Page 135 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 straight home from Asia without calling at Batavia, it was only natural that the governors concerned should send along letters to the directors. V an Goens however aspired to a position equal to that of the Governor-General at Batavia.1 2 For a while the 'demands' from Ceylon were sent to the Heren Zeventien without Batavia's knowledge. But when those at home had to put their hands too deeply into their pockets for this purpose, changes were made and in 1674, on directors' orders, Ceylon's 'demand' was once again included in the 'general demand'. However, since each year a few ships sailed straight for Ceylon and the chambers needed to know what cargoes they were to take, the Ceylon government was still allowed to state what part of the 'demand' was destined for it.1 3
Much, mostly fruitless, energy was invested by the directors and Hoge Regering into measures to control the servants in the overseas factories, their main objective being the suppression of private trading. Control over the books at first fell to the bookkeeper-ge- neral at Batavia, whose job it was to compile from the books of the various offices the general books, copies of which were sent home each year. To lighten the bookkeeper's burden in 1674 a visitateur-generaal was appointed.
In addition to checking the books, Batavia in the first half of the seventeenth century regularly sent out commissarissen to visit the factories. These visitations had little effect however, and it was very difficult to find reliable men for this thankless task. When in 1682 even sending a commissaris-generaal from Europe did not have the desired effect, it was decided to appoint independente fiskaals. These fiscals were appointed at the facto- ries suspected of the worst abuse, as in Malacca and the settlements in India, and were answerable directly to the directors. By this detachment from local government the direc- tors hoped that strong action against private trading by local officials would become possible. They hoped in vain.1 4
Batavia - the general rendez-vous
The Company felt, next to the need for a fixed seat of government, an equally urgent need for a place which could serve both as a rendez-vous for shipping and as a staple for goods. From Europe the Heren Zeventien could do little more than offer good advice: it would be desirable for the necessary buildings to stand on Company ground under Com- pany rule, but the settlement would have to be achieved by peaceful means; the most favourable location would be by one of the straits, either Malacca Strait or Sunda Strait. In the instruction for Pieter Both the advice was given to address the 'king' or pangeran of Jakarta, a place just east of Bantam on the river Tjiliwung, with a request for the building of a fort there, and for toll-free trading.1 5 For the execution of such plans however the directors depended on their servants in Asia and on local possibilities.
For the time being Bantam remained the centre of trade and shipping. Unless military operations dictated other destinations, ships from the home country arrived and also departed from there. The central bookkeeping was situated there as well. This central function was reinforced when in 1614 Governor-General Gerard Reijnst appointed Jan Pietersz. Coen to be not only president of the Bantam office but also Director-General of all trading posts. In the early years the Governor-General himself usually stayed in the
12 Arasaratnam, Dutch power in Ceylon, 39.
13 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 87, 105.
14 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 87, 47-48. Sending out the commissarissen-generaal S. C. Neder-
burgh and S. H. Frijkenius in 1791 had a much wider purpose than an inspection of staff at the
offices outside Batavia: it was a last attempt to halt the decline of the V O C in Asia.
15 Clause 23 of the instruction for Pieter Both.

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