LETTER from Matthias Beck, vice-director of Curaçao to Petrus Stuyvesant

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Noble, honorable, valiant, wise, prudent and very discreet Lord.

My Lord. My last letters dated 23 August and 10 September[1] ‘ were sent to your honor with the ship Speramundij, as per the accompanying copies to which I refer. Whereas I have none from your honor to answer, I shall therefore be brief with this; especially because I am sending to your honor the accompanying letter to our noble lords-superiors unsealed, so that your honor shall be able to see from the same what has been happening here.[2] After making use of it, please seal it and send it under your honor’s cover to the honorable lords-superiors at Amsterdam with the first ship departing for there; and thus your honor shall be able to see, from the reports and papers included therein, what sort of pirates seized the Company’s Negroes and bark here. Among these fellows was a certain Peeckelharinck,[3] who previously sailed with Captain Beaulieuw at the Cape and now and then comes into your honor’s area in N. Nederlandt. It is possible that some of the principle ones might even come to land there; in which case I hope that your honor may be apprized thereof so that your honor can administer justice to them as merited. If your honor should have the occasion to write to Jamicijca, where I understand in part that these pirates might have arrived, and because they have no opposition they can tell the lord general there what they please; and your honor’s diligence therein would do much good by writing a letter about them to the general when the occasion arises, just as the same shall be done here when the occasion and opportunity offers. In brief, this serves to inform that everything here is still in a good state. With great difficulty we have put together a small barrel of lemons from St. Maechiel,[4] and also asked Franck Bruyn at St. Crous[5] to do the same, and on this occasion send them to your honor. Because it is the only thing that we are able to send your honor at this time, we hope that your honor will be pleased to accept it in the spirit of our good intentions. I had hoped that the ships which were expected with the Negroes would have come so that I could have sent your honor some good fellows; however, seeing that none have arrived so far, although they are expected any day now, we shall have to postpone it until the next opportunity, God willing.

I beg to be excused by our worthy brother Do. Drissius[6] that I cannot write him at this time because my hands are fully occupied with another ship named St. Joris which is sailing directly from here to the fatherland. For this reason I also am unable to write to our uncle, the lord Jacob Aldrichs on the South River as well as to other good friends.[7] However, I shall be indebted to your honor ] if my respects are given to everyone when the opportunity arises.

The aforesaid ship De Lieffde is busy at St. Crous taking on a load of salt which is being supplied by the Company’s vessel. The bill of lading or bond for this is being sent to your honor under open cover to which I refer for brevity’s sake;[8] and any service which I can perform for your honor and dependents shall be carried out with affection.


Noble, honorable, valiant, prudent and very discreet lord, I and my wife and daughter recently arrived from Holland commend your honor together with Mrs. Stuyvesant and the entire family, after our most humble respects, to the merciful protection of the Almighty. In haste I remain as long as I live,

Curaçao, in Fort Amsterdam
the 4th of February 1660.

My lord’s devoted servant and friend M. Beck ]


See 17:41 and 42 for these letters.
See 17:57 for this letter to the directors in Amsterdam.
His name translates as “pickled herring.”
Bay located near St. Anna Bay on Curaçao:
i.e., St. cruys towards the western end of Curaçao.
Samuel Drisius, born 1600, was pastor in New Amsterdam from 1652 to 1673.
Jacob Alrichs, director of New Amstel on the Delaware, died in December 1659.
See 17:58 for this bill of lading.


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.