Proposals submitted to the council by the director-general, on the arrival of several ships at Boston

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Proposals both verbal and written ], submitted by the director-general, Petrus Stuyvesant, to the high council of New Netherland, 30 May 1654.

Gentlemen: Rumors have been circulating for several days, which were confirmed in detail last evening by Dr. Isaacq Allerton, that 10 or 12 days ago six ships arrived at Boston from Old England, namely, two merchantmen and four capital ships of the parliament or the present government of England, having on board Colonel Sussex, Captain Leveredt and Captain Huk, and a certain number of soldiers aboard each ship, also some munitions of war and engineering equipment. However, he, Allerton, declared not to know whether they were intended to be used against us or against the French, because the instructions had not yet been opened and were not to be opened until ten days after their arrival at Boston. According to our calculations this must have been done yesterday or the day before, but we cannot and shall not know their contents and correct meaning until the blow is struck and then it will be too late. The continuation of Captain Leverett, the losses suffered at the hands of and the deeds committed by Captain Hue last year and the often repeated reports that they had both gone to Old England last fall to request extensive commissions against this province and its people, augurs no good for us and warns us to be on our guard, and, while trusting in God, to consider all possible means of defense. How and in what manner to carry out the defense of this place for the sake of our honor and our nation's honor, is the reason for calling this meeting, which will have to consider these things among others. We shall first give your honors our impressions, then we would like to hear your opinions in order to come finally to unanimous and responsible conclusions.

First, we and your honors are aware of the weakness and inability of the militia to man and defend the works here, although they have been sufficiently repaired, without the help and assistance of the countrypeople; much less being able to assist the country places, whether forts, villages or settlements, any more than offering an expected enemy our heads all together.

Secondly, the experience which we had last year when we requested that the countrypeople of our own nationality bring their grain to this city for the greater safety of this place and fort but were reluctant to do so; also, when the expedition of the militia against the pirates was made and they were requested to take their position in helping to guard this city and to m an the works but were opposed to it; all this has instilled in us a fear that if a considerable hostile force comes, none or only a few of the country people, even of our own nation, will contribute to the protection of this city and come to our assistance, but in the hope of retaining possession of their property, they will not stir a foot.

The English, living among and near us, would, we believe, plot with our enemies, they being of their nation, to our great detriment; especially the people of Gravesant, whereof, unfortunately, we have already heard and seen some proof.

Therefore, nothing remains but to consider how we may, for our own and the nation's honor, protect ourselves for a period of time against a surprise attack and massacre; whereto the following are required without any dispute:

1. Repair of the works and fortifications.
2. The enlistment of soldiers under pay so that in an emergency they can be better ordered about and can assist the militia.
3. Money and means to carry out the preceding.
4. Weapons for the enlisted soldiers; where one or the other is to be obtained and how implemented, your honors will please advise.

1. Furthermore, we must take into consideration whether for the purpose of garrisoning and better defending one place, which if lost, the country and all is lost, and if held with sufficient assistance, the country also is held, it is not better at this time to abandon other places, particularly Fort Casimier, and to withdraw the freemen and meager defenses from the South River to this place.[1]
2. Concerning the ship, den Coninck Salomon, now almost loaded and ready to sail: whether to let it sail or to keep it here? Both have their cautions and difficulties.

Concerning Fort Casimier, our feelings concur with the general public's that it is best for the greater protection of this place to recall the few soldiers from there and to recommend the defense of the fort to the freemen; however, here we have to consider whether the freemen, being few in number, will or can do it and may not be in danger of or at least fear of being massacred by the Indians, about which they already have apprehensions, having, because of this, together with the company's servants, asked us for more soldiers and assistance, otherwise they would be obliged to leave the river. Recalling all the soldiers from there would be as good as ceding possession and surrendering this beautiful river to others; and if the enemy threat abates, whether by treaty agreements or other means (God knows best whose hand offers the most assistance), how will such an abandonment be justified?

Concerning de Coninck Salemon, there are arguments pro and contra keeping the ship here: to let it depart would be most profitable to the aforesaid Company and merchants; however, the administration could then expect the discontent and clamors of the whole community regarding the lack of experienced gun crews and sailors to man the cannon on the ramparts, and 1600 to 1700 lbs. less of gunpowder, which is already in short supply; besides, many people will want to leave by this ship. Thus done and delivered, dated as above.


Unknown to Stuyvesant at this time, the Swedes had captured Fort Casimier on Trinity Sunday, the 30th of May, a few days before these deliberations. Under the Swedes it was called Fort Trefaldighet, i.e., "Trinity."


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 the New Netherland Institute website.