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though it was not expected he should fight on horseback,
a good musket or rifle, according to their fancy, with the
necessary ammunition, and which was to be called the Go-
vernor's Legion, in order to keep the name of Governor
still alive; but the ammunition wanted for this purpose

VOL. II. 2 D


could not be carried by the men, and there was no pro-
spect of having a supply of forage for some time to come.
With this corps the General meant to march into the inte-
rior of the country, and although not able to do anything
of importance, he could, notwithstanding, annoy the enemy
for a considerable time before the last of his troops were
destroyed, but to effect which it was requisite tliat almost
naked men should not demand clothing, forget their daily
pay, not think of receiving their rations, and, far from
wishing for a house, not even a tent must be asked for.
If all this could be effected, the result was, that the
General hoped to incite some of the countrymen, who
had formerly shown such an aversion to the British, to
accompany him in his Arabian expedition.

But the legion being obliged to alter its position every
moment, of course not one point could possibly be defend-
ed, and the whole country would in consequence be ruined.
Such of the enemy as would be opposed to the legion
neither could nor would have spared the property of those
farmers who had assisted the General. The idea of the
great misfortunes of the country might induce those who
till now were attached to the Netherlands, to join the Bri-
tish, in order to preserve their family and property ; and a
great part of the Hottentots might, by a reward of money
and liquor, and a prospect of unpunished licentiousness, be
much easier procured by the British, who had abundance
of everything, than by the unfortunate Dutch commander.
If this plan would have effected the opposition of a consi-
derable British force for any length of time, these conside-
rations would, in that case, not have had much weight, but
the country itself, with the assistance of a few English,
would soon yield sufficient to destroy the legion, and the
principal part of this numerous British army might easily
be kept in a situation to oppose any European force that
might come to assist us.


Acquainted with the situation of the country, the Gene-
ral returned to head-quarters without fear or illusion, and
communicated to the officers of the staff as much as he
thought necessary of his thoughts on the nature of their

The General had the greatest interest in the case, and
therefore perseverance would have been but a trifling merit
in him. Certain it is, that some would have remained
faithful to him and the Netherlands to the last extremity,
whatever misery might have ensued ; but few are possessed
of such a degree of perseverance, for which not only a
good mind, but also a strong constitution is required.

On the 15th Mr. Truter, late colonial secretary, arrived
in the morning at eight o''clock. He had brought with
him the capitulation on which Cape Town had surrendered,
and confirmed the reports we had received with respect to
the enemy''s formidable strength ; from which it appeared
clearly, that on the battle of the 8th instant imagination
had not exaggerated the number of the enemy ; on the
contrary, it had been estimated rather too short. The
British, now in possession of the richest and most populous
part of the country, had the means of procuring forage
horses for their cavalry subsistence, and whatever they
might further stand in need of, by which their strength
was considerably increased.

The General having been informed of every thing he
desired, though not fond of deliberation in military matters,
resolved to take the opinion of the different commanding
officers, the sharers of his fate. The General, to avoid
unnecessary repetitions, represented to them the true situa-
tion of affairs, in the same manner as mentioned in this on
the 14th, however, at the same time hghtening, as much as
possible, the appearance of the difficulties attached to their
situation. The officers then present were : The General ;
Colonel Henry ; Lieutenant-Colonel Harlingh ; Lieute-

2 D 2


nant-Colonel Le Sueur ; Adjutant-General Rancke ; Com-
missary of War Deel ; Director-in-chief Dibbetz ; Captain
Steffens ; Captain Thyssen ; Captain Contamine ; Cap-
tain Van der Voorn ; Captain Pelligriny of Dragoons ;
Lieutenant Matern.

Those belonging to the staff, who were not consulted,
were : The French Captain Ricard ; Pfeil, Lieutenant of
Marine; Auffmorth, Lieutenant and Adjutant; Lieute-
nant Thirio ; Lieutenant Klapp. Lieutenant Matern of
Waldeck was not consulted. From what happened to that
battalion, he could not give but a desperate opinion.

In the annexed papers, the different opinions may be
found, and although there is no doubt of the bravery of
the officers, it clearly appears that they were unanimously
of opinion to make an honourable capitulation.

The General, though not inclined to weakness, would
not, however, merely for bombast, contradict the opinions
of all the others ; he only observed, that the best capitula-
tion, how honourable soever it may be, is always disagree-
able and humiliating; but that, if such was to be the case,
in order to soften the disagreeable feelings which must
ensue from the surrender of the colony, they should stipu-
late in the capitulation for a free retreat ; for the army to
retain their arms and property, and, without being prison-
ers of war, to be transported to the Republic free, and
without any expense to them ; that for this purpose he
would go and meet General Beresford, but at the same
time promised, upon no account whatever to bind himself
to anything decisive, and also give them previous infor-
mation of his conference, and what the enemy would agree
to, and what they would reject.

Secretary Truter was sent back to appoint the time for
the meeting of the two Generals.

The volunteers for the Legion were now called for, and


noted down, and the General receiving a letter from Mr.
Truter, departed that night, accompanied by the Director
of the Hospitals, Dibbetz, who acted as his secretary.

The meeting took place in a house where the roads from
Hottentot's Holland, Stellenbosch, and the Cape Town
cross each other.

On the 16th, at seven o'clock in the morning the Generals
met, and after the usual ceremonies, the negotiation began
immediately. As no diplomatic forms or false represen-
tations could be of any use, the Dutch General began to
state the case just as it really was, openly acknowledging
his apprehensions, but at the same time strongly urging
the damages and disadvantages he could yet occasion. His
opinion was, that the colony becoming British, the interest
thereof became of course the interest of that Government ;
but he soon discovered the great difference between the
sentiments of a foreign Government and those of the mo-
ther country. The preservation of peace and happiness to
the country people must, in its consequences, be equally
favourable to the British troops and fleets ; but the British
General Beresford was of opinion that some sacrifices on our
part ought to be made for the safety and happiness of the
country people, as their only concern was merely to hold
the place in order to prevent it from coming into the pos-
session of a stronger enemy. The British insisted on the
delivery of the arms ; and this was the most essential
point to us, in case the colony must be surrendered, as the
remainder who still carried them had carried them till now
with honour. The British said, that the honour of their
arms required it ; in answer to which we observed, that
honour was acquired by victory, and would be increased
by generosity to a small army like ours ; but our observa-
tions proved fruitless.

After a troublesome and serious conversation of some


hours, the result was still the same. The Dutch General
delivered to the British General his preliminary demand,
consisting of two articles.

The British General then delivered in his demand, in
writing, which he called the ultimatum.

They parted without having come to any terms. The
Dutcii General declared that he could not desist from his
demand, and that he would inform his fellow soldiers of
what had passed ; and if any new proposals were to be
made, they should (without binding the British in any-
thing) be immediately forwarded to Stellenbosch. On
taking leave, the British General was so kind as to ask for
what length of time we wished to have a suspension of
arms, which in a very polite manner we declined entirely.

At four o'clock in the afternoon the General came back
to his head quarters, and at six all the officers that had
assisted at the conference of the former day were again

The General having represented the true state of affairs,
gave the three following points into their consideration.

1st. Whether everything should be refused ; all unne-
cessary ammunition, cannon, &c. destroyed ; and every-
thing risked, as had been conditionally proposed at the
last conference.

2nd. If any further proposals should be made to the
British General, and what they ought to be.

3. In case these further proposals should be refused by
the British General, whether others should be made.

Everybody having given his opinion on these points,
it was unanimously resolved to make a new proposal, con-
taining an offer to give up the ammunition and some of the
cannon, &c. provided we should be allowed to retain all
the arms made use of in the battle of the 8th instant ; in
compensation for which the officers offered to give up all
the private property they had with them. (A copy of the


records of this day shows the particular opinions of Co-
lonel Henry and the Commissary of War.) Although
the whole of them concurred in forwarding the above-
mentioned proposals to the British commanders, several
seemed inclined, in case of necessity, to accept of the
English proposals as they now were.

The General had examined and considered upon the
list of volunteers for the Governor's legion. The number,
excepting the officers, was very trifling ; and as it was
natural to conceive, many of them had offered them-
selves more from a principle of duty than from real incli-
nation ; and moreover Colonel Henry, with others, had
observed that many of the soldiers who had volunteered
had done so more for the sake of getting a horse into their
possession, for the more easy execution of their particular
projects, than from true attachment to the cause, demon-
strating the truth of their arguments by the circumstance
of some of the volunteers having deserted last night.

In the evening the acting secretary, R. de Klerk Dib-
betz, departed for Stellenbosch, with a letter for the Bri-
tish General Beresford.

At four o"'clock of the morning of the 17th the enemy
was discovered at a certain distance from our advanced
posts, consisting of one Scotch regiment, two pieces, and
about fifty dragoons, all mounted, where they remained,
and in the afternoon pitched their camp.

At break of day the General came to the Kloof, and
from thence reconnoitred the movements of the enemy ;
and comparing this circumstance with the information
received last night, that a strong column of the enemy had
penetrated Fransche Hoek and further ; and also of ships
steering towards the entrance of Breede River, Mossel Bay,
&c. he easily guessed what the enemy could and would
do, which was the very thing that would be the most de-
trimental to us. He went along the mountains, through


the whole position, and addressed the officers and men of
each different corps in the following manner : — " That it
was not impossible to come to an honourable capitulation
with the enemy. That the advantage or disadvantage
depended entirely on the constancy and valour of the
troops. That he believed he had foreseen what might
happen, and assured them, that by obeying strictly the
commands of their officers, so as they would obey his, the
result would prove honourable to them, whatever the
enemy might do. That in the event of an attack, which
might be a general one, he would, as soon as the impossi-
bility of making resistance appeared to him, immediately
cause proposals to be made to the enemy then present, and
that he would even do so as soon as they should have
repelled with courage and bravery the first onset of the
enemy, as it might naturally be expected they would con-
stantly renew their attacks in greater force."

This measure unhappily became necessary, to prevent
the total desertion of the men.

He further observed, " That he would give the soldiers
one friendly advice, not to desert in consequence of want
or fatigue, as in that case they would be obliged to enter
into the enemy"'s service, who would send them on to Ben-
gal, from whence they could not expect ever to return to
their native country; whereas, by fidelity, they had the
most certain prospect of going home."

The General had chosen a height in a valley, at a small
distance from the chains of mountains, for his last retreat.

Although all the troops protested that they would
strictly obey the General's orders, it was, however, easy to
perceive that the not accepting of the enemy's proposals
was not pleasing to some of them.

In the afternoon, between one and two o'clock, a burgher
arrived with a letter from General Beresford, in answer to
that which the Director of the Hospitals, Dibbetz, had


carried to Stellenbosch the day before, in which was in-
closed a letter from the Director, and one from Secretary

If the situation of affairs was desperate on the day of the
action, it had now increased every hour ; the reports from
the interior of the country proved that the owners of the
ground which we occupied, from an apprehension of re-
venge, had ceased to assist us. Such of the officers as
were present, who composed the former meeting, having
been assembled for the last time, the result of their opi-
nions was, that we were necessitated to yield to force, par-
ticularly as it appeared from the letter of the Director
Dibbetz that some mitigations were offered.

The bitter draught was now to be drunk, and a letter
was forwarded, to acquaint the British General, Beresford,
that a capitulation would be entered into. All misfortunes
now combined ; the money sent to Zwellendam to be in
safety, did not return till late in the night-time, which put
it out of our power to make that use of it, which, had it
arrived sooner, we might have done without any breach of

After the arrival of the above-mentioned letter from the
General, the Director Dibbetz arrived at head-quarters on
the forenoon of the 18th, informing us tiiat the British Ge-
nerals were waiting at Hottentot's Holland, and that Secre-
tary Truter would be at the foot of the mountains.

The General then repaired to an appointed place at Hot-
tentot's Holland, in the afternoon, accompanied only by the
Director R. de Klerk Dibbetz, when the capitulation was
signed in the evening, with very great affection on the
part of the Dutch. On several inferior points we did not
meet with that indulgence we could have wished, for many
articles more than have been mentioned were proposed,
but as the answers proved very unfavourable, we thought
it better to withdraw them.


In the night-time, between the 18th and 19th, the Ge-
neral returned to head-quarters, in that state of mind every
true patriot must feel at a moment when an important and
heavy loss happens to his country.

On the 19th the contents of the capitulation were put in
the orders of the day. General Beresford paid a visit at
head-quarters, and the ammunition and other necessaries
which we did not intend to carry with us on our march,
were given up to the English.

Orders were sent to Major Horn, commanding at Zwel-
lendam, in consequence of the capitulation, to join head-

Early in the morning of the 20th the British took charge
of the different posts in the Kloof, and at six o'clock we
marched to Hottentot's Holland. The British General had
the good feeling to keep his troops at some distance, pro-
bably to soften our unpleasant situation.

On the 21st the General repaired to Cape Town, in order
to arrange several matters, leaving Colonel Henry in the
command ; and, agreeable to the arrangement with the
British commanders, despatched an order for the troops
to come to the neighbourhood of Cape Town, instead of
marching to Simons Town, as they were to be embarked in
Table Bay.

On the 22nd the troops came as far as Eerste River, and
on the 23rd they pitched their camps at the Liesbecks
River, where they had been encamped a year before, with
much better prospects than at present.

After the General's arrival in town he was constantly
occupied in making the necessary arrangements for his em-
barkation, and that of the troops. Many more, and still
greater difficulties than he could have foreseen, occurred,
with respect to other affairs, which will be stated to the
first magistrate of the Repubhc, but are not material in
this narration.


On this day, the 27th, it appears, from the worthy sen-
timents of the British General, Baird, that part of the
above-mentioned difficulties will be removed.

Colonel Prophalow, who had the command of the town,
having this day sent in his report, we hereunto annex a
copy thereof, and of the documents accompanying it, and
as his surrendering by capitulation, without having made
any defence, may make an unfavourable impression, the
General thinks that he would act very wrong in hesitating
to declare " that it was impossible for this commander to
make any defence, and in consequence could not but act so."

The British General now sending on some despatches,
the General has been permitted to send home his by his
aide-de-camp, Captain Verkouteren, of the dragoons, who
still suffers from his wound.

This worthy officer the General may in confidence re-
commend, with some other brave ones, to the protection
and attention of Government.

That honourable, clever, attentive, and unwearied Com-
missary of War, J. Deel, did as much as under those trou-
blesome circumstances, and even more than could be ex-
pected from the most celebrated administrators ; grown old
in the execution of the duties attached to that station,
the returns hereunto annexed, will show, that if the em-
barkation of the troops does not immediately take place,
the remainder of them will soon disappear by desertion.

After the misfortune which has befallen us, the General
does not wish to make his own apology ; the only thing he
wishes for is, that every Dutchman, and particularly those
by whom they are governed, may be thoroughly acquaint-
ed with all the particulars of his actions and conduct from
the day of his arrival in this colony till the moment of his
unfortunate removal.

(Signed) J. W. Janssens.
Castle of Good Hope, ^Hth January, 1806.


This document affords a striking illustration of the cha-
racter of Sir David Baird ; for even at the moment in
which General Janssens is describing the sad results of his
victory, we find him paying the highest tribute to his
humanity, generosity, and good feeling.

No. II.

The following is a copy of a letter from the late Joseph
Marryat, Esq. Chairman of the Committee of the Patriotic
Fund, enclosing certain resolutions of that body.

London^ April \Gth, 1806.

I have the honour to inclose you the resolutions passed
at a General Meeting of the Committee for managing the
Patriotic Fund, on taking into consideration your official
despatches, relative to the Cape of Good Hope. They con-
sider this event as of the highest importance to the security
of the British empire in India ; and as accomplished under
circumstances peculiarly honourable to the commanders
and forces employed on the expedition, from the great local
difficulties which attended the disembarkation, and from
the superior number of the enemy being such as en-
couraged him to contest the victory in the open field, till,
in your own animated language, the British bayonet bore
down all opposition.

I also inclose you a copy of the resolutions passed by
this committee, in consequence of the late glorious victory
obtained off Cape Trafalgar, to which the present resolu-
tions allude.

The gratuities voted to several of the officers under your
command, the nature of whose wounds was not specified in
the returns, were founded on the idea of their being slight ;
one of them being mentioned as severe, which it is pre-


sumed was intended to be contra-distinguished from the
others. Any mistake in this respect, will readily be cor-
rected upon more particular information ; and in making
out the returns of the privates, you will have the goodness
to request the surgeons to divide them into three classes : —
slightly wounded, severely wounded, and those whose
wounds are attended with disability or loss of limb.

From the cordial unanimity, as well as talent, which have
marked the operations of this expedition, the same favour-
able consequences which have attended its first steps, may
be expected to crown its future progress ; and I trust this
presage will be fulfilled, by a series of successes, equally
honourable to yourself, and advantageous to your country.
I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient humble servaut,
Joseph Marryat, Chairman.
Major-General Sir David Baird.

Lloyd^s, 15th April, 1806.

At a General Meeting of the Committee for managing the

Patriotic Fund held this day,

Joseph Marryat, Esq. in the Chair,

Read from the London Gazette of the 28th of February,
letters from Major-General Sir David Baird, and Com-
modore Sir Home Popham, with an account of the capitu-
lation of the town and garrison of the Cape of Good Hope
to His Majesty's forces under their command ; also the
London Gazette of the 8th instant, containing an extract
of a letter from Major-General Sir David Baird, relating
his subsequent operations against the Batavian forces,
commanded by Lieutenant-General Janssens, which ter-
minated in the subjection of the whole colony.

Resolved— That a vase of the value of d£'300, with an
appropriate inscription, be presented to Major-General Sir
David Baird, for the gallantry with which he effected a


landing in the face of a superior force of the enemy, and
achieved this important conquest.

Resolved — That a vase of the value of oS'SOO, with an
appropriate inscription, be presented to Commodore Sir
Home Popham, for his zealous, able, and spirited co-
operation in this arduous service.

Resolved — That relief be afforded to the widows, or-
phans, parents, and relatives depending for support on the
officers, seamen, and marines killed ; and that gratuities be
given to those wounded, on the same scale of distribution
as that adopted towards the sufferers in the late glorious
engagement off Cape Trafalgar.

Resolved — That letters signed by the Chairman be writ-
ten to Major-General Sir David Baird, and Commodore
Sir Home Popham, requesting they will communicate the
foregoing resolutions to his Majesty's forces under their
respective commands, and furnish the committee with the
names of the killed and wounded, together with such par-
ticulars as can be collected respecting the families of these
brave men who have fallen in the service of their country
on this occasion. J. P. Welsford, Sec.

Extract from the Minutes.

No. III.

The following is a copy of the letter addressed by Co-
lonel Sorell to Sir Walter Scott. — While these sheets were
at press, that illustrious man was taken from us^ — we
nevertheless print the letter ; because as Sir Walter Scott
never made any reply to it, it does not appear to be an
act of injustice to give it publicity now.

Tours, October 1827.
My absence from England, and other accidental circum-
stances, have prevented me from having an opportunity of


reading your " Life of Napoleon Bonaparte "'' until lately.
Having learned that you are preparing a second edition for
the press, I feel anxious to bring under your notice some
passages in the work, which appear to have been written on
very imperfect information.

I allude to your account of the campaign of 1808-9, in
the north of Spain, under the late Sir John Moore, in

Online LibraryClaudius MadrolleThe life of general, the right honourable Sir David Baird, Bart. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 28 of 31)