Dutch colonial council minutes, 3-9 May 1640 and 10 May 1640

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On the 3d of May, being Thursday

Claes Cornelissen Swits, plaintiff, vs. Maryn Adrlaensz, defendant. Parties have amicably agreed with each other in court.

Maryn Adriaensen, plaintiff, vs. Hendric Pietersen, mason defendant. Plaintiff says that he sold to the defendant a certain house and plantation and is therefore ready to make delivery. Defendant claims that he was drunk and does not have any knowledge of the purchase. Defendant is ordered to furnish proper proof that he was drunk and that he canceled the purchase within 24 hours; if the contrary appears the purchase shall stand.

The fiscal, plaintiff, vs. Govert Loockmans and Barent Dircksen, baker, defendants. Plaintiff demands that the defendants be fined according to the ordinance as contrary to the orders they went on board the Englishman. Defendants are condemned to pay a fine of 50 stivers each.

On the 9th of May

[1]Whereas serious complaints are daily made by the Indians that their corn hills are trampled under foot and uprooted by hogs and other cattle and consequently great damage will be done when the maize Is growing, as a result of which the corn would be dear in the autumn and our good people suffer want, the Indians be induced to remove and to conceive a hatred against our nation, and thus out of mischief inflict some injury or other upon us, which we are most expressly ordered by the honorable directors to prevent; Therefore, the matter having been duly considered, we, the director and council of New Netherland, hereby charge and command all our inhabitants whose lands adjoin plantations of the savages to have their horses, cows, hogs, goats and sheep herded or else to prevent them by fences or otherwise from damaging the corn of the Indians, on pain of making good the damage and of incurring a fine payable to the fiscal, according to the ordinance published on the 15th of March last. Let everyone take warning and beware of damage. Thus done and ordained on the Island of Manhatans in Port Amsterdam, the 9th of May 1640.

On the 10th of May

Leendert Arentsen, plaintiff, vs. Volckert Eversen, defendant. Plaintiff demands that the defendant pay for the keep of his cattle. Upon admitting the debt, the defendant is condemned to pay fl. 9:12.

Eduwart Wilson, plaintiff, vs. Jan Pietersen, defendant. Parties are referred to the previously appointed referees, to wit: Master Piscock and van Curler.

Ordinance providing for arming and mustering of the militia [2]

The honorable director and council have deemed it advisable to ordain that the inhabitants residing near and around Fort Amsterdam, of whatever station, quality or condition they may be, shall each provide himself with a good gun and take good care to keep the same at all times in good order and repair. And whereas they live at a distance one from the other, every person is assigned to a post under the command of a corporal in order that in time of danger he may appear there with his gun. Should it happen, which God forbid, that at night any mischief occur, either from enemies or traitors, the people will be notified by three cannon shots fired in quick succession, and by the day means will be found to give warning to every one, who is commanded thereupon to repair as quickly as possible to his corporal at the appointed place and then to adopt such measures as the exigency of the case may require, on pain of being fined 50 guilders.


Revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, p. 22.
Revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, p. 23.


Translation: Scott, K., & Stryker-Rodda, K. (Ed.). New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 4, Council Minutes, 1638-1649 (A. Van Laer, Trans.). Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1974.A complete copy of this publication is available on theĀ New Netherland Institute website.