VOC [DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY]
[THE FIRST KNOWN BATAVIA IMPRINTS] Sammelband containing three VOC pamphlets.
Naerder Artyculen ende Poincten, waer op tusschen de Grootmogenden Padvcca Siri Svltan Hassan Ovdyn, Coninck ende vordere Regeringe van Maccasar ter eenre; Ende den Heere Cornelis Speelman, Oud Gouverneur van de Cust Chormandel; Superintendent en Commisaris over de Osterse Provintien, Admirael en Crygs-Overste over de Scheeps en Crygs-macht; In de Name van den Ed: Heere Joan Maetsuycker Gouverneur Generael ende de Heeren Raden van India; Representerende de hooge Regiringe en Oppermacht van wegen de generale vereenigde Nederlantse geoctroyeerde Oostindische Compagnie alhier in India ter andere zyde; is gemaeckt geslooten en vast gestelt een eeuwich durende vaste en goede Vreede Vriendschap en Bondgenootschap. Gedruckt tot Batavia : [Hendrik Brants], den 15. Maert Anno 1668. Small quarto, pp  (the first 2 blank); a fine copy. Text of the treaty between Admiral Cornelis Speelman and the Sultan of Makasar. Landwehr, VOC, 243, citing Van der Wulp 4522; Knuttel 9701; Tiele IV, I p. 40; Van der Chijs I, p. 1. Landwehr locates 7 copies.
Naerder Contracten gemaeckt met Radia Tello en Crain Linques . Den 9. en 13. Mart Anno 1668. Item naerder Poincten met Radja Tello en Crain Lincques, mitsgaders den Jongen en Ouden Coninck van Goa gemaeckt den 15. 21. en 27 July. 1669. Den vierden Druck vermeerdert met drie Brieven, door Crain Goa. Crain Tello. en Crain Linckis. Aen syn Edelheyt de H. Gouverneur Generael geschreven. Tot Batavia : Ghedruckt by Hendrik Brants Boeckverkooper, en Jan Bruyningh, inde Prince-straet, 1669. Small quarto, pp  (the last blank), printer’s woodcut device (B1); a fine copy. Text of the peace treaty made by the VOC with Tello and Linques, rulers of Celebes (Sulawesi) and allies of the Sultan of Makasar. See Landwehr, VOC, 245 (‘tweeden Druck’), citing Van der Wulp, 4549. Landwehr locates 5 copies.
Vreede Articulen gemaeckt tussen de Generaele Nederlantse Geoctroyeerde Oost-Indische Compagnie ende de Coningen van Bima en Dompo. Tot Batavia : Gedruckt by Hendrik Brants Boek-verkooper, en Jan Bruyningh. Inde Prince-straet, 1669. Small quarto, pp  (the second blank), printer’s woodcut device (B1); a fine copy. Text of the treaty between the VOC and the rulers of Bima and Dompo (Sumbawa), who were defeated by the Dutch in the war against Makasar. Landwehr, VOC, 244, citing Van der Wulp, 4551; Knuttel, 9758. Landwehr locates 3 copies.
Bound in marbled wrappers and housed in a custom cloth chemise and slipcase of half morocco over cloth, spine lettered and decorated in gilt.
Three documents from the cradle of printing in the East Indies, all of the utmost rarity.
‘The exact point at which printing was begun in Batavia is not known, although in the seventeenth century J. Nieuhof made reference to a Tytboek (1659); this book has never been found, however. The oldest example we have knowledge of is entitled Memorie vande gronden ende diepten van ‘t Dassen-Eyland, te weten aan de oost-zy (Memorandum on the ground and depths of Dassen Island). It is a report published by Adriaan Joosen Swaan of the Cape … As of today, the oldest known printed work dates from 1668 (no. 243). It was printed by H. Brants, who had signed a contract with the government of Batavia. At first, mostly government placards and other official documents were printed. The number of copies would not have been large, at least not by Dutch standards. At the time there were fewer than 3,700 company people in Batavia, a figure which represents both employees and their dependents. This would mean that the majority of the employees were local people who could not read’ (Landwehr, VOC, p. xxi).
On 14 March 1668, Governor Maetsuyker and the Council of India gave permission for Hendrik Brants to print a peace treaty which had been negotiated between the ruler of Malacca and the former Governor of Coromandel, Cornelis Speelman. According to Zuiderweg, this marked a watershed moment for printing in the East Indies, as previously the Heren Zeventien (the VOC board) had issued a number of decrees forbidding the publication and circulation of printed matter (or manuscript material) relating to their colonies there. ‘This peace treaty ushered in a period of liberalization of the Batavian printing press’ (Adrienne Zuiderweg, Nieuwsgaring in Batavia tijdens de VOC, in Tijdschrift voor tijdschriftstudies, 2010, no. 27, pp. 108-126).
We can locate no copy of any of these Batavian imprints in auction records.