Page 216 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
P. 216

 handwritten contents list, typed copies of which are available for consultation in the reading room of the ARA. These contents lists have served as guiding principle in the research and made possible a swift localization of those parts of the OBP's in which data on shipping to the Netherlands are available.2 2
Among the regularly recurring relevant sources are the following documents:
- The lists of ships arriving at or departing from Batavia. Such lists or surveys are to be found in the OBP's for the entire period, but the manner of composition is not uniform, and the information is not always the same. What is invariably given is the date of arrival or departure from the Batavia roads, and sometimes origin and place of departure or destination as well. The lists have usually been compiled from month to month and cover periods of variable length, depending on the intervals in the correspondence between Batavia and the Republic. In the second half of the seventeenth century Batavia changed over to separate lists for VOC ships in the European-Asiatic trade in which much more is recorded about the arriving ships in particular: date of depature from home, calls at the Cape and other ports on the way, numbers on board and the changes therein, subdi- vided into the categories of seafarers, soldiers, artisans and passengers. The numbers on board of departing ships are given as well. In the second half of the eighteenth century however the data are again less comprehensive.
- The Generale Missiven and missives to the Amsterdam chamber. The Generale Missiven are a very useful source, even in unpublished form, because data on shipping between the Netherlands and Asia are mostly mentioned in the first paragraphs. The missives addressed to the Amsterdam chamber - not 'general' but 'particular' missives - contain more or less the same information about shipping, but because these letters are more concise and more concerned with trade and shipping only, they are much easier to handle. In the eighteenth century the information in the missives is more circumstantial and more or less standardized. Not only is the ship's safe arrival reported - or an expected ship's non-arrival as the case might be -, the numbers on board on departure from home and any changes on the way are divulged, albeit that these numbers do not always apply to one ship but often to several ships arriving simultaneously. Particulars about the voyage, such as ports of call, are also mentioned.
- The consumptierekeningen (provisions accounts). Masters had to account for the con- sumption of their ships' provisions after arrival in Batavia via the so-called consumptiere- keningen.23 The issue of victuals to those on board was tied to strict regulations and every consumptierekening begins with a careful account of any changes in the numbers on board due to death, desertion, disembarkation or embarkation at the Cape and sometimes even due to birth on board ship. The doubts the directors had about the value of these accounts, in which for instance the consumption of French brandy per man was carefully recorded down to every half-day, may well have been justified. But no doubt cheating with brandy supplies would have been easier than manipulating the numbers of those on board ship. Comparison with the missives and other lists shows the consumptierekeningen to be a reliable source for data on numbers on board. The accounts appear in the OBP's around 1680 and can then be found for the majority of ships arriving in Batavia up to 1769. After
22 At the point of preparation of the Lists typed lists up to 1769 were available. In addition the compilers were able to profit from the notes on VOC shipping and naval actions in the seventeenth century, compiled by the retired naval lieutenant J. P. Houterman in the course of years of study of the OBP's, and kindly made available by him.
23 For the regulations concerning the consumptierekeningen see ch. 8.

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