Page 133 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 Apart from numerous advices on trade and reinforcement of the position in Asia, the instruction contained a mandate to ascertain which place would be most suitable for a permanent seat of government. In this connection the Heren Zeventien mentioned Bantam, in a strategically favourable position by Sunda Strait, and Johor on Malacca Strait.4
Subsequent instructions are dated 11th May 1613 (for Gerard Reijnst), 22nd August 1617 (Jan Pietersz. Coen), 17th April 1632 (Hendrik Brouwer) and 26th April 1650 (ge- neral instruction).5 The regulations of 1613 brought little change, but in the private instruc- tion for Gerard Reijnst an important principle was stated, extending the Company's judi-
cial powers: persons who had left Company service still remained subject to Company justice locally.6
In 1617 the number of councillors of the Indies was increased to nine and for each of them a definition of duties was given. On paper an ideal division of duties was created: a merchant for visitation of the bookkeeping, an admiral for military operations at sea, an officer over the soldiery, a lawyer and a director-general for trade were all to be part of the Council. Furthermore the governors of Ternate, Ambon, Banda and the Coroman- del Coast settlement were given the rank of councillor of the Indies. Council meetings were chaired by the Governor-General, who was given a double vote in case of deadlock.
When a vacancy arose the Council had the right to fill this from among Company servants present in Asia. It was also granted powers to appoint colleges of councillors over the various settlements in Asia. But of course the directors in the Republic retained their right of appointment of councillors of the Indies and local governors as well. Finally, legislative powers were quite explicitly, though in very general terms, conferred upon the Governor-General and Council.
In 1626 again a change was made in the composition of the Council. Next to eight ordinaris-raden (ordinary councillors) there were to be two extraordinaris raden (extra-or- dinary councillors). These were to have priority in new appointments to the Council. When attending meetings in their quality of raad extra-ordinaris they had an advisory vote only. In the instruction for Hendrik Brouwer in 1632 no changes in government were made.
Not until 1650 did the organization of government in Asia take its difinitive shape. The generale instructie of that year remained the basis of government until the end of the VOC's existence. Its clauses were partly a summary of measures issued by the Heren Zeventien in their missives between 1640 and 1650. The position of the Governor-General as head of government was now clearly distinguished from his appendage of councillors, now to consist of six ordinary and two extraordinary councillors. His powers were quite extensive, and vaguely defined, being subject only to the Heren Meesters (gentlemen masters) at home. His succession remained regulated as in 1617, by majority vote and with sealed voting papers. The directors had the right to cancel the choice. In 1714 however the Heren Zeventien decided that the Director-General was to be the first to be considered for the succession.7
The Governor-General could and should not take decisions without the Council's con- sent. In practice it depended largely on personal qualities and mutual relations whether the centre of gravity in decision making lay with the Governor-General or with the Council.
4 See clause 11 of this instruction.
5 These instructions are also printed in Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 87, 544-556 (1613); Mijer,
Verzameling van Instructies, 25-116 (1617, 1632 and 1650); Van der Chijs, Plakaatboek I, 28-52
(22.8 and 3.11.1617), 263-276 (17.3.1632) and II, 135-157 (26.4.1750).
6 Clause 25 of the private instruction, see Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 87, 556-564. 7 Mijer, Verzameling van Instructies, 105, editor's note.

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