Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1185

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
829
EAST INDIES—GOVERNMENT AND CONSTITUTION

With regard to administration, the Dutch possessions in the East Indies are divided into residencies, divisions, regencies, districts, and dessas (villages). They are also very often divided into: (1) Java and Madura; (2) the Outposts—Sumatra, Borneo, Riau-Lingga Archipelago, Banca, Billiton, Celebes, Molucca Archipelago, the small Sunda Islands, and a part of New Guinea.

Java, the most important of the colonial possessions of the Netherlands, was formerly administered, politically and socially, on a system established by General Johannes Graaf Van den Bosch in 1832, and known as the 'culture system.' It was based in principle on the officially superintended labour of the natives, directed so as to produce not only a sufficiency of food for themselves, but a large quantity of colonial produce best suited for the European market. That 'culture system' comprised the forced labour of the natives employed in the cultivation of coffee, sugar, indigo, pepper, tea, tobacco, and other articles. At present, the labour of the natives is only required for the produce of coffee, which is sold by the Government partly in the colonies, but mostly in the Netherlands. By the terms of a bill which passed the Legislature of the Netherlands in 1870, the forced cultivation of the sugar-cane is now totally abolished.

The whole of Java—including the neighbouring island of Madura—is divided into twenty-two provinces, or residencies, each governed by a Resident, assisted by several Assistant-Residents (except the Resident of one of these provinces, Krawang, who has no Assistant-Resident), and a number of subordinate officials, called Contrôleurs. All these functionaries must have gone through an examination previous to their appointment by the Government. The Resident and his assistants exercise almost absolute control over the province in their charge; not, however, directly, but by means of a vast hierarchy of native officials. There is a regular and unceasing personal intercourse between the native chiefs and the Contrôleurs, who act as the immediate agents of the Resident. The native officials receive either salaries or percentages on the amount of the taxes gathered from the natives. In the 'Outposts' the 'culture' system has never been introduced, except in the province of Sumatra, west coast, and in the Residency of Menado (island of Celebes), where also the labour of the natives is required for the produce of coffee. These Outposts are administered by functionaries with the titles of 'Governor,' 'Resident,' 'Assistant-Resident,' 'Contrôleur,' &c.

The superior administration and executive authority of Dutch India rests in the hands of a Governor-General. He is assisted by a Council of five members, partly of a legislative, partly of an advisory character. The members of the Council, however, have no share in the executive.

Governor-General.— Jhr. C. H. A. van der Wyck, appointed July 15, 1893.

The Governor-General represents not only the executive power of government, but he has a right of passing laws and regulations for the administration of the colony, so far as this power is not reserved to the legislature of the mother-country. However, he is bound to adhere to the constitutional principles on which the Dutch Indies are governed, and which are laid down in the 'Regulations for the Government of Netherlands India,' passed by the King and States-General of the mother-country in 1854.

Area and Population.

The following table gives the area and population of Java—including Madura—and of the Outposts:—