‘Het quaestieuse verdronkene goud’: Over de eigendom van een strandvondst uit het in 1674 verongelukte schip De witte Haas’

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Zacharias Huber (1669-1732) evaluated in the revised Heedensdaegse Rechtsgeleertheyt arguments, hitherto unknown, which were brought forward in a case, pursued before the Court of Friesland and decided on December 14th 1718. The case dealt with the ownership of a box with gold, found on the beach of Schiermonnikoog in 1710 and which came from the ship De Witte Haas, shipwrecked off the coast in 1674. Newly found civil records show that Maria Wilree (1667-1729) from Amsterdam started the procedure to recover the box with gold, because it purportedly belonged to her father Dirck Wilree (1636-1674), director-general for the West India Company in Guinea and who died in the shipwrecking. She took legal action against Henrica Helmhout, regent of Schiermonnikoog and receiver of wrecks, and Gillis Vermeersch, representative of the West India Company. Only Vermeersch was successful in his argument, which he based on the instructions of the Company: it was forbidden to transport unregistered private goods. Such goods forfeited immediately to the Company. Consequently, Wilree claimed for the Company ownership and possession of the box with gold. Helmhout claimed to be the owner by prescription. Their arguments appear not to have been convincing.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)6-31
Number of pages26
JournalPro Memorie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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