Archives created in The Netherlands
4. Archives of the Committees
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.