Page 199 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 and then claim payment in the Republic at this high rate of exchange. In the eighteenth century exchange transactions took on large proportions and certainly influenced the official export of currency from the Republic.2 0
In the Republic the dispatch of precious metals was surrounded with all due care. Coins were packed in small bags in fixed quantities and then put into chests. A bag of ducats for example contained five hundred or one thousand pieces, a bag of ducatoons two hundred. A chest of ducatoons generally contained twenty bags. Fifty or one hundred bars of silver (at eighty mark of 246.084 grams, i.e. 1,968.672 grams or nearly two kilo- grams) were packed into one case. When necessary the chests were filled in with peat, and lastly bolted with two locks and nailed down with sailcloth and sealed. The master had to sign the invoice on receipt. The chests were placed in the cabins of master and officers.
In the eighteenth century ships often had to take as many as thirty or forty chests. To spread the risk the directors made sure of a balanced distribution among the ships. Large ships were given more currency than smaller ones. When in autumn and winter a good deal had already been dispatched, sometimes in the spring precious metals were shipped as an advance on the new 'demand'.21
Quantity and composition of the currency were determined first of all by the orders from the Republic for Asia. But also of great importance was the availability of silver and gold in Asia. For a long time the Company succeeded in buying precious metals in various places in Asia. Moreover the aforementioned currency exchange around the ducatoon ensured ready money.
Elsewhere the importance of Japan and Persia as suppliers of silver and gold has been pointed out. From Japan alone the Company in the years 1640-70 imported often more than from Europe. From Deshima came at first mostly silver - partly exchanged for gold in Taiwan - later, after 1668, gold. Restrictive Japanese regulations caused this export to decline steeply in 1685. This could not be sufficiently compensated for by the silver and gold export from Gamron in Persia, although this continued into the early eighteenth century.22 In this century there were some other sources - sometimes silver from Surat, Spanish reals via Chinese merchants from Manilla, gold from China or gold from Company mines in Sumatra - but their significance was minimal compared to the direct imports from the Republic.
There was however an increase in the eighteenth century (see table 37) in the money offered for exchange to Company cashiers by private individuals. It was well known that the large sums involved were on the whole not honestly earned. The directors did not prevent this. They would not have succeeded anyway, because the money would have been remitted to Europe via other companies. A n d this exchange had many advantages for the VOC, for the officers in Asia thus acquired ready money which did not have to be borrowed expensively and sent to Batavia and elsewhere with loss of interest.23
20 For the exchange rate of the ducatoon see Glamann, Dutch-Asiatic trade, 55-56 and 69-72. Around 1734/35 the ducatoon was rated at 78 st. heavy money and the coin was accepted at this rate in the exchange with the Republic. There however the ducatoon cost 65 stuivers!
21 For the packing of goods see for instance the bills of lading of the ships VROUWE GEERTRUI- DA, KRONENBURG and VROUWE PETRONELLA MARIA (3748-3750), in 1758 destined for Canton, in A R A , VOC 4542. See also Marsden, Ά reconstruction'.
22 Gaastra, 'The exports of precious metal', 474-475.
23 On the currency exchange see, apart from the literature mentioned in note 14, De Korte, De
jaarlijkse financiële verantwoording, 42-49.

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