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One group of the population drew its own conclusion from this sudden change of government. The Hituese - never, it will be remembered, as strongly attached to the Company as the Christians of Leitimor - had resigned themselves to the tutelage of the Company. But the idea of the "Kingship" of the Sultan of Ternate about which the Company had never bothered very much, since it kept in the background, was still alive. The Hituese still saw the Sultan as their Rajah, kept from reigning in his full glory only by the power of the Company. It is therefore understandable that, with the sudden disappearance of that power, a "royalist" group
decided to make itself independent of the British as well.
They advanced on to Ambon town but the British had been alerted and put down the uprising without much trouble. A number of rebels, including the new king, were jailed and some were executed. As we shall see in the next chapter the Hituese were to se once more against an incoming government in 1817.
During the war from 1785 till 1802 not one Dutch ship had reached Indonesia. The Dutch position at sea was so weak that American ships were used to transport spices to Amsterdam. In 1797 twenty Danish and thirty one American ships called at Java ports for coffee and spices - coffee then already being the more important - totalling 12 million pounds in 1797.
After the Peace of Amiens (25 March 1802) the question of the re-organisation of the colonies was made a matter of urgency in Holland. A Commission was appointed to draft a Charter that would "give the Indies the greatest possible welfare, Dutch commerce the greatest benefits and the Dutch government's finances the greatest gain.,8. The renewed outbreak of war in 1803 was the reason this Charter never reached the Indies.
The Dutch East India Company by this time had ceased
to exist. In 1796 the Directors surrendered the administration of the Company to a government committee and its Charter, which expired on 31 December 1799, was not renewed. The state took over all the possessions and debts of the Company and thus, for the sum of 134 million guilders, acquired the whole colonial empire, with all its resources.
Where the Company, as a commercial enterprise had not needed to bother with principles of government - for its sole purpose was commercial profits - the new state, inspired now by the notions of the French Revolution, had to bring the colonial administration in line with the liberal principles now being so loudly proclaimed in the home country. Their enthusiasm, however, did not exceed their business sense.
They agreed with Batavia that the doctrines of liberty and equality, however strongly based on the inalienable rights of men, "cannot be transferred, nor applied, to the East Indian possessions of the State, as long as the security of these possessions depends on the existing and necessary state of subordination of the Indonesians and as long as that introduction cannot take place without exposing these possessions to confusion, the effect of which cannot be imagined". 9
The Kingdom of Holland was now ruled by Napoleon's brother Louis, who appointed H.Daendels Governor General of the Indies. The latter needed vast amounts of money for the 9 B.Vlekke, Nusantara The Hague (1943) p.240.
defence of the colony. The British navy prevented the import specie from the Netherlands, after war had broken out anew, and after Daendels had upset the American trade, by refusing to honour contracts made, he ran desperately short of money. He now fell back on the doubtful device of introducing unsecured paper money, a measure that was to have serious repercussions in the Moluccas.
contact with Java had become both difficult and dangerous, so that the Moluccas government had to sell 100 000 pounds of cloves, which would normally have gone to Batavia, to the traders who now could roam freely through the archipelago.
Daendels, wanting to strengthen the army in Java now set into motion a remarkable exchange of manpoweri from Ambon he recruited many fit villagers for the Java army, often in a most ruthless way, while in their place second rate individuals and petty criminals from Java were sent to garrison the Moluccas. But there were also well trained European troops there. In 1809 there were 1445 men stationed in Ambon, not counting the Ambon "Burger Schutterij" or Militia. The whole establishment was commanded by Colonel Jean Philippe Filz, a Frenchman by birth who had achieved rapid promotion in the army, rising from Lieutenant in 1793 to Colonel by 1809.
The fortifications of Ambon had been strengthened and the fort had been enlarged several times. Although undoubtedly a strong bastion, it had one great drawback: due 10 Stapel F.W. G.~schiedenis van Nederlandsch Indie.
Amsterdam (1943) p.218.
to the growth of the town area it had no longer a field of
the surrounding hills. This could not have been foreseen when the fort was first built in a time when the range of cannon was much more limited. To make up for this, fortifications had been built on those hills to protect them, and thus the Fort, from an invading enemy_
Commander Tucker, with a landing force of 404 men, arrived in Ambon Bay • Captain Court, one of their officers, having served on Ambon before, knew the situation very well and their first attack was therefore directed at the hill fortifications, which fell to them without much trouble.
The British now opened fire on the fort from there, as well as from their ships.
truce, demanding surrender. Filz, who had plenty of stores and ammunition, refused, but kept the negotiations going.
In his subsequent court martial he claimed that the quality of his gunpowder was so poor that the enemy "with their six-pounders reached places which we were scarcely able to shoot at with a 4 Ib ball ll12. Two adjutants, sent to ascertain the position of the front, reported that the British force was greatly superior and, after consultation with Governor Heukevlugt, it was decided that Ambon should capitulate while it was still possible to negotiate favourable conditions. And so, instead of attacking forcefully, J.v.Stubenvoll. History of the Island of Celebes and the Trial of Colonel Filz, Vol. IV. (1817) passim.
P.J.Heeres op.cit. p.251.
lz had the white flag hoisted over the fort. On 19 February the surrender took place. When Filz's troops realised that they outnumbered their conquerors by over a thousand men they were disgusted and wanted to continue the fight, but the British made them change their minds. Tucker's forces took over no fewer than 218 cannon.
The garrison was guaranteed free passage to Java, after surrendering their arms, but a number of officers preferred to remain in the now British territory. Filz could have done the same, but preferred to go back to Java.
"I was weak tl, he stated, "but flight at this stage would make me a coward, guilty of treasonfl.
Daendels was naturally furious and decided to set an example. Filz was court martialled, having to answer no fewer than 240 charges. The sentence was death by the bullet. He died like a gentleman.
It is obvious what impression this surrender made on the Ambonese people; their respect for the Dutch diminished enormously. The last years of Dutch rule had not been propitious for the Ambonese. Although Daendels had tried with all means at his disposal to keep the government of the Moluccas going, British domination of the seas had hampered shipping links seriously so that business deteriorated and pasar prices kept rising. The people had been forced to accept paper money, young men had been pressed into the army and forcibly taken to Java. The building of fortifications had demanded materials and workers on a huge scale. When the British arrived this all ended overnight. The sea routes were reopened, trade revived, cotton textiles became available again at reasonable prices and the retail trade picked up with well paid Bri sh forces spending freely. The new government abolished pasar. taxes and replaced them with an opium tax. The clove culture was no longer restricted, the Ambonese could grow as many trees as they liked, as long as they sold their entire crop to the British government.
The second departure of the Dutch from their islands had done nothing to improve the Company's image and when in 1811 it became known that Java too had fallen into British hands, the Dutch seemed to have disappeared over the horizon permanently.
Ambon, after it was taken on 19 February 1810, was placed not under Raffles at Batavia but under the direct control of the Supreme Government of Bengal, Captain Court was formally vested with the powers of Civil Governor. It was decided, however, at Minto's suggestion, that William Byam Martin should be appointed the regular Resident.
With Martinis appointment there begun an era in the Moluccas during which to some extent in contrast to Java under Raffles, no real attempt was made to transplant the colonial principles of British Bengal to these islands. But Martin, a highly moral and religious man, put his personal stamp very strongly on the more than six year period of his government. This brief period of British rule in the Moluccas is interesting in itself, but it is also of great significance in our story_ Lord Minto, the Governor General of India, had been 13 A much disliked market tax.
very impressed by MartinIs conduct during the insurrection at Bencoolen when its Resident had been assassinated and Martin had been Secretary there. Martin had received his training for the civil service at the Fort William College in Calcutta, where he had been greatly influenced by William Carey. Carey, with Andrew Fuller and Robert Hall, had initiated a renewal campaign among the Particular Baptists in
later formed the English Baptist Missionary Society in 1792, the beginning of the modern foreign missionary movement in the English speaking world, and became its first missionary to India. In 1801 he was appointed Professor of Bengali at the Fort William College where Martin, who came to regard him
The College at Fort William had an educational programme at the time unique in the history of European colonisation.
New arrivals from Britain, expecting to be sent immediately into jungle districts of Bengal, found themselves instead in the classroom, where veteran lIOrientalists" offered them the means of communicating with Indials inhabitants in their own language •
that England should help Asians rediscover the lost roots of their own civilisation. Inspired by their teachers they argued that Asian civilisations were truly healthy and vigorous in ancient times, but had somehow degenerated. They felt it their duty to renew the various forms of government
was also a devout christian who, when Resident of the Moluccas, did all in his power to raise the moral standards in the islands by encouraging Christian missionaries.
There is a contradiction here, it will be argued later, which led to a conflict between two principles.
As has already been hinted earlier in this chapter corruption had been riding high in both the British and Dutch East India Companies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and there is little doubt that the failure of the v.o.C. was to a large extent attributable to it.
the Company officials' earnings, over and above the (extremely low) salaries paid, carne from "private trading ll which was condoned by the higher Company officials who
Governor of the Moluccas, anticipating the need for more ships, purchased the ship "Governor Bruce" from its private owner for $12 000 and sold it three days later to the
dated 29 February 1812, discussed the matter of corruption at some length, concluding that the example of a governor would be closely followed by his subordinates, leading to an entirely corrupt government. He was unhappy with the system of government introduced by the Dutch, as he explained to
17 Daendels, who was indignant about corruption by civil servants himself did very well out of the Buitenzorg estate.
This governor general's estate had traditionally been handed over to each incoming Governor General by his predecessor for a fixed sum of fl. 100 000. Daendels persuaded a docile Raad van Indie (Council of India) to award it to him personally on a hereditary basis. He then sold large tracts (the palace and the park to the government itself) at an estimated profit of one million guilders.
Raff did well out of a deal with his friend the Resident Hare, who had acquired vast tracts land from the Sultan of Banjermassin. Finding that the local Dajaks refused to work, he asked Raffles for assistance. Raffles then transported. three thousand petty criminals and innocent peasants from Java. Hundreds of them died and the affair became known as the "Banjermassin Enormity". See Van Houtte, Neumeyer et ale Algemene Geschiedenis der Nederlanden. Vol.
IX, Amsterdam (1966) pp. 173-177 and F.W.Stapel, Geschiedenis van Nederlandsch Indie Amsterdam (1943) p.220.
I.O.L. & R. P.167/40.
Governor of the Moluccas during the first British interregnum from 1796 till 1803, had advised the Governor General of the commercial advantages of the Moluccan spice trade, which, disposed of in India was estimated to yield an annual profit of 200 000 Pounds and, if sold in England, twice that amount. With that in mind, Martin found it "... not advisable to exonerate the natives from the obligation to furnish the labour required". But he increased the wages paid from 1 stiver and 1 lb. of rice per diem to 3 stivers and 1 1/3 Ibs. of rice daily.
Shortly before Colonel Filz's surrender of the Moluccas, Daendels made the following estimate of the profits of the Moluccan spice crop which was based on a buying price for cloves of 3 Stivers and a selling price of 50 Stivers. Per pound prices for mace and nutmeg were pro