Page 200 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
P. 200

 In view of the Company's opportunities of obtaining money in Asia it is not surprising that the size of the dispatches from the Republic did not coincide with developments in the shipping of return cargoes. Even more pronounced than with other aspects the accent is again on the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth century the directors could for a long time confine themselves to the dispatch of modest amounts, due in particular to the influx of silver from Deshima and Gamron. After 1680 the quantities of currency on the outward bound ships increased rapidly. Between 1720 and 1730 the 382 ships sailed with no less than 66 million guilders under the masters' and officers' bunks! (see table 39). During the subsequent decades the exports were somewhat smaller, though remaining far above seventeenth century levels. Even the growing quantities of silver then received for bills of exchange were not sufficient to meet the demand in Asia. This steeply rising demand was not only the result of more trade with Asia, but also of a different trading pattern in which various new products had to be purchased with precious metals: silver for tea in China and for textiles in Bengal, and after 1753 much gold for textiles in Coro- mandel and South India.
On the whole the Company could meet this demand from the Republic. Not until the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War had put the directors into acute financial difficulties did they begin to fail. Enormous arrears accumulated in the dispatch of currency. As a result the Asia offices became short of money. Efforts to remedy this failed. In 1793, well before another war began to hamper seaborne traffic, the directors failed to extricate new funds for dispatch and had to limit themselves to an appeal to the chambers to clear the backlog in dispatches.
Table 39: The export of currency by the VOC 1602-1794
1690-1700 28,605,000
1602-1700 125,572,979
1602-1794 574,355,013 Source: see Appendix IV
5,207,429 10,185,550 12,360,000
1700-10 1710-20 1720-30 1730-40 1740-50 1750-60 1760-70 1770-80 1780-90 1790-94
fl 39,275,000 38,827,000 66,029,949 40,123,508 38,275,000 58,958,396 53,541,830 48,317,130 47,895,900 16,972,021
8,500,000 9,200,000 8,400,000
12,100,000 11,295,000 19,720,000
The cargoes of the homeward ships and their cost price
The homeward ships took to the Republic the goods which after all were at the heart of the matter: the Asiatic products not available in Europe. The ships were laden as fully as possible, so there was hardly a question of ballast. A light cargo like tea would be supplemented by porcelain. Company goods, so prominently present in the cargoes of the outward ships, were seldom on board now - at most some that were useless or sent in error. Much is already known in the literature about character and quantities of the Asiatic products. The Lists only mention the cost of the cargo on board each homeward

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