Letter from King Narai (r. 1656-1688) to the Supreme Government in Batavia, (received) 1 December 1668


[In summary]
In his letter the captain of Jaccatra says that he is sending a Dutchman who can make gunpowder, and another who has a knowledge of matters of war and is good at handling guns, both to serve in Siam. This is evidence of the sincerity of the captain of Jaccatra (by paying homage) at the feet of Alaradt [1], King of Siam. The King of Siam appreciates this very much. However, the person who knew how to make gunpowder, on arrival at the lodge of Siam, became ill and died, without ever having had the chance to make gunpowder. And the person who understood about war and guns, when questioned and directed to fire some guns, replied that he was no good at it. Hence I was not able to send him to the war, and herewith am returning him as unusable. For these reasons I ask the captain of Jaccatra to seek out a master who is skilled in waging war, someone who can make gunpowder and another who can dress stone, to come and live in the lodge of Siam.

Moreover I have seen a small timepiece, which in Dutch is called ‘orlogie’. I have become attracted to this and wish that in a year or two the captain of Jaccatra might send one to the feet of the King of Siam.

Enoch Poolvoet [2] has also informed us that the captain of Jaccatra had written him a letter [3], in which he was ordered to depart for Batavia. The merchant should continue living in the lodge of Siam. But according to the old custom – and this has always been the way here – I am always sent a letter first if the captain of Jaccatra wishes to send another person to relieve the resident present here. And seeing that the said Poolvoet has been serving in Siam from an early age, I thought that the captain of Jaccatra might impose some other tasks on him. But at the request that has been made at my feet by the Phrakhlang, I, Alharadt, King of Siam, have released him to go to Batavia.

Enoch Poolvoet has once more made it known that he had produced children by a female slave from Kanda Sima [4] in Siam. I have noted that request, seeing that the King of Siam is inclined to remain in friendship with the Dutch King in accordance with the contract made formerly, and in view of the many favours that the captain of Jaccatra has shown us. Therefore I have granted permission for the children of Enoch Poolvoet to go to Batavia with their father.


[1] Unclear what Alaradt means

[2] Enoch Poolvoet, executive head of the VOC in Ayutthaya (1662-1663 acting) (1664-1668).

[3] Two secret letters from Batavia to Poolvoet survive in the NA (VOC 887, letters dated 22 May and 3 September 1663).

[4] Poolvoet’s wife was the Siamese king’s subject, hence the phrase “a female slave from Kanda Sima”; khet khanthasima denotes the area within the boundaries of the king’s realm.