Dutch colonial council minutes, 15-22 April 1638

Scanned Document:

Upper part of manuscript destroyed ]

Several free persons having arrived by the yacht [Dolphyn] and made complaint about the food [      ], it is resolved that the kettles, bowls and cupboards shall be inspected by both the cooks of the ship Har[inck and] the yacht Dolphyn and that we shall govern ourselves according.

The cooks, aforesaid, after Inspection of the yacht Dolphyn. declare the bowls to be of proper size and the cook of the said Dolphyn has also declared under oath that he served them full as required, so that the said passengers are bound to pay unless they bring further proof.

Ordinance prohibiting trade in furs, regulating intercourse with ships in port, establishing court days and prohibiting immorality[1]

Whereas the honorable director and council of New Netherland find that many persons, as well servants of the Company as freemen, undertake to trade privately in furs and to commit other irregularities; Therefore, in order to prevent any one at any time from engaging therein and from suffering damage, the aforesaid honorable director and council, wishing to provide against this in time, have prohibited and forbidden, as they do hereby prohibit and forbid, all persons who have taken the oath of the Company, be their station, capacity or condition what it may, henceforth to carry on any trade in furs in any manner whatsoever, on pain of forfeiting all their wages and the claims which the offenders have against the Company, together with the confiscation of the merchandise which shall be found in their possession.

Likewise, all free persons not in the Company's service shall govern themselves according to the granted charter and are hereby warned not to violate the same on pain of forfeiting the goods and further of being arbitrarily punished.

Moreover, no person belonging to any ship, yacht or sloop shall be at liberty to remain on shore at night without the consent of the honorable director, but on the contrary shall return on board by sundown; likewise, no ship's boats or other craft shall go at night from any ship to the shore, or from the shore to shipboard, wherefore all skippers and other officers are expressly charged to see to this, and if any person act contrary hereto, he shall be punished as the honorable director and council shall think proper.

No person shall be at liberty to go on board of any ship which may arrive from sea without express order from the honorable director.

All master carpenters, overseers of workmen and all others are expressly commanded to go to and from their work ] at the appointed hours without any loss of time ], and duly to attend to those ] under their charge, on pain of forfeiture of their monthly wages.

Likewise, no sailors shall refuse to perform any necessary work for the service of the Company; in case of failure to do so they shall be punished as rebellious and obstinate persons.

All persons are hereby also notified, in case any cause of action arise, be it civil or criminal, that they may make their complaints and solicit justice every Thursday, being the appointed court day.

Furthermore, each and every one must refrain from fighting; from adulterous intercourse with heathens, blacks, or other persons; from mutiny, theft, false testimony, slanderous language and other irregularities, as in all such matters, according to the circumstances of the case, the offenders shall be corrected and punished as an example to others.

Thus done and published and posted in Fort Amsterdam, the day and year above written.

On Thursday, being the 22d of April

Claes van Elslandt, plaintiff, vs. Symen Jansen, skipper, that is to say, Symen Dircksen, defendant. The parties are ordered to appear on the next court day, unless they come to an agreement in the meanwhile.

Tomas Bescher, Englishman, vs. Cornells Lamberteen Cool, defendant, about the purchase of a certain plantation. Defendant is ordered to pay the purchase money to the plaintiff.

The late director Twiller requesting the Roode Hoeck, situated south of Noten Island, to use the same for such purpose as it may be fit, his request is granted on condition that he must surrender the same when the Company shall have need of the land.

Mr. Lasle, tobacco planter, plaintiff, vs. Abraham Nieuman, defendant. Default. Is ordered to appear this day week.


Translation revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, pp. 10-12.


Translation: Scott, K., & Stryker-Rodda, K. (Ed.). New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 4, Council Minutes, 1638-1649 (A. Van Laer, Trans.). Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1974.A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.