Protest by director and council against the fiscal for neglect of duty

Scanned Document:

[1]We, Willem Kieft ], d ]irector general, and the council of ] New Netherland, to you Cornelis van de ]r Hoykens, fiscal and schout of New Netherland:

Whereas many complaints are heard daily of thefts, robberies, shooting of hogs and goats and other depredations, and the same are increasing every day, yes, from all appearances will shortly lead to public plundering and highway robbery, so that it is even to be feared that people will murder one another, and all this because no delinquents are arrested, prosecuted or punished; whereas ] also diversee ordinances have from time to time been published here to prevent such scandals as much as possible, but no effort is made to put the laws into execution and therefore all disorders have full swing; whereas ] furthermore judgment has been rendered and orders have been issued to receive the Company’s duties and these also have remained unexecuted; and whereas ] diversee people have died or been killed by the Indians, of whose estates no proper inventory or settlement has been made; and whereas these are all matters that concern your office and no one is at fault but yourself, since the commonalty generally complain[2] that they are put off with words and that nothing further is done; and you furthermore throw the blame on the director for not giving you men to assist you;

Therefore, you are hereby commanded to attend in every way to the duties of your office according to your bounden duty, in order that justice may not wholly fall into contempt; and in order that you may not present the excuse that you are not supported by enough men, we assure you (as heretofore has been repeatedly done) that the director and council and all the soldiers are at your service to uphold you; furthermore that your deputy sheriff and the provost with all the Negroes are at your command; and if you remain in default, we protest against all damages, mischiefs, losses and injuries which may result therefrom, intending to remain innocent thereof and to make such provision in the matter as we shall deem proper.[3]

The fiscal gives for answer that he has from time to time done his best and performed his duty to the best of his ability. This day, 5 January 1644.

The director and council reply that the general complaint shows the reverse and they protest as hereinbefore written. Thus done in the presence ... [4]

O’Callaghan’s translation is printed in Doc. Rel. Col. Hist. N. Y., 14:52-53.
At this point the following words are canceled: “that if they prefer any complaints to you in the evening, you are intoxicated, and in the morning.”
At this point the following paragraph is canceled in the Dutch record: “We also have assurance that you atrociously slander the director before numerous company and the entire watch at the guard house, saying that he is a rascal and a thief; that he drinks himself full every day with Mr. La Montagne and then shuts his room tight; that he steals the Company’s beavers and sends them over; that he buys a great deal and does not charge it all to his account; that he has ruined the country and that the director now wants you to save it; that you well know who buys the hides, etc., and many other calumnies which you according to your oath should punish. Therefore, we require that you prove all this or that you suffer the penalty provided therefor.”
Not completed.


Translation: Scott, K., & Stryker-Rodda, K. (Ed.). New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 2, Register of the Provincial Secretary, 1642-1647 (A. Van Laer, Trans.). Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1974.A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.