Dutch colonial council minutes, 9 August 1640

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On the 9th of August 1640, being Thursday

[1]Whereas daily many servants run away from their masters, whereby the latter are put to great inconvenience and expense, the corn and tobacco spoil in the fields and the entire harvest must come to a standstill, which tends to the serious injury of this country, to the masters' ruin and to bring the government into contempt; we, therefore, wishing to provide against this, command all farm and house servants faithfully, to serve out their time with their masters according to their contracts and in no manner to run away, and if they have anything against their masters to come here and make application to be heard in court on pain of being punished, of making good all loss and damage of their masters and of serving double the time that they lose.

We do also forbid all inhabitants of New Netherland to harbor or feed any of these fugitive servants under the penalty of fifty guilders, one-third for the benefit of the informer, one-third for the new church and one-third for the fiscal.

And whereas daily many abuses occur in consequence of the writing of bonds and other instruments by private persons, we do therefore declare that from this date all such writings, whether bonds or other instruments, which are not drawn up by the secretary or by other persons appointed thereto, shall be null and void.

Whereas some time ago the arms of their High Mightinesses the Lords States General were set up on Long Island in Marten Gerritsen's bay and the aforesaid arms were tom down by the natives of the aforesaid bay and in the place of said arms a fool's head was set up, we have therefore resolved to send a sloop with soldiers thither to reduce the said savages to our obedience and make them pay tribute.

Tymen Jansen, plaintiff, vs. Lourens Haen, defendant, for slander. Plaintiff demands proof of the charges or in default thereof vindication of honor.

Defendant, answering, says that about six weeks after the arrival of the Harinc he heard Davit Provoost say at the house of Lupoldt, in his and his wife's presence, that he had seen Dirc Cotsen committ adultery with the wife of Tymen Jansen and that not for money, but for otters and beavers, and that he had seen this happen several times.

Davit Provoost expressly denies having made ] the aforesaid statement ]. Plaintiff ordered to produce proof.


Revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, p. 24.


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.