Ordinance for the recovery of wages by Indians

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Whereas great complaints are daily made by Indians and natives to the honorable lord director general and councilors that some inhabitants of New Netherland employ the natives and use them in their service, and often dismiss them unrewarded after their service is completed, refusing to compensate and pay the Indians for their work, contrary to all public laws; and which Indians threaten, if they are not compensated and paid, to pay themselves, or to avenge themselves by other improper means.

Therefore, the honorable lord director general and councilors, in order to avert and prevent, in good time, as much as possible, all such misfortunes, want to warn all inhabitants, who are indebted to the Indians for wages or otherwise, to pay the same without argument; and if they employ them in the future, they shall be obliged to pay them on the testimony and complaint of the Indians (who, for good reasons, shall be given credence in such matters) on pain of such fines as shall be found proper according to the circumstances of the case.

Thus done in council and published the 28th of September 1648 in N. Amsterdam.[1]


Also in LO, 103, where the addition of the last paragraph was appended by O’Callaghan as it does not appear in the original. No further ordinances occur regarding Indian wages.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New Netherland Documents Series: Vol. 16, part 1, Laws and Writs of Appeal, 1647-1663 (Syracuse: 1991).A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.