A letter from Don manuel d’Andrado
Admiral Ryckloff Van Goens,
dated Jaffnapattam 6th February, 1659.
“The Dutch Power in Ceylon, 1602-1670”
DR. P. E. PIERIS
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE ADMIRAL
As soon as I learnt that you had returned to Colombo, I decided to write a few lines to inquire after your health, with the wish that you may enjoy good health, and prosperity for many years to come, as you so highly deserve. The great kindness you have shown me already gives me reason to hope that you will accept my petition favourably, knowing at all times I am your devoted slave.
At present I am laid up with fever and other troubles caused by the bad water in the Wani. Although we have plenty of doctors here, they all failed in finding a remedy. I have therefore been my own physician and with the help of God I am beginning to mend.
I have to acquaint you with the sad news that the charge with which you entrusted me has been taken from me, although laid up with illness. I had appointed two of my nephews, both intelligent persons, to take my place at the Court and look after the interests of the Company. They are well known to you. They are Don Gaspar Gideon Barrapule and Sinco de Andrada. Since I came from Mannar I have sent in seventeen elephants. I have had no trouble with the labourers, as the natives have all quietly submitted to their appointed tasks. With the exception of a few to whom we gave licence to return to their homesteads for the purpose of attending to their fields, they all work at the fortification without grumbling.
With regard to the provisions, I have taken all the measures you suggested and as far as I can judge, the crops here, as well as in the wani, promise so fair that all needs shall be satisfied. and a little to spare.
The whole district of Wani is happy and peaceful. There is no cause for grumbling .for there is no oppression. We protect and assist all who come to us and the people can live quietly and content. The only reason I have for making a complaint is on a personal matter. Your Excellency had appointed me as Secretary to the Court of Jafnapatam, but the Honourable Commander has appointed in my stead a Brahmin, notwithstanding the opposition of all the magnates of the country. As I am now of no further use here, I request permission to return to my wife and family. And how it must appear strange to you that the Commander has dismissed me from a post to which I had been appointed by you. The Mudaliyars and Receivers all complain of this high-handed action and fear that the same fate may be theirs. The Iyawanses and other natives are also dissatisfied because a person of so little weight has been appointed to such an important post. Besides it is well known that his brother-in-law is an idolatorus priest in the pagoda of the King of Candy. His sisters and other relatives fled also there when the Dutch entered Jafnapatam. This will tell you what a dangerous person he may become for as Secretary at the Court all the writings shall have to pass through his hands, and he will know all the secrets of the Government.
I have done my duty in explaining these matters to you, so that you may take such decision as is most conducive to the welfare of the Company. May God keep you in his graceful protection.
Your devoted slave,
DON MANUEL DE ANDRADA. ( Note 1)
Jafnapatam. Feb. 6th. 1659.
In accordance with the translated copy,
Colombo, May 14th 1659.
Note 1 – There is mention of the writer in Van Ooens’ Instructions to Anthony Paviljoen, 31st Oct., 1658. Tr., by Sophia Pieters, Colombo, 1908.