Ordinance against fleeing New Amsterdam at the first sign of alarm and forbidding those who have fled from returning

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The director-general and council of New Netherland, to all those who hear, see or read this, greetings. Whereas experience has now frequently shown that some Englishmen, pretending to be citizens and inhabitants of this city of New Amsterdam, nevertheless maintain contact in the meantime with other disaffected people of this place, and that such so-called citizens and inhabitants of this place, the moment they receive any unfavorable rumors from the north or elsewhere, either verbally from spies or in writing from friends, countrymen or correspondents, do, without informing us or the inferior court of this city of such news or rumors, immediately remove their furniture, household goods, beavers and other valuables to the English villages, which are less fortified and secure than this city; with such removal of furniture, household goods and merchandise, which we have now seen proof of several times, causing not only irritation, disruption, faintheartedness and inciting the good and well-disposed citizens of this city and others residing in the rural areas, so that many disputes and quarrels have been thereby created, and subsequent complaints referred to us. However, what is worse yet is that such people exhibit so little love, affection and loyalty for this place, except so far as their own personal profit is concerned; besides, what is still more dangerous is that pirates and other enemies threatening the state are, by such removal of furniture, house­ hold goods and peltries, encouraged, assisted and informed of the conditions and situation in this city, to the notable discredit, disparagement and weakening of this important place. Therefore, the aforesaid director-general and council, wishing to do as much for it as possible, hereby order and direct that no one, of what­ ever capacity or nation he may be, shall, because of any unfavorable rumors, remove any goods of any kind out of this city of New Amsterdam to any outlying village or settlement where they are in more danger of attack by pirates, bandits, robbers and other enemies of this state, on pain of forfeiting all such goods removed; and those who now and heretofore have repeatedly removed their goods or any part of them, or have caused them to be removed, are hereby deprived of their rights as citizens[1] and at the same time ordered and directed to leave this city of New Amsterdam within 24 hours after publication of this (during which time they are granted a safe-conduct for their person and property), and to follow their previously removed goods, and not to come back into this city on pain of arrest and arbitrary punishment. We direct our fiscal, after publication of this, to notify the people hereof whom this concerns and to order their departure. Thus done at the session of the honorable director-general and high council held in New Amsterdam, 7 July, New Netherland; and was signed: P. Stuyvesant, Nicasius de Sille, C. van Werckhoven, Cor. van Thienhoven. [2]


i.e., burgherrecht, both groot and cleyn "large" and "small," depending on the amount of the fee contributed each year, entitled the person to certain privileges in the city and also gave the person certain responsibilities.
The year 1654 was left off the dateline when this document was copied into the records.


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 the New Netherland Institute website.