Batavian Edicts on Marriage Proclamations, Impediments to Marriage and Repatriation and Native Women



Edicts on Marriage Proclamations and Impediments to Marriage

10 September 1632:

Injunction to Collegie van Schepenen as Commissioners of Matrimonial Affairs to register marriage proclamations instead of Church Council who until now has provisioned for them and afterwards shall no longer [register marriage proclamations].

The marriage proclamations are not allowed:

  • to Company personnel not furnished with acts of consent granted by Governor-General
  • to blacks [swarten] not furnished with attestations granted by Church Council that they were instructed substantially in first principles of Christian religion [PB, I:277].


Commissioners for Matrimonial Affairs

For sound reasons, the aforementioned commissioners are henceforth expressly forbidden to register a marriage proclamation of a Netherlander with any native woman unless she can moderately understand and speak the Dutch language ... set of instructions in 1642 Statutes of Batavia [PB, I:542].

19 June 1665:

Prohibition against the registration of marriage proclamations of slaves with free women, unless it became apparent to the Commissioners of Marital Affairs that said persons had begotten one or more children. Stipulation that the [marriage] proclamations of persons, who are not Netherlanders, would be given in the Malay or Portuguese Church. [PB II:397].

16 February 1672:

Proclamations of weddings of Christian natives must be done both in Portuguese & Malay church in Batavia [PB II:555].

Impediments to Marriage

15 January 1621:

Prohibition against marriage and baptism without consent

Marriage and baptism may only take place with consent and recommendation from our respective authorities of this place and that consent and recommendation from the servants of God's Holy Word, thereto authorized by the parish of the Holy Church of the United Netherlands and permitted by us‚ the punishment is 50 pieces of eight and arbitrale correctie [PB I: 89].

8/11 June, 1641:

Means to the advancement of the knowledge and the use of the Dutch language.

Through male and females slaves, the use of the Portuguese language had expanded so much in Batavia and in other Company stations that the government foresaw Portuguese gaining the upperhand and smothering, once and for all, the language of our Fatherland:

  • Article 1 - In previous times, for identification‚ slaves forbidden to wear hats. At present slaves are permitted to wear caps and hats if they moderately understand and speak the Dutch language, of which they must be able to show written verification, given by the Commissioners for Matrimonial Affairs. Otherwise their hat or cap will be confiscated and themselves be whipped soundly.
  • Article 2 - Male or female slaves [slaven of slavinnen], belonging to Christian owners must grant no letters of freedom [vrij-brieven] unless they have papers showing that they could moderately speak the Dutch language.
  • Article 3 - Native women, who do not moderately speak and understand our Dutch language‚ may not marry Netherlanders [PB, I: 459-60].

Repatriation and Native Women

1 September, 1633:

Instructions for those desiring to return to the Netherlands to report to Councilor of the Indies, J. van der Burch, within 3 days.

Ratio for these instructions: Government did not want to hinder shipping by transporting too many women and children [PB, I: 296-97].

6 September 1633:

Stipulations upon which men can be liberated to the Netherlands. Because of the quantity of requests to repatriate with the return-fleet, following conditions put in place: Men shall not allow widow or young daughters to leave, unless they themselves go in the service of, or under the supervision of, a qualified (gequalificeerde) married family.

No menfolk who are married to Indies women shall be allowed to depart unless they leave behind means for them (and indicate it to us), wherewith their wives could and would be properly provided for in their absence [PB, I: 297].

30 Sept-6 October 1649:

Prohibition against the departure to Europe of native wives and of husbands, with anyone who is married to them.

[Enacted with reference to precepts contained in missives from the Heeren XVII (29 March 1649)] … The ban against the departure of native wives, etc., was enacted toward the advancement and stabilization of a good, fixed and well regulated colony in these lands … and for other weighty reasons.‚ The prohibition pertains to all native women, whether they be free or not free, mixed or other naturals [naturellen] of these lands, married or not married.‚ They also may not set out for Europe on English, Danish, French, or Portuguese ships. The penalty was arbitrary punishment to the body and the wyders according to the exigencies of the matter [PB, II: 132-34].

Mansell Upham

My thanks to Mansell Upham for this contribution.  DR


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