Dutch Records No 10

Counter statement by the former Disãva and then Captain Lieutenant Class Schot, dated the 28th June 1706, against and in rebuttal of a petition from Bras de Andrado, and certain annexed papers, numbered 1 to 4.


Counter statement of Class Schodt former Dessave of the Colombo District
at present Capt.-Lieut. in the service of the Honourable Company;

Against  

and in rebuttal of a certain petition compounded of sly and furtive arguments, untrue contentions and baseless allegations; presented by or on behalf of Bras D’andrado former Chief of the Lascorins of Kalutara ; to His Excellency Doctor Cornelis Joan Simons, Governor and Director of the far-famed Island of Ceylon, the Coast of Madura, lnchiado etc;
on the 18th of this month of June of the current year.

Your Excellency,

            In obedience to, and compliance with, Your Excellency’s honoured command the party noticed will, with all deference, set down for Your Excellency briefly and in accordance with the basic truth,

the reasons and root causes wherefore the properties of the petitioner Bras D’andrade were sold by public auction, after he had been cited ; likewise the authority for this action residing in the party noticed ; also, that the suggestions put forward in the petitioner’s plaint to Your Excellency are sly and furtive and that the contentions and allegations there set down are devoid of foundation and in conflict with the facts.

The truth, Your Excellency, is that the petitioner, formerly Chief of the Lascorins of Kalutara, was removed from office and dismissed on the grounds of misconduct and sharp practice by His Excellency Laurens Pijl, of blessed memory, who during his life-time was Councillor of Netherlands-India and Governor and Director of this Island, etc.;

Moreover, that the petitioner owed moneys to various persons (among whom were some of his closest relatives) that these creditors were unable to recover any payment by amicable means, notwithstanding that they had waited a long time and had issued many an exhortation and summons to him to pay : and the said creditor-claimants, appeared on many occasions before the party noticed (who was then Dessave of Colombo) and complained to him orally, regarding their just and lawful claims, which they had against the petitioner and how they were unable to secure satisfaction ;

in response to these complaints from the respective creditors, the party noticed caused the petitioner to appear before him at various times ; informed him of the complaints against him and recommended to him that he must pay his creditor-claimants or that, in the interests of each person’s rights and lawful dues, he would be compelled to set in motion other reasonable and permissible methods of compulsion

that, when this was recommended and put to the petitioner by the party noticed, the former undertook and promised to satisfy his creditors ; but, instead of implementing this promise, he always defaulted.

For these reasons, and on account of the persistent complaints of the pettioner’s collective creditors, the party noticed was compelled on three different occasions to place the petitioner under arrest once at Kalutara and twice at Hulftsdorp ;

in the expectation that the petitioner would, in consequence, take warning and feel cons-rained to pay and satisfy his importunate creditors;

and, on each occasion, after he had given the most solemn promises that he would satisfy his creditors, the petitioner was again released ; but as before he always defaulted

Moreover, at the time when the Governor of Ceylon H. E. Gerrit de Heere of blessed memory made a tour of Galle, Jaffna and other places in the Island via Kalutara the party noticed had the honour to accompany His Excellency for a part of that circuit ;

the petitioner was brought before the party noticed at Kalutara, who once again put to him the complaints of his creditors arising from the fact that they could not get payment, and de novo recommended to him that he would have to pay them or otherwise that the party noticed would be compelled, in the interests of everybody’s rights and lawful dues, to sell his properties,

and the petitioner actually undertook to do this but, reverting to his old practice, he again did not fulfill his promise ;

accordingly the creditor-claimants of the petitioner determined to address themselves by petition to the party noticed (who was then Dessave)

and they requested therein that the petitioner be compelled to pay them on account of their respective just and lawful claims and that, in the event of further unwillingness, his properties might be sold up therefore

But although the previous dessaves, as officials and judges, had carried out in their districts numerous sales both of movable and immovable goods on the complaints of creditors and these were always approved, without any opposition ever being offered thereto, such as is now offered by the petitioner alone

and this old practice and custom was proved and established by an attestation executed before Daniel Tiste the Judicial Secretary and certain witnesses on the 24th October, 1 703,wherein eight of the leading Islanders are deponents and the said attestation, marked No. 2, is submitted herewith to Your Excellency.

Accordingly the party noticed judging the case to be of a significance and importance much too great to be decided by himself, presented himself before the said Governor of Ceylon Gerrit de Heere, of blessed memory, communicated to him the above-noticed petition that had been submitted to him, and requested that His Excellency would be pleased to direct, how the party noticed. should act in the matter;

After His Excellency had read the above-noticed petition and had deliberated over the case, His Exce1lency was pleased to order the party-noticed to sell by public auction all the properties of the Petitioner at Kalutara and out of the cash proceeds of that sale to satisfy the aggrieved creditors.

At the Same time His Excellency above-mentioned was also pleased to order and authorise the party-noticed similarly to sell by public auction two gardens and a gold knife-haft, derived from Don Michiel de Fonseka, who during his life-time was Adigar of Kalutara, and whose widow, named Dominga D’Andrado, sister of the petitioner, was at that time remarried to the Sergeant Adriaan Jansz van Domburg, and to distribute among the creditor claimants the money which would be realised thereby ;

and, by Virtue of the above-mentioned authorisation the party noticed disposed of and sold by public auction, on the 15th of January in the year 1700 after previous advertisement by tom-tom, some of the petitioner’s gardens, a female slave, etc., auctioning them to the highest bidder, in the Presence and attendance of the petitioner (who made not the least protest against the sale) with two special commissioners, the Ensign Verscheur and the Adigar of Kalutara, presiding.

likewise, Were sold also the two gardens and a gold knife-haft derived from the Kalutara Adigar Don Michiel de Fonseka.

By what persons and for what amount these properties of the petitioner and the Kalutara Adigar Don Michiel de Fonseka were sold; moreover which among them were known to be creditor-claimants, Your Excellency will see, if you so please, from the accompanying register marked No. 3.

The party noticed had submitted to His Excellency the Governor of Ceylon, Gerrit de Heere, of blessed memory, a written report on this action, which was approved and ratified by His Excellency as proved by the report itself, which the party noticed trusts is deposited in Your Excellency’s Secretariat ; further, the party noticed in pursuance and by virtue of the directions mentioned above, collected the moneys from the respective purchasers and paid them to the known creditors of the petitioner and settled with them, as indicated by the statement of accounts and liquidation numbered 4 and also presented to Your Excellency.

In conflict with the truth, is the statement in the petition submitted by the petitioner to Your Excellency, namely that he was despoiled of his parveny properties :

Because, the two principal gardens which were bought and paid for by Louis Pieris are not parveny properties ; they were bequeathed to the petitioner by his brother Siman D’Andrado by testamentary disposition under date the 14th of February, 1690.

And, assuming that the aforesaid two gardens were parveny properties (which was not the case) then it was not within the power of the petitioner to donate, make over and transfer those two gardens together with a female slave named Aransie, alias Philippe, to his mistress Joanna de Fonseka by way of gift inter vivos.

Whereas all Parveny properties descend at the owner’s death, to the nearest blood relation in the male line and in return the possessors are under obligation to perform some of the Company’ s services.

And the aforesaid Donation inter vivos was executed by the petitioner at Your Excellency’s Secretariat on the 15th of June in the year 1695.

Because the creditor-claimants came to hear that such a Donation inter vivos had been executed by the petitioner in favour of his mistress to defraud his creditors, they insisted all the more urgently on receiving satisfaction of their claims because they realised that they had thereby been cheated and defrauded.

The petitioner had not scrupled to put before the Hon. Commissioners, appointed to investigate some complaints made against the party noticed by various evil and fractious islanders his unfounded professions which he now brings up again before Your Excellency’s notice.

These and several other false imputations and frivolities were indeed set down in a petition. But, on the other hand, His Excellency the Governor of Ceylon, Gerrit de Heere of blessed memory, and the Hon. members of the Political Council found, after deliberation that in this case the party noticed had acted in pursuance of the order made by the said Governor Gerrit de Heere and in accordance with ancient usage and local custom. Wherefore,. the petitioner’s appeal was dismissed.

During the lifetime of the said Governor de Heere the petitioner never dared to set in motion a further suit, or to bring into Court the party noticed or any of the purchasers of the gardens for the reasons that the said Governor was not only aware of all the facts but had actually ordered the course of action that had been taken. But shortly after His Excellency’s death the petitioner, partly from wicked covetousness and partly from being incited thereto, began to busy himself respecting the commission which the party noticed was dealing with, at that same time, in the matter of the case on behalf of the Adigar of Kalutara, Don Michiel de Fonseka, whose widow, as mentioned already, had been remarried to a European, Sergeant Adriaan Jansz van Domburgh. And, he also interested himself in several similar cases-indeed complaints were made and obstructionist tactics pursued by nobody excepting this turbulent petitioner.

And, if a Dessave in the execution of his commission must be subjected to obstruction from such knaves, then saving your reverence the way will be cleared for insubordination and contempt of law and order as well as for quarrels and rash actions at law which the Dessaves as officials and Judges of land disputes have always settled in accordance with justice and equity so as to save the costs of litigation.

And therewith the party noticed trusts that he has proved to the satisfaction of Your Honours that the petitioner has been in no way despoiled of his goods but that the sale thereof was carried out, after manifold summonses, admonitions and warnings, by special direction and command of His Excellency Governor Gerrit de Heere, now deceased, and in accordance with established custom and practice moreover that the moneys realised thereby were disbursed among the petitioner’s creditors in terms of the said order and in settlement of their just and lawful claims.

Wherefore the party noticed considers that the petitioner has suffered neither damage nor embarrassment by the aforesaid sale and the payment carried out.

And the party noticed will submit to the wise and provident judgment of Your Honours the verdict of the above case.

And will deem himself singularly fortunate always to be able to remain.

Your Honours’ most humble,
willing and loyal servant,
CLAAS SCHODT
Colombo, the 28th June, 1706.