Dutch colonial council minutes, 6-12 October 1648

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Whereas Jan Tonisz, at present a prisoner, has confessed without torture that, notwithstanding the former light sentence passed on him on the 12th of March last for drawing a knife and assaulting Cornelis Dircksen Hoochlandt, he has since dared to accuse Herry Breser, an Englishman, of theft, for which, not being able to prove the same properly, he was condemned by the director and council to make reparation to the person whom he had unjustly accused; and whereas he, the prisoner, scorning both sentences and orders of the director and council, has moreover deserted his service and duties and run away, taking with him the Company's scow or ferry boat; all of which acts, tending to disobedience and contempt of justice, cannot and ought not to be tolerated in a well-regulated state and government where laws and justice prevail, but ought to be rigorously punished as an example to others; Therefore, the director and council, administering justice in the name and on behalf of the High and Mighty lords the States General, his Serene Highness the Prince of Orange, and the honorable directors of the Chartered West India Company, have, notwithstanding he richly deserves corporal punishment, as a special favor, in view of his office and because, according to his declaration, he never withdrew from this jurisdiction, condemned and sentenced as they do hereby condemn and sentence, the aforesaid Jan Tonisen, at present a prisoner, to the penalty of doing 150 days' work at his usual trade, to wit: 100 days for the honorable Company and 50 days for the church wardens, at such labor as the honorable director and council or the church wardens shall order him to do. And in order hereafter to prevent his desertion and to put this sentence into effect the prisoner is ordered to furnish sufficient security for his service, obedience and labor, and in default thereof to be kept securely in confinement on bread and water. The further demand of the fiscal is denied. Thus done on the 12th of October anno 1648, in New Amsterdam. Present: the honorable director general, Mr. Dincklagen, La Montagne, B. Nuton and the naval store keeper.

Ordinance against fugitives from service ] [1]

Whereas the honorable director general and council dally see and observe that some of the inhabitants of New Netherland harbor in their houses and dwellings the Company’s servants and other their domestics when they run away from their lords and masters, also those who come hither from our neighbors across the borders, whereby many servants, when they are dissatisfied with their employment, are afforded a means and opportunity to run away, which is of dally occurrence; therefore. in order that the honorable director general and council may prevent and hinder such practices as much as is possible and practicable, the honorable director general and council hereby notify and warn all persons against harboring or entertaining any persons in the service either of the Company or of other private individuals residing here or elsewhere, and against lodging them at most longer than 24 hours; and if anyone shall be found to have acted contrary hereto, he shall by way of fine forfeit fl. 150, to be paid to whomsoever will make the complaint or be entitled thereto. Thus done in council, the 6th of October 1648. Present: the honorable director general, L. Dincklagen, La Montagne, B. Nuton and P. Leendersz.


Revised from Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, p. 104.


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.