Page 165 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 increasing the supply of labour in the Republic. The VOC does not seem to have profited sufficiently from this supply and had the greatest difficulty in meeting its need for person- nel. For the qualitative decline in the VOC labour force, particularly in the second half of the eighteenth century, no watertight proofs are to be found, only indirect indications: increasing complaints from VOC directors about the difficulties in recruitment and conse- quent measures to deal with the problem; more frequent efforts to engage native labour on the ships in Asia; and lastly the recruitment in Europe from a wider (German) hinterland of ever more soldiers and sailors. The origins o f VOC recruited sailors and soldiers tell us something more about nature and quality of VOC personnel, particularly in the eigh- teenth century.
Origins of voyagers
Complaints about recruitment difficulties will on closer investigation no doubt produce more instances for the second half of the eighteenth century than can be offered here. But certainly as early as 1745 the Heren Zeventien expressed their concern about the insufficient supply of experienced seafarers, and during the Seven Y ears W ar (1756-1763) the alarmbells were set ringing. Due to long term want of crew for instance 16 of the 28 ships which should have sailed late in 1760 had to wait until 1st April 1761 when they were sufficiently manned to undertake the voyage. Too few sailors were available 'who during the present war have ample opportunity to find employment at unequally higher wages than the Company usually pays'. There was trouble too with the recruitment of soldiers. Wages therefore were increased temporarily and the volkhouders paid fl 3 for every man they could deliver to the Company. But after this war things were still difficult. In 1780 the V O C even employed certain agents for procuring labour, and during the subsequent Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-1784) the Heren Zeventien tried to recruit Italians, and recruitment officers travelled far beyond the borders of the Republic.1 4 And there are indications that in the second half of the eighteenth century - though it had occurred in earlier times - orphan boys from the municipal orphanages were often recruited and pressurized into VOC contracts by the local authorities responsible.15
In Asia itself during the second half of the eighteenth century natives were taken on in the shipping service. For major military expeditions in the seventeenth century Javanese and Moluccan soldiers had already been used, and at the VOC factories native (lower) personnel was not unknown then, apart from the Asian and African slaves. Between 1711 and 1720 an annual average of 2,013 native employees were in VOC service - nearly 10% of the total workforce in Asia. After a decline in the succeeding decade this number rose again, even to an average of 4,200 between 1781 and 1790.16 Enlisting of native sailors appears not to have become customary until the second half of the seventeenth century, although crews rarely had a majority o f native-Asian origin. A s early as 1744 there was mention of the formation of a corps of native Christian soldiers, including sailors. Since then natives were employed not only in intra-Asiatic shipping but also on voyages to Europe. Whereas in 1715 it was still explicitly forbidden to engage natives for V O C
14 Raven, 'Aanhoudend sukkelen', 137-138. Furthermore the Resolutions of the Heren 17 in ARA, VOC 124, 22.3.1745; VOC 130, 6.10.1760, 1.4.1761; VOC 131, 7.5 and 26.10.1762; VOC 123, 30.9.1772; VOC 135, 4.11.1776; VOC 137, 13.4 and 8.11.1780, 13.9.1781, 18.4.1782; VOC 142, 6.5.1779; and VOC 202, 4.5.1792.
15 Bruijn, 'Personeelsbehoefte', 241-242. 16 Lequin. Het personeel, II, 415.

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