even completed by the end of the period under discussion. In the end, it seems
that the eighteenth-century reports from Asia to the Netherlands had survived
only in the archives of the Amsterdam and Zeeland Chambers. In 1810, when
the colonial home administration was relocated from The Hague to Paris, the
actual removal of archival documents was limited to thirteen chests and one
iron box, mainly containing papers on current affairs. The intention was to ship
much more to Paris, but the collapse of Napoleon's political and military dreams
in Europe prevented its realization. After Napoleon had met his Waterloo, the
documents were returned to the Netherlands in 1816.26
A glance at the table above shows it is obvious that the volume of documents
sent over from Asia declined sharply after 1795. Although, the information
collected prior to 1795 was fairly voluminous, during the period of the OIC and
the RAB the stream of documents dried up dramatically. In the end, especially
after the establishment of the MvK, it was limited to the reporting of the
High Government. Within this remaining category, the reporting was just a
pale reflection of its former self. Whereas the Generale Missiven of the VOC
contained more than a thousand pages each year, by Daendels' time they barely
exceeded one hundred pages or indeed they did not even reach this number.27
However, it is essential to remember that by 1795-1796 the VOC empire had
already quickly fallen to the British and that the Cape and all possessions in
South Asia as well as the western and eastern parts of the Southeast Asian
Archipelago had been lost. In so far as there is still archival material left in the
Netherlands about a number of temporarily restored provinces after the Peace
of Amiens, it can be found in the collection of the High Government of Batavia,
transferred to The Hague from Batavia after 1863.28 The transfer of 1863 was
later divided into four collections: High Government Batavia proper; Dutch
Possessions India; Dutch Factory Canton; Dutch Factory Japan.29
The table above refers to archival collections which were built up in the
framework of the governmental administration of the colonies deposited in
the National Archives of the Netherlands. However, the National Archives also
contain archival collections put together by private persons, formerly employed
in these administrations, who kept copies or even original versions of certain
documents for themselves. Such collections might be useful to fill gaps in the
archives of the governmental administrations. In this case we have to think of
Nederburgh.30 In particular during his term of office as Commissioner-General
in the East during the 1790s, he was in the habit of keeping quite an extensive
number of documents. The first Minister of Trade and Colonies, P. van der Heim,
has left a collection.31 Unfortunately, there are no documents in this collection
pertaining to the categories mentioned in the table above. Then there are
COLONIAL LEGACY IN SOUTH EAST ASIA -
THE DUTCH ARCHIVES
26 Pennings, 'Geschiedenis archiefbeheer', 34-36.
27 HaNa, Holland Division, entry number 2.01.27.05, inv. nr. 19.
28 HaNA, High Government Batavia, entry number 1.04.17, inv nr. 9.
29 HaNA, High Government Batavia, Dutch Possessions India, Dutch Factory Canton, Dutch Factory Japan,
entry numbers 1.04.17, 1.04.19, 1.04.20 and 1.04.21. respectively.
30 HaNA, Nederburgh, entry number 1.10.59. This collection also contains documents of several other
members of the Nederburgh family not involved in the colonies.
31 HaNA, P. van der Heim, entry number 2.21.008.71.
32 HaNA, Daendels, entry number 2.21.046, inv. numbers 103 and 105.