Dutch colonial council minutes, 23 January 1648

Scanned Document:

Ordinance prohibiting wooden chimneys and appointing firewardens in New Amsterdam ] [i]

Whereas the honorable director general of New Netherland, Curaçao and the islands thereof, and the honorable council, have by experience seen and observed that some careless people neglect to keep their chimneys clean by sweeping and do not pay attention to their fires, whereby recently fire broke out in two houses and greater damage is to be expected in the future by fire, the more so as houses here in New Amsterdam are for the most part built of wood and thatched with reed, besides which the chimneys of some of the houses are of wood, which is most dangerous; therefore, the honorable general and council have considered it advisable and most expedient to provide herein. Wherefore the said honorable general and council ordain, enact and command, as they hereby do, that henceforth no chimney shall be built of wood or lath and plaster in any house between the fort and the Freshwater, but those already erected may remain until further order and pleasure of the fire-wardens. And in order that the foregoing shall be well observed, the following are appointed fire-wardens: from the honorable council, Commissary Adriaen d'Keyser, and from the commonalty, Tomas Hall, Martin Cregier and Gorger Wolsey, with power at their pleasure to inspect the chimneys of all houses situated and standing within this city between this fort and the Freshwater, to see if they are kept well cleaned by sweeping. And if any one be found negligent, he shall, every time the aforesaid fire-wardens make an inspection and find the chimneys foul, pay them forthwith, without any contradiction, a fine of three guilders for every flue found on examination to be dirty, to be applied to the maintenance of fire ladders, hooks and buckets, which shall be procured and provided at the earliest and most convenient opportunity, and if any one's house be burned or be the cause of fire, either through negligence or his own fire, he shall forfeit twenty-five guilders, to be applied as above. Thus done and enacted at Fort Amsterdam in New Nether land, and published the 23d of January.

23d January 1648

Whereas the honorable general and council of New Netherland find it highly necessary for the service of the honorable directors to engage a pilot on the ship Beninjo, and whereas Jan Tepjes van Schellingen at present requests by petition to serve the Company as pilot on the said ship, he is appointed pilot on the ship Beninjo by the honorable director and council at 34 guilders per month, commencing the first of January anno 1648.


Other translation in Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, pp. 82-83.


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.