Abstract of a letter from the burgomasters and schepens of New Amsterdam to the directors of the WIC

Scanned Document:
The Directors of the Chartered West India Company, Chamber in Amsterdam have made resolutions thereon as appears for each in the margin.[1]   Summary of the letter of the burgomasters and schepens of the city New Amsterdam, without date. 
The burgomasters and schepens are to write up the points and submit them to the director and councilors for such cases where they request amplification or moderation.  They write that their instructions are too limited and strict; that they are not able to govern the municipality with ease according to the instructions and request that they may receive others from here not so restricted, but agreeing as nearly as possible with the form of government in this city of Amsterdam, whereupon they are awaiting an answer. 
The administration of the schout' s office shall henceforth be separated from the office of fiscael; however, disposal of the aforesaid office shall be done by the director general and councilors, pursuant to the orders issued him.  They request also that they may be allowed to elect their schout or at least to nominate a double number; that the fiscal Thienhoven is now officiating as schout, but as little to the satisfaction of the citizens who have submitted a petition on this matter regarding them. 
Note is to be taken hereon in the drafting of instructions.  Also that a distinction be made in the jurisdiction of the fiscal on behalf of the Company and of the schout as well in civil as in criminal causes. 
That the director has allowed them an excise on beer and wines, only on condition of maintaining therewith the political and ecclesiastical officers, which is impossible, as it will pay only one third of their expenses, while they have also to contribute their share to the maintenance of the fortifications. Therefore, they request that this excise may be given to them without limitation and that they be authorized to levy a new impost (to which the community is said to agree, as shown by enclosure No. 5) such as on stamped paper etc., also to lease the ferry from there to Breuckelen for the purpose of first obtaining funds to repay the loan of about ƒ9000 expended in making the outworks and fortifications. 
Done as petitioned, with the understanding that it not excede the houses and lots in the city, and in no way be applied to the houses and lots outside the same; also, that hereby the power of the director general and councilors not be diminished, which has been previously given in order to dispose of lots that were given out but remain vacant; also, that the burgomasters and schepens being admonished thereon, they shall be obliged to disclose transports, conveyances, and taxes to the director general and councilors for their protection. The order is given for making a city seal.  Item, that they also be authorized to approve transports and conveyances of houses and lots within this city, and to sell freedoms and also mortgages; and accordingly they be sent a city seal, distinct from the country seal. 
This petition is denied because all necessary requests for provisions are to be addressed to the director general and councilors, so that they can be distributed by the same as needs require.  That in these dangerous times a good quantity of munitions of war be sent, among which some guns of 3½ foot barrels, so that they can be distributed to the burghers in time of need. 
The house mentioned here is granted to the city in order to be dedicated to the use of the regents and their business, but no one shall hereby claim any private rights to the same, nor may the house in general be either alienated or mortgaged.  Finally, because they have no ownership there in their capacity, but hold their meetings in a house owned by the Company, they therefore request that the same be granted to them as a gift or otherwise have it transferred over at a reasonable value. 


Responses to various request appear as notations in left-hand margin.


A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.