Representation of the directors of the Amsterdam chamber to the burgomasters of Amsterdam

Scanned Document:

[1]To the Very Worshipful Gentlemen, their Honors the Burgomasters and Regents of this City of Amsterdam.

Show with due reverence the directors of the Chartered West India Company, chamber of Amsterdam, that by the blessing of God the country, called New Netherland, has in a short time increased in population, cultivation and commerce and that it will continue thus to increase on account of its favorable situation. The Directors endeavor by every means not only to promote agriculture and trade, but also to take care of the administration of the country and the undisturbed peace of its inhabitants, in regard to which several things have occurred, which they are at a loss, without the wise counsel of your Worships, to decide on, viz:

The communities under the jurisdiction of the Company, Dutch as well as English, complain in all their letters of the impudence of the Indians, who during the last year or eighteen months have murdered some persons, captured some children and stolen a number of animals, all under pretext, that we had no right to resist them, whereas they had been informed by the deputies of the complainants, who were here from New Netherland last year, that the Supreme Government here had ordered, our officers there should not begin any war against them, as it had been done previously, when with armed hand the Company had compelled these barbarians to live honestly and in peace, which peace they have broken by the aforesaid deeds.

The English people from the Province of New England, laboring under the same difficulties as our inhabitants, have proposed to make with our Director a pact to help each other in time of need or trouble and whereas they are much stronger in numbers than our people, they propose to bring into the field two men against one from our side provided that they also have a double voice in deciding on the legality or illegality of injuries done or war to be commenced.

Deputies of their High: Might: have last year provided safeguards for all the improper complainants, who came here from New Netherland, and relying thereon, they now on their return there, believe themselves authorized to commit all kinds of disorders by inciting evil-minded persons against the director and the Company's officers.

The Vice Director Lubbert van Dincklagen, countenances ] these seditious persons as much as possible; therefore the directors had decided to recall him by the last ships, that he might answer for his actions. But before our letters reached there, he had gone to Staten Island and joined Cornelis Melyn, the principal actor in these strifes and seditions, who notwithstanding the protests of the directors was last year provided with a safe-conduct and allowed to return there. Upon the island they have established a government according to their liking; also ajudicial court. We prefer to be silent on the point, under whose direction and authority this is done.

The honorable deputies of their High Mightinesses have sent without knowledge of the directors as notary public to New Netherland one Dirck van Schelluyne, who there calls himself authorized by their High Mightinesses and as such a movement is directly against the orders of the Company, the directors feel themselves much aggrieved by it.

The aforesaid honorable deputies of their High Mightinesses have appointed as captain of the train bands in New Amsterdam one Jacob van Couwenhoven, one of the deputies, who last year came hither as complainants without cause. ] We say without cause, as according to the last letters ] received, both the aforesaid communities have had ] no knowledge of it and in fact protest ] against their action.

The inhabitants of New Netherland say that if the government here could be persuaded ] to abolish the duty on tobacco grown there, the people would be encouraged to raise more of it, as the soil there is better adapted ] to it than in the Caribbean Islands. They think that by such a step not only the greater part of the English and French trade to these islands could be secured for us, but also that even the English of Virginia would send their return freights of tobacco mostly by way of New Netherland.

It must be considered that tobacco in Zeeland and we believe also in some other provinces, except for Holland tobacco, is not subjected to the impost of the tobacco duty and it may be presumed, that, even if the produce of New Netherland were exempted, the tax on tobacco could still be farmed out, as now only a small quantity comes from there.

The said directors find themselves very much embarrassed and inconvenienced by the colonies granted in former times with too extensive privileges and exemptions, which have made their owners so arrogant that some of them went so far in misusing their privileges as to believe that they could prevent and forbid inhabitants of New Netherland to trade within their colonies. This is contrary to the law of nature, especially as understood in this country and by this people.

Whereas most of the preceding facts are considered to be of such nature, that the Directors as a body cannot resolve or give orders thereon, Therefore they very respectfully request your honorable Worships' wise counsel and advice and thus doing etc. ]

Delivered the ] 13th day of February 1652.

This matter has been considered in a conference held with the following members of the Council on ] the 14th day of February 1652, Messrs. Spiegel, ] Van Hoom and ] Blauw.

The Council of this city has thereupon resolved as follows on the 15th.: ]


Missing material supplied from ibid., 158.


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