RGSSALibraryCatalogue

RGSSALibraryCatalogue
RGSSA Library Catalogue

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Discovering Asia: East Indies - Companies and Conflict


East INDIES: companies AND CONFLICT

I’ll conclude the story of the European “discovery” of the spice islands of the East Indies, as told by the early travel narratives in the library of the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia, with a look at the conflicts that arose from the European greed for spices, and the sufferings of the local peoples at the hands of the Dutch East India Company (the VOC).
 
 

We should bear in mind that the colonial history of the Dutch in Asia, though it does them no credit, was no worse than that of the British, the Portuguese, or the Spanish. These Europeans sprang from a culture that truly believed that non-Christians were lesser people, worthy at most of conversion, whether or not forced upon them. If they could not be converted, no blame attached to killing them. Ironically by the later 16th century there was no consensus as to what Christianity was: at home Catholics and Protestants were slaughtering one another. It’s hard, from a 21st-century perspective, not to heap blame upon those who victimised the peoples whom they discovered in the East—but let’s just keep telling ourselves that very few human beings have ever been capable of rising above their cultural conditioning.
 
As we’ve seen in earlier blogs, pepper was available from many trading ports in the East Indies: in India from the Malabar Coast ports, and further east from Malacca in the Malay Peninsula and from Banten In Java. Once the Dutch had a firm foothold in the Indonesian islands they found it easy to get vast quantities of pepper. Important and very valuable in Europe though it was, pepper was no longer of concern. The VOC did not manage to create a monopoly but they certainly had a lion’s share of the pepper trade.

 

Cloves, nutmeg and mace were another matter. These hugely valuable spices only grew naturally, as we’ve seen, in the Moluccas (the Maluku Islands of Indonesia). The vicious battles and inhumane repression which characterised the first part of the 17th century in the East Indies were therefore centred round the clove islands, especially Ambon (”Amboyna”) and the nutmeg islands, the Bandas.
 

 

“The Hollanders will doe no right, nor take no wrong”
In 1605, as we saw in the last blog entry, Stephen van der Hagen took the fort at Ambon from the Portuguese without opposition: the first territory officially captured by the Dutch in Southeast Asia. The remnants of the Portuguese and any Spaniards in the area would also need to be chased out. 

DRIVING THE ENEMY OUT OF THE MOLUCCAS: VERHOEFF
Pieter Willemszoon Verhoeff (or Verhouven, Verhoeven) (1573?-1609) was a Dutch sea captain in the service of the Dutch East India Company who commanded, and died during, a notable Dutch voyage to Asia from 1607 to 1612. The VOC had given his fleet explicit and “aggressive” instructions in its efforts to gain control of the spice trade. The fleet was to raid Portuguese and Spanish shipping, but “its special mission was to drive the enemy out of the Moluccas.” This latter aim was largely achieved. 

“By the time Verhoeff’s fleet sailed for home, the Dutch had built new forts on Banda and Amboina and had left only the stronghold on Tidore in Spanish hands.”
    (Lach & Van Kley, Asia in the Making of Europe, Vol. III (1993) p.471)

Fort Nassau at Banda Neira, circa 1646
 
The Portuguese monopoly on the spice trade was now well and truly over. But Verhoeff and a large number of his ship’s complement were killed during a Bandanese ambush in May 1609. 

Verhoeff: Early Texts
1612-1613
Bry, Johann Theodor de, 1561-1623?
    [India Orientalis. Pt. 9. Latin]
    Indiae Orientalis pars IX. Historicam descriptionem nauigationis ab Hollandis & Selandis in Indiam Orientalem, sub imperio Petri-Guilielmi Verhuffii, cum nouem maiorum & quatuor minorum nauium classe, annis 1607. 1608. & 1609. susceptae & peractae, &c. continens: addita omnium, quae hoc tempore eis obtigerunt, annotatione, auctore M. Gotardo Arthvsio Dantiscano. Elegantissimis in aes incisis iconibus illustrato & in lucem emissa per Ioann. Theodorum de Bry, &c. Francofvrti, ex officina typographica Wolffgangi Richteri, 1612-13.
    (York Gate Library : no. 2051)

The Catalogue of the York Gate Library notes that this volume contains the “Voyages of the Hollanders and Zealanders to the East Indies, under Admiral Verhouven, 1607-9.” That is, Verhoeff. The work is: “based on a report written by Johann Verken, a German soldier... [who] joined Verhoeff's fleet in November, 1607, as a ‘soldier and corporal.’ Verken took part in, and described in his journal, Verhoeff’s attack on Mozambique (July and August, 1608), the negotiations at Calicut and Cochin, the operations in the Straits of Malacca, and the journey to Bantam [Banten] and to the Banda Islands, where Verhoeff was killed in May, 1609. Verken remained in military service at the new Fort Nassau on Banda Neira until July, 1611...” His account was “extensively edited, perhaps rewritten, by Gotthard Arthus.” (Lach & Van Kley, Op. cit., p. 519.) One of the valuable aspects of the work is its description of Verhoeff’s activities in the Banda Islands and his death there. 

1625
Purchas also picks up on Verken’s account, in Vol. I, Part II of his compilation. On pages 717-718, with the caption heading “Chap. 15. The Hollanders will doe no right, nor take no wrong” we can read the descriptions of the arrival at Banten, the journey to the Banda Islands past a volcanic island (“a Rocke burning in the Sea, halfe an houres journey in circuit”: possibly Banda Api), a fight with the Bandanese, their eventual concession that the Dutch could build a fort (“castle” as Purchas calls it) on Banda Neira, and the death of Verhoeff, who had gone ashore with a group of men: a great cry was heard from the depths of a “grove” in the forest and when the Dutch rushed in they found their admiral dead: 

PURCHAS, Samuel, 1577?-1626.
    Haklvytvs posthumus, or, Pvrchas his Pilgrimes: contayning a history of the world, in sea voyages, & lande-trauells by Englishmen and others, wherein Gods wonders in nature & prouidence, the actes, arts, varieties & vanities of men, w[i]th a world of the worlds rarities are by a world of eyewitnesse-authors related to the world, some left written by Mr. Hakluyt at his death, more since added, his also perused, & perfected, all examined, abreuiated, illustrated w[i]th notes, enlarged w[i]th discourses, adorned w[i]th pictures, and expressed in mapps, in fower parts, each containing fiue bookes; by Samvel Pvrchas, B.D. Imprinted at London for Henry Fetherston at ye signe of the rose in Pauls Churchyard, 1625. 4 vols.
    (York Gate Library, 2071-2076)
    (Title from the engraved title page.)




Companies at Loggerheads
Over the first two decades of the 17th century there was a bitter struggle between the two new powerful trading companies, the Dutch East India Company (the VOC) and the East India Company, the English equivalent, for possession of the lucrative spice trade. Not only Dutch and English sailors and traders, but also many of the local people were killed in the ensuing battles.
 
Intermittent fighting intensified from 1610, with the VOC establishing the post of Governor-General that year to take control of its business from the Asian end, rather than trying to control everything from the Netherlands. Ambon became the VOC’s headquarters in the East Indies and would remain so throughout the decade. In 1611 a Dutch trading post was also established at Jayakarta in the Sultanate of Banten in Java. This would later become Batavia, today’s Jakarta. The English were also present in some force, establishing several trading posts from 1611 to 1617 throughout the area. 

1619: Coen Takes Over For The VOC
1619 was a watershed in the history of the VOC: in this year Jan Pieterszoon Coen (1587-1629) was appointed as the VOC’s Governor-General. Coen, both shrewd and ruthless, saw that the VOC could become a real political and economic power in Asia. There had been ongoing trouble in Jayakarta for some time, involving either local forces or foreign influences, or both. On 30 May 1619 Coen led a successful attack on the city. He then ordered it burned to the ground and its population expelled. The Dutch established a closer relationship with the Banten Sultanate and assumed control of Jayakarta, renaming it Batavia. It became the Dutch East India Company’s Asian headquarters. Its defences would be strengthened during the century. 

Under Coen the Dutch would commence a brutal and repressive régime in the East Indies, at his orders driving out, starving or slaughtering almost the entire population of the Banda Islands, in a push to establish Dutch plantations growing cloves and nutmegs and thus a commercial monopoly. 

Victims of Greed: The Poor Little Bandas 

 
The Dutch East India Company and the East India Company fought over the Banda Islands for possession of the hugely lucrative nutmeg and mace trade throughout the first two decades of the 17th century. Verhoeff’s expedition had built a fort on Banda Neira and forced the Bandanese to agree to a treaty granting the Dutch sole trading rights, but it was almost immediately broken. The Dutch did not pay well, the English were also pushing for trade and offering higher payments, and in any case the Bandanese were traditionally a fiercely independent people, unwilling to knuckle under to any outside force. 

Meanwhile the English had built fortified trading posts on little Run (“Poolaroone,” in the early texts, for Pulau Run) and on Ai, which were under intermittent Dutch attack.
 

Courthope and the Fate of Run Island (“Poolaroone”)
On December 25 1616 Captain Nathaniel Courthope (or “Courthop”, etc.) reached Run in the Bandas to defend it for the English against the VOC. A contract with the inhabitants was signed, accepting James I of England as sovereign of the island. Four years of siege by the Dutch followed. In 1620 after Courthope’s death in a Dutch attack the English left Run. 

Courthope: Early Texts
1625
In Haklvytvs posthumus (op cit), Vol. I, Part II, Purchas documents the history of Courthope and little Run in a set of articles listed in the Catalogue of the York Gate Library as: 

] Courthop, Nath. Journal of his Voyage from Bantam to the Hands of Banda, with his residence in Banda and occurrents there, 1616-20, with the surrender of Poolaroone by the Dutch, page 664 ff.

] Hayes, Rt. Continuation of the former Journal, [Courthop's] containing the death of Capt. Courthop, surrender of Lantore, news of the peace, and after the peace Lantore and Poolaroone seized by the Dutch 1620-21, p. 679

] Letter written to the East India Companie in England, from their Factors, 1621, p. 684

] The Hollanders Declaration of the affaires of the East Indies; written in an answere to the fonner Reports, touching wrongs done to the English in the Islands of Banda, 1622, p, 687

] An Answer to the Hollanders declaration concerning the occurrents of the East India p. 690

] Relations and Depositions touching the Hollanders brutish and cruel usage of the English, 1621 p. 693

] Fitz-Herbert, Capt. Humphrey. Pithy Description of the chiefe Ilands [Islands] of Banda and Moluccas, 1621 p. 697

And, appended to his account of Henry Middleton’s voyage, p. 701 ff.,

]... three severall surrenders of certaine of the Banda Islands, Pooloway, Poolaroone, Rosinging, and Wayre, to the King of England, 1620

 
Later in the century, when the First Anglo-Dutch War was ended by the Treaty of Westminster in 1654, Run should have been returned to England. Attempts to get the Dutch to return it failed. In 1665 all the English traders were expelled from the little island. The VOC exterminated the island’s nutmeg trees as part of their effort to keep the nutmeg monopoly. 

Some accounts claim that, in a strange twist of fate, in 1667 under the Treaty of Breda the English traded their rights to Run for Manhattan Island.
 

A Fateful Year for the Bandas: 1621
In 1621 Coen enforced a Dutch monopoly over the Banda Islands’ nutmegs & mace. He landed a force on Banda Neira & also occupied the neighbouring larger Banda Besar (“Lonthor” or “Lontar”). The orang kaya (leaders of the Bandanese) were forced at gunpoint to sign a treaty that was impossible to keep. Alleged violations of the treaty led to a punitive massacre by the Dutch, as Coen had intended. At Coen’s orders the Bandanese were well-nigh annihilated. The native population had been about 13,000 or 14,000. Only around 1,000 were left. 

The VOC Controls the Nutmeg & Mace Trade
The Dutch brought in slaves, convicts and indentured labourers to work the nutmeg plantations. Shipments of surviving Bandanese were sent to Batavia to work as slaves in developing the city and its fortress. About 500 Bandanese were later returned to the islands because of their much-needed expertise in nutmeg cultivation. 

Coen divided the productive land of approximately half a million nutmeg trees into sixty-eight 1.2-hectare “perken,” land parcels which were assigned to Dutch planters (perkeniers). 34 were on Lontar, 31 on Pulau Ai and 3 on Banda Neira. The VOC paid the growers 1/122nd of the Dutch market price for nutmeg—though it still gave them substantial wealth.

COMPANIES, CONFLICT & CLOVES: The “Amboyna” Massacre, 1623 
A treaty between the English and Dutch companies had been agreed in Europe in 1619, but on the ground the atmosphere remained hostile. In 1623 on Ambon Island, one of the clove islands of the Moluccas, agents of the Dutch East India Company tortured and executed twenty men, ten of them in the service of England’s East India Company, on charges of treason. This was one of the worst flare-ups in the rivalry between the English and the Dutch for control of the Spice Islands. 

The incident caused a furore back in Europe, both sides accusing each other, and resulted in a “war of pamphlets,” a popular way of stating one’s position in the 17th century. Several of these contemporary documents exist, some of them republished a century later in the compilation known as The Harleian Collection, that is: 

Osborne, Thomas, -1767 (publisher)
    [Harleian Collection]
    A Collection of voyages and travels, consisting of authentic writers in our own tongue, which have not before been collected in English, or have only been abridged in other collections. And continued with others of note, that have published histories, voyages, travels, journals or discoveries in other nations and languages, relating to any part of the continent of Asia, Africa, America, Europe, or the islands thereof, from the earliest account to the present time. Compiled from the curious and valuable library of the late Earl of Oxford. London, Printed for and sold by Thomas Osborne, 1745. 2 vols.
    (York Gate Library 2087-2088)

Volume 2 includes (pages 277-352):

] A True Relation of the Unjust, Cruel, and Barbarous proceedings against the English, at Amboyna, in the East Indies

] A true declaration of the News concerning a Conspiracy in the Island of Amboyna, and the Punishment following thereon, in 1624

] An Answer unto the Dutch Pamphlet, made in defence of the unjust and barbarous proceedings against the English at Amboyna.

] A Remonstrance of the Directors of the Netherlands East India Company, in Defence, touching the bloody proceeding against English Merchants, executed at Amboyna ; with the Acts of the Process, and the Reply of the English East India Company


Although the “Amboyna” incident caused outrage in Europe and a diplomatic crisis, in its wake the English discontinued their attempts to take over the spice trade by gaining control of the Spice Islands, and, contenting themselves with trading from Indonesia out of Banten, turned their attention to their other Asian interests, most notably in India.
 

What was the fate of the clove trade? Today’s cloves are grown not only in Indonesia, but also in India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. The Dutch did their best to maintain a monopoly over 200-odd years, but as cloves grew on several quite widely separated islands of the Moluccas it was a difficult task, They instituted a policy of “extirpation”, burning down those groves that they couldn't control, which also enabled them to manage supply and keep the price high. One of the islands which suffered was Ternate, in the northern Maluku. You can read a most entertaining report from Ternate by Simon Worrall for the BBC News Magazine, “The world's oldest clove tree,” at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18551857 Only a stump and a few dead branches remain of this tree, which is said to be the very one whose seedlings were stolen by a Frenchman named Poivre in 1770, transferred to France, and then later to Zanzibar, successfully breaking the back of the Dutch trade.

 
Empire of the VOC
So far I've painted a really black picture of Coen. But he was not just a brutal administrator: he was also a clear-headed and able businessman. Realising that Europe could offer Asia little that it needed it wanted by way of payment for spices except silver and gold, which were scarce in Europe outside Spain and Portugal, he started an intra-Asia trade system, using the profits to finance the spice trade with Europe. It required a large capital outlay but in the long run meant there was no need of further precious metals from Europe. Silver and copper from Japan were used to trade with India and China for silk, cotton, porcelain, and textiles. In Coen’s system these products were traded within Asia for the coveted spices. Examples of Chinese trade porcelain and Indian trade textiles are still prized possessions in Indonesia today. 

By the end of the 17th century the Dutch East India Company was the richest private company in the world, with over 150 merchant ships, 40 warships, 50,000 employees, a private army of 10,000 soldiers, and an enormous dividend payment on the original investment. The quest for spices had resulted in the creation of a mercantile empire.

 

 

East Indies: 17th & 18th Century Travel Narratives
So far I've only told you about the early works on the first European voyages to the East Indies. The Royal Geographical Society of South Australia also holds a great many later works, some of which document the more settled period of the Dutch occupation of the Indonesian islands, some of which are histories, and some of which recount voyages made by sea captains and adventurers from other nations. Here is a selection of works on the East Indies held by the RGSSA which were published up to the end of the 18th century. 

1690-1691
Duquesne, Abraham.
    A new voyage to the East-Indies in the years 1690 and 1691: being a full description of the isles of Maldives, Cocos, Andamants, and the isle of Ascention, and all the forts and garrisons now in possession of the French, with an account of the customs, manners, and habits of the Indians... London. D. Dring, 1696.
    (York Gate Library 3514)

1724 (printing)
Valentijn, François, 1666-1727
    Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën, vervattende een naaukeurige en uitvoerige verhandelinge van Nederlands mogentheyd in die gewesten : Benevens eene wydluftige beschryvinge der Moluccos, Amboina, Banda, Timor, en Solor, Java, en alle de eylanden onder dezelve  landbestieringen behoorende; het Nederlands comptoir op Suratte, en de levens der Groote Mogols. Te Dordrecht; Te Amsterdam, By Joannes van Braam, Gerard onder de Linden, 1724-26. 5 volumes in 8
    (York Gate Library 2079)

1774-1776
Forrest, Thomas, 1729?-1802?
    A voyage to New Guinea, and the Moluccas, from Balambangan: including an account of Magindano, Sooloo, and other islands; and illustrated with thirty copperplates: performed in the Tartar Galley, belonging to the honourable East India Company, during the years 1774, 1775, and 1776... Second edition, with an index. London, Printed by G. Scott and sold by J. Robson, J. Donaldson, G. Robinson, and J. Bell, 1780.
    (York Gate Library 2386)

1776 (printing)
Sonnerat, Pierre, 1748-1814
    Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée: dans lequel on trouve la description des lieux, des observations physiques & morales, & des détails relatifs à l'histoire naturelle dans le regne animal & le regne vegetal. A Paris, Chez Ruault, 1776.
    (York Gate Library 2384)

1776 & 1779 (printing)
Raynal, abbé (Guillaume-Thomas-François, 1713-1796
    A philosophical and political history of the settlements and trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies. The second edition, revised and corrected. London, printed for T. Cadell, 1776. 5 vols.
 
—3rd ed., rev. & corrected. Dublin, Printed for John Exchaw and William Halhead, 1779. 4 vols.

 1784
Marsden, William, 1754-1836.
   The history of Sumatra: containing an account of the government, laws, customs, and manners of the native inhabitants, with a description of the natural  productions, and a relation of the ancient political state of that island. 2nd ed. London, Printed for the author, and sold by Thomas Payne and Son..., 1784.

—Another edition, 1811, with plates.
    (York Gate Library 4430)

1781 (printing)
Sonnerat, Pierre, 1748-1814
    [Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée. English]
    An account of a voyage to the Spice-Islands, and New Guinea. Bury St. Edmund’s, Re printed and sold by W. Green, ... [&c.], 1781.
    (York Gate Library 2385)

 

East Indies: Travel Narratives 1801-1850
By the middle of the 19th century, with improvements in both transportation and printing, travel books similar to those we know today were becoming quite common. Those who wrote autobiographical accounts were often no longer explorers but travellers—though their journeys were frequently long and arduous. These books were published for a more literate, largely middle-class reading public in quite large editions, often reprinted many times, and are still quite widely held in libraries today. 

The books from the earlier 19th century, however, were not published in such large quantities, and many of them are much harder to find. Here are some of the RGSSA’s holdings on the East Indies from the first half of the century: 

1812 (printing)
Stockdale, John Joseph, 1770-1847.
    Sketches, civil and military, of the island of Java and its immediate dependencies: comprising interesting details of Batavia, and authentic particulars of the celebrated poison-tree. 2nd ed. with additions. London, Printed for J.J. Stockdale, 1812.
    (York Gate Library 4433)

1817 (printing)
Raffles, Stamford, Sir, 1781-1826.
    The history of Java. London, Printed for Black, Parbury and Allen, ... and John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1817. 2 vols.
    (York Gate Library 4434)

1824 (printing)
Raffles, Stamford, Sir, 1781-1826.
    Description géographique, historique et commerciale de Java et des autres îles de l'Archipel indien, par Mm. Raffles et John Crawfurd; contenant des détails sur les moeurs, les arts, les langues, les religions et  les usages des habitans de cette partie du monde; ouvrage traduit de l’anglais, par M. Marchal. Bruxelles, H. Tarlier, libraire, 1824.
    (York Gate Library 4436)

1825-1826 (1840 printing)
Kolff, D. H. (Dirk Hendrik), 1800-1843
    [Reize door der veinig bekenden Zuiddyken Moluschen Archipel. English]
    Voyages of the Dutch brig of war Dourga: through the southern and little-known parts of the Moluccan Archipelago, and along the previously unknown southern coast of New Guinea performed during the years 1825 & 1826. London, James  Madden & Co, 1840.
    (York Gate Library 2463)

 1830 (printing)
Raffles, Sophia, Lady, d. 1859.
    Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, F.R.S. &c.: particularly in the government of Java, 1811-1816, and of Bencoolen and  its dependencies, 1817-1824; with details of the commerce and resources of the Eastern Archipelago, and selections from his correspondence, by his widow. London, John Murray, 1830.
    (York Gate Library 4434)


1832-1834
Bennett, George, 1804-1893.
    Wanderings in New South Wales, Batavia, Pedir Coast, Singapore, and China: being the journal of a naturalist in those countries, during 1832, 1833, and 1834. London, Richard Bentley, 1834. 2 vols.
    (York Gate Library 4717)

Bennett's autobiographical work of natural history is “of merit for its good writing and generally sound observation; his only serious slip was in regard to the nesting habits of the lyrebird, upon which he was apparently misled by Aboriginals.” (ADB). The “Pedir Coast” which he visited was in the Sultanate of Aceh, now Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam in Indonesia. 

1839-1844 (printing)
Schlegel, H. (Hermann), 1804-1884.
    Verhandelingen over de natuurlijke geschiedenis der Nederlandsche overzeesche bezittingen, door de leden der Natuurkundige Commissie in Indië en andere schrijvers. Leiden, In commissie bij S. en J. Luchtmans en C.C. van der Hoek, 1839-1844. 3 vols.
    (York Gate Library 1646)

 1840 (printing)
Anderson, John, 1795-1845.
    Acheen, and the ports on the north and east coasts of Sumatra: with incidental notices of the trade in the eastern seas, and the aggressions of the Dutch. London, W. H. Allen, 1840.
    (York Gate Library 4443)

1844 (printing)
Raffles, Stamford, Sir, 1781-1826.
     Antiquarian, architectural, and landscape illustrations of the history of Java, by the late Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles; with a large map of Java and its dependencies. London, Henry G. Bohn, 1844.
 
1842-1846 (1847 printing)
Jukes, J. Beete (Joseph Beete), 1811-1869.
    Narrative of the surveying voyage of H.M.S. Fly, commanded by Captain F.P. Blackwood, R.N., in Torres Strait, New Guinea, and other islands of the eastern archipelago, during the years 1842-1846 : together with an excursion into the interior of the eastern part of Java.. London, T. & W. Boone, 1847. 2 vols.
    (York Gate Library 2177)

 

1843-1846 (1848 printing)
Belcher, Edward, Sir, 1799-1877.
    Narrative of the voyage of H.M.S. Samarang, during the years 1843-46: employed surveying the islands of the Eastern archipelago ... with notes on the natural history of the islands by Arthur Adams. London, Reeve, Benham, and Reeve, 1848. 2 vols.
    (York Gate Library 2478)

Edward Belcher is best known for his Arctic voyages, including a disastrous venture in which he abandoned his ships. He was a controversial figure, involved in more than one scandal, and his harsh treatment of his crew made him notorious. But he was also an energetic and brave man, with considerable scientific curiosity. His voyage to the East Indies in the Samarang resulted in the admirable publications listed here.  

1843-1846 (1850 printing)
Gray, John Edward, 1800-1875, et al.
    Zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Samarang under the command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher, during the years 1843-1846, by John Edward Gray, John Richardson, Arthur Adams, Lovell Reeve and Adam White. London, Reeve and Benham, 1850.
    (York Gate Library 1652)

The medical officer and naturalist Arthur Adams, R.N. (1820-1878) sailed as assistant surgeon on H.M.S. Samarang during its survey of the islands of the Malay Archipelago, subsequently editing and helping to write up the zoological discoveries. This was an interesting period for natural history. Naval officers like Adams were still involved in collecting specimens from around the world, though scholars like John Edward Gray, credited as the chief author of this work, had already begun to collate and analyse within the big institutions like the British Museum.
 
 

1846 (printing)
Velde, Charles William Meredith van de, 1818-1898.
    Vues de Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes et autres possessions hollandaises dans les Grandes Indes, dessinées d’après nature par C.W.M. van de Velde, officier de la Marine royale... Amsterdam, François Buffa et fils; Imprimerie de C.A. Spin & fils, 1846.
    (York Gate Library 4444)

The volume consists of fifty black and white lithographs, with a title page vignette, and the Table des planches preceding the plates. They show contemporary scenes of the Dutch East Indies, including landscapes, native inhabitants and their way of life, Dutch colonists and their buildings.

1848 (printing)
James, Rajah of Sarawak, 1803-1868
    Narrative of events in Borneo and Celebes, down to the occupation of Labuan, from the journals of James Brooke, together with a narrative of the operations of  H.M.S. Iris, by Capt. Rodney Mundy. London, J. Murray, 1848. 2 vols.
    (York Gate Library 4485)

The Englishman James Brooke (1803-1868) was the first “white rajah” of Sarawak. On a voyage to Borneo in 1838 in his 142-ton schooner, he arrived in Kuching during an uprising against the Sultan of Brunei. He and his crew joined forces with the Sultan to bring about a peaceful settlement. Having threatened the Sultan with military force, he was granted the title of Rajah of Sarawak, the official declaration being made in August 1842. Although his rule was not without controversy, Rajah James had great success as ruler of Sarawak. In appreciation the British Government warded him a knighthood in 1847, and appointed him governor and commander-in-chief of Labuan, and British consul-general in Borneo.

1848 (printing)
Marryat, Frank, 1826-1855.
    Borneo and the Indian Archipelago, with drawings of costume and scenery. London, Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1848.
    (York Gate Library 4486)


 


No comments: