Sentence of Dirckje Harmens for selling beer to Indians

Scanned Document:

Whereas Dirckie Hermense, innkeeper in the village of Beverwijck, in disregard and contempt of the ordinances and placards of the director general and council and contrary to the express prohibition of the commissary and magistrates of the aforesaid village, has not hesitated to sell, or, as she herself declares, to give, beer to the Indians for some tapoesjens,[1] according to her own confession made without pain or duress, whereupon the officer, in his capacity of plaintiff, for the maintenance of the aforesaid ordinances and placards, in accordance with the provisions of the aforesaid and repeatedly renewed ordinances, has demanded that the aforesaid Dirckje Harmens be fined five hundred guilders and furthermore that, as an example to others, she receive arbitrary corporal punishment and correction and be banished from this country, as the sad and dangerous accidents resulting from the tapping, selling, or giving of wine or beer to the Indians indeed demand that, in view of the aforesaid disregard and violation of the aforementioned and repeatedly renewed ordinances and the sad accidents resulting from the drunkeness of the Indians, the aforesaid Dirckje Harmens, as an example to others, receive arbitrary and corporal punishment and be banished from this country. However, taking into consideration the voluntary confession of the aforesaid Dirckjen Harmens, the director general and the magistrates of this court are for the present inclined to show leniency instead of rigor (on which, however, no one should rely in the future) and have sentenced and condemned the aforesaid Dirckjen Harmens, as they sentence and condemn her hereby, to pay a fine of three hundred guilders, she to remain in civil detention until the satisfaction of the judgment or until she shall have furnished satisfactory security, the further demands of the officer being denied. Thus done, sentenced and condemned at the session of the director general and the magistrates of the village of Beverwijck, this 6th of October Anno 1656.

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


A bag or pouch used by the Indians to carry tobacco and other small items; probably made of deer skin and highly decorated, they were coveted by the European settlers.


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.