Dutch colonial council minutes, 13 May 1640 and 15 May 1640

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We therefore, on the 13th May 1640, after mature deliberation, resolved to send Cornelis van Tienhoven thither with 25 soldiers, to whom we have given the following Instructions here inserted:

Whereas we have certain information that some foreigners have come on Long Island into Marten Gerritsen's bay and Schout's bay,[1] which are the Hon. West India Company's lands, under the authority of the High and Mighty Lords the States-General, and there thrown down the arms of the Lords States, and settled and cultivated the soil. We therefore send you, Secretary Cornelis van Tienhoven, thither, with the under-sheriff, the sergeant and three and twenty men, to inquire into the state of the matter, and you shall regulate yourself as follows:

You shall endeavor to arrive there unexpectedly; 'twill be best, in our opinion, at the break of day, and to surround the English there and prevent the use of any force of arms; and you shall forthwith inquire who has knocked down the arms, and who gave them commission to do so, and constrain them to come here and defend themselves. If they refuse, then you shall set about, by force, to bind and to bring them hither, taking an inventory of their goods and making out in writing a careful report of all that has occurred and been done by you; you shall also prevent the soldiers committing any excess, and in case the Indians themselves have removed the arms, and the English are innocent of the matter and willing to depart in your presence, it would not be unwise to let them do so quietly; but then, the chiefs of the Indians must be taken prisoners and brought hither, and, In all cases, it will also be necessary that you take the Indians with you. And if it happen that so many additional English have come (which we do not anticipate) as to prevent you being able to cope with them, you shall make a strong protest against such proceedings, have it served and come back, taking care, above all things, to avoid all bloodshed.

Thus done in our council, the 13th May anno 1640.

Anno 1640, the 14th May, the secretary and five and twenty soldiers, departed with the preceding Instructions from Fort Amsterdam, and on the 15th at break of day arrived at the place where the English had taken up their abode, finding there a small house built by them and another not yet finished.

They were first asked: What they were doing there; by what power or by whose authority they presumed to settle on our purchased soil, and told that they must show their commission.

Eight men, one woman and a little child made answer that they intended to plant there and were authorized thereto by a Scotchman who had gone with their commission to the Roode berch.

Secondly, they were asked, for what reason did they throw down their High Mightinesses’ arms and set up a fool's face in the stead?

To which some answered: The arms were cut down by a person who is not present. Another answered: Such was done in their presence by order of a Scotchman, and the man who did it was at the Rode berch.

Hereupon six men were brought to Fort Amsterdam, leaving two men and one woman and a child on the ground to take care of their goods; they arrived on the 15th of May.

Examination of divers Englishmen taken on Long Island


Now Manhasset (North Hempstead), at the head of Cow bay


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.