Petition of the schout, burgomasters and schepens of New Orange

Scanned Document:

The Burgomasters and Schepens of the city of New Orange appear and present the following Petition:

To the Valiant Commanders and Honorable Council of War of the squadron of ships in the service of the High and Mighty Lords the States-General, &c., anchored in the North river of New Neilierland, and now residing in Fort Willem Hendrik.

Most respectfully represent,
The Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens of this city New Orange:
That whilst they and all good inhabitants have had and still have reason gratefully to thank God the Lord and you, Valiant gentlemen, for the unexpected reduction of this place and the entire government under the obedience of their High Mightinesses the Lords States-General and his Serene Highness the Prince of Orange, they and as many of the Dutch nation as are dwelling within this government who, with women and children, are estimated to amount to six thousand souls have now on the contrary grave reasons to be altogether most profoundly grieved, if it be true, as your Petitioners are informed and have unexpectedly heard, that you, Valiant gentlemen, intend to depart without leaving here for a time, as we had hoped, some ships of War or one of the three superior officers, wherefore we find ourselves by office and duty bound for the benefit of the country in general and specially of the good inhabitants of this place clearly to submit to you as briefly as possible the present state of the country.

Before you, Valiant gentlemen, arrived here, all was peace and quietness; the entire coast from Virginia unto Nova Scotia far beyond New England being occupied by thousands of English, Canada on the other side occupied by some thousands of French, all of whom can, in a few days' journey come and on all sides attack us who are scattered in this government, in the centre of these English and French, in divers corners, some here, some up at Fort Orange, now called Willemstadt, some at the South river, others in various towns on Long Island who all together when compared with those of New England can scarcely amount to one in 15, even though we could come together, which is indeed impossible on account of the distance of the places. All these English and French round about, in consequence of the reduction and recovery of this place which is under the obedience of their High Mightinesses, with whom they are at war, are become now our enemies by whom we, as already stated, are encompassed round about on all sides whithersoever we face or turn. These enemies, albeit they now keep themselves somewhat quiet, will doubtless endeavor, by all possible means, to reduce this place under England so soon as they hear that we are again left to ourselves; our weakness and condition being as well known to them as to ourselves since they have had now 9 years' command over us. Besides, they will not want instruments to promote this work, several great lords being themselves as much interested, as the Duke of York Lord Berkely[1] and Carteret.[2] This without any doubt renders some so bold as to say already that something else will again be seen before Christmas, and that the King of England will never suffer the Dutch to remain and sit down here in the centre of all his dominions to his serious prejudice in many respects, so that we are inevitably to expect a visit from our malevolent neighbors of old, now our bitter enemies unless they be prevented, under God, by your valiant prowess and accompanying force; Wherefore do we turn ourselves unto you. Valiant gentlemen, humbly requesting and praying to take seriously into consideration what is aforesaid, and to be pleased to take to heart the welfare of so many innocent souls, although very few in comparison to the great multitude of our enemies, and not leave them a prey to be destroyed or to be sold as slaves to the English plantations, which we certainly anticipate unless it please you, Valiant gentlemen, to allow under the command and prudent conduct of at least one of the superior officers, two ships of war to winter here; assuring you of the good-will and unanimous resolutions of the good inhabitants to exert themselves to the utmost of their abilities, to defend this place for the welfare of ourselves and beloved Fatherland, the proof whereof you yourselves have already in a short time witnessed in its fortifications. Expecting a favorable answer we shall remain. Valiant gentlemen,

(Signed),  Your faithful servants, 
Anthony de Milt, 
Johannes van Brugh, 
Johannes de Peyster, 
Ægidius Luyck, 
Guliaen Verplanck. 


John, 1st Baron Berkeley, youngest son of Sir Maurice Berkeley, was born in 1607. Having a command in the army raised to march against the Scots, in 1638, received the honor of Knighthood from the King at Berwick, in July of that year, and at the breaking out of the rebellion, appearing in arms for his Sovereign, was one of those very good officers (as Lord Clarendon calls them) who were ordered, with the Marquis of Hertford, to form an army in the west. But, before entering upon that duty (in 1642 ), Sir John safely conducted a supply of arms and ammunition from the Queen into Holland. Soon after this, being constituted Commissary-General, he marched into Cornwall at the head of about one hundred and twenty horse, and not only secured the whole of that county but made incursions into Devonshire; and being in joint commission with Sir Ralph Hopton, obtained divers triumphs over the insurgents of those western shires in the several battles of Bradock, Saltash, Launceston and Stratton, as also at Modbury, in the county of Devon; subsequently investing Exeter, he reduced that garrison and gallantly repulsed the enemy's fleet, then at Topsham, under the command of the Earl of Warwick, when he was constituted Governor of Exeter, and General of all his Majesty's forces in Devon. Sir John Berkeley stood so high in the estimation of the Queen, that her Majesty selected the city under his protection as the place of her accouchement, and was delivered, at Exeter, of the Princess Henrietta Maria. Exeter subsequently surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax, but its Governor obtained the most honorable terms for its inhabitants and garrison. Sir John Berkeley was afterwards employed with Mr. Ashburnham, in endeavoring to negotiate terms for the unfortunate Charles. During the usurpation, Sir John Berkeley remained in exile with the royal family, and after the death of Lord Byron, in 1652, was placed at the head of the Duke of York's family, having the management of all his receipts and disbursements. In a few years afterwards, he was elevated to the Peerage by the exiled monarch, as Baron Berkeley, of Stratton, in the county of Somerset (one of the scenes of his former triumphs over the rebels), by letters patent, dated at Brussels in Brabant, on the 19th of May, 1658, in the 10th year of his Majesty's reign. Upon the restoration of the monarchy, his Lordship was sworn of the Privy Council, and with other great Lords obtained a grant of Carolina from Charles II., and in 1664 received, with Sir George Carteret, a grant of New Jersey from the Duke of York; and at the close of the year 1669, Lord Berkeley was constituted Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, where he landed in 1670, and continued in the government for two years, when his Lordship was succeeded by the Earl of Essex. In 1675, he was accredited Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of Versailles, and died on the 28th of August, 1678 His Lordship married Christian, daughter and heiress of Sir Andrew Riccard, President of the East India Company, and widow of Henry Rich, Lord Kensington, son and heir of Henry, Earl of Holland, by whom he had three sons, all of whom eventually succeeded to the title, and one daughter, Anne, married to Sir Dudley Cullum, Bart., of Hawsted, in the county of Suffolk. Collins; Burke. —Ed.
Sir George Carteret, Baronet, was born in the Island of Jersey in 1539, his father, Helier Carteret, being then Deputy Governor of that Island. He entered the Navy at an early age. In 1626 was appointed joint Governor of Jersey; in 1640 Comptroller of all his Majesty's ships, and in May, 1645, was created a Baronet. He retired, however, on the commencement of the civil war, from the Navy, and withdrew, with his family, to Jersey, which he afterwards bravely defended against the Parliamentarians. Here he had the honor to receive and to entertain the Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II., and his followers. After the fall of the Monarchy, he followed his Royal Muster to France in 1652, where he was thrown into the Bastile in 1657, on a charge presented by Cromwell's Ambassador, and afterwards banished France. He joined the King in 1659 at Brussels, and at the Restoration rode with his Mnjesly on his entry into London in 1660, when he was appointed Vice Chamberlain, sworn of the Privy Council and constituted Treasurer of the Navy. Sir George Carteret turned his attention, at an early date, to the Colonization of America, and in 1650 fitted out a ship for Virginia with many passengers, all sorts of goods and tools for husbandry, in order to plant an island of which he had obtained a grant. Though the project is supposed not to have been fully carried out, on account of the civil war, he did not lose sight of it altogether, and eventualy put it into execution in 1665, when he and his associates founded the Colony, called New Jersey in his honor. He was next elected to represent Portsmouth. In 1668 he was appointed one of the Board of Trade, and in 1669 was expelled the House of Commons on a charge of embezzlement. In 1673 he was appointed one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and continued in the public service until the 14th January, 1679, when he died at Whitehall. His remains were interred at Hawnes, in the county of Bedford. Collins' Peerage, Title Granville; Beatson's Political Index. — Ed.


Translation: O'Callaghan, E.B., trans./ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York, vol. 2 (Albany: Weed, Parsons: 1858), pp. 569-730 (vol. 23, pp. 1-270 only).A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.