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

Description of the Subordinate Components

   Special Missions from Patria.

The "Hooge Commissaris".
At the end of the 17th century corruption under the V.O.C. officers had increased to such an extent that the managing board in Amsterdam thought it necessary to interfere. Fortunately enough, Hendrik Adriaan, baron van Reede tot Drakesteyn heer van Mydrecht, former "commandeur" of the Malabar coast, happened to be in Holland. He was reckoned to be a first-rate man with a thorough knowledge of the establishments of the V.O.C. It is not surprising therefore that the Lords and Masters should have chosen him to go in 1684 as their representative as "High Commissioner" to the Western comptoirs to root out the existing evils [1].
The set of instructions handed over to him outlined his itinerary. Travelling round the Cape of Good Hope [2], he arrived in Ceylon during the period of office of governor Pijl [3]. Till the year 1691, when he died, before he could start work in Surat, he had been travelling all over the Western comptoirs dismissing and re-appointng officers, without however being able to put a stop to the abuses which had crept into the local administrations.
The collection of documents entered here is of course far from being his entire official archives. They are loose documents, mostly copies, which were found scattered all over the archives, and dealt with this subject [4]. This is the reason why they were placed here.
4948
Set of instructions by "Heeren XVII" at Amsterdam to Hendrik Adriaan, baron van Reede tot Drakesteyn, heer van Mydrecht, on proceeding as High Commissioner to Bengal, Coromandel, Ceylon, etc. Copy.
1684 December 11.
 
Damaged. Papers missing.
4949-4950
Extract of a letter on the state of the fortresses in Ceylon, from the High Commissioner to "Heeren XVII" at Amsterdam, written from Pijlswaard outside Galle. Copy.
1685 November 23.
 
Damaged.
4949
Original.
4950
Same as no. 4949.
Damaged. Papers missing.
4951-4952
Letters from the High Commissioner van Reede to governor Laurens Pijl. With annexes.
1686 January 31 - 1689 November 25.
2 files.
No. 4952 papers missing.
No. 4952 contains annexes only.
4953
Extracts of letters from governor Pijl to the High Commissioner from to , regarding the relations with the Kandyan court; and extracts of letters from the High Commissioner to the Governor from to , on the same subject. Certified by the Colombo secretary, Swen Anderson.
1686 April 19
 
1689 December 28
 
1687 June 18
 
1691 August 25
 
The paging 387 - 469 indicates that this is only a part of a file. Boeund up with a page of a copy of governor van Imhoff's reflections regarding the island of Ceylon, no. 2784.
4954
Extracts of letters from the High Commissioner to Patria.
1687 December.
 
Papers missing.
4955
Draft considerations by governor Pijl, regarding the relations with the Kandyan court, made up at Negapatam and handed over to the high commissioner van Reede.
1687 June 3.
 
4956
Points regarding the management of the Island in detail, dated 1687 June 3, sent by governor Pijl to the High Commissioner and his marginal notes thereon.
1687 June 6.
 
4957
Letters from the high commissioner van Reede to the chief of Tuticorin, Jacobus Urselingh.
1690 May 30 - September 13.
 
This file belongs really to the archives at Tuticorin, and not to Colombo.