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 Formally seven votes were required for a decision. In the absence of one or two ordinary members the right to vote went to the extra-ordinary councillors, but in important matters it was preferred to 'collect' the vote. In practice however the number of seven was by no means always adhered to.8
Among the Council members the Director-General had a special position. This high official, in 1617 still fifth, but from 1632 first councillor of the Indies, was general superin- tendent of all commercial activities in Asia: the buying in of goods, the sale of articles from Europe and the bookkeeping and administration of all offices and settlements. The other members had to conduct correspondence with the offices (beschrijven); these offices were divided between them. On the Council as a whole rested the annual duty of reporting extensively on the state of affairs in Asia, a duty executed by means of the generale missiven to the Heren Zeventien.9 The Council also drew up the generale eis (general demand), a fully substantiated request for the forwarding of money and goods required by the Asiatic business. For the minuting and formulating of the resolutions a secretary was appointed; copies of the resolutions had to be sent home.10
In 1650 the judicature was vested in a Council of Justice, consisting of seven and after 1661 of nine members. The Governor-General was explicitly forbidden to interfere in court cases, only in capital cases did he have the right of reprieve.
Finally in 1650 it was once more recorded that the Hoge Regering had its seat in Batavia, centre of government since 1619, which town had to be kept in an adequate state of defence. A garrison of at least 1200 Dutchmen was prescribed.
The government of the factories outside Batavia
All possessions, factories and ships in Asia came under the authority of the Hoge Regering
in Batavia. Local government was a mirror image of central government. Important pos- sessions like Ternate, Ambon, Banda and the Coromandel Coast, and later Ceylon, Ma- lacca, Makassar, Java's East coast and the Cape of Good Hope were administered by a governor, assisted by a Raad van politie (policy council). On this council served a secunde (a senior merchant second in rank to the governor), a military commander in the rank of captain or major, the head of bookkeeping and a fiscal. Where the Company had no sovereign rights but trading posts within the jurisdiction of another power, as in Surat, Persia or Bengal, the highest authority rested with a directeur. Less important settlements were headed by men of lower rank like commandeurs, residenten, gezaghebbers and opper- hoofden.11
The great importance of Ceylon gave the governor of this island a special and quite independent position. In particular Rijklof van Goens, governor of Ceylon from 1661 to 1675, strove for this independent position. When he thought to find more response to his expansionist plans from the Heren Zeventien than from Batavia, he began to correspond directly with the former. Not that direct correspondence was unusual: when ships sailed
8 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 87, 47-48.
9 For the way in which these Generale Missiven were drawn up see the introductions in the Generale
Missiven, edited by Coolhaas, in R.G.P. vols. 104,112,125,134,150, 155 and 160. See also the
chapter on sources, p. 201-203.
10 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 68, 104-110 (on the General Demand) and vol. 87, 77 (on the role
of the secretary).
11 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 87, 78-80, on 229-241 a review of the servants per factory, giving
ranks of 1680. See also the surveys in Klerk de Reus, Geschichtlicher Ueberblick, 234-242 for the years 1720 and 1776.

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