«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 ...»
taken over from the British by the Commission General sent for that purpose from Holland. They established their headquarters in Batavia and at the end of that year appointed a Commission to take over the Government of the Moluccas. As First Commissioner they appointed N.Engelhard, described as "a capable and decent man". As Second Commissioner and Governor of the Moluccas they appointed J. van Middelkoop. Van Middelkoop was later described as a man who perpetually tried to curry favour with his superiors, egotistical and scheming and given to making ridiculous scenes with his colleagues Also in the party that sailed for the Moluccas was 27 year-old Johannes Van den Berg with his wife and young family. Van den Berg was very well connected. wife was the grand-daughter of a past
another past Governor General, J.Siberg (1801-1805), who still lived in Batavia. His own father, who, as Resident of Yogya, had amassed a fortune in the V.O.C. era, was well regarded by King William I, whom he had represented on a 1 This chapter concentrates on the course of events of the revolution. As a full discussion of the immediate causes of the revolt - seen in the context of contemporary analysis of those causes - forms the subject of Chapter IV, only passing references to these causes are made at this stage.
Enklaar, op.cit. p.48.
number of delegations to Paris and London in the Napoleonic era. The Commissioner Engelhard was Van den Berg's uncle.
1817, having been detained by lack of ships and manpower.
The number of troops that accompanied them was extremely small for these reasons, but Batavia was confident that the Moluccas would be taken over without trouble. Here was one of the many mistakes and miscalculations they made.
Siberg had with the current officeholder, Van der Capellen, Van den Berg, who had been sent out to the Indies as a mere Class III civil servant, was appointed Resident of Saparua.
The appointment to such an important and difficult post of a man so young, and so completely lacking in training and experience in the civil service and in native affairs, was surprising to say the least. The Moluccas had always been considered a difficult area to govern, in that there was much rivalry between negories, and Saparua had the worst reputation of them al1 •
which produced more cloves than the rest of the Moluccas Van den Berg. "De Tragedie op het Eiland Saparua ll in Bijdragen Vol. 104 (1948) pp. 242-245.
4 R.Leirissa. "Notes on Central Maluku in the 19th Centuryll, Prisma No. 22, September 1981, pp. 63-64. In this article Leirissa argues that most of these troubles sprang from land and boundary disputes, leading to interminable and often bloody battles between negories. He notes that opposition towards the clove monopoly was not frequent.
Other than the Pattimura Revolt of 1817, only the attempted uprising of 1829 was brought about by this monopoly. No other major opposition can be noted on the basis of the monopoly..
put together, had been an el Dorado for corrupt Residents • Buyskes alludes to this corruption in his Report to the
Commissioners in Batavia dated 17 November 1817:
blunder the Batavian Commission General was to make in its Ambon appointments.
5 Olivier (Land en Zeetogten in Nederland's Indie, Amsterdam (1830) Vol.I p.13l) quotes a few examples of the unbelievable misuse of some officials in the V.O.C. era: "The Resident (of Saparua) whose servant was a hairdresser, had this man make wigs of goats' hair. As a mark of honour he made the Regents wear these wigs after having their own hair cut off.
Each Regent had to pay one hundred Ducatons for this honour".
Buyskes Report 472, ff. 1-2. Archief Schneither Inv. No. 57. No~jksarchief, The Hague.
assumed office on the twenty first. The official change of government of the Moluccas as a whole did not take place until 25 March, but Van den Bergls takeover was possible because the agreement between the Commissioners General and the British Resident, W.B.Martin 7 had been reached at Ambon.
The official transfer of Government took place on the morning of 25 March 1817. The British Resident, Martin, had presented a Memorandum of Transfer to the Commissioners describing the state of the Moluccas. On the subject of Justice it asserted that the Dutch Rule of Justice had remained unchanged as guaranteed by the terms of capitulation in 1810. On the subject of Trade, the Memorandum claimed that the Spice Monopoly had been run "in general on the same terms as existed previously". The inhabitants had still been obligated to sell their entire crops to the government, but the prices to the producers had been increased.
The incoming Dutch Commission was led to believe that the system of government was much as it had been before.
Little or no change had been made, except that the supervision of the Regents and other heads had been much stricter than under the previous Dutch government.
Mainly on the strength of Martinis very favourable report on the school system, which was still in the care of Rev. J.Carey as Superintendent of Schools, no change was made here, at least for the time being. But this situation was not to last long. The new Dutch administration did not Although Martinis official title was "Resident" there were eight other Residents in the Moluccas who were subordinate to him. His powers were therefore those of a Governor.
A similar arrangement existed in Malaya under the British.
support Careys authority sufficiently and a decline in school attendance soon became obvious. Kam, who had disagreed with Carey's religious views on many points, could only see Carey's further school and missionary work as creating confusion and difficulties and wanted to take his place and in this he had the full support of the government.
This is the reason why Jabez's work in the Moluccas came to a sudden end. In a letter of 26 May 1816, Kam had already urged the London Missionary Society to approach the Dutch Ambassador in London in order to frustrate the plans of the Baptist Society, "which is very anxious to get full alowans (sic) to promoot christianity in the Molucos islands".
But now, independent from Kam's endeavours, came the decision of the Commissioners 'General in Batavia that Jabez should be honorably discharged as superintendent of schools.
Commissioner Buyskes in particular, newly returned from Ambon, saw it as "very unusual that this school-supervision was undertaken by one person and a foreigner at that, who does not understand one single word of our language". He felt that Jabez's continuation in that position had been out of consideration for Resident Martin, rather than on the ground of his usefulness in this post under Dutch rule.
Jabez Carey twice petitioned the government for permission to remain in Ambon as a missionary, but Buyskes was adamant and early 1818 the decision came down that again lithe request by the Baptist minister Carey, to be allowed to make converts out of the Dutch Reformed Parishes, has been turned down".
8 Report of Mr Livett, a British merchant living in Ambon to the London Missionary Society, dated 12 May 1818.
9 Enklaar, op.cit. p.47.
10 P.V.d.Kemp "Herstel van het Nederlandsch Gezag ll B~jdragen Vol. 66 (1912) p.148.
Pearce Carey puts it thus: "he eventually left the Moluccas because the Dutch government would allow no preaching nor baptizing, save in the name and the mode of their State Church,,12. The older Carey was upset and disappointed but Jabez returned without, he said, resentment or discord. The schoolmasters' position and their salaries remained the same, including the payment of wages by the government. This point is important since later it was alleged that the change in the existing school system/upon the return of the Dutch, was one of the causes of the revolt.
The small military force that accompanied the Commission did nothing to reinforce or enhance their prestige. III equipped as they were, they could be seen standing on guard duty, "half naked and armed with a bamboo spear,,14. This was in part due to the shortage of men and equipment, caused by transport difficulties, and partly by the false hope of the Batavian government that troops might be readily enlisted in the Moluccas.
by Martin, had been offered to the Dutch when the London Treaty had been negotiated, but for a number of reasons this offer had not been taken up. One of these reasons was the optimistic expectation that, once the Moluccas had been
13 J.v.Doren, Thomas Matulesia het Hoofd der Opstandelingen 0I?-.3et land Honimoa. Amsterdam (1857) pp. 175-188.
Buyskes op.cit. f.9.
occupied, it would not be difficult to acquire the type of
Instructions for the Moluccan Commission directed that negotiations be entered into, with the British Military Commandant at Ambon, for the transfer of native troops in British pay_ The British, however, could not agree to a direct transfer because of a special clause in their recruitment contracts. It could be argued that this clause was expressly included because the return of the Moluccas was not considered entirely unlikely at the time the contracts were entered into. The contract explicitly stated that, in the case of a transfer of sovereignty, the soldiers
correctness and courtesy, cannot have foreseen the consequences of the ceremonial disbanding of the Ambon Corps that followed. Nor, for that matter did the Commissioners at the
their decorated Orembaais to the Capital. The British Resident made flattering speeches and handed out presents, as well as Burger Patents, granting burger rights to all
e.g. J.Boelen "Ret Merkwaardig Dagboek vaneen Nederlandsch Zeeman Vol~ II Amsterdam 1860.
the Dutch government had always followed this same practice.
What did raise objections on this occasion was the date of discharge and the very large number discharged and granted
ante dated before 24 March, a fact that some writers have presented as irregular, but this is arguable. Boelen notes in his Journal that the ex-soldiers, returning to their villages, used the occasion to display their dislike of the Dutch without restraint • Among these returning soldiers was Thomas Matulesia.
villages, without proper means of support, of so many more or less trained ex-soldiers, part of whom were armed, could have dire consequences, if the seed of discontent were to fallon fertile ground, as indeed it did. So, according to Buyskes, these ex-soldiers soon became a danger to the
would have been possible for the civil and military authorities to do something about this matter. The answer must be yes. Engelhard gives us the explanation: The Commission General in Java required troops for Java and issued its Instructions to the military authorities in Ambon. Article 5 of these Instructions ordered that recruitment from the disbanded Ambon Corps be exclusively for Java. This was the reason for the refusal to join, most of the troops did not want to leave their home-islands. The result, wrote Engelhard, was that only 33 of a Corps of four hundred 17 Ver Huell,Q.M.R. Herinneringenaaneen Reis naar Oost Indie Haarlem (1835) p.37.
Buyskes op.cit. f.lO.
entered Dutch service, and most of these were Javanese.
The objection was not to the joining as such, so long as they would have been allowed to serve exclusively in the Moluccas, as they had done under British rule. The Dutch Military Command in the Moluccas refused to budge on Article 5, even though the army's strength there was far below requirements.
The Residents of Saparua and Hila strongly recommended that the Corps be re-engaged for the Moluccas, no doubt with an eye to their own pitiful forces, but the military command remained adamant. Governor Van Middelkoop also objected to recruiting local soldiers for the army since he supposed
view "because the British had very successfully made use of the Ambonese Corps, who had fought just as strongly against the smuggling trade as had the Dutch troops before them".
Once the revolt started, the objection to Article 5 disappeared and the Moluccan Commission, by Decree No. 17, dated 8 June 1817 ordered the Commandant to re-engage such of the ex-British force as were prepared to enter service for the Moluccas only_ By this time, of course, the harm was done; many of the ex-soldiers were either actively engaged in the revolt or were sympathetic to it.
would remain entirely unaware of it. Heads who, for whatever reason, did not want to see it develop, were in a most difficult position when deciding whether or not to inform the European government officials. The European rulers on the other hand, needed to be extremely accommodating to those people, if they did not want to discourage this kind of information, as otherwise, they might well expose themselves to the possibility of suddenly and unpreparedly being faced with a catastrophic situation.
But at the time of the Dutch return this accommodation was sadly lacking.
That revolt was smouldering even before the takeover is obvious from the fact, that within a few days of that event, there were secret assemblies and correspondence between the people of Hitu and those of the North Coast of Haruka and probably with those of Saparua l whereby solemn vows were made under oath that they would co-operate to achieve freedom and independence. A report had been sent to the Commissioners at Ambon by Resident Uitenbroek of Haruku, advising that, on 20 April, only twenty one days after Van den Berg had taken up his post in Saparua, the