Dutch colonial council minutes, 8 May 1649

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[1]This day underwritten the honorable director general went to the house of Domine Backerius and there, in his capacity as director, told the minister not to read himself, or have read by any of the church officers, from the pulpit in the church or elsewhere, at the request of any of the inhabitants, any writing, petition, or proposal regarding the public administration and general government, whether in general or particular, before and until such writings shall be signed either by the honorable director himself, or by the secretary by order of the director and council, without intending hereby any ecclesiastical affairs, which are left to the full disposal of the aforesaid minister and consistory and which he shall be free to regulate according to church ordinances and the duty of a godly minister, wherein said honorable director general offers him all aid and assistance as far as they concern him as chief magistrate of the country. Thus done in the presence of Councilor La Montagne and Secretary Tienhoven, this 8th of May 1649.

[2]Whereas it is daily observed that, contrary to honesty, the orders of the Lords States General and the ordinance caused to be published by the late director general and council on the 12th of June anno 1646, great abuses are committed in the writing and procuring of depositions by private persons who are neither pledged thereto by oath nor qualified thereto by official authority, whereby frequently many things are written to the advantage of those who have the papers drawn up, interspersed with sinister, obscure and dubious words, oftentimes contrary to the intention of the witnesses, to the great prejudice and damage of the parties; therefore, in order to prevent this result, dangerous in a republic, and to promote the knowledge of the truth necessary in all courts, we annul and declare invalid, as we do hereby annul and declare invalid, all affidavits, interrogatories, or other instruments serving as evidence, which are written by private individuals and not confirmed by oath before the court here or other magistrates, as we do also from now on annul all depositions which are not written by the secretary or the person authorized thereto, as well as contracts, wills, agreements and other important documents, unless in case of need it should be impossible to call on such person. Thus, this 8th of May 1649, it is resolved in council to renew the ordinance published on June 12, 1646. The original is signed by P. Stuyvesant, H. van Dyck, fiscal, La Montagne, Briant Nuton, A. Keyser. Mr. Dincklagen refuses to sign.


Revised from Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, 14:114.
Revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, p. 108.


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.