Scope and Content Note

This series contains administrative correspondence of Petrus Stuyvesant during his seventeen year term as director-general of the colony of New Netherland (1647-1664). The correspondence consists mainly of incoming letters from the directors of the West India Company in Amsterdam and the governors of neighboring colonies. The letters address matters relating to the defense, commercial interests, and prosperity of Dutch holdings in North America and the Caribbean. Colonial boundary disputes and competition for trade among the English, Swedes, and Dutch are among the topics discussed. Most of the outgoing correspondence, copied into separate books for future reference, is no longer extant. Therefore, this series generally represents a one-way correspondence from the directors to Stuyvesant.

The colonial administrative correspondence originally constituted volumes 11-15 of the New York Historical Manuscripts in the New York State Library. Volumes 11 and 12 sustained loss to the edges of each page in the 1911 New York State Capitol fire. Notable among the correspondence is a letter from the directors of the West India Company rebuking Stuyvesant for arresting and banishing John Bowne, a Flushing Quaker who persisted in holding religious meetings in his home. The original records are in the Dutch language.