Letter from the directors in Amsterdam to Petrus Stuyvesant

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How very much we were startled by the infamous surrender of the Company's Fort on the South River and by the violent and hostile usurpation of the Swedes there, your honor will have sufficiently learned from our general letter, sent herewith, in which to express further or in greater detail our serious opinion or intention we did not deem advisable, as the same must be kept as secret as possible. It is strictly speaking this that above all your honor must do your utmost to revenge this misfortune not only by restoring matters to their former condition, but also by driving the Swedes at the same time from the river, as they did us; in such a manner however, that those of them, who should desire to come under our jurisdiction, may be allowed to do so, but we prefer, and this must be worked up with discretion, that they should not settle there, but at some other place in our territory, as we would like to see the river district settled and cultivated by our own people, to which end in case of success, which God may grant, all possible means should be contributed and used, either by animating such of our nation, who are willing to settle there, by some additional privileges or by some other means yet to be discovered; and we believe for many reasons, that it is of special and great concern for the Company and the State that they should at some future time enjoy a peaceful possession of the river.

The ship the Koninck Salomon, which your honor specially asks for this expedition with the supplement of the promised assistance, is being prepared and cleared and we hope that, unless winter surprises us, we shall get it ready for sea before the winter; but as this is as uncertain as its arrival there in the spring, whereas a hard and long winter might well make it fail and consequently little reliance can be placed upon it, therefore, fearing not without reason, that in the meantime the Swedes on that river might get assistance and reinforcements, we have judged it highly advantageous and necessary to urge your honor seriously and to command that you should try to hire there and use for the carrying out of this expedition one or the other private ship or vessel (we think also the vessel now on the way, the Swarte Arent, a very suitable one hereto) and in case of refusal, which we trust will not occur, to compel finally the skippers or the owners to do it, whereas under such circumstances no excuses or private interests can be considered, as daily occurrences in this our State here prove sufficiently.

As to the desired supplement of soldiers, we are by no means idle, but prove satisfactorily, that it concerns us very much, as the drum is beaten for it daily: hence we are in hopes, to send over a detachment of soldiers in the ship Groote Christoffel, also an arquebusier and two carpenters; however, if we should not be so fortunate and get such a number of soldiers, as we would like to have, we are together with Lieutenant Newton of opinion, that your honor has there about a strong enough force for it, especially if the said expedition is undertaken speedily and before the Swedes are reinforced, for your honor need not fear any other enemies there, being in peace with the neighboring English, so that all the soldiers and the exempted, who in such cases are obliged thereto, can be used for it; further all such free men, as should offer themselves, or might be induced by some other means, could be engaged, as the trainbands of the City of New Amsterdam are under these circumstances sufficient and strong enough, to guard the place in the meantime, without any danger, if good and appropriate order is maintained here, which we commend your honors to do with caution and care.

The engineering equipment required by your honors is mostly being sent with the ship Groote Christoffel, as well as a quantity of gunpowder, as can be seen on the list, so that your honors will not have to wait for the remaining items which will be sent at the first opportunity.

We forgot to say, that your honor must use all possible means, to get hold of Gerrit Bicker, the late Commander of the Company's fort on the aforesaid South River, whereas we cannot but conclude from the documents sent over and from verbal reports, that the same has conducted himself very faithlessly, even treacherously in the performance of his duties and it is therefore necessary, that he should be punished as an example to others, regardless of vindication; likewise all those must be punished, who may have been involved in it, which we hereby recommend most earnestly to your honor, and in the meanwhile, honorable, Valiant, Pious, Beloved, Faithful, we commend your honors to God's holy protection, remaining,

Abm. Wilmerdonx
Issack van Beeck

In Amsterdam,
this 16th of November 1654.


Honorable, Valiant, Pious, Beloved, Faithful The Lord Petrus Stuyvesant, director general in New Netherland


A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.