Letter from the directors at Amsterdam to Director Stuyvesant

Scanned Document:

[1] 1652, 6th August. To the Director and Council in New Netherland. ]
Honorable etc. ]

Our last letters sent with the ships het Hof van Cleef, 'tHuys van Breda, Gelderse Blom, and St. Michiel , which sailed off at different times, were dated 4 and 8 April, also of 7, 10, and 17 May of this year 1652, answering your honors' letters dated 21, 22, and 30 September 1650, which came by way of Virginia, and 21, 29, and 30 September 1651, which arrived directly with the return ships. Among other matters we wrote again to your honors in the aforesaid letter of April 4, what we deemed would be most expedient to do in regard to the matter of the boundary question there with New England, and that we had recommended this matter most urgently to their excellencies the lords ambassadors who are leaving for England on behalf of this government, as your honors can see from the enclosed extract, which we are sending along in any case, hoping that the original has already reached your honors. It is presently the case that, although we had hoped that this government would have come to an agreement with the Republic of England, our hopes were dashed, because, notwithstanding all honest and equitable representations, the aforesaid Republic has, even while our ambassadors were still there ], not hesitated to seize all ships from whatever place they might come, to take the crews from many, who ignorant of any trouble entered their ports ], and to keep them to the great detriment of this country, not allowing even ] our warships, returning from Brazil, to depart. As a result, their excellencies, the lords ambassadors of this government protested to Parliament. After receiving no redress ], being only entertained by idle pleasantries, their high mightinesses recalled them. Since they came home, it appears by the intense rearmament on both sides, especially by this government, that it will lead finally to nothing else but open war; more so, Admiral Tromp has been seen in the north with a fleet of about 100 sails, where the English Admiral Blake has also gone. May the Lord God be pleased to grant a favorable outcome and deflate the haughtiness of the English. This rupture with English, not only unexpected but also unhoped for, has given some New Netherland merchants here the occasion to request that we send off a dispatch yacht to your honors and the community there to give information ] of these new troubles. Deliberating with them we have agreed that they should freight a fast sailing galiot on condition that they should remunerate themselves for the voyage by the fees for freight ] and duties on the goods taken by the aforesaid galiot and coming back in the returning ships, each in proportion to his share of the cargo.

Although we do not doubt that, pursuant to the aforesaid letters, your honor shall have concluded a security pact with those of New England or entered into a closer union than previously, and that we consequently shall have nothing to fear from those of New England, we have nevertheless thought it fit to recommend to your honors under these circumstances to put all freemen, soldiers and sailors in an appropriate defensive posture, to provide them with suitable officiers, assembly areas, and munitions of war, to put the fortifications New Amsterdam, Orange, and Casimirus in proper defensive states. Therefore, for your honors' increased security, we are sending herewith such munitions of war as appear on the enclosed bills of lading and lists. Also, place little trust in the English there and keep a watchful eye that your honors may not be deceived by their sinister designs under a pretext of probity, as we have been here. If it should happen, which we will not hope, that the New England people take up this matter and try to injure you and our good inhabitants, then we consider it proper and necessary, that you should make use of the Indians who as we learn ] do not like the English, and devise such measures that you live there afterwards with as much safety as possible; we have thought that for security all merchants and inhabitants store their goods in the fort as much as possible and to accommodate them in a friendly manner, in order to induce ] them to remain in the country and not return here, thus depriving the country of settlers of our nation. In order to accomplish this it will be necessary to provide the villages, at least the major ones, with palisades and breastworks so that they will be able to defend against any attack.

For the better accommodation of the private parties who often give their letters to one or another sailor and independant merchant and through neglect are lost to their great disadvantage, often letting them lie intheir chests, taking them along inadvertently to one or the other city, we have had a box made at the new warehouse, where we presently hold sessions, into which everyone may place his letters ] at any time to be dispatched by the first ship sailing. We deem it advisable to inform you hereof that the same may be done in New Netherland and that the letters, put into a bag for greater security, be sent here to us, to be delivered upon arrival to those to whom they belong, who usually appear at the warehouse, making it unnecessary to look for the bearers and to chase after them.

Whereas during this time of trouble with the English it could easily happen that some ill-intentioned English living here or other persons may presently dispatch letters over there, and attempt to incite the English living there in the country against your honors' community there; therefore, it does not seem unadvisable that your honors interrogate the skipper of the galiot and his crew, and demand all letters in their care, and thereby inspect the letters going over herewith, and opening those of which your honors are suspicious, so that we do not carry a snake in our own bosom with the dispatching of this galiot by transporting, to our detriment, the letters of those who would do us harm.

Herewith departs a certain Hugo Claessen, having previously served the Company as supracargo and has now been engaged by us as captain or overseer of the Company's saltworks at Bonaire and of the felling and hewing of logwood and its further cultivation at f20 monthly; also ] Jan van der Hulst, a carpenter, at f 6 per month to be stationed with the aforesaid Claessen at Bonaire. Whereas presently none can be spared here, your honors are to provide them with, as much as possible, woodwork and other necessities, as the situation permits.

The 6th of August 1652 in Amsterdam.

Honorable etc.


Missing material supplied from ibid., 185-87.


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