Calendar of State Papers Colonial, East Indies, China and Japan, Volume 4, 1622-1624. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1878.
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The last volume of this Calendar comprised all East India Papers in the Public Record and India Offices to the close of the year 1621. This volume begins with 1622, and comprises all East India Papers from the same offices to the end of 1624. The Domestic and Foreign Correspondence in the Public Record Office have also been examined and every document abstracted which relates to the East Indies. The thirty volumes of Holland Correspondence alone for this period, which contain the despatches of Sir Dudley Carleton, English Ambassador at the Hague, contribute much valuable information, especially in reference to what took place between England and the United Provinces respecting the frequent disputes of the rival East India Companies, so that we are able to trace all the details of those intricate and protracted negotiations.
The treaty of 1619 turned out as was expected practically useless. It was, as we said in our last volume, to remain in force 20 years, but in less than 20 months both English and Dutch were compelled to reopen fresh negotiations. The same disputes continued to arise between the two Companies and as frequently as before the treaty had been signed, and the same complaints were made by our East India Company, though louder and more bitter than ever, so that after many fruitless efforts to adjust differences and remedy complaints a fresh treaty was thought upon as the only means of bringing about a final settlement. Now the King himself earnestly pressed the States Ambassador in England to procure commission, and commanded his own Ambassador at the Hague to move the States General to send over Commissioners for such a treaty (23 March 1621), but nothing was done for three months, when upon a petition of our East India Company, complaining of the "insufferable wrongs" of the Dutch, their Ambassador was told by some of the Privy Council how sensible the King was of these injuries, satisfaction for which had often been promised, and that, although unwilling to take any unfriendly course against the States, His Majesty could not deny his subjects protection and justice, and therefore he expected speedy redress (16 June 1621). Even then more than a fortnight passed and nothing was done. The King at last became so angry that he refused audience to the Dutch Ambassador, because, as His Majesty said, the States jested with him (2 July 1621). Sir Noel de Caron thereupon wrote to the States General that he knew that unless the King received some satisfaction the English would have letters of reprisal against Dutch ships, for that His Majesty had sworn his subjects would not let him rest until he had granted them. At length on 28th Nov. 1621 Ambassadors from the States arrived in London, and negotiations were at once opened with certain Lords of the Privy Council who were appointed by the King, Lords Commissioners for the treaty.
A letter from the President and Council at Batavia to our East India Company (43) describes some of the chief matters which were in dispute at the date at which this volume begins. The Dutch it appears were aiming to compel the English Company to incur heavy charges for which they were not liable according to the treaty. They required the English to furnish a ship to remain in the Moluccas for a whole year, which the English were not able to perform, and adds President Fursland, "we were "not bound to do so by the treaty." They also demanded that we should have a ship before Bantam; that we should pay our part of the charges in keeping soldiers there, and setting out vessels to and fro upon that coast, which they urged "grew so high" that they could forbear this demand no longer, and that unless it were complied with, they were determined to thrust us out of all trade which they, as themselves insisted, had just cause for doing, for they bore all the charges. These demands were certainly not justified by the treaty. Still the Dutch on their side were not without cause of complaint. We want the means to send ships with theirs, the English President wrote home, and they are sure to allege we perform not the agreement in not maintaining ten ships of defence. The English Company had clearly undertaken to maintain 10 ships of defence, and the neglecting to maintain that number was a breach of the treaty. The letters in this volume, however, prove that the object of the Dutch was to impose such heavy charges upon the English as would ultimately compel them to relinquish their trade in the Spice Islands, and that then the Dutch would remain the sole European masters of this most remunerative commerce.
General Coen, the Dutch President in the East Indies, in the instructions (243) which he left with his successor, General Carpentier, pointed out the great charges of the Dutch Company in the Moluccas, Amboyna, and the Bandas, which amounted to more than 12 tons of gold or 500,000 ryals yearly. Both Governors Speult and Soncke were, Coen said, too scrupulous, for everything ought to be done to obtain prerogative over the English. The Dutch Company had recommended to their Governor General "in earnest manner" to give way somewhat in small matters, but to hold fast in matters of importance. But said Coen, "the least giving way will breed us the most rest and quiet," therefore maintain carefully sovereignty and the highest jurisdiction without suffering the English to encroach thereupon, and trust them not any more than open enemies. Coen had before warned Martin Sonck, Governor of the Bandas, not to trust the English any more than a public enemy ought to be trusted. The English President's opinion of Coen's character was that he was fair spoken but a most cunning fellow, but he described Carpentier as subtle and far the most malicious against the English (264).
The complaints of the English against the Dutch Company (26), with the papers annexed, recite the articles of the treaty of 1619 which had been broken by the latter, and the negotiations which had taken place up to February 1622. A memorial of the English demands for restitution was also presented to the English Ambassador at the Hague about the same time (12).
The questions in dispute, and which it was hoped would be finally settled at the conferences about to take place, were restitution and the future reglement of trade. There were several points of difference in both. The question of restitution involved the English ships that had been taken by the Dutch, the value of the goods seized in them as also at Lantar and elsewhere, and the charges of the siege of Bantam. In the future reglement of trade there were four very essential points of difference, viz.:—1, the lessening the number of the ships of defence; 2, jurisdiction in the East Indies; 3, the choice of an indifferent place of residence for the Council of Defence there; and 4, the building of forts. These four points must be borne in mind to arrive, as we think, at a right understanding of the subsequent negotiations of 1624, after news had been received of the Amboyna massacre.
The negotiations of 1622 were most tedious and protracted. The English and Dutch Commissioners held many conferences, but the "wayward proceedings" of the Dutch Commissioners made most of the Lords careless to meet (108), and the negotiations were broken off more than once (p. 13, 32, 64, p. 29). The Spanish Ambassador in England, in an intercepted letter to Count Gondomar, written about this time, told him that the controversy between the English and Dutch increased daily, and that were it not that the King favoured the rebels to the prejudice of his own subjects the treaty would have been broken off, for the English proclaimed they had no greater enemies than the Dutch (114). "Scandalous words" too passed between the merchants on both sides, and on one occasion the papers laid before the Lords Commissioners were ordered to be torn up (p. 28). Both Prince Charles and the Duke of Buckingham, at the express command of the King, spoke in secret with the Dutch Deputies for "the space of two hours," to try and bring about a reconciliation and a treaty, but "all was in vain," and the Lord Treasurer, tearing up the "project," cut off all further negotiations, saying that he knew how to spend his time better (114,115). Secretary Calvert told Carleton that after many days disputing and wrangling the treaty had come to a stand; that the Dutch had with much art made many offers varied and gilded over, and "because we will not swallow the gudgeon they grow angry." The Lords Commissioners believed the Dutch had no intention to come to any reasonable terms, and the Secretary of State himself said that the merchants were disheartened, and "we were all wearied" (116). Upon this King James commanded Sir Edward Conway to use his endeavours to renew the treaty, who "employed his weak force not without hope to renew it" (128), but was afterwards commanded to go to Newmarket either before or after the Dutch Ambassadors, and not in their company, lest notice should be taken of it (176). After the lapse of about a month points of accommodation were again debated and the negotiations renewed. But the Dutch Commissioners were very desirous of negotiating with the King alone—they no doubt remembered and appreciated his influence in the treaty of July 1619—a proceeding to which the English Commissioners not only strongly objected, but pointed out the consequences which would ensue, at the same time that they entreated the King not to permit the Dutch Commissioners to enter into any debate with him until they promised absolutely to submit to his judgment and sentence; otherwise, as the Commissioners said, "they will fly off at the end if His "Majesty's resolution be not like to sort to their contentment." In this Report (165) the Lords Commissioners venture to give the King advice, in case after examination of all the particulars His Majesty cannot satisfy the Dutch Commissioners, and they continue strict, wilful, and opiniative. The King, however, did grant the desired audience, and heard with great patience the whole afternoon both our merchants and the Dutch Commissioners, but frankly acknowledged that he found it impossible to make an end between them. They "shifted off" the King's proposal that they should submit the matter to his decision, but in the end were brought to meet the English Commissioners again. The King himself explained all this in a long letter to his Commissioners, at the same time specially charging them either to make an end as far as they could, or make it appear that the Dutch were unreasonable, that, in case the treaty should break off, all the world might see that the fault was not in the King (166). After this the Commissioners had many meetings. In their final report to the King of 3rd Dec. 1622 (187) they clearly set forth all the points in difference. As to one of these, the most material point of all, as it afterwards turned out to be, viz., the future reglement of trade, there is a strange inconsistency in their reports of the 19th and 24th Oct. and 3rd December 1622. In the first of these the Commissioners explained to the King (165) that this point was the most important of all, that if it were well settled both companies might be made happy enough, and such mischiefs and enormities prevented as had happened; they might have added, and as will happen again if not well settled. In their second Report (167) they again pointed out the necessity of this point being properly settled, and beseeched His Majesty to consider what hope they could have to accommodate these unlucky differences when the Dutch Ambassadors sought to divert all consultation about it, more especially as the Lords Commissioners insisted, the lives, goods, and liberties of His Majesty's subjects wholly depended upon it. And yet, after such decided expressions of opinion in their final report, six weeks after the Lords Commissioners say they have been careful, as the King commanded, to keep themselves to the treaty and not give way to any novelty, so they think the point touching reglement, which merely concerns trade, may as well be agreed upon amongst the merchants themselves, who are also of that opinion (187). It will be seen in the sequel that had the Lords Commissioners then insisted upon a settlement of the future reglement of trade most of the unhappy disputes which afterwards arose in the East Indies between the two Companies might have been avoided, and the horrible massacre at Amboyna have been prevented for the retreat of the English from places (in the Spice Islands or elsewhere) under the authority of the Dutch might just as well have been determined upon in 1622 as it was in 1624.
A treaty was at length signed in January 1623, but we cannot be certain of the exact date as the copy (in French) printed in full at pp. 106–7 is undated. Secretary Calvert told Carleton on the 9th Feb. 1623 that the original was in our merchants' hands (262). Now the States Commissioners took leave of the King on the 24th January. They were solemnly feasted at Merchant Taylor's Hall on the 30th January and entertained with a play afterwards, and on the following day they gave a great supper at their own lodgings to the merchants (246, 247, 253). The King's Declaration, "as a supplement to the treaty," to the Ambassadors when they took their leave is dated 30th January (250). It is therefore probable that the treaty itself was dated the same day, viz., 30 January 1623. We have not found a printed copy of this treaty in any collection of treaties we have consulted, and neither the original nor the ratification is in the collection of the treaties in the Public Record Office. Upon this, as upon the treaty of 1619, the same remarks were made even before the conditions were known. Whatever they are our East India Company will never be the better for them, wrote John Chamberlain, who thought it must have been a hard knot that could not have been tied in less than 13 or 14 months (233), and the Secretary of State himself told Carleton that "we had at last made an "end and parted good friends, though with much loss and disadvantage to the English Company as was conceived (246). Carleton's despatch of 5 Feb. (257) to Secretary Calvert telling him the States Ambassador had landed in the Maese is also noteworthy. They have made so good a report of their business and of the King's gracious usage of them during the whole of their long stay in England (said Carleton) that they remain here much comforted and well assured that our match with Spain will bring no divorce with this State, of which there hath been of late days no small jealousy (257). The treaties between England and the United Provinces then fighting against Spanish dominion in the Netherlands no doubt greatly influenced the King in his dealings with the States General and the two Companies, and, as was the general opinion at the time, greatly to the prejudice of our own East India Company.
News of the Amboyna massacre was received in England on the 29th of May 1624, (fn. 1) and a "relation of the pretended treason" was sent by our Ambassador at the Hague to Secretary Conway a few days after. It describes how in February 1623 (the 13th of February 1622/3 old style) was wonderfully discovered a horrible conspiracy against the Governor and Council of Amboyna, as follows (460 I.):—
A Japanese soldier, who had before been seen promenading around the Castle walls at undue hours, came during the prayers, and asked a Dutch soldier newly arrived who was on duty as a sentinel how many soldiers there were in the Castle, and how often they relieved guard and at what times. As he had made similar inquiries the day before, he was arrested and taken before the Council. In his examination he confessed that the Japanese soldiers in the service of the Dutch had conspired to make themselves masters of Amboyna. Being asked who were their accomplices, since they alone were not powerful enough to bring so great an enterprise to a successful termination, he confessed that they had undertaken this plot with the assistance of the English who had required and indeed had induced the Japanese to embark in it. That he and other Japanese accomplices had several times consulted the English merchants as to the mode of putting their enterprise into execution, and that it was at the instigation of Capt. Gabriel Towerson and the other English merchants that the Japanese had agreed to assist them.
Upon this confession Captain Towerson and all the English merchants in Amboyna were arrested and put under a strong guard. They were brought before the Governor and Council, and being examined, confessed, some before torture, others after very little torture:
That on New Year's Day 1622–3, Captain Towerson, the principal English merchant in Amboyna, and the author of the conspiracy, assembled all the English merchants together, and after swearing them to secrecy upon the Holy Testament, for he said if the business were discovered it would cost them all their lives, he communicated a plot to them, to which they all agreed. This plot was to be put in execution when the Dutch Governor and his forces were gone forth upon some service as daily happened, and when an English ship was at Amboyna, the men of which were to be employed in the enterprise, as well as all the English slaves. The Japanese soldiers in the Dutch service having been won over to take part in this conspiracy, as well as the captain of the Dutch slaves, the Japanese who were inside the castle were by Towerson's orders to put two men upon each ravelin, and the rest in the vale beneath, so as to make certain of the Governor's person. Upon a given signal from the English, the Japanese were to make themselves masters of all points of the castle, kill the Governor and all who should offer any resistance, and take the rest prisoners. The plot thus successfully accomplished, and Captain Towerson master of the castle and the country, he was to require assistance from the English Council at Batavia, which, if refused, he was to hold the castle for himself and his accomplices with the help of the Indians or Natives.
Upon these confessions (fn. 2) the Japanese soldiers, the Portuguese captain of the Dutch slaves and ten Englishmen were executed—two Englishmen having been respited and four others, "accomplices who had a thorough knowledge of all that had passed," pardoned, chiefly it was said to take care of the English Company's goods that were in Amboyna, and to be a witness as well in India as in Europe to the enormity of the crime of their accomplices and of the favour shown to their persons.
Such in brief was the account of this "pretended conspiracy" sent by direction of the States General of the United Provinces to the English Government.
When "this heavy news of Amboyna" reached Batavia in the December following, the English President at once sent to the Dutch General to know by what authority their Governor of Amboyna had thus proceeded against the English. The General replied that Governor Van Speult derived his authority from the States General, so the English President and his Council drew up a protest against the Dutch Governor's "presumptuous proceedings" for imprisoning, torturing, condemning, and bloodily executing His Majesty's subjects, and for confiscating their goods in direct violation of the treaty, whereby the King was disgraced and dishonoured and the English nation scandalised (377).
The news of the Amboyna massacre caused the greatest excitement throughout the whole English nation, and spread consternation among the East India Company (631). No man would pay in any money (523). All sorts of people commiserated the fate of the unhappy sufferers, and cried out for revenge (524). The Lords of the Privy Council shed tears at the relation of the tortures inflicted by the Dutch upon our men (503, 534). The King himself took it very much to heart (524). Those who wished well to the Dutch could not speak or hear of it without indignation (465). And none in the Assembly of the States General approved the cruel tortures and the bloody executions (505). For my part wrote one of the foremost men of his time, if there were no wiser than I, we should arrest the first Indian ship that comes in our way, and hang up upon Dover cliffs as many as we should find faulty or actors in this business, and then dispute the matter afterwards; for (he added) there is no other course to be held with such manner of men as neither regard law nor justice, nor any other respect of equity or humanity, but only make gain their god (524).
The Governor of our East India Company at once reported to the King that the Dutch had, without all humanity and contrary to the treaty, without a lawful trial before the Council of Defence of both nations, upon evidences and confessions extorted by the violence of torments, and no other witnesses than the heathens allied and linked with the Dutch, put to death ten of the Company's factors and servants, on pretence of a practice intended by the English against the Dutch in those parts where their forces were so much above the English as there was no proportion between them. The King apprehended the fact to be so foul that he could not believe it; but when told that the information was grounded upon protests made by the English President and Council in the Indies, His Majesty commanded that copies should be delivered to his Secretary of State, and said that "in case it be proved there would be ways now for him to force the Dutch to reparation if were he so pleased" (463).
As soon as the six Englishmen (fn. 3) that had been spared from execution arrived in England, "it grew a question" at a Court of Committees of the East India Company how they should be disposed of, and it was resolved that they should be brought before Sir Henry Marten, Judge of the Admiralty, and that their examinations should be taken upon oath. Richard Welden, the Company's chief factor in the Bandas, who brought them away from Amboyna, and whose relation was the most material and pregnant of all, was desired to repair to Mr. Skynner, to whom was committed the setting down the truth of that proceeding "for the suppressing of such rumours as were spread amongst the vulgar in justification of the Dutch" (p. 295).
The "True relation of the unjust, cruel, and barbarous proceedings against the English at Amboyna," compiled by Mr. Skynner (521), is printed at full, No. 499. I., from a MS. copy preserved in the Public Record Office, which has been collated with a printed copy in the British Museum of the same date, and the few and unimportant additions and variations noted. The printed pamphlet is so scarce as to be almost unique. Several editions which are noticed later on continued to be issued from the press from time to time for upwards of sixty years after the events recorded had taken place.
This "True Relation" differs widely from the Dutch "True Declaration," and is to the following effect:—A Japanese soldier in the service of the Dutch walking in the night upon the castle wall was observed in conversation with a Dutch sentinel, of whom he asked some questions about the strength of the castle and the people that were in it. He was apprehended upon suspicion of treason, and being put to the torture was brought to confess that himself and others of his countrymen were to have contrived the taking of the castle. Other Japanese were then examined and tortured, as also a Portuguese, the captain of the Dutch slaves. During the three or four days that these examinations lasted, the English went about the castle as usual upon their business, saw the Japanese prisoners, heard of their tortures and of the crime they were accused of, but did not suspect that the matter any whit concerned themselves, never having had conversation with the Japanese or the Portuguese aforesaid. Now there happened to be at this time imprisoned in the castle one Abel Price, a surgeon, for attempting in a drunken fit to set fire to the house of a Dutchman. He was taken by the Dutch to see these Japanese who had been "most grievously tortured," and was told that they had confessed that the English were to have been their confederates in the taking of the castle, and that if he would not also confess the same thing they would use him as they had done the Japanese, and worse too. Having given him the torture the Dutch soon made him confess whatever they asked him. Upon this Captain Towerson and all the English in Amboyna were sent for by the Governor, and, after being accused of a conspiracy to surprise the castle, were told they would be kept prisoners until further trial. The next day the English factors at Hitto and Luricca were also arrested, and on the 20th February the English factors at Cambello and Lugho were brought in irons to Amboyna. Full details are given of the examination of each factor, and the tortures they endured before being brought to confess ought either against themselves or each other, from which it is evident they were innocent of any design to surprise the castle or indeed of any conspiracy against the Dutch. Timothy Johnson was the first Englishman examined and tortured, and John Beaumont who was taken into another room heard him cry out very pitifully, then be quiet for a little while and then roar out afresh. After more than an hour's examination he was confronted with Price and accused by him, but not yet confessing anything, Price was quickly carried out and Johnson again brought to the torture. After this second examination he was brought forth wailing and lamenting, all wet and cruelly burnt in divers parts of his body, and so laid aside in a by place of the hall, with a soldier to watch that he should speak with nobody.
The manner of torture is thus described (pp. 306–7). The man was first hoisted up by the hands with a cord upon a large door, where he was made fast to two staples of iron fixed on both sides at the top of the door posts, his hands being hauled the one from the other as wide as they could stretch. Being thus made fast his feet hung some two feet from the ground, which also were stretched asunder as far as they would reach, and so made fast beneath on each side of the door posts. A cloth was then bound round the lower part of his face tight at the throat and loose at the nose. Then was poured water gently upon his head until the cloth was full to the mouth and nostrils, so that he could not draw breath without sucking in the water, which being continually poured in, came out of his nose, ears, and eyes, causing the greatest agony till he became insensible. He was then taken down quickly and made to vomit the water. In this manner were some of the English tortured three or four times until their bodies were frightfully swollen, their cheeks like great bladders, and their eyes starting out of their heads. John Clarke, we are told, bore all this without confessing anything, upon which the Dutch Fiscal said he must be a devil or a witch, and have some charm about him that he could bear so much. So they cut his hair very short, and hoisting him up again as before they burnt the bottom of his feet with lighted candles until the fat dropped from them; they also burnt the palms of his hands and under his armpits "until his inwards might evidently be seen." Wearied at last and overcome by the torment he confessed whatsoever was wished; to wit, that Captain Towerson had sworn all the English, with the help of the Japanese, to surprise the Castle of Amboyna, and put the Governor and all the Dutchmen to death.
George Sherricke told the East India Company that over and above the torments of fire and water the Dutch gashed the breasts of some of the English, and filling those gashes with powder set fire thereto (510). Both Thompson and Clarke had their breasts slashed and their toes slit and powder put therein and set on fire, so that they were obliged to be carried to the place of execution, though they were tortured some days before (521, p. 397).
Thus were examined and tortured Emmanuel Thompson, Robert Browne, Edward Collins, Samuel Colson, John Clarke, William Griggs, Julia Fardo, George Sherricke, William Webber, John Wetherall, and Ephraim Ramsey, (fn. 4) John Beaumont, John Powle, Wetherall's assistant at Cambello, and Thos. Ladbrooke and John Sadler, servants, were examined without torture and saved from execution. All these confessions were then shown to Captain Towerson, who nevertheless deeply protested his innocence. Colson was then brought to confront him, and told that unless he would then make good his former confession against Towerson he should again be put to the torture. He affirmed the same and so was sent away. Griggs and Fardo also justified their confessions to Capt. Towerson's face, but being seriously charged by him, as they would answer for it at the day of judgment, to speak nothing but the truth, they both fell down upon their knees and prayed him for God's sake to forgive them, saying all they had confessed was to avoid the torment. They were then again threatened with torture, which they could not endure, so affirmed their former confessions to be true. Capt. Towerson was then taken up into the place of examination, and two great jars of water carried after him. What he there did or suffered was unknown to the rest of the English, but he was made to underwrite his confession there.
These examinations, tortures, and confessions were the work of eight days from the 15th to 23rd of February. On the 26th of Feb. 1622/3, all the prisoners were brought into the great hall of the castle and solemnly condemned to death. Edward Collins afterwards drew lots with Sam. Colson and Eman. Thompson, and saved his own life. John Beaumont also was pardoned at the intercession of two Dutchmen, as were Wm. Webber and George Sherricke on the morning of the day of execution. Capt. Towerson was during his imprisonment kept apart from the rest and wrote much in his chamber, but everything was suppressed except a "bill of debt," at the end of which he had written these words, "Firmed by the firme of me Gabriel Towerson now appointed to die, guiltless of anything that can be justly laid to my charge. God forgive them their guilt and receive me to His mercy. Amen." This bill was brought to Welden who paid the money and kept the acknowledgment. Welden also got possession of a "table book" in which Beaumont, Griggs, Price, and Browne had written that through torment they were constrained to speak that which they never meant nor once imagined, and this they swore upon their deaths and salvation, that the Dutch tortured them with that extreme torment of water which flesh and blood could not endure, and that they were guiltless of their accusation. Samuel Colson also wrote in the leaves of a prayer book, "I do here upon my salvation, as I hope by His death and "passion to have redemption for my sins, that I am clear of all such conspiracy, neither do I know any Englishman guilty thereof nor other creature in the world. As this is true, God bless me, Samuel Colson." This book came also into Welden's hands.
All things having been prepared for the execution on the 27th of February, the condemned men were brought into the hall and thence into the courtyard of the castle, where their sentence was read to them. Every man severally took it upon his death that he was guiltless. Thence they were carried to the place of execution, and formed part of a long procession through the town, the Dutch Governor riding in state, and the way being guarded by five companies of Dutch and native soldiers. Ten Englishmen, one Portuguese, and nine Japanese were then executed with the sword (fn. 5) and all the English save Capt. Towerson were buried in one pit. The day following the execution was spent by the Dutch in public rejoicing for their deliverance from this pretended treason (pp. 315–316, 521).
When the President at Batavia reported to the East India Company the whole circumstances of this massacre, he reminded them that they had long since been advised of the great danger their servants were in from Dutch tyranny, and mentioned as examples the executions of the Bandanese at Batavia and the Pooloroonese at Banda, on both of which occasions the Dutch General tried to extort confessions during torture that the English were conspirators with them. The impossibility of 20 men performing this supposed treason was dwelt upon by President Brockedon as well as the innocence of the English who were executed, which was sworn to "upon their salvation" in the bill of Capt. Towerson and by Colson in his psalter, both of which were enclosed in this letter to the East India Company (pp. 208–9). The impossibility of this pretended treason is pointed out at pp. 318–9 of this volume, and it is also argued (No. 585) that there were only 12 Englishmen in Amboyna, armed with three swords and two muskets, and that their ten Japanese accomplices who were armed with catans or short swords could not take a castle garrisoned by 200 Dutch soldiers and a company of Amboynese. Besides the English had no ships there, and the next ship that did arrive there had express orders from the Council at Batavia to fetch all the English away.
The English Ambassador also pointed out to the Dutch Deputies that there was no imaginable ground of suspicion, nor any accusation but the confession of one Japanese, who led the way to the rest, all forced by torture, and that the first Englishman examined, Abel Price, had the place, persons, and time for treating with the Japanese and the English dictated to him, which Carleton insisted was an undue proceeding and merited punishment (549).
Later on the Commissioners chosen from the Privy Council, and appointed by the King to examine into this matter, reported that after materially considering and well weighing the evidence, the relation of those who had commanded at Amboyna, and the examinations of the six witnesses returned from thence, they were satisfied of the improbability and almost of. the impossibility of the attempt imputed (620).
Every accusation against the English factors in the Dutch account was afterwards replied to by our Company in their answer to the "True Declaration," as well as the inconsistencies which it contained. But as this part of their answer is printed in full at pp. 392–396 we will only notice here one inconsistency in the "True Declaration" which we think fatal to the truth of the remainder. The "True Declaration" states that this plot should have been executed when the Governor was abroad upon some action, how then should he have been killed in the castle at the same time.
These "unspeakable tyrannies" were first reported by Governor Abbott to a General Court of our East India Company at their annual meeting on 2nd July 1624. The "True Relation" had in the meantime (as we have seen) been compiled and set down in writing by Mr. Skynner, and, although it was thought too long to be read at an adjourned meeting, a short account, with the protests of the men spared from execution, was read at the meeting of the 9th July, and afterwards at a full Court of the Company on the 27th August following. It was on 9th July held impossible for the Company to proceed in their trade "except the Dutch make real restitution for damages, execute justice upon those who had in so great fury and tyranny tortured and slain the English and give security for the future," and it was unanimously resolved, if these could not be obtained, there was no help for it but to abandon their trade, and fetch home what they had in the Indies. It was further resolved that if offer should be made to treat of these things it would give the Company no content, for they had already experienced by a late treaty that the Dutch intended nothing less than to do the Company right. Nevertheless it was the general desire that the Company should first implore by petition the help and favour of the King, for they said as it became them in honesty to seek reparation for the lives of their servants thus butchered, so it stood with His Majesty's honour to call for an account of his subjects. It was clearly stated by the Governor that this complaint was not to be made against the Dutch nation in general, but particularly against the Dutch East India Company, who had thus injured this Company and dishonoured the English nation (496, 497). The "True Relation" was sent by our Company to Carleton the next day, who told the English Ambassador that it was grounded wholly upon the protests of their people taken upon oath, among whom were some that had "felt their part in that barbarous tragedy," and that they were determined to present copies of the same writings to the King (499). So on Sunday the 11th of July the Governor and others of the Company attended the King at Wanstead, and were brought into his bedchamber where the petition was delivered with the True Relation. His Majesty returned a most gracious answer, encouraged them to proceed in their trade, and promised a speedy reparation from the Dutch by the strength of his own arm if they did it not suddenly themselves. The King then assembled his Privy Council, spent the whole time in the agitation of this business, and in the end Mr. Governor was commanded to attend their Lordships at Whitehall. The True Relation was there read to them, and stirred up much passion in their Lordships generally (524, 534, 574). After leaving His Majesty's presence the Company had audience of the Prince who received them with a cheerful countenance (503). And at a Court Meeting of the Company three points were resolved on, viz., justice against the murderers, reparation for injuries, and a separation of the two companies and in no wise to yield to a treaty. These three points were however, as will be seen, considerably modified.
News of the "bloody execution" was spread abroad in Holland with all the advantage that could be, and without a word of the torture that was used, but Carleton pointed out the improbability of so small a handful of men undertaking such an enterprise, and desired the Prince of Orange and the States to suspend their opinions. The States General were not content with calling the Bewinthebbers of the Dutch Company to account, but demanded that all the examinations and the whole process should be presented to them in writing, and though some pleaded their cause so well that there was bred an opinion that the English factors really did conspire to take the castle of Amboyna, none approved the torture and execution. The conspiracy, Carleton said, must be to common sense a matter not only of difficulty but of impossibility (504).
On the 16th of July the Governor and some few of the committees went by the advice of the Lord President of the Council to Theobalds, and there in a great presence of Privy Councillors the King declared he would in no sort give way that the Company should leave their trade; that he was content they should have hostages from the Dutch for the performance of justice upon the authors and executioners of that bloody sentence; that the Company should have forts and in effect all that they propounded in their letter to the Lord President, and that for a beginning he had written a "round letter" requiring justice from the States. His Majesty then demanded what they would say if he himself came in as an adventurer, but Mr. Governor prayed for time to consider this, as he and those few with him had no power to resolve in a matter of that importance. In "the King's answer and offer," sent by Lord President Mandeville to Sec. Conway, his Majesty said he would have satisfaction for the unjust execution of his subjects, restitution for their losses, and pledges for them to remove their goods. He would also give his subjects liberty to erect forts, and if his propositions were not satisfactorily replied to, he would make stay of Dutch ships in the Narrow Seas. Lastly, he offered to be an adventurer in the Company, and if they chose he would let their ships sail under his royal standard (511).
Now, Aerssen and Joachimi, Ambassadors from the States General, were in England shortly before this time, engaged in a negotiation of importance affecting the United Provinces. On their return in June 1624, they made a thankful report in the Assembly of the States General of their treatment, which they said appeared the more by his Majesty passing over "the late accident of Amboyna" without allowing it to interrupt the main business. The English Ambassador at the Hague also admired the King's wisdom in distinguishing so aptly betwixt the States General and the Bewinthebbers, the United Provinces, and the East Indies, till he saw whether the actions there would be avowed here (480, 487).
Now the Bewinthebbers presumed that as things stood the King would not come to a direct quarrel with the States but would rather suffer all, so they did what they could to weary out our merchants and gain the whole trade themselves. The King however commanded Sec. Conway to "give them another understanding." Our Ambassador was instructed to insist, that as the East India trade was so important to this kingdom, so His Majesty neither could nor would by art or force be put from it, and as to the King not caring to break with the States it was rather to be conceived they would not find it advisable to break with His Majesty. Under any circumstances however the King and his whole Council were resolved to support the English merchants and to induce the States to do justice, or he would take his own way of obtaining it (513). The King had himself told the States Ambassadors before they left England that he should expect justice and require satisfaction for the insolencies of their men, and in default that he would apply his own actions for remedy. And not hearing of anything done Sec. Conway was commanded to say that unless the King had a firm, clear, and full declaration from the States of the ways and means how and when they would do severe and exemplary justice upon those who had cast such a hazardous offence between the two Companies and between this Crown and that State before the 12th of August next, His Majesty would do himself justice, free his honour, and assure his merchants of his powerful protection. If; continued Conway in this despatch, the question be the troubling of our trade justice will be done by troubling their trade, if they murder and hang our people the like shall be done to them, and if things go on two steps in this way the third must he an irreconcileable war. The Secretary of State did not consider this despatch threatening, and sent a copy of it by the King's commands to our East India Company with advice not to suffer it to he causelessly divulged, but to use it with the moderation fitting a matter of state of so great consequence (512).
The States upon this wrote to the King deprecating their men's proceedings and promising satisfaction, and our Ambassador told Sec. Conway that now that this "accident" began to be better understood it could not be more generally decried and detested in our own country than it was in the United Provinces. And that the Prince of Orange when desired by the States to be a mediator to the King refused to embroil himself in such an odious business (529). There was a strong suspicion that this plot was hatched at Amsterdam (519).
So the States General appointed three deputies to confer with Sir Dudley Carleton at the Hague upon the whole business, and papers and proofs were freely communicated on both sides. Those from the Dutch were found to be imperfect and unsatisfactory, and showed as Carleton pointed out, the impossibility of the charge, and that the confessions were drawn by cruel and extreme tortures, while there was no doubt of the treason which the Dutch were charged with, of trying to gain the sole trade of the Moluccas. The Deputies left Carleton as he said expressing much sorrow and "not with the same opinion they entered his house." The States General promised they would call all who had a hand in the business to a strict account, and that they would attend to nothing else until they had made an end of this, and the Prince of Orange devoutly wished that when Speult began to spell this tragedy he had been hanged upon a gibbet with his council about him. At least this was what the Prince told Carleton, and Carleton wrote Sec. Conway (519).
When after the treaty of 1619 the English refused to agree to certain restrictions in the sale of cloves in the Moluccas proposed by the Dutch they were mightily offended, and after many hot words Mons. Bas said openly we should repent it, nay he bid us take notice of what he said, that we should buy it dearly in the business of the Moluccas, and this Governor Abbott said was entered in their journal (521).
It was about this time that the Dutch printed pamphlet appeared entitled "A true Declaration of the Conspiracy in Amboyna," wherein as the English Company's Agent at Amsterdam wrote, "the libeller would insinuate "to the States the upright carriage of the business and the foulness of the fact in ours."
After describing the conspiracy considerably more in detail than did the Dutch accounts before received, the author goes on to say that no true Christian would patronise any such horrible attempt, but would adjudge it worthy of death. The Dutch proceedings in Amboyna, he argued, were neither against justice nor without formality, and certainly not with extremity against the conspirators. He complained that it had been abusively dispersed in England that it did not belong to the Dutch to imprison the English or to proceed against and punish them, but that, in accordance with the Treaty of 1619, it did belong to the Council of Defence resident in Batavia, which consisted half of English and half of Dutch, to do so. And he declared that "every understanding man" (not loving discord) must confess that neither this nor any such thing was ordained or decided by that Treaty. As to excess in the point of torture, nothing, he said, astonished or moved him more than this "pretence of excess," and that there was little truth in the reports spread in England of torture most cruelly inflicted upon those English conspirators. That he ever suspected it was a great slander scattered abroad in England by evil minded men, who had so foully defaced a just cause, for the Dutch nation naturally abhorred this kind of cruelty. And that it was well known in England, which the King himself had acknowledged "by his own princely pen," that the rack and the manacles were the only tortures exercised upon traitors to force them to confess what they knew to be dangerous to the State. But, he argued, this torture of ours (if any in Amboyna were so tortured) was to be judged far less than that of pressing to death, which in some cases was used in England, where the malefactor was laid upon a table, a plank being then laid upon him and so much weight of stone or lead that his body was miserably bruized and so pressed violently to death (537).
This pamphlet appeared anonymously, though it was thought by some to be the work of Boreel. It created much indignation in the minds of Englishmen. The Bewinthebbers of the Dutch East India Company denied the authorship and protested they were ignorant of the author of it, but said it might be the work of some of the States' clerks, for they had all the original papers out of the Indies (537–8). The English Ambassador at once made a formal complaint to the States General, being driven, or rather, as he said, dragged by the hair to do so by this libel, which some enemy to the common good, like the enemy in holy writ, had sown through the world like tares. He said it could come out of no other forge than the Bewinthebbers', being in the self same words as the informations set down by them and that to make that foul fact fairer, the author had paralleled it with pressing to death, which being a calumniation of the justice of our land, Carleton made the chief subject of his complaint. He desired to have the pamphlet declared a libel according to their own law, being without name of printer or author, and both printer and author to be inquired after and punished. The States showed much dislike of the calumniation of English laws, and though the English Ambassador could not at once say what course they would take, he was quite sure the author would have no thanks because Carleton would now have an opportunity of laying the whole matter before the States General in full Assembly, which hitherto had rested between him and five of their deputies. He demanded justice against the author and printer, and satisfaction for the outrage done to the King in the persons of his subjects, or in other words a publication against this libel and a public act by which to assure His Majesty of the certainty of justice. The English Relation had been read in the Assembly of the States General only the day before, and was at the very time of Carleton's complaint to be sent by their order to the Bewinthebbers to know what they could say to it (548, 551).
The Dutch East India Company stood stiff to it that the pamphlet was none of their act, and many wished it had not been done (553). The States General soon answered our Ambassador's complaint by issuing, as desired, a placard or proclamation against the pamphlet. Most of them, and the Prince of Orange in particular, were as much offended at it as the English were themselves (555). This placard declared "the True Declaration" of the Dutch concerning the conspiracy to be a scandalous and senseless libel, the author, as also the printers, sellers, and dispensers of which ought to be punished, and all justices and officers were required to make diligent inquiry after and proceed against them. A reward of 400 guilders was offered to the discoverer of either the author or the printer. The placard was published on the Burse and in every corner of the streets at Amsterdam, which did not a little vex the Bewinthebbers, for now, it was said, many men's mouths were open and spoke very largely concerning all their miscarriages towards their fellow adventurers (576, 588).
This libel and the Dutch proclamation against it were laid before the King at Woodstock by a committee of our East India Company, and Governor Abbott informed the Company "that the King took the answer of the Dutch in scorn" (566,594). But a translation of the libel was printed at Flushing, in which it was supposed some of our countrymen had helped. So Carleton wrote to John Winge, an English resident there, asking him to make inquiries, who they were, and who set them to work (605). This English translation was printed after the libel had been called in which Governor Abbott protested against and said "argued much insolence and how to leave it "unanswered the Company knew not without reproach to the English nation (614).
Winge's reply to Carleton's letter shows that the placard was utterly unknown in Flushing, never having been published nor even spoken of in those parts. He confessed, however, to having translated the libel into English at the entreaty of one of the Dutch preachers of Flushing. If it be not the substantial truth, Winge wrote, "I desire the God of truth to reveal it plainly and revenge it fully upon such as should dare to invent such infernal falsehood there, and vent it here, to the patronage of a fact so foul, hideous, and execrable, for barbarous cruelty and bloody inhumanity as hath been unheard of under heaven and may be a prescription to the most savage pagans to teach them a higher strain of tyranny and treachery than (till now) they have ever learnt one of another or of the devil their father." He bitterly regretted that in hoping to be serviceable to his country he should have been hurtful to it, and he called the King to witness that ignorance and simplicity were his only errors, for he had willingly sent divers copies to England to the Company. And he begged the most favourable construction to be put upon his unwise carriage for he could say for himself what God said for Abimelech "I know thou didst this in the integrity of thine heart" (622). (fn. 6)
Our East India Company did not allow this libel to remain unanswered and they obtained the King's permission to print their answer, which so far as it relates to the Amboyna massacre will be found printed in full at No. 595, together with the preface, showing why the East India Company "cometh now at last to the press." They declared that the Dutch had published a pamphlet in print not only in justification of "this barbarous butchery" but in disgrace of the English nation and of their laws and justice, and that though this pamphlet was called in by an edict of the States General, yet it had been afterwards translated and printed in English and dispersed even in this realm to brave and disgrace them at their own doors and in their own language. This no English patience could bear, the blood of the innocent cried out against it, the honour of the nation suffered in it. These, they said, were some of the reasons which induced them to print not only their own True Relation but also the Dutch libel and their answer to it.
There are several entries in this volume in reference to the printing and publishing of these pamphlets. When the subject was first mooted at a court of committees it was thought fit to use some means for the printing of it both in Dutch and in English, "that the truth might appear, and that those innocent souls that had without either mercy or justice suffered in their persons might not suffer a second time in their reputations" (623). It was said that 500 copies might be printed for 12l. 10s. but conceived that 2,000 copies should be printed and then to have the press broken. It was also decided to give copies to some principal persons of the nobility and if they were well taken then to put the rest abroad, which if done would pay for the difference (636).
When the Company requested the King's license to print he said he liked it well if it contained no bitterness against the States (607). So the license was in due time granted and the number to be printed and the "compounding with the press" was left wholly to Mr. Munnes (643), who though he had been elected declined to be Deputy Governor but served as one of the Committee. At a subsequent Court it was agreed that 2,000 copies should be printed in English "to be spread here" and 1,000 in Dutch to be sent over, and that it might not be taken for a libel, the arms of the East India Company were to be set upon the front of each book, in token that they avowed it to be true (639). Copies were much asked after, especially by the knights and burgesses of Parliament (544). Ten copies in English and forty copies in Dutch were sent to Sir Dudley Carleton. Every committeeman had five or six copies and the Lords of the Council and the principal nobility residing in and about London were each presented with a copy "of the fairest binding" (660, 688). In short it was published and dispersed in all parts of England as well as published in Dutch in the Netherlands (p. 463).
These pamphlets went through several editions, and were frequently reprinted. They were, as we have seen, first printed and published by authority in London in 1624— editions being printed both in English and in Dutch. The third impression is dated 1632. We have not been able to find a copy of the second edition. During the interregnum between 1651 and 1653 three several accounts of the massacre were printed, one being a reprint of the original edition of 1624, and another an account by James, probably a brother of Ephraim Ramsey—who was one of those examined at Amboyna but acquitted—"an eyewitness of their martyrdoms, who desired the publishing thereof throughout all England." Then John Darell's account was published in 1665, to which is prefixed an engraving in four compartments representing the King of England's subjects in India massacred and tortured by the Hollanders, viz., the Amboyna tortures, Chinese roasted alive, the Dragon and Katherine destroyed, and seventy-one Pooloroons burned.
In 1672 an edition of the True Relation was again printed by authority for William Hope at the North Entrance to the Royal Exchange, and in 1688 Elkanah Settle published with allowance another edition, entitled Insignia Bataviœ, or the Dutch Trophies display'd, with an epistle to the Reader in the strongest possible language. Mr. Settle objected to the "invasion" of 1688, and declared that "Little old England was that fat spot of "ground so much a larger golden land of promise than that poorer inconsiderable factory of Amboyna, that if possible greater villanies, a more impious cause, and blacker streams of blood shall not be wanting to carry it."
Now Carleton strongly recommended an accommodation and a good reglement for the future, rather than a rupture between the two Companies (520). He had said nothing to the States about our Company leaving their trade, not doubting but that some would rejoice at it, and this was approved by Governor Abbott (544), so it was unanimously resolved at a Court meeting to reply to the two points of serious importance in the King's answer to the Company's propositions—that there must be a total separation of the two Companies, for they had found by miserable experience the intentions of the Dutch towards them to be nothing but treachery, tyranny, and conquest, and that the condition of partnership in trade was a thing too far under the dignity and majesty of a king (527). But this reply was not thought satisfactory by the Privy Council who bade the Company explain what they most desired for their encouragement (541). They then said they were resolved to trade no longer under the Treaty with the Dutch, and they desired the King would declare it void. Also that they might have liberty to erect forts in the Indies where the Dutch had no possession, and that the King would right them and repay their losses by making stay of a Dutch ship worth 60,000l. newly arrived at Plymouth from the Indies, and of four other Dutch ships about to arrive. But as this request was made on the 7th of August, and the King had given the States a day "yet to come," viz., the 12th of August, by which to return a satisfactory answer, they were told by the Privy Council that it would be unfit to stay any of the Dutch ships before then, and were dismissed with encouragement to go on cheerfully with their trade, and with assurances of the King's resolution to repair their deep injuries (543).
The States General had in the meantime written to the King on the 2nd August acknowledging His Majesty's signal favours, and his royal alliance, and regretting his displeasure at "a certain process held by their East India Company at Amboyna." They said that out of respect to His Majesty they had postponed all other deliberations, and were determined not to abandon the inquiry until it should clearly appear whether wrong were on their side, when those who had committed excesses should be severely punished. But as they could not clear up all the points with the papers before them, they entreated his Majesty to help them to obtain information from those in Amboyna by means of the English Council of Defence (535).
This letter was followed by a letter to Sec. Conway on the 9th August from D'Aerssen, who entreated Conway's good offices with the King not to permit anything to be undertaken or precipitated to the disadvantage of the States; for he said the States had neglected nothing for ascertaining the truth of the action, and it was not His Majesty's intention that they should proceed without a perfect knowledge of the matter, and he hoped the letter written by the States to the King would leave them a competent time to satisfy His Majesty's just desires (552).
On the eve of the day fixed by the King for the final resolution of the States, the English ambassador sent two letters to Sec. Conway (555, 557). In the first he said more time was requisite than he had imagined and that the States had sent a message their Deputies would wait upon him in the evening. The Deputies came to their appointment, and brought a "Declaration" to Carleton who wrote a second letter the same night reporting what had then taken place. This Declaration of the States General, afterwards sent to Sec. Conway, sets forth that they had taken into fresh consideration the writings produced on either side, but that they varied so very much, the one side maintaining a conspiracy, the other not, the one that part of the confessions were free, the other that they were all extorted by the most grievous tortures, and that everything was so much enveloped in doubt and contradiction that it was impossible for them to proceed further without information. They therefore desired His Majesty to appoint a special Commission to have true and good information taken in Amboyna of the whole affair, and promised severe punishment if the English writings proved true, and they entreated the King to prevent any interruptions to the freedom of their trade, and to be contented with this provisional Declaration desiring Carleton to lend a helping hand (567 I.).
Carleton's reply to this Declaration was presented in the Assembly of the States General the next day. He told them that waiting for information would require two voyages to the Indies, and that it was too much in an affair so bloody to presume on His Majesty's patience for three or four years; besides, their request to the King to assist their inquiry would be judged impertinent, for it would be difficult to find men who would run headlong into the clutches of those who had so inhumanly mangled their companions. And he entreated the States to "really set themselves to work to make reparation," and gave them a means of escape from their difficulties by suggesting the points that should be inserted in their Declaration (567 II., III.).
Carleton also wrote a third letter to Sec. Calvert acknowledging the extreme difficulties of the negotiation. "My hands are as full," he said, "of as tough a piece of "work as I ever had in my life, which we must not suffer to be wasted away with words, and how to come to "deeds we know not at such a distance, and therefore are much confused" (558).
The 12th of August was the time limited by the King for satisfaction "both for the slaughter of our people and "the spoil of our goods. The day is come and past, His Majesty is in progress, and we have heard nothing," said Governor Abbott in a full Court of the Company assembled on 27th August (574). So as it appeared by express writing from the Dutch Company that they had no other purpose but to justify their cruelties (568), the Company wrote the next day to Carleton and told him they were astounded ("put into admiration") that the States should imagine their offers could any way satisfy His Majesty, considering his resolution not to have the fact disputed but punished, and to be told that right should be done if found true, above all, that they should speak of remitting it to the Indies where the Dutch had absolute power, of examining witnesses at Amboyna, which was utterly abandoned by the English, and sending our people back thither that were the accusers and witnesses of that bloody execution (575).
A Court meeting was then held, at which a committee was appointed to attend the King at Windsor and to hold firmly to one thing, viz., not to give way to any dispute upon the business of Amboyna, for that were the way to make it infinite. In the meantime it was resolved to draw up articles "by the advice of civilians and common lawyers" for the repair of past injuries, to restore what had been taken, and to assure against both for the future (582).
The next day Sec. Conway again wrote to Carleton. He told him that the King, the Prince, and the Duke of Buckingham all acknowledged his wise and dexterous pursuit of the business, but that what the States had sent was of no consideration. That the last time the Company were with the King nothing would do but they must withdraw their goods and trade into other parts, or make their own fortunes as enemies, "for with tyrants and faith breakers they could not have security." Unless, wrote Conway, the States give His Majesty satisfaction before the arrival of their ships, he would give orders to seize them, if they resisted fight they must, so there must happen the taking of a bloody revenge or increase of injury and heartburning. It was idle to listen to propositions for examinations in the Indies, for the proofs were already made, the witnesses come thence, and the whole state of the business in the hands of the States, and besides, according to the Treaty, things that could not be agreed upon in the Indies were to be referred to Europe, therefore there was no way of judging the cause but in Europe. So that unless the States changed their resolutions "we are (said Conway) like to be our own carvers shortly, for let the business of Spain and Prance go which way they will, we intend nothing more seriously than to put ourselves into such a condition as may bring the States to be plaintiffs, which, if they seek to become even by reprisal, will not differ a hair from open war. Commissioners are now appointed to give order for the first seizure; yet with this protestation in our hearts that we are innocent and the States guilty of the evils that shall succeed" (584).
Two days after the date of this despatch Governor Abbott also wrote to the English Ambassador (589). Sec. Conway had, it seems, delayed sending to the Company a copy of Carleton's despatch, which enclosed the States' Declaration, for which he had incurred the King's displeasure, and had it not been for "an honorable personage," the Company would at once have made a formal complaint to His Majesty. They were so greatly discontented with the "double replies" of the States that they had again sent Deputies to the King at Windsor to tell him so. They disliked the points suggested by Carleton, which had been sent to them by Sec. Conway for they believed the draft to have been prepared by Boreel, and said that though they had before been caught by treaties their eyes were now too open to swallow such double-faced stuff. Governor Abbott begged Carleton not to take this advertisement unkindly, being done in affection, and that he might so carry the business that it might no way touch himself, but rather put it upon the States from whom the Governor knew, by experience, Carleton would receive no such satisfaction as he desired. The Company conceived a coldness had grown upon Carleton from his first zealous expressions, so some of them advised the beseeching His Majesty to put it to the judges of the kingdom, but many of the gentry the relying upon Parliament, for they said the only desire of the States was to put off the present complaint, hoping that time would mitigate the rest. As for the Governor himself, Abbott said he was glad he had got free from being any of them that should for the present prosecute this business, which he had endeavoured might be modestly pressed. The indiscretion of the merchants was much blamed, for they were accused of trying to put everything into confusion, in order, if possible, to be avenged (591).
We now come to a turning point in the conduct of these negotiations, and even Sec. Conway was thought to be somewhat partial and leaning to the other side (590). So the Company sought another audience of the King at Windsor. At their first coming they addressed themselves to the Secretary of State, who then intimated to them the intention of a Commission to examine the business. The King had approved of this Commission, and the Lord President of the Council, the two Chief Justices, and the Judge of the Admiralty were, at the request of the Company, afterwards joined in Commission with those chosen from among the Privy Council, and appointed by His Majesty's Lords Commisssioners (594, 607, 608).
In the meantime Carleton drew up a Proposition in which he fully represented "the whole state of "our men's grievances, and the King's just desire for satisfaction." In his despatch to Sec. Conway transmitting this "Proposition," Carleton dwelt upon the difficulties of carrying on a cross business wherein so many were interested, through such diversity of colleges and assemblies as there were in that Commonwealth, among which, he said, like the wheels of a clock, any stop or stay disorders the whole motion (597). At the same time he told our East India Company that to imagine that the States would absolutely ordain punishment and restitution without disputing, as they say, why or wherefore was a vanity. Therefore the Company must come either to a rupture or a new treaty. If they were content to come to a new treaty Carleton promised to bring it about without dishonour (600). Our East India Company were thus offered one of two alternatives, and they had but Hobson's choice, for in the then state of affairs it would have been next to impossible for the King to consent to a rupture with the United Provinces, and the English Company had firmly resolved not to agree to a new treaty. So in their reply the Company returned their humble thanks for the much labour Carleton had undergone and for his proposals which were "full of honor and reason;" but for the present, they said, the King having appointed a Commission, and being entered into a course directed by His Majesty they were bound to attend the issue. They understood that three Dutch ships had arrived from Jacatra, and that in them were some of the judges at Amboyna, so they hoped that by his means these men would be laid hold of (609).
Now Lawrence de Mareschalk was one of these judges. (fn. 7) He was about 30, the chief Dutch merchant at Amboyna, "one of those who had tortured the English, and a principal man in the sentencing our people to be butchered" (p. 463).
He arrived in Holland in the Wapen van Delft about the middle of September (604), but was suffered to remain full five weeks at liberty, although our Ambassador had advised that he should be laid hold of as a person accused of a notable crime (644). Nothing would satisfy our East India Company but the States must hang him up (618). He was at length sent for by order of the States General, although he did not at first appear upon the summons. It was thought he was kept out of the way and would not appear, and that he pretended sickness at Delft (658, 661, 664, 669). He was however examined on the 24th Oct. (old style), and swore that Collins without any torment voluntarily confessed the plot before Towerson, and all the English not believing they would dare deny it; that Towerson did the same being brought before Collins, who kneeling before Towerson asked his pardon, saying, "I must confess the truth, for I do not wish to endure any torment for the love of you." That Thompson persisted to the last and endured torture, because he said Towerson had always reproached him with drunkenness, and he was determined that the plot should not be discovered by him whatever torture he endured (661. II).
Mareschalk's deposition was sent by the English Ambassador to our East India Company. In their reply they complained that Mareschalk was not a competent witness, being himself the chief party concerned next the Governor of Amboyna, and that being accused of injustice he would not hesitate to swear falsely to save himself from condign punishment. That his evidence with reference to Collins, Towerson, Thompson, and the other tortured and condemned Englishmen was false, the contrary being affirmed upon oath. That Collins had knelt to Towerson was a gross fiction, and Thompson's confessions were forgeries of Mareschalk, or they would never have been omitted in the Dutch accounts. The Company were astonished at Mareschalk's impudence in affirming that Collins was not tortured, which they said Collins not only justified upon oath in the Admiralty and before the President and Council, but produced three witnesses who heard him many times roar out very pitifully being in the next room, and saw him come out, having no doublet on, his shirt all wet, his face swollen and his eyes starting out of his head. These three witnesses, Sherricke, Webber, and Ramsey, offered to go to Holland and there justify to Mareschalk's face what they had sworn to, and Collins was sent to Newmarket with two of our East India Company to acquaint the King with the falsehood of Mareschalk's allegations (684). Later on our Company finding no answer to the offer that our men might confront Mareschalk, it was thought fit before the King to insist that he should be brought to his answer (723). But this was not done. It was also a question whether Sherricke should be allowed to leave England lest his testimony should be required. (fn. 8) Collins re-affirmed that he endured the torture of water as he deposed in the Admiralty. Webber also confirmed this, and said Collins' hands were so hurt with the binding (of the cord) that he could not use his pen seven weeks after (680).
It was the wish of the East India Company [in Feb. 1625] to have the whole manner of torturing the English in Amboyna set forth in a table by a painter named Greenebury, (fn. 9) and the matter with all the circumstances was to have been acted in a play, but the Dutch Ministers fearing it might be the cause of some tumult gave notice to the Privy Council, and their Lordships took order for the staying of all, "and the merchants and the painter were checked for their labours." (fn. 10)
The advertisement to the reader of the edition of 1651 of the True Relation describes the fruitless efforts of the East India Company for redress, and says that the Company seeing themselves obstructed thought fit to preserve the memories of such a butchery by getting the several tortures done at large in oil, but the table was scarce sooner hung up, but the murderers began to fear it would bleed at the nose, so that Buckingham was appeased by another sacrifice, and the picture commanded to be taken down. (fn. 11)
Now the English Ambassador was "somewhat troubled" with the Company's last letter (589), and though sorry to be mistaken in his doings and misjudged in his affections, he said he would not grow sullen, but would do his best to prevent a rupture and to reconcile the two Companies. If our Company imputed this to coldness he could only wish them better advised, for he was as warm in the cause as at first, inconsiderate heat he said was of small use in such affairs. He pointed out that as our men related after one manner and the Dutch after another, the States could not but be allowed time and means of better information, and that the Dutch Company pleaded with them and the Prince of Orange to suspend any resolution until further advice from the Indies. He must also tell them that the business was now related as coldly and familiarly as if it had been no greater matter than the cutting of a purse. The States condemned Carleton of heat and precipitation; he condemned them of coldness and procrastination; meanwhile it was no small discomfort (he said) to have blame on both sides. The Prince of Orange had always said that the two Companies must have forts and places apart, and distinct sovereignties conjoined in an association, as in the United Provinces, or else they would never have peace between them. Then again as to scoffing at the public faith, the promise of the Company was one thing, said Carleton, that of the States another, which if broken His Majesty had a right of reprisal against the whole State. He advised the Company in conclusion not to stand in their own light, for if without association they thought to fortify and settle near the Hollanders they could not by right hinder them, but jus est in armis as it had ever been both amongst Christians and heathens (615).
Before this letter was received the Company had had another Court Meeting (20th Sept.), when it was resolved that since the King's pleasure was not to proceed upon those depositions and evidences that were pregnant on the Company's part, but to appoint a Commission, it would please His Majesty, for preventing further effusion of blood or other disaster in the Indies, and for the providing for the safety of their goods there, to procure from the States and the Prince of Orange effectual letters to the Dutch President at Jacatra requiring them to permit the English to retire from thence, and to fortify where the Dutch had no real possession whereupon to ground a pretence of sovereignty. Upon this there grew some question whether they that would not be bound by a solemn treaty would not less regard a letter; but this was overruled. So a Committee attended Mr. Sec. Conway, who showed "much readiness" in the matter, and doubted not he should suddenly effect the same to the good content of the Company, being well satisfied of his Majesty's resolution concerning forts and other things (pp. 409–410).
By the 27th of Sept. the Lords Commissioners appointed by the King had duly examined the business. They then reported that the proceedings at Amboyna were murderous and that the English died innocently. That the letters of the States, though signifying a good intention of justice, had produced no effect, but offers which induced delays His Majesty's honour and justice might not brook, and they advised His Majesty that the Lord High Admiral should be authorised to put in readiness so many of the King's ships as should be requisite to seize outward or homeward bound Dutch East India ships. Upon this report an order of the Privy Conncil was issued declaring His Majesty's pleasure accordingly (620).
Two days after the Company met, when Mr. Governor reported all that had been done in the business, and that being called into the King's presence His Majesty told them he was resolved to right the Company really, and to that end had given directions to the Lord Admiral to stay Dutch East India ships either outward or homeward bound until full reparation should be had of all injuries according to justice, and "that then only it would be a fit time to treat with the Dutch when by the stay of their ships the business should move to a treaty on their parts" (623).
But the warrant for stay of the Dutch ships was delayed, and though our East India Company moved the Clerk of the Council that some Act of Council might be entered on this business they could not obtain it (623, 628, 639), and when pressed to hasten it forward Sec. Conway said he would first acquaint the Duke with the King's pleasure, and then frame a warrant accordingly (628).
Now the advice given by our Ambassador in his last letter to the Company was readily accepted. They confessed their mistake, but said that as a burnt child dreaded the fire, so they thought it unsafe to trust to any Dutch writings. They also confessed their error in writing as they did about the public faith. "I must confess," said Governor Abbott, "I much doubted that an absolute breach could be good for us, but such was the violence of our people that as I wrote your Lordship, I durst not herein give any direct answer" (629).
In another letter signed by a large majority of the Committee the East India Company begged Carleton speedily to procure the letter mandatory from the States and the Prince of Orange into the Indies already referred to. They said they had a ship ready to sail which stayed only for this letter, as the King had commanded them cheerfully to proceed with their trade and had promised them protection (630).
The Duke of Buckingham wrote the same day (Oct. 2) to the Prince of Orange telling him how justly irritated the King and the whole English nation were, and that those who wished to keep good intelligence between the two nations ought, both in prudence and justice, to blame the fact and demand reparation. He reminded him how the King had overcome every difficulty in granting aid of men and money to the States, how patiently the King had waited for justice, and that now the merchants were driven to despair His Majesty had commanded Buckingham to arrest Dutch East India ships, which command he could not disobey. He therefore entreated the Prince to consider the issue and prevent what might lead to the shedding of blood in revenge, and to the evils which could not be foreseen (631). Carleton also wrote to the Prince of Orange to the same effect (633). Sec. Conway told Carleton (635) that the Prince and Duke would be much troubled to see all their good offices prove fruitless; that the Duke would delay and moderate by his directions to his officers as much as he might, but that if no satisfaction came he could not but command and see execution when it came to the point. "This way of giving directions to the Lord Admiral Conway had before thought of and advised as the best expedient to give present contentment here and keep things from extremities." With this despatch was enclosed the East India Company's "Proposition" to the King which embodied their three points, viz., 1., letters from the States and the Prince of Orange to suffer them quietly to leave Jacatra; 2, for differences which could not be mutually accommodated by the Council of Defence to be remitted to Europe; and 3, for liberty to build forts. "As for those wrongs and outrages they had already complained of they would in due time solicit His Majesty's assistance for justice and redress."
The East India Company appear to have been so far satisfied with what had been done up to this time that at their next Court Meeting on 6 Oct. they resolved to send in their next fleet, 180 tons of lead, quicksilver, amber beads, cloths, satins, gold and silver lace to the value of 300l. or 400l., and cloth of gold and silver to the value of 1,000l. (636). They also despatched to the East Indies a new vessel, the "Swallow," had another good ship ready to sail, and declared their intention of sending three or four more good ships after Christmas (659, 660).
On the 8th of October Governor Abbott reported to the Company that the letter to the States and the Prince of Orange for building a fort, and for the safety of their servants' lives and their own goods was already gone. But as for the letter to the Narrow Seas for stay of Dutch East India ships there was observed "a cold and slow proceeding." So it was remembered that Sec. Conway had often been troubled in this business, and it was ordered by erection of hands that he be presented with 100 twentyshilling pieces as a thankfulness, and the Lord President with 100l. in gold for his many favours and extraordinary pains taken in the Company's business (639).
Now, although the Lord Admiral was several times solicited concerning the stay of the Dutch ships shortly expected in the Narrow Seas, and that he affirmed he had given orders for that purpose (643), the English Ambassador strongly advised that His Majesty should suspend (without annulling) this order for reprisals, because he said our Company might now boldly proceed without hazard, for that the States and the Prince of Orange had written to their General, both for sending hither the Amboyna Governor and Judges, and to hold good friendship with the English in general, and in particular to accomplish their desire in the three points. That meanwhile this present resolution would secure our men in the Indies, and a more satisfactory course could not be thought on than fetching those men out of the Indies, for to condemn them unheard the States said agreed not with justice, and to have them tried without the States jurisdiction it was impossible to bring them to consent to (644). The Prince of Orange had instructed the Dutch Ambassador in England to labour with the aid of his friends to induce the King to keep this order for reprisals in abeyance. The Prince himself promised to neglect nothing in his power to accelerate this business, their great desire was, he said, to give the King satisfaction to whom they were under such obligations, and from whom they hoped for the maintenance of their Republic, and he added it was now only a question of a little time which ought to be conceded to find out the truth. At all events the State ought not to be made a party to repair the faults of some of her subjects (647).
At length at the repeated solicitations of our Company the Duke of Buckingham sent on 21st Oct. written instructions to the captain of Pendennis Castle to seize such ships and goods of the Dutch East India Company as came within his command, and if they quietly submitted to take special care for their safe keeping and the fair usage of the men (648). But Carleton, though he admitted His Majesty could do no otherwise as things had been carried, foresaw the danger of putting this order into execution, and used his utmost endeavours to have this extremity prevented. At the same time he warned Sec. Conway if it could not be avoided to have it done thoroughly so "we receive not a scorn," for he said if the Dutch be the stronger he was sure no command would serve to stop their voyage (653). The King's order for reprisals had unfortunately been divulged, and it was feared that the Dutch ships would go so fenced with men-of-war as there would be no meddling with them (658). Sec. Conway however assured Carleton that we should be constrained to lay hands on them, and that if we failed we should fall to the fishermen, and as the sea phrase was make all fish that came to net, until we had won the horse or lost the saddle (655).
Now the deposition of Mareschalk already referred to was sent to England on the 1st of Nov. and with it the remonstrance of the Dutch East India Company to the States General. This remonstrance contained arguments under fifteen heads, forty-two pages in length, in justification of the process against the English at Amboyna, but they were considered weak and shameless, frivolous, and of no validity to give satisfaction in so hateful and bloody a cause (680, 682). Neither of these documents therefore advanced the settlement of the dispute. Perhaps the Dutch East India Company did not expect they would, for they earnestly hoped when sending them that the King would not refuse the proper time to find out more exactly all the particulars (661. I.). Mareschalk was two days under examination upon more than one hundred interrogatories collected out of our men's relation (668).
The seventeen directors of the Dutch East India Com pany after having given as ordered by the States General an account of their actions were not very well contented with the resolution of the States neither to support them nor their ministers in the violence of their proceedings, but to have a strict account for what was past and a reglement for the future such as might give His Majesty satisfaction. They were much troubled at this change in their affairs, as heretofore whether right or wrong they had always been supported by the State (678, 679).
Now the Dutch ships were soon expected to pass through the Narrow Seas, so on the 17th of Nov. it was resolved at a Court Meeting of our Company that the Lord Admiral should be informed that they were coming in great strength to the number of seven or eight in warlike manner, and that the Narrow Seas were only guarded by two of the King's ships, one having been casually lost, lest the Dutch should force their way to the dishonour of His Majesty and the defeat of the service (681). A Committee therefore attended Sec. Conway and the Lord Admiral at Newmarket, and begged there might be a supply of ships in the Narrow Seas fit for such a service. Mr. Secretary admitted it was true the force of the King's shipping upon the Narrow Seas was not sufficient to encounter the Dutch East India Fleet, which he understood was resolved to fight, but he said this must be made a business of State and demanded what the Company could do. They said that unless protected they must leave the trade. Mr. Secretary replied that His Majesty was not tied to one way to right himself and his subjects; that if the Dutch ships were not met upon the Narrow Seas he could stop their fishing upon this coast, and seize their ships at his pleasure. The Lord Admiral when appealed to promised to speak with the King about it. In a second conference Sec. Conway told the Company he had no order for them, but that the Attorney General had command to draw a grant for them to fortify in the East Indies. (fn. 12) The Committee were not satisfied, and said this was but one branch of their suit, and His Majesty's promise was to see them righted. But Mr. Secretary told them that the King's present force in the Narrow Seas was small; that the Dutch were strong and resolute to fight, and for setting out any present force the King wanted money, but that he intended to arm both by sea and land, and was resolved to buoy up the reputation of the kingdom, and in the doing of that would have means to right all, and that albeit there was no probability to right them at present upon the ships outward bound, yet it should be done upon their ships returning (pp. 449—450). And though the Company made further attempts to have the Dutch ships stayed (706), they were allowed to pass, and no seizure was made. The Dutch Company on their part it seems took but little notice of the King's resolution to stay their ships; their friends said the order would be stopped, so they little feared it would take effect (691).
The final resolution of the States was to have the Governor of Amboyna, and all who had a hand in the execution of the English there, brought home prisoners to answer to the fact, and stand to the States' judgment; for the rest that they should live with ours according to the treaty, and Carleton left it to His Majesty's wisdom whether it were not then rather a fit season to embrace reconciliation for the present by admitting what might be had of them than to pursue the quarrel (695, 717). So the States General wrote to General Carpentier in the East Indies, telling him they could find no other means to quiet the King than to have the Governor of Amboyna, and all who presided under him at the trial and execution, sent over, which he was commanded to do at the first opportunity. The three points proposed to the States by the King, at the request of the English Company, were also sent to the Dutch General, who was required to give such answers as were expedient, the States desiring good correspondence, unity, and friendship between the two Companies (717, 718. IV.).
These three points had been under considerable discussion, and several alterations were made in the wording of them before they were finally agreed to (713, 717, 718).
In transmitting this final resolution of the States to our East India Company, Carleton gave them this advice: Let not your just indignation (he said) carry you beyond discretion, but embrace the opportunity of settling your trade by such reglement as this accident of Amboyna may produce, and if you can have justice for your men's lives, which in the way affairs now are must necessarily follow, by holding the King's orders for reprisals in suspense, I will so put your affairs into a way of treaty as to be most to your advantage, which, though the Dutch Company will mainly shun, the States will think necessary and bring them to (717).
On the 10th of Dec. 1624, Governor Abbott reported to a full Court of the East India Company all that had been done, when it was resolved, as advised by Sec. Conway, that they should represent their thankfulness to His Majesty, who not only held their trade to be a benefit but an honour to the land, and had always said he would protect them. But whether this was to be done by word of mouth or in writing was left to the consideration of a Court of Committees. In the end it was agreed that the best course would be by word of mouth (pp. 463-4, 710, 723).
And thus the matter rested. Three months after King James had ceased to reign, and though efforts were made from time to time by his successor to see justice done, which were renewed again and again during the Interregnum, and even in Charles II.'s reign, whenever any treaty between England and the United Provinces was in question, so the matter rested. (fn. 13)
It will be seen by a reference to the Index that the East India Company owned fifty-one ships in the years 1622– 1624, and how twenty-two of these were employed in the East Indies at the close of the year 1623. During those three years twelve ships were laden by the Company with English goods, consisting chiefly of broad cloths, kerseys, quicksilver, lead and tin, and Spanish ryals, as much as 200,000 ryals being sent at one time to Surat (347) for the purchase of Indian commodities, and arrived safely in the East Indies. In the Christmas fleet of 1624, 600 butts of cider, 500 oxen, and 1,500 hogs were ordered to be sent (p. 412). While thirteen ships laden with spices, indigo, sugar, rice, gumlac, spikenard, aloes, coral, diamonds, silks, carpets, calicoes, cotton yarn, and other commodities from the East Indies safely arrived in England (51, 351, 640); one ship, the Dolphin, arrived with a lading worth 120,000l. (574). Four ships were wrecked during the same period, one, the Whale, laden with silk and other goods to the value of 150,000l. (463), the loss of which was severely felt by the Company and affected to some extent, as may be imagined, the dividend of their stock (496). Two ships were sold, the Gamaliell and the Primrose, the latter, to the Khan of Shiraz for 400 tomans, equal to 1,330l., "one thousand pounds more than she was worth," the commander of the Surat fleet told the East India Company (372). Nine of the Company's ships were laid up in the East Indies either rotten or unfit to go to sea, and one, the Swan, which had been taken by the Dutch before the treaty of 1619, when offered to be restored was refused by the English President at Batavia as "unserviceable" (9). The last ship built by the East India Company, in 1624, was the Swallow, of 100 tons, which was fitted with 12 guns. She was launched in August and sailed in the following October for the East Indies (fn. 14) (531, 660).
It was calculated that in the twenty years ending July 1620 the Company shipped away 548,090l. in Spanish ryals, although they might have exported 720,000l., and that in the same term they had exported to the value of 292,286l. in broad cloths, kerseys, lead and tin, &c. The goods which had been bought in India for 356,288l. had pro- duced in England no less a sum than 1,914,600l. (157–8). These extraordinary profits will account for the large dividends paid by the East India Company.
In illustration of the enormous fortunes realised by some of the Dutch East India Company, two of the most notable Bewinthebbers died in Nov. 1624, who from poor beginnings had raised their estates the one to seven the other to eight tons of gold (678). Mr. Deputy Governor Clitherow told the English Company ten tons of gold each (p. 465). A ton of gold at the present mint price represents in round figures about 107,000l., so that Poppen left about 856,000l. behind him.
In some brief notes concerning the strength and wealth which the East India trade brought to this kingdom, it is stated that the trade would maintain 10,000 tons of shipping and employ 2,500 mariners and as many artizans. Commodities from the East Indies were brought to England at a quarter of the price hitherto paid in Turkey and Lisbon. Pepper alone to the value of 200,000l. was imported into England in 1623, nine tenths of which was exported within twelve months. In 1622 the trade to the East Indies brought in a revenue to the King of 40,000l. which increased in 1624 to 50,000l. (165, 540).
The preservation of their ships was a subject of careful consideration by the East India Company, and a project of Wm. Beale was entertained to save ships from fire, the worm, and the barnacle, "with other corruptions," and the projector rewarded (477). For the materials "of his own devising" the cost was to be 50s. per 100 tons, and a trial was made on a ship then on the stocks of about that tonnage (pp. 180, 276). The "Swallow" and the "London" were both trimmed against the worm and fire, and the English President at Batavia was requested to advertise the Company of the effects (723).
The first or old joint stock of the East India Company consisted of 400,000l. (55); their debt at interest in June 1622 was 150,000l., of which 40,000l. was at 8 per cent., the rest at 9 per cent., "which was always wont to be 10 per cent." 50,000l. had been paid off since last year (p. 47). In August 1624 the debt of the East India Company was 200,000l., 70,000l. of which was paid off by December, and though they had 30,000l. cash in hand— one-third of that sum was wanted to discharge the "Dolphin" newly arrived from the East Indies, and 20,000l. for the dividend at Michaelmas (573, 708).
The punishment of criminal offences in India was a subject that claimed the attention of the East India Company (p. 466). The President and Council at Batavia had written home for instructions (p. 203), which were absolutely necessary for their guidance, so at a Court of Committees held on 15th December 1624 these were debated, and it was then resolved that "some experienced clerk" should be sent out whose knowledge might assist the President and Council. It was at the same time agreed that no better general directions could be given on this subject than were at large set down in certain books, called in the Court Minute Book of the East India Company, Pleas of the Crown, Compton and Lambert's Justice of Peace, Polton and Fitzherbert, and these books were ordered to be bought and taken out by the clerk to be appointed by the Company, and were all sent to the East Indies with "some good legal and justifiable course in causes criminal" in the form of a commission to the President and Council which had been submitted to and approved by Lord Chief Justice Hobart (628, 636, 710). We have been favoured by a friend with the loan of these old law books, and are also indebted to him for being able to give some account of them, all of which we believe are now of great rarity. Eitzherbert's (grand) Abridgement of Pleas of the Crown was published in three parts in the years 1516, 1565, and 1577. It was afterwards enlarged by Richard Crompton, with the offices and authority of Justices, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, Coroners, &c, and was published in 4to. with the dates 1606–1617. Under Crompton's editorship another edition was also published, entitled "Richard Crompton's Authority and Jurisdiction of Courts, 4to. 1594–1637." It is more than probable that Sir Edward Coke's "Institutes of the Laws of England," the third part of which concerns High Treason and other Pleas of the Crown and Criminal causes, as well as Sir W. Stamford's Pleas of the Crown, which was published in 1607, and to which was added an exposition of the King's prerogative, were included in the books that were, as we have seen, ordered to be bought by the East India Company. The names Compton and Lambert, mentioned in the Court Minutes, no doubt refer to (the works of) Richard Crompton and to William Lambard's Eirenarcha, or the Offices of Justices of the Peace, editions of which were published in 1610, 1614, and 1619. By Polton is doubtless meant Ferdinando Pulton, of Lincoln's Inn, whose De pace regis et regni, viz., a Treatise declaring which be the great and general offences of the Realm, &c., was printed at London for the Company of Stationers in 1615.
In April 1622 the King and Prince Charles sent messages to the Company that the King had received letters from the Great Mogul asking for such rarities as this kingdom afforded in return for rich presents from his own country. His Majesty determined to present the Great Mogul not only with jewels, but likewise with some inventions, and particularly with that of conveying water into their houses in such a manner as would be a great cooling and refreshing in those extreme hot countries, and a benefit much desired by the Mogul. The Company were told at the same time that the Prince had planned an expedition for the weighing up and recovering of sunken treasure ships in the East Indies by means of an engine, devised by one Cornelius Dryvet, which should fetch up any weight. Also that a boat had been devised to go under water, where men might live and, if need be, walk under water 20 or 30 yards and use their arms to any kind of labour. It was feared by the Company that in case these things failed the ships going out might attempt something to make up their voyage as had been the case in the Earl of Warwick's expedition which might endanger the Company's stock (81). But though the Prince sent another message (fn. 15) to the East India Company through the Lord Admiral earnestly desiring that this business "might go on," and that he would give assurance both by his word and under his hand that there should come thereby no prejudice to the Company's trade, and the Duke of Buckingham wished the Company not to oppose it, they put off the discussion of it, and ordered their secretary to draw up a petition to the Prince on the subject "with some touch of the inconveniences in general that may come to the Company if the employment hold," and praying to be admitted to his Highness' presence (96). But the Company were not successful in their opposition, for on 24th August 1622 the King signed a Commission to Sir William Haydon and Charles Glenham to make a voyage with two ships to the territories of the Great Mogul to satisfy him with some choice arts and rarities, and to put their works and inventions in use in those climates (136).
Richard Steele, who had been the East India Company's agent in Persia, submitted to the Company, in November 1623, a project for erecting waterworks in the East Indies, which he conceived would yield 10,000l. per annum, and be infinitely pleasing both to the Great Mogul and to his subjects, the Great Mogul, as Steele said, "doting upon this project," but a similar proposal having been at large debated upon the arrival of Sir Thomas Roe, who no way approved of it, the Company "had no purpose to entertain this project" and so it fell to the ground (339, 347).
A project of Bartholomew Jaquin for making fresh water from salt water "with or without fire" was also submitted to the East India Company, who, remembering that their ships sometimes carried 100 tons of water, said that if the project proved feasible they would both entertain it and gratify the inventor; but though the project was again brought before the Company, at their next meeting it was "referred to another time," and there is no further mention of it (358, 363), so that we may presume the project did not prove feasible. Another invention for supplying water to the houses of the natives of India was also brought before the East India Company.
A "history at large of the taking of Ormuz Castle" in April 1622, is contained in the journal of Edward Monox, the East India Company's agent in Persia, but though now mutilated and the first leaf missing, it has been printed in full in Purchas, pp. 1793 et seq., also a "relation" of the same by Master Pindar. Monox on his return to England in July 1623 brought with him a journal of all his transactions, together with the above "History" (305), and was examined by a Committee of the East India Company "upon what warrant the action of Ormuz was grounded for so much as concerned the English" (pp. 120, 127). He gave in his examination the reasons why the English had assisted the Persians to wrest Ormuz from the Portuguese and said he considered that the Portuguese "did in a sort sell themselves," for had they victualled Ormuz, it might easily have been held against both English and Persians. Being demanded about the richness of the spoil Monox said that the Portuguese expected a siege, and had sent away their wives and children, and therefore it was not likely they would leave any treasure, and as for goods they had none. Captain Weddall said the value of the goods taken at Ormuz was 20,000l., "but that the service stood the Company in three times that value" (363).
When in the following year the rights of the East India Company to prizes taken by their ships were in dispute before the King and the Lord High Admiral, the spoils taken at Ormuz were specially included, and the whole question was frequently debated at the Court meetings of the East India Company. The King, finding the Company unwilling to give what he considered a proper share both to himself and the Lord Admiral, arrested them in an action for 15,000l. He called the Company pirates, and said they had taken in different parts of the Indies prizes to the value of 100,000l., and that the Duke of Buckingham demanded 10,000l. for tenths due to him as Lord Admiral (303). Upon this the Company consulted both "civil and common lawyers," and Dr. Steward's opinion was that the tenth part of custom belonged to the Lord Admiral, if he gave any commission, but there was no written law for it, and he did not see why the Lord Admiral should pretend to any right where he gives no letters of marque. Dr. Zouch was of the same opinion. Yet Dr. Steward declined to be either the Company's Counsel or to deliver his opinion against the Lord Admiral, and no arguments availed to induce him to deliver his opinion (413). The King on his part said he was no tyrant, but allowed his subjects the benefit of law, and would have the question so tried, but the Company were naturally unwilling to do that, so resolved "to stand on their innocency," and to petition the Lord Admiral, "but to be so cautiously couched that it may neither give him hope to obtain anything of right nor give any distaste." This made the King very angry, and say to the Company, "Did I deliver you from the complaint of the Spaniard and do you return me nothing." So the Company's ships about to sail for the East Indies were stayed, and the Lord Admiral refused to release them until Parliament was moved in the matter. The East India Company then resolved to offer 5,000l. as a compromise, but the King still kept to his demand of 10,000l., and as much for the Lord Admiral. His Majesty argued that 100,000l. was taken either justly or unjustly; if unjustly then all was lost, if justly the Company must pay a right of tenths, and he would not suffer the Lord Admiral to compound, The East India Company petitioned the King that 10,000l. might be accepted, but their petition was ill received, and finding it hopeless to contend any longer, they resolved to pay the 20,000l. Orders were then given to allow their ships to sail (303). Although in several Court Minutes this memorandum appears, "a great dispute concerning the Lord Admiral omitted, but remains to be seen in the original (425, 437, 445)," there are many entries on this subject (pp. 247–249, &c.)
The stay of the East India Company's ships was the cause of an animated debate in the House of Commons which is not printed in the Commons Journal, the only reference to it there being "Sir Thos. Estcourt moveth to search the East India ships for money." Mr. Deputy Governor Abbott reported this debate to the East India Company, and it is entered in their Court Minutes (425). Upon speech of the East India Company in Parliament, there was a sudden motion that the East India fleet might be stayed. Others cried "stay the money that they send out of the land," which some reported to be 80,000l. this year, 1624. The excitement became so great that Mr. Bond, one of the Burgesses of the city, did but whisper a few words to the gentleman next him, when he was cried to speak out or else to the Bar. Mr. Treasurer Bateman, another of the Burgesses of London, was then called upon "to deliver his knowledge clearly" what money was to go in this fleet. He said he could not precisely satisfy them of the just sum, but that 30,000l. in ryals of eight were to be sent in these ships. But the House was not satisfied with this answer, and cried out "search the books." Mr. Deputy Governor hearing the motion grew hot, stood up and made known that Alderman Hallidaie the late Governor being dead he was ready to give the House the answer they required. He told them that the Company did not carry out as much as they brought in and not the half of what they were allowed to carry. It was true, he said, that there was now to go some 40,000l., but their returns when not interrupted were 400,000l. per annum in good real commodities, as calicoes, indigo, silk, and such like, whereof calicoes alone saved the kingdom at least 200,000l. yearly, in cambrics, lawns, and other linen cloth. Neither was it barren in return of money. He had himself brought last year to the mint 60 lbs. weight of gold for Indian commodities exported. Out of the value of 400,000l. imported, about 100,000l. served this kingdom, and the rest being exported worked itself home again either in money or commodities that would cost money. The Company were ready, he added to make this appear to the House whensoever it should be their pleasure. Mr. Munnes then stood up, and said, that having heard the House cry down the patent with such earnestness he doubted not to satisfy Parliament that the strength, the stock, the trade, and the treasure of the kingdom were all greatly augmented by the East India trade. The debate then ended. The whole of these circumstances were afterwards reported to the House of Commons by Mr Wandesford in the Parliament of 1626, 20th April, as "exactions by the Duke of Buckingham." (See Commons Journal, pp. 846–847.)
The prosperity of the English in Japan, as stated in the Preface to the previous volume of this Calendar, began rapidly to decline after the death of the Emperor Ogusho Same in 1616. The present volume contains further accounts of the barbarities that were committed by his successor Shongo Same, "to root out the memory of Christianity" in his dominions. This Emperor allowed trade only at Firando, and Cocks declared him to be a mortal enemy to the name of Christian, especially of Papistical Christian. In a letter written to the East India Company in September 1622, the English factor described how some friars, under the guise of merchants, were found out, sent prisoners to Nangasaki, and roasted to death, and how upwards of 100 Japanese men, women, and children were put to death by fire and sword for harbouring them. He had been to the Emperor's court hoping to get the privileges granted by Ogusho Same to the English renewed by his successor, when being asked whether the English were Christians, he explained the difference between the English and the Spanish religion, which (as he wrote) seemed in some sort to give them content. Cocks himself was threatened with death and the seizure of all his goods. He was in 1622 anything but hopeful of the turn events would take, but expecting that every day would make matters worse his fervent wish was "God send us well out of Japan" (146).
At length in July 1623 instructions were received from the President and Council at Batavia for dissolving the English factory at Firando, upon which Joseph Cockram and Richard Cocks, the English merchants there, wrote to the King or Governor of Firando, that they had been charged to dissolve the factory "for a time." Great caution was necessary in carrying out these instructions, for the merchants not only wanted to recover all debts abroad, but they desired their "friendly departure," knowing how completely they were at the mercy of the Japanese authorities, who might on any pretence have prevented their leaving, and even have imprisoned and put them to death. So they explained that it was not through any unkind usage that they were going to leave, that they had long continued the factory at no small expense, and had abandoned all hopes of procuring trade with China, and that now, through the loss of one of the Company's ships in her voyage from England, richly laden with commodities vendible in Japan, they were altogether unprovided with goods to supply the factory. Notwithstanding this they held out hopes of returning to Japan, and proposed certain arrangements whereby their houses, etc. might be kept for and eventually repossessed by them. They were not, however, allowed to depart before they had sent presents to the Emperor and his nobility, according to former custom. These were of small value in comparison with what had formerly been given, but were such as "their ability of means would stretch unto," and consisted of embroidered quilts, velvets, satins, silks, damasks, lead, and Russia hides, which were sent by Richard Hudson to the Emperor's Court at Miako. Before leaving Firando the merchants left a commission in the hands of the Chief of the Dutch factory to procure all debts for the account of the English Company, and make the same, over to their President at Batavia, together with a list of the debtors, and the amount of each "bill." At the head of the list of debtors is Tonomonsama, the King's brother (pp. 127– 131).
The English merchants all left Japan in the ship Bull, the latter end of December 1623, and they arrived at Batavia on 27th January 1624. President Brockedon and his Council sent the East India Company a very full account of this business (415). From their letter it appears that express orders had been sent from Batavia two years before for the merchants to leave Japan, "except great debts were standing," but that Cocks neither came himself nor would suffer any of the rest to come; and the President and Council believing his excuses to be vain sent Cockram in the Bull expressly to dissolve that factory. They complained very much of the way in which the accounts had been kept, nothing having been perfected since 1617; that the debts were "desperate," and the greatest part of the wares worth little or nothing. They called Cocks to account for all this, noted down the "principal faults" committed by him, and declared that there was just cause to seize his estate and send him home as a malefactor. Yet, considering his age, "the quality, wherein he hath lived," the weakness of his body, and his testy and wayward disposition, they were verily persuaded that if they had dealt harshly with him (as he deserved) it would have been the shortening of his life; so they resolved to deal mildly with him, and sent him home in the Anne, referring him wholly to the more judicial censure of the Company. This they thought the most modest course to take with a man of his rank and years. They said that his estate did not exceed 1,500 ryals, which they admitted was not much considering the long time he had lived in the country. Cocks had been upwards of ten years in the East India Company's service as their factor in Japan. Thus an end was put to our communication with Japan, which was not again renewed for more than two centuries.
Of Samuel Purchas, the Divine, whose collection of voyages is so well known, we have some account. "One "Purchas, that wrote of the religions of all nations," undertook early in 1622 "a great volume" of all the East India Company's voyages (38). He applied for permission to see the Company's journals of voyages into the East Indies, and particularly Sir Thomas Roe's journal. The permission was granted, with the reservation that he was to take nothing hut what was proper to history and was not prejudicial to the Company, and his notes were to he perused before he took them out of the house. Two years later, in Oct. 1624, Purchas, "that writes a history "of the world" (639), requested that the Company would favour him with a sight of the journal of Edward Monox, who had been the Company's agent in Persia, and he was allowed to take it away with him on giving a receipt for its safe return. Monox's journal is preserved (No. 305) in this volume, though the first leaf is missing, and several leaves are mutilated, but as Purchas has printed this journal in full the missing portions will be found in his "Pilgrimes," an edition of which, in five volumes, was published in 1625–1626.
It is my pleasing duty to acknowledge the valuable assistance of my colleague Mr. J. E. Ernest S. Sharp, in the compilation of this volume.
30th April 1878.
W. Noel Sainsbury.