Paper read by director Stuyvesant to the council

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On today’s date the following paper was read aloud at the session in Fort Amsterdam by the honorable lord director general Petrus Stuy ve- sant and the honorable lords councilors.

I have informed your honors in part verbally that on the 22d of this month I had a visit from a certain Mr. Weyls, formerly a resident of Stamfort, now schoolmaster at Onckeway, who among other reports of news from Europe told me (in the presence of Do. Drisius[1] and Willem Harcke) that he recently had had at his house an Indian from Wiequaeskeck who had been a good friend of Van der Donck,[2] and had taken care of his cows for some time. He thought that his name was Joseph who spoke English so well that he could understand him. He had talked with the Indian about the recent troubles between our nations; the particulars of which follow:

First, why they had killed and captured so many Dutch?

Second, why they did not return the captured Dutch, and whether they were not afraid of the Dutch attacking them again?

Third, what they intended to do with the prisoners and neighbors?

To the first he replied that they were not the initial cause, or that they had not begun it and that they were afraid that the Dutch would not forget it and could not understand why the Dutch kept so quiet.

Regarding the prisoners, they were a burden to them because they had to feed them; nevertheless they kept them, knowing full well and understanding that the Dutch would have to leave them in peace as long as the prisoners were among them, but that they were resolved to ransom the prisoners in the Spring, or to offer them again to the Dutch. Whereupon the Indian was asked whether they intended to make peace with the Dutch, he replied that the Dutch would not keep the peace and that for this reason they were not of a mind to seek or make peace. Asked what they then intended to do against the Dutch who were so strong, it being impossible to kill all of them or drive them out of their strongholds, he said that they were well aware of that; for which reason, they intended neither to come to nor make war with them in their castles, but keep to small groups in the thickets in order to attack people unawares in the country, hinder them in their planting, and kill their animals when they come into the woods, so that they eventually would have no more food and so forth. Such a miserable prospect constrained the aforesaid Wyels to inform us of this out of neighborly and bounden duty.

Regarding the massacre and sad encounters he declared that the matter had been received with great and compassionate [left blank] by the commissioners and other prominent persons of New England, and that they were of the opinion that, in view of of the proximity, close union, and congruity of God’s service between both nations, they were duty bound to help us against the barbarian nation, if they were requested to do so; and that many were surprized that we so passed over the matter, in disregard for the Christian nation.

In addition, he declared that he had heard here to his regret that some people felt as if the hand of those of New England was behind things, and that the intention was to use the pretext to gain control of Long Island or confirm the new plantation at Westchester. With great assurance he stated that it was an unneighborly and unchristian belief; that it was so far away; that New England desired no more of Long Island than had been agreed upon in the treaty at Hartford; that they did not themselves approve the action of Mr. Pel in the making of a village in someone else’s jurisdiction. He thinks this now to have been broken up because Mister Pel had drowned, or as has been presumed, lost at sea with his goods and bark. This being the substance of his report made to me in the presence of the aforesaid Do. Drisius and Willem Harck, which I deemed necessary to communicate to your honors, and with their foreknowledge inserted in the minutes, and to recommend to your honors closer consideration. In addition, as your honors know, some Indians, about 30 in number, have [left blank] the stranded yacht, de Eendracht, at Sandy Point; the sailors, although as of now left untouched, have been robbed under threats, which has induced me, in order to prevent further misfortunes and bloodshed, to remove the sailors together with the most attainable items from the stranded yacht, and to abandon the yacht until a better time and circumstance. It is now appropriate to present to your honors whether it would not be best to remove the small garrison on Staten Island (which is in a less secure position than the sailors on the yacht) before, to our regret, something should happen, indeed more serious, to the them, and to order Capt. Post to move his livestock and the few soldiers with him to Nayeeck,[3] and to join with the soldiers of the lord Werckhoven, where a proper refuge of palisades has been made, sufficient for soldiers to defend themselves against an attack by Indians. Ady ut supra.[4]


Domine Samuel Drisius, arrived in New Netherland in 1652 and died in 1673.
Adriaen van der Donck, owner of Colendonck in Yonkers, died in 1655.
Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn at The Narrows.
See NYCD, 13:60, for other translation.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 6, Council Minutes, 1655-1656 (Syracuse: 1995). A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.