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Letter Stiddem

Letter from Timen Stiddem to Axel Oxenstierna, Chancellor of Sweden, 1651

Source Text
Most Honorable Lord, Gracious Count
Lord Chancellor of the Realm!
Your Courtly Excellency:

I, a poor servant, cannot avoid this humble plea; As I (a poor person) was hired in the year 1649 and [assigned] to New Sweden, there to do my occupation; Out in which place I have been stationed since its first beginnings, but now I plied my trade and services both on the voyage, and conducted it at that place, for two and a half years' time; and because of the discharge, it was in my case stipulated that my pay should be on monthly basis; As I accepted that service, and then immediately started on the voyage, as a consequence the pay for two and a half years stand to some extent in arrears.

Furthermore (after God's providence), inasmuch as the ship named Katt vanished at Puerto Rico, I lost all my means of livelihood there, so that I fell into great mortal danger with my wife and three small children; And afterwards in that same place with both wife and children was subjected to imprisonment, where in great wretchedness I lost both wife and children in death; I am, consequently, through these and more such horrors, reduced and enfeebled, so that I don't know any means by which I can get myself re-established.

Wherefore I fall bowed before Your Courtly Excellency in the greatest humility, submissively beseeching the honor of Your Courtly Excellency's mercy, taking note of these presents in a Christian way and out of innate sympathy for the wayfarer, to assist in restoring me to my salary (as also for my damages, into which I have been ensnared); That I might be able to some extent to extricate myself from this my great distress and poverty, which I have endured for some time, since I have received nothing more than 12 riksdalers from the factor at Amsterdam for the journey home; I would now gladly offer myself [to serve] on a ship that lies at Gothenburg ready to sail for Portugal, whereby I could somewhat earn my way out of this destitution; since there is at present no vessel of the Crown that might be made ready for any destination; Also pleading myself willing to render to my utmost ability all further service due to Her Royal Majesty and the Crown of Sweden, when I have been instructed; Awaiting in all the greatest humility Your Courtly Excellency's gracious favorable reply, likewise I remain in my pledge to duty,

Your Courtly Excellency's humble
submissive servant so long as I live.

Timen Stiddem