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Maldives in the memoir of the Dutch Governor of Malabar, Adriaan Moens 1781
Adriaan Moens,
Selections from the Records of the Madras Government: Dutch Records No.2, Memoir Written in the Year 1781 A.D.,
Madras 1908, p.170

Finally I must say also something of the Maldive Sultan.
Although we have nothing to do with him here and although the purchase of cowries was forbidden by letter from Batavia, dated 18th September 1750, ordering us to send on Maldive vessels with their cowries to Ceylon, yet there still arrive here annually vessels with cowries, coir, caret (tortoise shell) and a kind of dried fish, called combelmas, which they sell to private people.

Their return freight is rice, cotton, catju (cashew nut), catjanq (pulses), angelicawood (used for ship-building etc.) and Chinese boeyangs (pottery or cloth).

Not a year passes, but the Sultan writes a letter to us in order only to recommend to us his vessels which may arrive here. This letter is brought here by a person who is styled an ambassador. He is received with very little ceremony. When he has sent word and has had an answer as to when he may have an audience, an official is sent to him with an umbrella and to honour him, or rather the letter, an escort is sent from the body-guard consisting of a corporal and six men, who conduct him as far as the audience hall. No sooner is the letter handed over, than they retire. He is then allowed to sit down for a moment.

Since the year 1754, when Ady Raja [known as Ali Raja in Maldivian records] made that well-known attack on the Maldives, the first enquiry is usually about Ady Raja, and after a short indifferent conversation, the whole audience is over.

When he returns to the Maldives he is given a little complimentary letter to take with him, which is handed over to him by the sabandar (native customs officer) without further ceremony.

Occasionally I have sounded these envoys about the cowries, and why they did not carry more of them to Ceylon, but I think they get too little for the cowries and so take them in their own vessels to Bengal, and from there take rice in return. Some time ago they sold many cowries to the French, who on this account sent many vessels lately to the Maldives.

Although now, as I remarked before, we have little to do with them, yet I think it not only expedient, but even necessary to maintain our friendship with this prince and to give a helping hand to his vessels, when they come here, with services that cost us no money, since they can be of service to us again, when our ships or vessels may be driven to the Maldives, as has happened before, on which occasions our vessels have received such assistance as it was possible to give them there.

In the month of October 1776, when Nabob Hyder Alyckan attached our possessions here and the good monsoon had not yet begun, a trader from the Maldives happnened to be lying here in the river (backwater), whilst the surf was still heavy against the bar at the mouth of the river. No sooner did I propose to him that he should take a letter for the Company to Colombo, than he agreed to do so without thinking twice about it, put to sea and took the letter in a few days to Colombo. So we received reinforcements from Ceylon soon, and through this willingness a great service was in fact rendered to the Company.

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