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CHAPTER XI 1 - Hugo Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty 
Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, ed. and with an Introduction by Martine Julia van Ittersum (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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[Here follows the historical account.]
A General Discussion, Which Deals with the Following Items:
Article I. The causes of the war waged by the Dutch against Alba, the Spaniards, Philip, &c.
Article II. The courtesies extended by the Dutch in the course of that war.
Article III. The causes of the war waged by the Dutch against the Portuguese.
Article IV. The courtesies extended by the Dutch to the Portuguese.
Article V. The injuries inflicted by the Portuguese upon the Dutch, throughout Portugal.
Article VI. The injuries inflicted by the Portuguese upon the Dutch, in other, widely distributed localities.
Article VII. The injuries inflicted by the Portuguese upon the Dutch, on the pretext that the latter were entering, for commercial purposes, regions subject to the former.
Article VIII. The same pretext, with special reference to the East Indies.
A Discussion of Events in the East Indies, Which Deals with the Following Items:
Article I. False accusations made by the Portuguese against the Dutch.
Article II. Enemies suborned by the Portuguese against the Dutch.
Article III. Fraudulent and perfidious conduct of the Portuguese toward the Dutch.
Article IV. The war was first undertaken by the Portuguese against the Dutch.
Article V. The war waged by the Portuguese against the friends of the Dutch.
Part I, Article INow that we have set forth in general terms the principles of law involved, let us turn our attention to the facts of the particular case under discussion in order to facilitate consideration of the following questions: Are these facts in conformity with the said legal principles? And, are all the factors required by those principles present in the case?
We do not feel, however, that it is necessary to give an account of every event leading up in one way or another to the seizure in question. That would be an endless task, suitable only in connexion with a strictly historical work. Besides, who is ignorant of the fact that the Dutch have now been at war with the Spanish nation for thirty long years, and more?In the year 1567 And who does not know that this conflict was begun when Fernando, Duke of Alba, penetrated with a Spanish army into the then peaceful territory of the Low Countries,2 after he had been sent out as governor of that region by Philip the Second, King of the Spanish realms and sovereign of the said countries?
Relying confidently upon his armed force, and with no pretext other than the occurrence, prior to his arrival, of a disturbance connected with religious questions (a disturbance for which only a very small number of individuals were to blame, as is acknowledged even by those persons who wish to establish the fact that guilt did exist, since the incident took place against the will of the majority of both magistrates and citizens), Alba proceeded to alter the laws, judicial provisions, and system of taxation. He took these measures in contravention of the statutes which the various princes had sworn to observe and which, by striking a rare balance between princely power and liberty, were preserving both the due measure of imperial sovereignty and the foundations of the local state.
The exigencies created by Alba’s conduct drove private citizens, first of all, to set in motion a force whereby they might repel force: for their bodies were being dragged away to punishment, their goods were being seized either for the imperial treasury or for payment of tribute in defiance of the domestic laws above mentioned, and they were cut off from every other means of defence. Next, separate municipalities adopted a similar course of action. Shortly thereafter, the States Assembly3 of Holland (which has been a true commonwealth for all of seven centuries) added its authority to the movement. For it is, of course, a well-known fact that this body was set up in addition to the princes and[72′] governing officials, as a guardian of the rights of the people. Gathered in public assembly,In the year 1572 it decreed war against Alba and the Spaniards; and this war, in which other peoples of the Low Countries joined, was continued against the successors of Alba, also, since those successors demanded all that Alba had demanded and penalties for the defensive activities, as well.
It would be too long a story, if we attempted to tell what quantities of blood have been shed from that time on; what plundering on the part of the Spaniards and what expenditures on the opposite side have drained the resources of the Low Countries (expenses so heavy, in fact, that an accurate reckoning would show them to be in excess of those borne by any other people in any age); or, finally, what perfidy characterized the Spaniards whether in the conduct of war or in the simulation of peace. These things can be inferred well enough from the following facts: the Spanish designate as “heretics” all persons who dissent from the See of Rome in regard to any interpretation of Holy Writ or any accepted religious rite, and as “rebels” all persons whatsoever not of the opinion that princes should invariably and without exception be obeyed; and at the same time, rejecting every argument in favour of conciliation or clemency, they openly declare that there is no fellowship of good faitha to be observed with heretics or rebels.
King Philip not only failed to defend the peoples commended to his care and refrained from punishing the authors of such injuries in accordance with their deserts, after they returned to Spain, but even rewarded the latter with honours while exerting all the strength at his disposal to crush the former, so that no one could doubt (nor did he himself dissemble the fact) that the war against the Dutch was being waged at his command, under his auspices, and at his expense, wherefore it was evident that he sought to obtain by force of arms a power greater than was legitimate. In view of all these circumstances, that last weapon of downtrodden liberty, expressly provided by the laws of the Low Countries for the purpose of escape from domestic snares, was finally and of necessity put to use.In the year 1581 Thus Philip the Second was deprived of his princely power over the countries in question, by a decree of the States-General representative of the more powerful part of that region and comprising peoples excelled by none in their unswerving obedience to princes throughout the whole period during which it was possible for them to preserve that attitude, or in other words, for many centuries past. This was the beginning of the movement in which oaths were taken in support of the sovereignty of the States-General as against Philip.
In consequence of the fact that the latter not only pursued his warlike course far more vehemently and bitterly than ever, but also sent hired assassins (mingled with the armed forces of the state) against the champions of the laws, the defensive struggle undertaken against him has been carried forward into present times, owing to a justifiable fear of a false peace, against Philip the Third, King of the Spanish realms as son and successor of Philip the Second, and also against Isabella, sister of the present Spanish king, together with her husband, Albert of Austria (for power over the Low Countries was transferred to these two, apparently through a solemn pledge), as well as against all those who are partisans either of Philip or of Isabella and Albert.
Article IIThroughout this war, the singularly humane qualities of the Dutch, like their extraordinary fortitude, have been apparent at all times. For, with the most long-suffering patience, they have been content to ward off the violence directed against their very existence and to restore an equal degree of freedom to neighbouring cities, without undertaking any graver action against the enemy. They have also been exceedingly scrupulous in the observance of all war-time commercial rights (if this is an acceptable term) that can exist without endangering the state. Moreover, if at times the implacable ferocity of the enemy compelled the Dutch themselves to be rather severe, in defiance of their natural inclinations, they nevertheless showed themselves ready to make concessions equal to or even surpassing those made by the enemy. The latter, indeed, have invariably set an example of perfidy and cruelty; the Dutch, an example of clemency and good faith.
To mention one particular point among others, everyone knows that the situation of the Dutch coast and the assiduity of the natives are such that merchandise is very conveniently transported from all parts of the said coast to all other localities whatsoever, since a natural bent (so to speak) for maritime enterprise characterizes our people, who regard it as the most agreeable of all occupations to aid humanity, while finding a ready means of self-support, through an international exchange of benefits from which no one suffers loss. Not even wars, though they have been waged spiritedly enough in other respects, have destroyed this notably peaceable characteristic. Up to the present time, the conduct of business has evidently been the most important consideration for the Dutch; armed force has been employed only to the extent demanded by necessity. Moreover, pursuing a course similar to that followed in earlier times (so we read)a by Timotheus of Athens when he was waging war against the Samians, the Dutch have aided with their supplies not only those persons who were numbered among their adversaries in the Low Countries, but also the very authors of the war, the Spaniards, in their own land of Spain, a practice which was advantageous to our merchants and which at the same time served as a means of saving the Spaniards, on various occasions, from grievous famine. For there is no prohibition against conducting armed conflicts in such a way that certain humane obligations are respected, in accordance with the examples set also in an earlier age by the Corinthians and by the inhabitants of Megara.[73′] Thus Spanish writers,b too, have stated that business transactions may be carried on even with enemies, that is to say, on the basis of a compact or a tacit agreement.
Article III In the year 1580Shortly before the proclamation that deprived Philip the Second of his sovereignty over the Low Countries, he was made King of Lusitania, otherwise known as Portugal. By what right, or on what unjust grounds, this was done is a question of no importance to us; for, once he had been allowed to ascend the throne, the whole Portuguese state acknowledged him as its ruler, just as it now also acknowledges the sovereignty of his son Philip and renders to the latter the honour, tribute, and obedience customarily rendered to kings. From that time forth, the Portuguese began to adopt toward the Dutch the attitude already taken by the Castilians, Leonese, Aragonese, and all other peoples of Spain, with whom they themselves had become incorporated. Accordingly, since war was being waged between the Dutch, on the one hand, and the King of Spain together with his subjects and all the allies of the Spaniards, on the other hand, it was impossible for the Dutch not to be at war against the Portuguese. This was inevitable, above all, because the taxes contributed by so rich a people had furnished considerable additional support for the war. But it was not merely the money of the Portuguese that was harmful to the Dutch.In the year 1588 That dread fleet [the Spanish Armada] which sailed out upon the ocean under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, threatening destruction not only to our own nation but also to our British allies, was made up for the most part of Portuguese ships and Portuguese sailors. Since it would have been unseemly for the Dutch to yield in any way to the enemy, they determined to avenge this affront by dispatching a hostile fleet to make a counter-attack upon Portugal and upon the regions subject to the Portuguese, either in conjunction with the British or independently. Among other measures indicative of this decision,In the year 1599 a fleet was sent out under the command of Pieter van der Does, which attacked the island of Santo Tomάs and the territory of Brazil in open warfare.
Thus the Portuguese conducted themselves as enemies, on the one side, and on the other, the Dutch did likewise; but it still remains for us to ascertain which belligerent has been superior in good faith and humane conduct.
Article IVCertainly the point made just above—namely, that commerce is not necessarily abolished between enemies—could not be based in any case upon grounds more just than those existing in regard to these peoples, whose chief interests on both sides depend upon [commercial] sailing expeditions, and between whom the practice of commerce had long served as a bond. Let us pause, then, to compare the services which each nation has rendered to the other.
The connexion between these nations is said to be very old. For we are told that the people of the Low Countries already enjoyed great maritime power at a time when a large part of Spain was still subject to the Moors;In the year 1150, approximately4 and that, in consequence of this fact, when certain [Flemish] Crusaders bound for Syria were driven to Iberian shores by a tempest, they attacked Lisbon (a royal stronghold of the Saracens) with their fleet, in compliance with the entreaties of the Portuguese, and handed over that city, after its capture, to Portugal. In recognition of this service, many privileges and immunities, dating back to ancient times, have been accorded to the Lowlanders in Portuguese territory.
For their own part, the rulers of the Low Countries, acting in accordance with a widely accepted custom whose purpose was the strengthening of commercial ties, extended their protection to all Portuguese merchants engaged in business with Lowlanders, in order that such merchants might by this authoritative patronage be rendered more secure from every injury.In the year 1577, on October 22. Given at Brussels When the situation at home grew unsettled, the States-General of the Low Countries provided documentary ratification of the arrangement in behalf of the Portuguese merchants, with the specific purpose of safeguarding the latter from the adverse treatment that might be accorded them under the pretext of war-time licence. Thus the Portuguese, with their wives, their children, and the other members of their household, were taken under the guardianship of the state, as were their domestic furnishings, merchandise, other possessions and all rights properly pertaining to them, regardless of whether or not they were present in person. For they were empowered to enter, depart from, or remain within the territory of the Low Countries, and to import or export their merchandise, by land or by sea. Orders were even given to all of the military commanders and soldiers, instructing them to safeguard the personal welfare and the goods of Portuguese dwelling in the said territory.In the year 1581, on June 19, at Amsterdam Moreover, after the Lowlanders had repudiated the rule of Philip, and the Portuguese, on the other hand, had acknowledged his sovereignty, with the result that the two peoples became enemies, that same States-General (acting at the request of the Portuguese who were residing or doing business in the Low Countries, and moved by the consideration that it was to the interest of the natives that commerce should be cherished in security rather than impeded by war), nevertheless confirmed its earlier rescript and exempted the Portuguese from the laws of war to the extent indicated in the following provision: that all Portuguese who might wish to do so, should without danger to life or property enjoy safe passage to and fro, residence, and the practice of commerce, among the people of the Low Countries.In the year 1588, on February 11, at The Hague Yet again, when the Portuguese, influenced by their consciousness of the wrongs that their own people were inflicting upon the Dutch, once more grew mistrustful of the rescripts already issued, further confirmation of these orders was obtained, not only by the Portuguese who were living in the Low Countries, but also by those in residence elsewhere. This confirmation was of such a nature that the Portuguese were enabled to carry on trade with the Lowlanders, subject to the authority of the States-General, in safety and even from within Portugal itself, with licence to pass to and fro. The privileges thus granted were to be enjoyed until an interdiction should be issued and for four months following the date of the interdiction.In the year 1592, on July 30, at The Hague Next, a more liberal interpretation resulted in the inclusion under the rescripts even of those Portuguese who had established a permanent abode in[74′] Antwerp or in some other city of the Low Countries held by the enemy, although such individuals were included subject to the stipulation that persons coming from the said cities into the territory of the States-General for commercial purposes, and similarly those who, in their turn, were conveying merchandise out of this territory into that of the enemy, would be obliged to obtain special permission for transit. In a still later rescript,In the year 1600, on October 2, at The Hague it was also expressly stated that merchandise could be transported to the Dutch from Brazil. By these measures, provision was made for all Portuguese who wished access to the Dutch from any region whatsoever.
Article VQuite reasonably and in accordance with their rightful due, so to speak, the Dutch hoped to receive from the Portuguese treatment similar to that accorded the latter by the Dutch themselves, especially in view of the fact that the earliest trial voyages to Portugal had implanted in the voyagers a confident expectation of the same equitable conduct.In 1582 and in following years No one supposed that Philip as ruler of the Portuguese would obstruct the activities of the Dutch any more than, as the enemy of the Dutch, he had obstructed the activities of the Portuguese. While a trustful sense of security was thus attracting a vast number of ships, and while men who had several times been kindly received were not warned away by any recently issued interdiction, nevertheless—in scornful disregard for that consciousness of past benefactions which not even public enmity destroys among men of moderate virtue, as well as for the sacred obligations attached to a tacit covenant—when the abundance of merchandise accumulated was adjudged sufficient to make despoliation worth while, every one of those ships (the property of entirely unsuspecting persons) was seized, in all Iberian ports and particularly in those of Portugal. Subsequently, the Dutch were compelled to pay the highest conceivable prices in order to redeem the vessels seized.
In view of such costly losses, absolutely ruinous to many of the most firmly established houses, what course could be followed by a populous nation accustomed to supporting itself solely through commercial exchange, other than an attempt to repair those losses by new profits from trade? After a little while, spurred on afresh by the long-suffering disposition already noted and by the hope of recompense, as well as by their confident reliance upon their own recent kindnesses to the Portuguese, the Dutch fell into the old trap. Time after time this pattern of events recurred, owing to the perfidy of the one nation and the candour of the other. Eventually, the Portuguese added new brilliance to their successes by adopting the method of setting snares and committing robberies in alternate years.
Even when the Dutch state had been completely drained of resources in this manner (for there was hardly anyone who did not impute our impoverishment to these acts of violence more than to all the losses suffered through shipwreck), Iberian greed and cruelty remained unsatisfied.In the year 1598 For, after a long series of deeds of despoliation, when Philip the Third had finally succeeded to the throne and an incredible multitude of persons was being drawn anew to the practice of commerce, when a public promise of free transit had been received from the Archduke Albert and had not yet been revoked (or, in any case, had been revoked too late for notification of the change in intention to be given to the men already approaching by sea), suddenly, by a barbarous edict quite worthy of Mithridates, ships and merchandise were confiscated, the accounts of all agents were examined, and the men themselves (so grave is the crime of extending either kindly services or trust to Spaniards!) were imprisoned and dragged off to punishment, many thousands of them being delivered to the galleys. Indeed, even now Dutchmen would be held on Spanish ships, bound with the same fetters as assassins and robbers, Christians amid Turks and Moors, merchants themselves amid pirates, if that day—so auspicious for the cause of liberty!—which witnessed the battle of Nieuwpoort, had not delivered into our hands Francisco Mendoza, the Aragonese admiral, who was at the time in command of the war. For our citizens, redeemed in exchange for this hostage, returned to the shores of their countrymen, their strength wasted by starvation, chains, and lashes. Some have been released from a miserable servitude by the recent capture of Sluis and of Spinola’s ships. For who has not seen that pitiable throng, either when its members were thanking the most honourable States-General for the great kindness that enabled the exhausted victims of so many ills to breathe their last in their own native land rather than under the cruel hands of torturers, or else[75′] when they were pleading, each with his own kinsmen and others bound to him by family ties, that such a crime should under no circumstances be left unavenged? And who has not been affected in some degree by this misery and by these losses? Who does not suffer, in consequence of this barbarous episode, some deprivation either of possessions or of friends? The loss could be estimated accurately at many millions, were it not for the fact that such an estimate would be too low to cover the torture, punishments, and mortal anguish inflicted upon the bodies of free men, injuries which transcend all reckoning.
Article VISome persons will assume that the Portuguese at least conduct themselves less savagely in the colonies and on the islands scattered far and wide among their possessions. For in their native land the commands of a ruler who is close at hand, and the wanton caprice of the magistrates, are perhaps influential factors. But even so, how can a people be guiltless that looks on at and allows such deeds? And whom may we justly punish, if an excuse of this kind is acceptable? To be sure, in foreign parts (that is to say, in regions where one may act with comparative safety), inborn character not totally devoid of humane qualities will manifest itself, giving rise to mutual courtesies and, in short, causing us to do as we would be done by, whenever possible. [In so far as the Portuguese are concerned, however, negative] testimony on this point will be furnished by all Dutchmen who have approached the shores of Portuguese colonies either because they were borne there by violent tempests, or because they sought to do business with the Portuguese in their ignorance of the exceedingly savage conduct characteristic of the latter. For men do not readily believe in the existence of practices which they themselves are incapable of following. I shall mention only a few recent instances of this kind.[75′ a]
In the year 1598On the Ilha do Príncipe, when several of the chief personages from the fleet of Olivier [Van Noort] of Rotterdam (a fleet which has circumnavigated the globe four times) had been sent ashore and were being received with a display of flags of truce on both sides, the Portuguese, after striving unsuccessfully to entice a larger number to the shore, slew three of the men immediately, pursued the others as they fled to the sea, and killed two of these by shooting at the skiff. In the course of the same voyage and in the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro (in Brazil), two men who had been instructed to land were spirited away by means of an ambush which the Portuguese had prepared in advance. Moreover, cannon shots were fired at the ships, severing the ropes and also resulting in the death of one man. At the Doce River, indeed, the Dutch were prevented from even approaching the shore or making use of the fresh water.In the year 1599 Nor did a happier fate await those persons who, having set forth under the command of Laurent Becker, fell into Portuguese hands (more to be dreaded than the very rocks that rose on either side), after long tossing on the open sea. For their ship was finally driven into the harbour known as All-Saints’ Bay, and was confiscated as prize together with its cargo of merchandise, while the men were thrown into chains, a disaster all the more terrifying in view of the fact that several Frenchmen were said to have been hanged on the gallows, four years previously, at that very spot.In the year 1601 Neither do the diaries of Van Spielbergen indicate that any gentler treatment at the hands of the Portuguese and their emissaries is to be expected by persons landing, through whatsoever chance, on a certain part[75′] of the African coast. I shall refrain, however, from repeating here the account of these events [in Africa] which are described already in each man’s records, inasmuch as I must resume the discussion of matters particularly pertinent to our own subject.
Article VIINo one is ignorant of the fact that, just as the Castilians claim the greater part of America for themselves, so the Portuguese maintain that the commerce of the Ethiopian, Indian, and Brazilian oceans is peculiarly their own, and that all other persons should be excluded from any share therein. Although in addition to the British, both the French and the Italians, as well as all the peoples most closely connected with these nations, had refrained from making any concession to the Portuguese on this point, the Dutch (who are their enemies and who possess, moreover, tremendous maritime power) did not oppose the claim. To be sure, the injustice of the Portuguese demands was no less evident to the Dutch than to others; but our gentle disposition, which was always concerned with the question of how much we must necessarily do in warfare rather than with how much we might permissibly do, was influenced to a considerable extent, even in favour of our enemies, by memories of the early principate here and of the former fellowship in Portugal. Accordingly, as long as our people were able to derive support from the commerce with Iberian countries, even though this commerce had been attended by grave injuries, we felt that on the whole endurance of such injuries was the course to be followed before, and in preference to, venturing upon some other course that seemed likely to render more difficult the eventual conduct of negotiations for peace.
During ten years and more, this policy of patience was observed. After that period, indeed, when it became apparent that the enemy had entered upon a systematic attempt to subjugate through hunger and want the nation which it had been unable to subjugate by armed force—that is to say, when the Iberian trade that had hitherto constituted our people’s principal means of subsistence was cut off—we ourselves gradually began to turn our attention to lengthy voyages, and to distant nations which were known to the Portuguese but not subject to them. In adopting this course of action, however, the Dutch displayed so proper a blend of modesty and goodwill that, to any person examining each of their actions, one by one, it would be sufficiently evident that every step had been determined solely by regard for necessity.
In so far as the Dutch were concerned, meetings upon land and sea were amicable; and the Portuguese were even granted admittance to our ships and banquets. It pleased us to commit none of those acts which are held to be permissible among enemies: colonies were not attacked, ships were not set on fire, and the Portuguese were not even forbidden to come to the same marts of trade. But they were in no sense appeased either by the consideration that necessity was the cause of our voyages, or by the exceedingly peaceful manner in which we conducted our[76′] business. For our chief crime lay in the fact that, instead of being crushed by want, we vied with the Portuguese in seeking those benefits to which nature has given all men free access. Yet, under this sole pretext, the Portuguese madness (for no other term will describe their attitude) flamed out with incredible force against the Dutch, whose inoffensiveness was such that, content to act only in self-defence, they could scarcely be impelled by the most shameful crimes to exact vengeance. This assertion will be borne out by the following account of events, which is admittedly incomplete since it embraces only the principal facts, from which the rest are to be inferred.
In the year 1594The Dutch, with Bernard of Medemblik as their guide, first undertook to approach that part of Ethiopia, bordering upon the ocean, which we call Guinea. The Portuguese, unwilling to rely upon their own unaided savagery, then persuaded the Africans (who shortly afterwards made a full confession) that robbers had arrived who would carry off the natives into captivity under the pretext of trading. Nor was it by words alone that the Portuguese created a spirit of hostility. They also offered a reward (for the African peoples, too, are open to corruption by this means) amounting to as much as a hundred florins for every person who had slain a Dutchman. Moreover, they taught the natives the trick of adulterating gold, which is a product sought from that locality. Again, when a voyage was made to Cape Corso in the same region, under the leadership of Simon Taye, and a report was circulated to the effect that the local chieftain had come to inspect the ship, the Portuguese bribed other persons to surround and slay certain Dutchmen who had sailed away some distance in a light boat; and this project was carried out. A similar misfortune befell a group of men from Delft who had come to that coast, when an African trader named Votiaeo [?],5 who enjoyed considerable influence among the Dutch because of frequent commercial dealings with them, was bought over to betray them. Some members of the group were slain; and some were taken as captives to the Portuguese citadel of São Jorge da Mina, a fate rather worse than death, so grievous is the menace of rackings and torments implicit therein. For it is a well-known fact that a Frenchman who had been brought to that same place and subsequently caught in the act of escaping, was placed inside a bronze cannon to be catapulted from it, so that the Portuguese might not fail to imitate Phalaris even in the very instrument of cruelty employed!6
In the year 1599It also happened at a considerably later date that a small Dutch vessel, betrayed by the winds at a point not far from the same citadel, was unexpectedly attacked and seized by the Portuguese. After the Dutchmen, taken by suprise, had leaped into the sea, they were dragged along by means of ropes, although they had been pierced through and through with darts and were already dead; and furthermore, in order that the governor of the citadel might be convinced that this fine deed had really been perpetrated, the heads of some victims were impaled upon stakes, while other heads were given to the barbarians serving as privileged soldiers7 of the Portuguese, in the hope that these barbaric warriors might thereby be rendered more ferocious in spirit. It is said that they cooked the heads over a fire to draw out the juices, and that they used the skulls for drinking vessels.
But hired hatred did not long avail against the candour of the Dutch; nor did the snares prepared for them avail for long against their foresight. Unwearied by the struggle amid so many perils, even to-day they frequent that coast, bringing no accusation against the Portuguese save by the example of their own good faith.
Nevertheless, to whatsoever land we turn our eyes, in all regions we behold this same savagery on the part of the Portuguese; for a trait that far exceeds the bounds customarily observed between enemies,[77′] does not deserve to be called “enmity.” It is clear from the logs kept by the men who made the voyages, that many experiences of the kind just described befell the Dutch in Brazil. We shall refrain from recounting all of those experiences, especially in view of the fact that events in the Orient (that is to say, in the East Indies) will furnish us with a wealth of material for such narrations, of a nature particularly appropriate to our argument.
Article VIII In the year 1595Finally, the Dutch undertook to investigate the East Indian regions, a plan as unquestionably just as it was obviously advantageous. For what, pray, are we to think of that attitude which I shall no longer characterize as insane greed for gain, but as envy pure and simple: the fierce insistence that so vast a portion of the world (extending along an immense coastline even from the Arabian Gulf—or rather, if we also take into account other regions, from the Strait of Gibraltar—to the utmost limits of the north, and spreading out to include islands so numerous that no man can reckon them or tell their names), should be dedicated exclusively to promoting the wealth, not to say the luxury, of a single people, while lying in great part neglected and useless, although this same territory would suffice to keep many nations engaged in commerce and supplied with sustenance? What of the fact that, long before the present day, the Venetians carried on trade with the East Indian peoples? What of the fact that even now the Arabs on the one hand, and on the other, the Chinese, are competing for the same trade? Will the Portuguese still dare to refuse to others any share in that which they themselves do not and cannot possess in its entirety?
Another point, too, must be considered in this connexion. At the time in question many East Indian tribes were averse not only to trade with the Portuguese, but even to contact with them and to the very sight of that people. Indeed, the Portuguese are regarded in those regions not as merchants but as foreign robbers, destructive of human liberty and aflame no less with avarice than with lust for dominion, so that no one associates with them any more than is absolutely unavoidable. For when they first came to that part of the world, they established colonies and strongholds, and then (the natives having been insufficiently perceptive as to the ultimate objective of these enterprises), they reduced all nearby territories to a state of slavery. Presently, by participating in the civil wars of the East Indians, wars to a great extent instigated by the Portuguese themselves, the latter acquired a share in the victories; whereupon they turned the power that had been increased through these wiles against the very persons by whose aid they had been rendered victorious. In this manner, stationing their garrisons far and wide, and relying upon their maritime might, they taught the entire region to fear them.
But I prefer to have the reader draw information from the writings of Spaniards, rather than from my own words, regarding the instances of unparalleled treachery, the mangling of women and children belonging to the households of native potentates, the disturbance of [East Indian] kingdoms through the poisonous activities of the Portuguese and the abominable cruelty displayed toward both subject and allied peoples. For I desire testimony to the fact that my purpose in entering upon a discussion of this matter is not the abusive reviling of any nation, but the disclosure of crimes whose cause ought to be publicly revealed. By this means, moreover, I shall acquire the right to claim the indulgence customarily accorded to litigants, when it is held that they are not inflicting an injury in their refutation of testimony advanced against them by an adversary or by other witnesses.
Certainly a great many writers are of the opinion that a comparison of Spanish conduct in America with Portuguese conduct among the East Indians, will show the Spaniards to be much more notable for violence and the Portuguese for perfidy; that is to say, the latter are no less malicious than the former, but the Spaniards are endowed with greater courage and strength. This perfidy, then, was the cause of the hatred felt by the East Indians, and of the voyages undertaken by the Dutch.
From the time of those early voyages until the present day, no deed has been so impious and abominable that these exceedingly avaricious men have not attempted or even accomplished it, with the purpose of driving the Dutch away from the regions in question. For, in that quarter of the globe, the crimes of the Portuguese are more noxious than those committed elsewhere, owing to the fact that they knew themselves to be inferior there in strength and consequently donned the mask of peace and friendship, whereby they were enabled not only to enjoy greater security for themselves, but also to make unexpected attacks, with more severe effects, upon entirely inoffensive persons.
We shall touch briefly upon all of the most serious crimes, dividing them not so much chronologically (although the factor of time will also be taken into account) as according to kind, under certain specific[78′] heads. We maintain that the Portuguese, acting both as a nation and as individuals, defamed the Dutch with false charges and stirred up enmity against them, conduct which resulted in the most hideous disasters; that, in addition, they themselves slew many of our men in cruel and perfidious fashion; and that they also took the lead in resorting to war, both publicly and privately, attacking even the East Indian peoples and ravaging them with fire and sword, because the latter had engaged in negotiations with the Dutch. Furthermore, I solemnly declare that I will not record anything in this connexion that I myself have not found to be confirmed by the clearest testimony.
Part II, Article I.At first, then, as long as the East Indian tribes were unfamiliar with the character of the Dutch, and as long as the Dutch were unfamiliar with the language of the East Indians, it was assumed, reasonably enough, that nothing would be easier than to block by malicious lies the approach of our people to the Orient. Although these calumnies were very far removed not merely from the truth but even from any resemblance to the truth, it had nevertheless been possible to find credence for them among ignorant peoples who were justifiably timid and distrustful after the advent of the Portuguese to those regions. For it would have been the simplest possible task to bring all Europeans alike into ill repute among men who had seen and endured so much wickedness. The Portuguese—telling their lies in comparative safety before experience intervened, so that they disseminated the report among all the native rulers and kingdoms—made a practice of declaring that pirates had come, whose home was the sea, whose trade was robbery, and who had no peaceful dwelling-place. By way of proof, they would point to the simple garb of the Dutch, whose every adornment consisted of arms or warlike engines. For the Portuguese, partly because foolish baubles are held in high esteem among barbarians and partly because they themselves are naturally vain, affect a luxurious style in dress and furnishings, whereas they take a rather indifferent attitude toward arms, as toward something uncouth.
When their calumnies were refuted by the first actual arrival of the Dutch, other lies began to circulate; that is to say, reports that the new-comers were Englishmen, treacherous and thieving persons, of a character as evil as any nurtured upon the earth. Moreover, with the purpose of aggravating the ill will felt by the East Indians and mindful of the fact that many of the coast-dwellers subject to Arabian rulers had joined the ranks of the Mohammedans, the Portuguese attributed to a band of men who were in fact entirely dissimilar from the Chinese, such traits of the latter as are most displeasing to the East Indians [of Mohammedan faith]. For it was charged that the Dutch were a people who revered no sacrosanct authority, being bound neither by religion nor by law, and that they squandered their ill-gotten wealth in a manner by no means less evil than the manner of its acquisition, since they wasted their resources in drunkenness, a vice regarded in those parts as no trifling disgrace. Another charge, odious even to the East Indians and unheard of among the Dutch, was that of perverted lust. In support of this accusation, attention was called to the fact that the Dutch were not accompanied by a train of women, as was customary with the Portuguese, whence it was inferred that the Dutch among themselves regarded nothing as illicit.
After these slanderous statements had also been disproved by direct contact with our men, another accusation was hurled against them, namely, that the country of their origin possessed a very powerful fleet, and that the object underlying their pretended interest in trade was nothing more nor less than the expulsion of the natives (once the territory had been explored) and the establishment of their own sovereignty. It was asserted that the native rulers and peoples would shortly perceive the truth of this charge, unless they appealed in time for an alliance with the Portuguese.
The facts above set forth were revealed in part by documents that were intercepted or voluntarily shown; in part, by the testimony of the nations and rulers who had been deceived.
First Episode in the year 1596Such was the course that was being pursued by three Portuguese—Francisco de Marez, Batalha, and Pessoa—at the courts of the Rajah of Demak (the sovereign ruler of Java, according to the Portuguese) and of the King of Damma, at the time when the Dutch first came to that region with a fleet of four ships commanded by as many captains. A similar method was being followed even among the inhabitants of Bantam, who were the first of all those peoples to conclude contracts with the Dutch. For in that vicinity, the Portuguese caught at every breath of suspicion. If the exhaustion consequent upon a long voyage, and a climate to which the Dutch were unaccustomed, had thinned the ranks of the sailors, the Portuguese would report that the missing men had been lost in battle while engaged in piracy at sea; or, if purchasing was deferred for seasonal reasons, they declared that even in such circumstances there could be no doubt but that the Dutch had come to plunder and were lying in wait for a favourable opportunity. With this same hope of creating suspicion, Portuguese representatives were sent to all of the Javanese ports—Pessoa to Sidajoe and to Tuban, Batalha to Panaroekan, and others to Japara, Jacatra, and Tandjong-Java—for the purpose of[79′] bringing the Dutch into disrepute and purchasing hostility toward them. Moreover, not content with this one-sided deception, while they were retailing these stories about the Dutch to the Javanese, the Portuguese were also engaged in an unceasing attempt to frighten away the Dutch themselves from commercial undertakings (for access to our men was readily obtainable, and the Portuguese were even received at Dutch banquets) by expatiating upon the treacherous nature of the Javanese peoples.
Second Episode In the year 1599The merchants held back until reports should have been made regarding the initial ventures; but after the return of the first voyagers from Java, the Dutch began to go to Taprobane (an island famous in very ancient times, which is now called Sumatra),8 in ships commanded by Cornelis Houtman and dispatched under the auspices of a company established in Zeeland. In the region of Sumatra, Affonso Vicente, a Portuguese, was whispering to the King of Achin lies similar to those already fabricated for the Javanese.
Third Episode In the same yearAt the same time, the first voyage of Jacob Van Neck to the Moluccas took place. Nor did the governing authorities of Amboyna (the prefect and other principal personages) conceal the fact that the Portuguese had spread abroad identical lies in that locality. It was during this period, too, that the Portuguese were troubling the mind of the King of Ternate with calumnies of the same sort. The inhabitants of the Island of Great Banda were also being incited, by means of similar accusations, to drive out those Dutchmen who had remained after the departure of the ships. Indeed, this evil practice spread so far in its stealthy course that it reached and inflamed even the people of Borneo, a fact revealed by the report of the men who accompanied Olivier [Van Noort].
Neither were the Portuguese content to lie only once; on the contrary, resort was continually had to the same wiles.Fourth Episode In the year 1600 For it became evident to the Dutchmen who subsequently remained behind at Achin, in Sumatra, by order of Admiral Wilkens, that the great courtesy and the friendship of the King had been converted by these insulting calumnies into contempt and hatred, so that they found themselves not merely cut off from trade but also in peril of losing their very lives.
Fifth Episode In the same yearShortly afterwards, when Achin was visited by ships under the command of Pieter Both (an emissary of the later Dutch company), the same stratagems were employed anew at the same Court; that is to say, a Franciscan monk was sent as a so-called legate, together with a captain named Rodrigo da Costa Motamorio, to Malacca, which is a Portuguese colony situated on the mainland opposite Sumatra.
Sixth Episode In the year 1601Again, letters written to the King of Ternate in the Malaccan language on the occasion of Van Neck’s second trip, as well as the instructions given to the messenger and translated by an interpreter, contained similar accusations. Nevertheless, the King—though stricken with sudden fear and looking about, so to speak, for lurking plotters against his realm—was finally and with difficulty placated by entreaties, and dissuaded from handing over the Dutch in their innocence to the ferocity of their enemies.
Among the Chinese, too, what unrestrained and numerous attempts were made, in order to induce that people to turn against the Dutch! But the Chinese, who as a race possess quite acute powers of judgement, even now prefer to rely upon those faculties rather than to believe the Portuguese.
Seventh Episode In the year 1602No less vainly, at the time of the arrival of Jacob Heemskerck, did the Portuguese strive at the courts of the Queen of Patani and the King of Johore (these are kingdoms on a portion of the mainland which now belongs to Siam but which, in the opinion of some authorities, was formerly part of the Golden Chersonese),9 to cast suspicion by means of their accusations upon the friendship of the Dutch, which those rulers had most eagerly embraced. The lies of the Portuguese had by now lost their force and had been sufficiently refuted by Time itself, whose daughter (as the ancients quite rightly declared) is Truth.
Moreover, in the light of these facts which by some fortunate chance resisted concealment, may we not assume the existence of any number of similar facts not yet made public?
Article IIAccordingly, no one should think it strange, in view of the added weight lent to these calumnies by bribery, that it was possible to stir up enemies and assassins against the Dutch from a multitude of persons who were deceived or even venal. By this means, the Portuguese succeeded not only in securing peace for themselves and hardships for our men, but also in producing everywhere and simultaneously a state of agitation based upon blind suspicion; so that the Dutch, as a result of the wickedness of a few individuals, sought to avoid whole peoples whom they had esteemed, and were on the point of giving up their East Indian trade permanently because of these difficulties.
First Episode In the year 1596Indeed, it will be worth our while to give a detailed account of the treachery and snares which the Portuguese were devising on the occasion of the first Dutch landing in Java, at the very time when they were openly professing friendly sentiments toward our people (thus committing the worst sort of injury), were frequently boarding our ships, where they met with a kind reception, and were extending invitations in turn to the Dutch.
The Rajah of Demak, whom I mentioned above, was the ruler of all Java; or, at least, he was proclaimed as its ruler by the Portuguese at that time. Nevertheless, it was reported that he had lost not only supremacy over his domain but also the greater part of his fortune, while waging war against certain petty kings who were withholding their[80′] allegiance. Poverty in a man of noble rank is a fertile source of audacity. Accordingly, the Rajah had provided himself, in compensation for all his losses, with these two things alone: extraordinary skill in the use of arms, in the highest degree possible to a man of that race; and (what is now regarded in that region as the last refuge of desperation) an alliance with the Portuguese, who were then honouring him with the title of Emperor. After bribing him to work for the destruction of the Dutch, the Portuguese had brought him to Bantam, where at the time in question some of our vessels lay. Moreover, they had plotted that the officers of those vessels should be invited to a banquet, so that the Rajah, under pretext of escorting the officers on their way back, might make a sudden attack upon the ships. The chief magistrate, or Regent, of Bantam (for he governs that kingdom in the name of a ward who is his kinsman), whose aid in this undertaking had been requested by the Portuguese, revealed the plot, first of all through a messenger and later in person, to envoys sent from the ships. Nor did the event belie his warnings.
Our men were invited to the entertainment. They excused themselves from attendance. A certain Portuguese named Pedro de Tayde, bound to the Dutch by the ties of honourable and intimate friendship, had withheld his assent from so villainous a deed; and therefore the others, fearing that the stratagem might be divulged through him, sent five of their number to butcher him while he lay unsuspecting at home and in bed. Their wicked plan was not frustrated.
In the meantime, seeing that the plot against the Dutch had failed, they urged the Rajah of Demak to maintain a ready force at his disposal and to fit out a fleet at the town of Jacatra; but the entire outline of this plot, too, was reported through an assistant of the slain de Tayde. This assistant was forcibly seized in Bantam by the Portuguese and cruelly tortured, because he had aided our cause.
The Portuguese were becoming convinced that they would accomplish nothing as long as the Regent of Bantam favoured us, and therefore they approached him with guile and with gifts. Nor was he averse to profit of any sort, an attitude strengthened especially by the hope of acquiring spoils from the Dutch and a reward from the Portuguese through one and the same act.
In the first place, he persuasively solicited Dutch merchandise, carried it off for himself, and postponed until some future time his part in the process of exchange. While the Dutch were hesitating after being commanded to deliver more goods, the Regent summoned to his presence three ship’s captains—Houtman, Willem Lodewycksz, and Gilles Valckenier—together with ten other men, and suddenly ordered them to be bound with chains. Not even then did he make a secret of the fact that these things were being done at the request of the Portuguese, who pretended to be afraid that we might intercept their ship in the harbour when she sought to depart. Under this pretext, the Portuguese had entreated that the men above mentioned be detained as hostages, although the Regent also intimated to the captives that the former, by paying a bribe of four thousand reaes, were striving to influence him so that they might get those captives into their own hands. Meanwhile, fear of the most horrible torments was daily instilled into the poor wretches. At this very time, however, it so happened that the Javanese, at the instigation of the Portuguese, approached to attack certain light boats and skiffs belonging to the Dutch which had sailed out rather far; and when our men bravely repelled their assailants, the Regent of Bantam, warned by this achievement that the good qualities of such men were not to be despised, undertook to negotiate peace with them. Although the conditions imposed in this connexion were very unjust and involved payment of a ransom of two thousand reaes for captives taken without even any shadow of a lawful pretext, they were nevertheless accepted.
But wherever the state of affairs began to improve for us, the Portuguese on that very account increased the rewards offered for treachery. An envoy came from Malacca, bringing to the Regent and other chief personages of Bantam numerous gifts, among which were included six thousand reaes intended to purchase the slaughter of the Dutch. A reversal of sentiment immediately resulted: trade with our people was suspended; even the Chinese merchants dwelling in Bantam were forbidden to sell anything to the Hollanders. These signs of enmity were in themselves unmistakable; and at the same time, it was reported by the host of the Dutch in Bantam as well as by other friends that the lives of all our leaders had been sold to the Portuguese. Consequently, when the Regent of Bantam asked the chief men from the ships to visit him, with the pretended purpose of instructing them personally in regard to commercial regulations, not one of them complied with his request. As a result, dissension arose between the Portuguese and the people of Bantam, since the Portuguese demanded the return of the donations[81′] made for a purpose that had not been executed, whereas the Bantamese would not renounce what they had received, regardless of the reasons for which it had been given. Accordingly, a new and different agreement was made, to the following effect: the Regent was to seize the Dutch ships forcibly, with the aid of the Portuguese, and these ships together with their cargoes of merchandise would be allotted to him, while the men would be handed over to the Portuguese; or, in the event that the ships should be destroyed, the Regent would receive, in addition to the six thousand reaes paid in advance, an additional two thousand by way of compensation.
As chance would have it, while these conferences concerning the lives of the Dutch were being held, the latter were in the process of withdrawing to another locality (not far from Bantam, to be sure), owing to their need of fresh water; and lo! there came a messenger from their host, reporting that a fleet was being made ready against their ships. Indeed, the Dutch themselves, prior to their departure, had witnessed certain preparations for the construction of such a fleet.10 Not only was danger thus averted through a stroke of good fortune, but the affair also gave rise to renewed dissension between the Portuguese and the Regent, who was of the opinion that the terms of their agreement did not make it obligatory for him to follow in pursuit of the Dutch after their withdrawal.
When the Hollanders had reached a point near Jacatra, the Portuguese secretly incited Toemenggoeng (a man of Bantam and their close friend) to entice some of the sailors to a place called Tandjong-Java, quite close to Jacatra, under pretence of an intention to sell them provisions; but Chinese merchants had forewarned our men that there were Portuguese stationed in that locality for the purpose of capturing or slaughtering the sailors. Toemenggoeng himself admitted the truth of this accusation when the Dutch, returning on a second voyage, found the Javanese hostile to the Portuguese and more friendly toward our own people. He excused the attempt, however, on the basis of those earlier disorders.
At Sidajoe, the most atrocious plots were fabricated under the direction of Francisco Pessoa, in the following manner. When the ships had arrived at that point and plans had been drawn up in collaboration with the Shabandar of Sidajoe (the title given to the chief local magistrate),11 Rasalala [the Rajah of Lalang?]12 —a Portuguese by origin, born in Aveiro, but an apostate from the Christian faith and by no means unrenowned as the leader of the pirates in those regions—issued a report to the effect that spices were ready for purposes of trade and that the King of Sidajoe was disposed to be friendly. The men who were sent to investigate the situation brought back the same account, since the evidence confirmed Rasalala’s statement. It was also reported that the King greatly desired to inspect the ships that had sailed to his shores over so vast an expanse of sea. This, too, was a most welcome announcement. Everything was decked out in a manner befitting both the delight felt by the Dutch and the majesty of the King. Sixty proas (that is to say, ships of a special kind) made their appearance, each of them bearing at least sixty men, a spectacle which the Dutch at the moment regarded as a display of royal pomp although, as the outcome proved, it was really a hostile army. Rasalala was sent ahead to ascertain whether or not our men had detected any hint of hostility, and found that everything was as he wished. He was invited to remain, but refused to do so. Hardly had Rasalala departed, when the Shabandar of Sidajoe boarded one of the ships: the Amsterdam by name. As the ship’s captain, Reinier Verhell, extended his right hand in welcome, the Shabandar, under cover of a pretended salute (for Egypt is not alone in nourishing Septimii) thrust his dagger into the captain; and at the same time the other conspirators privy to the crime, butchered the unsuspecting and incautious men upon the decks of the ship. Among the slain were Jan Schellinger (a sailor), Gilles Valckenier and nine others, aside from those who were merely wounded because the blows were badly aimed. The ship would have been captured, too, but for the fact that thirteen men (the majority of them only recently recovered from illness) had blocked the way into the lower parts of the vessel and, discharging the artillery, had caused wounds and panic whereby both those assailants who held the upper decks and those who were surrounding the ship’s sides were driven into the sea. This, for the time being, saved the situation; and the Portuguese heaped futile reproaches upon the imprudence of the untutored natives whose excessive haste had brought to naught the plans so cunningly laid. Nevertheless, the losses suffered by the Dutch had been so severe that lack of manpower compelled the sailors to abandon the ship, leaving it defenceless.
Second Episode In the year 1599, on September 11Let us turn now from the Hollanders to the Zeelanders, and from Java to Sumatra, where two ships commanded by the aforementioned Houtman came to port.
The notorious Affonso Vicente, a man whose cunning was[82′] outstandingly malignant even among the Portuguese, was present at the court of Achin. Vicente, as well as certain other Portuguese, gradually insinuated himself into a position of intimacy with Houtman and with Houtman’s companions; for he made a show before them of enjoying great favour with the King and of being in a position to promote their interests among the people of Achin by his services as a friendly go-between. So zealously did he simulate this helpful attitude that on several occasions he conducted the Zeelanders to the palace, and even imparted information to them regarding certain plans entertained by the King, presenting it as secret knowledge which he had nevertheless been able to acquire from important personages who had been bribed. In the meantime, he stirred up the merchants who were residing in that region by suggesting, forsooth, that their business was being ruined as a result of the newly increased number of bidders! Vicente also excited the Shabandar Abdullah, the royal scribe Corco, and the King himself by calling attention to the fine ships and the prize so easily to be obtained. He had even devised the following pretext [for seizure of the prize]: the Dutch had decided to seek out the markets of Johore if the prices asked for merchandise [in Sumatra] should prove excessive; but a bitter and violent war was being waged at that time between the King of Johore and the people of Achin; and therefore (so Vicente urged), the ships should be seized before they could serve the enemy’s cause. When both avarice and hatred had thus been set aflame, a piece of trickery was arranged.
A small quantity of pepper was delivered to the Zeelanders, and the hope was held out that larger quantities would be provided from day to day. Having asserted that this supply was approaching on their ships of war, the Shabandar and Corco, accompanied by a huge body of men from Achin, and armed without exception, as was the custom among that people, boarded the Dutch vessels under a pretence of engaging in barter. They had brought food and drink mixed with a drug which induces insanity and which the natives call dutroa.13 When the sailors had gorged somewhat greedily on this drug, they suddenly began to run about the gangways and decks, tossing their heads like persons deprived of sense and even like madmen. This seemed to be the moment for carrying out the deeds that had recently been plotted. The Zeelanders, crazed and separated from one another, were slaughtered as if they were cattle. The affair was not a battle, but mere butchery. Overcome simultaneously by dizziness and by wounds, the men breathed their last amid faltering words. For they were surrounded on all sides, too, by the East Indian proas, which had been equipped with arms through Portuguese assistance. Finally, the capture was complete, save that a very few Zeelanders, not yet overcome by the fatal banquet, had held out in an attempt both to defend their ships and to lay the savage foe low in his own bloodstained tracks with their artillery. The first ship (known as the Lion) freed itself from its assailants, assisted in liberating the second ship (named the Lioness), which had almost been captured, and advanced in an attack that routed the hitherto victorious men of Achin. Thus the ships were saved. Nevertheless, the sides of the vessels were dripping with the blood of innocent men, and Houtman himself, stabbed by the hand of his guest, was staining the dining-saloon with his own blood. Moreover, the poison was so potent that some of the sailors lay prostrate in a stupor during the days that followed, while others were driven by madness to inflict wounds upon one another. Nor was any gentler treatment accorded to the Dutchmen who were within the city at that time and in the power of the people of Achin, for they were slaughtered under the direction of the King’s own son, who had been won over to the Portuguese by gifts and promises. No less than seventy men were lost.
Third Episode In the year 1600, in AprilShortly afterwards, the King of Tuban, menacingly equipped with fourteen junks (a kind of boat common in the Orient) and fully fifteen hundred men, bore down upon the members of Van Neck’s party (including Adriaan Veen) who had remained behind upon the island of Banda; for he had been bribed to deprive them of their arms or even put them to death. Nor is there any doubt that the party would have perished, if Divine Providence had not guided newly arrived Dutch vessels, the Luna and the Lucifer, to that very island at precisely the opportune time.
Fourth Episode In the same yearIn compliance with a command received from the above-mentioned ruler of Tuban and from the Portuguese, the aforesaid Rasalala, who had grown famous through his robberies, had gone to almost all of the Moluccas accompanied by soldiers from Tuban and by twenty Portuguese officers, with the purpose of driving the Dutch traders from the entire region. This was the report obtained from Sarcius Maluca and from the Regent of Bantam, by the men who had set out with Wilkens. Certainly that pirate sailed from those parts with approximately forty proas directly to Java, where (so he had been given to understand) the Dutch vessels had come into port; for he was bound by an oath to capture or destroy any such vessel [that he could find]. With this end in view, he was soliciting aid in the name of the King of Tuban from the Regent of Bantam himself. From Java, Rasalala went on to Jacatra, with the intention of seizing such opportunities as might be propitious for the setting of his snares.
Fifth Episode In the same yearStill more grave was the peril threatening those voyagers who had come to the Royal Court at Achin, accompanying Van Neck on his second trip. By taking a hasty departure, however, the men who had remained in Achin prevented the success of the deceitful Portuguese plot.
Sixth Episode In the year 1601, in JanuaryOf course, it would not have sufficed to dispatch foreigners against the Dutch without also seeking an assassin on board their own vessels! A ship from Both’s fleet, under the command of Van Caerden and De Vlamingh, lay at anchor off Achin; and in the same locality there[83′] was a Portuguese ship commanded by the aforementioned Rodrigo da Costa Motamorio. The gunner of the latter vessel, a man from Hamburg called Mattys Nieu, had discussed quite frequently with the captain of the watch and with Jan, the gunner of the Henry, as well as with the pilot and the under-pilot, a plan to slay the officers in command of the Dutch vessel (after admitting as members of the criminal conspiracy such persons as might be found suitable) and to take the ship itself to Malacca. Nieu promised that there would be a reward of not less than two thousand ducats for each man. But the good faith characteristic of the Dutch thwarted this treacherous undertaking.
Seventh Episode In the year 1602Again, while two ships—the Leyden and the Harlem by name—under the command of Van Groesbergen (an emissary of the second Dutch Company, who had set sail at the same time as Van Neck) lay anchored in the waters of Cochin China at Sinceon, that is to say, near the Polo-cambares River, the inhabitants of that region and their King himself set a trap for the Dutch vessels. This was done at the instigation of a Portuguese monk and because of his false accusations, as the King later confessed. The assailants seized and stabbed a score or more of Dutchmen, reduced twelve others to a state of illness and insanity with a beverage of poisoned arrack, and led six away into captivity. Moreover, the latter were not by any means men from the lowest class of sailors, and it was necessary to ransom them at the cost of two cannon and some merchandise.
Eighth Episode In the same yearYet again, upon the arrival in those parts, not long afterwards, of that Jacob Heemskerck to whose valour we owe the vengeance and the prize now under discussion, the King of Damma, a friend and ally of the Portuguese nation (as was evident from the outset), voluntarily offered the new-comer his services and an opportunity to trade in his kingdom, where a great quantity of rice is produced. He did so, however, in the hope of seizing the ships by a surprise attack. When this hope failed, the King detained as captives twenty men who had been sent on a commercial mission. Eight of them were ransomed. The others were not favoured even with this fate, but were set aside as creatures of little value, destined for use in the wars which were being waged at that time between the King of Damma and his neighbours. The latter group included the son of that Van der Does who was no less illustrious for learning than for noble lineage.
Article IIIBut the Portuguese were not satisfied with having caused hatred [of the Dutch among the natives]. For the fury characteristic of the Iberian peoples is not so phlegmatic that it will always await action by others, once the enemy has been sighted and the hope of doing injury has been conceived; and they are particularly disinclined to wait, in cases where confident expectation of success with impunity invites treachery and abominable deceit.
First Episode In the year 1596For example, when the Dutch first came to the islands of the Orient, the Portuguese urged Toemenggoeng of Bantam (through whose agency, at a later date, the snares at Tandjong-Java were laid) to invite the leaders of the expedition and the ship’s captains to dine at his villa, situated near the shore. Toemenggoeng himself afterwards revealed that the Portuguese planned to land at that very time from a ship lying near the same part of the coast, whereupon they meant to capture the guests and the host, release the latter immediately and carry the Dutch off to Malacca. He had refused to lend his assistance to the scheme, however, because he feared the Regent of Bantam. But the Portuguese—after corrupting the Regent himself (as we have already related), and after the seizure by Portuguese request of the captains Houtman and Valckenier together with some other men—became indignant because the Regent was mindful of his own profit rather than of their hatred. Consequently, they mixed poison with the food of both captives. The Shabandar of Bantam, when he perceived that the heads of the victims were swelling, that their abdomens were distended, and that they were at death’s door, averted their doom by means of a well-known curative concretion called “bezoar,” thus comporting himself more piously than those who boasted of being Christians. Cornelis Heemskerck, too, whom the captains had dispatched on a mission to the chief magistrate of the city, was sought and pursued everywhere by the Portuguese, with such fury that he was compelled to beg for refuge in the home of a Chinese named Lakmoy, where he hid among sacks filled with rice. When a search was made for him even there, he barely succeeded in escaping by disguising himself in Chinese attire and by allowing himself to be carried out, moreover, with the fishing equipment of his host, who pretended that he was taking a fishing trip.
Second Episode In the year 1600Similarly, when two vessels from the fleet of Van Neck were returning from the latter’s second voyage to the East Indies and had arrived at the island of Saint Helena, where four Portuguese ships were at that time assembled, the Dutch found it necessary to traverse quite a distance in search of water, and in doing so detected a fairly large number of armed Portuguese who had been stationed in ambush, doubtless for the purpose of intercepting our men as they approached.[84′]
Third Episode In the early part of the year 1601Again, what stronger proof of uncontrollable hatred could be offered, than the hostile acts repeatedly directed against the ships left by that same Van Neck at the island of Amboyna? For the Portuguese had publicly proclaimed that to every person who slew a Dutch seaman a reward of ten reaes would be given, and so on, with proportionately larger rewards for other victims according to their rank and dignity. Thus whoever should bring back the head of the commander of the expedition, Cornelis Heemskerck, would receive a thousand silver coins [or reaes?]. We know, of course, that bidding for heads is an Iberian custom.
But even these measures did not suffice. You shall learn now of a deed more infamous than any crime that was ever committed by the Carthaginians.Fourth Episode In the same yearForming part of the fleet commanded by Mahu, who was under orders to proceed to the Strait of Magellan, there was a ship called the Good Faith, a quality which that vessel was not destined to encounter. For, as she was sailing unaccompanied from the southern ocean to Tidor (which is one of the Moluccas and is included among the Portuguese colonies), the Portuguese approached her with the formal query: “Whence, whither and with what purpose do you come?” Balthasar de Cordes (who was acting as commanding officer because of the death of Jurriaen Boekholt) replied that the ship was bringing merchandise for purposes of barter. The Portuguese answered, in their turn, that they had cloves, and that some plan of exchange could easily be agreed upon if this should seem desirable. They voluntarily lent assistance to the Dutch sailors as the latter laboured to bring the ship closer to shore. Gifts were brought by the Dutch to the chief Portuguese officials. Trade agreements were formally concluded. De Cordes was told to come ashore with such sailors as were most readily available, in order to take back a gazelle that had been put aside to feed the Dutch; and in the meantime, other provisions were conveyed to the ship by the Portuguese, under the guise of gifts. These provisions, however, had been dipped in exceedingly swift poisons, undoubtedly as an additional precaution in view of the possibility that the bolder attempt which was under preparation at the same time might result in failure. The Dutch, menaced by two forms of death, were overtaken by the more evil fate; that is to say, they fell into the hands of the Portuguese. For the latter, admitted on board the ship because of the faith placed in the pacts, and bearing weapons which were concealed in their clothing, scattered in various directions so that they might seize each Dutchman individually, in the course of conversation. There-upon, they stabbed their hosts. Like victors in a battle, they took possession of the vessel (now bereft of defenders), together with all that it bore. Meanwhile, de Cordes had first been struck down in the skiff in which he chanced to be returning, and was then beheaded. The body was cast into the sea. A like fate befell the other men whom the Portuguese had summoned from the ship under pretence of inviting them to partake of an afternoon repast, except that the hosts, sated with slaughter, spared several guests out of regard for their extreme youth; or possibly these youths were spared because Divine Providence so willed, lest no witness be left to so monstrous a crime, although the perpetrators themselves, for that matter, were not ashamed to boast of the deed.
I know that the reader is astounded. I know it to be scarcely credible that a nation which is, in the first place, Christian, and which also prides itself not a little on its cultured customs and way of life, should have dared such deeds and dared them, too, in violation of its own pledged and accepted word. What, then, shall I say? In what terms shall I continue the narrative? Where can I find language that will be neither grossly inadequate to describe the vile facts, nor yet completely beyond the limits of credibility despite its perfect truth? For more—yes, even more!—remains to be told: something crueller and more characteristically Iberian. The incidents just related were merely a prelude to the Portuguese fury.
Six men, beholding the disaster that had overtaken their comrades and the blood that had been shed on land and sea, took flight in a small boat, not with any fixed hope (for the Portuguese were threatening their bark on every side), but because they resolved to make trial of the waves, of the rocks, of any other peril whatsoever, rather than of Iberian cruelty. The Portuguese, however, called out to these men that they should give themselves up, that the revenge was complete, that their lives and bodies would be safe. An oath was sworn; but an oath is for the Portuguese an instrument of deception as truly as it is for other men a bond of security. When the Dutchmen had been transferred to a small caracore (which is a kind of boat quite common in those regions), a Portuguese officer ordered that they should be drawn up in a row; then, addressing a subordinate who was holding an unsheathed sword in his hand, this officer said: “Cut off the right arm of the man who is first in line,” to which he added, “Now cut off his left arm.” The commands were obeyed, and in such a manner, indeed, that one might have doubted which was the more barbarous, the person issuing the orders or the person who obeyed them. Moreover, the officer next ordered that the victim’s feet[85′] should be severed with separate strokes. The other captives, whom the same torments awaited, were standing by, more eager at that moment for death than they had ever been for life. Yet, as these examples were set before them, one after another, their emotion changed from fear to a mutual compassion. The trunks could be seen surviving their own mutilation and—worst of ills!—deprived of human likeness. Nevertheless, the perpetrators of the deed were much further removed from every semblance of humanity! Lastly, the heads were cut off. Two of the captives, however, were so spirited that they leaped still unharmed into the sea before their turn came at the hands of the swordsman. One of these two was drowned; the other escaped, and bore witness to that most abominable spectacle. In the following year, moreover, all of the details were revealed, when Wolphert Harmensz14 captured several Portuguese and undertook negotiations for an exchange that would liberate the men left in Tidor as captives. Although he was not successful in this enterprise, the military equipment and the remainder of the spoils taken from the ill-fated ship were recognized on board a Portuguese vessel by the Dutch, and were recovered.
Fifth Episode In the same year, in SeptemberWe have yet to speak of another crime, committed at approximately the same time, but even more execrable in that the sacred cloak of law was flung about an impious act despite the fact that the deed in question was permissible neither on the basis of any just cause nor in virtue of either local or Portuguese law.
Macao is the market town of the Chinese territory extending toward the Indian Ocean. At the request of the Portuguese, a concession in Macao had been set apart for them, where they might carry on trade, and also administer justice for their own people exclusively. Even with respect to Portuguese subjects, however, this judicial authority15 is not unrestricted. For, in accordance with their own customs, punishments of the gravest degree may be imposed upon freeborn persons only by the Governor of Goa, unless (as frequently occurs) the accused are sent all the way back to Portugal.
The second fleet, placed under the command of Van Neck, had been driven close to that very shore by the winds. Van Neck decided that men should be sent to investigate the lay of the land and to give an explanation of the arrival of the Dutch, while procuring fresh provisions. In compliance with these instructions, Martinus Ape (who was discharging the duties of finance officer for the fleet) set forth with ten other men in a light boat and perceived, as he approached the land, that the usual tokens of peace were being displayed by the inhabitants. Trusting in this display, he advanced and was met by Dom Paulo, the chief official of the Portuguese in that locality, who was accompanied by an armed band which he had kept hidden till then in a monastery, or temple, situated upon the shore. After a few questions had been asked of the Dutch, they were hurried into the temple, where certain Mandarins (that is to say, Chinese senators) presented themselves with the purpose of ascertaining what manner of men had come to visit their land. Ape explained that the visitors were Dutch merchants and that they came to engage in trade, a claim which could be thoroughly verified by examining the ships themselves, laden with merchandise, if anyone wished to make such an examination. He added that these merchants brought letters from their Prince to the ruler of the Chinese. While he was making his explanation, the crowd of Portuguese that thronged about him was raising on all sides a clamour of abuse and slander, with the result that the Mandarins took their departure, although it is uncertain whether they did so only because of an insufficient understanding of the situation, or also because they had been corrupted by the gifts of the Portuguese. The latter pursued the investigation with the aid of torture. Nothing was discovered. All of the Dutchmen were dragged off together from the temple, placed under guard and bound with the heaviest of fetters. They were then cast into a hideously dark and filthy cave. In the meantime, Van Neck, doubtful and apprehensive as to what was delaying the return of his men, gave orders that a second and larger skiff should take soundings so that, once the depth of the waters had been ascertained, the ships might be brought nearer to the city. This skiff, however, was unable to cope satisfactorily with the winds, and all of the nine persons aboard it, including one of the pilots, were intercepted by the Portuguese. An inquisitor, called by the Portuguese an “auditor,” was in attendance. Recourse was had to the rack.
While these events were taking place, a rumour reached the neighbouring Chinese city of Canton, to the effect that, “foreigners sent ashore from their ships, had been seized by the Portuguese.” In consequence of this report, the chief magistrate of Canton, whose name was Capado, ordered that a large band of men should be sent out and that the captives should be brought before him. When the Portuguese found themselves caught in this predicament and dared not oppose the demands thus made, they resorted to fraud and to their usual wiles. From the whole throng of Dutchmen, they selected six men unacquainted with any language other than that of their native land, inasmuch as they were chosen from among the common sailors. As to the other captives (for now[86′] that the rumour had spread, it was impossible to conceal the fact that there were more), the Portuguese falsely asserted that all the rest had died of diarrhoea during the last few days. Now, when the six Dutchmen above mentioned, prostrate at the feet of the Cantonese envoy, were plied with numerous questions through an interpreter who spoke in Portuguese, they lay like men without tongues, owing to their ignorance of that language and perhaps also to fear. The envoy demanded an answer to the accusations of the Portuguese, who were charging these poor sailors with piratical savagery, and when the latter could make no response even to these charges, the Portuguese insisted that their silence should be regarded as a confession. It is quite likely that a bribe was also given for the purpose of persuading the delegation to return while the business was yet unfinished, so to speak, leaving the captives in the power of the Portuguese. The Cantonese chief magistrate, however, was indignant at having been tricked through the inefficiency of his envoy, and was already drawing the inference, in agreement with the actual facts (for the Chinese are an extraordinarily shrewd race), that the purpose of the Portuguese actions was to turn other nations away from trade with the Chinese.
Seeing that a new delegation was about to be dispatched with a demand for the surrender of every one of the captives without exception, the Portuguese agents in Canton sent notice in advance regarding this intention to their men at Macao, in order that the latter might take counsel betimes for their own interests, since otherwise their fraudulent conduct would be exposed. Never before had such consternation arisen among the Portuguese. For they perceived the utter impossibility of refusing to surrender the Dutchmen, yet there could be no doubt as to the suspicions and infamy which they would stir up against themselves if the surrender took place. Confronted with this dilemma, they sought refuge in crime and audacity, mindful undoubtedly of the fact that it is foolish to observe moderation in wrongdoing. It was their plan to slay all of the prisoners, under the pretence of executing a judicial sentence, so that it would not be possible to give them up. But their own magistrate, Paulo (for we must not suppress testimony to the innocence of any person whatsoever), delayed action for a long while. Indeed, what kind of judicial sentence would that be, imposed in a city not his own, against foreigners and the lives of freeborn persons? Should the accused not be sent to Lisbon, or at least, to the Governor? With the greatest difficulty, the inquisitor finally prevailed upon Paulo to permit that his name be affixed to the sentence.
Thus it came to pass that six men of Holland—O fatherland! O justice and law, and liberty vainly defended at home!—were subjected to the cruellest and most hideous punishment, suited to robbers and pirates, by Portuguese sojourners in that Kingdom of China which the Hollanders had sought amid so many hardships and perils, and where their presence was in turn desired. The Chinese looked on pityingly at this spectacle and afterwards prayed, with averted faces, that these men might not be left unavenged, whatsoever race and whatsoever region of the earth had sent them as guests to Chinese waters and shores, if they worshipped any divinity or had any native land.
But the deed which I am now about to recount was perhaps even more cruel. The eleven men who remained, and whose death of course would have to be kept secret, lest the Portuguese be convicted of the lie previously told to the envoy, were led in bonds, at midnight (so that they might be defrauded even of human witnesses and human pity), to that very shore which they had approached after sighting the signals of peace; and there, weighted with rocks, they were rolled into the sea. But even while treading the last bit of earth, even while tossed about only half-alive on the waves, they cried out (so we may well believe) not that life, which is rightly very dear to all, should be spared to them; not that they might at least be buried in their own blessed land by the hands of their wives and children; but rather, with their final faltering breath, for this one boon—that a crime so wicked might not long remain unrevealed.
God has heard their cry. Men, too, have heard it.
In the first place, four Chinese who came to Bantam gave an account of all these events, just as they had occurred, to the aforesaid Lakmoy (a very powerful personage) and to many others as well. Lakmoy transmitted the information to the Dutch; and at the same time the report was spread far and wide throughout Java and the entire region of the East Indies. In those islands it was a matter of common knowledge that certain Hollanders, after the Portuguese in defiance of plighted faith had condemned them to death by hanging, had entreated in a language which could be understood (that is to say, in Portuguese) that their[87′] fate should be remembered by their fellow countrymen. Consequently, when Wijbrandt Van Warwijck arrived in the Indies, all of the natives, aroused by the atrocity of the crime, were saying that the Dutch would be unworthy to look upon the light of day if they failed to exact fitting vengeance for such perfidy.
But the matter did not rest there. God sent the Dutch a witness to the whole series of events, one who had himself beheld a part of them, and had heard of them in part from incontrovertible authorities, including the very Portuguese who had committed the deeds as well as other persons who had been eyewitnesses. I refer to that Martinus Ape whom we mentioned just above. Out of that pitiable throng, he alone, save for two seventeen-year-old boys, was granted a respite, though not actually saved, through the entreaties of the Portuguese priests, even after he had been condemned and led forth for execution. In other respects, these priests have been exceedingly hostile toward the Dutch, so that in this circumstance, too, one may recognize the intervention of Divine Providence. Ape was sent from Macao to Malacca, and from Malacca to Goa, whence—his life having been spared by the Governor, despite the fruitless protests of the magistrates—he set out for Portugal. But he was detained again in Bayona, a town of Galicia, where once more his customary good fortune protected him. For after a long interval during which a letter from the King was awaited, Ape was finally released. He departed, and two days later the letter arrived, summoning him to the Royal Court and, beyond any shadow of doubt, to what would have been his death.
Sixth Episode In the year 1602, in OctoberIn the light of such a remarkable example, hardly any other incident will seem worthy of narration. Nevertheless, we find that there was another, more recent and no less illustrative of perfidy, which befell the companions of Van Warwijck at the island of Annobon, two degrees distant from the Equator. At this spot, quite shortly before, while some Frenchmen were on their way to attend Mass, many of them had been slaughtered almost at the very altar, and the rest had been captured. First of all, then, in this same place, when the Portuguese saw the Dutch heralds coming towards them and displaying the insignia of peace, they loosed their weapons against persons who by the law of nations should have been regarded as inviolable. One man fell. Not long afterwards, eight more Dutchmen were intercepted by means of an ambuscade and were put to death; others were wounded. Furthermore, even after a parley had been requested and granted, and in the very midst of the solemn conference, the Portuguese tore down the flag of truce that had been raised on their own side and, conducting themselves as if the bonds of good faith had also been loosed, attacked with weapons the incautious and entirely unsuspecting Dutchmen; nor did they fail to inflict injury in so doing.
Article IVThus we maintain that the Portuguese are men of bad faith, assassins, poisoners, and betrayers. We have taken note of the crimes which are recorded above, and because of which (as no moderately rational person will deny) war could and should have been undertaken against the Portuguese quite apart from any connexion between those crimes and the King of Spain. But I shall not press even this point. On the contrary, if I do not succeed in proving, by the clearest possible narration of various episodes, that the Portuguese, before they had been harmed by the Dutch in any way whatsoever, treated the Dutch nation and Dutchmen as enemies, waging public war against them in the Orient, and that armed force was first employed by the Portuguese themselves, then it will not be my wish that other considerations should avail the cause which I plead.
First Episode In the year 1596When the Dutch ships that first set sail for the East Indies had been following that course for a month, they encountered four Portuguese vessels, or caracks, which appeared not all at one time, but separately. Subsequent events served to indicate that these caracks, isolated as they were, could have been captured; and one of them came so close that it undoubtedly would have been seized and held, if the Dutch had so desired. But our men made no attempt of this kind. In fact, after offering every sort of kindly service, they sailed past without inflicting any injury. Moreover, when they had reached Java and the atrocious crimes of the Portuguese were presently revealed, these same men nevertheless refrained from taking vengeance, although it would have been easy to seize the ship that was bearing the Malaccan envoy, who even at that time was a wholesale vendor of Dutch blood.
The Portuguese, on the other hand, had already associated themselves with the plans of the Rajah of Demak to the extent of agreeing to combine their own maritime forces with his fleet for the purpose of making war upon the Dutch and intercepting the ships that passed between Java and the islands of Panjang. Soon afterwards, when some of the Dutch were attempting to return to their ships at Bantam, they found the port blockaded by the Portuguese. In regard to this matter, the Shabandar advised the Dutch that considerations of good faith made their security within the city the concern of the Regent, but that they would have need of their own foresight and valour to prevent any untoward incident outside the city limits. The Portuguese also lent their assistance in the plots woven by Toemenggoeng, which we have already described, and in the treachery devised at Sidajoe.[88′]
Second Episode In the year 1597As the Dutch prolonged their stay at Bantam, the Portuguese and the Regent of Bantam himself became allies in certain warlike enterprises whose basic pacts have been outlined in an earlier part of this chapter. Moreover, a band of men appeared under the leadership of Manoel, brother of the Governor of Goa, a band sent out by the state and sworn to the task of destroying the Dutch. There were four very large battleships, three ships of war of the kind known to us as galleys, and almost thirty brigantines. This force had been prepared by the Portuguese for use against the Hollanders, whom they were seeking. Enraged by the discovery that the Hollanders had departed, the Portuguese even turned the weapons taken up against us upon the inhabitants of Bantam (to such extremes is Portuguese hatred carried!), alleging as a pretext either the failure of the Bantamese to prohibit the departure of the Hollanders, or their failure to participate equally with the Portuguese in the subsequent pursuit.
Ask yourselves then, O fellow citizens, whether forbearance should be shown to men who from the outset were so disposed that they considered themselves injured if they were unable to inflict injury, and who regard as enemies not only the Dutch themselves but also all persons who do not seem sufficiently hostile toward the Dutch! Their purposes, their inclinations, and their plans were such as we have described; the outcome alone was of a contrary nature. The Portuguese were defeated by the Javanese, a defeat which constituted an added reason for a more yielding attitude in regard to the Dutch.
Even under these circumstances, however, the fury of the foe and his mad lust for battle were not abated.Third Episode In the year 1599, on September 13 For when Houtman came to Achin, in Sumatra (as we have already related), under the auspices of the Zeelanders, a temporary pretence on the part of the Portuguese gave the impression that the laws of friendship had been re-established there, in contrast with the earlier policy of offence; but in reality the Portuguese spirit of hostility remained unappeased, despite the terrific disaster it had succeeded in bringing upon our naval force when the latter was torn to pieces through the agency of the inhabitants of Achin and in defiance of every dictate of divine law and good faith. Savagely persisting in their molestations, and with the aim of completing the work begun through others, the Portuguese themselves rushed upon the wretched remnants of Dutch ships and sailors, with battle standards unfurled and in a hostile fleet that included approximately twelve ships of war. Force was repelled only by force.
Fourth Episode In the same yearThe first voyage of Van Neck took place at almost the same time. Van Neck (as the Bishop of Malacca himself testifies, in a letter addressed to the King of the Spanish realms) had caused no injury or loss whatsoever to the Portuguese or to any man. Now, it was by his order that a ship called the Utrecht sailed to Amboyna and thence to the [other] Moluccas, where the voyagers suffered truly grievous injuries at the hands of a hostile people (for Tidor, one of the Moluccas, is held by the Portuguese), and where they presently learned that men had also been sent to Malacca and to the Philippines in order to procure assistance in driving the Dutch out of the entire region and preventing their appearance there in the future. But the peril thus threatened was forestalled by the withdrawal of the Dutch.
Fifth Episode In the early part of the year 1601Nevertheless, owing to the fact that Cornelis Heemskerck (who had been left behind by Van Neck) remained at Amboyna with two ships, the Portuguese persevered night and day in their threats against our light boats and skiffs; and after an interval marked by ventures of little importance, they completed the task of equipping twenty-two caracores and three brigantines. Not daring to make an assault, however, even in such circumstances, they devoted themselves to arranging—under cover of the dark, or by secretly ascending various promontories—snares and conflagrations which the prudent and ever-watchful Dutchmen easily avoided.
Sixth Episode In May of the same yearShortly afterwards, it so happened that Adriaan Veen sent three men, in an East Indian proa, across the sea to Cornelis Heemskerck, that is to say, from Banda to Amboyna. One of these three was Jacob (surnamed Waterman), a surgeon by profession. The Portuguese fell upon them unexpectedly, in vastly superior numbers and strength, so that no recourse against the assailants remained other than flight. Two of the three Dutchmen hurled themselves into the sea and after strenuous efforts reached a nearby island where, dwelling in solitude among wild beasts, they nevertheless found all their surroundings to be more gentle than the Portuguese. The third man, Jacob, who did not know how to swim, fell into cruel hands. It is certain that he was slain. According to a persistent rumour that spread through all the East Indies, he was torn asunder and the pieces of his body were scattered about by means of[89′] four ships of war violently rowed in different directions. Nor is there any less reason for crediting this report than there is for believing the account (recorded in an earlier part of this chapter) of what was done to the Frenchmen16 who were placed in bronze cannon and shot out as missiles. It is at least an established fact that many persons saw Jacob’s head after it had been severed from his body and hoisted high above the caracore, as if on a frame for the display of spoils.
Seventh Episode In the same yearIn the meantime, the fleet previously mentioned, which was intended to drive the Dutch from the Moluccas and from Banda, was being fitted out more fully. Furthermore, letters and messengers were being dispatched to all the ruling personages of Java and other islands, intimating that the activities in question had been undertaken by the Portuguese in order to protect the natives from despoliation by the Hollanders, and that the forces of all those rulers and peoples ought therefore to unite with the Portuguese, as with the true liberators of the Orient. Van Neck had already paid a second visit to the regions involved, but when he was warned in advance by the Regent of Bantam regarding this matter, he made his way to Ternate with two ships, trusting in the worth of his cause and in his own valour. There he ascertained that what he had heard was entirely true. For the King of that island was being incited to lend aid against the Dutch; and furthermore, the Portuguese—with two caracks, the same number of galleys, and one warship—were hugging the shore and awaiting a favourable time and occasion for setting fire to the Dutch ships. In that same spot, a battle took place in which artillery was employed.
Article VAssuredly, all of these facts furnish such clear and palpable proof of a hostility transcending the bounds of human hatred, that any person who craves more certain evidence must be blind even to the light of noonday. For what fuller proof could be desired than the fact that the Portuguese, in pursuing their noxious course, spared neither the reputation nor the property nor the lives of the Dutch, just as they spared themselves neither expense nor danger nor even violation of good faith?
Nevertheless, there is one additional point which stirs me still more deeply, and by which the noble spirits of those who cherish the fatherland and its fair fame will, I believe, be yet more keenly affected. For I shall show that the Portuguese raged no less savagely against all the peoples who permitted the entry of the Dutch for purposes of trade, than they did against the Dutch themselves—or indeed, even more savagely, in proportion to the more warlike qualifications and greater power of those peoples—with the result, naturally, that throughout the whole Orient the very name of Holland grew to be utterly abhorrent as the symbol of a loathsome curse, the fount and origin of every calamity for the natives.
First Episode In the early part of the year 1601Thus we find (without pausing to repeat here any of the details relative to the war against the people of Bantam which has been described above) that at the time of the appearance in Amboyna of Cornelis Heemskerck, whom we have already mentioned more than once, the Portuguese had publicly outlawed under pain of death not only the Dutch but likewise the chief men of that locality, and had set a price of one hundred reaes on the head of each man affected by the order. They had also provided an inducement for the assassination of the governor of the citadel located at that point, by promising the same reward as in the case of the commander of the Dutch fleet, thus informing the inhabitants of the island that they must share a common fate with the Dutch. During the same period, finding themselves quite unable to prevail against our ships, the Portuguese made a vigorous attack upon Lusitello, a walled town on the island of Amboyna. After being driven back, they abandoned the assault in favour of a siege. The situation had become critical for the defenders of the town, owing to a lack of provisions, when the leaders of the islanders formally approached our men as suppliants, begging for protection and material aid. The arrival of Dutch ships resulted in the delivery of the besieged, and brought glory to the Dutch themselves.
The Portuguese, however, renewed all their threats immediately afterwards. For they boasted far and wide, not only that they would prevent the name of Hollander from ever again being heard in those[90′] regions, but also that they would lay waste every city and every island where our compatriots had set foot.
Second Episode Toward the close of the year 1601, and in the early part of the year 1602The Spanish royal fleet which, as a favour to the King of Calicut, had subdued Cunala (the pirate chief of the Malabar Indians, notorious for his fifty years of freebootery and his usurpation of the royal insignia), was dispatched upon the completion of that war, from Goa all the way to the Strait of Sunda, which lies between Java and Sumatra, with instructions that the force of the said fleet should be turned in this direction. Simultaneously, ships from other Portuguese colonies were assembling. The combined forces now numbered almost thirty vessels: five galleons from Goa, including one commanded by Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza (Admiral of the fleet), another commanded by Thomaz Souza de Rocha, a third under the command of Francisco Silva Meneses, a fourth under Antonio Souza, and a fifth under Lopes Dalmeyda; two caracks from Malacca, commanded by Trajano Rodrigues Castelbranco and Jorge Pinto; one from Cochin China, under the command of Sebastião Suares, and, for the rest, brigantines or galleys entrusted to the orders of André Rodrigues Palota.
The city of Bantam, which had previously been the first to receive the Dutch, was likewise the first to be hailed to punishment. According to information obtained later from Francisco Souza (the son of João Teves, an accountant in Lisbon) as well as from other captives, the Portuguese plan involved, first, an assault upon the market-place (known as the Bazaar) outside of the city, toward which the leaders of the attacking party and those persons from among the populace who had been bought over by the Portuguese were to converge suddenly at a given signal; and from there, after breaking through the defence of the Chinese guards, the assailants would rush upon the city itself. Success was felt to be so certain that bitter contention arose between the monks and the Jesuits over the prospective allotment of sees. Moreover, orders had been given that, once Bantam was stripped of its defences, Banda, Amboyna, and Ternate should be compelled to submit to Spanish rule. With these ends in view, the Portuguese had brought not only instruments of warfare, but also money and spices, as rewards to be given the barbarians in exchange for treachery.
God shattered their monstrous arrogance, abruptly and unexpectedly, as He is wont to do in extraordinary manifestations of His power. Precisely at the moment when the Portuguese were intent on the destruction of Bantam, the Dutch, ignorant of these plans, arrived with the purpose of trading, in several ships commanded by Wolphert Harmensz, a man especially entitled to honourable mention, since not merely the East India Company but the very reputation of the Dutch (so I venture to say) has scarcely ever been more deeply indebted to any individual. A small Chinese vessel came to meet Harmensz, at the Strait of Sunda itself. A [Chinese] sailor gave warning that the open sea was beset by the Portuguese [and Spanish] fleet, so that, being aware of the Portuguese desire for the destruction of the Dutch, he was taking anticipatory measures in order that the latter might have an opportunity to flee unharmed. For no one supposed that a battle would take place, inasmuch as the opponents were in every respect far from evenly matched. From a numerical standpoint, what could be accomplished by Wolphert’s four ships and one cutter, as against thirty enemy vessels? From the standpoint of bulk, the total tonnage of all the Dutch vessels was not equal even to that of the single ship that bore Andrés Hurtado. As for the men available on the respective sides, the entire number attached to the Dutch fleet amounted to three hundred and fifteen, whereas the Spanish fleet carried eight hundred Portuguese and, in addition, at least fifteen hundred East Indian soldiers, not to mention the throng comprised in the crews. The Dutch were inferior in everything save their spirit and their cause. Nevertheless, when they visualized the baseness of flight, the disgrace to their nation and the harm17 that would be suffered by each man’s household if the East Indian trade of the Dutch should be lost to posterity, they sailed through the strait and advanced until they were within sight[91′] of the enemy. The Portuguese growled in indignation. Sounding the war-trumpet and unfurling their battle flags, they roused the echoes with the din of artillery and, as they neared each of the opposing ships, called continually upon the Dutch to lower their sails and announce their surrender. But our men, who had by no means been taught in their native land to conduct themselves in the manner suggested, deliberately spread their sails in order to check with deeds this verbal insolence; and, borne toward the foe by the winds, they proceeded to defend themselves by discharging their weapons. Fortune favoured the brave, even though one of the Dutch guns blew up during the initial stages of the battle, causing great consternation. The Dutch recovered their courage, however, and resumed the struggle, capturing first one Portuguese ship and then another. Several of the captured vessels were so thoroughly riddled with shots that they could be of no further use, and therefore they were sunk, after the men had been taken off. The Portuguese, instantly subdued by this defeat (a reaction typical of persons who are excessively bold while circumstances are auspicious), did not dare to engage in battle during the days that followed, despite the fact that the winds favoured them. On the other hand, after the manner of wild beasts that do not lay aside their wrath even when stripped of their strength, the enemy set fire to a number of their own ships, which were then launched against the Dutch in an attempt to satisfy the demands of hatred without disregarding the voice of fear. All in vain! For the fires burned themselves out within those very ships.
While the Dutch were pressing forward with an eagerness born of the conviction that the doors of trade would not be thrown open to them unless the enemy was routed, the Portuguese abandoned Bantam in cowardly fashion, and fled to the Moluccas. The victors, refraining from pursuit, approached the city thus liberated by them, in order that they might first accomplish the purpose for which they had come. A marvellous tale could be told regarding the congratulations and rejoicings with which they were received as conquerors by the Javanese, and the great fame which attached itself to the Hollanders and spread throughout the islands, so that this occasion may truly be described as the dawn of a supremely happy day for both the Dutch and the Oriental peoples.
But the Portuguese were cruel even in their flight. For, keeping at a distance and believing themselves to be far removed from the avenger, they proceeded to indulge in unpunished acts of robbery; nor had the turn for the worse in their fortunes wrought any change of heart in these men who were bewitched by hatred, aside from the fact that they were desirous of greater security while they sinned.Third Episode In the same year (1602) Accordingly, they hastened first to Amboyna, where at that time no Dutch ships were stationed. Itys, as well as the other inadequately fortified towns of Amboyna, and subsequently all of the surrounding country-side, were attacked and devastated by them. The inhabitants were subjected to the same savage treatment that the people of the Low Countries had often suffered at the hands of the Spaniards. Slaughter was practised without distinction of age or sex; little children and women were slain indiscriminately. Nor were they merely slain; for some of the Portuguese cut off the limbs of young children before the very eyes of the parents, and others searched with their swords both the wombs of pregnant women and bodies that were unquestionably innocent. A number of natives, whom time had favoured with an opportunity for flight, abandoned their ancestral homes and property after being warned by these examples, and betook themselves to deserted regions, full of bristling forests or precipitous mountains. Another group crossed over to the neighbouring island of Ceram.
It so happened that a Dutch cutter had been sent to that locality by Wolphert [Harmensz.], who was staying in Banda at the time. A deputation from Amboyna encountered the cutter and accompanied it to Banda, rejoicing in the midst of so many sorrows. Admitted to the presence of the commander, displaying in their very aspect the stamp of their current misfortunes, and even interrupted by tears, the men from Amboyna related the experiences which they had undergone. They added (though the fact was sufficiently self-evident) that these disasters had befallen them because they had cultivated commercial relations with the Dutch. Accordingly, they argued amid entreaties—in the name of God, who was granting the Dutch such felicitous voyages upon the ocean and such brilliant victories over the Spaniards; in the name of the justice characteristic of Hollanders and famous as a result of their commercial activities; and in the name of that good faith which the suppliants, following the dictates of their judgement, now regarded as the last source of aid in their desperate straits—that the Dutch should not suffer them, exiled as they were from their native land and utterly destitute, to become in addition the playthings of an enemy unsurpassed in cruelty.
Any human being whatsoever, and most of all any Dutchman[92′] (for the Dutch are by nature gentle and compassionate), might well have been moved by this plea. The commander, indeed, had been more than a little troubled by it, but he realized that the business entrusted to him as his chief care could not be neglected for the sake of these unfortunates. The time of year, too, was one that called for diligence in the conduct of trade. He therefore excused himself, while expressing the hope that the Dutch Prince and State would take to heart the cause of vengeance in behalf of the people of Amboyna. As the one measure permitted by circumstances, he released the captives whom he had taken in the battle of the Strait of Sunda (including Francisco Souza himself), freeing them without ransom and sending them to the Portuguese in Amboyna. He also supplied them with arms and provisions, so that this kindly deed would be in no respect incomplete. His hope was that the spirit of the Portuguese, howsoever savage, might be elevated and softened by the example he was setting, and that they might be induced to adopt a gentler attitude in their own turn toward the inhabitants of Amboyna, by this merciful forbearance toward the Portuguese themselves on the part of the victorious Dutch. But the outcome belied his hope. The deed of goodwill was worse than wasted upon men completely lacking in justice, men who were wont to interpret ingenuousness as folly and moderation as cowardice: not only was nothing gained by the generous gesture, but the Portuguese even persisted in their crimes all the more boldly because of it, rendered confident by so notable an example of clemency that there was no act of brigandage which they could not commit with impunity.
Fourth Episode In the same yearAt last, however, when opportunities for plunder and cruelty had begun to fail them in Amboyna, they pressed on to Makian (one of the Moluccas), with seven warships, four galleons, and several caracores. There they loosed their rage, torturing the inhabitants, laying waste the fields and burning down the houses. Moreover, the chief city of the island (Tabosos [?]18 by name) was set on fire by the Portuguese, and sank in ashes. Makian, to be sure, and also the adjacent islands, are under the rule of the King of Ternate, who was showing the Dutch people a great deal of kindness at that time, an attitude which was a source of anger to the Portuguese and of misfortune to the natives. In fact, at that very moment a ship called the Utrecht from the fleet of Wolphert [Harmenszoon] (the smallest ship of all) had stopped at Ternate for purposes of trade, in company with a cutter. The inhabitants of Makian, apparently remembering that regal rank goes hand in hand with the duty of defending subjects, came to Ternate and sought out their ruler with the plea that he should either restore the dwellings of which they had been forcibly deprived, or else provide his wretched people with some safer shelter. The King made ready to go to the aid of his subjects, and also prevailed upon the Dutch to stand by him, although two ships scarcely worthy to be reckoned as such would furnish very little assistance against a whole fleet.
As [the King and his party] sailed nearer, they beheld the ill-fated island alight with flames and, shortly thereafter, the Portuguese, rushing to attack them in the most ferocious manner. For the courage of the Portuguese had increased when they saw themselves matched against East Indians, a hundred of whom they customarily regard as scarcely comparable to one individual from among their own men. Nevertheless, partly in consequence of advice offered by the Dutch, partly owing to the indignation felt by the victims of such grievous injuries, and also because the good fortune of the Dutch had by now created a belief in the possibility of vanquishing the Portuguese, an equal conflict was waged throughout the entire day between opponents unequal in skill and in strength.
A month later, the King of Ternate again set forth accompanied by the Dutch. Sailing past the island of Tidor, and encountering fifteen Portuguese caracores, he paused—motionless and with weapons held in check—waiting until the foe should call down upon himself the vengeance of God and man by being the first to enter upon the task of slaughter. As soon as this had occurred, the King rose up in all his courage and just desire for revenge. After capturing one of the Portuguese ships, he returned triumphantly to his kingdom.
In the meantime, the Portuguese had desolated Makian so thoroughly that the island was stripped of practically everything save the bare and lifeless soil. Moreover, just as a devouring flame spreads to new objects with a force that increases in proportion to its earlier inroads, so the Portuguese, coveting richer spoils in consequence of those already acquired, approached Ternate itself, with five [war]ships and four galleons. There the Dutch (who hitherto had remained close to the shore),[93′] seeing themselves surrounded by a multitude of enemies, first weighed anchor and then laid for themselves a more open course. Next, mindful of the fact that their mission was commercial and not martial, and of the further fact that they had already incurred rather grave losses in wasted time and scarcity of cargo, they departed with the King’s permission, leaving behind some of their own men who were to cultivate his friendship and through whose aid and advice he might better prepare himself against the enemy. For the Portuguese, restored to even greater arrogance by the withdrawal of the Dutch, had attacked the island and were ravaging and burning certain nearby districts which had been abandoned by the terrified inhabitants.
Even now, the Portuguese continue to wage war against the King of Ternate, although it has been reported that at a later date their audacity in that contest most fortunately diminished.
Nor should we omit to mention the considerable care taken by them lest any distinction whatsoever be made between themselves and the Castilians, who are old enemies of the Dutch. Indeed, in this war centring about Ternate and directed primarily against us, the Portuguese made use of auxiliary troops and of ships sent from Manila (for the Castilians have found their way to that city, too), just as they sought aid from the Philippines on other occasions which we have already noted. Thus the two peoples in question, who in other respects are sufficiently lacking in mutual concord, nevertheless make it quite clear that they have banded together for the purpose of destroying the Dutch.
Fifth Episode In the same yearWe come now to the last part of our narrative, which has to do with the King of Johore. When I think of this monarch, I sincerely feel as if I were gazing upon the supreme and true reward of our voyages to the East Indies, and as if I were justly giving thanks to the tutelar deity of a fortunate fatherland.
For when Jacob Heemskerck came to the East Indian lands and while he was staying at Patani, whence he directed his attempts to gain access to the ruler of Johore, the King responded not only by letter but also through his brother, the Prince of Siak, saying that he would be most happy to welcome Heemskerck, that his kingdom and its commerce were freely accessible, and that Heemskerck had only to behold them in order to assure himself both that the territory of Johore was richer than the other regions in those goods which the Dutch were seeking, and that the sovereign of Johore himself differed greatly from the other East Indian rulers in his inclinations and sentiments. He added that the good faith of the Hollanders was clearly evident to him, and that he would esteem nothing more highly than the friendship of those whom he knew to be as faithful to their allies as they were invincible to their enemies.
When the Portuguese learned of these negotiations, they dispatched a deputation from Malacca which was under orders not only to discourage the King, by means of slanderous lies, from engaging in trade with the Dutch, but also to threaten that implacable war would be waged against him if he did not desist from his purpose. But even these measures did not induce him to break his promises. He answered the Portuguese in a spirited yet equitable manner, to the following effect: he himself had never found the Hollanders to be as the Portuguese depicted them; to be sure, he had heard that injuries inflicted were valiantly avenged by them, and he really did not see how such vengeance could be censured; in any case, since he entertained no desire to inflict injury, he placed full confidence in the Hollanders; if any enmity existed between them and the Portuguese, that was a matter which in no wise concerned him; nor, indeed, was it right that the Portuguese should issue orders to him as to what his conduct ought to be within his own kingdom; on the contrary, it would be more fitting if the Portuguese, as occupants of Malacca (for the King of Johore claimed that region, too, as his own by ancestral right, even though he had been forced to relinquish possession), should obey his laws. These observations proved so offensive to ears impatient of the truth, that three warships and five brigantines were straightway sent to the mouth of the river flowing through the Kingdom of Johore, for the twofold purpose of blocking the approach of the Dutch, and harassing the inhabitants of the territory near that same shore with slaughter, with pillage, and, in short, in the[94′] true Portuguese manner. The King wrote to Heemskerck (who at that time was near the island of Tiuman,In the year 1603 engaged in preparing vengeance for the injuries suffered by himself and by his allies), giving a full and careful account of all these matters, and entreating Heemskerck to prevent the benefactions conferred by the said monarch upon the Hollanders from bringing destruction upon the benefactor.
The outcome clearly revealed how holy and how pleasing, in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, is the defence of those who have been unjustly oppressed. For the door to Johore was thrown open, commercial agreements were concluded, and—in the very locality where the Portuguese had practised their policy of rapine against the King of Johore because of their hatred for the Dutch, and while that ruler himself witnessed the capture from on board a Dutch vessel—a conquered Portuguese ship fell into Dutch hands.
In the light of the foregoing account, it is evident that the men who sailed to the East Indies as emissaries of the various Dutch companies (now united in a single organization) did not regard the Portuguese as enemies, even though the latter were enemies in actual fact. On the contrary, we see that these emissaries, in an attempt to establish amicable relations, waived the right to make war as long as it was at all possible for them to do so. Thus the first ship’s captains to be sent out were not even given the official papers, or mandates, conferring martial powers, which as a general rule are not denied to any Dutchman. Furthermore, although such papers were indeed received by the captains dispatched at a later date, they were used very sparingly. For the recipients availed themselves of these mandates either in order to defend against actual attacks their own lives and the fortunes entrusted to them, a course of action rendered obligatory by the precepts of nature and the principle of good faith, or else on their own initiative, as an aggressive measure against the perils that threatened them, lest they should continually be, or seem to be, beset by fear. These were the motives that inspired the conduct of Van Neck at Tidor, and of Wolphert [Harmenszoon] at Bantam.
Finally, after a long series of crimes that made a mockery of Dutch candour in the manner already noted by us, the laws of war, which had remained inactive and in a more or less dormant state, were revived and openly put into practice. Even then, the Dutch did not choose to squander human life recklessly in the Portuguese fashion. On the contrary, the war was waged with almost excessive clemency. Thus nothing beyond repayment of the vast expenditures required for the protection of men, ships, and property was exacted by the armed force of the Dutch from the very persons whose armed violence had necessitated those expenditures.In the year 1602, on March 16
First of all, a carack was seized by the Zeelanders, who took this step (near the island of Saint Helena) very tardily and only after displaying great patience. The seizure did not occur, moreover, until the Zeelanders had been provoked by a hostile response to their overtures and by previous recourse to armed attack on the part of the Portuguese. Furthermore, even though the Zeelanders had learned that those same Portuguese were under orders to make war upon them, and even though they were acquainted with the plans for the execution of the orders, nevertheless, being mindful in victory of their own humanity rather than of the injuries for which others were responsible, they not only saved those of their enemies who were in immediate danger of drowning, but actually transported the latter overseas to an island lying off the coast of Brazil. There the Zeelanders provided additional assistance in the form of supplies of every kind, and built a small boat for the Portuguese (not without expenditure of time and toil) to facilitate contact with the mainland.
The Hollanders were somewhat slower even in resorting to such action. Not a single seizure was made by them prior to the capture of the carack by Heemskerck, which took place when they were particularly stirred by the disasters visited upon their friends, and after they themselves had endured seven years of injuries and losses in the East Indies, resulting from the violence or the perfidy of a hostile people. Not without reason, then, do we marvel that any doubt should be entertained as to whether that seizure was a rightful act.
[1. ]The original heading for this chapter was deleted and replaced by a more detailed arrangement. In the process of emendation, Grotius apparently forgot to restore the transitional phrase Sequuntur Historica corresponding to similar phrases marking off certain large divisions of the discussion (at the end of Chapter I and at the beginning of Chapters XII, XIV, and XV), and the main chapter head, Caput XI.
[2. ]Terram Belgicam, which might be rendered more literally here as “the Belgian territory.” Grotius’s conception of the terms Belgium and Belgicis, however, is quite broad and certainly includes both the Dutch and the Belgian provinces of the Low Countries in most of the passages where these terms appear throughout the Commentary. This broad interpretation finds further confirmation in the title of another work by Grotius, the De Rebus Belgicis, which consists of “The Annals, and History of the Low-Countrey-Warrs,” and is so entitled in the English translation (London, 1665). Consequently, the translator of the Commentary has considered it advisable to render the terms in question consistently as “Low Countries,” “Lowlanders,” &c., despite the fact that a few of Grotius’s statements could be applied specifically to the Belgian Provinces and their inhabitants.
[3. ]Ordinum. The term Ordines is variously used in the Commentary to refer to the States Assembly of Holland, the States-General of the United Provinces, internal governmental divisions of a larger political community, &c. In most instances, the exact connotation is clearly established by the context, and in such cases expanded translations are introduced into the English version without recourse to brackets or to explanatory footnotes.
[a. ]See Ayala, I. vi. 11.
[a. ]Arist., Economics, II [p. 1350 b].
[b. ]Ayala, I. vii. 2.
[5. ]This reading is based solely upon the appearance of the characters on collotype p. 77, end of l. 3, where the fifth letter is evidently one of the “e”s with a break between the upper and lower parts, so common throughout the MS. The same letter might possibly be interpreted as a “c,” on the assumption that the upper stroke was meant as a deletion mark through the following character, which would give us the reading “Votico.” Both Hamaker and Damsté interpret the name as “Votica,” an interpretation certainly more pleasing to the ear than “Votieao,” and possibly based upon historical records not available to the present translator, although it is not borne out by the collotype.
[6. ]A reference to the bronze bull constructed by order of Phalaris, in which condemned persons were roasted alive.
[7. ]Beneficiariis, soldiers exempted from menial duties by the favour of their commanders.
[8. ]See note 4, p. 14, supra.
[9. ]Chersonesus Aurea, “the Golden Peninsula,” was the name used by the ancients for Malacca. In Chapter XII, however (infra, p. 335), Grotius remarks that “many persons identify” this region with Japan. Cf. also note 11, p. 335.
[10. ]Reading cuius for quarum, which must have been written inadvertently, since the context calls for the singular antecedent (fleet) rather than the plural ([the Dutch] ships).
[11. ]More specifically, the Shabandar, or Shabunder, was a harbour master and official in charge of dealings with foreign traders.
[12. ]The uncrossed “t”s in the MS. are practically indistinguishable from the “l”s, and the reading in Hamaker’s edition of the Commentary,Rasalata, may be correct. Damsté’s Dutch translation follows the latter reading, but expands it parenthetically into Radja Lela. Some such interpretation is certainly suggested by the similarity between this word and the title Rasadauma, used several times in earlier portions of Chapter XI (in the Latin text) to refer to the Rajah of Demak. The present translator, however, is unable to find any other trace of an appropriate locality named Lela. Hence the very tentative suggestion that Grotius may be referring here to the Rajah of the island of Lalang, which is situated near the north-eastern coast of Sumatra.
[13. ]Evidently a drug taken from the dutra, or Datura metel, a narcotic plant of the potato family.
[14. ]Perhaps better known under the anglicized form of his name, “Wolfert Hermann.”
[15. ]Ne [hoc] quidem (literally: “not even this”). The word hoc does not appear in the collotype, but it is clearly visible in other reproductions of the MS. On this page of the collotype, as on many others, letters are missing at the ends of several lines, probably because of a fold in the margin of the MS. page. Such instances are not noted in the translation unless there is doubt as to the exact letters which must be supplied.
[16. ]Undoubtedly a reference to the episode recounted on p. 257, although Grotius there mentions only one victim of this form of punishment.
[17. ]Reading exitium (harm, destruction, or mischief) for exsilium (exile), which must have been written inadvertently.
[18. ]Damsté, in his Dutch version of the Commentary, suggests “Tafasoho” as the translation of the Latin Tabosos, but queries the suggestion. The present translator has not found any other reference to a town of either name on the island of Makian.
In reality, the incident to which this note refers (i.e. the expulsion of the Moors from Lisbon) took place in 1145. The band of Crusaders that assisted the Portuguese in the capture of Lisbon was composed of Englishmen, Normans, and Flemings, not of Flemings exclusively.