New Netherland and Beyond
Historical Documents, 1624-1626
Letter from Isaack de Rasiere to the
Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company
September 23, 1626
* * * * *
Noble, Honorable, Wise, Prudent Gentlemen1 My Lords:
After wishing your Honors a long and happy rule., I hope that these will find you all in good health. As for myself, the Council, and the entire community, I have to thank the Lord God, the Giver of all bounty, most highly for His exceeding mercy.
I advised the honorable gentlemen of our arrival in Plymouth on the 15th of May and of our departure thence on the 22d, in company of the five East India yachts, with whom we remained until the 29th ditto, in latitude 42½°. As the weather, was rough, with a southeast wind, and we were quite as swift as they, we were separated from each other until June 5th, when, in latitude 37° 50', we saw sails. Thinking that they were Spaniards and being to the weather-side of them, we ran down to them, but seeing that they were not Spanish ships, but the yachts, we kept on our course without waiting for them, the wind being northeast by east with fair weather. Nothing remarkable occurred until July 28th, when we came to anchor in the river before Fort Amsterdam,2 with many persons sick with scurvy, who, thank God, are now again in good health. I shall let this rest here in order to make these shorter, referring your Honors to the journals of the skipper and mate and to their oral reports.3
On our arrival here we did not find Minuyt, he having gone to Fort Orange to inquire into the disaster caused by the reckless adventure of Crieckenbeeck4 and whereas no further action upon this was taken in the Council, I refer your Honors to his letter and that of Veersaert,5 who, having heard and seen what took place, will advise your Honors of the particulars. On Minuyt's arrival here he was placed in command by the Council,6 on account of the bad conduct of Verhulst,7 as your Honors will see from the copies of the proceedings brought against him which go over herewith.
On Friday the 31st, in the evening, Minuyt returned here, and on the 1st of August I handed him in the Council your Honors' letters, which were opened and read. Deliberation was thereupon had as to whom it would be best to appoint in Crieckenbeeck's place at Fort Orange, and it was resolved to grant the [commissaryship] to Bastiaen Janssz Crool,8 because he is well acquainted with the language. We therefore appointed him subject to your Honors' orders. His contract and instructions your Honors will find in the Resolution Book, a copy of which goes herewith.
Since then, Minuyt has turned over to me the trading-goods, in accordance with your Honors' orders, the invoices of which I am sending herewith, together with a short account of the trading done during my time here for skins, wampum, and other things, as the honorable gentlemen will be able to see in the several accounts. The honorable gentlemen will be good enough to excuse me that I have not made out, the account in detail, day by day, since I arrived here but a short time ago and found so much work undone that had to be done first that I should never have succeeded in straightening it out if I had not given it the needed attention, so lax had everything been allowed to go. I found that about all that had been done was that in accordance with your Honors' orders the letters from your Honors serving for [our] instruction had been entered in a book by Gerrit Fongersz;9 the rest remained for me to do. I have only now and then received an invoice from Verhulst, all of which I have copied together in a book, but I cannot tell exactly what there was or what there should be, since Verhulst admits that he received more goods than the invoices call for, of which your Honors will best be able to judge from his books, copies of which are now going over. I send herewith to your Honors the accounts of the people going over in the ship "Het Wapen van Amsterdam," as well as the inventories [of the estates] and the accounts of those deceased.10 The honorable gentlemen will please excuse me if these are not so neat and proper as they should be, for the reason that I had to go from one person to the other, asking after one thing and another in order to get information about their names and monthly wages, when they came and how much was still due to them, and all this because no other books had been kept thereof than the accompanying book of Verhulst, a copy of which I am keeping here. What was not to be found in that had to be ascertained by inquiries, whereby the time became so short that I had to desist from making a fair copy of it all in order not to delay the ship.
Herewith go the copies of the resolutions passed by the Council before and during my time; also, a copy of the record of the judicial proceedings which took place in the Council during my time. And whereas, so far as I have been able to find out or get hold of it, heretofore no other record has been kept than that of the proceedings against Verhulst, which goes herewith, I can send your Honors no further copies.
Here with go the sentences of Verhulst and Jacob Lourissz Bool, smith,11 together with the reports of their trials and confessions; also, the sentence upon Isaacq Hendricxsz of Amsterdam, sailor,12 for acts of theft committed by him. Among the sentences are also included:
Two depositions taken by the Council, one concerning the dying of the cattle and the other concerning the accident that occurred through the fire.13 I beg your Honors to excuse me if by chance there be anything set down therein that is not in proper legal form, there being no doubt in my mind that in many respects they will need correction, for the reason that I have never before had such matters to deal with.
Your Honors will kindly have Advocate Hamel14 draw some depositions according to the style and usage in such matters in the city of Amsterdam, in order that we may regulate ourselves accordingly when the occasion presents itself. As the people here have become quite lawless, owing to the bad government hitherto prevailing, it is necessary to administer some punishment with kindness, in order to keep them in check, to break them of their bad habits, and to make them learn to understand their bounden duty and the respect they owe your Honors both in writing and speaking, which cannot easily be done unless your Honors provide some fine or other penalty in the matter. As they have heretofore been very harshly ruled by Verhulst, and that without any legal formality, but merely upon his own authority, they deem it very strange that we now begin to inquire into their affairs and that they are summoned before the court to defend their cause. They consider that great injustice is done to them if they are ordered to speak of your Honors with reverence and without using such profane words as they have heretofore been accustomed to use and as have been listened to with deaf ears and been allowed to pass without their being punished therefor. Only that was punished which offended Verhulst or his dignity, not according to law, but according to his pleasure.
And whereas I find that the duties of the secretary's office involve much more than I thought, and that there is also more to be done here than your Honors themselves realized, I beg the honorable gentlemen, considering my incapacity therein, to relieve me of this charge, in order that I may not neglect the trade. Should, however, your Honors not be pleased to relieve me of this charge for the present, I beg your Honors to change your [instructions], or to explain how your Honors intend the votes to be cast in the Council, namely, whether your Honors intend that I, shall lose my voice there altogether, or whether your Honors intend that I shall have no voice in judicial matters. I, for myself, have until now interpreted it to be your Honors' intention that I should have no vote in judicial matters, since it is a secretary's duty to take impartial notes of all things and to be neutral in such matters, but that in matters of legislation and administration my vote and seat should come next to those of Minuyt. If it be your Honors' intention that I am to have no voice in any matter so long as I act as secretary, it were better for me, instead of the honorable gentlemen giving or allowing me one hundred guilders a year for this position, that I should pay 50 guilders extra to get rid of it, and this for the two following reasons: First, for the sake of the honor I hope to gain by my diligence in furthering trade, as I see that your Honors, by granting the assistant-commissary, Gerrit Fongersz, a vote in the Council, put him above me. He has sworn to spite me, which he can do not more readily than when I have some request to make to the Council that has to be voted on, as is bound to happen soon, since the Minquaes have been here from the south, some thirty or forty strong, and have sought our friendship. In return I showed them as much friendship as I could, so that they begged me that when the season approached I would send them a sloop or a small ship, until whose arrival they would keep the peltries, which I promised to do. Thereupon they presented me with ten beavers and I gave them in return a fathom of duffel-cloth15 and a small quantity of beads, two hatchets, and a few other things, so that they got fully the value back, and this was done reciprocally in token of sworn friendship. Now, as I may not take upon myself to send any sloops where none have been before, unless ordered to do so by resolution of the Council, Fongersz might thwart or oppose me therein. Since I must propose this and such other matters as concern me in the Council and request a resolution thereon, he could easily bring forward some trivial excuse or other that might spoil a good stroke of business, such, for instance, as that there are not men enough to man a sloop which is to sail to a river where the disposition of the natives is unknown without neglecting other places that have already been visited and are known, or some other excuse which may readily be found if one wishes to thwart any one in the performance of his duties, especially if the petitioner himself has nothing to say in the matter. An instance hereof is already at hand in the request for assistance contrary to your Honors' orders and afterwards in the ordinance passed in regard to the private trading in skins, as the honorable gentlemen may see from the last resolution. Fongersz dared publicly to say to me in the Council that he had some skins which he intended to ship and to send to your Honors without paying any regard to me or notifying me thereof, maintaining that all the colonists had the right to do likewise. Whereupon I replied that if he or any one else dared to do so and I came to find it out, I should according to the instructions of the honorable Directors confiscate the same and furthermore sue him for the recovery of his monthly wages. Hereupon Fongersz said: "I do not consider you a big enough man for that." The honorable gentlemen can see what regard such a person has for orders and instructions, but I do not consider it to be his fault, since I have seldom seen him sober and doubt whether he has been so during the last three or four weeks. I have mentioned the fact several times to Minuyt, who does not understand where he gets the liquor and who has himself complained to me that he can get nothing done by him, so that the help he gives is very small. The honorable gentlemen may consider that the 24 guilders he gets per month are presented to him, for it certainly cannot be said that he earns them. I have reprimanded him twice, because Minuyt did not do so, and admonished him to stop [drinking], both on account of its sinfulness and the scandal which it causes in the community. But this only serves until he gets the taste of liquor again, for which he always has a longing; then he starts afresh, shows his villainous heart, and wishes to defy me. This I cannot endure, so that I answer back. He maintains that he owes me no respect, as having no voice in the Council, and I cannot put up with much from such a drunkard and idiot, so that I fear that we shall get into further disputes. I therefore beg the honorable gentlemen to take such measures as shall separate us, or else to give me more authority in order to clip the wings and check the insolence of such a half-senseless person.
Secondly, because I am always tied, as it were, to the secretary's office in order to take note of what goes on, whereby I am sometimes prevented from going here and there to see whether those who are lying out on sloops or stationed at Fort Orange are looking after the trade properly, for I find it important that the natives are well treated, each according to his station and disposition, and that when [representatives of] two different nations are present one chief is not shown more favor than the other, of which they are very jealous, so that I am very diligent to see that it does not happen. All of which should from time to time be looked into, to prevent discontent and to keep all the nations devoted to us, and this I cannot do unless the honorable gentlemen authorize me with the knowledge of the Director to charge some one whom I may deem competent to deal with these matters during my absence.
These two reasons have moved me to ask your Honors that I may be relieved of the secretarial duties, which involve so much work for the small pay which your Honors have allowed me for them, as the honorable gentlemen may compute for themselves, considering that in ten months I shall have gained with your Honors' secretaryship only about one hundred guilders, whereas Fongersz will draw 240 guilders. But I rely upon your Honors' kind generosity, doubting not but that your Honors after the performance of faithful service will reconsider the matter and henceforth allow me in place of one stiver for each beaver or otter skin two stivers, which I do indeed deserve, as your Honors may learn from all impartial men who have seen and know the trade here and to whom I beg to refer, meanwhile awaiting your Honors' favorable decision herein by the first opportunity.
With regard to the behavior of our men on board ship, all went fairly well, except that the chief-boatswain16 is very negligent in all he does, wherefore I regard him as unfit for his duties, especially here, as the honorable gentlemen may learn from the oral reports of the skipper and the mate.
The men of Cornelis van Voorst17 are not of much account; they are a rough lot who have to be kept at work by force, and whenever your Honors are engaging sawyers or such-like men, it had better be done at so much per foot, or cord, or on shares; in that way your Honors cannot be cheated, as they are in many things.
With regard to the lands, they will be all right in time, but greater diligence will have to be applied than has hitherto been done, under the superintendence and management of sober, industrious persons, of whom, may God better it, there is a great lack here. At times I cannot sufficiently wonder at the lazy unconcern of many persons, both farmers and others, who are willing enough to draw their rations and pay in return for doing almost nothing, without examining their conscience or considering their bounden duty and what they promised to do upon their engagement. And whereas this should be communicated more in detail, I refer your Honors to the letter of Minuyt, who tells me that he is writing your Honors privately about these matters, as touching his office, which I have often enough urged him to do, in order that your Honors might for once be thoroughly informed on the subject.
The honorable gentlemen, in their letter, submit to our consideration whether it would not be advisable to erect a small fort on the South River.18 This, according to my judgment, is not only advisable, but necessary, for the following reasons:
First, to keep possession of the river, in order that others may not precede us there and erect a fort themselves. Secondly, because, having a fort there, one could control all the trade in the river. Thirdly, because the natives say that they are afraid to hunt in winter, being constantly harassed by war with the Minquaes, whereas, if a fort were there, an effort could be made to reconcile them. Of this there is now greater hope than ever before, as heretofore we could never get in touch with the Minquaes, while now they have come to us of their own accord, so that I do not doubt but we shall gain their trade. A chief here, who is at peace with them, brought them here and offers to go with us to show us the kill or river where they dwell, saying that their houses are full of skins, so that I have shown him as much kindness as possible. He asked, me to go with them in person, and as it happened that this could not be, he, to satisfy the Minquaes, had himself called by my name, Isaacq. In short, these people must, much like children, be kept on friendly terms by kindness and occasional small gifts; one must be familiar with them and allow them to think that one trusts them fully, and meanwhile be on one's guard, or else things are apt to go wrong.
Trade at Fort Orange has been very bad, on account of the war between Crieckenbeeck and the Minquaes, so that during my stay here there have been bartered not more than 197 beavers and 60 otters, of which Pieter Barentsz,19 in the space of 14 days, obtained only 8 beavers and 10 otters; the rest Bastiaen Janssz Croll traded, who, I hope, has concluded peace. I must sometime perforce go up the river to see whether I can get the Minquaes to come to an agreement with the French Indians whereby they may obtain forever a free passage through their country. That being accomplished, I hope to carry out my design of discovering Lake Champlain, and, if this cannot be done by amicable means, I beg your Honors to authorize me to go with 50 or 60 men on an expedition against them in order to drive them off, which in the end will have to be done anyway, as they are a vindictive race. I shall take great pleasure in it, and even if I fly into the candle, only [my] reputation will be lost. My wife and children will not lose much in me, nor will they cry.
With great trouble and many threats I have obtained for cash from the colonists at Fort Orange 305 beavers and 40 otters. I had to pay for each merchantable beaver two guilders and for a good otter two guilders and five stivers, so that the whole of the above mentioned beavers and otters amounts to 574 guilders, 15 stivers. They were much discontented even then, having been stirred up, and said they wished to send the skins to the honorable Directors, who would give them three guilders for each skin, good or bad. One is at a loss to know who put that into their head: I presume that it must have been Fongersz, for I have heard no one say this in the Council but him. In order not to have the skins go to strangers, I was therefore obliged to give them two guilders for each good merchantable skin, after consultation with Minuyt, who for the sake of the best of all concerned advised me to do so.
We live here very plainly; if there is anything to be had it is the colonists who get it. It happened one day that the wife of Wolfert Gerritsz20 came to me with two otters, for which I offered her three guilders, ten stivers. She refused this and asked five guilders, whereupon I let her go, this being too much. The wife of Jacob Lourissz, the smith, knowing this, went to her and offered her five guilders, which Wolfert's wife again told me. Thereupon, to prevent the otters from being purloined, I was obliged to give her the five guilders. Should your Honors desire to remedy such and other similar practices, it will be necessary to send me and the Schout other instructions and to order the Council to assist us better.
In accordance with your Honors' instructions I have examined Pieter Barentsz, chief-boatswain to Jan Brouwer,21 with regard to the account of Mr. Pieter Courten.22 He refers to the letter or book of the son of Adriaen Jorissz23 and says that he can render no further account. He says that pursuant to the orders of Adriaen Jorissz they outbid one another, each trying to get hold of as many skins as possible, and, furthermore, that many goods were exchanged against victuals and other things; in short, he concludes that there is nothing left and that all was used up.
Adriaen Jorissz had Jacob Jopsz24 summoned or called before the Council. He admits that he received from Pieter Barentsz 100 kettles, 21 dozen French knives, 18 knives with sword handles, 70 hatchets, and one bunch of beads, in return for which he delivered to him 205 beaver and otter skins and 60 fathoms of wampum, and what was left he turned over upon the arrival of Jan Brouwer. Neither party can give any further satisfaction than that there have been disputes between Adriaen Jorissz and Pieter Barentsz, which we have not inquired into, since both parties are going over.25
The 4000 guilders in cash I have handed over to Director Minuyt, as the honorable gentlemen will be able to see from his letter.
I am sending to your Honors by this vessel 110 detective kettles which cannot be sold here, being broken and leaky; I hope your Honors will send as many back by the next ship. We have also here a number of copper kettles, which cannot be traded here without spoiling the natives; moreover, they would not give more for them than for the others, which would not make good the cost. I suppose your Honors sent them here for the French Indians, who do not want such things from us because they can get enough of them from the French near by and because they are too heavy to carry. They come to us for no other reason than to get wampum, which the French cannot procure unless they to barter for it with our natives in the north, just as the Brownists of Plymouth26 come near our places to get wampum in exchange. I beg to submit to your Honors whether, if we could overtake French or English sloops here, it would not be well by some means or other to take the trade away from them, either by force or by spoiling their trade by outbidding them with duffels or hatchets, in order that they themselves would have to come to us to get wampum, or that we in going to them could exchange the wampum for skins in their possession. And instead of giving the Indians 2 1/2 hand-lengths, we could give them three or four hands. To do this, there would have to be two or three large sloops more, wherewith one could reply [to their guns], if it should happen [to be necessary].
If it will please the honorable gentlemen to supply me continually with duffels, I shall know how to get wampum and to stock Fort Orange in such a way that the French Indians will never again come there in vain, as they have done heretofore, according to what I hear from those who were stationed there. This is a matter that would spoil a good beginning and whereby the Indians would be discouraged, coming from so far off and that for nothing. I hope this winter before the frost sets in to stock Fort Orange with a thousand yards of wampum, nearly all of which I have in my possession, in order that Crool27 may have success. Only, I am very much afraid that I shall be short of duffels when the time comes, so that I am again obliged to beg the honorable gentlemen to assist me toward the end of March or the beginning of next April with 200 pieces, in order that I may be enabled to keep the sloops continually going, and thereby prevent the Indians in the north from going to the English with their skins, as they did last spring, whereby the honorable gentlemen lost at least 500 or 600 skins coming from the north; likewise as regards those from the south, where your Honors suffered a loss of more than 1000 skins in otters and beavers. At the time when the merchants traded for their own account they used to get from 2000 to 2500 skins from the south, whereas now but 1100 or 1200 have come from there, and this because the sloops were so late in coming up the river and when there had in particular no duffels to offer, so that the Indians were obliged to go to the English, who furnish them with plenty of cloth.
I have only about 30 pieces of cloth in colors that are in demand, that is, blue and standard gray,28 the rest which I have are all red, whereof I can hardly sell a yard, because the Indians say that it hinders them in hunting, being visible too far off. They all call for black, the darker the color the better, but red and green they will not take. If by that time your Honors will be pleased to provide me with duffels as herein before mentioned, I hope to send back about 10,000 skins in return, and that in time for the Amsterdam fair,29 so that your Honors may be able to bring the skins to their proper market, which on each good otter will make a difference to your Honors of 2 or 3 guilders in the price, as compared with that of the Frankfort or Leipzig fairs. In this way trade may be carried on in the most profitable way to the satisfaction of both sides, while the Indians will be all the more diligent in hunting when they see that when they have skins they can get what they want, about which the Maquaes do not hesitate to complain bitterly, saying: "Why should we go hunting? Half the time you have no cloth."
Your Honors will also be pleased to send me by the next ship 3000 or 4000 mattocks, for I fear that by the time the Indians will wish to plant I shall be short of mattocks.
I send your Honors by this vessel two strings of coral or beads, one black and the other white, as a sample. Your Honors will kindly send me of each sort 200 or 300 pounds, strung to the same length and of the same size, as these are much sought after and there are no more here.
I have sold among the colonists here 10 or 20 lbs. of beads at one guilder a pound, and this because they complain so much of the victuals, and can buy for them from the Indians maize, fish, and various other things. Should your Honors not approve of this, you will be pleased to advise me of it and it shall not occur again.
As to the making of salt,30 I fear that this will not be successful because it sometimes rains here in summer, but with God's help we shall try it at the proper season and see whether it is feasible.
As far as the burning of lime is concerned, that can certainly be done, and making bricks, too, for there is clay enough here that could be used for brick-making and there are plenty of oyster-shells that are suitable for making lime; only we lack workmen who understand the burning and brick-making.
With regard to making tar and pitch, as in Norway, this is also possible beyond question, since there are equally good pine trees here as there and that are even more substantial and sappy than those in Norway, so that I do not doubt, should it please your Honors to send over 10 or 12 Norwegians, like Oelle,31 who had knowledge thereof, we could send over from 200 to 300 lasts a year, in addition to the pine logs and boards that could be cut and sawed from the trees, since for the making of tar the root and top of the tree only need to be used.
With regard to the making of tan and oak bark peelings I have no doubt that Minuyt will have informed your Honors of Gerrit van Gelder's32 incapacity, so that upon those things not much dependence can be placed, as he is a person who pays little attention to his duties and oath and who is very unfit for farming, he having no knowledge of it himself and being unable to keep any men under him. He had a quarrel with Heindrick Conduit,33 in which they called each other rogues and thieves; so thinking that it was the fault of his man, we gave him Govert Pieters Buyck,34 who is a quiet, God-fearing, diligent man, in hopes of improvement. He was with him six or seven weeks, but was treated in such a way that he came and begged us to be released from that ungodly house, adducing such other reasons as compelled us to take the farm provisionally out of [Van Gelder's] hands and to entrust it to the aforesaid Buyck, subject to your Honors' approval. And whereas dairymaids are needed here, and Buyck would like to have his wife here to look after the cattle, to which she has been accustomed all her life, I recommend her to the honorable gentlemen. Furthermore, Buyck desires me to pray your Honors in his name, if his wife should come to your Honors and ask for 50 guilders or so on his account, that it might please your Honors to accommodate her therewith, which favor he will repay by good service.
I have herein before advised the honorable gentlemen that we are sending your Honors the person of Willem van der Hulst and his wife,35 together with the record of their trial and sentence, but in the haste of writing I have forgotten to state why in that sentence we are banishing him now and forever from the limits of your Honors' charter. This was done because he gave out here that if he were not serving the honorable gentlemen here he knew other masters who would help him and would know how to avenge himself. We therefore added that, so as to have cause to arrest him if he should happen to come here again in the service of the French or English, intending then in accordance with the sentence to try and sentence him and to send this to the respective prince or lord for our justification.
By this ship there go over for the account of Minuyt 6360 beavers. It is found that by mistake 14 lynxes have been counted as beavers. Among these there are 12 beavers that were traded in my time, 4 by me and 8 at Fort Orange by Pieter Barentsz, and 611 otters, of which ten are put down on the account covering my time, making together 6971 beavers and otters, 48 minks, 10 lynxes, and one cask with pieces, all for the account of Minuyt. For my account there go 892 beavers and 226 1/2, otters, being together 1181 1/2 beavers and otters and 26 lynxes, among which has since been found one otter, making together 227 1/2 otters, so that for my account there are 1119 1/2 skins of beavers and otters. In addition, I send your Honors 33 small skins in a package marked No. 7, being mostly minks, and 34 [musk] rat skins in a package marked No. 6, all for my account.
I am also sending the honorable gentlemen a coat made of 8 otters, found in the chest of Daniel van Crieckenbeeck, marked DVC, one otter of which is for Minuyt's account. After Minuyt's account was closed, he brought me two more otters, so that 614 otters belong to Minuyt and 227 1/2, to me, making together 841 otters and 7252 beavers, 81 small skins, mostly minks, 36 lynxes and 34 rat skins, all traded in return for merchandise. In two cases, Nos. 232 and 294, there are together 675 otters, 425 otters being in No. 232 and 250 otters in No. 294; the rest have been counted with the beavers in the chamber. A small chest, No. 259, contains the skins belonging to the deceased, and in a small case, No. 5, Of Verhulst, there are 4 otters and 13 beavers, with some other skins, as your Honors may see from the inventory. In addition, there are 32 otters in his wife's jacket, making together 36 otters, and 16 beavers in the tabard, making together 29 beavers, whereof I claim, as upon confiscated goods, 15 stivers for each beaver and otter, according to your Honors' writing.
I hope that upon receipt of the skins your Honors will have this amount credited to my account in return for all the trouble and labor I have had in the matter. According to what I hear it is a sin and a pity that so many fine beavers and otters were spoiled to make that tabard and the jacket, as they used only the backs, the rest having been cut off and thrown away, as your Honors may see from the otter tails and pieces in the little chest, No. 259.
Herewith go also the initial proceedings in an action against Verhulst by Aernou Renny,36 for damages. Your Honors will be pleased to advise us in the matter, in order that we may satisfy him.
I send your Honors a small ring belonging to Daniel van Crieckenbeeck. Your Honors will be pleased to hand the same to his wife.
And whereas the time is short, I must needs close these to help the ship along. I beg the honorable gentlemen to ascribe the slovenliness in writing and composition of this letter and in making up the accounts of the people, not to my ignorance, but to the many interruptions caused by the fitting out of the vessel, as the honorable gentlemen may learn from the oral reports of the skipper, Master Cryn, and Pieter Pietersz Billevelt, to which I refer.
Meanwhile I commend myself to your Honors' good graces and pray God that He may grant your Honors good health in soul and body, in the exercise of a righteous and profitable rule. Amen, so be it. Done on the island of Manhattes, at Fort Amsterdam, the 23d of September, 1626. Below was written: Your Honors' obliged servant, faithful unto death.
Was signed: Isaacq de Ragiere.
P. S. Forgotten by mistake, through haste. My Lords: I have here 15 bearskins, which I am keeping here to trade them in the rivers to the north for wampum, in the winter time, for which they give then twice as much as they are worth in the fatherland. Should your Honors, another year, desire to have them sent home, your Honors will kindly advise me thereof and it shall be done.
The colonists sometimes receive wampum, which hitherto we have purchased for 5 guilders the fathom, in order to take the fur trade away from them. Should your Honors not be pleased to approve this, we shall discontinue doing so.
Continue to - Explanatory and Biographical Notes for Document F
Documents relating to New Netherland 1624-1626, In The Henry E. Huntington Library, Translated and Edited by A.J.F. van Laer, ©1924, p 171-251.