Professional Research & Maritime Historian, Author, & Conservator
Excerpts from Leibbrandt, Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope, Vol I
Dutch – Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope
Webpage designed by Baylus C. Brooks—Copyright 2015-2017 Baylus C. Brooks
All Rights Reserved
Excerpts from H. C. V. Leibbrandt, Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope, Vol. 1 (Cape Town, W. A. Richards, 1896) that may pertain to pirates Taylor, LeVasseur, England, Congdon, and the Royal Navy fleet sent after them as they passed the Cape of Good Hope to enter the East Indies.
These records come from the Dutch administration at Cape Town, South Africa.
[Date of Edward Congdon’s capture of House of Austria and Prince Eugene at the cape was Febuary 9th [J: Feb 20] 1720]
February 22 – Arrival of the “Assenburgh” from Amsterdam. Reports that on the 13th, and 60 miles from the coast, it had been attacked by a pirate about 104-6 feet long, carrying about 26 guns and 230 men. A large portion of the latter were black. It had twice been beaten off, but had followed the “Assenburgh” until within sight of the Cape. Most of the damage was suffered in the masts and rigging. The pirate had striven to make the “Assenburgh” helpless by shooting away its masts. Only five men were slightly wounded. News at once sent to the “Amazone” in Saldanha Bay to be on its guard, and prepared for battle should the pirate visit that bay to repair damages.
February 24. – The “Postlooper” sent out to cruise and warn the rest of the return ships to be prepared for battle, and to remain together.
March 5. – Arrival of the return ship “Hopvogel,” which some days ago had met with two pirates which had captured an English vessel within sight of the “Hopvogel.”
April 5. – Arrival of two English vessels, the “Mary” and “Cardonna,” which reported that in May last  the English outward bound ships “Cassandra” and “Greenwich,” when at one of the Mayotte islands named Anjouan (or Johanna), had been attacked by a heavily-armed pirate. The first was captured, but the other escaped. The pirate was afterwards reinforced by two others, and then the trio decided to cruise for some time off Ceylon, in order to capture the Surat, Bengal and Moorish ships. The Governor of Bombay had sent out some armed vessels against them. Another pirate had also taken a Moorish (Indian) ship, and found in it 13 lac rupees in cash. These pirates, he said, had 14 first-class vessels at sea, the smallest carrying 30 guns, to attack any ship of whatever country it might be. It was further stated that they intended to settle at Mauritius.
June 6. – [G: 27 May] Arrival of the English King’s ships “Lion and “Shoreham” from Portsmouth to Bombay. They would not salute the Castle according to the usual custom.
June 7. – One of the officers landing to-day asked for refreshments for the ships. They were granted; but the Governor to see beforehand the ship’s papers, in order to convince himself that they were really men-of-war; and also that they should salute the flag of their High Mightinesses. The officer replied that they really were King’s ships, and therefore not obliged to salute or to show their papers, but if the Castle wished to welcome them with a salute, they would reply to the same with the same number of guns. The Council hereupon met and decided as per resolution.
June 22. – [G: 11 Jun] Arrival of the English ship “Exchester” [Exeter], which saluted the Castle with 13 cannons, and was thanked with 11; but as it was also a King’s ship, it is to be presumed that the salute was intended for its consorts lying here.
June 24. – [G: 13 Jun] The three English war ships leave. The “Exchester” [Exeter] only salutes, and receives a reply from the Castle.
July 3. – Return of the “Zeelandia” from De la Goa, which it had left on the 7th June. The three hookers had arrived there on the 9th March, and the commander had taken possession in the name of the Company. We were, however, sorry to hear that the Commander Willem van Taak and 15 others – officers and men- had died there in a short time, and when the vessel left many others were mortally sick. All further particulars are to be found in the letter from that place.
July 4. – The first sworn clerk sent round to the members of Council with the following communication: - That as a large number of the men had died at De la Goa, and a large number was lying ill, whilst the servants there gave good hopes for the place if they were only provided with what they required, so that in course of time the Company would ly benefited, the small vessel “D’Uno,” now ready to leave, should be detained, in order, after a reperusal of the papers, to be despatched to De la Goa with the necessary men and requirements. This proposal was unanimously adopted. See Resolution of 5th July.
July 8. – [G: 27 Jun] Arrival of the English war ship “Salisbury,” without saluting the Castle.
July 19. – [G: 8 Jul] The English ships “Hartford,” “Grantham” [50 miles behind Salisbury; they met the next day at sea] and “Salisbury” leave. Only the “Hartford” salutes.
August 12. – The “Uno” and “Zeelandia” leave for De la Goa with the resolution of the Council, that in the place of the deceased W. van Taak, the Secunde there, Casparus Swertner, had been appointed commander, and Fred. Christian Lappenbergh as his “Secunde.”
December 7. – The “Zeelandia” also arrives from De la Goa, but brings no particular news. Things were as bad there as when the two other hookers left.
December 28. – The “Caap” [Comptoir Hollande] leaves for De la Goa.
April 10. – Departure of the return ships – 17 in all. The “Gouda” arrives from De la Goa, bringing fortunately no dead, but unfortunately bad news from that station. Sickness was very bad there. Amongst others the Commander Swertner and the Secretary Fred. Christ. Lappenbergh had died. Trade weak. Hardly any food for the garrison, and nothing to buy from the natives. Affairs there in a deplorable state.
July 12. – The “Schoteroog” arrives from Rio de la Goa, which it had left on the 23rd June. Only one sick on board. Reports that the Residency there had last year [22 Apr] been attacked by two strong pirates and a brigantine, one with 64 and the other with 36 guns; with 900 men in all, white and black. They had sacked the station, taken what they liked, and destroyed almost what remained. They had also taken with them the hooker “de Caap” [Comptoir Hollande], with all the men on board, so that affairs there are pretty considerably in a confused state. The contrary would have been desirable.
June 20. – Arrival of the “Jacoba” in good condition. Had only been slightly damaged in masts and rigging during its encounter with the pirates. She carried 250 men.
N.B. – The Journal of 11th June states that the officers of the “Wickenburg” [Ostender who sailed with Prince Eugene in 1719?] which had just arrived, had reported that the “Jacoba” had in latitude ___ and longitude ____ been attacked by two powerful pirates, one under the English flag, and well manned and armed (on the 6th April). After a fight of seven glasses, the pirates were beaten off and sailed away. The “Jacoba” had a few killed, and seven slightly wounded.
August 28. – As the “Zeepost” might fall in with the pirate, her departure for Rio de la Goa os postponed, the office there requiring no immediate assistance. [Paranoia?]