Dutch colonial council minutes, 5-13 October 1639

Scanned Document:

On the 5th of October

Cornelis vander Hoykens, fiscal, vs. Hendrick Jansen from Bremen, gunner's mate on the ship Den Harinck. defendant, for violence committed against an officer of the law. The fiscal demands punishment of the defendant for having wounded his deputy in the head while Inspecting the said ship Den Heringh.the court ] have seen the complaint of the fiscal on account of violence against an officer of the law commited on the 3d of October on board the ship Den Herlngh. lying off Staten Island, during the Inspection of the said ship, after the skipper, Symon Jansen, had received his clearance papers from the director, to wit:

Willem, the deputy sheriff, walking on deck, was asked by Hendrick Jansen from Bremen, gunner's mate, to go below and have a drink of brandy. Having gone below, a blanket was thrown over his head and he was beaten with a crowbar so that blood flowed, without his knowing who did it, and afterward, as he was going from board with the fiscal and he was climbing down the side of the vessel, an iron cannon ] ball was dropped on his body.

We, therefore, wishing to do Justice in the matter, ordered the ship to return here and caused the said Hendric, gunner's mate, to be arrested and put to the torture, but he persisted in his denial, although we felt convinced that he was guilty. Thereupon the entire crew, except the skipper and the pilot, came together on shore and wanted to compel us to surrender to them the said Hendrick, whereupon the soldiers were called to arms and finally succeeded in sending the sailors back on board. Upon our promise to pardon the prisoner and his accomplices if he would confess the truth, but assurance ] that otherwise we would proceed against him with all rigor, the said prisoner, being released from torture and irons, has voluntarily confessed that he coaxed Willem, the deputy sheriff, to go below decks, where a blanket was thrown over his head and he was beaten with an iron bar by one Pieter Smit, and that their hatred arose from the seizure by the deputy sheriff of an anker of brandy, which they intended to smuggle.

Having considered the mutiny of the crew and the fact that the ship would have to lose much time, we have in the interest of the Company and for the sake of the peace of the country thought fit not to Investigate or prosecute the case further, for weighty reasons us thereunto moving.


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.