Resolutions of the director and council, on the proposals for defense of New Netherland submitted on May 30th

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1654, 2 June, New Amsterdam.

The verbal and written proposals made by the honorable director-general, having been heard and carefully considered and further debated, we, the undersigned director-general and council of New Netherland, have unanimously come to the conclusion that the community of this city is too weak to repair and strengthen alone and at their expense the works made by them last year for the defense of this city and its inhabitants; much less would they be able to man the repaired works in case of an attack and to defend them against a considerable hostile force when the situation requires it. Although previous experiences lead us to fear that the countrypeople, despite most of them belonging to our nation, will do little for the repair of the works, hoping to keep their property if they do not take up arms against our neighbors of New England, much less be willing to come to this city to assist in its defense in time of need; nevertheless, we find it unadvisable at the present time to compel the countrypeople thereto by preemptory order, for reasons which will be elaborated on in due time. However, in order to exonerate ourselves from accusations of negligence and carelessness, and to deprive them of all excuses in case of refusal, we have unanimously resolved to summon the magistrates of the villages of Breuckelen, Midwout and Amesfoort, and to inform them in the most simple terms of the news and rumors received by us, as well as show them the need to repair the works of this city; furthermore, persuade them in a polite way to assist the militia in its defense. In case of refusal, which is anticipated and feared, their weapons are to be collected in the most suitable manner; especially those loaned out of the Company's magazine.

Concerning the English villages, it has been sufficiently proved by their statements and actions that, although under oath to us, they would rather fight against rather than for us; therefore the director-general and council have unanimously resolved to pass them by in silence and not call upon them either for repairs or defense so that we do not ourselves draw the Trojan horse within our walls. With the assistance of God, who will bless our small force and means, we shall do our best and be constantly on our guard, leaving the final outcome to God, whose arm never fails to help through thick or thin. In the meantime, all possible means, which He has been pleased to give and shall give us hereafter, must be employed, first in repairing the fort and providing it with gabions and palisades, finishing construction on that which was begun in the canal and attempting to enlist, as soon as possible, some soldiers for monthly pay: at least 60 or 70 men, if we can get them without any commotion or beat of the drum. Whereas money is required for repairing, maintaining and finishing the fortifications, as well as for paying and supporting the soldiers, either now in service or to be enlisted, and whereas they must be paid weekly and because of the scarcity of provisions, the soldiers and workers shall henceforth be obliged to furnish or buy their own provisions so that some can be stored in case of a siege. And whereas the greatest difficulty at present is to reduce the scarcity of cash and to raise some money as soon as possible; therefore, we are compelled first to lay hands on and use the beavers or money received for freight by the skipper Cornelis Coenraetsz from the passengers and for the cargo brought over, and, furthermore, to try to negotiate among the most agreeable merchants and traders some revenue for the account of the honorable Company. For the security of the merchants, the director-general pledges his credit and property, belonging to him here and in the fatherland, provided that if the country can be protected and remain in peace and undisturbed, which we hope and pray the good and almighty God may grant, means shall be considered and measures taken by which the loan to the honorable Company, negotiated on the credit and property of the director-general, is to be satisfied and repaid. Under these circumstances we, the undersigned director-general and council, have not been able to find a better expedient or measure, aside from the duties on merchandise, than to impose an honest and fair tax upon real property such as land, houses or lots and milk cows or draught oxen in the manner as follows, to wit: on each morgen of land, possessed one year or more, 10 stivers annually; on each house or lot within this city or in Fort Orange or in the village of Beverwyck, according to its size and situation, one to one and a half beavers, gardens and orchards excepted which belong to persons who pay 10 stivers per morgen; on each horned animal over three years old, one guilder annually, one half to be paid around the time of the next Amsterdam fair,[1] the other half in the following month of May. Out of these revenues the loan shall be repaid.

Concerning the following proposals, whether to abandon Fort Casimier or not and whether the ship, de Coninck Salomon, shall be allowed to sail or be retained here for some time, it is resolved, in consideration of the reasons given in detail in the aforesaid proposals, that Fort Casimier not be abandoned nor the garrison be recalled from there at the present time.[2] Concerning the ship, de Coninck Salomon, it has been found necessary to retain the ship for the greater security and peace of mind of the good inhabitants of this city until we have further and more accurate information from the north[3] concerning the aforesaid rumors or until a ship comes from the fatherland with news. Thus done and enacted at the session of the honorable director-general and high council held in New Netherland in New Amsterdam, 2 June 1654; and was signed: P. Stuyvesant, Nicasius de Sille, C. van Werckhooven, La Montangne; was written below:


The autumn cattle fair was held at New Amsterdam on 15 October; one for hogs on 1 November. See Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, 1638-1674, compiled and translated by E. B. O’Callaghan, Albany, 1868, 29 for the 1641 ordinance pertaining thereto. In 1658 two fairs were established: one for lean cattle beginning on 20 October. See Laws and Ordinances, 364 for the ordinance pertaining to these fairs.
Fort Casimier had already been captured by the Swedes on 30 May; cf. endnote 138.
i.e.. New England.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 5, Council Minutes, 1652-1654 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1983).A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.