English summary of the inventory of the archives of the Dutch factory in Japan, 1609-1860

Fonds Specifications


Custodial History

3. The present order of the archive. Deviations from the principle of provonance. The state of preservation.
The present classification and description has been built on the work of Heeres and de Hullu, with due observance of the principle of provonance. The arrangement of resolutions, daily records and other closed series as those of journals and ledgers was not altered fundamentally. The incoming and outgoing letters lent themselves to a more detailed classification in correspondence with several out-posts or with the Governor-General and his Council, while the letters from or to Japanese authorities were kept apart as far as possible.
A peculair group is formed by the approved and confirmed drafts ("minuten") of incoming lettersand the engrossed copies ("expedities") of outgoing letters from or to Governor-General and Council. These proceed from the archive of the High Government at Batavia, wich is proved by inscriptions on the covers of the volumes. To place these items in the H.R.B. - archive, in accordance with the principle of provenance, did not seem disirable, on the one hand because there exists only a fragment of the said archive in the repository of the General State Archives (cf.par.9), on the other hand because these letters fill some gaps in the regular series of Deshima - documents. Inversely, a small number of volume, belonging to the Deshima - archive, got among the H.R.B. - archive. These are mentioned in part F of the inventory, together with the documents that by various causes got among other collections. Of the items, described in Ch. VIII, first period (Incoming documentsto the information of the factory) something may also proceed from the H.R.B. - archive, but this cannot be established with certianty.
The items covering the period 1843-1860 were again dealt with separately in the present description. As was remarked in par. 7, the character of the factory was changed during the 1840's which change is shown in the archive by the existence of subdivisions containing secret documents, the papers of Donker Curtius acting as an official envoy, and cash-books, partly relating to the Vice-Consulate on Deshima after februari 1860. Therefor it seemed proper to maintain the division of the archive in two periods, connected none the less by a consecutive numeration and a classification that corresponds as much as possible.
The archive, wich covers a shelflengt of 30 metres, has been preserved on the whole in a good state. A few of the older volumes (resolutions, daily records, registers with letters) have suffered from moisture or insects. The documents of the second period have been damaged more, in proportion to their quantity. Those of 1843 are heavenly waterstained or riddled with wormholes, those of 1848 are nearly all missing.
The amount of loose documents is comparatively small; volumes, quires, and sets of bound documents form the greatest part. The bindings of the volumes in the series of correspondence with Governor-General and Council are are often broken, but not the less the volumes are discernible as such.