Dutch colonial council minutes, 3 April 1642

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On the 3d of April 1642[1]

Whereas our territory on the Fresh river of New Netherland, which we purchased, paid for and took possession of, and which in the year 1633, long before any Christians were on the said river, was provided with a blockhouse, garrison and cannon, has now for some years past been forcibly usurped by some Englishmen and given the name of Hartford, notwithstanding we duly protested against them, and whereas they moreover treat our people most barbarously, beating them with clubs and mattocks, even to the shedding of blood, hoe up our corn, sow by night the fields which our people plow by day, draw away by force the hay which is mowed by our people, cast our plow into the river and forcibly take possession of our horses, cows and hogs, so that there Is no cruelty, insolence or violence left but it is practised against us, who nevertheless have treated them with all moderation, yes, even at great hazard have demanded and sent back home their women who were carried off by the savages; and although we are commanded by the States General, his highness of Orange and the honorable West India Company to maintain our limits and uphold our rights by every means, which we also have the power to do, yet, we have rather chosen patiently to suffer violence and to prove by deeds that we are better Christians than they who go about clothed with the outward semblance thereof, until in its time the measure shall at last be full.

Therefore our order and command provisionally is and we do hereby ordain that our inhabitants of New Netherland are most expressly forbidden to purchase, either directly or indirectly, by two or three successive shipments or any manner whatsoever, any produce that has been raised on our land near Fort Hope on the Fresh river, on pain of arbitrary correction until they know their rightful master; and the sellers of the produce which shall have arrived from our Fresh river of New Netherland and from New England shall first declare upon oath where the produce has been grown, whereof a certificate shall be given them and thereupon everyone shall be at liberty to buy and to sell. And all persons are hereby warned so that no one may hereafter plead ignorance and let everyone guard himself against damage.

Thus done in council and published at Fort Amsterdam.


Revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, pp. 29-30.


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.