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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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Abolition of the monopoly would therefore inevitably mean the introduction of a sales tax on the crop or an export duty on the cloves produced. Those duties would then, in fact, only be paid by the government's subjects and not by the people of Buru, Ceram, Djilolo and other islands adjacent to Ambon, since these islands, at that time, did not pay any attention to government authority. Consequently they would be able to sell their cloves at a lower price to itinerant traders, creating unfair competition for the duty paying government subjects. A prerequisite for the general introduction of a free economy would be the subjection of all the clove producing islands by the Dutch government and the prospect for this was still way off. The only result of Van der Capellen's visit was a modest increase in the price the government paid for cloves. In 1828 a law was passed that prohibited anybody from leaving their negory, unless they had fulfilled their obligation to tend 90 clove trees.

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unsustainable. Not only was the liberal element in Holland, which gained power in 1848, strongly against it, but the system also was no longer viable financially. World market prices dropped steadily. Since the end of the eighteenth century increasing quantities of cloves were grown outside the Moluccas and the abolition of the monopoly was therefore a matter of time. When the so-called Culture System, introduced much later than the Ambon System, was gradually abolished, the clove monopoly of Ambon was also finally abolished. The date of the official abolition was 1 January 1864.

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that the Dutch King could govern the colonies autocratically since no one had objected when the Constitution of 1815 left the complete control over the colonies to the King. This clause remained in the revised Constitution of 1840 and parliament did not have direct control over the policies followed by the government in the Indies until the Compatability Act of 1864 had been voted.

Anticipating the difficulties which Ambonese, lacking in business mindedness, might have in marketing their own produce, they were allowed, for a number of years, to deliver their cloves to the government stores at a fixed price. The Moluccans never took up business as merchants and the market was cornered by the Chinese and Arab traders.

Prices dropped tremendously. While in 1874 the price was still 105 cents per pound had dropped to a mere 16 cents by 1903. This was the end of the Moluccan spice trade.

Whereas the entire clove trade had once been concentrated on

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inevitable pauperisation of the Moluccas. Nature is kind in these islands; there is plenty of fish in the sea and the sago tree provides food in abundance for very little

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But there is a large gap between a simple existence and a degree of prosperity, and the more enterprising sought to close that gap, in order to do which, they had to look beyond their native islands.

The people of Ambon still had an important role to play for which the past had prepared them to some extent.

As soldiers, minor civil servants and evangelists, they were important in the Indies in the first half of the nineteenth century, and after, just as they had been in the second half of the eighteenth century.

It was the Pattimura revolt that revived the Ambonese Schutterij or Burger Militia. Although its origin went back to the sixteenth century, it had gone into a decline in the eighteenth. In 1817 it had played its part well, especially in Saparua. Immediately afterwards it had again gone into a brief decline from which it was revived anew for the visit of Governor General Van der Capellen in 1824, after which it flourished until its final abolition in 1923. The militia, which trained with the regular garrison, helped keep the military tradition and spirit of Ambon alive. This spirit had received a severe setback

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Ambonese troops t-ighting Atj ehnese "rebels" during the second expedition in l(:S"{4.

in 1804 when Daendels ordered the recruitment of three companies of Ambonese infantry and one cavalry company and his recruiting platoons did not shrink from crimping and shanghaiing villagers. This was the reason why military service was still unpopular in 1817 and why comparatively few Ambonese took part in the 1825-1830 Java war when soldiers were badly needed. However, in this war the Ambonese did serve as garrison troops in the Moluccas, thus freeing other troops for Java, but this was still done on the strict condition that Ambonese troops could undertake no service beyond their home islands.

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Ambon garrison was apparently discovered, with a new revolt as the aim. The fact that the conspirators were Saparuans may provide a link back to 1817: a small number of rebels from that time had remained in hiding in the Saparuan mountains. The 1829 conspiracy was said to have been better planned and to be more far reaching than the 1817 mutiny. Plans had been carefully prepared and nothing leaked out until, on 16 February, some letters, containing invitations to take part in the revolt, were smuggled into the hands of the government. Further incriminating letters were intercepted and the suspicion was confirmed that they originated amongst the military in Saparua. An informer now revealed that nine Saparuan soldiers were the leaders who had planned to stage a revolt on the night of 18 February 1829; they were to murder all the Europeans in the Fort, as well as those Ambonese soldiers who refused to co-operate.





The Military Command acted at once and on the 17th the

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that the guns in the Fort had been spiked and filled with rubble and rock. An investigation brought evidence that the plot was hatched by nine Saparuan soldiers in the Ambon garrison, who had personal grudges and had made common cause with the remnants of the 1817 mutineers in the Saparua mountains • This was the last real stirring in the Moluccas.

By 1828, enlistment in the army became truly voluntary and an attractive handsel was paid on enlistment.

As a result military service regained popularity and soldiering, in time, became an honorable profession again.

As soldiers the Ambonese were excellent, brave and generally reliable, although their self confidence, significantly, at times threatened to turn into insurrection when they felt wronged. They played a major role in the pacification of the Indonesian archipelago, participating in the expeditions against Bali and Lombok and particularly in the protracted Atjeh wars at the end of the nineteenth century, when no fewer than 4434 Ambonese served in the army, a number that, on the basis of the population of the islands, was very high indeed. At this time there were few 17 De Bruyn Kops, op.cit. pp. 32-39.

18 Penerbitan Sumbur-Sumbur Sedjarah. Arsip Masional Republic Indonesia No.4. LampOr"atl Politik Tahun 1837 Djakarta (1971).

families who did not have a relative in the Dutch colonial army

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from their environment in all the large garrison towns in Indonesia, establishing their own settlements with their own churches and ministers. They also retained contact with their home islands. It was customary, for instance, to refrain from having children, born outside Ambon, baptized until the whole family was on furlough in their Ambonese village. Up to and including the difficult situation during World War II they remained loyal. Even in the years of the Indonesian struggle for independence was there much strong loyalty.

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revolt, a strong bond had existed between the Dutch rulers, whether Company or Government, and the Ambonese, especially the Christian Ambonese. Such confrontations as there were before 1817 had been between negeries ra-ther than between negories on the one hand versus government on the other20.

The birthday of the Prince-Stadholder, and later of the Monarch, were nowhere celebrated more enthusiastically than in Ambon; the "trinity" God-Ambon-'Oranje ll was no empty rallying cry. It was through this alliance that they were able to play an important role in the archipelago.

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clearly: First, it had a patriarchal or paternalistic character. Today when the word "paternalistic" is used, there is, often unjustly, a pejorative implication. But let 19 G.W.. T.Dames, 'Oem Ambon· Va'n het· K.N.T.L. The Hague.

(1954) p.15.

20 cf. p.68.

us remember what "paternalism" meant in practice in Ambon in our period. It meant first that almost all initiatives came from Batavia or the Ambon Fort. Although this state of affairs created a feeling of loyalty in the Ambonese, it did not mean that the civil servant in the Moluccas had an easy job. It seems to be almost an innate trait of the Ambonese not to accept passively all that has been ordained by government. Second, the bond with the Dutch also provided the Ambonese with a somewhat privileged position.

Ambon's soldiers received higher pay than soldiers from other ethnic groups and the fact that schooling had been provided in Ambon literally centuries before elsewhere in Indonesia gave it a monopoly position in supplying minor civil servants from Sabang in the west to Merauke in the east of the Indonesian archipelago.

This patriarchal system was curtailed when in 1921 an Ambon Council was established. This legislative body of twenty seven members numbered five Dutchmen, two Vreemde Oosterlingen (Foreign Orientals), a term referring to Chinese and Arab citizens, and twenty Ambonese. Some other parts of Indonesia were given similar bodies but nowhere was.the number of indigenous members as high.

This Council was readily accepted by the population but had the effect of slowly diminishing the special nature of Ambon's position. The new Hollandsch-Tnlandsche School (Dutch-Native Schools), where Dutch was taught and became the language of education in the higher classes, were established in other parts of Indonesia and in due course produced local candidates for the civil service; this policy had its effect on Ambon's monopoly.

The first reaction to the "Awakening East ll after the Russo-Japanese war - the first war in which an Asian nation had proved itself superior to the white race which presumed superiority in the colonies - led to the foundation of the Javanese "Budi Utama" movement, followed by the inter-island "8arekat Islam". The Ambonese, as Christians, did not feel at home in either of these organisations, but they had their effect, especially on the expatriate Ambonese soldiers and civil servants. They in turn began to organise. Their first organisation "Wilhelmina", established in 1908, had an avowedly loyal character. The "8arekat Ambon", founded by the journalist Patty in 1920, was more nationalistic.

Patty, a communist, travelled to Ambon in 1923, to promote his radical views, but the traditional, government-orientated population did not want any of and, at the request of the Ambon Council of 28 May, 1923, Patty was banished to Bencoolen, the same place to which 8ukarno was banished some

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into a more moderate movement, but still did not get government approval, nor did it receive a sympathetic reception from other Indonesian Nationalists, who dubbed its members IIBelanda Ambon" - Ambonese Dutch.

By now another organisation, the "Moluks Politiek Verbond", M. P. V. (Moluccan Political League) made its appearance and due to its moderate conduct, and its statutes, was acceptable to officialdom. Their aim was self-rule, but under no condition would they relinquish the ties with the Netherlands. As regards Indonesian Independence they adopted a wait and see attitude, they were for IIPreedom for Indonesia ll but not for IIIndonesia free from Holland ll2l.

Much is made in Indonesian circles of Pattimura as the initiator of the fight against colonialism and for independence. The facts simply do not bear this out.

Although it is true that Dutch intervention in Indonesia dates from the sixteenth century, it can hardly be argued that real colonialism existed at that time. Colonialism proper, in which the state rather than the V.O.C. took a major role, dates from the nineteenth century and a case can be made that it was then that the first step was taken in Indonesia. The Princely States in Java and elsewhere had over the centuries become synonymous with impoverished peasantry, and the colonial administration built a state which, although bureaucratic was nonetheless reasonably efficient and had interests which extended to social care.

The beliefs of some of the modern descendants of the Orientalists that, but for the interference of western powers, the East would have evolved its own efficient states, is open to question. Such claims, as well as the theories of Van Leur, are often used to argue from the particular to the general. They ignore the historical fact that, although there were great kingdoms in Java and parts of Sumatra in the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, this was not the case in the outlying islands of

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small despotic statelets were more commonj the stagnation and that is not really too strong a word - which greeted the Western powers eventually enabled those powers to secure an easy victory.

The Nationalism that eventually arose in Indonesia was not so much the product of oppressive rule as of deeper forces of social change that accompanied it.

nIt was not entirely the harshness of Dutch policy that led to the rise of organised nationalismj on the contrary the foundation of activist societies dedicated to the struggle for independence coincided with attempts on the part of the Netherlands to remedy past wrongs and to earn herself a reputation for enlightened colonial rule. This is not an uIlcommon experience in the annals of colonial rule.

Colonial welfare policies tend to produce the reverse of gratitude - only the colonial power itself would expect otherwise - and it might not seem too much to say that in Indonesia's case, its nationalistic movement was the product of the virtue rather than the vi;ce of Dutch rule lt 22.



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