Dutch colonial council minutes, 31 May - 14 June 1647

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It being considered and duly weighed in council that the seafaring persons assigned in this country to the honorable Company's ships can not be provided according to the ordinary list of ship's rations, as some provisions are wanting here which are usually distributed on shipboard; it is therefore resolved by the honorable council to distribute to each man (those in the cabin excepted) on board the Company's ships and assigned to this jurisdiction, the following weekly rations:

Stew according to circumstances  } per week 
3½ pounds of hard tack  
1½ gills of vinegar 
1 pound of dried fish 
2½ pounds of pork or beef 

Thus done in council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 6th of June anno 1647.

Ordinance against selling liquor during divine service on the Sabbath and against drawing knives ] [1]

Petrus Stuyvesant, director general of New Netherland, Curaçao and the islands thereof, commander in chief of the Company's ships and yachts cruising in the West Indies;

To all those who shall see these presents or hear them read, Greeting:

Whereas we see and observe by experience the great disorders in which some of our inhabitants indulge in drinking to excess, quarreling, fighting and beating, even on the Lord's day of rest, whereof, God help us!, we have seen and heard sorrowful instances only last Sunday, to the disparagement of the court of justice, to the reproach and censure of ourselves and our office, to the scandal of our neighbors and finally in disregard, yea contempt, of God's holy laws and ordinances, which command us to sanctify this His rest and Sabbath day to His honor, forbidding all wounding, slaying and the means and occasions whereby the same might arise;

Therefore, we, with the advice of the late honorable director general and our appointed council, in order as much as it is practicable and possible for us to provide herein and to prevent the curse. Instead of the blessing, of God falling upon us and our good inhabitants, do hereby order and command that none of the brewers, tapsters and tavern-keepers shall on the Lord's day of rest, by us called Sunday, before two o'clock when there is no sermon or otherwise before four o'clock in the afternoon, set before, tap or serve any people any wine, beer or strong liquors of whatever sort or under any pretext whatsoever— travelers and daily boarders alone excepted, who may be provided therewith for their necessity in their lodgings— on pain of forfeiting their licenses and in addition being fined six Carolus guilders for every person who is found in their house at that time partaking of any wine or beer. And in like manner we forbid all tavern-keepers, retailers and tapsters on that day and all other days in the week, in the evening after the ringing of the bell, which will be at about nine o'clock, to have any more common tippling or to tap or serve any wine, beer, or strong liquors, except to their own families, travelers and boarders, under the same penalty.

And in order to prevent the too rash drawing of knives, fighting, wounding and accidents resulting therefrom, we, therefore, pursuant to the laudable ordinances of the most wise and worshipful council of the city of Amsterdam, do hereby enact and ordain that whoever shall in passion or anger or cause to be drawn any knife or dagger against another shall forthwith incur a fine of one hundred Carolus guilders, or, in case he fall to pay the money, be punished by being put for half a year at hard labor on bread and water; and if he wound any one therewith, three hundred guilders, or to spend a year and a half at the aforesaid labor. And we also charge and command our fiscal, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, as well burghers and inhabitants as soldiers, at every opportunity to exert due diligence in visiting such places and without any dissimulation to attack and apprehend all contraveners hereof, in order that they may be prosecuted according to law.

Thus done in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 31st of May A°. 1647.

Whereas Michiel Piquet, now that the deponents who testified against him at the request of the fiscal have sworn to their declarations, remains headstrong and obstinately refuses to confess the truth, it is after mature deliberation resolved and concluded in council to subject him to torture and that he shall be notified thereof, giving him until 7 o'clock in the morning of the 15th of June to reconsider. This day, the 13th of June 1647.

The Honorable Petrus Stuyvesant, director general of New Netherland, Curaçao and the islands appertaining thereto, and the honorable council, having seen and examined the charge and complaint brought by the fiscal against Cornelis Symonsz and Gerrit Philipsz, both sailors under the flag of the honorable general above mentioned, whereby the fiscal ex-officio shows and proves that the aforesaid persons, at present prisoners, in contempt of the aforesaid director's placard and ordinance affixed to the main mast of the ships and yachts, providing that no one may go ashore without special leave of the captain and in no case may remain over night, have, notwithstanding, violated his aforesaid ordinance and placard, not only once or twice, but repeatedly, one of them, to wit, Cornelis Symonsz alias de Boer, having been arbitrarily punished therefor and the other, to wit, Gerrit Philipsz, having at the time incurred the same punishment and in addition broken out of the honorable directors’ prison on the island of Curasao by striking with his fist a certain woman prisoner; and whereas they, the prisoners, after having committed one fault and another, have once more misbehaved themselves, remaining several days and nights ashore, to the serious inconvenience of the Company and the delay of the ship's necessary work, contempt of justice and violation of the aforesaid director's ordinance and command, which, being matters of evil consequence, neither can nor ought to be tolerated in a country under a well regulated government where military and naval discipline prevails, but ought to be punished as an example to others;

Therefore, the valiant and honorable Petrus Stuyvesandt, with the advice of his military and naval council, administering justice in the name and on behalf of the High and Mighty lords the States General, his Highness the Prince of Orange and the honorable directors of the Chartered West India Company, have sentenced and condemned the aforesaid prisoners, as they hereby do sentence and condemn the same, as an example to others to be chained for three consecutive months to a wheelbarrow or a hand- barrow and put to the hardest labor, strictly on bread and water, without wages. They deny the fiscal's further demand. Thus done and sentenced in council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 13th of June A°. 1647.

To the honorable commissioners ordered to investigate the differences between the Hon. Mr. Kieft and Jochim Pietersz and Cornelis Melyn

Honorable Gentlemen:

The petition of Jochom Pieters and Cornelis Melyn, together with the draft of the interrogatives, whereupon were to be examined all the former counselors with the exception of the honorable director, which were placed in our hands at the close of the session of our council, have been read and considered only by us privately, however not without considering and reflecting upon the consequences which might result and arise therefrom. I therefore request that your honors first be pleased to consider them and communicate your advice thereon to us.

1. Was it ever heard or seen in any republic that vassals and subjects did without authority from their superiors, conceive, draft and submit to their magistrates self-devised interrogatives to have them examined thereon?

2. Whether it will not be a matter of very bad consequence and prepare the way for worse things to have two malignant private subjects arrogate to themselves the right and presume to subscribe for the entire council interrogatory articles on which to examine the former board, without being authorized thereto by their superiors or orders of the commonalty? I say malignant subjects, in view of the animosity between them and the late director and council, by whom they were held and proved to be disturbers of the public peace, as also in view of the opinion and decision of the honorable directors themselves, by whom they were declared to be men unworthy of being trusted or being promoted to any station or office.

3. Whether, if this right be granted to these cunning fellows, they will on account thereof hereafter not assume and arrogate to themselves greater authority against us and the appointed councilors, to usurp similar, yes, greater power in opposition to us, should our administration not suit their whims?

4. If the honorable directors should have written anything to the honorable director and council on the subject of deriving some revenue from the Indians, (of which I have some recollection) in case it could be affected without creating trouble, can their secretary, to whom such secrets are entrusted, be questioned by two private individuals and have we power to oblige him to give such information in case he refuse?

The honorable councilors and appointed commissioners having given their opinion thereupon I shall also add mine in writing, in order that we may arrive at a justifiable decision as to what we ought to do in such a dangerous conjuncture. Done in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the l4th of June, 1647. Was signed: P. Stuyvesant.

Opinion of the honorable general on the preceding proposed articles

To the first proposition, I answer that I never saw, heard or read of the like. To the second, that it is of dangerous consequence to yield so much to persons of such bad reputation.

To the third, that it is to be supposed that they will hereafter put the same or even worse in practice against us, but that I have little fear on that score. To the fourth, I answer absolutely,

No. Was signed: P. Stuyvesandt.


Revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland. pp. 60-62.


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.