n Historia - Gesaghebber teen wil en dank - Abraham Josias Sluysken, die laaste kommissaris-generaal van die V.O.C. aan die Kaap, 1793 - 1795




'n Ondersoek na die tydperk van A.J. Sluysken as laaste kommissaris van die V.O.C. aan die Kaap dui daarop dat hy onverboorbereid was om die verantwoordelikheid van leierskap op te neem. Die VOC was ook in daardie stadium op die rand van bankrotskap. Sluysken was met 'n binnelandse opstand gekonfronteer en die internasionale klimaat onrukstig. Dit het die vreedsame ontwikkeling aan die Kaap in die gedrang gebring. In baie opsigte, redeneer die skrywer, was Sluysken die teenorgestelde tipe van persoon van Jan van Riebeeck.

<b>Reluctant authority - Abraham Josias Sluysken, last commissioner of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape, 1793 - 1795</b> <br>An assessment of Sluysken's brief period as Commissioner-General at the Cape must take into account a variety of factors. Firstly, he was unprepared to take over this responsible post. <i>En route&lt;/i&gt; to the Netherlands, after a lengthy service in the East Indies, he was eventually persuaded by Nederburgh and Frijkenius to temporarily fill the vacant post of Governor Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff, who had left for Europe in 1791. Sluysken was unfamiliar with the prevailing divisions in Cape society. <br>Secondly, the Dutch East India Company was on the verge of bankruptcy. The Council of Seventeen neglected the welfare of the colonists and other inhabitants in its singular goal to promote its own financial interests. Increased local taxes and economic recession caused much local resentment. Remedial measures came too late and were too little. <br>Sluysken was faced with escalating conflict in the interior of the Colony. The burghers of Graaff-Reinet and Swellendam rejected the authority of the Council of Seventeen, but declared their loyalty to the States-General as supreme governmental body in the Netherlands. Sluysken's administrative skills lacked the capacity to demand and apply powerful counter-measures. The international scene also turned against peaceful progress in the Colony. British and French interests required a safe sea route to the East. The Cape of Good Hope was regarded as an important strategic position to facilitate this purpose. Sluysken's capacity as military strategist proved to be limited when a British fleet under Elphinstone and Craig arrived in Simon's Bay in 1795. His diplomacy in negotiations, poor military support and indecisiveness proved to be disastrous for Dutch republican interests. <br>In many respects Sluysken figured as the direct opposite of Jan van Riebeeck. Pathos is represented in the fact the he became the victim of circumstances for which he could not be blamed. (&lt;i&gt;Vide&lt;/i&gt; his 'Verbaal' and C.L. Neethling's criticism). Most of all, Sluysken succumbed as leader during a critical stage, when both negotiations and armed resistance had failed and capitulation became evident. He was a loyal administrator in the service of the Company, but not the beloved 'Father' of his people.


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