Dutch colonial council minutes, 27 May - 7 June 1638

Scanned Document:

The fiscal, plaintiff, vs. Jan Schepmoes ], Jan [      ]and Jurgen [      ], defendants, for having contrary to the ordinance lodged persons over night. Defendants fined according to the ordinance and to settle with the fiscal.

The fiscal, plaintiff, vs. Hendrick Jansen, tailor, defendant, in a case of slander against Anthony Jansen from Vaes. The fiscal ordered to Inquire who uttered the slander and the defendant to furnish proper affidavits that he was asleep at the time the slandering occurred.

The fiscal, plaintiff, vs. Jan Dircksen from Hamburg ], defendant, for having traded in furs contrary to his oath. The fiscal ordered to obtain further information in regard to the furs as well as the cloth and the defendant prohibited from leaving the Manhates.

Ordinance against clandestine trade[1]

The deputies to the Assembly of the XIX of the Chartered West India Company, by virtue of the charter and the amplifications thereof granted to the Company by the High and Mighty Lords the States General, make known:

Whereas it has heretofore not only been sufficiently well known, but has now recently become manifest to all the world, that that many self-seeking persons in New Netherland, flagrantly violating our good ordinances and commands by their private and clandestine trade and traffic, have acquired and diverted from the Company to their own private profit many, nay, more peltries and skins, of better condition and quality, than those that are purchased there and sent over on the Company’s own account and have bartered them for wares and merchandise taken with them from here or ordered by them to be sent in the Company’s own ships, clandestinely and secretly, without the knowledge of the Company; whereby on the one hand the ships are filled and rendered incapable of carrying the Company's goods and those entered by the patroons and colonists and on the other hand the Company is defrauded of the freight thereof; so that they have not only spoiled the trade of the Company in that country by paying more for the skins and peltries than the Company, which they are able to do by reason of their being free from all charges and expenses, both as to freight and equipment, and not having to bear the daily cost of maintaining so many people and fortifications and other heavy burdens which the Company is carrying there; which Company in consequence has been able to obtain but few furs or been forced to submit to a like advance In price, while they in this country have also brought the furs and peltries into disrepute and caused them to be sold at a low price, the Muscovy and other traders being furnished by them with better goods and at a lower price; and whereas the Company Is besides reliably informed that many have exchanged their poor furs for the best furs of the Company, or at least have bought up the best furs for themselves and not for the Company, all to the great and immense damage and loss of the Company and without once considering the great expense incurred by the Company as well for the equipment and cargoes as for the support and payment of the very people who have deprived the Company of the returns therefrom and thus caused the prosperity of New Netherland to decline considerably; We, therefore, in order to provide against this, renewing our former ordinances, placards and commands issued here by us and there by our director and council against said private trade, have thought fit to order and decree, as we hereby do order and decree, that henceforth no persons, of whatever condition or capacity they may be, residing here or within the limits of New Netherland, shall be at liberty to convey thither any wares or merchandise, be the quantity large or small, either in their own or in the Company's ships, whether openly or secretly, under any cover or pretext whatsoever, without the cognizance or knowledge of the Company, on pain of confiscation of said wares, cargoes and merchandise for the benefit of the Company; also, that none of the above mentioned persons shall be at liberty to carry on at any place any private trade in furs, either by themselves or by others, directly or Indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, on pain of confiscation of the traded furs and arbitrary correction at the discretion of the Company, or of the director and council there, and in addition of all their salary and monthly wages.

We therefore order and command our director and council of New Netherland and all other officers to govern themselves accordingly and strictly to enforce the contents hereof, without any connivance, dissimulation or compromise and, in order that no one may plead Ignorance, to publish this at the accustomed places and to cause it to be posted everywhere there and also in the respective colonies.

Thus done and published in Fort Amsterdam, this 7th of June anno 1638.[2]

On the 3d of June 1638

Cornelis Jacobsen from Martensdyck, plaintiff, vs. Andries Hudden, defendant, for the payment of the sum of [      ].As the defendant acknowledges the debt, he is condemned to pay within three weeks.

Jan Damen, plaintiff, vs. Lenaert Arentsen, defendant, in a case of protest. Parties having been heard, in virtue of the oath taken by the plaintiff, the defendant is condemned to restore his son to the plaintiff to complete his bounden service and in case of default he shall be punished as a disobedient person.

Everardus Bogardus, plaintiff, vs. Anthony Jansen from Vees, defendant, for payment of the sum of fl. 319• The defendant Is condemned to pay within the time of three months, as he admits the claim.

Symen Dircksen Pos, plaintiff, vs. Barent Dircksen, baker, defendant. Parties being heard and the agreement which they made with each other being open to dispute, Claes van Elslant and Jan Damen are ordered to settle the matter as referees, the parties to be satisfied with the decision of the referees.

Hillebrant Pietersen, plaintiff, vs. Symen Pos, defendant.The defendant is ordered to satisfy the plaintiff's claim.

Hendrick Jansen, tailor, plaintiff, vs. Anthony Jansen, from Veesen, defendant, for slander. Parties being heard and plaintiff having produced but one witness, the case is dismissed and parties are ordered to live in peace as heretofore.


Translation revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, pp. 13-15.
.Judging from its place in the record, it would seem that the ordinance was spread on the minutes immediately after its receipt from Amsterdam and before its actual publication in New Netherland.


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.