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«Its Causes, Course and Consequences A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in History in the ...»

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grievances and certainly not unjustly so. Van Middelkoop mentions the dilapidated state of government buildings and adds: "In order to rectify this and also to proceed with the necessary repairs to government buildings in Banda, I issued a general requisition for timber from Saparua, Hila and Haruku in April last but no timber has been received as yet. Some timber is available at Hila but a shortage of boats has, so far, made shipment impossible". The delivery quotas were to be spread over the various negories of Saparua,

Hila and Haruku. Then follows his usual justification:

"This demand for timber was no burden on the people since, compared with deliveries in earlier times, even under British rule, especially when they first arrived here, it was in no way excessive and had always been an obligation of the population which had been maintained by the British throughout their stay. For the felling and cutting a fair wage was paid as per my Decree 43 dated 13 April, especially since the timber was not theirs, but grew wild on government land".

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law and a continuation of the theory of Raffles, who, through his exorbitantly high land rent, can be said to have turned the whole of Java into a tenant farm of the government •

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we saw, the method of payment was very involved and required the fiat of the Governor in Ambon, causing long delays, and after all that, payment was expected to be made in the despised paper money. These long delays were probably the reason for Matulesia's claim that no payments were received. It must also be kept in mind that the actual amount received was not the most important point: what really hurt was the seemingly endless demands for labour

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The timber deliveries, as we saw, provided the spark in the powder keg and the removal of the timber cargo from the orembaai at Porto by the rebels was the first act of defiance. Once the revolt had broken out, immediate improvements were made by Decree dated 24 May, giving

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in specie, for deliveries.

19 The workload for compulsory deliveries of timber often fell unfairly on villagers. It was, for instance, possible to buy off one's obligations on pa~ent of a set. This, however, meant that the other v1llagers had to do the extra amount of work required to fill the unaltered quota.

Buyskes classified the orders for compulsory deliveries among the 'injudicious' orders of Van Middelkoop20.

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Commissioners to inform him whether the rowers for the many orembaais required by the Government for the transport of goods, personnel or mail, should be paid a daily wage of four stivers per day per man, as had been the practice of the British government, considering that the previous Dutch government had made no such payment. The present author has not been able to find the Commissioners' reply. Perhaps this is the basis for Matulesia's complaints: "for the transport of mail to Ceram only four guilders is paid, for that to Ambon only two guilders, this is really too bad".

In a Decree of the Commissioners dated 2 August 1817 after the outbreak of the Saparua Revolt, it will be noted the Commissioners had an obvious change of heart. "To all negory folk employed in government service on orembaais transporting goods, personnel or mail, will be paid five stivers daily and the usual rations when they have to leave the bay and go out to sea, but if they remain in the bay or on the island, only four stivers and no rations; on request

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The following passage is also interesting:

liThe superintendent is seriously recommended to make sure that this burden is equally spread over the negory folk and that nobody, whose turn it is, is allowed to buy off this obligation, since this will create disconsolation in the others and may lead to Commotion, while he will also give his 20 Buyskes' Report 4:z.~.

21 Decree No. 117 dated Ambon 2 Aug. 1817.

attention and see to it that those who have given these services or delivered materials, will receive prompt payment in full; he will be accountable for any acts to the contrarylt22.

As regards the spirit of the government, it is obvious that the timber supplying negories were hard pressed, but there is no indication whatsoever that the Governor ever stood up for the interests of his people, against the countless requisitions of the Military. Again and again the Superintendents of Negori'es are ordered to supply this or that "by way of distribution over the negories". And a tremendous amount was required: poles for the navy wharf, big repairs to the Castle, the military hospital and the small post in Leitimor, even firewood for the newly arrived warships. Regular transport with the Bay of Bagualawas also demanded, also by equal distribution over the negories. Two ore:mbaais had to be available at the first request of the Military Commander - as the Decree puts it: "as under the previous Dutch govenerment, an obligation abolished by the British government as being unnecessary".

Tidy Dutchmen that they were, a Decree of 19 Apri1 ordered all roads in the town to be thoroughly repaired and the town cleaning was reorganised. By Decree of 25 April the police force, which had cost the British seven to eight thousand Spanish Dollars annually, was replaced by night watches of armed burgers, "as such an expense cannot be continued".

Obviously Busykes' condemnation of these compulsory services as "injudicious" was a considerable understatement.

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23 Decree No. 47 Ambon 19 April 1817.



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Pattimura claimed that "the British respected our religion and therefore the people were obedient and lived in peace, but as soon as the Dutch came to rule us, all this was finished; for this reason the people became dissatisfied and rose against the government; this is why the people of Hunimua(another name for Saparua) and Nusa Laut no longer wanted to obey the government; but then the Resident became angry and has fired cannon and guns and our hearts

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obviously referring to the period of government of Daendels, who, when faced by lack of funds, made payment of the schoolmasters' wages the responsibility of the negories;

he is referring also to the reversal of this rule by the British as soon as they took over again in 1810, when the government again resumed responsibility for the financial support of the school-church system. However, the traditional school and church in each village - which gave the village its importance - had the obvious disadvantage of high costs and Jabez Carey, as school superintendent of schools from 1814 on, had begun to concentrate the pupils of the small schools in the Ambon district in one large central school in Ambon town. This had then led to discontent amongst the schoolmasters. This particular grievance therefore preceded the return of Dutch rule in 1817, but may well have 24 This directly contradicts the Porto Report which states that only on 15 May guns were fired in the attempt to relieve the Resident on the road between Haria and Fort Duurstede.

been re-introduced because of its sure emotional impact.

The Dutch Commissioners wanted to extend the system of concentration into larger schools to Saparua, partly because Van Middelkoop saw in this the chance of improving the teaching, especially the teaching of the Dutch language

- which was seen as a means of increasing loyalty to the Dutch. But the main reason was, no doubt, the cost saving.

But all that actually had been done was the sending of a letter by Van Middelkoop, asking advice from the Residents of Saparua and Haruku. Van Middelkoop reports that no action had been taken. His original letter on the subject had been written on 9 April and on 15 April Van den Berg, the Saparua Resident, sent his advice, strongly rejecting the proposition, arguing that the complete school system would have perished if the British Government had not reinstated the payment of schoolmasters' wage, after the "French,,26 had made this the responsibility of the negories.

"A change in this arrangement" Van den Berg wrote, "will do great harm as it will disrupt the entire school and church system". The Resident of Haruku reacted in the same way

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Report to the Commission General in Batavia dated 26 April

- well before the outbreak of the revolt, it should be noted

- the Commissioners in Ambon wrote that "among the Ambonese there is an apprehension of the likelihood that our government will again reduce and change the school and church

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centralise the schools, which would lead to the dismissal of a number of schoolmasters and a general dimunition of the influence of the Reformed Church in Moluccan society was a strongly contributing factor in the subsequent insurrection. Later it was found that, in an effort to get the added backing of the 10 per cent of the population of 28 The Padris (a term either derived from the Portuguese word Padre or from the town of Pedir in Sumatra, Men of Pediri or Padri) played an important role in Islamic revival in the Minangkabau region of Sumatra. They were members of an Islamic sect that had fallen under the influence of the puritanical Wahhabi movement, while making a pilgrimage to Mecca. They opposed polytheist and animist accretions of Islam and sought to introduce the strongly patriarchal norms of Islam among the matriarchal Minangkabau people and soon drove the conflict between Islam and adat into the open. The methods which the Padris adopted so aggravated the problem of adapting the customs of the Minangkahau to Islam, that the attempt ended in armed conflict and the murder of the entire Minangkabau royal family, with the exception of one fugitive. The Dutch authorities, mainly for reasons of conservatism, sided with the inland rulers, who, because of their high-handed actions,

lost the confidence of their people. See S.Tas, Indonesia:

The Underdeveloped Freedom. Pegasus, New York (1974) p.49.

See also Christin a Dobbin. Tslamic Revi valismin a Changing Peasant Economy, London 1984.

Saparua who were of the Muslim faith, the rumour had been spread that Muslims would be forced, by the government, to embrace Christianity. This of course made the religious unrest complete.

Matulesia, throughout his career as the leader of the rebellion, was surrounded by schoolmasters who acted as his principal advisers and go-betweens. Van Doren paints a vivid picture of the aged schoolmaster of Saparua, "a very orthodox follower of Protestantism" who, "bible in hand ll always urged his fellow villagers on to fUrther resistance.


The Commission General in Batavia needed to extend its army in Java and was looking to the Moluccas for this purpose. Article 5 of the "Instruction to the Military

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exclusively for service in Java. Engelhard felt that this would prove to be a difficult task because "the population is very much against it; the feat of military service is so great since earlier recruitment campaign actions that a renewed campaign in these islands would be sufficient to create great unrest under the population and lead to revolt,,3l. This term of the population did not apply to service in the Moluccas themselves and, with the very small army strength, it would seem to have been the sensible thing to restrict recruitment there to local service only.

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The Residents of Saparua and Hila, especially, made very strong recommendations to this effect, no doubt prompted by the completely inadequate forces at their disposal.

However, the Recruitment Officer, Lt. Colonel Krayenhoff, refused to deviate from Article 5. Governor Van Middelkoop concurred since "the very close connection of these islands inhabitants with those of the people of Ceram could encourage smuggling of spices, rather than guard against it".

Van Middelkoop "did not want to deny that the attempts at recruitment created a wrong impression in some quarters" because "the Ambonese is reluctant to leave his village and has a wildly exaggerated fear of Batavia". But, he added, "there was not the slightest attempt at coercion or forced recruitment and the recruitment officers had not even left Fort Victoria prior to the outbreak of the revolt;

the reason for the fear was entirely to be found in the forced recruitment under Daendels,,32. In this same report Van Middelkoop also reports that the Resident of Menado had managed to take over the Menadonese soldiers who had been in British pay, but with the proviso that they would not be obliged to accept transfer from Menado. The Resident had reported this to the Governor who informed Krayenhoff. The latter disapproved, "since a soldier is bound to go where his Sovereign needs him", and he remarked that, even if these soldiers did not have to serve in Batavia, they should at least be liable for service in the entire Moluccan archipelago. The author has not been able to ascertain whether this assertion by Krayenhoff led the authorities to 32 Van Middelkoop's Ambon Report.

renege on promises made, but since shortly after the outbreak of the revolt the Commission ordered that Ambonese recruits be engaged for three years service in the Moluccas only, this does not seem likely33.

Engelhard's incompetence is again illustrated.

Although he disagreed with Van Middelkoop regarding the fectiveness of Ambonese soldiers in controlling smuggling

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