PROCLAMATION issued by Matthias Beck authorizing the capture of Lourens Prins, captain of an English frigate, who ordered the plundering of Bonaire

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MATTHIAS BECK, in the service of the illustrious High Mightiness’s the lords States-General of the United Netherlands and the noble Chartered West India Company, director over the Curaçao islands, sends ] greeting to all who shall see or read this, and ] informs how a certain person named Lourens Prins, born in Amsterdam, which he himself declared, on the 1lth of this month of February without compunction attacked the island of Bonairo in the morning four hours before daybreak with an English frigate, mounted with eight guns, named De Cagway, carrying sixty-one armed men, mostly English, commanded by the aforesaid Lourens Prins as captain with a commission, so he says, from the English general or governor of Jamaica, under the pretext that there was open warfare between the English and Dutch nations; and acted with great insolence against the defenseless people who were stationed there. Binding them with rope and taking them prisoner, he forced them to reveal where the cattle, oxen, cows, and sheep were, in addition to the Negroes and everything else there. They spent six days there slaughtering the same, committing all sorts of insolent acts; leaving more than eighty-four large full-grown healthy oxen and cows lying dead in the field, without these insolent people or anyone, else able to draw any benefit therefrom; declaring in public that such was the tenor of his instructions and commission to use every forceful means on land and sea against the Hollanders by ravaging, murdering, burning, seizing Dutch ships and causing as much damage as possible. Therefore, the afore-mentioned lord director, after having heard the aforesaid report of the commander of Bonairo and the people under his command, has decided, with the advice of his council and officials, to let it be known everywhere it is appropriate about the aforesaid violence and offenses committed on the aforesaid island under his command, as stated above, with the intent that all the ships, yachts and vessels under the jurisdiction of their Honorable High Mightiness’s, the lords States-General and the honorable West India Company, which are already here in these West Indies under their jurisdiction and charter and those still to come, not only be on their guard against such ships, but also to try to seize the afore-mentioned Lourens Prins and the aforesaid frigate at sea or wherever else it is encountered and to bring the same here to Curaçao or one of the nearby places under the aforesaid jurisdiction so that he can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Thus done, confirmed and published on the island of Curaçao, the 14th of February 1665.


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.