Ordinance for the preservation of fences

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The honorable lord director general and council of New Netherland hearing daily, to their great regret, serious complaints that posts, rails, clapboards and other fences built by the inhabitants at great expense, difficulty and effort around cultivated land and gardens for the preservation of sown land are being stolen by day and night; in order then to prevent the complete trampling and destruction by animals of what has been sown and planted and is yet to be sown and planted through lack of fencing, which, if not attended to in timely fashion, it is feared will happen, and that this coming winter all land and gardens will be stripped of fencing and what has been sown will come to naught, and consequently there will be no grain to harvest next year in the fields.

Therefore the aforesaid honorable director general and council, in the presence of the burgomasters and schepenen of this city, being desirous to provide herein in time, as much as possible, do hereby most expressly warn, and at the same time most strictly command each and everyone, whatever rank or standing they may be, from now henceforth not to strip any gardens, sowed or planted lands of posts, rails, clapboards or other fences, on pain, if anyone be discovered to have taken them away, in whole or in part, that he who will be found to have violated this the first time to be whipped and branded; and for the second offense, punished with the rope until death occurs; without deception or respect to person. And if anyone furnishes information after the date hereof as to who may have robbed any lands or gardens of posts, rails, clapboards or anything else, he shall be given a reward and his name concealed. Let everyone be hereby warned.

Thus done at the session at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 7th of October 1655, and renewed the 30th of December 1658.[1]


Also in LO, 193.


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 theĀ New Netherland Institute website.