Letter from director Stuyvesant to the council

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Honorable, Prudent and Very [      ] Lords.

No. 2 We departed on Sunday, a week ago today, after attending church. The following day about three hours after noon we sailed into the bay of the South River. A calm and an unfavorable tide kept us from sailing upriver until Thursday. We anchored before the abandoned Swedish Fort Elsburch, where we mustered and divided our small force into five companies. On Friday morning, wind and tide being favorable, we weighed anchor. We passed Fort Casimier about eight or nine o'clock without any display of hostility on either side, and anchored the distance of a salute gun's shot above the said fortress. We landed our men immediately and sent Capt. Lt. Smith with a drummer into the fortress to demand restitution of our property. The commander requested a delay until he had communicated with Governor Rysingh; his request was denied. Meanwhile, with 50 men drawn from our companies, we occupied the roads to Christina. The commander, Schuts, was warned by a second message that in order to prevent bloodshed and other grief he should not await the attack of our troops which will be covered by our cannons. In reply, the commander requested permission to speak with us; which was granted. He met us in the marshland about halfway between the fortress and our not yet completed battery. He immediately requested that he be allowed to dispatch an open letter to the governor which would be shown to us. His request was firmly denied and he left discontented. After this the troops advanced to the marshland in sight of the fort. In the meantime, our works were raised about a man's height above the thicket, and the fortress was summoned for the last time. He humbly requested a delay until morning; this was granted because we could not be ready with our battery that evening or the following night, in order to advance closer under its cover. The following morning the commander came out and surrendered to us under the conditions sent herewith. About midday our force marched in; and today we offered insufficient thanks at our first church service. God's hand has visibly been with us: in weather, good success, and the weakening of our opponents. Therefore, it is requested and ordered that God may be thanked and praised for it not only on the usual days of service but on a special day to be specified by you, and that further prayers be offered so that His Majesty may be pleased to accompany us with his further support and blessing.

Yesterday about midday, during the deliverance of the fortress, the factor, Elswyck, came down from Fort Christina. He amicably requested, in the name of the director, the reasons for our coming and the orders of our superiors. "To take and hold what belongs to us," was our answer. He asked us to be content with what has been accomplished without advancing further upon the other Swedish fortress; and employed first persuasive arguments and fraternal discourses that were later mingled with threats: blank ] "hodie mihi cras tibi,"[1] which were countered according to circumstances. ] Meanwhile, our small force will march off tomorrow or the day after. My intention is to proceed slowly with our approach, partly to spare our men and partly to receive your honors' advice and opinions on the first and last orders and instructions from the directors concerning that point; which will then be expected by post with the bearer of this. For your honors' information, a copy of their letter to me is sent herewith which you may please compare with the last general letter on that point, and impart to us their advice thereon.[2]

In the meantime, I shall, together with Mr. Sille and Capt. Coningh, carry on to the best of our ability. In closing I shall commend you to God's protection and shelter, and remain

At Fort Casimier

the 12th Sept. 1655 Your Honor's affectionate friend,

P. Stuyvesant

P.S. in Stuyvesant's hand ]

About 30 Swedes have placed themselves under our authority and requested permission to go to Manhattan; you are to expect them shortly.

Use them kindly; I hope that more shall follow.


Latin: "today me, tomorrow you."

See NYCM, 12:22 for the private letter to Stuyvesant and NYCM, 12:18 for the general letter to the council; relevant passages from these letters are translated in NYCD, 12:90 and 12:88 respectively.


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 the New Netherland Institute website.