Introduction to the Resolutions
of the Council of Policy of Cape of Good Hope

Structure of Council meeting minutes

The minutes of a Council meeting had a rather set and specific structure. The contents of a meeting consisted of matters that were discussed and resolutions (decisions) taken. In the interest of good administration it was necessary that particular matters should be brought to table during the course of a year.

The archival document reference code of each Resolution is mentioned first, followed by the minutes of the meeting. It is possible to distinguish the following different categories of matters according to the contents of the minuted matters and discussions by the Council:

(1) Reference code

(2) Name of day and date of meeting
If there were various meetings held per day, sessions in the morning, afternoon and evening were thus distinguished.

(3) Attendance register

(4) Text regarding discussions of particular matters and the decisions or resolutions taken at the meeting.

(4a) In the preceding minutes the verbatim statement of constable Willem Willemsz. was included. In most of the Council minutes full reports etc. brought before the Council for discussion, approval and/or decision-making were appendices to the minutes.
(The appendices are available under inventory numbers C. 1 to C. 2776; or visit for more information.)
Such appendices, i.e. financial statements of congregations, “memories” [lists of goods], reports of assets and liabilities, letters received, also letters in languages other than Dutch and usually accompanied by translations thereof, requests, petitions, supplications, extracts, reports concerning a variety of matters, shipping matters etc. were signed (signature, or cross as mark in the case of an illiterate person) where necessary and accompanied by a date and place of signing.

(4b) Then the decision/resolution of the Council on the particular matter followed directly afterwards. In the above minutes, however, the resolution precedes the statement.

(5) “General matters”
In the above minutes these were matters concerning bandits and ships.

(6) Closing phrases, consisting of

(6a) a fixed wording where the meeting place (Fort, Fortresse/Casteel, Cabo de Goede Hoop) was mentioned, followed by

(6b) a list of signatures beneath one another of Council members and the Secretary.
When high-ranking guests and VOC officials attended a Council meeting, their signatures followed one another in a hierarchy determined by rank and seniority.

In some of the volumes the so-called “Marginalia” served as a list of contents of the year’s meetings. The list of contents consists of notes made in the margins throughout the volume. These notes give a short view of the most important matters that were discussed during Council meetings as well as the decisions/resolutions taken. The “Marginalia” are not included in the digital presentation of the Resolutions, since they can be consulted more effectively with the search module.


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