Order to the inhabitants of Elizabethtown and five neighboring towns to nominate magistrates

Scanned Document:

At a Meeting of the Commanders and Honorable Council of War of New Netherland, holden in Fort William Hendrik, on Saturday, 19th of August, Anno 1673.

Present —   Commander Jacob Benckes, 
Commander Cornelis Evertsen, Junior, 
Captain A. Colve. 

The Deputies from the Towns of Elisabets Towne, Neu worke, Woodbridge, Piscattaway, Middeltowne and Schrousbury appearing, are ordered to call together the inhabitants of their respective Towns, and to have them nominate by plurality of votes, a double number for Schepens or Magistrates of said Towns; also from each Town to elect two Deputies, who shall meet together as one Board, and then nominate, by the greater number of votes, three persons for Schout and three for Secretary, over the said six Towns, to which end the following Order is sent to each of them:

The Commanders-in-Chiefe and Councell of warr in fort William Hendrik.

Do herebij order & strictlij require the Inhabitants of Elizabeth Towne to call â Townes Meeting, and by â generall vote to nominate six persons for magestraets of their said towne, as alsoo to appoint twoo deputys who are to meete with the rest of the fijve neighbouring townes, to wit: New worke, Woodbridge, Piscattawaij, Middletowne & Shrousburrij, wich said deputys shall be authorized to nominate three persons for Schout and three for Secretarijs, out of wich said nominated persons bij us shall be ellected for each towne three magestrates, and for the said six Townes in generall, one for Schout & one for Secretary, and the said Inhabitants & deputys are herebij requiered to make a true returne thereof unto us within the space of six daijes next ensuing. Dated at forte Willem Hendrik the 19 of August, Anno 1673.

(: Signed: )  Jacob Benckes,[1]  
Cornelis Everts, Junior. 


Jacob Benckes, after the reduction of New-York, returned to Europe, and obtained considerable reputation in the war between France and Holland, in which he commanded a squadron of thirteen ships. With these he set sail on the 16th of March, 1676, against the French possessions in the West Indies, and arrived before the Island of Cayenne on the 4th of May; attacked the place with great fury, and reduced it in a short time, after which he captured St. Martins, and proceeded to the Island of Tobago, then in the possession of the Dutch, whither he was followed in February, 1677, by Count d'Estrées, the French Admiral, who demanded the surrender of the fort. This being refused, the place was stormed and the Dutch fleet attacked. After an engagement which lasted from the break of day until night, the French were obliged to retire with considerable loss, leaving the victory to the Dutch, and M. d'Estrées returned to France whence he was again dispatched in October and arrived in December following, with sixteen sail of the line, before Tobago. Here he landed 1,500 men with suitable artillery and summoned Commander Benckes, who refused to surrender. The place was soon after invested and the cannonading began on both sides. Towards noon Commander Benckes, Captain de Montigny of the Marines and other officers were about sitting down to dinner. Unfortunately the dining room was directly over the magazine or store where the ammunition was kept Along the pathway leading from this store to the battery much powder was strewed by those supplying the gunners, and one of the enemy's fireballs falling in this path set the train on fire, and in a moment the magazine exploded, instantly killing Vice-Admiral Benckes and most of his officers. Kok, VI., 562; History of the Buccaniers, 8d edition, London, 8vo., 1704, pp 177-180. Thus perished, on the 12th December, 1677, in the height of a brilliant career, this brave seaman who identified himself with our history, by the reduction of New-York, thus vindicating the honor of Fatherland. — Ed.


Translation: O'Callaghan, E.B., trans./ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York, vol. 2 (Albany: Weed, Parsons: 1858), pp. 569-730 (vol. 23, pp. 1-270 only).A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.