Dutch colonial council minutes, 19 October - 2 November 1648

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The 19th of October anno 1648

The guardians of the surviving orphan children of Claes Jansen from Emden ], baker, are authorized and ordered by the honorable director general to sell to the highest bidder for the best advantage and profit of the minor children the goods left by their aforesaid father, deceased.

The 26th of October anno 1648

Whereas it is considered highly necessary by the council to appoint another qualified person in the place of Jan Stevensz, precentor, and for the present we have not been able to find on the island of Manhatans a more suitable person than Piter vender Linden for the said office of precentor or ] reader, we have therefore engaged said Pieter vander Linden as reader and have allowed him therefor fl. 150 annually, and that until another competent person be sent from Holland.

Order to Commissary van Brugge to proceed with the repairs of Fort Orange and to demolish all buildings within cannon Shot of the fort ] [1]

Whereas by divers letters from our Commissary van Bruggen, the testimony of others and personal reports of the inhabitants of the colony we are informed of the usurpation of power and improper procedure which Commander van Slechtenhorst practices, not only with reference to his own inhabitants, as, contrary to legal practice and the granted Exemptions, he forbids them on the heaviest fine to appeal from his court, but also against the servants and vassals of the Company itself, to the disparagement of the charter granted by their High Mightinesses and infraction and nullification of the Freedoms granted to the patroons, in obscuring and hemming in the Company’s fort by various structures, in plowing up the old gardens and fields situated near the dry moat of the fort and heretofore always used by the commissaries, and especially in trying to prevent, as far as lies in his power, the necessary repairs of the fortress, as he himself sneeringly styles it, because it can be entered by night as well as by day, being severely damaged in the latter part of last winter by the extraordinary high water and floods. As for that reason necessary repairs were required, we ordered and commanded our commissary there, not only to repair it, but to put it in a proper state of defense, to wit, to surround it with a wall of stone, instead of timber, so as to avoid the annual expense and repairs. This being already begun, Commander Slechtenhorst, contrary to a former but never enforced privilege, prohibited the quarrying of stone and the cutting of timber within the limits of the colony and forbade the farmers and inhabitants to cart the same, all according to the tenor of his ordinance, without the knowledge or consent of us and the council of New Netherland: without designating, however, how far the limits of the colony extend, or pointing out where the Company may cut its wood or fetch the stone. This was never before done by any chief officer of the colony, or tolerated by any director and council, our predecessors, as it tends not only to the palpable belittling of their authority and general commission, but especially to the violation, infraction and nullification of the Chartered West India Company’s supreme Jurisdiction, which extends as well over the colony of Renselaerswyck as over others. If this be tolerated, other colonies, such as Heemstede, Flushing, Gravesend and others, would be expecting still more. Proceeding on that basis, the honorable Company would finally be deprived of firewood and timber necessary for ships, churches, forts and other buildings, or become obliged to beg these from their vassals and subjects and, what is worse and more to be apprehended, have to purchase them at the highest price and consequently, through our lack of vigilance cause their supreme Jurisdiction to be degraded and changed to subordinate Jurisdiction, contrary to the charter from their High Mightinesses and to the infringement of the Company's prerogatives. Being bound by commission and oath to maintain both we, therefore, do hereby authorize and earnestly command our commissary to proceed with the repairs of the fortress and to that intent and purpose to cause timber to be cut, stone to be quarried in and hauled from the mountains, cliffs and plains in any part of New Nether land where it may be most convenient for him or the Company, except only the bouweries and plantations which are already fenced and cultivated, or may be hereafter fenced or cultivated, within which he or any of the Company's vassals shall not be at liberty to cut timber or quarry stone, unless with previous knowledge of the proprietor or occupant. And in case the jealousy of the commander may constrain the inhabitants of the colony and hinder them from lending a helping hand to the work with their horses and wagons, we order our commissary to have a wagon made for himself and to use therefor the horses of Mr. Jonas Bronck, now on the bouwery of Corler, against whom the Company has a just claim in consequence of an honest debt; this, however. is to be with the previous knowledge of the Reverend Domine Megapolensis, his agent and attorney, and an account is to be kept of what they cart and earn each day in the Company's service. And we also. in like manner, authorize and charge the commissary especially to maintain the Company's high jurisdiction, ancient and previous use of the gardens and lands situated under the fort, and not to cede the smallest iota thereof, unless the commander exhibit to him, according to our previous demand, later or other order and commission from their aforesaid High Mightinesses, our Sovereigns, the lords directors, our superiors and patroons, an authentic copy whereof he shall transmit to us, so that we may then otherwise order. Finally, in order to maintain the jurisdiction of the fort, the resolution we last sent for the removal of the houses built within musket or small cannon shot shall be peremptorily executed, if not already obeyed. Thus done in Council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 2d of November anno 1648.


Revised from Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, 14:101-2.


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.