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Letter from Jacob Alrichs to director Stuyvesant

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Noble, Honorable, Esteemed, Wise, Prudent and very Discreet Lord:

My Lord, your letters of the 14th and 20th of July last past have been delivered to me. I see from them that the groats, vinegar and oil sent with skipper Lourens Cornelisz have been received in good condition. This I was pleased to hear. I was surprised to learn that the former helmsman of the ship. Prins Maurits, has left there so suddenly and silently; he was apparently persuaded by the skipper, Dirck Cornelisz Honingh, and has embarked with him so that they can defend one another in answering for the loss of the ship. I was also surprised that you took the trouble to try to persuade the aforesaid skipper, Honigh, pursuant to my letters, to obtain release of the impounded goods on security, and to sell them to the best advantage of the interested parties and that he would not listen to it. It is an old habit of his to give little room to reason. I believe that he shall not be able to do anything better or for more profit than that which he has been advised to do. Further relief is to be expected on both sides.

Concerning the impounded goods: I have discussed them with the captain and the lieutenant and we think it advisable that they might be [      ] at public auction....

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...half an aam he borrowed for use on his journey, which was not reported until afterwards, without it, I suppose, having been balanced by the same or by planks. He must have dreamed or thought that he had done it, but nothing was said about it. The matter, however, is of little importance and depends only on whether he has furnished compensation for the value or worth of it. Then he need only say so and prove it and it shall be settled accordingly.

Concerning the disbursements to officers of the Company: while they are continuing daily to some degree, they cannot be maintained for long, on account of the expenses of the stranded ship, as well as advanced salaries for the soldiers and others which have been paid out by your order for the maintenance of the City's colonists, which is altogether a considerable sum. I, therefore, ask that it may be excused for sometime yet and I shall respond to it at the first opportunity. I also received the requested three hundred guilders in sewant with which I paid Captain Marten Kryger in full for the amount which he had advanced for expenses of the City's soldiers while at Manhattan. Likewise I received the two pieces of red duffel as requested because I had been provided with no red and it is the most esteemed by the Indians. I plan to use it as soon [      ] shall come....

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...made the inventory and signed it without [      ] without discontent and understood that it was then still inconvenient for them and that they had enough to do for the time being, preparing lodgings for themselves. Since they asked that I provide them with the necessary materials and considering it my duty to do so, I let them have everything they desired. In addition, I wrote you most amicably about it in my letter of May 13th last past, and therein dutifully petitioned you, and made known my inconvenience from the depletion of my ship's cargo by the excessively heavy expenses which I had to pay on account of the loss of the ship. To this is added the great burdens and expenses which unexpectedly arise daily in such a newly begun enterprise; also, the fort and everything else here is so decayed that there is no magazine or accommodations to store provisions etc., nor anything to protect them against the rain as well as other damages. The quarters are too small and also extremely leaky and beyond repair; the ramparts and breatworks are in no way suitable, the gun carriages unusable, the bulwarks so decayed that you can as easily gain entrance by going over them as by the inner gate itself so that it was also necessary to construct an outer gate in order to be somewhat in a position [      ] the Swedish nation that still has great hopes to be restored...

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...twenty-five head should go to Cristina, now called Altena, at which place, after first despairing about its ability to protect their people and meager provisions, because it was somewhat run down since no troops had been stationed there for sometime, they have found enough means to help themselves to some extent. Since they have neither the need of the cattle nor the supervision necessary for them, they have not sought to take them into their charge, much less to ask for them; instead they have requested of me that I provide the garrison there with bread from time to time, and also now and then with some peas and oil and the like. I have also not denied them nails, hinges, locks, planks etc., nor I cannot imagine why they should be discontented or what could have caused them to direct written complaints to you. I still find no way that I have given them the least cause for offense or have done anything against their wish or will. However, what has been reported comes from Ensign Smith and Hendrick Huygen upon which I shall comment briefly. Concerning the ensign: he often says more than he understands and I wish that he would use less words against my servants when at my residence [      ]. I have let everything pass and have not given the least offense to either him or Mr. Huygen...

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...likewise that I had threatened them. That is not my custom, and I know well that if you need something, you obtain it sooner by asking amicably than by being bold without cause. Neither could I have done it against their will; and if they had not done it voluntarily, it would not appear in the inventory. Moreover, there are also some cattle listed which were kept by one or the other and never seen or received by me. It, therefore, seems evident that it was not done against their wish or will but rather it is mutually felt that it should not have been considered to such an extent. I also believe that it would not have happened if slanderers had not meddled in it. Everything is still intact, nothing is left to the care of strangers, nor in the least diminished but rather improved; and nothing has been lost or stolen, this because of the good care given them. But since it had been done so far by the acting and entrusted officials, and since they do no disservice to the Company but on the contrary could do the City great service by the hauling of wood with some cattle, it has consequently been done not with the intention of causing any damage to the Company but rather was approved for the above-stated reasons. Likewise with the greater part of the ordinance (it can also be said that it has been kept contrary to orders and against their wish and will) which has been marked and kept here only because they could not take it away...

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...I considered it further and debated how it could be of particular use to me. I also spoke to him about it, and after relating the same, since there were here one usable and unusable kettle, he, nevertheless, wanted to take the one that could be used and leave the other one that would be of no service to me. It seemed to me that he was being rather unreasonable but I thought that it was his usual odd behavior that he would not leave me anything that you had granted me unless it could not be used. Likewise in other things observed about him: that he listed in the inventory the windows in the house and locks on the doors, whether they were there or not, just because they should have been there; and even the hinges on the doors of the gate, which I did not say much about and otherwise did not have the least objection. Therefore, it seems to me that it did not warrant such high attention because I wrote you about the cattle before or around the time of his arrival, and for the above- stated reasons had made a friendly request; however, the contrary has been related by him and Mr. Huygen; and, if Mr. Huygen were also a peaceable man (he should [      ] although it may be that a word had been said that he could have misconstrued, which was not said [      ]) he would not have become so upset about it, but...

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...cannon platforms and which is required for the palisades, gates, quarters, magazine etc.; and even more so at the time when I was of the mind to employ for a year or more a certain Swedish servant who knew the Indian language, Mr. Huygens said that the person ought not to be firmly obligated because he was still a soldier ] in the service of the Crown, and if anything happened, he would have to have his freedom and be without obligation. This has happened before and has been ignored, but hearing it in this context, no deafness is fitting; but, if I am also taking it too strongly and perhaps interpreting it in the worst sense rather than the best, please forgive and excuse my error in this matter as well as that which followed as a consequence. I feel that I have done everything for the sake of improvement and for the best, but I am still buried in work which I shall not detail here. I shall do whatever I can and shall delay whatever I cannot do. Also, I have in no way been obstructive, although I requested the four cows that [      ] for my private use...

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...must be reinstated, of which I feel that it should be done sooner in kind than in specie, lest one should become too exposed here and doubtlessly fall into a defenseless state. Nevertheless, I have addressed myself or replied to everything about which you informed me in your letters; I shall, therefore, not trouble you with explanations. The cattle are scattered about; if it pleases you, we can take them over altogether or by halves, in a group or piecemeal, whatever way you deem suitable. Although my first letter did not reach you and the report ] merited no reply, I trust nevertheless that after you have heard further details of the matter, you shall please consider things in moderation and in the best manner for my relief. I declare that I have had no intention to cause the least discontent or [      ] would have been [      ]. Concerning the [      ] cattle [      ] by Huygens and other Swedes, [      ] those from Manhattan or elsewhere can be obtained. I refer to the previously stated [      ] that those which Mr. Huygen is talking about [      ] prive, and further that...

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...up until now; therefore, I have heard those from Altena say it themselves and have notices that they have had no inconvenience regarding the cattle nor have they suffered any discomfort. I again refer to what has been written here concerning the matter. It also pleases me to hear that according to my request 2000 lbs. of bacon has been purchased and that it is in the warehouse there awaiting the first available vessel.

I also see that the ships, 't Draatvat and de Vogelsangh have safely arrived. I am surprised that there were no letters for me on the ships and that such an opportunity to write me or send advice for such a newly begun undertaking would be allowed to pass. I hope that there will be something on de Goude Molen. I also understand that you have received news from Mr. van Beek that the ship, de Waegh, with a galliot was being made ready. God grant that they may arrive soon in safety. Since I understand that there are rumors circulating there about the people having meager rations here and that they would consequently suffer great distress and hunger,[1] I am sending the ration list to show how they are distributed here, not only to the men [      ] but to the soldiers' wives as well, and even [      ] their maidservants and children...

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1657.

Notes

See Appendix C for a letter from Reynier van Heyst complaining to an official in Amsterdam about conditions in New Amstel.

References

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.