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APPENDIX I: Documents Listed by Grotius at the End of the Manuscript - 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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Documents Listed by Grotius at the End of the Manuscript
Edict of the Estates General of the United Provinces April 2, 15991
[Front page of the pamphlet]
Proclamation of the Lords of the Generall States, of the United Provinces, whereby the Spaniards and all their goods are declared to be lawfull prize: As also containing a strickt defence or restraint of sending any goods, wares, or merchandizes to the Spaniards or their adherents, enemies to the Netherlands.
Faithfully translated out of the Dutch coppy. Printed at S. Graven Haghe by Aelbercht Heyndrickson, Printer to the Generall States.
Imprinted at London by John Wolfe, and are to be solde at his shop in Popes-head Alley, neere the Exchange. 1599.
A Proclamation, of the Lordes the
generall States of the united Provinces,
whereby the Spaniards and all their goods are
declared to be lawfull prize. As also containing a strict
defence or restraint of sending any goods, wares, or
Merchandizes to the Spaniards or their adher-
ents, enemies to the Netherlands.
The Generall States of the United Provinces,2 to all such as shall see or heare these presents, make knowne:
that whereas it is every day more then other most apparant and manifest, that the enterprises of the Spanish nation, with their conioyned adherents, hath not been only pretended to reduce these Netherlands by their deceitfull practises, and the uttermost violence and force, under their wilfull and superbious dominion and tyrannicall government, both over consciences, bodies, & goods: But also that in the years past, they have attempted, with their usual violent complots, to reduce the realmes of England and Fraunce, under their power.
Which they not being able (according to their desires to performe) now openly & by maine force, assault the neighbour countries of the Electors3 and Princes, and other neutrall places of the Empire,4 not refusing to overrun the Cities and Fortresses, with all manner of violence, barter them with peeces, ransomming them, and filling them with their souldiors, destroying the flat land, ravishing and deflowring of women and maides, pilling, robbing, murdering and burning, not favouring the house or castels of Princes, Earles or Gentlemen, nor yet their persons, as sufficiently appeareth by their barbarous dealings in the bishoprick of Collen,5 the Dukedomes of Cleve and Bergh, and the Bishopricke of Munster, and other bordering countries.
The ministers of this spanish tyrannie boasting, that according to their own pleasures they will proceede in their begunne actions, especially in these places, untill such time as they shall have reduced the whole (besides these Netherlandes) under their Spanish yoake, & wholly rooted out the exercise of the true Christian religion. To which end they have publikely in divers places of the Empire, altered the religion and pollicie of the same, by force, threats, and other undecent dealings. Moreover, vaunting to bee glad, that in the behalfe of the Princes Electors and others, the armes be taken up, for that they shall (as they say) the better attaine the purpose.
Moreover, that the new king of Spaine,6 the Infanta,7 and the Spanish Counsell, as well in Spaine as in the Low countries, deceitfully and forcibly, hinder and disturbe al navigations, dealings, traffique, & trade, so with inhabitants of the Netherlands, as with those of other kingdomes, countries, and citties, in most barbarous and tyrannicall sort, misusing the persons, attaching8 their shippes, & violating their graunted promises by water and land, all under the pretence and colour, because that we have hitherto joyntly resisted their false & deceitfull dealings and have not beene mooved to yeeld and subvert the United Netherlands, and the good inhabitantes thereof, under these barbarous tyrannie, and imperious dominion.
And since that by gods mightie power, the assistance of her most excellent Majesty of England,9 & other kings, princes, & common-weales, togither with our patience and good endevors, we have for these many yeres withstood these tyrannicall enterprises, (which they have bent against al Christendome) & hope further, with Gods helpe and assistance (as aforesaid) to withstand, & therein are resolved also to visit the Spaniards in the kingdoms & lands by them occupied, not onely to hinder their aforesaid tyranous pretence, but also to recover our losses & damages sustained by them, as wel with our ships of war, as by such as are allowed by our order, hoping assuredly that his divine Maiestie wil blesse our rightful & needfull enterprises, and once wholy free and deliver the Netherlands from the aforesaid tyrannie of the Spaniards and their adherents. And also will moove and incite the neighbour Kings, Princes, Electors, Earles, Barrons, and Common-wealthes, that uppon good consideration, they may take and use Armes, to assure their perrillous estate, and to that ende, to drive out the Spaniards and their complices, from the Emperours territories; and so out of the Netherlands: as also wee finde to bee most expedient and necessary for the accomplishment of so Christian lyke, rightfull, and needfull common cause, against the said Spaniards and their conioyned adherents, to be with all deepe insight looked into, that there be not any Shippes, goods or Marchandizes, sent them by water, land or otherwise, the same beeing not onely permitted by the common people, but also the emperiall rights and custome of all Kings, Princes, and Common-weales, beeing in warre or controversie, besides that the same hath beene made knowne by many firme orders and Proclaimations. As well by the above named the Queenes Maiestie of England, (with whome we are in sure alliance) as also of these countries. And we therefore intend not to permit that any person of the united lands, using trafficke or fishing at sea, or on the waters within the land, shall suffer himselfe to be deceived, seduced, and endamaged, by any deceitfull pasports, safegardes, or safe conducts of the said common enemie, as wee understand heeretofore (against our good meanings) by some hath been done.
So it is, that we uppon ripe and profound deliberation, and by the advise of the illustrious Prince and Lord Maurice,10 borne Prince of Orange, Counte of Nassou, Marquess of der Vere,Flushing, &c., Governour and Captaine Generall of Gelderland,Holland,Zealand,Utrecht,Overysel, &c. as Admirall generall, have declared, and declare by these presents, for good and lawfull prize, all persons and goods, under the dominion of the Spanish king, in all places where they shall or may be got, have furthermore againe of new, stricktly defended, forbidden, and respectively notified: defend, forbid, and notifie by these presents, all and everie one, of what condition, realme, or land soever, none excepted, not to lade, ship, bring, or transport by water or land, directly or indirectly, under what colour or pretence soever, any ships, goods, wares, or merchandizes, for11 or to any haven, cittie, or place of the enemie, in the kingdomes of Spaine,Portugall, or other places of Europe, under the dominion, subjection, or commaund of the new king of Spaine; the Archduke Albertus of Austria,12 or the Infanta of Spaine, uppon paine of confiscation of the same goods, wares, or merchandizes, together with the shippes, waggons, carts, and horses, wherein, or whereon the same shall bee laden, and all such further punishment as hereafter shall be declared.
And to prevent all fraudes, subtile practises, and deceits, which might in these United Netherlands be pretended by any, of what countrie, condition, or quallitie soever, against these our orders and defences. Wee ordaine and command stricktly by these presents, all Convoy maisters,13 Controulers, Searchers, and all other our Deputies in all Havens, Citties, and places of the same landes, uppon the oathe whereby they are bound to these countries uppon privation of their offices and arbitrall correction: We authorise like-wise all others, dwelling in the aforesaide united Netherlands, or frequenting the same: dilligentlye to enquire, and to take sharpe regarde & if this our order bee by any one, of what countrie, condition or qualitie soever, violated or broken.
And if in the aforesaid Havens, Citties, or places, any goods be laden, shipped, or carred, which being found, we will and ordaine them to be ceazed & sequestrated, for summarily and without common course or traine in lawe, the saide goodes which shall bee found to have bene so laden togither with the shippes, waggons, carts, and horses, to be confiscated, the one third part to the use of the accuser, be he an officer, or otherwise in service of the land or no, and the other two third parts, to the use of the common causes, wher-out the officer who shall follow the matter in law shall be contented. Ordaining moreover, that the proprietaries, or owners of the said goods, as also maisters of the said ships, waine men, or carmen, in whose ships, or upon whose waines or carts, they shall be found to be laden in the forbidden havens, citties, and places, to be apprehended, and stayed untill such time as they shall have paide and accomplished all such further pennalties and corrections, wherein according to the nature of their trespasse (by the arbitrements of the judge) they shall be condemned, which may not be less (for so much as toucheth the merchants) then a thousand pounds; and for each of the shippers or maisters of ships, five hundreth pounds sterling of fortie pence in the pound.14
And to the end that the foresaid orders may the better be followed, and all fraudes punished: We meane that within a yeare after the aforesaide trespasse, all such which shall bee found to have violated or broken the same, it shall and may be lawfull, by all officers of the saide lands, and before competent judges, to arrest and condemne them for the valew of the said goods and shippes, waggons, carts, and horses, togither with the above named penalties and corrections. The sentence whereof by provision shall be executed, all appellations & provocations notwithstanding.
And if any in the aforesaid united Provinces desired to ship or lade any goods, to transport the same to the neighbour countries or friends: the same shall not bee permitted unto him, unlesse he have leave and license thereto from us, the said Lord Admirall generall, or from those which thereunto by us shall be appointed; and that by the shippes which shall lade the same, sufficient sureties shall be set for the valew of their shippes, that the saide laden goods shall not be carried to any other place but to the havens, citties, and places of our said friends and allies; and that within a certaine prefixed reasonable time named in their pasports, according to the distance of the haven, to yeeld sufficient certification and proofe thereof; or else their bond shall be executed uppon the sureties, for the aforesaid valew, to the use of the common causes.
And further, we charge all Admirals, Vice Admirals, Captaines, and Commissioners for sea, all Chieftaines, Generals of horses, Captaines, and officers of men of war by land, to take sharpe regarde, that all such of what lande or condition soever, as shall have any goods, wares, or merchandizes in their shippes, upon their waines, cartes, horses, or otherwise laden, being bound for the saide realmes, countries and citties, held and occupied by the enemies, may be pursued, overtaken, and brought backe to the colleges of the Admiraltie,15 and other justices aforesaid, to be punished according to the tenor of these presents.
And we being resolved to keepe a good and sure order for the defence of the ships of trade and fishing, using at sea, against all forraine invasions & robbings of the enemie, as also against the exorbitant ransomes which the common enemies use in the pilling and ransoming of the same. We have therefore forbidden and interdicted, forbid and interdicte by these present, all inhabitants of the united lands, as well Merchants Ships, Pilots, as other, using trafficke or fishing, at Sea or on the Rivers within the land, or transporting any goods beyond the seas, to take or procure any pasports or safegards of the enemies, in no manner or sort, upon confiscation of the ships and goods of such as shall be found to have taken any, with further arbitrall correction. Ordaining that the givers of the said pasports, safegardes, or safe conductes of the common enemie, shall bee for example of other,16 punished by losse of life, and confiscation of theyr goods, as ayders of the enemy.
And if in case any of the ships or Pilots be by the enemie taken, and over and above the order by us therto established, be ransomed and endamaged, we will and ordaine that the same unreasonable ransomes and damages shall be recovered uppon the Officers, Justices, and subiects of the vilages of Brabant, Flaunders, and others, remaining under the enemies’ dominion, besides what they shall pay to the commissioner for ransome, charging and authorizing the deputed counsel of the States of the respective Provinces, whose subjects against these our orders shall be by the common enemie by exorbitant and unreasonable ransomes or otherwaies endammaged, to take notice thereof, and to recover and reimburse them as before, by such proceedings and meanes of execution, as in like matter is commonly used.
And to the ende no man pretend ignorance hereof, we signifie and commaund our beloved, the States, Lieutenants,17 and appointed Counsailors of the States, and deputed States of the respective Provinces of Gelderland, Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Vriesland, Overyssel, Grooning and Ommelanden,18 and all other Justices, and Officers unto whom it doth belong to cause this our will and ordinance to be every where published and proclaimed, in the places where the publique Proclimations are usually proclaimed, we charge likewise the Chauncelor, Presidents, and provinciall Counsailours, Advocates, Fiscals, and generall Attorneys; and all other Officers, Judges, and Justices of the aforesaide Countries, together with all Chiefetaines, Coronels, Admirals, Vice-Admirals, Generals of horses, Captaines, Officers and Commaunders, to follow and ensue these our ordinances, and to cause them to be followed and ensued, proceeding and causing to be proceeded against the transgressors thereof, without grace, favour, dissimulation or delaye, as we have found the same for the Lands welfare to be most needfull.
Given in S. Graven Haghe,19 the second of Aprill. 1599.
I. van Oldenbarnevelt v.20
Verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Board September 9, 160422
Extract from the Register of Verdicts Pronounced by the Delegated Councillors of the Amsterdam College of the Admiralty Board (notarized copy). The Delegated Councillors of the Amsterdam Admiralty Board have reviewed the case between the Advocate-Fiscal of Holland,23 the Company of Eight Ships,24 and Admiral Jacob van Heemskerk—the plaintiffs, and all those contumacious persons who might otherwise have come forward for the protection of the St. Catarina and its cargo.25
In justification of the interdiction, the plaintiffs posited that the aforesaid Company had sent a fleet of eight ships to the East Indies under the command of the aforesaid Admiral in order to trade with the inhabitants in the usual fashion and with the permission of the local authorities. To that purpose, the Admiral had received a commission from His Princely Excellency,26 which obliged the former to defend himself with all possible means against anyone who tried to attack or harm him on his voyage, while also authorizing him to obtain reparations for damages sustained.
After passing the Canaries, the fleet found itself under attack from a powerful armada of thirteen Spanish warships. The Red Lion bore the brunt of the Spanish cannonades and was even boarded, which caused the death of the pilot and a few other crew members and the wounding of several more. As a result, the vessel was forced to abort the voyage and return home. In his efforts to relieve it, the Admiral had been in great danger of losing his own ship—some of his crew were shot dead, while the fleet was weakened by the loss of one of its best vessels. In addition, the Vice-Admiral27 found himself alone in the midst of the Spanish armada the following day and extricated himself with difficulty. He remained separated from the rest of the fleet for the duration of both the outward and return voyages.
Van Heemskerk continued on to Bantam, where he learned about the naval battle between the Portuguese armada commanded by André Furtado de Mendonça and the five Dutch ships, also belonging to this Company and commanded by Wolfert Hermanszoon. The Portuguese armada had been expressly authorized to destroy all Dutch ships and their crews, as well as the East Indian nations that granted the latter access to their harbors and markets. When the Portuguese were thwarted in their design to invade and subdue Bantam by the five Dutch ships, they had gone to Hitu on the island of Ambon and brutally tyrannized the poor inhabitants. In addition, they had captured and wrecked the island of Makian, which belonged to the King of Ternate, again tyrannically abusing the inhabitants. It had been their intention to do the same thing at Ternate, where two Spanish ships had arrived from Manila to assist them, for no other reason than that the King of Ternate and his subjects had traded with the Dutch. Two ships from Holland called Utrecht and Guardian had been exposed to great dangers in fighting the Iberian armada and left Ternate with less than half the cargo they were supposed to have taken in.
All this came to the notice of Van Heemskerk, along with reports of the mistreatment of twenty crew members of the fleet of Jacob van Neck, for which the Portuguese at Macao were responsible. They had shamelessly hanged and strangled seventeen crew members, while sending the other three to Goa as prisoners. When a certain Grusberghen reached Cochin China with two ships for the purpose of trading there, the local ruler, at the instigation of a Portuguese monk, slew twenty-three of his crew and imprisoned several of his officers, only to release them in exchange for two iron guns. Three men whom Van Heemskerck had left at Banda on a previous voyage were chased relentlessly by the Portuguese when they tried to cross over to Ambon in order to trade there. Two of them escaped and saved themselves by taking refuge with the heathens on some island. Yet one of them was captured by the Portuguese and quartered alive by means of four galleys.
The Portuguese engaged in many other hostile and tyrannical procedures against us. It is notorious how gruesomely and tyrannically they treated the crew, cargo, and ships of Balthasar de Cordes at Tidore. Several of De Cordes’s crew surrendered to the Portuguese in the belief that the latter would keep a promise to spare them. Yet they were shamelessly murdered by the Portuguese, who forced them to witness each other’s mutilation—first hands, then feet, and finally heads were cut off. In addition, the Portuguese used fireships in an attempt to destroy two of Van Neck’s vessels. At Aceh, they incited the local ruler to attack two Zeeland ships that wanted to trade there, which cost the lives of many people.
In consultation with his council of naval officers, the Admiral decided not just to resist an enemy who had subjected the Dutch to so much harm, abuse, trouble, and tyranny, but to inflict the greatest possible damage in order to prevent any repetition thereof in the future. By these means, permitted by natural law and jus gentium and enjoined by the commission of his Princely Excellency, the East Indian trade, so important to these Provinces, might be continued peaceably, free of violence, and without let or hindrance. With these considerations in mind, the Admiral departed from Bantam with two ships of his fleet and sailed east in search of appropriate lading.
In the vicinity of the Kingdom of Johore, he encountered the carrack in question, carrying seven hundred fighting men, most of them Portuguese and enemies of these Provinces and their commerce. Acting upon the council’s aforesaid resolution and mindful of the edict of the Estates General, declaring the possessions of Philip III’s subjects to be good prize, regardless of the time and place of seizure, the Admiral first attacked and captured the carrack, and then put its crew ashore safely. He took the carrack along with him to Holland, where he unloaded its cargo, including some clothes of the Dutch sailors hanged in Macao, and stored the goods in an orderly fashion for safekeeping.
The directors of the Company of Eight Ships have asked this Board to pronounce judgement in this case, which it is authorized to do according to its instructions. Since nobody has come forward for the protection of carrack and cargo, the plaintiffs have requested and obtained a citation by means of posted announcements. Following the custom of this Board, the citation has been repeated three times, with fourteen-day intervals. Since nobody has presented himself, the Board ascertains the first, second, and third defaults at the request of the plaintiffs. For the benefit of the latter, it declares all those who might have come forward for the protection of carrack and cargo guilty of contumacy, dismissing any further claims and defenses on their part. The Board sustains the claim of the plaintiffs as being supported by their documents and evidence. It concludes that the aforesaid Admiral had a sufficient cause to capture the carrack, as belonging to the Portuguese and subjects of Philip III, enemies of these United Provinces and their Indies trade, which they tried to eradicate by means of violence, intrigue, and deceit. The Admiral derived his authority not only from the written laws and jus gentium, but also from the edicts of the Estates General and in particular his commission, as the Portuguese admitted themselves. Even the Governor of Malacca recognized that Van Heemskerk had captured the carrack in a just war. The plaintiffs have exhibited various acts, titles, attestations, and other documents in support of the above facts and opinions. Based on these proofs, they request that the Board render a definitive verdict and impound carrack and cargo, declaring them good prize.
The aforesaid Delegated Councillors have given all of this their full consideration.
Sentencing for contumacy in the name of His Excellency as Lord High Admiral, they confiscate the aforesaid carrack, including all its cargo, and declare it to be good prize. They order the carrack to be auctioned off in its entirety and the proceeds to be divided among the plaintiffs, in accordance with the relevant instructions and ordinances of the Estates General. Drawn up and pronounced at the meeting of the aforesaid Delegated Councillors in Amsterdam on September 9, 1604.
(The Amsterdam notary H. Oosterman signed this particular copy of the verdict after collating it with the original.)
Decree of the Estates of Holland September 1, 160428
The Estates of Holland and West Friesland have read and examined a report submitted by the province’s Audit Office and Advocate Fiscal. Citing the law and custom of Holland and West Friesland, the report argues that the County of Holland, not the East India Company,29 should enjoy the carrack and cargo captured by Jacob van Heemskerck from the Portuguese in the East Indies.
After due deliberation the Estates of Holland and West Friesland have established that the aforesaid Van Heemskerck was appointed admiral and commander of several Indiamen by His Excellency, Lord High Admiral of the navy, and sailed to the East Indies with the approval of the Estates General. Every captain who served under Van Heemskerck received an individual commission from His Excellency as well. It is common knowledge that the Portuguese and other public enemies of these provinces attacked the fleet of Van Heemskerck with warships in order to prevent him and other inhabitants of these provinces from engaging in trade and navigation in the East Indies. Such Dutchmen as reached the East Indies were, without exception, treated as enemies by the Portuguese, who, reverting to type, murdered them cruelly. The Portuguese also besieged, attacked, and killed the inhabitants of several kingdoms, towns, and countries, which had concluded trading agreements with the Dutch. Even before Van Heemskerck’s departure—for many years, in fact—the Estates General had admonished the directors of the East India Company to maintain the East Indies trade by launching well-armed fleets, sufficiently powerful not just to defend themselves against Portuguese attacks, but to go on the offensive as well.30 Van Heemskerck and other Dutch admirals and captains fought the enemy in various places in the East Indies, facing a multitude of warships. With God’s grace, they maintained and increased the East Indian navigation and trade, liberated indigenous kingdoms and towns allied to these provinces, and won notable victories over the aforesaid enemies. More advantages of this kind are expected in the future. All this has severely inconvenienced and harmed the public enemies, while increasing the honor, service, profit, and reputation of the United Provinces and its good citizens, at no expense to the commonwealth whatsoever. As a result, the Estates General has shown an even greater willingness to admonish the directors of the East India Company to maintain unity within their ranks and continue the offensive against the common enemy. To this purpose, the Estates General has incorporated the company and supported the merchants in various ways.31
For these and other good reasons, the Estates of Holland and West Friesland hereby resolve and decree that the Santa Catarina be left at the disposal of the Estates General and Admiralty Board, along with all other prizes captured in the East Indies, as a matter related to the common defense.32 Resolution drawn up in The Hague on the first of September in the year of Our Lord and Savior, 1604.
In previous years I have been in continuous correspondence with Your Majesty and informed you of anything that might affect the Lord’s service, Your Majesty, and the common welfare. The present letter serves the same purpose.
In this monsoon of April 1600 I returned to Malacca in order to write to the Captain, the municipal government, the House of Mercy, and the Chapter.35 My presence was desired by many in Malacca, where I will reside from now on, as I wrote to Your Majesty at length in December 1599. May the Almighty bestow his blessing upon me and make my presence here serviceable to His Church, as well as to Your Majesty and all the people of the South. I sent a long letter to Your Majesty with the ships that left the East Indies for Portugal this January. I mentioned whatever seemed necessary for the Lord’s service and yours, as well as the common welfare of this State. I wrote a similar letter in the previous year and attached sailing directions for Aceh, Bantam, and other regions.36 I refer you to those letters and sailing directions, which must have reached your private secretaries. For this reason, I will keep it short and only discuss the current state of the Southern regions.
Many letters written in March 1600 by reliable witnesses in China, Malacca, the Spice Islands, and elsewhere testify to the fact that twelve ships from Holland and Zeeland arrived in the southern region in 1599, notably ten ships at Bantam and two at Atjeh. These twelve ships must have left their country in 1598 and wintered on the eastern side of Madagascar. In total, sixteen well-armed merchantmen must have embarked on the voyage, whereof the admiral was lost and three ships were sidetracked in the Gulf of Guinea because of the weather. The letters do not say which course the ships have taken in these quarters, nor do I have any information about the three ships.
Of the ten ships that arrived at Bantam, four immediately received cargoes of pepper and spices and sailed home in January 1599, without having done any harm to the Bantamese, let alone to the Portuguese, or troubling a single other nation. They bought pepper at thirty ryals of eight per bahar and mace at eighty and ninety ryals of eight per bahar.37 In addition, they purchased cloves, nutmeg, and other products of these regions. They were unaware of the local prices fetched by these products, but bought them nonetheless. They ended up spending a lot of money, for they paid the highest price. They were well regarded and highly esteemed by the locals, for they were honest traders who did not resort to any kind of subterfuge, harassment, or violence. They brought along many trade goods and commodities from their provinces, whereof they sold some that appealed to the locals. They also imported all kind of guns in large quantities, which found many buyers. The guns were bartered for ryals of eight, which were sold in turn to the Bantamese and Chinese. They became fast friends and allies of the King and Regents of Bantam, and raised great expectations of continuing this trade and friendship on a regular basis, which God forbid.
Two other ships of this fleet of ten sailed along the north coast of Java and crossed over to the fortress at the island of Ambon, where they first loaded cloves at the island of Hitu and then departed to an unknown destination.
Two more ships of the aforesaid fleet sailed along the north coast of Java and crossed over to the Banda Islands, where they took in nutmeg and mace. After receiving their cargoes, these two ships returned to Bantam and sailed home in August 1599. I am told that serviceable winds blow over that sea every season of the year. They left ten or twelve men at the island of Banda Nera as a token of their friendship and intention to return there. Similarly, they left factors on the island of Hitu and in the Kingdoms of Bantam and Bali.
The remaining two ships of the fleet of ten awaited the new pepper harvest at Bantam in order to set out to sea in January 1600. Yet I have no confirmation of their departure or even of their destination.
The other two ships that had wintered at Madagascar reached Aceh in July 1599. They were initially well received by the King of Aceh, who sold them a small quantity of pepper. Yet a few Portuguese who were visiting Aceh warned the ruler that he risked his friendship with the Portuguese if he allowed Hollanders and Zeelanders to trade in his realm. With the King’s consent, they hatched a conspiracy to set the two ships on fire. Yet some royal councillors tipped off the crews of the two vessels, which left Aceh immediately, as if they were fugitives. Of the crew members who had remained ashore [and were subsequently imprisoned], the King of Aceh sent the Captain of Malacca two men who were proficient in Spanish. One of them was a pilot born and bred in Zuricaia in Portugal, who had been aboard a Brasil-man captured by the two ships and who had been forcibly taken to the East Indies against his will. Since the aforesaid men had been arrested in this city, the Captain of Malacca sent them to the Viceroy at Goa in order that he might decide on their fate. After their departure from Aceh, the two aforesaid vessels soon returned there, or to be more precise, they reached Ceylon, where the bigger ship was lost on the coast of Ceylon [near] Batticaloa. The destination of the other vessel is unknown; rumor has it that it was shipwrecked as well.
As I mentioned above, I wrote to you at length about these southern regions both this year and last. I enclosed the sailing directions for Bantam, Aceh, Patani, Gaidela, Siam, and Cambaya, along with a proposal for resolving the situation there. It is the fruit of my discussions with people of great experience who are intimately familiar with these regions. These letters and sailing directions must currently be in the hands of the Secretaries. May Your Majesty find time to look at them for the benefit of the Lord’s service as well as your own, and make such arrangements for the southern regions as will safeguard this state and commonwealth. I refer you to the aforesaid letters and sailing directions, which contain the necessary admonishments. May the Almighty grant Your Majesty a long life and good health in order to take the required measures as soon as possible.
Apart from these difficulties and new enemies in the southern regions, a junk or freighter was lost on its voyage from Japan to Macao, carrying a million in gold and over half a million in cruzados.38 The treasure belonged to the Portuguese inhabitants of Macao, who are reduced to great poverty and despair as a result of the shipwreck.
In the kingdom of Cambodia, they killed the Portuguese, including the missionaries, and rose in rebellion against us because of some harassment or aggravation suffered by them.
In the princedom of Siam, they also murdered all the Portuguese and burned some of them alive as a result of the aggravation that we caused them.
In the islands of Solor, the blacks rebelled and captured our fortress, which they lost again after half a day.
Although we kept possession of Solor, we were not so fortunate in the kingdom of Blambangan, which was a great ally of ours and counted many churches and missionaries—the inhabitants are heathens. The ruler of Pasuruan, who is a Javanese or Muslim, attacked Blambangan with a large army and defeated the King, making himself lord and master of Blambangan. He forced the heathens to convert to Islam and turned the churches into mosques, killing all the Christians.
In the Kingdom of Pegu, they killed all the Portuguese.
In the Moluccas, the inhabitants of Ternate besiege our fortress at Tidore. War is expected to break out on the island of Ambon as well.
These setbacks arise from a gross neglect of these southern regions on the part of the Estado da India. May Your Majesty quickly take the appropriate measures—sooner rather than later, if possible—and thus benefit these southern regions, which are the solace of the entire Estado and Portugal. I hope that Your Majesty will continue to give his undivided attention to these rich and excellent regions. May the Almighty reward you with many victories, which will undoubtedly result in an increased number of Christians, an expansion of the empire, and many spoils for yourself and your subjects.
The entire Estado da India yields one million in gold and four hundred thousand in cruzados annually in taxes, so I am told by the officers who administer the account for the auxiliary forces, conquests, and fleets of the South. As regards the current shortfall in the tax revenues, if there were a permanent southern fleet and admiral, the tax revenues of the southern regions would increase markedly. In addition to the rents that have already been allocated to the aforesaid conquests, another four hundred thousand cruzados should be used for this purpose, out of the million in gold earned in tax revenues. This should be sufficient for the fleets of the southern regions and its conquest and conservation. May the Almighty provide for what is required for His service.
In last year’s correspondence I wrote at length about the state of affairs in the northern regions, to which I refer Your Majesty. In this letter, I will just discuss the events of the year 1600. Our Lord has granted us a great blessing in the assassination of Cunhale,39 ordered by the Viceroy. Indeed, Don Francisco da Gama Tralhou40 did everything he could possibly do, as did André Furtado de Mendonça, the commander of the expedition, who acquitted himself well, along with all the other noblemen and soldiers, who gained honor by this victory, without any other claims or pretensions. May the Almighty keep and protect Your Royal Majesty, and grant you a long life for the sake of His Church. Dated Goa, April 30, 1600.
Underneath it was written and signed in a different hand:
Chaplain to Your Majesty, the Bishop of Malacca
The letter was addressed as follows: To the King our Lord
It said underneath: From the island of Malacca
Jan de Zwart, Public Notary accredited with the Provincial Court of Holland, residing in Amsterdam and proficient in Spanish, translated these articles from an authentic copy of the original letter. After completing the translation, the extract was collated with the authentic copy. Dated Amsterdam, October 23, 1604.41
Thus I bear witness,
(signed) Jan de Zwart, Public Notary, 1604
The Council of Malacca to the Four Representatives of the Dutch Ships Who Accompanied the Portuguese Prisoners to an Island near Malacca March 9, 160342
It is customary among kings and potentates that they disagree in their resolutions and opinions, while their subjects are harmed in their person and possessions. Fortune and opportunity has granted your Admiral such a big advantage that the ship from China surrendered to him.43 Yet these are matters that are determined by the unfathomable will of God. We send Your Honors these refreshments out of gratitude, as your Admiral and you yourself have spoken the truth to the Portuguese and kept your promises to them. We will always keep this uppermost in our minds in order to behave likewise in similar circumstances. There is nothing more to be said at this time. May God Almighty keep and preserve you. Written in the [Council] Chamber by me, Paulo Mendes de Vascola, author of the same. Dated: Malacca, March 9, 1603. Signed: Ruijs Lestaomante, Andreas Fernandes, Pero de Carvalhaets, Domingos Domonte, Isaac de Gusgago.44
Wars have divers and doubtful outcomes, which, whether good or bad, arise from God’s will alone—people are mere instruments in this respect. Your Honor was so lucky as to encounter a richly laden ship full of merchants, who have no stomach for fighting, along with women and other useless peoples, who are an impediment in cases of emergency. Your Honor may justly enjoy your prize, for you captured her in a public war. I am sorry for one thing, however: that Your Honor did not encounter my ship, so that you could have seen the difference in armaments and defensive capacity.
What happened to the Hollanders in China grieves me not a little, and it troubles me that such a heavy punishment was imposed with so little cause.47 Be assured, however, that the public prosecutor of Macao, the perpetrator of this misdeed, already languishes in jail, and will have to pay for it with his life. I nullified the charges against the Hollanders who arrived here from China and the Moluccas and showed myself a good friend to them. Hence Your Honor does not have sufficient reason to attack us in revenge.48
I dispatch a vessel in the company of the Hollanders who safely conducted the carrack’s passengers and crew to Malacca at Your Honor’s orders. I will kiss Your Honor’s hands if it pleases Your Honor to return this vessel with the friar, brother Anthonis, the captain of the carrack, and the remaining Portuguese who are still in your protection. I should furthermore be obliged if you could negotiate the release of the passengers and crew of the Chinese junk taken by the Malayans and obtain the King [of Johore]’s promise that nothing will happen to them on their way to Malacca. It would be proof that your deeds do indeed match your words.
May the Lord preserve and keep Your Honor.
Dated: Malacca, March 9, 1603.
Signed: Fernão d’Albuquerque.
The Governor of Malacca to Admiral Jacob van Heemskerck March 26, 160349
I received Your Honor’s letter with great joy. It testified to the pleasure that you took in the safe arrival [at Malacca] of the crew and passengers of the captured carrack. I expected as much from an admiral like you. I will do the same for any Hollander brought into this fortress in similar circumstances.
As for the Dutchmen whom you claim to be [imprisoned] in India and Japan, the Viceroy is accustomed to treat captives well and abhors the misdeeds of the public prosecutor of Macao. He had the man arrested in order to punish him severely. Your Honor should not, therefore, take offence at the Portuguese in general. Everybody considers what was done in China an evil deed.
In the knowledge that Your Honor cares deeply for the fate of all captives and oppressed Christians, I entreat Your Honor to do me the favor of negotiating with the King of Johor and his brother. I want him to release the Portuguese and Christians whom he keeps prisoner under the pretext of peace. I do not speak of, or wish to reclaim, the cargo of the junk, which has undoubtedly been divided among the soldiers of his navy. I only desire the release of the Portuguese and Christian prisoners, who are of little importance to the Malayans. I therefore send you Philippe Lobo and Pero Mascarenhas, whom I entreat Your Honor to take into your protection, so that they may safely return with the Portuguese prisoners and not lack your favor and goodwill.
May the Lord preserve you and bring you home to Holland according to His will.
Dated: Malacca, March 26, 1603.
Signed: Fernão d’Albuquerque
The Captain of the Santa Catarina to Admiral Jacob Heemskerck March 24, 160350
It has pleased the Lord to bring me back to Malacca under the protection and in the favor of Your Honor. All the days of my life I will sing the praises of your steadfast promises and true friendship, which I enjoyed while I was your prisoner, along with all other people who were with me. I heartily wish that I could offer you some refreshments in order to express my gratitude for your kindness and favor. Yet I have been unable to put it into effect. I am among strangers here, with poverty as my bedfellow. Indeed, I do not even have any proper clothes to speak of. What I am currently wearing is so torn and spoiled by the hail of gunfire from Your Honor’s ship that it can no longer be used as garment. For this reason I entreat Your Honor to do me a good turn and send me a piece of velvet for a new set of clothes. If Your Honor grants my request, I would consider it a great kindness and gladly receive your alms. Let Your Honor call to mind the circumstances in which you captured and released me, and in which I may find myself in the future. Whatever it pleases Your Honor to give me, you can send it to me by means of the bearer of this letter, who will deliver it to me. And I will consider myself beholden to Your Honor, since Your Honor’s gifts will merit it. May God be with you and bring you back home to Holland in good health.
Dated: Malacca, March 24, 1603.
Signed: Sebastiano Serrao
[1. ]The Dutch original was published in The Hague in April 1599 at the behest of the federal government of the Dutch Republic. A transcription of this document may be found in appendix B of Hugo Grotius, De Jure Praedae Commentarius/Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950), vol. 1: A Translation of the Original Manuscript of 1604 by Gwladys L. Williams, 371–75.
[2. ]That is, the federal government of the Dutch Republic—the modern-day Kingdom of the Netherlands has the same borders as the United Provinces after 1648.
[3. ]The title of Holy Roman Emperor could not be inherited. Instead, three bishops and four secular princes, known collectively as the Electors, voted on the succession at the Diet of the German Estates. The Electors were mighty territorial princes in Germany in their own right.
[4. ]The Holy Roman Empire (modern-day Germany).
[5. ]The German city of Cologne.
[6. ]Philip III of Spain and Portugal (r. 1598–1621).
[7. ]Archduchess Isabella of Austria (1566–1633) was the daughter of Philip II of Spain and Portugal. She governed the Spanish Netherlands together with her husband, Archduke Albert of Austria, from 1598 until 1621, while serving as regent for her nephew Philip IV from 1621 until her death in 1633.
[9. ]Queen Elizabeth I of England (r. 1559–1603).
[10. ]Maurice of Nassau (1567–1625) was the second son of William the Silent, one of the instigators of the Dutch Revolt against Spain. Maurice succeeded his elder brother as Prince of Orange in 1618. After his father’s assassination, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Dutch army and navy. In addition, he held the political office of Stadtholder (“governor”) of the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelderland.
[12. ]Archduke Albert of Austria (1559–1621) governed the Spanish Netherlands from 1596 until 1621, first on behalf of his uncle, Philip II of Spain, and then in his own right. His wife, the Infanta Isabella, was made joint sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands by the king’s last will and testament.
[13. ]An employee of the Dutch Admiralty Board, charged with collecting the so-called convoyen and licenten, the import and export duties levied by the Estates General.
[14. ]Five hundred Dutch guilders, or fifty pounds sterling.
[15. ]The Dutch Admiralty Board consisted of five “colleges,” viz. Amsterdam, South Holland (Rotterdam), the North Quarter (jointly at Hoorn and Enkhuizen), Zeeland (Middelburg), and Friesland (Dokkum).
[16. ]“as an example to others”
[17. ]Maurice of Nassau, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelderland, and his cousin Count Willem Lodewijk of Nassau (1560–1620), Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen.
[18. ]The standing committees of the provincial Estates, which took care of day-to-day government in each of the seven provinces.
[19. ]The Hague.
[20. ]Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547–1619) served as the Advocate of Holland and political leader of the Dutch Republic from 1586 until his death. He drafted almost all the resolutions adopted by the Estates of Holland and Estates General.
[21. ]Cornelis Aerssen (1545–1627) was the clerk of the Estates General from 1584 until 1621.
[22. ]A notarized copy of the Dutch original may be found in the Dutch National Archives, Staten Gen. 12551.21 (Loketkas Processen nr. 21), unfoliated. My English translation is based on this notarized copy.
[23. ]The Advocate-Fiscal of Holland could be considered the province’s public prosecutor. He was a plaintiff nomine officii.
[24. ]The United Amsterdam Company.
[25. ]The Admiralty Court imposed an interdiction on the carrack and its cargo at the request of the plaintiffs, viz. the Advocate-Fiscal of Holland, Van Heemskerck, and the United Amsterdam Company. The judges summoned all those who had a claim to the carrack and its cargo to appear in court within six weeks, on pain of being found guilty of contumacy. Since nobody presented himself, the Admiralty Court confiscated the Santa Catarina for the benefit of the plaintiffs.
[26. ]Maurice of Nassau in his capacity as Lord High Admiral of Holland and Zeeland.
[27. ]The Vice-Admiral in question was Jean Grenier, commander of the Black Lion. Due to the naval battle off the Canaries, the Black Lion was separated from the rest of Van Heemskerck’s fleet and continued its eastward journey all alone. Ironically, it was the only ship to reach the fleet’s projected destination, the port of Aceh on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. The journal of Reyer Cornelisz, pilot of the Black Lion, was recently published in Dutch in Peper, Plancius en porselein: de reis van het schip “Swarte Leeuw” naar Atjeh en Bantam, ed. Jan Parmentier, Karel Davids, and John Everaert (Zutphen, The Netherlands: Walburg Press, 2003).
[28. ]The resolution of the States Assembly of Holland was published in the Register van Holland en Westvriesland, 1604–1606, p. 217. It appears as “Decretum Ordinum Hollandiae” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:379–80. My English translation is based on that text.
[29. ]The United Dutch East India Company, or VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie).
[30. ]A case in point was the resolution of the Estates General of November 1, 1603, which reminded the VOC directors that all possible damage should be done to the common enemy in the East Indies, so as to maintain and increase the company’s trade “with honor.” See Resolutiën der Staten-Generaal, 1579–1609, ed. N. Japikse and Ha. H. P. Rijperman, vol. 12, 1602–1603 (RGP 92) (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1950), 631. See p. 422 of the present volume.
[31. ]The United Dutch East India Company, or VOC, was a joint venture of various Holland and Zeeland trading companies. Since Oldenbarnevelt conceived of the VOC as the new military arm of the Dutch Republic, it was he who summoned the merchants to The Hague in the winter of 1601–2 and presided over their protracted negotiations. His strenuous efforts resulted in the famous VOC charter, approved by the Estates General on March 20, 1602.
[32. ]The Union of Utrecht (1579), the constitution of the Dutch Republic, stipulated that all matters relating to the “common defense” were the exclusive preserve of the Estates General. The resolution of the Estates of Holland cleared the way for the verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Court of September 9, 1604.
[33. ]Dom João Ribeiro Gaio, Bishop of Malacca (r. 1581–1601). After the Union of the Iberian Crowns, the bishop deluged Philip II with memoranda proposing the joint Luso-Spanish conquest of all of Southeast Asia. Cf. C. R. Boxer, “Portuguese and Spanish Projects for the Conquest of Southeast Asia, 1580–1600,” Journal of Asian History 3 (1969): 118–36.
[34. ]The Portuguese original has been lost, along with the seventeenth-century Dutch translation. Frederick Muller, an Amsterdam bookseller, bought a copy of this translation at the Martinus Nijhoff auction of Grotius’s book manuscripts and personal papers in 1864. Muller’s handwritten transcription is in Robert Fruin’s personal papers in Leiden University Library (Ltk 1555-39) and appears as “Pars Epistolae Episcopi Malaccensis ad Regem” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:380–84. My English translation is based on that text, as corrected by comparison with Muller’s transcription. See p. 497 of the present volume.
[35. ]The capitão-mór, or governor, was the highest-ranking Portuguese official in the town of Malacca.
[36. ]The bishop’s sailing directions have recently been published as O Roteiro das Cousas do Achem de D. João Ribeiro Gaio: Um olhar português sobre o Norte de Samatra em finais do século XVI, ed. Jorge M. dos Santos Alves and Pierre-Yves Manguin (Lisbon: Comissão Nacional para as Comemoragões dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, 1997).
[37. ]Ryals of eight, also known as Spanish dollars or pieces of eight, were Spanish silver coins used for commercial transactions in both the East and West Indies. A ryal was worth approximately two and one-half Dutch guilders. The bahar was a unit of weight common throughout the Malay Archipelago, which could be subdivided into picols and kati. They had no uniform standard in the seventeenth century, but, as a rule of thumb, the bahar was subdivided into 3 picols and the picol into 100 kati. Dutch historians usually equate 1 bahar with 364 Amsterdam pounds, approximately 180 kilos, and the kati with 1.25 Amsterdam pounds, a little more than 600 grams.
[38. ]Portuguese merchantmen plied between Goa and Japan on an annual basis, the ports of call being Goa, Malacca, Macao, and Nagasaki. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the Viceroy at Goa auctioned off the Japan voyages to the highest bidder, usually high-ranking officials of the Estado da India. For the privilege of sending a ship from Goa to Nagasaki, they paid a fee of twenty-two thousand Portuguese cruzados, approximately sixty thousand Dutch guilders or six thousand pounds sterling. The fee amounted to just 3.5 percent of a voyage’s actual worth, estimated at six hundred thousand Portuguese cruzados, approximately 1.5 million Dutch guilders or one hundred fifty thousand pounds sterling.
[39. ]Mahomet Kunhali Marakkar, known to Portuguese chroniclers as Cunhale Marcά, was a notorious corsair who plundered the annual Portuguese pepper shipments from the Malabar Coast to Goa in the 1580s and 1590s. When armed convoys proved insufficient to keep the corsair in check, Viceroy Francisco da Gama sent two military expeditions to the fortress of Cunhale. The first, led by Dom Luis da Gama, ended in complete failure in 1599; the second, led by André Furtado de Mendonça resulted in the corsair’s surrender and execution the following year.
[40. ]Francisco da Gama, Count Vidigueira, was Viceroy of India in 1597–1600 and 1622–28.
[41. ]The date of the collation suggests that the letter was translated into Dutch at the request of the Amsterdam VOC directors and mailed to Grotius by Jan ten Grootenhuys. It was Grootenhuys who had sent Grotius the “book treating of the cruel, treasonous and hostile procedures of the Portuguese in the East Indies” on October 15, 1604. It consisted of fifteen notarized attestations of Dutch merchants and mariners, collected by the Amsterdam VOC directors between September 11 and October 6, 1604. Grootenhuys wrote again to Grotius on October 20, 1604, enclosing “the edict of the Estates of Holland, and the sworn statement of Mr. Apius, along with the verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Court.” He promised to send more materials for inclusion in De Jure Praedae “the day after tomorrow.” The letter of Dom João Ribeiro Gaio undoubtedly belonged to this third set of documents.
[42. ]Although the Portuguese original has been lost, a Dutch translation of this letter is still extant in the “book treating of the cruel, treasonous and hostile procedures of the Portuguese in the East Indies.” W. Ph. Coolhaas includes the translation in “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,”Bijdragen en Mededelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 79 (1965): 531–32. A German translation was first published in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien (Frankfurt-am-Main: Th. de Bry, 1606), second preface, page II seqq. It appears as “Epistola Senatus Malaccensis” in Appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:385. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 383 and 497 of the present volume.
[43. ]Van Heemskerck captured the Portuguese carrack Santa Catarina on February 25, 1603. A detailed description of the seizure may be found in document IV of appendix II.
[44. ]Malacca town councillors.
[45. ]Fernão d’Albuquerque was a descendant of Alfonso d’Albuquerque, the conqueror of Goa (1510), Malacca (1511), and Ormuz (1515). Fernão d’Albuquerque served as capitão-mór (captain-major) of Malacca in 1601–3 and governor of India in 1619–22.
[46. ]Although the Portuguese original has been lost, a Dutch translation survives in the “book treating of the cruel, treasonous and hostile procedures of the Portuguese in the East Indies.” It is printed in Coolhaas, “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,” 532–33. A German translation, first published in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien, appears as “Epistola Praefecti Malaccensis ad Jacobum Hemskerckium” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:385–86. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 383, 431, and 497 of the present volume.
[47. ]Jacob van Neck, the commander of the Fourth Dutch Voyage to the East Indies, arrived off Macao with two ships on September 27, 1601. Van Neck was unaware of his location and put out first a sloop, then a longboat to take soundings in the harbor. The Portuguese officials at Macao, panic-stricken at the sight of the Dutch ships, lured the crew of the sloop ashore with white flags of truce. The longboat was captured the following day, when it came too close to the town. The Portuguese made twenty prisoners in total and secretly hanged seventeen of them in November 1601, contrary to the express wishes of the Chinese authorities. Marten Aap, the fleet’s legal officer, and two cabin boys were sent to Goa, where the Portuguese viceroy released them in March 1602. See pp. 279–283, 425, and 456 of the present volume.
[48. ]The German translation omits the last sentence of this paragraph.
[49. ]This document has had the same fate as the two previous ones: a Dutch translation in Coolhaas, “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,” 533–34, and a German translation in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien. The latter translation appears as “Epistola Altera Ejusdem ad Eundem” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:386–87. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 279–83, 383, and 497 of the present volume.
[50. ]This document has had the same fate as the three previous ones: a Dutch translation in Coolhaas, “Een bron van het historische gedeelte van Hugo de Groot’s De Jure Praedae,” 535, and a German translation in Appendix oder Ergänzung desz achten Theils der Orientalischen Indien. The latter translation appears as “Epistola Capitanei Captae Galeonis ad Jacobum Hemskerckium” in appendix B of Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, 1:387. My English translation is based on the Dutch and German editions of this letter. See pp. 383–84 and 497 of the present edition.