Dutch colonial council minutes, 6-8 July 1644

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On July 6, 1644

At the request of the fiscal, Cosyn Barentsen, aged 21 years, declares in court that in company with Sergeant Hubert, Ambrosius Lonnen and some other Englishmen he was in a small clapboarded house, to which came Steven Stevensz, who, being drunk, made much noise. The sergeant went out and shut the door, asking Steven, "What do you want?" The deponent says that he did not hear what the answer was. The sergeant called the men to arms and ordered them to fire at Steven, whereupon the deponent immediately heard the report of a gun and an Englishman, named Willem, fell down dead in the aforesaid house, having been wounded in the head by two bullets. The deponent confirms this on oath.

Hendrick Hendricksen from Stambuit, in Friesland, aged 20 years, deposes at the request of the fiscal that Steven Stevensz came with a gun on his arm, pulling the trigger three times. Standing about 10 or 11 paces from Steven, the deponent saw the sergeant come out of Ambrosius Lonnen's house, who called out, "Shoot Steven!" Then he saw Tomas Mabs fire and noticed that the bullets flew into Ambrosius Lonnen's house. The deponent confirms this on oath.

Gerrit Wolphersen, aged 34 years, declares at the request of Steven Stevensz that he and Steven sat in his father's house, taking a drink together. Steven, wanting to go to the deponent's house to fetch his wife, took the gun of the servant, who took out the bullets and threw the priming powder off the pan, so that there was nothing but loose powder in the gun.

In court are exhibited several depositions in the English language, from which it appears that the commotion was caused by Steven, but that the man was accidentally shot through the head ] by Tomas Mabs.

The fiscal, in writing, demands justice and sentence against Steven Stevensen and Tomas Mabs.

On July 7, 1644

The honorable director general and court martial have seen the criminal charge of the fiscal against Steven Stevensz from Rouwaen,[1] a soldier, and Tomas Mabs, as well as the sworn depositions of divers witnesses, together with their own confessions and declarations made in court, without torture or irons, from which it appears that the aforesaid Steven on the 25th of June last came to the house of Gerrit Wolphersen, standing on the flat, in which a garrison is kept at present, having in his hand a gun with which, the hammer being drawn back, he several times took aim to shoot at one Tomas Cornil, but missed each time; whereupon he, the delinquent, came within the stockade which surrounds the house aforesaid, where he leveled his gun at Tomas Mabs. The aforesaid Tomas Mabs, at a general alarm, seized his gun and fired at Steven, so that the bullets passed through Steven's waistcoat and shirt and further went through a clapboarded house, where they killed Jan Windtwodt; which the aforesaid Tomas Mabs, without torture or irons, has likewise confessed. And whereas this crime, being mutiny and manslaughter, may not be tolerated or suffered in countries where justice is maintained, therefore, we, having invoked the name of God and doing justice, condemn the aforesaid delinquents to be shot, as an example to others like them.

Resolved in court to pardon them, this sentence having been pronounced by way of example, for the good of the delinquents and as a warning to others.

July 8, 1644

Piter Wolphersen, husband and guardian of Hester Symons, plaintiff, vs. Tomas Sandersz, husband and guardian of Sara Cornelis, defendant, for slander. Plaintiff produces a written affidavit and therefore demands reparation of character, since the defendant's wife declares that she has nothing to say against Hester Symons and never perceived anything wrong about Hester Symons and further begs the plaintiff's wife to forgive her if she said anything to her discredit.

Whereas no one has come forward to show cause why the prizes brought in by Captain Blauvelt should not be declared good prizes and therefore no objection has been offered, we, the director and council, declare the same good prizes, inasmuch as they were captured by force of arms from the enemies of their High Mightinesses by the above named captain; therefore, all those who hereafter might claim any interest in them are hereby debarred from their right to bring any action ]. Thus done in court in Fort Amsterdam.


Rouen, France


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 the New Netherland Institute website.