RESOLUTION to attack St. Martin

Scanned Document:

Resolution drawn up aboard the ship Den Blouwen Haen riding at anchor with the Company’s squadron near the island of Espaniola behind the Isle de Vacas,[i] this 14th of January 1644.

Because of the strong winds and contrary currents we were unable to accomplish our objective to visit the eastern regions of the island of Espaniola and take some prisoners or obtain intelligence from there; nevertheless, we do not want to delay performing the Company’s service to the best of our knowledge and ability, and thus, according to the previous resolution[ii] to run ] windward of the island of Curaçao in order to increase its security, and for the present we were compelled for the following reasons and motives to make a probe on the island of St. Martin: First, the previous instructions of the honorable lords-directors to the former director[iii] [      ] ordered the conquest of the same if it could be accomplished with the force at hand; also, ordering us and our predecessor Van Campen, of blessed memory, to report the state of the aforesaid island, which they, the honorable lords, had understood to be abandoned, in order to occupy it on their behalf. After this abandonment, if we should wait, it is to be feared (not without foundation) that the English or French of Christoffel,[iv] being their neighbors, would be ready before us,[v] because the island is remarkably situated for them to load the tobacco ships with salt, if they fail to have a full cargo, or at least for ballast. If this occupation by the English or French occurs before us, then the Company would suffer considerable damage from the duties and claims to other salt throughout the Indies, because the saltpans of the island of St. Martyn are more accessible than any other in this region and for this reason the ships from the fatherland as well as elsewhere would prefer to seek a cargo there than elsewhere; moreover, because the aforesaid island is located in the proximity of the Caribbean’s population, from where, in addition to cargoes of salt, whether as a result of trading or tobacco freight, they can expect some prizes, which will not only damage the Company but would lead to the detriment of the general trade of our fatherland. Therefore, we have determined to our best knowledge that the honorable lords-directors are agreeable to its conquest, for which reason we hereby unanimously resolve to undertake the same with all our capacity, and in addition to God’s assistance, to request accompanying help, if required. Thus done and concluded at the place, year and day as given above. Was signed:

P. Stuyvesant,
Willem Cornelisen Oudemarckt,
Jan Claessen Small,
Marten Doene,
Jan Claessen van Meppel,
Jacob Lopper,


Ile-a-Vache off the south coast of Haiti.
See (7b), third paragraph for this resolution.
Jan Claesz van Campen, director of Curaçao 1641-1642.
St. Christopher, now St. Kitts, in the Leeward Islands.
i.e., to occupy St. Martin.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., Curaçao Papers, 1640-1665 (New Netherland Research Center and the New Netherland Institute: 2011).A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.