From a letter by admiral Steven van der Haghen to the VOC-directors of Amsterdam,
written on 20 august 1618, in the fortress of Nofaquia on the island Makian
[Dutch National Archives, access no.: 1.04.02 (VOC), file 1068, folio 253r - 254r],
the original letter
We could make a big profit on the clothes, if we would be the only ones in this trade. However this will not be the case
or some time to come. But if it would be possible to unite with the English and use our combined power to keep the
Portuguese out of the trade with Surat and the Coromandel coast, or to conquer together the strait of Singapore and prevent junks to sail to Malacca, just allowing if necessary the
subjects of the king of Johor to do this in order to avoid that all nations of the Indies would hate us. In that case all the gloves
, nutmeg and mace would fall into our hands, which does not happen at the present.
Concerning the extremely rich trade between the Spanish and the Chinese. She is very important. It is common knowledge that this trade can be made completely fruitless once the VOC being united with the EIC. Not only at the advantage of this united company but of the entire Republic, even of entire
Because never linen or drapery has been made in the Netherlands, Germany or Italy or the Chinese counterfeited them, equally good or some items better.
New Spain (Mexico) and Peru have been provided with these goods in such way that after some time neither Spain or other
European provinces could compete. A big disadvantage for our provinces.
In order to prevent this and to inflict losses to our enemies we will continue to send every year a few ships in order to prevent sailing between China and Manilla and make trade without avail.
This year we could only send five ships as we have recently not been provided with many ships. If Your Honour would assist us next year with an important fleet, we could be able
to disrupt totally the Spanish trade with the Chinese.
We should continue to do so to make the Spanish leave the Philippines. They say themselves that they will have to leave
within a few years if the Dutch continue, because all their power and prosperity stems from the trade with the Chinese.
We have started to do so four years in a row. May the Lord allow our success because it is also the right way to increase
the trade between our countries and Spain and let it prosper anew. Besides that, the rich trade with the Chinese may become
ours in course of time.
In that case, the capital of the company should be increased by half. Because the Chinese reproach us that we want to
obstruct them to trade with the Spanish in Manilla, without being able to buy the silk and other textiles from just one
well-charged junk. This became clear when we arrived with our cargo in Banten [from the Netherlands, end 1614]. In Manilla
arrive more than 30 junks per year.
Your Honour might ask us what we will do with all this silk and other textiles if we would be able to get them. We should
buy the quantity that we are able to sell in Japan, the Moluccas, Java, Sumatra, the Indian coast and Coromandel, Cambay
(N.W. India) and Arabia, sending the best to Europe. If we unable to pay in cash, they should give us credit for one year
as they do with the Spanish and decrease the price of their silk when occasionally the demand is low.
What a splendid occasion has been presented to Commander Lam to charge all his ten ships with valuables. Had they remained
together they would have obtained incredible riches, but it has not pleased Our Lord.
We are not telling each other fables: the Chinese really bring treasures and richness each year to the Spanish in Manilla
from which they have profited now many years. If we could unite our East Indies Company with that of the English, we can
expect the same with in addition the rich trade of the East-Indies.
We would not have been ill-treated and bullied as a few years ago in Bantam, Amboyna, the Moluccas and in other places. If
the above-mentioned companies will not unite, ?? her ruin will be imminent, because we can not wage war against the king of
Spain and the English, who are stirring up all our friends and allies against us wherever they go. On top of this the
French and other European nations have arrived.