Sentence of William Hoffmeyer for conveying beer up the river and selling it to Indians

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Whereas Willem Hoffmeyr, bom in Brazil, aged about twenty years, in notorious disregard and contempt of the well-meant ordinances and placards of the director general and council of New Netherland and in violation of the orders and directions of the commissary and magistrates of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwijck, has not hesitated to sell and peddle beer to the Indian barbarians, as he without pain or duress confesses and admits that he, Willem Hofmeyer, at present in custody, once with two half barrels in a canoe and afterwards, on the 22d, 23d, and 24th of July last past, with five half barrels of good and small beer mixed together, sailed up the river and sold and peddled the beer among the Indians (notwithstanding the strict prohibition of the director general and council) and what is worse, had it sold and peddled for him by one Indian to other Indians; and whereas, furthermore, in further contempt of court, the said prisoner, while he was being examined on account of said offense and released on bail, has not hesitated the same day to admit a drunken Indian to his house and contrary to expressed prohibition and warning of the court to pour out or sell beer to them, which disobedience, disregard, yes, contempt of good order and justice, as well as his frequent violations and transgressions of the well-meant ordinances and placards of the director general and council of New Netherland issued and repeatedly renewed against the dangerous and harmful sale of beer or wine to the Indians, are matters of very evil and injurious consequences, which in a land of justice, as an example to others, can and ought not to remain unpunished; therefore, the director general together with the magistrates of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwijck, in the name and on the part of the high and mighty lords, the states general of the United Netherlands, and the honorable directors of the Chartered West India Company, administering justice in the case, upon the complaint and demand of the officer and in view of his own free and voluntary confession, sentence and condemn the aforesaid Willem Hoffmeyer, now in custody, as they sentence and condemn him hereby, to pay a fine of five hundred guilders and to be banished from this country for the space of three years, he to remain in strict confinement until the judgment is satisfied. Thus done and sentenced at the session of the director general and the magistrates of Fort Orange. This day, the sixth of October 1656.

P. Stuyvesant
Rutger Jacobsz
Andries Herberts
Jacob Jansen Schermerhoorn
Philip Pietersen


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New Netherland Documents Series: Vol. 16, part 2, Fort Orange Court Minutes, 1652-1660 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press: 1990).A complete copy of this publication is available on theĀ New Netherland Institute website.