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Social Care in Eighteenth-Century Batavia The Poorhouse, 1725–1750

  • Margreet van Till

Extract

Almost everyone living in the Dutch Republic or its territories in the East in the eighteenth century, who did not belong to a patrician family or to the upper middle class, could be considered ‘poor’ according to modern standards. In these societies, however, there was one group of people who could be singled out as extremely poor. These people, representing the lowest stratum of society, were the clientele of the poorhouses and poor relief.

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1 Most works deal with poverty and popular culture in general, with some attention for diaconal and secular poor relief. The major works and articles in this respect are: van Deursen, A.Th., Mensen van klein vermogen. Het kopergeld van de Gouden Eeuw (Amsterdam 1991) and Bavianen en slijkgeuzen. Kerk en Kerkvolk ten tijde van Maurits en Oldebameveldt (Franeker 1993). Schutte, G. J., Een Hollandse dorpssamenleving in de late achttiende eeuw: de banne Graft 1770–1810 (Franeker 1989). van den Eerenbeemt, H.F.J.M., ‘De arme en het maatschappelijk welzijn in historisch perspectief’, Sociale Wetenschappen 4 (1961), nr. 4. In Armoede en Arbeidsdwang. Werkinrichtingen voor ‘onnutte’ Nederlanders in de Republiek 1795 ('s-Gravenhage 1977)the same author discusses the conversion of certain poorhouses in the Netherlands into working institutions, a move forced by the growing number of paupers as a result of the economic crisis at that time. The recently republished standard work by de Haan, F., Oud Batavia. Cedenkboek uitgegeven door het Bataviaasch Cenootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen naar aanleiding van het driehonderdjnrig bestaan derstadin 1919 (Batavia 1922) offers a fine introduction to the institutions of the colonial centre of the East. van Asperen en Dubbeldam, C.W.Th. Boetzelaar, De Protestantsche kerk in Nederlandsch Indi en haar ontwikkeling van 1620–1939 ('s-Gravenhage 1947) deals more specifically with church history in the East. Furthermore in press: Niemeijer, H.E., De Nederduytsche Cerefarmeerde Kerk in de kotoniate samenleving van Batavia, 1621–1720 (to published in 1995).

2 The Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia (‘ARNAS’) holds the archives of the Reformed Church of Batavia from 1618 to 1898. Sources concerning the poorhouse during the period studied include resolutiōn diakenen, containing records of deacons' meetings, bijlagen (appendices) to resolutions, with requests for admission into the poorhouse, uitdelingsboeken and grootboeken (distribution books), wees-en armenhuis rekeningen (orphanage and poorhouse bills), and journalen (with lists of residents' names). Some of the (archive) documents mentioned were either not available at all or were less complete for other periods.

3 Ordonnantie armenhuis 1686 (24 May), ARNAS, Archive Batavia, inv. no. 5–1. The ordinance is printed in van der Ghijs, J.A., Nederlandsch Inrlisch Plakaatboek III (1678–1709) (Batavia 1886), 178184.

4 Hallema, A., ‘Een merkwaardig type van diaconaal verzorgingshuis en kerkelijke verple-gingsinrichting in oud-Batavia voor drie eeuwen terug, 1636–1936’, Diakonia 7 (1936), 160162.

5 Ordonnantie, f. 1.

6 Ibidem, f. 2.

7 Ibidem, f. 3.

8 Ibidem, f. 3.

9 Ibidem, f. 5.

10 Ibidem, ff. 4–5.

11 Ibidem, f. 7.

12 ‘om harer ouderdom of lichamelijke gebreken onbequaam sijn harer kost te winnen maar geensins van geheele familien die nog met kinderen vergroot of beswaart souden konnen werden […’ Resolutie Batavia 104–1696, ARNAS, resolution Batavia 1696–1816, inv. no. 1, f. 191.

13 Journaal January 1727, ARNAS, Archive Kerk en Diakonie (DIAK), inv. no. 391, f. 8 ff./ et seq. See also the yearly reviews, usually made up in February, in the resolutiēn.

14 Cf. the lists of names of the orphanage in the resolutien-books February 1727, 1728, etc., ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285 and 286.

15 Cf. Resolutiēn 5–2–1727, 4–2–1728, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, respectively ff. 80–82, ff. 298–301 and resolutien February 1731, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, ff. 212–217 and resolutiēn 6–2–1737, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 290, ff. 67–70. Due to frequent occurrence of the same names among native residents the comparison of the lists of names concerning this group o f residents may be less accurate.

16 Schutte, , Banne Graft, 69.

17 Bijlagen resolutie 14–5–1712, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 314, f. 173.

18 Resolutien 1730–1745, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 287, f. 707.

19 Concerning the policy of the deacons with regard to members and non-memhers, see also Van Deursen, Bavianen, 116. In Haarlem women whose husbands were not members of the church did not receive relief.

20 Examples of this are to be found in Resolutie 11–2–1743, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 318, ff. 299/300 and Resolutie 29–1–1746, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 287, f. 243.

21 Resolutie 14–5–1733, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 597.

22 For lists of deceased people cf. the lists of names in the resolution-books, drawn up during the review in February (ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, 290). Due to missing data an exact calculation of the turnover unfortunately is hardly possible.

23 Bijlage-resolutie 30–7–1743, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 318, f. 599.

24 Resolutie 18–8–1730, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 290, f. 189.

25 Bijlagen-resolutie March-April 1738, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 318, ff. 135–138. The exact date is missing from on the document.

26 ‘[…] dat Godshuys ontsegt aan den burger Ernst Cano om de wille van zijn dronkenschap en buijtensporige conduiten’. Resolutie 15–4–1738, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 290, f. 310.

27 Van Deursen, , Mensen, 220.

28 Van Deursen, , Bavianen, 115. For this subject cf. Roodenburg, Herman, Onder Censuur: de kerkelijke luchl in de gcreformeerde gemeente van Amsterdam, 1578–1700 (Hilversum 1990).

29 ‘hem niets anders te schelen dan zodanig een passieus liefhebber van de vogt te wesen dat qualijk tijd hadde zijne zinnen bij malkander te komen vergaderen’. Resolutie 22–9–1733, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 701.

30 Resolutie 13–1–1728, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, f. 276.

31 Resoiutie 6–8–1726, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, f. 3 and 4.

32 Journaal January 1724, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 391, f. 7.

33 Resolutie 3–4–1731, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 260.

34 Bijlagen-resolutie August 1743, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 318, f. 662.

35 Resolutie 15–8–1733, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, ff. 684–685.

36 Resolutie 18–2–1733, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 557.

37 ‘suster en moeyeJacoba Appeldoorn genoegsaam van haarjeugt af zo ongeluckig geweest is dat se nu en dan in zonderheyt bij de nieuwe of voile maan omtrend haar zinnen getroubleert is, hetwelke langs hoe meer schijnt te verergeren, zoverre dat zij supplianten althans in de grootste bekommering des weerelds zijn, dat gedagte haere suster en moeye in dien staat zij zoude konnen komen te buyte gaan tot hunnen merkelijke declin en schande’. Resolutie 27–12–1740, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 291, f. 230.

38 Resolutie 30–7–1726, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, ff. 1–5.

39 Deursen, Van, Bavianen, 105108.

40 Resolutie 15–12–1727, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, f. 269.

41 ‘denselven in dat huijs meest alles na zijn eijgen welgevallen quam te dirigeeren. Jaselfs de daar inne gealimenteerd werdende arme en ook kranksinnige menschen in de boeijen te sluyten en 5 a 6 weken lang daar innen te houden, sonder daar van de minste voorkennisse aan haar buijtenregenten te geven […]’ Resolutie 9–12–1727, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, f. 265.

42 Resolutie 5–12–1727, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, ff. 269–270.

43 Resolutie 17–1–1728, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 285, f. 278.

44 Resolutie 19–12–1732, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 509.

45 De Haan, , Oud Batavia, 1, 315.

46 Resolutie 26–2–1732, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 246, f. 423.

47 Journaal January 1728, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 391, f. 9.

48 Resolutie October 1738, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 290, f. 419.

49 Resolutie 29–4–1732, ARNAS, DIAK. inv. no. 286, f. 442. In these years many initiatives were developed in the Republic by town poorhouses to put the poor to work in institutions. Cf. Eerenbeemt, Van den, Armoede, 59 and further.

50 Resolutie 2–1–1733, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 519.

51 Resolutie 17–4–1732, ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 25.

52 Resolutie February 1733 (review), ARNAS, DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 537.

53 Resolutie 16–2–1733, ARNAS. DIAK, inv. no. 286, f. 555.

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Social Care in Eighteenth-Century Batavia The Poorhouse, 1725–1750

  • Margreet van Till

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