No. 887.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Bell.

No. 113.]

Sir: Referring to my instruction No. 86, dated April 2, 1887, I have to say that a copy of your dispatch No. 262, of August 24, 1887, was sent to our consul at Batavia on October 4, with instructions to com municate the statements of the Netherlands authorities to Mr. Connell, in order that he might have an opportunity to answer such of their explanations and allegations as conflict with the case as presented to the Department.

The Department is now in receipt of a dispatch from the consul at [Page 1325] Batavia inclosing a further communication from Mr. Connell with regard to his case, a copy of which I inclose, with its accompanying extract from the London and China Express of September 16, 1887.

The lieutenant-colonel commanding the “Batavia schuttery” having apparently assumed that Mr. Connell’s complaint was of illegal enrollment, it is desirable in the first place to point out that this is a misapprehension, and that neither Mr. Connell nor this Department has questioned his treatment as being exceptional in any way or as being different from what was required by the local law of Batavia.

The question presented by Mr. Connell and by this Department for the consideration of the Netherlands Government is whether or not the existence of such a local law is justifiable under international usage. The precise state of the case is now clear, and the question is therefore presented free from any complication as to differing views of the facts.

It appears that the “schuttery” is a local corps in which all residents of Batavia, whether the subjects of the Netherlands Government or not, are compulsorily enrolled, and that that guard may be called upon to take part not only in the defense of Batavia but also in expeditions to repress disorder in neighboring provinces.

It is well settled by international law that foreigners temporarily resident in a country can not be compelled to enter into its permanent military service. It is true that in times of social disturbance or of invasion their services in police or home guards may be exacted, and that they may be required to take up arms to help in the defense of their place of residence against the invasion of savages, pirates, etc., as a means of warding off some great public calamity by which all would suffer indiscriminately. The test in each case, as to whether a foreigner can properly be enrolled against his will, is that of necessity. Unless social order and immunity from attack by uncivilized tribes can not be secured except through the enrollment of such a force, a nation has no right to call upon foreigners for assistance against their will.

There is no evidence in the possession of this Department tending to show that the condition of affairs at Batavia is such as to bring the question within the fair meaning of the rule as I have stated it above. It is not understood that the condition of affairs in Java is such that the Dutch Government finds itself unable either to secure social order or to prevent the destruction of life and property by savages without calling upon all the inhabitants indiscriminately for assistance, and, short of some such condition of affairs as this, it is the belief of this Government that the general principles of international law would not warrant the Netherlands Government in resorting to so extreme a measure.

The Government of the United States has always favored the residence of its citizens abroad for commercial purposes connected with this country. Such a residence is conducive to the interests not only of the United States but also of the country in which such agents may temporarily reside.

Although the right of the Dutch Government to expel foreigners from their control can not be disputed, the Government of the United States cannot but regard it as a somewhat inhospitable manner of dealing with strangers who reside in the Dutch provinces for the purpose of commerce to insist as a condition of their residence that they shall endure compulsory military service, which may, under some circumstances, become extremely dangerous and onerous.

You may bring this matter verbally to the attention of the minister of foreign affairs, and explain to him in a frank and friendly manner [Page 1326] the views expressed in this instruction and impress upon him that we do not regard the position of Mr. Connell as in any way exceptional.

The desire of this Government is now, as it has always been, to extend its protection to those of its citizens residing abroad, and, by facilitating commerce between this country and the Netherlands, to continue to keep up the good understanding which has so long and so happily existed between the two countries.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 113.]

Mr. Pels to Mr. Porter.

No. 215.]

Sir: I beg to own receipt of your letter No. 87, dated October 4, 1887, witb inclosure, of which I took due note and contents of which I transmitted to Mr. Ed. R. Connell.

I now beg to inclose a letter from this gentleman addressed to me, dated November 28.

I have, etc.,

P. Pels.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 113.]

Mr. Connell to Mr. Pels.

Sir: Your letter 26th instant inclosing copies of correspondence submitted to the Department of State at Washington relating to my service in the “schuttery,” received. In reply I beg to state:

First. That on the 26th of January last I wrote through Consul Hatfield, as per copy herewith, requesting information as to whether or not the Dutch Government could compel me to do military service, and that neither before nor since, with the exception of my letter June 11, of which I also inclose press copy, have I made or authorized to be made any statement whatever on the subject. The United States Government’s action was first brought to my notice by a paragraph in a local newspaper. I subsequently read a copy of our minister to Holland’s letter to the Dutch colonial minister, calling his attention to the matter, and I immediately wrote the Department pointing out the inaccuracies therein.

Second. The claim was never put forward by or for me that my treatment was different from that of other foreigners resident here, but that there is the greatest dissatisfaction with the existing law the accompanying copy of an article which appeared in the London and China Express of September 16 last will go far to prove.

Third. I do not pretend to be a temporary resident only, my expectation being to remain here for an extended period; otherwise I would not have considered the matter of sufficient importance to justify a complaint.

Fourth. It is claimed that when called before the court-martial for enrollment I raised no objection on account of citizenship of the United States, the contrary being true, I having protested at the time against the Dutch Government’s compelling a foreigner to do military service.

Fifth. The regulations governing the “schuttery “of especial interest are, according to law No. 22, year 1838, as follows:

All Europeans and those thereto assimilated, between the ages of sixteen and forty-five, unless physically incapacitated or temporarily resident, and excepting certain Government officials, must serve. Those excused by reason of bodily infirmities or other causes must pay an assessment equivalent to about three-fourths of one per cent, of their income.

The primary duty of the “schuttery” is to preserve order in the locality where it has been organized, but in cases of insurrection or other danger to the Government it may be mobilized by the governor-general, and sent away to the disturbed section, in which case it is placed on the same footing as the regular army in every respect. The governor-general may also order the mobilization of the “schuttery” should the place to which it belongs be declared in a state of siege, but it will not in that [Page 1327] case be called upon to perform the routine garrison duties of the regular troops. Where practicable the “schuttery” and the regulars are not to mount guard together. The mobilization of the “schuttery “to be contingent on an insufficiency of regulars.

The resident or assistant resident may, at the request of the military authorities, call out the “schuttery” for active service, provided, in his judgment, the regular troops are not sufficient, and must immediately inform the governor-general of his action.

The “schuttery” is to attend all fires to protect property.

At parades, etc., in conjunction with the regular troops, the “schuttery” to have the right of line and to be given the preference for guards of honor.

Non-attendance at drills, parades, fires, or courts-martial is punishable by fines, imprisonments, or, ultimately, expulsion from the Dutch possession.

The remainder of the law consists of details as to dress, etc., of no great importance.

Sixth. The business of the house I represent is conducted chiefly by telegraph, and there is no especial time at which these cables arrive, but they may and do arrive at any and all hours of the day. The telegrams are in cipher, and though brought from the office to the drill ground would be of no value without a code, and, again, before they could be translated business houses would be closed. The busiest part of the day is between 2 p.m. and 4.30 p.m., and as it takes from one and a quarter to one and a half hours to go to and from the grounds no business can be done from the time of leaving the office to attend drill until the following day. It is an unquestionable fact, which no merchant would gainsay, that by not executing promptly orders for the purchase or sale of produce I might cause my firm vexatious losses. There is not a mercantile house which is not seriously inconvenienced by the operation of the “schuttery” law, and many and loud are the complaints.

The “schuttery” law, though sufficiently irksome and detrimental to business interests in times of peace, becomes many fold more so in the event of hostilities. Though Batavia itself might he in a state of perfect quietness, and commercial affairs here in no danger of derangement, the “schuttery” might, under the present law, be ordered to put down a native uprising or to repel invasion at some one of the other islands of the Dutch East Indies. The mobilization of the “schuttery” makes it part and parcel of the regular army, as is explicitly set forth in sections 32 and 33 of the law, and therefore its organization is both with a view to afford protection to the place in which it is formed and to incorporation with the regular forces in case of necessity.

It is the statute, and not an illegal enforcement of it, to which I object. A law interfering with the personal liberty and commercial interests of foreigners, compelling them to serve a flag not their own, should be abolished.

In opening this question I was actuated by no desire for cheap local notoriety at the expense of unnecessary trouble to the United States Government, and therefore, though fully persuaded of the injustice of, the “schuttery” law, simply called attention of the Government to it, leaving it to act as it thought best, but as representations have been made that I have misstated the actual facts, in self-defense I must enter more into details, and so request you to transmit this letter to the State Department, Washington.

Yours, very truly,

Edw. R. Connell.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 113.—Extracts from the London and China Express, September 16, 1887.]

The schuttery in Java.


In your issue of June 24 it is casually mentioned in a short paragraph that Britishers in Java have to turn out twice a week to drill and practice rifle-shooting. To your readers at home or in the British Eastern possessions this may appear to be no particular hardship, the idea of “military evolutions” being probably associated with the usual exercises of a volunteer corps. When, however, they learn that in the “schuttery” or compulsory volunteer forces, as it is facetiously termed by its chief, not more than 10 per cent. at most can lay claim to being Europeans, the remainder being composed of Eurasians, many of whom are much darker than pucka natives, the matter wears a different complexion. To the Anglo-Indian mind, to be drilled by a nigger without shoes would be very derogatory to a European, and this is one of the hardships we have sometimes to undergo.

The drilling season is from April 1 to the end of September, during which period every foreigner, unless incapacitated by physical infirmity or over forty-five years of [Page 1328] age, has to turn out from 4 to 6 p.m. four times a month, or, if a recruit, as most Englishmen naturally are, six times a month. To be on parade by 4 p.m. necessitates leaving the business quarter of the town shortly after 3 p.m.

I leave it to business men in India and China to imagine the inconvenience caused by such exodus at the busiest part of the day; on a Wednesday the offices are practically empty, no one beyond the chief, who escapes through advancing age, and one or two Chinese clerks being left. The fines for absences without special permission or medical certificate are 2.50 florins the first time, 5 florins the second, 10 florins the third, and a fourth absence renders one liable to two days’ imprisonment. It is whispered that Englishmen are looked upon as a valuable source of revenue in that respect, the funds of the corps being very low. At the present moment rifle-shooting is suspended, there being no money to buy cartridges with, while some musical instruments are said to be lying in bond at Sandjong Priok, there being no money available to pay the customs duty on them. Perhaps this impecuniosity may explain a Britisher having been fined 5 florins for smiling, recently, and an English (Straits) Eurasian 10 florins for starting off with his right foot first instead of his left foot. The uniform, which consists of a many-buttoned jacket, like office boys at home affect, except that it is of white drill, and a peaked cap like telegraph boys in the city wear, had to be provided by the schutter at his own expense, which, together with gharry hires to the ground, amounts to no inconsiderable sum during the season.

Besides the inconvenience, annoyance, and expense incurred, the absurdity of the whole thing is an additional grievance, as it stands to reason that in the event of a fight against a European foe no Britisher would turn out, while a native rebellion seems almost out of the range of probability, judging by the puny and diminutive appearance of the natives, at this end of the island at least. If Singapore, with a large floating population of the riff-raff of China, can be kept in order by a small police force and comparatively a handful of troops, surely Batavia, where soldiers seem omnipresent, has nothing to fear from its Lilliputian inhabitants.

To any one who has seen our volunteer corps, either at home or abroad, likewise the magnificent native regiments of British India, the Batavia schuttery presents a sorry and ridiculous spectacle, and all of us here cordially agree with your remarks that it is quite time we politely but firmly petitioned that the law might be altered. This we understand some of the British community have the intention of doing. Let us hope the home Government will back them up. The United States have protested against their subjects serving, which lead, we trust, the other Governments will follow.

Batavia, August 2.

editorial on above article.

We readily give publicity to the communication on the schuttery, or kind of militia, which every foreigner resident in Netherlands India knows to his cost is in force in those dominions. We do this in the hope that if some of “that fierce light” is thrown on it, the system will be discontinued. It is a relic of the time when the English at Samarang formed a volunteer force for the protection of themselves and their property, during the last great rebellion in Java. That there is no reason for it except that it causes considerable annoyance to every European, Netherlander included, is conclusively shown by the communication we insert. If there were any necessity for it or any practical end gained by it we would as willingly give our support to the authorities as we are compelled to blame them now, but it is really nothing but a senseless farce, and the sooner it is discontinued the greater credit to the Government. It is really time, however, that other Governments follow the lead of that of the United States in remonstrating against the practice, by which their nationals have to submit to so many indignities. The absurdity is shown in the fact that not even cartridges are served out this season to carry out the necessary rifle practice. A rifle is a useful weapon in war times, but among other things it requires proper feeding and use in times of peace.

[Inclosure 4 in No. 113.]

Mr. Connell to Mr. Hatfield.

Dear Sir: I beg you to call the attention of the State Department, Washington, to a law in force here requiring Dutchmen and foreigners alike to serve in the schuttery, the local militia. Having lately been enrolled I would request to be informed whether this Government can compel me, an American-born citizen, to do military [Page 1329] service. Attending drills interferes greatly with business, and the schuttery being under the entire control of the governor-general may, in case of an emergency, be ordered to any of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies.

Yours, very truly,

Edw. R. Connell.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 113.]

Mr. Connell to Mr. Porter.

Dear Sir: Since my letter to the American consul at this port, dated January 26 last, re service in the “schuttery,” I have seen a copy of a communication by the Hon. Isaac Bell to the Dutch colonial minister in which it is stated that “schuttery” service is preparatory to incorporation in the regular Dutch army. It does not hold true in peaceful times, but according to “Staatsblad” 1838, No. 22 Derde Hoofdstuk, in cases of native uprisings or other disturbances, the “schuttery” can be mobilized and sent for service outside of their local headquarters, in which case they are to be placed on the same footing and will be held equally responsible with the regular army. Mr. Bell also mentioned compulsory semi-weekly drills. The drills take place six times a month for the months of April to September, inclusive. That they interfere greatly with the business duties of one in, my position is unquestionable. Representing as I do, an American house whose business transactions are conducted principally by cable, my absence at drill might subject them to serious loss.

Yours, respectfully,

Edw. R. Connell.