stories lurking in DAS

So in 1794s VOC ships were being captured left and right by one or another player in the Napoleonic wars. Up to December 93 the record of arrivals at destination was almost perfect, but beginning with the Faam (a packet of 136 tons) Company communications with Batavia were badly crimped. Out of 22 ships sent out only 13 reached their destinations, and 4 of those were subsequently captured at the Cape or Ceylon by the English.

And yet Dutch ships still called at English ports. The packet Kraai and the 500 ton ship Resolutie sailed into Portsmouth on 9 September 94 and sailed out again 2 days later. The Nieuwland was not so lucky: it called at Plymouth on 10 January 1795, was embargoed and eventually confiscated, while the Oosthuizen, having called at the Scillies on the 28th of December, 1794, was confiscated in December 1795 (without ay indication of what it had been doing in the interim.

Strangest of all, though, is the Zorg, a 900 to pink and penultimate entry in DAS, sailing for the Zeeland chamber out of Texel, with a crew of 99 and 52 soldier-passengers. The Zorg put in at Plymouth on Boxing Day, 1794 and stayed over 10 months until 4 November, 1795. “Three days after the departure from Plymouth the ship ran aground off Boulone and was wrecked.” (DAS II, 765)

Now you might run aground off Boulogne if you were trying to get back to the Netherlands and didn’t know what you were doing: Boulogne’s pretty much at the mouth of the bit where the channel narrows to 22 miles or so between Dover and Calais, and is only 30 miles from its opposite point in the UK, Folkestone. But it’s not that likely. I wonder what that ship was up to. And who was sailing it. And where its original crew were.


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