Catalogue of the Archives of the Dutch Central Government of Coastal Ceylon, 1640-1796

Description of the Subordinate Components

   The Governor in Council.

   External affairs.

Documents relating to the expedition of Rijckloff van Goens snr. against the French. 1672 - 1674.
The collection of documents connected with the war conducted against France in the colonies in 1672is very scanty. Originally, as may be seen from the old index no. 3199, there were more papers on the subject.
The king of France Louis XIV, and his minister Colbert, had colonial aspirations, and the rich colonies of the Low Countries aroused their envy. Even before the King in alliance with England had overrun Holland, he had begun hostilities by sending a fleet under the duc de la Haye to the Dutch colony of South Africa in 1670. The late "directeur- generaal " of Batavia François Caron, well known in Ceylon history because, as commander of the V.O.C. forces, he captured Negombo in 1644, was now fighting under a different flag and brought the French fleet to its destination [1]. First of all, a small Dutch settlement at "Aycotte" on the Malabar coast was sacked: then the fleet entered the outer and inner harbours of Trincomalee.
The strained relations between the Dutch and the king of Kandy were considered to afford a favourable opportunity for political intrigue. The French sent to the Kandyan Court an ambassador, the duc de Lanerolle, who was utterly unaware of the strength of the Dutch fleet and the dangers surrounding him [2]. On the 9th July de la Haye, who never had the opportunity to do anything of importance and was cut off from his supplies, sailed away from Trincomalee, leaving behind his unfortunate ambassador. As long as there was no definite news about the beginning of hostilities in Europe, governor van Goens carefully kept up the outward appearance of peace. When, however, the French fleet had taken San Thomé in the country of the king of Golconda, and the message of an unavoidable war in Europe came through, admiral van Goens began to attack.
His exploits against the French and the capture of San Thomé are contained in the following documents.
Minutes of meetings of the superintendent Rijckloff van Goens and his council during the expedition against the French.
1672 May 15 - 1674 October 8.
Contains also, at the end, the original minutes of Rijckloff van Goens jnr., and his council of 1675 September 19 and 24, copies of which are in no. 21.
Diaries kept during the voyages of the superintendent Rijckloff van Goens.
1673 - 1674.
3 files.
No. 3400 Papers missing. Badly bound. Damaged by damp.