Dutch Records from Malacca in the India Office Records, (1670) 1685 - 1835 (1841)

Description of the Subordinate Components

Orphan Chamber
Biographical history 
The Weeskamer (Orphan Chamber) was already a familiar feature of municipal life in the Netherlands when the Dutch embarked on their bid for overseas empire around 1600. As the name indicates it originally served an educational purpose but in the course of time it acquired other equally important functions. In Malacca as elsewhere its functions can be subsumed under three heads: educational, fiduciary, and financial. Primarily the Orphan Chamber was responsible for the education and maintenance of orphan children, often the children of one - parent families. A capital sum was deposited by the parent or guardian of each child in the Orphan Chamber treasury and half - yearly interest was paid on these sums. The interest was often added to the capital. When a girl pupil of the Orphan Chamber married, her husband was entitled under Dutch law to the capital sum deposited on her behalf.
The second function of the Orphan Chamber was a fiduciary one. By the law they were entitled to administer the property of those who died intestate. In addition testators frequently nominated them as executors of their wills. In certain cases, in the role of trustee, the Orphan Chamber administered the property of a widow or children on a long - term basis.
The third function of the Orphan Chamber was a financial one. One might say that they provided a partial substitute for banking facilities in Malacca. Money was lent out to individuals by the Orphan Chamber on the security of houses and lands and with an additional safeguard ot two individual sureties. Half - yearly interest was payable on these loans. Much of the landed property in Malacca was in fact mortgaged to the Orphan Chamber.
The members of the Orphan Chamber, also styled Orphan Masters (Weesmeesters), were prominent citizens of the European/ Eurasian community. Technically they were unpaid but they enjoyed certain perquisites including the right to borrow money from the Chamber at a lower rate of interest than normal. In 1825 on the re - imposition of British rule the Chiefs or 'Captains' of the three Asian communities in Malacca, viz: the malays, Chinese and Chulias (Tamils), were admitted 'ex officio' as Members of the Chamber.
Presidents of the Malacca Orphan Chamber 1758 - 1835 
1758 - 1764 Francois Tholozan 1764 - 1767 David Richard 1767 - 1775 Anthonij Abraham Werndlij 1775 - 1781 Arnoldus Franciscus Lemker 1781 - 1783 Abraham Couperus 1783 - 1788 Francois Thierens 1788 - 1799 David Ruhde 1799 - 1803 Jacob Frans Overree 1803 - 1808 Jean david Rabinel 1808 - 1815 Johan Anthon Neubronner 1815 - 1821 Jan Hendrik Stecher 1821 - 1822 Johannes Gustaaf Dieterich (Acting) 1822 - 1825 Sefridus Van Der Tuuk 1825 - 1827 Thomas Williamson 1827 - 1835 William Thomas Lewis