Affidavit of the Rev. Wilhelmus Grasmeer concerning Cornelis Melyn

Scanned Document:

[1]Today the 14th day of February Ao 1652 appeared before me, Hendrick Schaeff, Notary Public admitted by the Court of Holland and residing at Amsterdam, and before the undersigned witnesses, the Rev. Wilhelmus Grasmeer,[2] lately a minister of the gospel in New Netherland, whence he returned last November in the ship Hoff van Cleeff, who being in this city, deposes and says at the request of the Directors of the Priv. West India Company, that a long time after Cornelis Melyn, a freeman of New Netherland, whom witness knows well, had arrived in New Netherland in the ship Nieu Nederlantsche Fortuyn on her last voyage, he, witness, had heard the Manhattans Indians of New Netherland, living at Nayack, a place on Long Island directly opposite Staten Island, frequently say, that the said Cornelis Melyn had made them believe and declared to them, Director Petrus Stuyvesant would, as soon as he had built a wall around Fort Amsterdam, come to kill them, namely the Indians, whereupon the said Indians fled and came armed to Gravesend, which belongs under the jurisdiction of the aforesaid Company; there relying upon their arms they were guilty of many misdemeanors and using force insulted and injured the inhabitants by beating and kicking them. Being interrogated by the inhabitants, why they did so, they answered, because Cornelis Melyn had told them, that Director Stuyvesant would come to kill them; this, witness says, he heard from the inhabitants and knows, that on account of it they made complaint to the said Director and Council of the insolence, turbulence and attacks of the Indians, requesting to be protected against them. He, witness, knew this from hearing and seeing it every day, being then in New Amsterdam, also that many Indians of different tribes, Raritans as well as Manhattans, have come several times to his, the witness's, house, also into the house of the aforesaid Director, in fact into every house on Manhattan Island and said, what he, witness, himself heard several times, that the aforesaid Melyn had bribed the Indians to come and murder the Director. In consequence of this and of other threats the Council resolved, that the Director should not leave the city of New Amsterdam unless accompanied by four armed men, which this witness has seen done daily up to the time of his departure and believes is still done. He declares further, that he knows very well, that the said Melyn has several times been duly summoned to appear before the Director and Council and to testify regarding the abuses and smuggling practiced on the last voyage of the aforesaid ship, which summons he always refused to obey and he did not appear. Witness offers to confirm the foregoing if necessary under oath. ]

Done at Amsterdam in presence of Quirijn Pieter ]sen van Seventer and Jan Mast, citizens, as witnesses.

Henry ] Schaeff,
Not. Public.

Follows the Instrument of Verification

We the burgomasters and administrators of the city of Amsterdam certify to all whom it concerns that the honorable Wilhelmus Grasmeer, servant of God, [      ] was in [      ] Netherland, has appeared before us upon a summons to testify to the truth at the request of the Directors of the West India Company and that being duly sworn he declared, deposed and said, that the foregoing affidavit, read aloud to him by the Secretary, was true and he persisted in this declaration, sohelp him God Almighty. In witness whereof the seal of this city has been hereto affixed the 28th day of February 1652 and was signed B. Reael; at the side is the city's seal in green wax covered covered in paper.

Agrees with the original instruments
of declaration and verification.
In witness whereof I sign as
public notary in Amsterdam,
this 26 March 16[      ]

H. Schaeff


Missing material supplied from ibid., 160-61.

Grasmeer served as domine at Rensselaerswijck in 1651 after his father-in-law,

Domine Megapolensis, left for Manhattan.


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