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Date Posted: 20:43:42 04/15/18 Sun
Author: Albert Parker
Subject: Re: Dutch east indies actions 1830-31
In reply to: BPL 's message, "Dutch east indies actions 1830-31" on 14:17:00 04/15/18 Sun

You might be barking up the wrong tree, unless you have some positive information that your ancestor made his fortune through "prize money." For that to be the case, all of the following would have to be true:

(1) The Dutch navy, like the British, would have to have a "prize money" system for captures made by state warships and regulations for its distribution to crewmen; I've only ever read specifically about this for the British navy.

(2) There would have to be valuable ships to capture. Since the Kingdom of the Netherlands was not at war with any other European state, these would have to be "rebel" merchantmen. It hardly seems likely that, after a secession by the southern provinces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, even one ship was capitalized, crewed, and sent to the East Indies. To yield "prize money" (if there was such a thing in the Dutch navy), the ship would have to be intercepted on its outbound voyage loaded with silver to buy Asian merchandize, or captured after completing its trading mission, heading back to "Belgium" (Antwerp) loaded with valuable Asian merchandize like porcelain, silk, or spices. But where would "Belgians" do their trading? Since "Belgium" was a new state, it could not have negotiated trading privileges in China yet, and it would have been very foolish for a group of Antwerp merchants to expect to manage extensive trading within modern Indonesia, even if there were some nominally independent "kingdoms" or whatever in, say, the Moluccas.

(3) The terms of independence for the southern provinces would have to allow retention of "prizes" made by the navy controlled from Amsterdam.

I have to think your ancestor made his money in some way other than prize money. Employees of the British East India Company were allowed to trade on their own account. I don't think British navy personnel were allowed to do so but perhaps that was allowed to Dutch navy personnel; or perhaps your ancestor managed to do some illicitly, smuggling the goods back to the Netherlands and selling them on a black market (and that's why he emigrated to America).

The most detailed Dutch naval history I know about, C[ornelis] de Jong, Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen, ends in 1810 when the Napoleonic Kingdom of the Netherlands was incorporated into France. There are other Dutch naval histories, but I don't know whether they cover the 1830s. There might not be anything in English on the Dutch navy in the 1830s.

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