The fiscal's answer to the protest of Pieter Wyncoop

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The fiscal further declares and gives for answer to the unreasonable protest of you, Pieter Wyncoop, that no injury or violence was committed against you, nor any affront was offered to Mr. Van Renselaer, but, rather, that you were guilty of the most unreasonable conduct one could ever imagine, to wit, that you refused to let the Company have fifty pairs of shoes, to be paid for, at such a price as you yourself would demand, in silver, beaver, or sewant, notwithstanding you were several times, in all friendliness, requested to do so by our director, as the safety of this country depended upon it; for it appears that with a few shoes such a number of soldiers were fitted out as have slain five hundred of our enemies. On the contrary, you would not even come to discuss the matter, when messengers were sent to you and made use of such unseemly language as your patroon himself would not care to utter. The reason became afterwards known to us, namely, that you sell your goods to others of our poor inhabitants with horrible usury, namely, at fourfold the cost and more, which you would not have dared to ask of the director and is also contrary to your patroon’s orders. And whereas I was informed for a certainty that there were many smuggled goods on board the ship, I have, pursuant to the orders of the honorable directors and a warrant from the council here granted to me, inspected your ship and discharged some goods and found a large quantity of powder and guns, which had not been entered with the Company and which were not mentioned on the manifest. And whereas these goods are contraband and would apparently be sold to the Indians, which is forbidden on pain of the gallows, this is a matter of serious consequence, as more fully appears from my complaint in the suit thereof.

As to the allegation that I ought to confiscate others ships, which come here without a permit from the Company, I have done my best therein, but that the skipper, like a rascal, in spite of the attachment, sailed away, I could not prevent. However, I have not neglected to prosecute my case against him and even obtained a judgment of confiscation of his ship and cargo wherever he may be found.

And whereas you are continually carrying on business with private traders and take them with you up the river, which is expressly against your master’s orders, as the said honorable patroon sent this ship to this country for the purpose of keeping the free traders out of his colony, wherein we are willing to co-operate, just as we have always been ready to assist the colony of Renselaerswyck, as from time to time has been manifest and will also be acknowledged by the people, whom even in the early part of the winter we supplied with a sloop and 75 pounds of powder, although there was nothing we could spare less than powder on account of the perilous war we are waging with the Indians; so that we do not, as you assert, seek to affront Mr. Van Renselaer, but on the contrary try to assist him and to advance his colony. And whereas you yourself, therefore, are frustrating and defeating his laudable purpose by taking private traders with you into the colony, although a yacht has been offered to you by our director, without expense to the patroon, I declare that it will be impossible to prevent other private traders from sailing thither and that I disclaim all responsibility for it. I also deny that any damage has been caused to you by my men in inspecting the ship. If you think that you have any cause of action against me, you can seek redress from the courts; I am willing. Furthermore, I protest against all trouble, mischief, damage and loss which may result herefrom. Done the 22nd of March, at Manhatans, in Fort Amsterdam, 1644.

Cornelio vander Hoykens
Pieter Wyncoop
Gysbert op Dyck
David Provoost
Willem de Key


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.