Instructions for the schout, burgomasters and schepens of the city of New Orange

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Provisional Instruction for the Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens of the city of New Orange.

1st The Schout and Magistrates, each in his quality shall take care that the Reformed Christian Religion conformable to the Synod of Dordrecht shall be maintained, without suffering any other Sects attempting anything contrary thereto.
2. The Schout shall be present at all Meetings and preside there, unless the Honorable Governor or some person appointed by him be present who then shall preside, when the Schout shall rank next below the youngest acting Burgomaster. But whensoever the Schout acts as Prosecutor on behalf of Justice or otherwise, having made his complaint, he shall then rise up and absent himself from the Bench during the deciding of the case.
3. All matters appertaining to the Police, Security, and Peace of the Inhabitants, also to Justice between man and man, shall be determined by final Judgment by the Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens aforesaid to the amount of Fifty Beavers and under, but in all cases exceeding that sum, each one shall be at liberty to appeal to the Governor-General and Council here.
4. All criminal offences which shall be committed within this City and the Jurisdiction thereof, shall be amenable to the Judicature of said Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens who shall have power to judge and sentence the same even unto death inclusive; provided and on condition, that no sentence of corporal punishment shall be executed unless the approval of the Governor-General and Council shall be first sought and obtained therefor.
5. The Court shall be convoked by the presiding Burgomaster who shall, the night before, make the same known to Capt. Wiilem Knyff, (who is hereby provisionally qualified and authorized to be present at and preside over the Court in the name and on the behalf of the Governor,) and so forth to the remaining Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens.
6. All motions shall be put by the first Burgomaster, whose proposition being made and submitted for consideration, the Commissioner there presiding in the name of the Governor, shall first vote there, and so afterwards the remaining Magistrates each according to his rank; and the votes being collected, it shall then be concluded according to plurality; But if it happen that the votes are equal, the President shall then have power to decide by his vote, in which case those of the contrary opinion as well as those of the minority may Register their opinions on the Minutes, but not publish the same in any manner out of the Court on pain of arbitrary correction.
7. The Burgomasters shall change rank every half year, wherein the oldest shall first occupy the place of President and the next shall follow him; but during this current year the change shall take place every 4 months, since three Burgomasters are appointed for this year.
8. The Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens shall hold their Session and Court Meeting as often as the same shall be necessary, on condition of previously appointing regular days therefor.
9. The Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens shall have power to enact, and with the approbation of the Governor to publish and affix Statutes, Ordinances and Placards for the Peace, Quiet and Advantage of this City and the inhabitants thereof within their district, provided that the same do not in any wise conflict, but agree, as much as possible, with the Laws and Statutes of our Fatherland.
10. Said Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens shall be bound rigidly to observe and cause to be observed the Placards and Ordinances of the Chief Magistracy, and not to suffer anything to be done contrary thereto, but proceed against the Contraveners according to the tenor thereof; and further promptly execute such orders as the Governor-General shall send them from time to time.
11. The Schout, Burgomaster and Schepens shall be also bound to acknowledge their High Mightinesses the Lords States General of the United Netherlands and His Serene Highness the Lord Prince of Orange, as their Sovereign Rulers, and to maintain their High Jurisdiction, Right and Domain in this Country.
12. The election of all inferior officers and servants in the employ of said Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens shall, with the sole exception of the Secretary, be made and confirmed by themselves.
13. The Schout shall execute all judgments of the Burgomasters and Schepens, without relaxing any, unless with the advice of the Court, also take good care that the jurisdiction under his authority shall be cleansed of all Vagabonds, Whorehouses, Gambling houses and such impurities.
14. The Schout shall receive all fines imposed during his time, provided they do not exceed yearly the sum of Twelve hundred Guilders Wampum value, which having received he shall enjoy the just half of all the other fines, on condition that he presume neither directly nor indirectly to compound with any criminals, but leave them to the judgment of the Magistrates.
15. The Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens aforesaid shall convoke an Assembly on the 11th day of the month of August, being eight days before the Election of New Magistrates and in presence of the Commissioner to be qualified for that purpose by the Honble Governor-General, nominate a double number of the best qualified, honestest and wealthiest persons, and only such as are of the Reformed Christian Religion, or at least well affected towards it, as Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens aforesaid, which nomination shall be handed and presented folded and sealed, on the same day, to his Honor; from which nomination the Election shall then be made by his Honor on the 17th day of the Month of August, with continuation of some of the old Magistrates, in case his Honor shall deem the same necessary.
Done, Fort Willem Hendrick the 15th January 1674.

By Order of the Honble Governor-General of New Netherland, 
(Signed),  N. Bayard, Secretary 


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.