Achter de schermen. Hendrik Swellengrebel en de Kaapse Patriotten

Translated title of the contribution: Behind the scenes. Hendrik swellengrebel and the Cape Patriot movement

Gerrit Schutte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Hendrik Swellengrebel, Cape-born Utrecht gentleman, farmer and administrator and visitor at the Cape (1776–1777), functioned as informal informant, mediator and critic of both the Cape Patriot Movement (1778 onwards) and the VOC officials, at the Cape and in Amsterdam, using his extensive network of correspondents, both at the Cape and in the Dutch Republic. In essence, he agreed with the Patriots’ complaints about the lack of personal rights and freedom of trade, but he also tried to convince the Representatives of the Patriots Movement (1779) to give up the counter-productive personal invectives against high Company officials. Simultanously Swellengrebel tried to restrain the reactions of the Company administrators. The top officials of the Company were conservatives, afraid of any burgher rights, and too busy with politics in the Dutch Republic and international relations (War with England in 1780–1784). Therefore decisions on the Patriot Requests and even moderate changes were delayed (and therefore creating more burgher actions). Even Swellengrebel’s offer to be nominated as Governor and then to reorganise the Cape was opposed, and declined by the Opperbewindhebber Stadholder William V himself. This article describes decades of discussion and policies around the Cape and the Cape Patriots, behind the scenes of the VOC.

Translated title of the contributionBehind the scenes. Hendrik swellengrebel and the Cape Patriot movement
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)562-586
Number of pages25
JournalTydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Anglo-French rivalry
  • B.J. Artoys
  • Cape colony
  • Cape patriot movement
  • Civil rights
  • F.W. Boers
  • Free trade
  • Hendrik Cloete
  • Hendrik Swellengrebel
  • International relations
  • J.A. van Plettenberg
  • Lords XVII
  • Party politics
  • Representatives
  • VOC
  • Vryburgher
  • W.C. Boers


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