Proposals of the director and council to the burgomasters and schepens on the subject of the defense of the city of New Amsterdam, with answers

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Proposals made by the honorable director-general and high council to their honors the mayors and schepens of this city of New Amsterdam, which were delivered to them in writing.[1]


The first question is whether the mayors and schepens are resolved and inclined (although the countrypeople will not assist in everything) to help strengthen, maintain and defend these major places to the utmost for the honor of our nation and superiors; first, the city and the retrenchment made out of apprehension, and lastly, this fort. We, the director-general and council hereby pledge ourselves with these our signatures and solemnly swear thereto. MAY GOD ALMIGHTY HELP US.

The mayors and schepens respond to the first point that they are willing to help strengthen and defend this city of New Amsterdam according to their capacity.


Secondly, whereas the director-general and council find the proposal repeatedly made by the mayors and schepens, that the countrypeople should also lend a hand in construction, repairing and defending the fortifications, to be just and equitable; therefore, the director-general and council are disposed to order it by a public summons. Thus the countrypeople may judge for themselves that it is only just and equitable to help to fortify and defend this city in return for the services and the expeditions which the mayors and schepens organized 3 or 4 times last year for the benefit of the countrypeople; all the more, as such assistance is as much for their own safety and freedom as for the safety and freedom of the community. However, if it should happen that the countrypeople remain absolutely obstinate and recalcitrant, which the director-general and council hope will not be the case with everyone, will the mayors and schepens help to punish those who disobey, according to the law?

They agree on the second point that such an order is necessary, and if anyone within the jurisdiction of this court is found to be disobedient, they will assist to the best of their power to constrain him thereto, which it is the duty of other courts under your honors' government to do as well.

Finally, will they, with the director-general and council begin to work punctually next Monday and persuade and induce the townspeople to do the same to the best of their ability? Thus done at the session of the director-general and high council held in New Amsterdam in New Netherland, 13 June 1654.

On the third point, they will use all possible diligence and means to go to work, after passing good and proper resolutions concerning the mode of repairing and constructing the fortifications.

Thus done at the session held 13 June 1654 at the City Hall in New Amsterdam; was signed: Arent van Hattem; below was written: By order of the mayors and schepens of this city of New Amsterdam; and was signed: Jacob Kip, secretary.


See The Records of New Amsterdam, 1653-1674, edited by Berthold Fernow, 7 vols., 1897 (reprinted Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1976, 1:210 for the city's copy of these proposals. In the original, the city's response to each proposal was recorded in the left margin.


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.