Financing Enlightenment, Part Two

Ian Baucom

in This Is Enlightenment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780226761473
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226761466 | DOI:
Financing Enlightenment, Part Two

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter focuses on the 1653–1660 account ledgers of Jan Van Riebeeck, the founding commander of the Dutch East India Company's fort and provisioning settlement at the Cape of Good Hope. Alongside the routine expenditure for cows, food, and supplies, there is an “extraordinary expenditure” in the year 1659 to suppress a rebellion of “Caapmen and Hottentoos,” who had suddenly attacked the Dutch trading post. It is shown that Van Riebeeck's legal rationale for this “just war” against an indigenous people depends upon the political theory of Hobbes's Leviathan (1651), as well as Zouch's Exposition of Fecial Law and Procedure, or of Law between Nations (1651) and Hugo Grotius's Rights of War and Peace (1625). These texts conceptualize a law that extends outside the state and justifies violence not merely against pirates and brigands but other “inimici”—those who are inimical by virtue of failing to possess a state, a senate, and a treasury, by failing to commit themselves to commerce and commonwealth, and are therefore incapable of entering into treaties with others. This nexus of law/money/violence, in which each mediates the others, wins formal philosophical sanction as a global imperative or universal rule during the Enlightenment, through Kant's Metaphysics of Morals and his concept of cosmopolitan universalism and “perpetual peace”.

Keywords: Jan Van Riebeeck; account ledgers; Dutch East India Company; rebellion; violence; law; money; Kant; cosmopolitan universalism

Chapter.  9045 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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