Stages of the voyage

Specific Instructions – transcription

Specific instructions for the captain Jan Menkenveld and other officers and sailors in the service of the Commercie Compagnie, sailing on the snowship The Unity

Article 1
The captain will have to vouch for the entire ship, as well as the goods in reserve.  For these he will have to sign the entire inventory, in which he will sign for the use of goods.  These should be amortized from the inventory, with an additional note explaining its use.  However, for costly objects like anchors, ropes, gunpowder, arms or sails, etc., the ship’s council will have to decide under oath whether it is necessary.  No changes may be made to the ship.

Every eight days everyone will give a note to the captain stating what they have used, so that it can be amortized from the inventory. If they fail to do so, a shilling is fined.

Also no payment will be made before it is made clear with a note, in the handwriting of the boatswain or whoever is appointed to that post, that everything has been satisfied according to the inventory.  This note will have to be brought to the sirs responsible for the equipment and verified by one or two gentlemen with their name, at which point payment will be made.

Yet if something is missing and there is no proof of where it went, it shall be deducted from the earned monthly salaries of the ones responsible.

The captain, officers and sailors will keep themselves from loading cargo , be it of any kind whatsoever, except by written order of the directors, on penalty of confiscation of goods.  Yes, at their departure from the roadstead (when it is judged necessary) the oath on which each was hired,  will be solemnly taken to further declare that [they] will not load cargo goods into the ship for their own profit.  If, at the time or after the journey is finished, someone is found guilty, he can be sure of not only the confiscation of all of his goods and pay and will be unable to ever serve under the Compagnie again, but he will also be prosecuted before the law for perjury.

Once the ship is ready for sailing, the captain will take care to remain on board with his officers and not let any occasion pass by to sail out to sea, on forfeiture of two months’ pay.

Also, the captain and main mates  are ordered not to put any of the officers or sailors on shore  without the consent of the ship’s council.  This consent can only be given after decent statements have been gathered which show the reasons for such an action.  These statements, signed resolutions and verdict of the ship’s council will have to be handed over to the directors by the commanding officers on arrival so that they may check it.

No one shall undertake to sail from board  and even less so to spend a night away from the ship without the consent of the captain, or in his absence, of him who has the command; on forfeiture of a months’ pay.

No one shall undertake to stir up a mutiny on board, nor drink till drunk, hit nor smash; on forfeiture of being put on land and forfeiting all pay.

The commanding officer will take care that no ballast will be put in any vessels, nor put in the groats- or bean rooms, since experience has taught that the vessels become unusable and  the ship ballasted on those places are stuck in such a way that it causes heavy expenses for reparations. Therefore the directors declare that if this is found to have happened, the expenses caused by it will be redressed by the commanding officer.

If it happens that two ships of this Compagnie are at Suriname, then the one who first arrived there will have to continue his journey with all speed, making sure that the ship which remains will take the bills of exchange of both ships, or send them on with another ship.

With arriving and sailing after ‘t Vlacque your honours will not allow any vessel to board you except that of and with the gentlemen directors.  When the ship arrives at  ‘t Vlacque, no one, whoever it may be, is allowed to unload any chest, cage or vessels, or whatever it maybe called, from the ship before it is tied to the quay in Middelburg and everything has been orderly prepared. Then everyone will receive their goods and possessions from the captain or chief mate, without saying anything against it.  Whoever does oppose it, he will forfeit  his earned monthly wages according to the accepted stipulations.

At your arrival on ‘t Vlacque, the gentlemen directors will send someone on board who will remain there until the ship has been brought to the docks in front of the Compagnie’s wharf and all the goods have been unloaded and transported.  To this end, the captain and the officer will continue to keep their command.

Actum Middelburg the 30th of September, 1761.

Directors of the Commercie Compagnie of this city and from this city.
Jacobus Landsheer
Salomon Reijnders


The specific instructions for captain Jan Menkenveld, dated 30 September 1761, are part of the Archives of the MCC, access number 20, 375.3.

This transcription has been made by volunteers of the Zeeland Archives, united in the workgroup PaiZ (Palaeography in Zeeland)