Page 195 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 About the value of these goods little can be said with any exactness and certainty on the basis of the accounts. In view of the growth of the business it must have been a matter of rising amounts, overtaking in the long run the value of the trade goods. Concrete proof of this is to be found in a specification, made up in Batavia not long after 1753, of the annual value of the cargazoenen (cargoes). The value of currency is here recorded sepa- rately, thus enabling that of the remaining cargoes (trade goods and Company goods) to becalculated.5 OnaverageitwasamatterofannualamountsgraduallyrisingfromfiIV2 million to over fl 2 million. Put beside the value of trade goods of the Amsterdam chamber, as recorded in table 38, and multiplied by two, the conclusion will be that the value of the Company goods in the first half of the eighteenth century globally speaking was at least one and a half time as high.
b. Trade goods
As already observed, there was little demand in Asia for European products, at least not among the Asiatic consumers. Naturally in the small community of Europeans this was different. A considerable part of the trade goods always consisted of textiles, wine, beer and lead. In addition there were various goods marketed only during a limited period.
Textiles formed the most important group of products. This meant cloth, woollens and silks, but particularly cloth, varying in kind and quality, up to 37 different ones. In the seventeenth century cloth stuffs found a ready market, apart from Batavia, in Persia, Surat and Japan. This remained the case later on, though in somewhat different places. Barracanen, baize, velvet or Haarlem fabrics could generally be sold at a reasonable profit. In the second quarter of the eighteenth century China, Japan, Ceylon and Batavia itself were markets of some importance.6 Leiden cloth manufacturers then tried constantly to persuade the Company to buy their products. A promise of the Amsterdam chamber in 1742 to do so with half their textiles was not fulfilled. But in 1772 it was officially agreed between the Company and Leiden that the chambers would annually purchase Leiden textiles for a total of between fl 70,000 and fl 100,000. The increased trade with China enabled the VOC to fulfil this obligation. Top quality cloth for winter garments found a ready market in Canton, as well as polemieten, a somewhat simpler woollen fabric, mostly black for winter coats. At an average purchase value of more than fl 200,000 in textiles per year (see table 38), Leiden's share became dominant, the surprising increase after 1780 being the result of greater sales of polemieten in China: more than 100,000 guilders' worth was then sometimes shipped there.7
Wines were also an important export product, both in value and quantity. Recent research into the wrecks of Company ships, e.g. that of the AMSTERDAM (3437), wrecked near Hastings in 1749, has brought to light cargoes of wine the origins of which can even now be ascertained.8 Ordinary wines were kept in large casks (leggers), more expensive kinds in bottles. Sale and consumption took place most likely among Europeans. The same applied to beer. For lead there was always a demand. This export product had incidental use as ballast as well.
A few more products deserve mention. In the seventeenth century there was a demand
5 A R A , V O C 4792: see also Gaastra, 'De Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie', 250-252.
6 ARA,VOC 4795.
7 Gaastra, 'Leiden en de VOC', 58-60.
8 The contents of three bottles, recently analysed, proved to be still in reasonable condition. It is
fairly sure to have been a Monbazillac from Bergerac (Gawronski (ed.), 80-88).

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