Dutch colonial council minutes, 23 February - 9 March 1645

Scanned Document:

On February 23, 1645

Whereas the director general and council of New Netherland long ago noticed the dangerous practice of selling guns, powder and lead to the Indians and at the time issued against it an ordinance prohibiting the same on pain of death, some persons have nevertheless dared to barter all sorts of ammunition among the heathen, secretly purchasing the same here and then transporting it up the river and elsewhere, to the great detriment of this country, the strengthening of the Indians and the destruction of the Christians, as we are even now informed with certainty that our enemies are better provided with powder than we, which they manage to obtain from other barbarians, our friends. Likewise, his Majesty of Prance has through his ambassador seriously complained to the Lords States General of the selling of arms to the Indians, which causes much harm to his subjects, in consequence of which the Lords States General recommended to the honorable directors to prevent and forbid the same and to have the guilty parties rigorously punished, which, accordingly, the honorable directors have earnestly ordered to do. Therefore, we most expressly forbid, as we hereby do, all persons from this time forth to venture to trade any munitions of war with the Indians, or under any pretense whatsoever to transport the same from here without express permission, on pain of being punished with death and having the vessel confiscated in which the same shall be found laden or to have been put on board. May this be a warning to every one and may every one guard himself against trouble.

March 9

Johan de Fries, captain, and Gysbert de Leuw, ensign, present a petition praying that they may receive as much allowance for board as they had in Brazil. Whereupon the following answer is given them by way of apostil:

What the Company gives at other places we know not; here we can not give more than the directors have ordered to give the officers of this country. Referring the case to the honorable directors, we are meanwhile ready to pay the ordinary amount.

As to your having come here pursuant to orders, we have up to the present time not seen any such order, nor have we written for it.


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 theĀ New Netherland Institute website.