Answer to a petition of the magistrates of Fort Orange

Scanned Document:

1654 in New Amsterdam 30 April.

The following answer was given to a petition from the commissary and magistrates of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwyck, sent to the director-general and high council under the date of 17 March 1654, the original of which is kept by the secretary:[1]

The director-general and council leave the first matter to the discretion of the court; however, the commissary and magistrates should take proper measures and guard against smuggling. The director-general and council deem it advisable to let the clerk or the court-messenger keep an account of and receive the excise money for a year or six months so that it might be determined how much comes in from the excise, and the letting of it can be regulated accordingly. The commissary and magistrates are further hereby authorized to draft, publish and execute such orders and fines against smugglers as the circumstances of time and place may require.

After careful examination of the second point, the director-general and council order that until further advice and until the boundaries of the Colony are determined, no wine, beer or distilled spirits shall be dispensed, tapped or sold, by the small measure, within one thousand rods around the fort without proper notice having been given and the usual tapsters' excise paid on it to the commissary and magistrates of the aforesaid fort, or to those who may have been authorized by them.

Concerning the third point, the director-general and council directed their fiscal to republish the ordinance about the bakers and to punish those accordingly who disobey the same.

Concerning the fourth point, a quantity of skipples[2] have been ordered by first ship sailing.

Concerning the last point, the director-general and council considering the troubles, the loss of time and the private expenses which the magistrates have to bear, they being mostly men who earn their living either as farmers, traders or craftsmen, give our consent that the magistrates may receive and enjoy out of the revenues, levied on the inhabitants of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwyck, a sum of 150 guilders annually. Done at the session of 13 May 1654, New Amsterdam; and was signed: P. Stuyvesant, N. de Sille, La Montangne and C. van Werckhooven.


See Minutes of the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck, 1652-1656, translated and edited by A. J. F. van Laer, Albany, 1920, 1:127 for a copy of this reply; the original has been lost.
i.e., grain measures equaling 0.764 of a bushel.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 5, Council Minutes, 1652-1654 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1983).A complete copy of this publication is available on theĀ New Netherland Institute website.