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Archives created in The Netherlands


4. Archives of the Committees

here were various committees and besognes (working parties) of the directors, which carried out tasks which could not be finalized during the short sessions of the Heren XVII. The most important of these were the Haags Besogne and the committee for the China trade. The Haags Besogne had to compose the draft letter of the Heren XVII in reply to the generale missiven from Batavia. In order to achieve this, a detailed annotated summary of the papers received was drawn up. The summary is divided up systematically according to establishment. In 1787 this task was assumed by what was known as the Vijfde Departement or Preparatoir Besogne (Fifth Department or Preparatory Committee). The reports of the Haags Besogne and of the Vijfde Departement or Preparatoir Besogne are present in the archives of the Amsterdam Chamber (inv. nos. 4455-4506 and 4516-4529).

The file of the committee for the China trade included in the archives of the Amsterdam Chamber consists of reports (inv. no. 4542) and drafts as well as duplicates of outgoing documents to China (inv. nos. 4543-4553). It is also furnished with a useful alphabetical repertory of the letters received from China during the years 1757-1779 (inv. no. 4556).

A third committee was charged with the drawing up of the jaarlijkse generale staat (annual balance sheet). The Company had no central book-keeping. Each year the six Chambers prepared a separate balance sheet. These six separate balance sheets were combined into the generale staat by a committee drawn from the Heren XVII. In order to do this, every year the accountants of the Chambers presented themselves before this committee with journals and ledgers. Because of this method of keeping the books it is difficult to get an insight into the real financial position of the chambers and of the profitability of Company business as a whole. The summarized financial statements of the committee for the drawing up of the annual generale staat, compiled from the accounting of the various chambers, have been preserved from 1662 (inv. nos. 4584-4597). The summarized statements of the Amsterdam Chamber are also available from 1642 (inv. no. 4583).

Few documents pertaining to the other committees of the Heren XVII have survived.


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