Page 22 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
P. 22

 Registration had to take place before 31st August 1602. The amounts with which sharehol- ders wished to participate in the new enterprise varied enormously, from nearly one hundred thousand guilders to only a score. The bulk of the capital was advanced by merchants. The total amount at the directors' disposal came to fl 6,424,588, whichwas divided between the chambers as follows:31
The charter prescribed that shareholders should complete their investment in three equal instalments in 1603, 1604 and 1605. But the directors deviated from this rule and asked for the capital in four instalments, in amounts determined by the costs of equipping the fleets. The fleets of Steven van der Hagen, Kornelis Matelieff, Paulus van Caerden and Pieter Verhoeff were financed entirely with share capital, which therefore had been deman- ded in total by 1607.32
No doubt many shareholders now expected soon to receive dividends. They were mis- taken. Though many clauses of the charter were based on procedures of the voorcompag- nieën, nevertheless a new situation had been created. Steensgaard uses the word 'metamor- phosis' in this respect.33 Not only were the VOC's objectives broader - including military force - but the granting of the charter resulted in an enterprise of a different character. This metamorphosis was not quite so apparent in 1602, but became painfully obvious to share- holders after the first ten years. Shareholders had as little influence as before, but could not, as with the former companies, 'reprove' the directors' management by withholding funds for the next fleet. The directors were thus in a position to bridge the area of tension between short term enterprise and permanent organization,created by the charter.The 5% regulation was not enforced and liquidation of the first decennial account did not take place. Naturally the directors by this policy incurred the wrath of the shareholders, but secure in the knowledge of the States-General's backing they persevered with their policy.
In 1610 shareholders received their first dividend, namely 75%, though not in cash but in mace. Soon more dividends were paid in the form of spices, so that by 1612 a total of 165.5% dividend had been paid, only 7V2% of it in cash. Dissatisfaction with this method of payment was great and a number of shareholders refused to accept it. Eventually they were paid in cash in 1612, 1613 and 1618.34 Dissension was also caused by the fact that exemption from liquidation in 1612 meant disclosure of the financial state of affairs was not forthcoming.
The shareholders' complaints were to some extent honoured by the States-General on extension of the charter in 1622. Directors were instructed to produce a 'general account' within six months after January 1st, 1623, and to render account before delegations from shareholders and from the States-General. For the duration of the charter's extension the
31 De Korte, De jaarlijkse financiële verantwoording, 2-3.
32 DeKorte,Dejaarlijksefinanciëleverantwoording,9-10,givesadetailedaccountoftheequipment
costs of the Amsterdam ships in these fleets.
33 Steensgaard, 'The Dutch East India Company as institutional innovation', 239.
34 De Korte, De jaarlijkse financiële verantwoording, 68-69.
3,674,915 1,300,405 469,400 173,000 266,868 540,000

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