Stokes, I. N. Phelps The iconography of Manhattan Island 1498-1909 (v. 4)

(New York :  Robert H. Dodd,  1915-1928.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 160  



1O55    Maiden Lane), to repair the street."—flee. W, Am., I:  386.   The

Oct,   interest ot the item is In its rrference to the repair ot the street,

25    which, if paving is meant, is the earUest recorded rderence to

paving actually done in the city.  See March 15,
27         First Councillor Nicasius de Sille makes the foUowing extra¬

ordinary animadversions with respect to Director-General Stuy¬
vesant and Fiscal Van Tienhoven, in a letter to Hans Bontemantel,
one ol the directors at Amsterdam and a commissioner for New
Netherland, the original holograph letter bdng in the N, Y. Pub,
LihtaiJ,N.Neth. Papers, No. 1214. An annotation by Bonteman¬
tel reads: "Answered the nth March, 1656." The text of the
answer is not extant. The translation of the De SiUe letter follows:
"Mr, Bontemantd:

"Very cordial greetings and commendations to aunt and cousin
vander Haghe. I have to report our sad experiences, and the com¬
mon misfortune. I hope that the Honorable Estimable Gentle¬
men mU now at least open their eyes and not place any more
confidence in the flattering letters. We have been, as you will
perceive from the general letter and the journal of the first of
September, at the South River, where we have captured the
fortresses Casemlcr and,Christina from the Swedes without any
combat or firing a shot. While lying bdore Christina, we recdved
letters, that at the Manathes some hundreds of savages came,
who upset everything there by murdering, setting afire, and taking
captives, so that the General departed from us on the 29th with
the small vessels for New Amsterdam in New Netherland, leaving
me behind with Captain Conjnx to regulate everything at the
South that was required tor the repair ot Fort Casemier, as you wiU
be more explicitly informed by the journal. In consequence
[thereof), I arrived here only on Friday night, the 22d of October,
finding everything in a bad condition, the houses on Staten Island
all burned down, also those at Pavonia, with some others, more than
100 dead and many prisoners, who are daily ransomed by us.
There were ten nations ot savages and only a little over sixty ot
ihem were kiUed, the others still use menacing threats, lying in the
envhons ot Manathes, but we have invited thdr chiefs to visit us,
who have promised to come and reach an agreement. The com¬
munity and all the householders who have sought refuge here, cdl
for revenge and murder against the fiscal and two or three others,
whom they loudly prodalm by name to have been the only causes
[of the attack). The General is not praised, because he does not
invesrigate, but upholds, as it appears, the fiscal; does not lend
much ear to the complainants, and when I say anything, or make
inquiry, or want to do something, nobody pays attenlion to me.
Everything happened in my absence, so that I do not know how
things will continue here any longer. They follow me cautiously,
all to belittle me, for the wagon does not go straight, everyone fol¬
lows his own counsel; the General and the fiscal act together, but
make it appear brfore everybody as if they were great enemies.
La Montagne is also in the cabal. The people want to go to Hol¬
land; many merchants depart with these ships because there is no
order; therrfore it Is now my humble request that you will show
yourself favorable toward me. Whereas, when I propose some¬
thing, or should do something, they will not give me instmctions
by which I can act or give orders, as has aheady happened when
the General went to Curajao, and other times. Neither wiU he
[Stuyvesant) give me orders, saying, 'do as you please;' and he
takes me all over with him, wherever he goes, which I neither will
nor can rduse him, though it is highly necessary that one ot us
always remain here to keep everything in good order, as I have
proposed several times; but was answered: 'Have you any writ¬
ing or authorization tor that?' And, perhaps, had either one of us
remained here, this )Indian depredation) would not have hap¬
pened. And what has been done at the South River, Captain
Coninx and I could easUy have accompUshed, But If I have to
go along with one or the other, then the one who remains can
play his part, and they understand each other. For this reason I
have requested bdore an Act or authorization from the Honorable
Lords Dhectors with which they did not comply, hence I prder
to you the following request, it you think it advisable, to present
it to the meeting, and to support the same, that I may have
something to say here by vhtue of their Honors' authorization in
case those two [Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven) should be con¬
tinued [In their offices). If not, as we hope, that a General be sent
who Is not selfish, and no untutored fiscal, and also another able
councillor;    because I and La Montagne have only two  votes.

and the Director and the fiscal have three together, so we are Oct,
obliged lo follow them whether right or wrong, whether it be to the 27
profit or loss of the Company, and, therdore, everything cannot
go wdl here; but I fear an evil and short end, I have also
before written about these matters to Messrs. van Beeck and
Man, and have learned that my correspondence was not very
acceptable to their Honors. But I protest before God and the
world, that it no alteration takes place in this matter, that I cannot
perform my duties with a good conscience, for, moreover, every¬
thing is going to min here. I would write more, but you and the
honorable Lords Directors wUl be tuUy able to read in the general
leiter and the journal, and the accompanying affidavits, about what
has passed here. I also think it advisable, that the p.issengers and
the free people, who now go over with these two ships, should, each
in particular, be examined; because they were all present and
under arms. Then the Honorable Lords wiU speedily discover the
reason and know the cause through which these disasters have be¬
fallen us,

"Now ending with this, I commend you and all friends to the
protection of the Almighty and recommending myself to your good

" Your Honor's obUging servant

Nicasius de SlUe"

"With haste

"From Amsterdam In New Netherland
the 27 Octob. 1655.   Goodby."

Stuyvesant addresses a confidential letter to the directors at 28
Amsterdam, the text of which has not been known hitherto, altho'
there is a contemporary copy inN. Neth. Papers, No, 1223 (2), in
the N. Y, Pub. Library. No text of an answer from the directors is
known to be extant. A digest is given here of the most important
items in Stuyvesant's letter, viz: He says he returned trom Curafao
to "Mannades," on July 10, In the ship "De Liefde;" CoundUor
Nicasius de SiUe not a tmstworthy man; exploit on South (Dela¬
ware) River, against Swedes, and account of expedition to be had
trom his journal and general missives sent over to directors; has no
confidence in Johan de la Montagne; blames massacres by Indians
on officials of New Netherland; 28 bouweries destroyed, 12,000
schepds of corn (grain) burned, 40 Christians massacred, and about
100 captured, mostly women and children; his opinion, that firm
peace with Indians is best thing; that they be kept from coming
Into any viUage or place with arms (guns); that they be obliged to
ddiver up murderers to be punished; that drunken Indians be kept
in prison; that when animals are kiUed by them, they should be
made to pay for them; rders to swearing, drinking, and pro¬
fanations of the sabbath; ammunition needed; to make a contract
with EngUsh, offensive and defensive; separate country dweUings
not yet dose to one another; commonalty want revenge against
Indians; Fiscal Cornefis van Tienhoven hated, and even English
speak against him; Vice-Dhector Mathys Bex, of Curafao, could
be used in New Netherland, as he is a man of experience, having
fine credentials from Rent, and later of Staca, where he had been
director; former Fiscal Van Dijck charged with beating an Indian
lo death, and selling much brandy to Indians, making them dmnk;
Cornelis Jacobsen Steenwyck sent to Amsterdam with commission
to do and adjust everything as instructed on behaff ot New Nether-

Stuyvesanl and the council address a general missive to the 30
directors at Amsterdam, the text of which, also, has not been known
hitherto, although a contemporary extract exists inN.Nelh. Papers,
No. 1222 (1), m N. Y. P. L., and the answer ot the directors is
printed inN. Y. Col. Docs., XIH: 63-64; XIV: zV^ff- On account
of the Importance of this item, the principal parts are here summar¬
ized, with mote or less particularity, viz: Letters relating to
the sale and dcUvery of the lands on the South (Ddaware)
River were aU sent over to Amsterdam by the ships "Volcomen"
and " Waeterhont," in 1651; aU old and new documents obtainable
to be sent In best form by the ship "Nieu Amsterdam," but former
Director-Gen, Kieft took away many ot them; treaty of Hart¬
ford, 1650; usurpation ot "Meestr Pel" (Thomas Pell) of the land
called "Vreelant," and other Engfish interlopers;  EngUsh claim           •

the West India Co, had only a fimited "octroy," but this dedared
to be untme, the company had an enduring right for all time from
the states-general; concerning the levying of a subsidy on the
commonalty ot New Amsterdam, they promise that advices will
be sent by the ships "Waeg" and "Bontekoe;"  Jewish freedom
  Page 160