Malabar, Ceylon, Coromandel, and Bengal). As much as 5333 references relate to (parts of) letters sent to Batavia.28 In the years 1737-1750, Canton did not even receive a single letter from the Heeren XVII. On map 1, therefore, one-way traffic appears between those 'nodes'. The information system and network of the VOC: the European side Unlike the organization of the Company in Asia, in the Dutch Republic a Generale Secretarye was missing. The Heeren XVII - who consisted of seventeen representatives from the six different Chambers of the VOC - had no central secretariat, but instead used the facilities of Kamer Amsterdam and Kamer Zeeland. These were the largest and most important Chambers of the VOC (Amsterdam had eight permanent representatives in the Heeren XVII, Zeeland had four). The meetings of the Heeren XVII were held in Amsterdam for six consecutive years, the following two years they were chaired by Kamer Zeeland in Middelburg. Because of this, the secretariat of the Heeren XVII also changed, as mail was sent to Middelburg twice in eight years. The first secretary of the Heeren XVII was called an advocaat. Officially he worked for Kamer Amsterdam. It was a very important position because he took minutes of the meetings, formed the resolutions, and was responsible for the spread of all documents to the different Chambers. Also, he assisted the presiding Chamber to prepare the agendas of the meetings (the so-called poincten van beschrijvinghe)and it was his formal task to "go through and seriously examine" all papers coming from Asia.29 This was done at the Haagse Besogne, as mentioned before. In The Hague, the letters of all outposts were read, as well as the replies from the Hoge Regering. Moreover, they were compared to the instructions given by the Heeren XVII to Batavia and the different outposts two years prior. When all this was done, the advocaat prepared a draft-version of a reply in which every outpost was mentioned, the so-called Haagse Verbaal. This was sent to all six Chambers of the Company, after which it was discussed in the meetings of the Heeren XVII. The Haagse Besogne can be seen as an advisory Committee. Only the Heeren XVII took decisions.30 All Chambers had their own clerical staff and produced an archive. Because the advocaat formally worked for Kamer Amsterdam, but was also secretary of the Heeren XVII, the archive of the Heeren XVII and Kamer Amsterdam is intertwined. For a large part the found documents are created at the so-called schrijfcomptoir, the writers' office of Kamer Amsterdam, of which the staff worked alternately for the Kamer and the advocaten. Regarding the size and importance of Kamer Amsterdam and the function of the advocaten, it can be assumed that the schrijfcomptoir not only produced the bulk of the archive of Kamer Amsterdam, but also of the total VOC-archive. The office had grown considerably NICO VRIEND AN UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF PAPER: THE INFORMATION SYSTEM AND NETWORK OF THE DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY 29 This quotation comes from Pieter van Dam, advocaat of the VOC between 1652 and 1706 and author of the eight-volume book Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie. Published by F.W. Stapel (The Hague 1927), quotation on page 283. 30 In autumn, the Heeren XVII read the generale missive of the Hoge Regering. Replies were sent to Batavia on the 'most important issues.' The rest, however, was forwarded to the Haagse Besogne. Gaastra, Bewind en beleid, 51-52, and 55. Van Dam, Beschryvinge, 313-314. 75

Periodiekviewer Koninklijke Vereniging van Archivarissen

Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2012 | | pagina 77