Dutch colonial council minutes, 2 August 1646

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Whereas the fiscal of New Netherland, plaintiff, against Johan de Fries, late captain, had complained that the defendant since his arrival here has cultivated the friendship and society of some dangerous persons, enemies of the Company's welfare and of this country and defamers of their authorities notwithstanding the warning given him by the director; furthermore, that he is leading a scandalous life, highly dangerous in this infant republic; that he has also with unbearable arrogance called the director a liar in the presence of the entire council, taking hold of his Polish casse-tête with the intention of striking him, had he not been prevented; and that a few days later, meeting Councilor La Montangne, he called him many vile names, for which he was finally cashiered, being expressly forbidden to give offense to any one on pain of forfeiture of all his wages, notwithstanding which, on the 7th of June 1646, being in a tavern, he is said in the presence of several persons to have made many contemptuous remarks about the director and to have maintained that the director had no power to grant commissions or to make captains, according to the depositions of five witnesses, adding this impudent and infamous statement, "I don't care a damn for the firector's commission," as appears by two credible witnesses, which induced the fiscal to bring the said de Vries before the court. In the course of these proceedings de Vries has presented a certain written rejoinder, changing the ordinary style of address, full of facetious statements and not fit to be presented to any court, tending to undermine justice, which is the foundation of the republic; all of which are matters which can not be tolerated in a place where it is customary to administer justice. Nevertheless, inasmuch as de Fries, following therein the footsteps of some others, appears to consider us as being partial, therefore, in order to demonstrate the justice of our proceedings and that they are devoid of passion, we have referred the case, as we do hereby refer the same, to the honorable directors, to dispose thereof as their honors shall see fit. Furthermore, we order that de Fries shall appear before their honors to defend his case and purge himself before them, to which end he is to depart in the first ship, direct to Holland. In addition thereto he is expressly forbidden to return here to New Netherland until he shall have cleared himself, without this being counted a sentence of banishment against him or other infamous punishment.

Thus done in council In Fort Amsterdam, the 2d of August anno 1646.


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.