Extract of a letter from Adrian van Tienhoven to director Stuyvesant

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Extract from a certain letter written at the South River of New Netherland by Adriaen van Tienhoven. The address on it reads as follows: The Honorable, Wise, and most Prudent Lord, My Lord Petrus Stuyvesant, Dr. General of New Netherland, Curacao, and its islands; residing at Fort Amsterdam on the island of Manhattan. It was dated 9 November 1648 at Fort Beversreede.

It would be desirable if you could one day resolve to come here in person in order to observe the situation on this river, for the Swedes do here whatever they please. The house which they have erected at Beversreede is the greatest insult in the world that could be done to the honorable directors of the General Chartered West India Company, for they have located the house about 12 or 13 feet from our palisades, depriving us thereby of our view of the stream; they have this year planted Indian corn on it, so that we presently have not enough land near the fort to enable us to plant a small garden in the spring. It is improper that they do this; and I trust that my honorable lord will take care of it.

Symon Root began to build his house but it was again violently and forcibly torn down by the Swedes. We demanded of the Swedish lieutenant his commission and order, and by what authority he did this, which he showed us from his governor. It is stated that he not permit a single stake to be set in the ground in the name of Their High Mightinesses, and to allow none of our timber to be put ashore. Therefore the construction begun by Symon Root and other friends must remain unrealized until further orders from you; but you shall be further informed of this by Andries Hudden, commissary.

Concerning the trade with the Indians from this river and the Minquas: it could go well for us, according to information from some of the chiefs; but they say that we must have a constant supply of goods at our place, as the accompanying memorandum will show. They also ask for guns, powder and lead. Concerning the trade here: it is badly spoiled, since two fathoms of white and one fathom of black sewant must be given for one beaver, and one fathom of cloth for two beavers. Each fathom of sewant amounts to three ells, some 1/16th less, so that it is my opinion that the exchange is somewhat too expensive because the Indians choose their largest men to trade.

Adriaen van Tienhoven
van Tienhoven


Translation: Gehring, C. trans./ed., New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vols. 18-19, Delaware Papers: Dutch Period, 1648-1664 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1981).A complete copy of this publication is available on theĀ New Netherland Institute website.