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 most recent letters to your honor dated 15 and 19 November[1] were sent to your honor with the Company’s ship De Musch and the private ship De Vreede. I trust that your honor has received them before the receipt of this, to which I shall refer. Since then the galiot De Hoop, commanded by Jan Pietersen Poppen, has arrived from there on the 6th of this month in the harbor by way of the Caribbean islands; aboard the same, praise God, there arrived here in good health your honor’s beloved son Mr. Balthasar Stuyvesant, accompanied by your honor’s paternal letter dated 12/22 October[2] which saddened me deep in the heart to read that the English now, after so many years possess the region there which your honor had brought into such a good state with so much labor, care and concern, and which is just now flourishing and should yield the most benefits; however, sufficiently dispossessing your honor of his legal position by laying claim to the entire state of affairs and supreme authority there, and although this all has occurred under such a good arrangement and agreement, it is still to be feared that they shall adhere to it no longer than it suits them.

With the same galiot I received a letter from a well-known friend at St. Christoffel[3] who informs me that a small ship out of Brusto[4] Old England had arrived at the island of Meuwes, [5] bringing news that three days before its departure the war against Holland had been proclaimed in the aforesaid city of Brusto.[6] However, we still have no news here from the fatherland concerning this.

Every day we anxiously look for ships from the fatherland carrying such sufficient assistance for these places and regions so that after its arrival we will not only have enough to defend these places and fortresses, but hope also to be able to defend, with God’s help and blessing, every harbor and the countryside here against landings from any enemy.

We also anxiously await news from the coast of Guinea and hope (with God’s help) that the force sent out against the English designs there shall not have been in vain.

Pursuant to your honor’s instructions, the aforesaid galiot has been provided with horses from Bonairo; and at this opportunity, if the skipper of the aforesaid galiot by the name of Jan Poppen decides to take them from here to your honor’s place by way of the Caribbean islands, we hope to provide your honor with more detailed information and reports of everything, together with a complete response to your honor’s welcomed but sad letter.

The paternal recommendation regarding your honor’s beloved son Mr. Balthazar Stuyvesant shall be taken care of to the absolute best of our ability for his advancement pursuant to your honor’s gracious and paternal good intention, according to circumstances and situation at these places.

The peas and wheat also brought by your honor’s son aboard the aforesaid galiot together with the salted meat, I have had stored in the Company’s magazine for lack of other merchants here; therefore, at an opportune time I shall send your honor the proceeds in cash, as it pertains, with the aforesaid Jan Poppen or another secure opportunity.

Since my last letter none of the goats have been sold from your honor’s enclosure; however, what may be sold of them in the meantime I shall also send over to your honor with the aforesaid Jan Poppen. I shall decide what is best to do or leave it alone, according to your honor’s good intentions in the matter.

At the same time we shall look out for the best and most suitable land for sugar cane which is still in the possession of no one and send your honor at an opportune time information and a report concerning the situation and finding thereof, together with that which is required thereto.

We are also extremely anxious here about how these actions of the English in their laying claim to N. Neederlandt will be viewed by their Noble High Mightiness’s, the lords States-General; whether some compromise can be found to return it again to its former state, or in what manner they shall take the matter in hand. We do hope that the disruption and inconvenience caused there by the English shall last but a short time and they shall have to yield everything again and thereafter each shall possess his own [      ] more peace and tranquility.


Noble, Honorable, Valiant, wise, Prudent and very Discreet Lord, I commend your honor and those whom your honor holds dear, after our most humble respects, to the merciful and blessed protection of the Almighty, and remain,

Curaçao in Fort Amsterdam,
the 11th of December 1664.

My Lord,
Your honor’s most devoted
friend and servant,


See 17:94 & 96 for 15 November letters; it is possible that 17:96 was sent later and dated 19 November.
This letter does not survive.
This letter does not survive.
i.e., Bristol, England.
Probably a reference to Nevis, a Leeward Caribbean island.
England did not officially declare war against the Netherlands until March 1665; however, these reports in Bristol of war with the Dutch probably reflect news of English victories in Africa and New Netherland in 1664.


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.