Letter to his father Col. Johannes Hardenbergh



Letter to his father Col. Johannes Hardenbergh


Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh (1736-1790) mentions an enslaved man in a letter to his father Col. Johannes Hardenbergh (1706-1786).

Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh was one of the chief founders of Queen's College (later Rutgers) and served as the school's first president from 1786 to 1790. In 1777, during the Revolutionary War, in a letter to his father, Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh mentioned that he was "writing these words in a hurry while the negro is getting ready to leave," suggesting that an enslaved man was working in the Hardenbergh household at this time.

The letter was written in Dutch. A Dutch transcript and English translation have been provided by archivist Helene Van Rossum.



Spatial Coverage



Text (Transcript)

English translation (original text in Dutch follows below):

Honored and much beloved Father,

Thanks to the Lord’s good providence
we came home on Saturday and found
ours well. I stopped at Treasurer Lotten’s:
enclosed is the state of that bond. I said
that over a thousand pounds have been paid over it
so that this must be accrued interest. I did not have
enough money with me to pay it off
so I left it this way. I forgot to ask after Jacoba Goven(?).
Supper kept me busy and
several things prevented me sending the carriage earlier.

I am writing these few words in a hurry while the negro
is getting ready to leave. I have the privilege to report you
of our wellbeing. Here nothing is
new, other than that the forts at the cheveaux-de-frise
have gone and the enemy and part of their ships have
[…?]. How things will go from now time will tell.

My dear spouse and children join their loving
greeting with mine to you, our dear mother,
sister, and other family and friends and
I am thus remaining, honored and much beloved father,

your willing servant and son
Jacob R. Hardenbergh


Original text in Dutch:

Raritan Dec(embe)r 6:1777

Waarde & veel geliefde Vader.

Door ‘s Heeren goede voorzienigheyt
quamen wy des saturdags te huys ende vonden de
onsen wel. Ick stopten by de Tresurier Lotten: hier
in gesloten is de staat van die bant. Ick syde dat
[iet?]wat over de duysent ponden op betaalt is geweest
zoo Dat Dit belope Interest moet zyn. Ick hadde
[..?]arre na geen gelt genoeg met my omse af te betalen.
[heb?]se daarom so gelaten. Ick vergat na Jacoba Goven(?)
[nader?] te vragen. Avontmaels bezigheden hebben my
[..?] mijn(?) [..?] bezigheden gegeven het
een & ander heeft belet het reytuyg eerder te verzenden
Schrijve dese wynige in haast, wijl de neger gereet
maakt om af te gaan. Ick hebbe het voorregt UE
onsen aller welstant te berigten. Hier is niets
nieuw, als dat de Forten bij de chiverde Frisen [cheveaux de frise] weg
zyn & de Veyan[t] en een gedeelten haarder schepen,
[..?] hebben. Hoe het verder gaan zal zal de teyt leere.
Mijn lieve egtgenoot & kinderen paaren haar
liefde groet by de mynen aan UE, onse geliefde Moeder
suster ende de verdere Familie & Vrienden en dus
blyve ik
Waarde & veel geliefde Vader

UEd. D;W:D(ienaar) & soon
Jacob R. Hardenbergh


Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

Archival collection

Hardenbergh Family Papers


Hardenbergh, Jacob Rutsen, “Letter to his father Col. Johannes Hardenbergh,” Scarlet and Black Digital Archive, Rutgers University, accessed July 15, 2024, https://scarletandblack.rutgers.edu/archive/items/show/253.