Novel Time Line

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Novel Time Line


Time Line for the Novel

Red = completely fictional

Green = estimate based on related facts

Black = historical


9 Apr 1609

Spain and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Antwerp, which ended the Eighty Years’ War and created the Twelve Year Truce. The fear of its expiration in 1621 encouraged Pilgrims to leave Holland in 1620.


Summer 1620

Thomas Blossom and his son were part of the Leiden Separatists who embarked on the Speedwell and sailed to Southampton, England to meet the sister ship, Mayflower, and additional Separatists. The Speedwell was eventually deemed unseaworthy. The Mayflower continued alone with 106 passengers; the Blossoms returned to Leiden.


13 August 1626

Penelope Kent was born in Amsterdam.


8 Sep 1628

A Dutch West Indies fleet led by Admiral Piet Heyn captured a Spanish treasure fleet at Matanzas Bay, Cuba worth 11.5 million guilders.



Penelope’s mother died of childbed fever.


23 October 1642

The Battle of Edgehill was the first significant battle of the English Civil War.


November 1642

The ship that Penelope’s father was supposed to be on sunk in the Baltic Sea.


23 Feb 1643

Director General Kieft attacked local Indians and started a war in New Netherland.


April 1643

John Throckmorton befriended John Kent and guided him from Boston to New Netherland. Before leaving Boston, John Kent wrote a letter to his daughter.


June 1643

Lady Moody and companions began settlement at Gravesend.


Early August 1643

John Kent and companion were murdered near the Collect Pond.


Late Aug 1643

Indians massacred Anne Hutchinson’s family and attacked neighbor John Throckmorton. The war continued throughout the fall and drove the early settlers form Gravesend back to New Amsterdam.


April 1644

Pieter Stuyvesant, Director of Curaçao, led an attack on the Spanish-held island of Sint Maarten (St. Martin) and lost the lower part of his right leg to a cannon ball.


April 1644

Penelope received father’s letter.


May 1644

The ship Melchmeyt brought provisions from Brazil to Curaçao.

fall 1644

The ship Melchmeyt carried wounded Pieter Stuyvesant and a load of salt to Holland. He convalesced at his sister’s home.


13 Aug 1645

Pieter Stuyvesant married Judith Bayard, the sister of Samuel Bayard of Amsterdam, who was married to Anna Stuyvesant, Pieter’s sister.


11 May 1647

Paulus Leendersz van der Grift was the captain of the Groote Gerrit, which arrived in New Amsterdam via Curaçao with his High Mightiness Director-General Pieter Stuyvesant and family. Other ships in the fleet were de Liefde, Swol, and Princess Amelia.


6 Jun 1647

The New Amsterdam Council ordered the ships Groote Gerrit, de Kath, and de Leifde to voyage to the West Indies as privateers. No info on when they departed, but see notes for 19 Feb 1648.


10 Nov 1647

The elders of Penelope’s congregation charge her with infamous behavior.


3 Dec 1647

Liesbeth Rykers’s 70th birthday.


21 Dec 1647

Penelope married Matthew Prince.


30 Jan 1648

The Peace of Munster (a subset of the Peace of Westphalia) was agreed upon. It established permanent peace between Spain and the Netherlands. Official signing was delayed until May.

19 Feb 1648

Vice Director Lucas Roodenborch of Curaçao wrote a letter to Stuyvesant that the Groote Gerrit was severely damaged by a storm and that de Cath and de Liefde were ravished by sickness. Stuyvesant received the letter by way of Boston on April 14.

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16 March 1648

Penelope’s ship sailed from Amsterdam.


15 Apr 1648

In the Caribbean the ship de Kath captured a Spanish ship with a cargo of hides and tobacco. Note the delay between capture (15 Apr) and official announcement (2 Jul).


20 Apr 1648

The New Amsterdam Council dispatched the ship De Swol under command of Paulus Leendersz to Curaçao with provisions and repair materials.


15 May 1648

The Peace of Munster was officially signed.


15 May 1648

Penelope’s ship landed in Curacao and soon returned to Europe.


2 Jul 1648

The New Amsterdam Council announced that Hans Wyer, captain of the yacht De Cath, arrived in New Amsterdam with a captured Spanish bark Nostra Signora Rosario, laden with hides, captured below Margarita in the Caribbean Islands. See item 15 Apr.


2 Jul 1648

Schout-Fiscaal Hendrick van Dyck brought charges against the crew of the yacht de Cat for failure to turn over to the West India Company pearls and pieces of eight found aboard the captured bark Nostra Signora Rosario. The charges were dropped after the crew agreed to forfeit their share of the prize money and to extend their term of service because New Amsterdam was short of seamen.


17 July 1648

De Kath arrived back at Curacao for a load of salt. The date assumes de Kath left New Amsterdam about 4 July.

Penelope and companions board the ship.


20 Jul 1648

The New Amsterdam Council ordered a ship to Curacao to deliver supplies and bring back salt. Author’s Note: The Council records often documented events that had already happened. In the Council minutes for July 2, they were already planning this voyage.


7 Aug 1648

De Kath wrecked off Sandy Hook.


9 Aug 1648

Indians attacked Penelope and Matthew.


16 Aug 1648

Tisquantum found Penelope and carried her to his village.


late-August 1648

The cargo of de Kath was recovered.


31 Aug 1648

Hans Fomer assigned power of attorney to Augustine Herrmann to collect pay arrears of 81 guilders, 11 stivers, 4 pennies.


3 Sep 1648

Tisquantum delivered Penelope to New Amsterdam for a ransom.


7 Sep 1648

Nicholas Stillwell bought a house and lot in Gravesend.

Penelope moves in with Anne Stillwell.


12 Sep 1648

Penelope Prince was a witness in a slander trial in Gravesend.


9 Nov 1648

The New Amsterdam Council approved the disposition of salvage from the yacht de Cath, which arrived from Curaçao with a cargo of salt inside Sandy Hook, stranded itself on a sand bank, and could not be freed.


18 November 1648

Penelope confronted killer.


23 Nov 1648

The New Amsterdam Council settled accounts with Jeuryaen Andries and approved him for future employment.


Early December 1648

The Stillwell family moved to Gravesend. Penelope accompanied them.


21 Dec 1648

Penelope married Richard Stout.


Jan 1649

Nicholas Stillwell was elected a magistrate in Gravesend.


30 Jan 1649

King Charles was beheaded in London.


8 Feb 1649

Henry Bresser took over Phillip de Truy’s house formerly occupied by Stillwell.


25 Mar 1649

Pregnant Penelope heard about the beheading of King Charles.








From Genealogy of the Family of Longstreet with its Related Families by Edward Mayes, circa 1890


page D-128

Richard Stout, the first American progenitor of the American family of Stout, in New Jersey. He was born in 1609. The opposition of [Richard's] father to his marrying a girl of inferior social position led him to enlist on a man-of-war. At the end of seven years of service he was discharged at New Amsterdam (New York), then a Dutch colony.

He was one of the first settlers of Gravesend, L. I., in 1643, under these circumstances: Lady Deborah Moody (daughter of Walter Dunch of England and widow of Sir Henry Moody) and her associates, to avoid persecution in Massachusetts and New England, left that locality and came to New Netherlands, settling in 1643 in Gravesend, among the more tolerant Hollanders. In October of that year she and her settlers were driven off by the Indians to Amersfoort (Flatlands), where they remained until the end of the Indian war, and then returned to Gravesend. Stout must have been amongst the war-refugees from Gravesend. By an agreement ... it was concluded that in the settlement of Gravesend, each associate should be accommodated with a certain quantity of land within a certain fence to be erected, which land should be divided into 28 parts, each person to receive a part and also a building lot. On Dec 10, 1645, Gov. Stuyvesant [sic] issued a patent authorizing the establishment of the town; and on the laying out of it, in 1646, under the aforesaid agreement, plantation lots were assigned to Richard Stout (lot #18), James Grover, Ralph Cardell, Lady Deborah Moody, and 23 others: and each of the said grantees was required to keep up twenty poles of the common fence. On Oct. 26, 1649, he was living in Gravesend, and sold to John Thomas his crop of tobacco for 210 guilders. In 1657, a town list was made ... and Richard Stout had 17 morgens (34 acres) -- the [second] largest area...."


Page D-129 contains a slightly edited version of the original story, given next.



From David Benedict's A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, and Other Parts of the World, printed in 1790.


p 574 of the 1813 edition on Google Books.

She was born at Amsterdam, about the year 1602 [sic]; her father's name was Van Princes [sic]. She and her first husband, whose name is not known, sailed for New- York (then New-Amsterdam), about the year 1620 [sic]; the vessel was stranded at Sandy-Hook; the crew got ashore and marched towards said New-York; but Penelope's (for that was her name) husband, being hurt in the wreck, could not march with them; therefore, he and his wife tarried in the woods; they had not been long in the place, before the Indians killed them both, (as they thought) and stripped them to the skin; however, Penelope came to, though her skull was fractured, and her left shoulder so hacked, that she could never use that arm like the other; she was also cut across the abdomen, so that her bowels appeared; these she kept in with her hand; she continued in this situation for seven days, taking shelter in a hollow tree, and eating the excresence of it: the seventh day she saw a deer passing by with arrows sticking in it, and soon after two Indians appeared, whom she was glad to see, in hope they would put her out of her misery; accordingly, one made toward her, to knock her on the head; but the other, who was an elderly man, prevented him; and, throwing his matchcoat about her, carried her to his wigwam, and cured her of her wounds and bruises; after that, he took her to New-York, and made a present of her to her countrymen, viz., an Indian present, expecting ten times the value in return. It was in New-York, that one Richard Stout married her: he was a native of England and of good family; she was now in her 22d year and he in his 40th. She bore him seven sons and five daughters, viz.: Jonathan (founder of Hopewell), John, Richard, James, Peter, David, Benjamin, Mary, Sarah, and Alice; the daughters married into the families of the Bounds, Pikes, Throckmortons and Skeltons and so lost the name of Stout; the sons married into the families of Bullen, Crawford, Ashton, Traux, &c and had many children. The mother lived to the age of 110, and saw her offspring multiplied into 502, in about 88 years' ."




From Genealogy of the Family of Longstreet with its Related Families by Edward Mayes, circa 1890


pages D-122-3


John Throckmorton, the immigrant, ... was born about 1610. This gentleman immigrated from England to the colony of Massachusetts Bay, in company with Roger Williams and others, in the ship 'Lion', embarking at Bristol, Dec, 1, 1630, and arriving at Nantasket on Feby. 5, 1631. He located first at Salem, and removed thence to Rhode Island. There, he is named, in a land-grant made 10th April, 1637, as 'neighbor Throckmorton'. On the 8th Oct., 1638, he was one of the twelve persons to whom Roger Williams deeded land that he had bought of Canonicus and Miantonomoh: and in which Williams speaks of him as 'my loving friend and neighbor, John Throckmorton'. At that time he was one of 54 persons to whom were allotted houselots in Providence. Apl. 22, 1639, he bought of Roger Williams his interest in Chibachuwest, now called Prudence Island: and on July 27, 1640, he and thirty-eight others signed an agreement for a form of government.


In the 'History of West Chester County' by Bolton it is said: 'The township of West Chester was probably settled in 1642, by a Mr. John Throckmorton, with thirty-five associates, who came from New England, with the approbation of the Dutch authorities.' He received July 6th, 1643, for himself and thirty-five associates, from Governor Kieft his land-grant, in which he is called 'Jan' Throckmorton. This grant embraced the eastern portion of the township of West Chester. "Throckmorton's Neck' he called it in remembrance of his father's manor in Worcestershire; and the locality is still indicated by what is now known as "Throg's Point" (an abbreviation of Throckmorton's Point), on the northern shore of Long Island Sound, above New York City.


In this settlement at Westchester, John Throckmorton was associated with the celebrated Anne Hutchinson, who had been driven out of New England by the Puritans, for teaching doctrines which they considered heretical. It appears probable that the Westchester Settlement was designed chiefly in her interest and that of her followers."


The settlement here, however, was but brief. On the 6th of Oct., 1643, the Indians attacked it. Mrs.Hutchinson and all her family except one daughter were killed. The same fate befell some others; amongst whom, were all of the family of John Throckmorton who happened to be at home, except perhaps his wife. Some of the settlers that escaped the massacre went back to Rhode Island; John Throckmorton in the number; retaining however his lands and possessions in Westchester.



The following items are copied from the book

New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch, Volume IV, Council Minutes, 1638-1649, translated and annotated by Arnold J F van Laer. Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1974. Viewed at the Natchez, MS public library.



pp 364-5

Paulus Leendersz, superintendent of equipments, is ordered in council to take measures that the ships Groote Gerrit, De Kath, and De Leifde be made ready to go to sea at the earliest possible opportunity, in order to cruise against our common enemy, the Spaniard, in the West Indies and the islands thereof, to the best advantage and profit of the honorable directors. In Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 6th of June anno 1647.


pp 514-5

Whereas a letter from Vice Director Luycas Roodenborch of Curaçao, dated the 19th of February, has been received here by the honorable director and council by way of New England on the 14th of April, advising them that the ship Groote Gerrit arrived completely disabled and damaged by a very severe storm or hurricane, having been obliged to throw overboard the most part of the cargo of provisions taken on board at Boston for Curaçao, which was damaged by leakage and by the great quantity of water in the hold; also, that in consequence of great sickness and mortality the ships Cath and Liefde must remain at Curaçao and that there was scarcely a healthy person aboard the ships; furthermore, that they were in want of everything at Curaçao, especially of provisions, men, and materials to repair and refit them for sea, without which they must remain there and further deteriorate; therefore, the honorable director general and council have unanimously resolved and concluded, for the best interest and advantage of the chartered West India Company to send thither with all possible dispatch the yacht Swol, formerly called Beninjo, under command of Paulus Leendersz at present naval store keeper, as captain, in which yacht shall be shipped as many provisions and necessary materials as can be collected at the present time. And, whereas we have here no permanent crew or sailors on the yacht in the service of the company to navigate said vessel, it is decided to engage by the public beat of the drums as many seaman as can be obtained to man the yacht Swol and the other ships and on as good terms as circumstances permit and only for this voyage. Thus done in full council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 20th of April 1648.


p 528

Whereas a Spanish bark Nostra Singnora [sic] Rosario, laden with hides, captured in the Caribbean Islands by Hans Wyer, the honorable company’s captain on the yacht De Cath has been brought up in front of this city of New Amsterdam, public notice is hereby given by the ringing of the bell to everyone of what state, rank or condition he may be, that if he has any objection to make why said bark should not be declared a good prize he must produce his reasons within one month after the publication hereof, on pain of non-appearance within said time of being debarred from his action. Thus done in council, published and affixed in Fort Amsterdam, the 2nd of July anno 1648.


pp 528-9

Hendrick van Dyck, ex officio plaintiff against the crew of the yacht De Cat, for the recovery of some pieces of eight which they secured in capturing the bark Nostra Senora Rosario and divided among themselves. The fiscal, instituting his action in writing, demands restitution of the aforesaid pieces of eight and pearls, maintaining that they are not plunder.

Having seen the demand of the fiscal against the crew of the Kat, who captured the prize below Margarita and brought it up before the Manhatans, [setting forth that] said crew, contrary to the company’s articles, found in said prize some pieces of eight and pearls which they divided among themselves and furthermore brought in no prisoners, as ordered by the company, it appears that this would deserve a civil court punishment, but observing that we have very few men and that is necessary to fit the vessel out again for the West Indies to procure salt and that consequently that we should not be able to secure any men here, and this crew’s term has long since expired, we have for the best interest and advantage of the company considered it advisable to pardon them for this offense, on the condition that their claim to the prize money from the captured bark be confiscated for the benefit of the company. Therefore the fiscal’s further demand is dismissed. This 2d of July, in New Amsterdam anno 1648.


p 529

Whereas this entire country (not only we but also our neighbors) is in great need of salt and there is not in our stores above ten schepels of salt, caused by the fact that the ships at Curaçao are all out of repair and in need of everything; therefore, it is considered highly necessary, both for the preservation of the ships at Curaçao and on account of our need for salt here, to fit out and dispatch the captured prize to Curaçao to fetch salt and St. Martha’s wood, so as to enable us before the coming winter to salt provisions for both this country and Curaçao, and to bring us as much St. Martha’s wood as possible. Thus done and resolved, the 20th of July anno 1648, in New Netherland.


p 579

Whereas the yacht De Cath, of which Jeuryaen Andries was master, arrived here from Curaçao with a cargo inside Sandy Hook, otherwise called Godyn Point, in a safe port and, the wind being contrary, tried to tack to before Fort Amsterdam, said yacht, in tacking, stranded on a sand bank with such force that notwithstanding all effort it could not be brought off, except the effects which were in and on her, inclusive of the masts; only, by the splitting of the ship, a quantity of salt was dissolved. The effects and merchandise being calculated against the monthly wages earned by the crew of the said ship, the proceeds according to the inventory were found to amount to more than the accrued wages; and whereas the ship’s crew appearing in a body before the council request a final settlement according to maritime law, it is therefore resolved and concluded in council to furnish a proper account to all members of the crew of the yacht De Cath, who shall be paid and satisfied by the honorable directors at Amsterdam, on condition that they shall continue in the Company’s service until their bounden time shall have expired. This day, the 9th of November 1648. Present: The honorable general, Mr. Dincklagen, Briant Nuton [Brian Newton] and Paulus Leedersz.


Pp 579-80

Jeuryaen Andriesz, late master of the yacht De Cath, presents to the council a petition requesting a settlement of his account and discharge, or other employment, whereupon the following apostil is entered on the petition: The petitioner shall be granted a final account and whereas there is no employment for him at present he is discharged, but attention will be paid to his future employment, for which the person remains recommended. The apostil is granted in the presence of the honorable director general, the honorable deputy and Brian Nuton. The 23rd of November 1648.





Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York by O’Callaghan


P 102

Letter from the Directors [in Amsterdam] to Peter Stuyvesant; Censure for meddling in Kieft’s Affairs; English claims; Renessealrwyck and Fort Orange; Fiscal van Dyck’s Complaints; Preachers; Iron Mines

Jan 27th 1649

Honorable, Dear, Worthy and Pious Sir,

Our last year to your Honor was dated on the 10th of April of last year, by which we informed you of everything necessary.

We have in the meantime received by different channels many letters and documents or any way the duplicates of the documents, which have been lost by the wrecking of the “Princess,” and although we see that many of the letters have been answered completely by our aforesaid letter, yet we find in some of the more important ones points, which require a reply from us.

Before we proceed, however, it will be necessary to specify the letters, which have reached us to wit:

In 1646, Octbr 15th and 16th, on board the “Princess,” then in port at Barbadoes

1647, January 15, from Curacao

Two letters without date of day or year arrived by way of the English Virginias

A letter dated Aug 4th, 1648

Another without date concerning only your Honor’s private affairs

Two letters of 2nd and 23rd of last year

Further the following letters for Lucas Rodenborch at Curacao, dated respectively June 3rd, Septbr 22nd 1647 and April 6th and May 5th 1648



Although you complain, that we have not promptly and thoroughly replied to your former letters, we can only find some unimportant matters, which we tacitly passed over, because we lacked sufficient information, to come to a decision concerning them: for instance, you had asked for our approval concerning the confiscated ship “Liefde,”

Huyber van Ree master, but we have not received either the proper information or the report of the proceedings, which only reached us now. We can only agree with you, that it was confiscated for good reasons, but at the same time, we cannot approve, that the goods, after having been inventoried, were not sold by you at public auction, and that their value was not announced and the three summonses of the Fiscal were not published: all this could have been done in better shape on shore, then to pass such a sentence on shore. Now the owners sue us for it, demanding an indemnification of 10,000 fl and they will undoubtedly avail themselves of the abovestated arguments, but we have not yet seen their complaint in writing. What is alleged in this case may also be brought up against us concerning the embargoed ship St. Benenio. Nobody has yet taken any steps in this matter, but we are already involved in a formal matter proceeding the ship with its cargo of hides and tobacco, the former owner of which has come here now to claim these goods, asserting that he is a resident burgher of this place; this, we believe, can be reasonably be said of his mother, but he himself has lived about fifteen years in Spain, as we understand. He complains bitterly, that he and the other prisoners have not been treated according to the company’s instructions, but have been sent adrift in one boat. Time will show whether the arguments against it will appear plausible to the judges, meanwhile we are in a quandary and puzzled by such proceedings, especially as we notice that they have begun in Curacao to dispose of some of these goods without process of law, then only one summons was published before you contracted with several merchants for a large quantity of hides. You have also approved of the plunder of pearls and pieces of 8; though the plunderers will represent it as a trifle, their assertions do not agree with the supercargo’s accounts, much less the demands of the parties in interest. We also find that this capture was made on 15th of April 1648 and brought in on the 23rd, but to our great surprise, you have published only one summons from that day until the 23rd of Septbr, the date of your last letter and we cannot learn, what legal proceedings you instituted. This case is nevertheless of great importance and you might have known that we would be called upon for explanation. But what surprises us most in this matter is, you have not sent us a list of the cargo and you say not a word in your various letters about the 2000 pounds of Maracaibo tobacco shipped in this caravel, nor that you have received them, nor what price they were sold.

This tobacco could be sold here at present for 8 fl the pound and it is in our opinion not a matter of so little importance to be passed over in silence. It is therefore of the greatest importance, that you should sent us by the first opportunity a list of the whole cargo and all the documents relating to the confiscation, although we doubt whether these latter will be according to the laws of this country, where no bench of judges has yet confiscated a ship or merchandise to be kept by them after an arbitrary division and appraisement. Everything is here sold publicly, which we observe has also been the custom there formerly and was done in the case of the confiscated ship, “St. Peter,” although even then not all the formalities were not observed, for we find in the report of the sale, that 30 pieces of duffels, delivered by Johannes van Hardenburgh to the clerk of the company’s warehouse were appraised at 54 st [stuivers] the ell, while hardenburgh has proved by certificate, that 24 pieces of the same duffels were sold there at the same time for 4fl [80 stuivers] the ell. When we made a provisional settlement with him in this matter, we directed you what to do in it, but you have nevertheless deemed it proper to re-open the case by sending us the declaration of Simon Pietersen Pas, as if we had not received it before nor paid any attention to its contents. We have only to say to this, that it had been duly examined in regard to everything having reference to this case and that we found it necessary to settle on the already stated condition of it offsetting his claim against the import and export duties here, so that you need have no dealings with his brother there.

The many complaints against the Fiscal Hendrick van Dyke are very numerous to us. Although this man had been recommended to us very highly, we have not yet been without fear, that complaints would be made to us, as we had heard some bad reports before his departure. On the contrary, your complaints are confirmed by various witnesses,…




From Gravesend Town Records, vol 1

12 Sep 1648:

Ambrose London plaintive agt:ye wife of Tho: Aplegate defent in an action of slander for saying his wife did milke her Cowe.

The defent saith yt shee said noe otherwise but as Penellopey Prince tould her yt Ambrose his wife did milke her Cowe.

Rodger Scotte being deposed saith yt being in ye house of Tho: Aplegate hee did heare Pennellopy Prince saye yt ye wife of Ambrose London did milke ye Cowe of Tho: Aplegate.

Tho: Greedye being deposed saith yt Pennellope Prince being att his house hee did heare her saye yt shee and Aplegates Daughter must com as witnesses agat: Ambrose his wife milking Aplegates Coew.

Pennellope Prince being questationed adknowled her faulte in soe speaking and being sorrie her words she spake gave sattisfaction on both sides.





Food on Board Dutch Ships in the 17th Century


The food on board of a Dutch ship in the 17th century was strictly regulated according to official rules, so there was not a big difference in the food supply on merchant ships, whalers, VOC or WIC ships. In 1636 the Admiraliteit van Amsterdam (Amsterdam Admiralty) ordered that everyone on board was entitled to half a pound of cheese, half a pound of butter and bread to the weight of five pounds a week with double this amount for the officers.

A very important part of the food supply was the hardtack or ships biscuit, made of wheat or a mixture of wheat and rye. It was manufactured in bakeries north of Amsterdam in Zaandam and the Wormer, where you can still find to this day large factories which produce biscuits and gingerbread. Perishable food had to be smoked, dried or salted. Fish, apples and prunes had to be dried, vegetables, meat and fish were salted, even live stock as chicken, pigs and sheep were on board. Groats, beans and peas often replaced vegetables and fruit.

The day began with bread and porridge (made of groats), lunch had less starch. On Sunday there was half a pound of ham or a pound lamb's meat or salted meat with beans. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday fish with peas or beans were on the menu. On Thursday it was a pound of beef or three ounces of pork and on Friday and Saturday it was fish again. At the beginning of the journey the beer was drunk first, because it was perishable (no preservatives in those days) and by the time these barrels were empty, the crew had to drink water.

The food was very nutritious, at least 3500 till 4500 calories a day, but it contained too much protein and too little fat. Vitamins were a problem too, scurvy is an well known example as a result of lack of vitamin C.





A good example [of privateering] is the conquered silverfleet by Piet Heyn in 1628. The booty was worth 11,5 million guilders, minus costs of 7 million, quite a considerable amount of money. But according to the regulation the crew was entitled to 10% and 17 month extra payment and 10% for the Stadtholder as Admiral-General. The bewindhebbers had a poor 1%, but the shareholders received 50% dividend pay. After this generous hand-out only 1.5 million remained for the Company fund. It has to be said that privateering captains and shipowners had a high status in the Republic; after their carreer was over, many of them became merchants or high authorities.



From often citing Edmund B. O’Callaghan, Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York (Albany:

Weed, Parsons and Co., 1853-1858)


p 63

In June 1654 the yacht de Huen (Cock) left New Amsterdam for Curacao, her official orders being to bring back a cargo of salt. She had, however, been “equipped with such munitions of war as she requires.” In spite of this generous armament, she was taken by the Spanish on her homeward voyage. What is notable about this is that six years earlier the Treaty of Munster had ended officially the war between Spain and the Netherlands,

but apparently both sides were reluctant to give up the congenial work of privateering. Indeed, two years after that peace treaty the delegates of New Netherland on 12 April 1650, declared in a communication to the States General that the Spanish in the West Indies were still ignorant of the peace and that hostilities still continued in those parts. Further, that “peace has never been proclaimed in New Netherland.”


Crews often divided the smaller and more valuable items from a prize cargo among themselves. In July 1648 the yacht de Kath brought into New Amsterdam a Spanish prize, the bark Nuestra Senora de1 Rosario laden with hides. Almost immediately the crew were brought into court for recovery of “some pieces of eight and a few pearls” which they had found in her and had divided among themselves. They were found guilty but were pardoned because the company needed to fit out a vessel to “bring salt” from the West Indies and was short of seamen.” Crews of privateering yachts likewise carried on a brisk business in gunrunning and the sale of contraband goods.


In 1644 three Curacao-based yachts that were engaged intermittently in privateering against the Spanish were armed as follows: de Kath, 14 guns; de Neptuijnis, 10 guns; and

de Paroquit (Parakeet), 5 guns.


P 66

In 1645 the crew of the West India Company yacht Paroquit consisted of skipper, pilot, supercargo, boatswain, gunner and fifteen sailors; there is no mention here of a cook or cabin boy, usually a part of crews. Their monthly wages were, respectively, f45, f28, f16, f18, f16, and for the sailors, f8. As a comparison, a day laborer in New Netherland earned one guilder per day; and one guilder would buy an 8-lb. loaf of bread, about

a week’s supply. Thus, skippers were making only a third more than the average unskilled laborer, while performing highly skilled and dangerous work. In addition, a lot

of wealth passed through the hands of skippers, enough to make them wonder why they couldn’t share in the bounty.


Though the men-before-the-mast worked in constant danger for these pitiful wages on seventeenth-century vessels, ships carpenters, on the other hand, were of the elite, so badly needed in New Netherland that they drew much better wages than the average workman. That they soon began to feel their indispensability is indicated by a record in the council minutes for March 1649. The yacht de Liefde required repairs in order that she might proceed to the West Indies for salt critically needed for curing meat, but the West India Company’s carpenters refused to work on her for less than f4 per day wages,

which is an unheard of wage,” the record states. In the end the carpenters were ordered to do the work for whatever a board of arbitration composed of “two honest and impartial persons” should decide was a fair wage.




The Register of the Provincial Secretary - Translation -Volume 2



[Deposition of Richard Aesten and others as to pumpkins stolen on the land of Anthony Jansen from Salee by the crews of the Sevenster and the privateer La Garce]

[79] Before me, Cornelis van Tienhoven, secretary of New Netherland, appeared the undersigned witnesses, who at the request of Antony Jansen from Zale attest, testify and declare, in place and with promise of a solemn oath, that it is true and truthful that yesterday, about noon, the crews of the Sevenster and of the privateer [La Garce] went together on the land of Antony Jansen from Zalee, situated in the bay and there, as an Englishman who is a sailor on one of the said ships said, took fully 200 pumpkins. The deponents asked what they were doing there and they answered: “We are in search of the hogs on Coney Island;

162 if we find the hogs, we shall take them all away with us.” Thereupon the deponents replied: “Those that run there are Lady Moody’s hogs.” “Then we shall not go there,” said the sailors. Done the 13th of October 1643.

This is the R mark of Ritschert Aesten

This is the A mark of Ambroisus Lonne

This is the X mark of Ritchert Stout






p 39

Resolution drawn up the 26th of May 1644 in Fort Amsterdam on Curaçao.

We find the supplementary proposal, which was submitted today by the honorable director concerning changes brought about by the arrival of De Melckmeit, advisable on the first point; because it is fitting that the provisions which were recently sent from Brazil aboard De Melckmeyt and arrived in this harbor, are to be unloaded here in the warehouses for augmenting the provisions of this island…


P 45

Resolution drafted on the island of Curaçao, 22 July 1644.

Whereas we have since last Monday, being the 18th of this month, until today done our best to bring some needed equipment aboard the galiot and sloop to Bonnairo to take advantage of the salt and at the same time the Company’s Black servants, but have been hindered until now by contrary currents and we still see no chance to put to at the shore; therefore, we find it advisable for the most profit and benefit of the Company to let the galiot cross over to the coast of Espaniola or at least around north of the island with as many Negroes and as much equipment as can suitably be carried. The arrival of De Melckmeyt at Bonnairo has compelled us to do this when it informed us today, 22 July, of its arrival there and that there was enough salt for a load; which at this opportunity, it being late in the year, “a bird in flight can suffer no delay.”


p 46

Resolution drafted the 22nd of August 1644 at Fort Amsterdam on Curaçao.

Whereas the wound received by the honorable lord director [Pieter Stuyvesant] before St. Martin, according to the certification and declaration of the surgeons here, based on daily examinations, unfortunately cannot be cured and completely healed in this warm and hot country and for this reason [he] must return to the fatherland;


p 50

Resolution drafted aboard the ship De Melckmeyt, this 9th of November 1644.

After a distressing storm before Sunday we were born into the wrong channel against our will; because of the southeast wind, we could not put into the correct channel, and we were in want of water because there were only two barrels left for 61 mouths. Therefore we considered it entirely unadvisable to sail away from shore, especially because we have been able to distribute no more than five mutsjens [of water] per person every eight to ten days, without depriving the cook of what is necessary for cooking, whereby the people then began to come down with scurvy and weaken; therefore, they requested today that one harbor or another be chosen in order to take on water and to refreshing the people somewhat, which we, the undersigned, have taken into consideration with one another and have decided, for the benefit of the Company and the preservation of its ship De Melckmeyt, to put in at the first suitable harbor in Ireland.