Commission of rev. Samuel Drisius to be ambassador to Virginia

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Petrus Stuyvesant, on behalf of their noble High Mightinesses the lords States-General of the United Netherlands and the noble lords-directors of the Chartered West India Company, Director-General of New Netherland, Curacao, Bonayre, Aruba and the dependencies thereof, together with the high council, to all who may read this or hear it read, greetings. Let it be known that for the purpose of promoting a general peace and the welfare of both nations, last May we empowered, commissioned and dispatched our special agents, the honorable Cornelis van Thienhoven, councillor and fiscal of New Netherland and Arent van Hattem, mayor of this city, to the right honorable Ritsert Bennett, governor and captain-general of Virginia and his council of state, in order to negotiate and conclude with them a close and firm alliance, correspondence and commerce between their and this our government without regarding the undesired, indeed, unhoped for bloody differences which have regrettably arisen between our nations in Europe, as the aforesaid governor and council can see further by their commissions and credentials. However, because the aforesaid honorable governor and the council of state in Virginia, according to their honest and agreeable responses, previously found themselves unauthorized to give a categorical answer to the propositions made by our former ambassadors[1] before they had first consulted with their superiors and the government of England and had received advice thereon, which they intended and agreed to do by the first opportunity. If this has been done agreeable to their sincere intention, we trust that the aforesaid honorable governor and council of state shall have received some time ago an answer from their superiors or, at least, expect such any day now; therefore, the director-general and council of New Netherland have resolved, for the promotion of so laudable an object as the continuation of peace, increase of commerce and cultivation of correspondence between such old friends, neighbors and co-religionists living in such distant countries, to dispatch once again an authorized and suitable person in order to remind the aforesaid honorable governor and council of Virginia of our former good intentions, which we still have, and of our propositions, and to learn their reply. We have hereto requested, authorized and commissioned the honorable and most learned Dr. Samuel Driesius, servant of God's word in the city of New Amsterdam; and fully relying on his ability, wisdom and experience we have directed him, as by this our open letter and commission we direct and empower him, to go to Virginia and address himself there to the aforesaid honorable governor Ritzert Bennett and his councillors in order to receive, in his capacity as our ambassador, from the aforesaid governor and councillors, an answer to our former propositions and to learn what reply was given by their superiors on the matter submitted. If the aforesaid honorable governor and his councillors should still not have received anything, then he is to propose and request a provisional continuation of the commerce and communication between the two places, and a free pass or safe-conduct signed by the honorable governor, because some of our merchants and their yachts have reciprocal debts outstanding with some inhabitants of Virginia, just as we have given and are still inclined to give passes to ships and yachts coming to us from Virginia. All of this provisionally until on either side we have received orders to the contrary from our superiors, countermanding the provisional passes; if so, such ships and yachts would be informed thereof six or eight days in advance so that private losses, general injury and further differences between our nations might be prevented. If this cannot be obtained, then he shall ask for a free pass for a ship so that our ambassador may be returned here unmolested by the Parliament's ships. We further promise by this our open letter and commission to ratify and execute all that may be agreed to and concluded in this matter between the aforesaid honorable governor, his councillors and our current representative, Domine Samuel Driesius. Done at Amsterdam in New Netherland, 16 December 1653; was signed: P. Stuyvesant. Next to the signature was affixed the provincial seal in red wax. Below this was written: by order of the same; and signed: Cornelis van Ruyven, secretary.


Possibly recorded in the council minutes of 1650-1651 which have been lost.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 5, Council Minutes, 1652-1654 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1983).A complete copy of this publication is available on theĀ New Netherland Institute website.