Governor Stuyvesant's Demand to Expel Jews From New Amsterdam Denied Hot

Governor Stuyvesant's Demand to Expel Jews From New Amsterdam Denied

Peter Stuyvesant
Source: Wikipedia

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The directors of the Dutch West India Co. deny the request of Governor Peter Stuyvesant to expel Jews from New Amsterdam. This group of 23 Jews had recently fled Brazil after the Portuguese captured it from the Dutch.

Governor Stuyvesant had written to the directors last September:

"The Jews who have arrived would nearly all like to remain here, but learning that they (with their customary usury and deceitful trading with the Christians) were very repugnant to the inferior magistrates, as also to the people having the most affection for you..."

What Stuyvesant didn't know is that several Jews are on the board of directors. Their reply:

"We would have liked to effectuate and fulfill your wishes and request that the new territories should no more be allowed to be infected by people of the Jewish nation, for we foresee therefrom the same difficulties which you fear, but after having further weighed and considered the matter, we observe that this would be somewhat unreasonable and unfair, especially because of the considerable loss sustained by this nation, with others, in the taking of Brazil, as also because of the large amount of capital which they still have invested in the shares of this company.

Therefore after many deliberations we have finally decided and resolved to apostille [annotate] upon a certain petition presented by said Portuguese Jews that these people may travel and trade to and in New Netherland and live and remain there, provided the poor among them shall not become a burden to the company or to the community, but be supported by their own nation. You will now govern yourself accordingly."

It's noteworthy that not only are Jews permitted to freely settle and live in New Amsterdam, but that there are no restrictions placed on them in terms of employment or profession. They are basically as free as any other settler, though what's missing from the letter is anything about worship — and the Jews aren't given permission to worship publicly until 1730.

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