Dutch colonial council minutes, 18 July 1647

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On the 4th of this month, in his action against Jochom Pietersz and Cornelis Melyn, Fiscal van Dyck was instructed and ordered by us and the honorable council to institute his action more clearly against each party individually and to support its justice by valid documents at the next session of the court, to be held on the 9th and 11th following, for the reason that many charges are brought against them jointly of which they were not both guilty and which had no connection with each other, so that they can not be included in one and the same complaint and sentence. As may be seen from his second bill of complaint this has been and still is neglected by the said fiscal, either from wilful disobedience, incompetency, or ignorance in his office. It is therefore necessary, in order that we may render a riper and better founded decision in the case, that I, myself, and the honorable council be first informed of the exact charges which are brought against each party in particular and what the documents are in the case.

Cornelis Melyn is accused:

1. Of having insulted the late Director Kieft, then his lawful governor and commander, in his official capacity and threatened him with the wheel and gallows, according to affidavits signed by three witnesses, namely, Fiscal vander ] Houkens, Secretary Tienhoven and Deputy Sheriff Bredenbent.

2. Of having in fact opposed the order issued by the director and plainly said that he was not subject to the director, although he was then a burgher and inhabitant of the Manhatens. The opposition appears from the protest made against him, Melyn, by the fiscal for that opposition. That he uttered the actual words is attested by the three officers aforesaid.

3. The sworn affidavit of Pieter vander ] Linden, a man of about 50 years of age, partly confirms the foregoing. The actual words, though spoken elsewhere and on another occasion, are: "What have we to do with that devil's head? Let him rule the Company's servants;" and other mutinous and seditious words.

4. This is further confirmed by the declaration made by Gerrit Vastrich, a free trader, before the director and council in Melyn's presence, that he said: "I have nothing to do with the court; there is no justice for me here."

5. Said Melyn is accused of the fact that his servants at his command had stolen the maize belonging to the Indians. This is shown and proved by two witnesses, both being soldiers.

6. Said Melyn is accused of having long before the war taken away from the Indians part of the game which the Indians hunted on Staten Island. This is testified only by one person and maintained by the Indians who are still available.


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.