Dutch colonial council minutes, 23 - 31 March 1649

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Thus the ship De Liefde lays helpless and urgently needs to be sent to the West Indies for salt which is urgently needed here; and that several ships' carpenters such as Lambert Moll, Jan Claesz van Bellecum, and Harck Syboltsz will not work on said ship belonging to the gentlemen directors of the United West India Company, for less than four guilders per day above the cost of materials, which is an unheard of wage. Thus the gentlemen directors and the council have resolved and decided to command the aforementioned ships' carpenters, with the first as their spokesman, to take themselves to the ship in order that they there as carpenters may suitably fix the ship, and in accordance with the work done they will be paid for their labor as two honest and Impartial persons shall find suitable. Done this 23 March 1649, New Amsterdam, New Netherlands. Was signed: P. Stuyvesandt, L. van Dincklagen, Hendrick van Dyck, fiscal, La Montagne, Briant Nuton, Paulus Leendersz van die Grift, and A. Keyser.

The fiscal, Hendrick van Dyck, plaintiff, vs. Tielman Willekens, defendant. The defendant is questioned in full assembly in which two Select Men were present, namely Olof Stevensz and Michiel Jansz, if he had anything further to present in defense of his ship and goods. To this was answered, no, nothing other than what he had previously submitted in writing. All of which in addition to the judgment of the defendants own confession, and all assembled documents, also including the original commissions and everything that might serve as material evidence, and being carefully weighed on various judgment days, so it is that the gentlemen director and councillors of New Netherland can derive no other decision out of the confession of the defendant Willekens and other witnesses, than that the ship, first named The Gray Stallion, destined for Guinea was equipped and outfitted at Amsterdam by one Hectoor Pietersz and Gerrit Ferraers, the officers and sailors needed on this ship were acquired under the announcements and charter of their High Mightinesses in Amsterdam. According to their declaration in the amount of 30 to 36 heads, all inhabitants and subjects of the United Netherlands Provinces. Except for the assistant merchant, the barber, and at the most three or four others, they received their money in hand, also six hundred bars of iron in the galliot and a wharf lighter full of bars was also loaded into the ship The Gray Stallion. In addition there were other Guinea goods, also the ship's provisions, beans and irons for the negroes, everything in sufficient quantity to judge by the declarations of the sailors. All this is not denied nor evidence to the contrary presented by the defendant Willekens, but only that the remaining Guinea goods were bought by him, the defendant, and Gerrit Feraers in Amsterdam. From there with three small yachts he was sent to Glückstadt on the Elbe from that port to Kiel with one Evers van Kil in the aforementioned ship The Gray Stallion, then renamed The Young Prince of Denmark, is transferred without the defendant Willekens declaring, much less proving, that the aforementioned Guinea cargoes or the iron bars, the provisions, and the other mercantile goods were loaded in Amsterdam, or any recognition being paid to the Honorable Company or the duties were paid to the country. With which ship and galliot the majority of the officers and sailors disguised and greased black, took to sail on 4 July 1646 and ran out of the Zuider Zee to the Elbe, and from there proceeded under two Danish Commissions both of one date, one in German and the other in Latin. The German indicating that the honorable persons also creditors of Glückstadt, namely captain and skipper Tielman Willekens and Arent Gerritsz, and sealed with the royal arms but not signed and therefore false. The Latin commission in its own words, sub ductu navarcha seu Capitanej, itidem subiditj et civis Nostrj Arnoldj Gerseny, sealed with the same royal arms and signed Christianus in a broken Roman script, without any other subscription or post script in ordination of the high named royal majesty as is the princely style and is usual on their commissions. This by no means slight suspicion of wrong doing, or at least that they were not obtained in good faith, is more clearly indicated in the commissions themselves, compared with the testimonial letter of Tielman Willekens and the declaration of the people, both commissions indicating with clear and direct words that they were given and executed on the honorable inhabitants and sureties of Glückstadt signed on 16 June 1646 which, according to the testimonial letters and declarations of the sailors, is false. Both the captain and the skipper of the aforementioned ship The Prince of Denmark, namely Tielman Wilkens and Arendt Gerritsz with their families first left Netherlands the next 4th of July for Glückstadt. And the aforementioned Willekens first was accepted as a creditor of Glückstadt on the 15th of July according to his own testimonial letter signed by the Count and Governor Pents. From this the plaintiff concludes that the commercial swindle and the misleading of his royal majesty are clear enough, even though both commissions were good and obtained in good trust though this is not proved, no foreigner may equip ships and assemble people without the foreknowledge of the High or subordinate governments. When in this matter the Nomine offitie seeks from the defendant clear and sufficient evidence both about the equipping of the ship and the galliots, and the recruitment of the people, to indicate that such occurred with prior knowledge and consent of the High Sovereign of the United Netherlands or subordinate magistrates of Amsterdam, as well as that the goods and mercantile products were reported and paid proper duties and fees, the defendant does not answer these matters, even refusing to verify this with his oath. Thus we the Director and Councillors mentioned before, having listened to the justice of the claim, in part with the self confession of the accused and the testimony of sailors, in part out of the commissions and the matter itself after calling God’s holy name, could find no other than that the ship and goods as a notorious smuggler are confiscable and forfeit as a consequence of their High Mightinesses’ announcements and charter of the West India Company decreeing that none of the natives or inhabitants of the United Netherlands or those from outside these lands shall be permitted to sail or negotiate on the coasts and lands of Africa from the Tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope, America, etc., and so whoever shall undertake to sail or negotiate in any places within the forementioned limits without consent of the Company will suffer loss of ship and goods, Article 45 of the ordinances of their High Mightinesses: that the above and all other rights will be maintained and enforced by all agencies, officers, and subjects of the United Netherlands without direct or indirect hindrance both in and out of the United Netherlands on pain of being punished as hinderers of the general welfare and transgressors against her ordinances and being punished in body and goods. With the power of the highly considered High Mightinesses' announcements and given charter considered, that by these and similar indirections, dodges, frauds, and smugglings their High Mightinesses’, our sovereign, announcements are being violated, the Netherlands' commerce, the soul of our fatherland, is diverted by its own subjects, the noble Company suffers in its charter, its recognition and the land's duties are shorted, we declare the above named ship and goods, under benefit of inventory, forfeited and confiscable, Just as we confiscate it with this announcement for the profit of the noble company and all that belongs to it, with this reservation: that the indicated true debts on behalf of the snip or made in other ways will be paid under suitable receipt, the defendant will be given a suitable inventory and scrip certificates and an authentic copy of this sentence and the documents of the Proceedings. Done on the 23rd, resumed on 24 March 1649 in Fort Amsterdam in New Nether land. Present were the honorable Director General, L. van Dincklagen, La Montagne, Paulus Leendertsz, Briant Nuton, A. Keyser who have all signed the draft in ray presence. Signed Cor. van Tienhoven, Secretary.

31 March

In assemblage after deep deliberation it was unanimously and collegially resolved that the sailors of the confiscated ship The Young Prince of Denmark should be paid here the total monthly wages which they have earned, after the ship's debts have first been paid. Present were the honorable Director General and all the Councillors.


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.