Letter from the director-general to burgomasters and schepens

Scanned Document:

To the honorable mayors and schepens of the city of New Amsterdam.

As soon as I had heard the news and rumors from the north regarding the arrival of Captain Leverett, four parliament ships and some soldiers, and even though his intentions and the accuracy of the news were unknown to us, I came in person to your honors' meeting the next day to inform you of the news and remind your honors of our precarious situation, and recommend consideration of means of defense and resistance in case it should happen that we might be visited by our neighbors, as the rumors say.[1] As of yet we have not been able to learn that your honors have done anything for the defense of this city or the repair of the fortifications, but instead your honors seem to have relaxed upon an idle rumor of peace. Today we take God and our own consciences, your honors and other persons of repute as witnesses, that we have now and before this repeatedly reminded your honors of the precarious situation and requested your thoughts on assistance and financial aid. Your honors' word and promise were sufficient, and influenced by them, we let your honors provisionally have the tapsters' excise on the promise that your honors would provide means and take care that the servants of God's word be paid their salaries. In addition, we gave your honors our ammunition, materials and engineering equipment upon your promise to pay for them or return them; we now need them ourselves so that we can go on with the repairs to the fortifications as the situation presently requires. It must especially be feared that, in case of an attack, our own ordnance, which was brought to the unrepaired outer works last year against our wishes and advice, may be turned against us, there by increasing our difficulties rather than adding to our safety. Therefore, we repeat our request that if the outer works cannot be repaired and made defensible, as your honors claim, the ordnance be taken away from there and brought to a place where it is not a detriment and can do no damage to the fort, which, with God's help, we intend to defend and protect for the honor of our nation, as long as God gives us his blessing thereto. It is further requested that, by virtue of your duty and promise, the small arms and engineering tools be returned or paid for so that we can enlist and arm some more soldiers for the better defense of this government and fort with which we are entrusted. I also request that the domines be paid their past due salaries from the time when your honors have been collecting the tapsters', excise, which was provisionally granted to you under that condition. We are relying thereon, but in case of neglect, we shall hold ourselves blameless before God and the world for any possible misfortunes which may befall us and our good subjects. Remaining your honors' devoted friend and governor; signed: P. Stuyvesant; in the margin was written: Done in New Amsterdam, 8 June 1654.[2]


See Volume 5: 254, for the minutes of this meeting.
See The Records of New Amsterdam, 1653-1674, edited by Berthold Fernow, 7 vols., 1897 (reprinted Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1976, 1:208 for the city's copy of this communication.


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.