improve. Complaints about Koenad's writing style are followed by gripes about the arrangement of his documents. No index was found on the resolutions (decisions) of the board of Gamron, the incoming and outgoing letters were not filed properly and Koenad just was not capable of separating relevant matters from irrelevant ones. In their letter of the 2nd of October 1737, the Hoge Regering requests Koenad to order his letters in the way all Western Indian trading posts of the Company did: in chapters. Usually copies of those letters to Batavia were also sent to Gamron, so Koenad could easily see how the letters were supposed to be ordered. Using chapters a case can be handled from beginning to end, the Hoge Regering suggests, and less important matters can be moved to the annexes.3 Carel Koenad had also sent documents directly to the Heeren XVII (Gentlemen XVII), the supreme governing body of the VOC in the Dutch Republic. The documents were transported on the backs of thousands of camels, via the caravan routes to the Levant.4 Thereafter they were loaded on ships heading to Marseille, Venice and Livorno, ending up in the Dutch Republic. It was an uncertain option, as bandits appeared on the caravan routes. Moreover, the speed of the messengers was sometimes unsatisfactory, and French and English competitors used the same routes. However, given the limits of the time, it was relatively fast.5 The documents sent by Koenad, however, are as unorganized, confusing and unintelligible as the ones he had sent to Batavia. The report of the Haagse Besogne, a special commission in The Hague entrusted with the reading of all the correspondence of the Asian trading posts, reveal that Koenad had sent "an unbelievable amount of paper, consisting of 896 pages or 224 sheets". The Heeren XVII repeatedly complain on this matter to Batavia, since they receive - as expressed in a letter from the Hoge Regering to Koenad - "lengthy, worthless narratives which could also be read easily in the newspaper". Moreover, important business information is found only in the annexes, and takes a lot of time and effort to find. In their letter of the 10th of September 1738, the Heeren XVII write to the Hoge Regering that they only scanned the Persian documents without carefully reading them. Koenad's letters were badly written, in horrible handwriting, and mostly contained irrelevant information. However, the Heeren XVII go on, the possibility must be considered that Koenad organizes his letters badly on purpose. Maybe it is his intention to obscure the content of his letters, the gentlemen suggest.6 Are the interests of the Company not long neglected in Persia, are our belongings not plundered, and should Batavia not do something about it? The Persian example raises a lot of questions. Not only about what was going on in the Persian outpost, but also about the Company's information system. How 68 COLONIAL LEGACY IN SOUTH EAST ASIA - THE DUTCH ARCHIVES 3 Letter from the Hoge Regering to Persia, 5 October 1736. NA, VOC, 'Batavia's uitgaand briefboek' (Batavia's outgoing letters), inv. number 989, fol. 954-958. Letter from the Hoge Regering to Persia, 2 October 1737. ANRI, HR, Batavia's outgoing letters, inv. nr. 3641, fol. 680-684. Letter from the Hoge Regering to Persia, 13 October 1738. ANRI, HR, inv. 3642, fol. 809-869. 4 According to Rene Jan Barendse, the caravan route from Aleppo to Bassoura consisted of three to four thousand camels per year. Barendse, Arabian seas 1700-1763, 227-233, 300-304. 5 In the seventeenth century, it took five to six months to deliver, although examples of three and four months are known (the return fleet took circa eight). Moree, 'Met vriend die god geleide.', 45-49, and 55-57. 6 Report of the Haagse Besogne (Haags Verbaal), 23 June 1738 (Persia). NA, VOC, inv. number 4471. Letter from the Hoge Regering to Persia, 5 October 1736. NA, VOC, Batavia's outgoing letters, inv. number 989, fol. 954-958. Letter from the Heeren XVII to the Hoge Regering, 10 September 1738. NA, VOC, Outgoing letters of the Heeren XVII to the offices in Asia, inv. number 329.

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Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2012 | | pagina 70