangers of all sorts to stay at the Cape ; visitors 
who bought the produce at high rates and were 

262 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

warmly welcomed by the burghers with whom 
they lodged. Men of every nation jostled each 
other in the streets, flags of Denmark, Sweden, 
France and England flew side by side with the 
V.O.C. monogram of the Netherlands Company, 




ZWAANSWIJK, BUILT I7II-I7. 

and the crowned lion of Holland. Simons Town, 
used since 1722 as a winter anchorage, became 
almost as important a haven for the ships as the 
Cape itself and the society as cosmopolitan. A 
large hospital, a slaughter-house, and a few small 
dwelling-houses lay round the bay ; and the house 

26.S 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

for the Resident, who was usually the Secunde, 
was built ; now altered and improved, it is used 
as Admiralty House. 

Resting places for the sailors, soldiers, travellers 
and Company's men grew up between the two 
ports. The old road lay past Boscheuval and 
below Constantia towards -the Steenberg. Here 




MORGENSTER, HOTTENTOTS HOLLAND. 

was a well known house where refreshment could 
be sought, the second Zwaanswijk built by 
Nicolas Oortmans in 1711-1717. Many is the 
rollicking party that has sung and drunk here 
in the hall ; the partition screen pushed back 
and tables set the entire length of the house. 
They have regulated their watches at the sun- 

264 



FROM SEVENTEEN HUNDRED 

dial, dated 1756, which once gave the time to 
Cape Town, so accurate was it considered. They 
have scratched their names on the window 
panes (1763 is a date inscribed there), and have 
called for supper before setting out on the then 
rather difficult and dangerous passage across the 
sands to Simons Town. And here truth compels 
me to say that the naturalist Sparrman going 
thither in 1772, was given at the half-way house, 
either Zwaanswijk or another, only a very 
" moderate " meal of " stewed beef, red cabbage, 
meat preserved in pepper, and gritty bread." 



265 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN 
OCEAN 



XI 

The Tavern of the Indian Ocean 

THE last Dutch Governor of the Cape who 
could in any way be called great, and 
about whose memory lies a kindly halo of justice 
and wisdom, was Ryk Tulbagh, who succeeded 
Swellengrebel on his retirement in 175 1. Of 
him, as of the van der Stels, an impression of 
strong personality has been handed down to us ; 
gloriously inconsistent stories of his immense love 
of ceremony and of his rectitude and simplicity 
of life. He was a Colonial man, and much loved 
— called, indeed, " father of his people," although 
he had introduced the sumptuary laws. These can- 
not have been popular ; they were severe. No 
one, for instance, of lesser rank than a junior 
merchant might venture to carry an umbrella at 
all, and one needed to be a full merchant in order 
to enter the Castle in fine weather with one's 
umbrella open. Everyone had to leave his car- 
riage at the approach of the Governor, and 
■''to get out of the way and allow a convenient 
passage to the carriage of any of the members 
of the Court of Policy." He must doff his hat 
•as he passed the Governor's house \ and as to 

269 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

dress, all women were prohibited, " whether in 
mourning or out of mourning/' under a penalty 
of twenty-five rix dollars, to wear dresses with a 
train. Few might wear " diamonds or mante- 
lets " ; and though the wives of junior merchants 
might possess these luxuries, their daughters could 
not. No women below the wives of the junior 
merchants might wear silk dresses with silk 
braiding or embroidery. These sumptuary regu- 
lations against " Pracht en Praal" (luxury and 
ostentation) had been sent out from Holland to 
restrain, it was hoped, the excesses of Batavia. 
I do not know how far they were really enforced at 
Table Bay. No traveller makes any mention of 
them ; and in a climate where the rainfall is so 
heavy as in winter time at the Cape, one imagines 
there must in wet weather have been great 
smuggling of umbrellas. It is said there were 
still to be seen in the early half of the nineteenth 
century very low carriages without doors, which 
had been originally designed for getting out of 
quickly if the Governor loomed in the distance. 

The final shaping and beautifying of Cape Town 
was now carried out ; and the town was beautiful, 
it seems to me in Tulbagh's times ; stuccoed, 
whitewashed, with green-shuttered windows, be- 
hind which prying eyes watched, it is said, to 
report any infringement of the Company's eti- 
quette. Van Riebeeck's Canal had been partly 
filled in, and the lower half planted with trees. 

270 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 



It was now called the Herrengracht, and on 
each side lay large-windowed houses with high 
stoepSj on which you might have your pipe and 
coffee, and discuss the latest news of the fleet. 
Willem Adriaan's church tower was heightened, 
and a clock was put in it ; it stands there now, 
the tower of the Dutch Reformed Church ; but 
the old church has been destroyed. Some of its 



Cape To)vii 

«h Tvmch onfy- 




CAPE TOWN CHURCH, FROM A PRINT. 

walls are incorporated in the present building. 
During the terrible scourge of small-pox in Ryk 
Tulbagh's administration, the infection was in- 
creased by church burial, and doubtless repairs 
were necessary, for it is said that a lady and her 
chair suddenly disappeared in the midst of the 
service. The pavement had given way, and she 
was discovered beneath, sitting in the tomb of 
an early Governor. But what could be more 

271 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

interesting now than to have, intact, the hatch- 
ments of these early Governors, their monuments, 
and the tablets and memorials to the captains of 
the Dutch ships, and of the Enghsh and Danish 
admirals who were buried there, mentioned by 
Captain Henri Hop in his account of the Cape. 
Simon van der Stel's monument was destroyed, 
and though some of the hatchments were after- 
wards collected by Mr. C. V. Leibbrandt and hung 
by him in the Archives Office, no doubt many were 
lost and spoiled. Otherwise all memorials of 
the men employed by the East India Company 
and of their wives and children have disappeared. 
There seems to have been an effort to track out, 
and repair the tombs which were lost sight of 
at the reconstruction of the Groote Kerk at Batavia 
and the monument of van Riebeeck was discovered. 
In Colombo the English Government in 1813 
collected the tombstones from the old graveyard 
near the Fort and placed them in Wolfendahl 
Church, saying they viewed with " concern and 
regret " the neglected state of the consecrated 
piece of ground. On the Coromandel coast too, 
where the young children and the wives of the 
Company's men so often died, their monuments 
and mural inscriptions have to some extent been 
cared for. Table Bay Church, with its two hand- 
some doorways of red and white marble, ap- 
proached by avenues, should have been at least 
too picturesque to lightly destroy ; and is one 

272 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

of the foolish iconoclasms so difficult to forgive. 
A great building for the Company's slaves, 
called the " Loots/' was at the wall of the garden, 
behind the churchyard. Handsome enough, but 
rather terrible in its arrangements. 

The charming Town Hall was begun now, and a 
Lutheran church and parsonage, built by Martin 
Melk. Stock has a strange permanency, and this 
Melk, to whom as you may remember belonged 
Elsenberg, one of the most beautiful of farm- 
houses, was the forbear of a family which is still 
prominent in the Colony and has intermarried 
with the De Wets. I was told that Madame 
Melk, widow of a former owner of Elsenberg, was 
the only lady in the Colony privileged to remain 
seated when Governor Ryk Tulbagh entered the 
room, and that his Excellency was wont to visit 
Elsenberg. " The farm of Melk," says Admiral 
Stavorinus, " at a distance, and indeed close by, 
appeared like a whole village. It lies among the 
mountains, upon the gentle declivity of a high 
ridge, and on the banks of an ever-running stream 
which he has led along his farm between two brick 
walls, like a canal, and which turns a water mill 
for the purpose of grinding his corn. His dwelling- 
house, which was of a considerable size, had four 
or five large and handsome rooms, all furnished in 
a neat and handsome style, so that it more re- 
sembled a gentleman's villa than the mansion of a 
farmer." It is difficult to know how much of the 

273 s 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

present " mansion " was designed by Melk^ and 
how much by old Sieur Elzevier, who first built 
it. The gable of course has a late date, and the 
beautiful side screens of the door were probably 
made by an Oriental slave, skilled in metal work, 
specially mentioned by Stavorinus, for whom 
Melk had paid fifteen hundred rix dollars or 
upwards of £300. The door was bought by 
Mr. C. J. Rhodes, burnt with the burning of his 
earlier house at Groote Schuur, and restored 
when the present house was built ; the present 
door is a facsimile of the original. Melk was a 
native of Prussia, and the Dutch Admiral was 
much impressed by his enthusiasm for his king, 
so great that the farmer decorated " the chimney 
pieces and other parts of the house with the 
arms of his sovereign." I remember finding with 
surprise an Imperial eagle inlaid in wood above 
one of the fireplaces. 

In accordance with the laws of the Company, 
only the Dutch reformed religion was allowed ; 
the Lutheran was prohibited. " Mr. Melk," said 
Governor Tulbagh, '' when I pass by that church 
which is building I shall shut the eye nearest it." 
" Sir," was the reply, " God Himself will close 
the eyes of the man who may not look at the 
building of His house." And, continues the 
legend, Ryk Tulbagh went home to sicken of the 
illness which was his last. He died in 1771, 
speaking on his death-bed of his anxieties for 

274 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

the Colony and its people, and was the last 
Governor buried within the old Dutch Reformed 
Church. In the Lutheran Church there is, as 
there should be, a mural tablet to Martin Melk. 
There is too a large quaintly carved pulpit, made 




OLD LUTHERAN PARSONAGE. 



I believe, by the same artist who designed the 
pediment on Constantia wine house in 1779. 

During all this time no trade or barter could 
be carried on by any of the settlers or burghers 
with the natives, and Boers and farmers in out- 
lying places were frequently robbed and murdered 

275 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

by the Hottentots without any possibihty of 
retahating ; any vengeance brought them under 
the severe penalties prescribed by the Company 
for those who molested the natives. A resolution 
under Ryk Tulbagh, couched in his forcible voca- 
bulary prohibited any barter whatsoever ; traders 
were to be punished by confiscation of property 
as disturbers of public peace, and to be " arbi- 
trarily punished in the body, aye, even with 
death." In 1770 for any cattle trade or barter, 
however trifling, carried on with Hottentots, 
the offender was to be prosecuted in the most 
rigorous manner by the landdrosts under pain 
of losing their office. 

At last in 1774, when distant settlers seem to 
have lived in terror of their lives, the people of 
the " Groote Middel and Kleyne Rogge velds, and 
Bokke velds, Nieuweveld and Hantam," prayed to 
be delivered from the murderous rapacity of the 
Bosjesmans Hottentots. The name is a late 
one, and the "Sonquas" and "Obiquas" of the 
first explorers probably stand for it. In answer 
to the petition, an expedition was organized, to 
be under a newly-appointed Field-commandant 
Opperman, by the Landdrost and Heemraden 
and the militia officers of Stellenbosch with the 
sanction of van Plettenberg and his Council. 
But the dying out of the Bushmen has been due 
as much to sickness and the usual decline of a 
primitive race as to extermination by the farmers. 

276 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

Smallpox raged at the Cape during the time of 
Ryk Tulbagh, carrying off in 1755 two thousand 
of the limited population, and again in 1767 
about one thousand more. The earliest records 
mention strange outbreaks of sickness which 
decimated the native tribes, and we hear once or 
twice that any infectious disease at Good Hope 
was carried inland by native tribes. 

Rarely, I suppose, has any society been at 
once so small and so varied as that which Sparrman, 
the Swedish naturalist, the friend of Linnaeus 
and of Captain Cook, found at the Cape in 1772. 
He arrived the year after Tulbagh's death, when 
the unpopular van Plettenberg was Governor, 
under whose protection he immediately put him- 
self. Dr. Thunberg, the Upsala botanist, travelling 
at the expense of some gentleman in Holland, 
arrived about the same time. The land of the 
blue and red disa was justly famous; Bougain- 
ville the scientific explorer, and La Caille the 
astronomer, had already been there. Equipped 
with the eye of an observer, the naturalist gives 
us a most vivid account of the European medley 
which succeeded the old Company's Chinese policy 
of exclusion. When he describes to us the 
burgher militia, whose blue coats had each faded 
into a different shade, so varied " that they 
might as well have been purple and pink, and 
whose waistcoats were none of them alike," it was 
" a French priest with red heels to his shoes " 

277 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

who expressed his amazement at the parti-coloured 
costume. Some of this burgher mihtia, the Swede 
tells us, were Europeans who had served in the 
wars at home, but who, having spent five years 
in the country, had become naturalized. At one 
time a feud existed between them and the 
garrison, and in a moment of exasperation they 
had shot at each other with metal coat buttons 
and pieces of money, since when they were obliged 
to exercise at different times. Much disappointed 
were all these later travellers with the Company's 
garden ; in fact, from all accounts it deteriorated 
soon after the van der Stel exile. Sparrman 
merely calls it one of the largest gardens in the 
town, where the greater walks were bordered 
by oak trees thirty feet high, and the fruit trees 
were surrounded by hedges of myrtle and elm. 
At the end of the pleasure garden the Company's 
menagerie was railed off. 

At Simonstown our traveller found lively 
English ladies on their way to and from India, 
Danish and French officers and captains and solid 
Dutch skippers, who, to his great distress, smoked 
their pipes at dessert, and sat with their hats 
on and their elbows on the table. Sparrman 
passed much of his time at the winter anchorage, 
for Mr. Hemming, the Secunde, was in residence 
there, and the naturalist acted as tutor to his 
sons. The rest of his time at the Cape was largely 
spent at Alphen, that beautiful old house between 

278 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

Wynberg and Constantia, where Hemming lived 
while not at Simonstown. The freehold had first 
been granted in 1714 to Theunis van Schalkwyk, 
and again adjoining land by Governor Tulbagh 
to one Abraham Leever. Leever probably built 
the house, but it is said to have been restored 




STEPS AT ALPHEN, WYNBERG. 



or improved by a retired sailor of the Company, 
Captain de Waal, who placed two funny little 
portrait busts of himself and his wife at the 
top of the flight of steps. He is thought to have 
designed the steps, and to have laid out the garden 
with mathematical precision. 

279 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

Sparrman speaks of a hippopotamus which 
wandered up in the dusk from the Zeekoe Vlei 
(hippopotamus pool) on the " Flats/' and which 
he met near Wynberg ; of the flamingoes with 
their snow-white plumage and flaming wdngs. I 
do not know how long it is since both beasts and 
birds have been killed off, or deserted, the place. 
I have heard a suggestion of making artificial 
lakes with mechanical pleasure boats at the old 
hippopotamus haunts on the road to Muizenberg. 

Wandering in the country the man had inter- 
esting experiences, having himself a friendly and 
interesting personality. He was delighted with 
the farmers, "a set of honest, hearty fellows," 
and found that the occupants of the dwellings, 
composed " partly of brick and partly of well- 
wrought clay," as he designates the plaster work, 
were hospitable and kindly. He stayed at a 
handsome house of van der Spoi, " brother of 
the owner of old or red Constantia," on the way 
to Paarl, where he got an excellent dinner and 
where his host stood in the doorway as he came 
up, taking him by the hand and saying " Good- 
day ! Welcome ! How are you ? Who are you ? 
A glass of wine ? A pipe of tobacco ? Will you eat 
anything?" Many times he mentions that the 
floor of the homesteads was only bare earth, 
and that the furniture was miserable. Yet 
on the. whole during his long walk "over dry 
and torrid hills," with the insects he collected 

280 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

stuck round his hat, to the amazement of his 
new acquaintances, he was comfortably housed 
and generously treated. Settlers from Berlin, 
Hanover, and Livonia he specifies, and several 
earlier explorers speak of colonists from Hamburg 
and Cologne ; so there seems to have been a fair 
sprinkling of Germans, amongst the country folk. 
Portuguese was the language spoken to, and by, 
the slaves and the people from Java. Cape 
" Taal " is still full of eastern words, " Karoo " 
is thought to have been introduced from the East, 
" mealies," the ordinary word for Indian corn, to 
come from the Javanese " mili " or Portuguese 
" milho " — a thousand — (seeds). " Naartje," 
the Cape for a sort of Tangarine, probably 
a corruption of the Persian " narinj " an 
orange, though it is said to mean a "little fool." 

Sparrman describes the Company's servants 
and soldiers from whom he asked his way, some- 
where, it would seem, between Klapmuts and the 
Bottelary district. They were all drunk with 
the wine which they carried about in leathern 
bottles or calabashes. " Every one of them 
pointed out a different way, jabbering all at once 
in High Dutch, Low Dutch, and Hanoverian, 
telling him, in their sea dialect, that if he does 
not alter his course at once he will meet with 
deserts, wild mountains, and the like." Hereafter 
he encountered " a black heathen tending sheep, 
and in consequence of his sober and sensible 

281 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

directions, he arrived by nightfall at the house of a 
Hanoverian farm bailiff, who welcomed him 
with a hearty flap of the hand in the South 
African manner." The place may have been 
Haazendal in the Bottelary, as a little later 
Admiral Stavorinus tells us that he stopped 
there, and that the owner, burgher van As and 
his wife, received him in very hospitable manner, 
giving him a dish of tea and a glass of exception- 




HAAZENDAL IN THE BOTTELARY. 



ally good wine while the horses were baiting. 
The title deeds of the farms show that a little 
later again it belonged to the widow of van As, 
and was taxed 1,200 guilders yearly for the 
dowager lady of Governor Joachim van Pletten- 
berg. The name, like most of the farm names, 
comes down from its earliest owner, Haazen- 
winkel, a beadle and messenger of justice in the 

282 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

time of Willem van der Stel, who granted him 
the land in 1704 on condition that for the " great 
privilege of the right to hold and cultivate it" he 
would give a tithe of his corn to the government, 
and replace all wood he might drop down, planting 
oaks and other timber. There are not many 
trees now near this charming lonely farm, but 
whether it is the fault of Haazenwinkel or his 
successors who shall say ? The date of the gable is 
quite late, 1790. 

According to Sparrman's accounts, eighteenth 
century Colonial life had certainly grave draw- 
backs. He was surprised at getting such bad 
food and so little milk ; the latter fault is still 
characteristic. When at last, at a " house with a 
clay floor," he is given milk by the two children 
who are at home, " Master John and Miss Susy," 
in the morning his coffee is " full of groats and as 
weak as small beer." More painful is the sketch 
of the house with a scolding housewife at which 
the slave girl drags a log of wood chained to her 
foot ; the shrieks and cries in another house where 
the slaves January and February were under the 
lash. I think no one can recommend slavery 
after the description of his night in the Bottelary, 
when he and his host bolt their door and sleep 
with five loaded guns over their heads, for 
fear of the slaves ; for he is told they sometimes 
become furious at night and commit murder. 
Fugitives besides were continually wandering 

283 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

about, stealing to the houses in the dark, 
and inciting the others. The owners hved 
in a continual state of anxiety. The naturalist 
himself had a narrow escape, for returning from 
Cape Town to Alphen one night he missed his 
road. Coming to an "elegant house," probably 







GATE OF THE SLAVE ENCLOSURE, BOSHOF. 



either Boshof, the old home of the Breda family, 
or to Stellenberg, he was first attacked by dogs ; 
then a troop of slaves came out, calling to him 
in broken Malay and Portuguese. Sparrman, 
terrified at the appearance of the men, and the 
possibility of being murdered without chance 

284 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

of help — for the master of the house would have 
been safely locked within — gave rein to his horse, 
and never stopped until the good animal arrived 
home, to the surprise of his rider, by some unknown 
path. 

I do not think these stories were exaggerated. 
In many instances there were delightful friend- 
ships between the owner and the slave. It is 
impossible to doubt the stories of good fellowship 
and devotion which existed in the time and live 
in the traditions of the fathers and mothers of 
people still alive. Has one not seen very old men 
and women who were once slaves, and many who 
were the children of slaves, of an Arab, Java- 
nese, or Madagascar stock, who were immeasurably 
superior to any other coloured type at the Cape, 
and whose kindness of heart and faithfulness 
were unparalleled. But in the days when the 
gallows stood always ready for its prey and the 
rack was part of the machinery of life, the brutal- 
izing influence must have been extreme. A slave 
atrocity or revenge is recorded on the coat of 
arms of the suburb of Mowbray near Cape Town, 
once called Trikop. There at the old house of 
Welgelegen, now rebuilt, a whole family was 
murdered. One baby only, whose descendants 
are still alive, was saved by his nurse, who hid him 
in the large brick bread oven. The murderers 
were caught and killed, their heads exposed 
in the horrible old fashion. The word " kop," 

285 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

meaning both " cup " and " head," was mis- 
translated into EngHsh whilst the story was 
forgotten ; and the Mowbray coat now shows 
three cups as well as three heads. 

The most important development of the Cape 
during those later years was the spread of the 
Colony in the direction of Colesberg. Here on 




GATE OF WELGELEGEN, MOWBRAY. 



the Zeekoe River, Governor van Plettenberg set 
up a beacon. A second he placed at Plettenberg 
Bay. About the same time Orange River was 
named by Colonel Gordon in honour of the House 
of Orange. Gordon is a mysterious enough 
figure, perhaps a Jacobite, for he was an old officer 
of the Scotch regiment who had served in the 
Netherlands under Colonel Dundas. He had 

286 



THE TAVERN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN 

certainly cut himself off from his people, for he was 
in the service of the Dutch Company. He com- 
mitted suicide after the capitulation of the Cape 
to England a few years later. 




ELSENBERG. 



287 



MEN AND HOUSES 



XII 
Men and Houses 

WHEN I look at the neat portrait of Captain 
Cook, with his satin waistcoat, high stock, 
and laced coat and hat, I wonder how they lasted 
during his hairbreadth adventures in all quarters 
of the globe. I have always thought the clothes 
of the eighteenth century singularly badly de- 
signed for men of action, and am confirmed by 
Sparrman's account of himself after his stay up 
country with the old elephant hunter Prinsloo. 
His hair was braided into a twist, his " side 
curls " straight and fluttering in the air, and his 
fine linen coat with a white ground was variegated 
Vv^ith dabs of gunpowder and spots of dirt of all 
kinds. The flaps of the three-cornered hat were 
hanging loose, his ruffles were torn, his stockings 
about his heels, and his smart gilt buttons lost on 
the veld. His friend, Mr. Immelman, was worse, 
for with a beard five weeks old, he ** figured on 
horseback in a long nightgown, with a white night- 
cap, and large wide boots ; at the time he was 
without stockings." Even as he was, Sparrman 
appears to have been very attractive to the 

291 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

womerij who counselled him to marry and settle 
amongst them, but in a burst of unusual frivolity 
the naturalist confesses that much as he hked 
them for their kindness and virtue — and indeed 
he admired his hosts exceedingly — their appear- 
ance made anything else impossible. 




r 



LATE WINDOW IN CAPE TOWN. 



" There are few people more obliging to 
strangers than the Dutch in general at this 
place," wrote Captain Cook in 1775, when he 
arrived at Table Bay, having returned with 
Sparrman from a voyage round Cape Horn. 
" The good treatment which strangers meet with 

292 



MEN AND HOUSES 

at the Cape of Good Hope and the necessity of 
breathing a httle fresh air has induced a custom 
not common anywhere else, which is for all the 
officers to be spared out of the ships to reside on 
shore. Myself, the two Forsters and Mr. Sparrman 
took up our abode with Mr. Brandt, a gentleman 
well known to the English by his obliging readi- 
ness to serve them. My first care after my 
arrival was to procure some fresh baked bread, 
fresh meat, greens, and wine for those who re- 
mained on board, and being provided every day 
during our stay with those articles, they were 
soon restored to their usual strength. We had 
only three men on board whom it was thought 
necessary to send on shore for the recovery of 
their health, and for these I procured quarters 
at the rate of half a crown per day, for which they 
were provided with victuals, drink and lodging." 
Van der Stel's old hospital falling to ruins was 
propped up ; and materials were being collected 
for another which afterwards became the barracks 
in Cape Town. In 1770 the large graveyard 
round the church on the Herrengeracht was closed, 
and a new one opened between the Lion Mountain 
and the shore of the Bay. 

The French traveller Le Vaillant in 1780 gives 
an unfriendly, but most interesting account of 
the Cape. He tells us of the hard life of the 
man who hoisted the signal on the Lion Hill 
when ships were in sight. The monument 

293 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

placed on the Lion Hill in 1680 by Governor- 
General van Goens, and shown in some of the 
old prints of Table Bay, had disappeared, but 
the elaborate system of signalling from the same 
place continued. At a watch-house on the side 
of the mountain were two men perpetually on 
the look-out for ships. Directly a ship showed 
on the horizon one of these men mounted the 
hill, pulling himself up and down the steep rock 
by ropes, and fired a cannon, pointing with his 
arms to the ship's course. At this the second 
man ran to the Fort and announced the arrival. 
When the ships hailed from Europe or from 
Holland, usually between the months of January 
and June, the flag of Holland or the Prince of 
Orange was run up on the hill within sight 
of the sea. For vessels returning from India 
particular flags were shown, known only to 
the chief officers of the Company and the captains 
of the fleet. These signified that the Cape, in 
those precarious times, was still in the hands 
of the Dutch. If the fleet carried an officer of 
higher standing than the Governor of the Cape, 
a salute was fired from the Castle. 

The interior of the houses in Cape Town, says 
Le Vaillant, showed no marks of frivolous luxury. 
" All the furniture is in simple and noble taste. 
There are no tapestries, and a few paintings 
or mirrors form the principal ornaments." The 
artistic Frenchman alone of the many writers 

294 



MEN AND HOUSES 

on Table Bay mentions the really beautiful 
Colonial furniture. The genius of Holland is 
always that of detail, and the Dutchman was 
par excellence the cabinet-maker of Europe. 
Even before the advent of William HI there 
were Dutch cabinet-makers in England, and 
much of the seventeenth and eighteenth century 




OLD COLONIAL-MADE CHAIR. 



work of the two countries is extraordinarily alike. 
I think all the fine ehenistes of France in the 
time of Louis XIV were of Dutch or Flemish 
origin, and though they wrought after the French 
style, there is often, especially amongst the earlier 
work, a distinctly ungallic flavour. Portugal is 

295 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

said to have brought into Europe Indo-Portuguese 
furniture from the Indies. But it seems to date 
from the time when Holland also had a footing 
abroad, and if so, this so-called Indo-Portuguese 
might equally, if not better, be called Indo-Dutch. 
The pattern of the furniture made and carved 
at the Cape by Javanese and Indian prisoners 
for the Dutch officials is very much of the same 




VERY OLD COLONIAL MADE ARMOIRE. 



description, and chairs and settees of the kind 
were made for the Dutch at Surat, Nagapatam 
and elsewhere. Even before the English Company 
the Hollanders brought clocks and corner cup- 
boards to the East to be lacquered, but I never 
saw any of this work at the Cape, where, with 

296 



MEN AND HOUSES 

the exception of those seats made by the exiles 
in Robben Island in elaborately carved ebony, 
the work is for the most part characteristically 
Dutch. 

A very old Colonial made armoire in a beautiful 
house in Cape Town resembles the design of a 
Flemish armoire in South Kensington Museum, 
dated 1534. Seats are often very like the early 
eighteenth century English country-made fur- 




OLD COLONIAL BENCH IN " STINK-WOOD." 

niture. In the teak wall cupboards of the farms 
and the " stink- wood " and " yellow- wood " 
wardrobes you get more or less the characteristic 
gable outline, which was quite traditional in 
furniture. I have noticed it in a cupboard 
for holding workshop tools, in a sixteenth century 
wood engraving. Indeed I think it is quite likely 
that the Cape craftsman may have refreshed his 

297 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

memory of the gables at home by studying the 
outhnes of his furniture models. Much of the 
furniture is inlaid in ebony, and the materials 
'^ yellow- wood " and " stink wood " (so called from 
the strong smell of the wood when it is freshly 
cut) mark the work as essentially Colonial made. 
There is no doubt a certain element of French 




ARMOIRE IN "stink-wood" AND "YELLOW-WOOD." 

influence, and as Frenchmen emigrated through 
the Netherlands into England at exactly the 
same date that the refugee Frenchmen emigrated 
to the Cape, it is not strange that the cabinet 
makers in all these places should have worked 
on similar lines. I have heard of elaborately 

298 



MEN AND HOUSES 

carved bedsteads in Cape Colony and other work 
of a more distinctively French kind, but I never 
saw any myself. 

At the time of Le Vaillant French influence 
was greatly feared both by the Orange and 
anti-revolutionary party in Holland and at the 
Cape. Writing rather bitterly, the traveller tells 
us that '* all the ladies play upon the harpsichord, 
which is their sole accomphshment . . . strangers 
. . . are generally well received, but the English 
are adored, and in less than eight days everything 
in the house where they have fixed their choice 
becomes English : the master, the mistress, and 
even the children. The French are greatly dis- 
liked, and they say," he adds, "that they would 
rather be taken by the English than owe their 
safety to the French." 

Admiral Stavorinus, in 1798, asserted that the 
women were more witty and lively than the men, 
who spent most of their time indoors smoking 
tobacco and loitering up and down the house. 
Englishmen," he said, " who care not for their 
money," spent it in procuring the ladies all kinds 
of diversion, and therefore were much liked. 
However this may be, the feeling was not universal. 
There was a republican party at Table Bay 
which strongly sympathised with the French, 
and already in 1782 two French regiments had 
been asked for and were stationed at Good 
Hope. A certain architectural influence seen in 

299 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

some of the decorated windows in Cape Town is 
said to have come in at this time. 

Three years later CorneHs de Graff arrived as 
Governor. He estabHshed the Drostdy of Graff 
Reinett. The Colony was rent with internal 
troubles, and ten years later again the new dis- 
trict threw over the Company's rule, and Swel- 
lendam at the same time drove away their 
Landdrost and formed themselves into a republic. 
The political situation in Europe was complex. 
The Stadtholder had fled to England, and the 
Netherlands were in possession of France. Hol- 
land was renamed the Batavian Republic. At 
this juncture the Dutch Company accepted the 
offer of help made by the English ambassador, 
and an English fleet sailed for Table Bay in 
order to ensure its neutrality, armed with author- 
ity from the Prince of Orange and the Dutch 
East India Company to protect the Cape against 
the victorious arms of the French Republic. 
There was a skirmish along the coast at IVIuizen- 
burg, and a peace signed at the old Company's 
House of Rustenburg. 

For the nine following years the Colony was 
under England, and the old Company's rule at 
an end. Every man might, in the words of the 
official " letter " to the Swellendam rebels, buy of 
whom he pleased, sell to whom he pleased, employ 
whom he pleased, and come and go when and 
where he chose, by land or by water. But 

300 



MEN AND HOUSES 

sympathy with the arms and poHtics of France 
was most carefully watched. Theal tells us that 
Mr. Hendrick Oostwald Eckstein of Bergvliet, 
a farm lying between Wynberg and Muizenburg, 
sent invitations to his daughter's wedding written 




BERGVLIET. 



in French, and addressed to his " citizen friends." 
When this came to official ears a party of dragoons 
was immediately ordered to " proceed to the 
festive company of citizens/' and Mr. Eckstein 
had to go to Government House to apologize, 

301 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

and to sign a bond for a thousand pounds with 
the security of two substantial persons as an 
earnest of future good behaviour. 

A Hst of the old Company's outposts taken 
at this time mentions " Vissers Hoek " on the 
edge of the Koeberg district, probably named 
after the Company's officer, T. Visser. The walls 
and fine old gateposts still stand, though the 
old house is gone. The white enclosure and houses 
of " Plaat Klip " or Kloof, still show against the 
hill of Tygerberg in \dew of Cape To\\ti. At 
the post of Klapmuts no house remains. That 
at the " Oude Biquas Land " is e\adently the 
site of the Drosdty near Roodezaand Pass. The 
post of " Kirstenbosch," called no doubt after 
Kirsten, Junior Merchant in 1763, and Company's 
Resident in False Bay about 1780, lies under 
Table Mountain. The ruins of the Hout Bay 
Post, are still to be seen. The " Post of Witte-- 
boom," is a well known farm near Constantia: 
beautiful and poetic sites all. The other Com- 
pany's outposts were at Oliphants Rivier, 
Zoetmelks Vallei, near the river Zonderend, 
Swellendam, Mussel Bay, Saldanah Bay, and 
Plettenbergs Bay. The old limekiln and the 
remains of one of the Company's mills are on 
the stretch of sand, within sight of the Castle, 
where so many ships were wrecked ; and the 
" two great magazines for corn and oil situa- 
ted next the Lutheran Church," are old-world 

302 



MEN AND HOUSES 

touches in the terribly new and vulgar develop- 
ment of modern Cape Town. 

At this time the graveyard round the church 
in Adderley Street was cut up, and streets laid 
out on it. Sir George Young placed his slave 
lodge there, and a theatre was built in Riebeeck 
Square. The slave lodge, re-modelled, now contains 




THE OLD GATE TO GOVERNMENT HOUSE AND THE SLAVE LODGE BEYOND. 

the Supreme Courts of Justice, the Treasury, 
and other offices. I give an illustration, taken 
from an old water-colour, of the gate of Govern- 
ment House in the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. A suggestion was made, I am told 

303 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

— with what correctness I do not know — by Mr. 
J. Hofmeyer, of restoring it, but the plan has 
not been carried out. Beyond the gate is seen 
the slave lodge and the tree-bordered canal. 

In 1801 the colony was given back, as promised, 
to the Dutch. Commissioner de Mist was sent 



-^,/>.U" ;:r?-;^; -*: ^^:S<r:!^:,(l-;s :^^^, »• ' =^> --A'c^f'- 



''2 




STELLENBERG GATE. 



out as Governor; he who gave to the two ports 
of Table and False Bay the poetic title of " Hosts 
of the Indian Ocean Tavern." He lived at 
Stellenberg, the beautiful eighteenth century 
house at Wynberg, at the back of which once 
ran the track or thoroughfare from Cape Town 

304 



MEN AND HOUSES 

to Constantia. It is a very old farm granted 
by Van der Stel to Jacob Vogel in 1697 on con- 
dition that Vogel should plant trees, especially 
oaks ; and his oaks thrive to this day. Vogel 
was to yield a tenth part of his corn to the Com- 
pany. We hear of him in 1703 paying 9,800 
florins for the right to tap and sell the Company's 
wine, and to lease the imported beer. But the 
original house was entirely burnt down in 1710, 

Commissioner de Mist was not long in residence. 
All Europe was menaced by the great Napoleon. 
The fall of Table Bay, the key to India, was too 
important to leave in doubt. In 1805 Trafalgar 
had been fought and the Russians defeated 
at Austerlitz. In 1806 Louis Napoleon was 
placed on the throne of Holland. There was no 
time to lose. General Baird, in the beginning 
of the same year, landed with his men at Saldanah 
Bay, marched towards the Cape and fought with 
General Janssens in the Blauwberg hills, a 
desolate coast tract where even on a summer's 
day the wind seems chill, and the loose white 
sand gathers into eddies like driven snow, or is 
tossed into a solid stinging spray. The whole 
story is too well known to tell again. Janssens, 
short of food, short of clothing, with none who 
could be counted on, signed the capitulation 
on January 18, 1806. 

Nineteenth century dawned late in this land 
of the Southern hemisphere. Intellectual tastes 

305 u 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

were not highly developed^ and at quite a late 
date there was only one attempt at a library 
in Cape Town : a house near the church which 
had a few volumes looked after by the sexton. 
In the country, gabled houses after the old pattern, 
some of them the most beautiful, were built 
after this. Tokai, built on part of old Governor 
Van der Stel's grazing land, an old home of the 




LITTLE TERRACE AT TOKAI. 



Ekstein family, with its vine-trelhsed loggia, 
roofed bell tower, odd little terrace behind, was 
probably one of these later houses. The land 
was first granted to Andreas Ranch by Rhenius 
in 1792, and to Petrus Michael Ekstein by Sir 
J. F. Craddock in 1814. Early writers speak a 
good deal of the cavern in the Prinz Kasteel 

306 



MEN AND HOUSES 

Mountain above, discussing whether its formation 
is natural or artificial. The property is now taken 
over by Government, and has a beautiful planta- 
tion and nursery of trees. 

And Cape Town. A mist of romance and 
poetry hangs over the old historic seaport. How 
familiar it all seems : the old lazy hospitable 
life, where the long dinner tables might be daily 
set for thirty guests, and sedan chairs plied to 
and fro down the ill-paved streets. (Such prac- 
tical jokes, too, were played with these sedan 
chairs. One was to remove the foot-boards 
so that the victim, hastily decoyed inside, was 
scurried along with his feet in the mud, the slave 
carriers laughing like children until they cried.) 
At one of the old boarding houses of Strand 
Street were quaint inscriptions (such as " Lovely 
and charming Miss Riden, 1813 ") cut on some 
of the windows. The French astronomer, De La 
Caille, stayed there when he came to Cape Town 
to obtain the terrestrial measurement of the 
arc of the meridian ; his gnomon and meridian 
line were on the wall, and Sir Thomas Maclear 
used to make visits to look at it. I saw the 
house being pulled down a few years ago. From 
Strand Street to the Parade you passed over a 
bridge of brick and stone. I hope, despite all 
alterations, that Van Riebeeck's coat-of-arms 
will be left upon tlie Town Hall. It was placed 
there, I think, by Commissioner de Mist, who 

307 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

would have liked the town called Riebeeck 
Stad, and before the fine new statue presented 
by Mr. Rhodes, it was the only memorial of the 




HALL AT STELLENBERG. 



first Commander. Public offices were still in the 
" Castle/' and though the " Company's garden " 
was dilapidated and neglected, the menagerie 

308 



MEN AND HOUSES 

was a feature of the place. How many of us 
have been dehghted in our youth with the adven- 
tures there of the wicked Tommy of Marryat's 
Master man Ready ? 

Canals still ran down the Herrengracht 
(Adderley Street), Bergh Street (St. George's 
Street), New Street, Waal Street, Bree Street. 
But they bred mosquitoes, and the canal of 
Riebeeck Square, fed by rain water, was terrible 
in summer, so they had to go, with many another 
thing, better and worse. How many descrip- 
tions one has read of the quiet streets, planted 
with stone pines and oaks, where business was 
transacted in the warehouses, and never a sign 
of trade or bustle appeared. Of the slaves 
returning in a procession with fuel from the 
mountain at nightfall, and the ostriches wander- 
ing home like cattle in the evening. Of the 
fine old houses in Lower Strand Street, where 
boarded the rich merchants, and the military 
folk on half-pay and sick leave from India, 
with their ostentation and their curries and their 
turbaned servants, and all the local colour men 
brought back in those days from the far East. 
Yet as I look, each special figure falls into the 
kaleidescope of years, and against the radiating 
mountain pass the men of more than three cen- 
turies ; the leather- jerkined sailor of the six- 
teenth century filling his water casks on the wild 
sea-shore ; the kindly imperturbable farmer in 

309 



OLD CAPE COLONY 

his ready-made clothes, gazing into the plate- 
glass shop windows. 

WTiat a crowd of people walk down the road ! 
Old van Riebeeck in his silk stockings ; Van der 
Stel, keen and courteous ; Captain Cook, stretch- 
ing himself after a long sea voyage, or at his 
window cutting his signature with a diamond 
ring — the pane of glass was there a few years 
ago ; Clive ; the gallant figure of young Welling- 
ton, his face bronzed by an Indian sun ; Dutch 
skippers ; Englishmen in the service of John 
Company — can you not see them all ? 




THE END. 



3IO 



AUTHORITIES CONSULTED OR QUOTED 

Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope. Translated 
by H. C. V. Leibbrandt. 

Rambles through the Archives. H. C. V. Leibbrandt, Cape 
Town, 1887. 

Various extracts translated from the Archives Records and 
Title Deeds at the Cape of Good Hope. 

Treatise concerning the Establishment of a French Com- 
pany for the Commerce of the East Indies. London, 1664. 

Verhael der O.I. Compagnie, vols, i and 2, 1768 ; also Vie 
des Gouverneurs Generaux Dii Bois : both quoted by Water- 
meyer in his Lectures on the Cape of Good Hope. Cape 
Town, 1877. 

A Brief Description of a Voyage Performed by Ceriaine 
Hollanders from the East Indies, with their Adventures and 
Successes . . . wherein is contayned the First Voyage of the 
Low Countrymen into the Indies (1597). 

The History of South Africa. Theal. 

The Voiage of Robert Couvert. Lond., 1631. 

The Hollanders Declaration of the Affairs of the East Indies. 
Amst., 1622. 

Original Papers concerning the English East India Com- 
pany. 

Voyage de Siam des Peres Jesuites. Paris, 1686. 

Second Voyage de Pere Tachard. Paris, 1689. 

Travels in South Africa. Kolbe. Trans. London, 1731. 

Naukeurige Beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche Gewesten. Dr. 
O. Dapper, Amsterdam, 1676. 

Nouvelle Discription du Cap de Bonne Esperance. Henri 
Hop. Amst., 1778. Avec un Journal . . . fait par ordre 
du Gouverneur feu Mgr. Ryk Tulbagh. 

311 



AUTHORITIES CONSULTED OR QUOTED 

Voyages to the East Indies. J. H. Stavorinus, Rear- 
Admiral in the service of the States General. Trans. Lond. 
1798. 

Captain Cook's Voyages Round the World, 1768-71. 

Travels in South Africa. Le Vaillant. 

Travels of Sir John Barrow, 1808. 

Original Papers Concerning the Aborigines in South Africa. 
Moodie. 

Life of General Baird. 

A Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope and round the 
World. Dubhn. Sparrman, 1785. 

Records of the Cape Colony. From the Public Record Office, 
London. Theal. 

An Account of the Cape of Good Hope. Capt. R. 
Percival., London, 1804. 

An Account of the Cape of Good Hope. Anonymous. 
London, 1821. 

Essay on East India Trade . . . impartially considered. 
1742. 

Relation of the unjust cruell and barbarous proceedings 
against the English at Aniboyna . . . Lond. 1624. 

Genealogische Kw artier staten van de NederlandscJie gesch- 
laten. St. Gravenhage, 1865. 

Monumental Remains of Dutch and English East India 
Companies in the Presidency of Madras. Alex. Rea, 1897. 
Arch. Survey of India. 

Wouter Schouten. Oost-Indische Voyagie. Amst. 1676. 

Comnielin. Beschryving der Stadt Amsterdam. 1693. 

Lapidarium Zeylanicaum. Ludovici. 



312 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Aan het Pad, 157 
d'Abeling, 123, 132, 247 
Alphen, 278 
Appel, F., 114 
As, van, 136, 282 



Blauwberg, 156, 305 
Blesius, The Fiscal, 148, 195, 

251 

Bochenhout's Kloof, 203 
Bokkeveld, 221, 276 
Boschendal, 190 



Assenburgh, Gov., van, 137, Boscheuval, 252 



254 



B 

Baird, Gen., 305 
Bange Hoek, 185 
Batavia, 19, 73, 81 
Baviaan's Kloof, 261 
Bek, Rev. H., 198, 258 
Benozzi, Pierre, 188 
Berg Olaf, 89 
Berg River, iii, 194 
Bergvliet, 301 
Bethliem, 187 
Bien Donne, 195 
Birds, Cape, 51, 168, 215 



Boshof, 284 

Bottelary, The, 162 

Brandsolder, 59 

Brandt, 293 

Bricks, imported, 30, 58, 147, 

245 
Burgundy Farm, 202 



Camphor trees, 140 
Canal, The, 24, 270, 309 
Cape Town, Old streets of, 

243. 270, 307 et seq. 
Castle, The, 46, 67, 96, 137 
Castle, founding of, 38 



315 



INDEX 



Eerste River, 167 
Elsenburg, 150 
Elsjes Kraal, 150 
Elzevir, Secunde 



Ceres, 223 

Chavonnes, Gen. de, 256 

Church, Old Cape Town, 105 

130, 271 
Cloete, 62, 64, 107, 178 
Coinage, 229 et seq. 
Company, the Dutch East Enzaamheid, de, 158 

India, see Dutch East 

India Company 

Company's Posts, 43, 50, 302 _ 

F 
Constantia, 55 ei seq., 114 

Constantia Wine, 56 



Sieur S. 



48, 89, 116, 130, 150 



Fontaine, La, 258 
Fort, The, 23, 38 et seq., 244 
Frenchhoek, 185 et seq. 
French language, 198 
Furniture, 211, 294 et seq. 



Cook, Capt., 292 
Cronje, 255 

D 

Dauphinc, 199, 202 

De Chavonnes, Gen. de, 256 

De Lanoy, 191 

De Waal, Capt., 279 

De Wet, 149 

De Vos, 136, 153 

Drakenstein District, 74, 76, 

185 et seq. 
Drakenstein, van Rheede tot. 

Lord of Mydrecht, 52, 170 Grevenbroek, iii 
Dutch East India Company, Graff, C. de, 300 

21, 230, 247, 249, 300 Graff, Reinett, 300 

Du Toit, 157, 178 Groote Schuur, 28, 257 

316 



Garden, The Company's, 23, 

27, 68, 278, 308 

Gardiol, J., 136, 203 

Genadendal, 261 

Goens, Gov.-Gen. van, 49, 50, 
170 

Good Hope Farm, 187 

Gratitude, La, 170 



INDEX 



H Kirstenbosch, 202 

Hazendaal, 230, 282 Klapmuts, 36, 43, 302 

Heerengracht, 271, 293, 309 Klastenberg, 260 

Helderberg, 153 Koornhoop, 28 

Hinlopen, 44 Kotze (or Coetzee), 106, 136, 
Hoorn, Gov.-Gen. van, 252 -"^SO) ^7° 

Hospital, The, 46, 82, 245 K^i^s River, or The Cuylen, 
Hottentots Holland, 76, 261 5o, 76, 150, 167 

Houts Bay, 302 
Huguenots, The, 71, 74, 86, L 

^9^ La Cotte, 199, 201, 203 

Husing, H., 114, 119, 155, La Fontaine, 258 



209 
Husing, Mrs., 122 



Idas Vallei, 178 



Janssens, Gen., 156, 305 
Jonkers Hoek, 178 
Jordaan, 136 

K 

Kalden, 89, 116, 130, 152 
Karroopoort, 222 
Kat, The, 47 
Keerweder, 205 



La Gratitude, 170 

Le Boucq, Rev. E. F., 122 

Leeuwfontein, 220 

Lekkerwyn, 192 

Le Sueur, Rev. F., 258 

Libertas, 154 

Loon, van, loi 

Loots, The, 273 

Louw, 136 

M 

Malherbe, 136 

Malmesbury, 261 

Map, from Tachard, 70 ; old 

districts and modern roads, 

84 
Mauritius, 34, 44, 105, 173 
317 



INDEX 



Meerlant, J. van, 114, 158 
Meerlust (Drakenstein), 194 
Meerlust (Eerste River), 120, 

155 
Melk, Martin, 152, 273 
Metal work, 59, 81, 172, 193 
Mist, Commissioner de, 304 
Moddergat, 158 
Morgenster, 264 
Mowbray, 285 
Muizenburg, 280, 300 
Myburgh, 156 
Mydrecht, see Drakenstein 



Parel Vallei, 115, 153 

Parsonage, Lutheran, 274 

Papagaai Berg, 176 

Plaate Kloof, 302 

Plans of houses, 57, 147, 190 

Plettenburg, van, 277, 282, 
286 

Population at various peri- 
ods, 31, 71, 100 

Porcelain, Oriental, 193, 205, 

239 

" Post office " stone, 18 
Pretorius, 160 
Prinsloo, 136, 291 



N 
Noot, van, 212, 236, 258 



Querellen, M. de, 23 . 



O 

O.V.C. monogram, 230, 249 
Oliphants Hoek, 199 
Oliphants Kop, 149 
Oortman, N., 251 



Paarde Vlei, 115, 153 
Paarde Berg, 115 
Paarl, 36, 209 



R 

Rheede, Lt. A. van, 251 
Rhone and Languedoc, 188 
Riebeeck, J. van, 23, 37, 272, 

307 
Robben Island, 86, 205, 234 
Rondebosch, 28 
Roodebloem, 100 
Roodezand, loi, 107, 217, 

302 



3i« 



INDEX 



Rotterdam, Jan, no, 162, 

251 
Roux, 136, 195, 203 
Rustenberg, 28, 35 



Steyn, 255 

Sumptuary Laws, 269 
Swellendam, 261, 300 
Swellengrebel, 259 



Sabatier, Pierre, 188 
Saldanah, 32, 200, 239, 302 
Savoye, J. de, 79, 194 
Schoongezigt, 185 
Seventeen, The, 21 
Sheik, Joseph, 163 
Shipwrecks, 231 et seq. 
Simond, 76, 79, 194 
Simondium, 194 
Simon's Bay, 98, 239 
Simon's Berg, 187 
Simonstown, 278 
Six, W., 44, 219 
Six, J., 44 
Slave Lodge, Sir G. Younge's, 

303 
Slaves, 30, 31, 102, 170, 255 

Snijman, C, 197 
Starrenberg, J., in, 116 
Stel, van der, see van dcr 

Stel 
Stellenberg, 304 
Stellenbosch, 46, 76, in, 167 

3 



Tachard, Pere, 67 

Tas, Adam, 112, 134, 154 

Thatching, 25, 58 

Theron, J., 220 

Tohai, 306 

Tree planting, 88, 98, loi, 

250 
Trikop, 285 

Tulbagh Drostdy, 217, 302 
Tulbagh, Ryk, 269, 274 
Tulbagh Town, 218 
Tulp, 30, 44 
Tygerberg, 37 

U 
Ubiquas, loi, 217, 276, 302 



V 

Valkenberg, 149 
Valkenier, Commissioner, 52, 
99, 134, 149 



19 



INDEX 



van der By], in, 148, 159 Vrede en lust, 195 
van der Heyden, J., 136, 157 Vredenberg, 159 
van der Merwe, 136, 220 
van der Stel, Cornells, 44, 236 
van der Stel, Franz, 44, 116, 

126 
van der Stel, Hendrik, 140 
van der Stel, Lodewyk, 51, 

112 
van der Stel, Simon, 39 et seq. 
van der Stel, Adriaan, 44, 113 
van der Stel, W. A., 44, 89, 

95 et seq. ; accusation of, 

119, et seq. ; defence of, 

132 
Vergelegen, 114, 116, 124 

et seq. 
Vergenoegd, 161 
Villiers, de, 79, 136, 201 
Vogel, J., 136, 305 
Vos, de, 136, 153 



W 

Wagonmakers Valley, 97 
Waveren, Land of, loi, 217, 

219 
Waveren, Lord of, 52, 219 
Welgelegen, 285 
Wellington, 97 
Welmoed, 160 
Wine, 27, 56, 190, 248 
Witteboom, 248, 302 
Wynberg, 27, 44, 54, 96, 304 



Zandvliet, 152 
Zwaanswijk, 124 
Zwaartland, 261 



Cutler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Ftome, and London. 



2 Whitehall Gardens 

Westminster 

Messrs 
Archibald Constable & Co.'s 

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-The Comedy of Errors 


L. Leslie Brooke 


Love's Labour's Lost 


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-Two Gentlemen of Verona 


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A Midsummer Night's Dream 


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All's Well that Ends Well 


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Much Ado about Nothing . 


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As You Like It . 


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Measure for Measure . 


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Venus and Adonis 


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Poems 





WORKS Edited by Prof. 

Fellow of Kind's College, London ; Late English 

English Reprints. 

No. 

1644 1 
1549 1 



Milton 

2 Latimer 

3 Gosson 

4 Sidney 

5 E. Webbe 

6 Selden 

7 Ascham 

8 Addison 



Text. 

A reofiagUica 
The Plougkers . 
The School of Abuse 
A nApology/or Poetry 
Travels 
Table Talk 
To-vo/>hiltis 



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1580 1 
159c 1 

1634-54 1 
. 1544 1 



Criticism on Paradise 

Lost . . . 1711-12 1 

9 Lyly B UP HUES . 1579-80 4 

10 VillierS The Rehearsal . . 1671 1 

11 Gascoigne The Steel Glass, etc. . 1576 1 
j2 Earle Micro-cos>iiographie . 1628 1 

13 Latimer 7 Sermons be/ore 

EDWARD VI 1549 1 

14 More Utopia. . . 1516-57 1 

15 Puttenham The Art of English 

Poesy . . . 1589 2 

16 Howell Instructions for Foreign 

Travel . . . 1642 1 

17 Udall Roister Doister . 1553-66 1 

18 Mk. of Eves- Tlie Revelation, etc. 



1186-1410 1 
A Counterblast to To- 
bacco, etc. . . 1604 1 
Fraginenta Regalia . 1653 ^ 
Poems . . . 1582-93 1 
CASPAR A . . 1640 1 
The Schoolmaster . 1570 1 
Miscellany [Songs and 

Sonnets] . 
Sermons 

A Discottrse of Eng- 
lish Poetry 

27 Lord Bacon A Harmony of the 

Essays . . 1597-1626 5 

28 Roy, etc. Read me, and be not 

wroth ! . . . 1528 1 

29 Raleigh, etC.Last Fight of the 

" Rez'enge" . . 1591 1 

30 Googe Eclogues, Epitaphs, 

. and Sonnets . . 1563 1 



ham 

19 James I. 

20 Naunton 

21 Watson 

22 Habington 

23 Ascham 

24 Tottel's 

25 Lever 

26 W. Webbe 



1557 2 
1550 1 

1586 1 



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tion for the Beggars . 1 

5 [Rev John Udall.] Diotre- 

phe's 1 

6 [?] The Return from Par- 

nassus . . . .1 

7 Thomas Decker. The Seven 

Deadly Sins of London . 1 

8 Edward Arber. An Intro- 

ductory Sketch to the 
" Martin Marprelate " 
Controversy, 1588-1590 . 

9 [Rci'. John Ud.\ll.] A 

Demonstration of Disci- 
pline 1 

10 Richard Stanihurst. 

".ainidl-IV" in English 
he.\ameters. . . .3 

11 Martin Marprelate. The 

Epistle .... 1 

12 Robert Green. Menaphon 1 

13 George Joy. An Apology 

to William Tyndale . 1 

14 Richard Barnfield. 

Poems . . .3 

15 B/>. Thomas Cooper. An 

Admonition to the People 
of England . . .3 



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15 



Constable's Royal Story Books 

Edited by G. LAURENXE GOMME, F.S.A. 
Crown 8vo. 3^'. bd. each. 

THE KING'S STORY BOOK 

Illustrated by Harrison Miller. 

THE QUEEN'S STORY BOOK 

Illustrated by W. H. Robinson. 

THE PRINCE'S STORY BOOK 

Illustrated by H. S. Banks. 

THE PRINCESS'S STORY BOOK 

Illustrated by Helen Stratton. 
Historical Stories collected out of English Komantic Literature in illustra- 
tion of the Reigns of English Monarchs from the Conquest to 
Queen Victoria. 
" The stories are as good as the arrangement is ingenious, and the 
arrangement is a pageant of historic romance which it would be 
difficult to equal." — Pall Mall Gazette. 

GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES 

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers 
Grimm 

A new Translation by Mrs. Edgar Lucas. Illustrated with 100 
Drawings by Arthur Rackham, with Frontispiece, Title-page, 
and Cover Design lithographed in Colours. Cloth, large square 8vo. 
3^. bd. net. 

This translation includes all the well-known tales and a selection 
of the best of Grimms' " Goblins," and several new stories have also 
been added which are not generally found in the existing English 
editions, but which are none the less eminently suitable for children. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream 

A New Edition designed expressly for Children, with numerous 
Illustrations, including a Photogravure Frontispiece and an Introduc- 
tion by Mrs. Herbert Railton. Crown 4to, price 2s. net. 

"A most successful attempt to enshrine the play in a fitting setting. A 
remarkably beautiful book." — World. 

With the Flag at Sea 

By Walter Wood. Illustrated by Seppings Wright. New 
Edition. Crown 8vo. Price y. 6d. Stories of British Sea Fights 
and Fighters. 

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO. Ltd 

2 WHITEHALL GARDENS WESTMINSTER 
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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 

Los Angeles 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 



■13. OCT 2 519^ 

OCT 111961 



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