Criminals, Corruption and Crazy Critters by June McKinnon
The British hatched similar schemes on a larger scale in 1615. From 1652 the crews, and passengers alighting from the plethora of ships anchored in Table Bay and Simonstown boozed, fought each other and the local populace, resulting in injuries, manslaughter and murder. They stole from the Commanders’ tables, were robbed by locals, connived with settlers to start a roaring trade in smuggling, frequented brothels and indulged in anything the fleshpots at the Cape had on offer.
Settlers rebelled against VOC laws, destroyed Company property, officials were corrupt, the clergy far from holier than thou, and dysfunctional families were the flavour of the day. Women were meant to be under their husband’s thumb, and not outspoken in public, but openly rebelled against the Company. Often lauded historical figures like Livingstone were driven by egotism and lack of compassion for anyone who opposed them. Philanderers abounded. Captain Cook’s right- hand man, Lieutenant Pickersgill sweet talked a pretty Dutch girl into believing he would marry her but sailed off into the blue never to return to put a ring on her finger.