Resolution to summon the magistrates of Gravesend and Middelburgh to give an account of certain secret meetings in their villages

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Anno 1654, 2 July, New Amsterdam

Whereas we have been informed that some meetings have been held on the 28th and 29th of June in the village of Gravesande by some Englishmen, numbering around 50, among whom were some pirates from the north, the rest being English subjects of this province from the villages of Gravesande, Heemstede and Middeburgh; and that these persons intended to seize the ship, de Coninck Salemon, and sail it off to Virginia. And whereas we have also been informed that some of the magistrates of the village of Gravesande have again spread the rumor that some French and Indians had been hired, incited and bribed by us to plunder and kill the English living among us, and that upon hearing this rumor a meeting was held at Middelburgh the day before yesterday, the last of June, by all the inhabitants, at which great confusion prevailed, some desiring, as they promised to themselves and even strongly stated, to anticipate the same and be the aggressors by attacking the French and Dutch before they attacked them; in addition to this, those of Gravesande are supposed to have written a letter which was carried by a certain Ritsert Pantem to Boston, where the assembly of the colony is now in session, the contents of which is unknown; however, the parties reporting this presume that the people in the north have been told that the situation was now clear, namely, that we had incited and bribed the Indians to massacre the English. Although we do not know how truthful these reports are, except that they go to show that the aforesaid meetings at Gravesande and Middelborch had been held, without exactly knowing their intent, and although these reports ought to be fully investigated and proper punishment administered, but considering the present situation and our own weakness, as well as the fact that the English living both among and around us only wait for and desire some occasion by which we might give them cause to initiate trouble or war against us, we have, for the good of the country and our own defense, resolved to close our eyes at the present time and desist from an all too strict examination by only summoning the magistrates of the two villages; first those of Middelburgh and then the magistrates of Gravesande, in order, when they appear, to inform them of the matter as a current rumor, asking them what they know about it, and to continue to govern ourselves according to the situation and the passage of time. Thus done at the session of the honorable director-general and high council held in New Amsterdam in New Netherland, 2 July 1654; and was signed: P. Stuyvesant, Nicasius de Sille, C. van Werckhooven, La Montagne, Cor. van Thienhooven.


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.