Petition for privileges from Fort Orange (Albany)

Scanned Document:

The Delegates from Fort Orange, lately called Albany, requesting an audience, are admitted, and deliver in a writing containing the following articles, which are answered as appears annexed in the margin.

Points to be proposed by the Delegates to the Honorable Council of War of the Squadron of Ships lying at present before the Fort called Willem Hendrick, for the maintenance and preservation of the rights of the Town of Beverwyck and Fort Orange:  The annexed petition being taken into consideration by the Honorable Council of War, their Honors have ordered that Fort Albany shall henceforward be called Fort Nassau, and the Town of Beverwyck, Willemstadt, and have further ordered as follows: 
First and foremost: Most seriously to request that the Officers and Justices of Fort Orange and Beverwyck aforesaid may be upright protectors of the true Reformed Religion, according to the Ordinances of beloved Fatherland.  1st The Commandant there shall be most expressly ordered to protect the Reformed Christian Religion, and failing so to do, the Petitioners shall have to address themselves to the Governor at this place, and the Magistrates shall alone consist of persons belonging to, or at least well affected towards the Reformed Christian Religion. 
Secondly. That conscience shall not be subjected to any constraint, as there are some here of different opinions who have intermarried, but that every one shall be at liberty to go where he pleases to hear the Word of God.  2nd Article is granted, and the Commandant and Magistrates are ordered to pay attention to it. 
3rd To request a reasonable garrison for the defence of the place, according to their Honors' discretion.  3rd The Governor-General will take care that the Fort there be provided with a suitable garrison. 
4th To request the Great Excise from this time down, and the balance of this year also, on account of the backwardness which exists here, and for repairing the bridges and streets which, by reason of the low state of the Revenue and Receipts, are not repaired, and to consider the heavy expenses already, and still to be, incurred for the preservation of the place, if their Honors undertake to pay therefrom the Ministers and Officers in Church and State, also that it is necessary to make a reasonable present to our neighbors, the Indians, especially at this conjuncture of time, in order to prevent the designs and undertakings of our enemies the French; which present would require, to wit, For Five different Nations consisting of Ten Castles, viz.: The Mohawks, Oneidas, Nondages, Cayugas and Sinnedowane, a sum of fl. 1000 Hollands.  4th In regard to the request for the Great Excise, nothing as yet can be done, but, in case the Petitioners are able to show that they were in receipt of the Excise heretofore, the matter will be submitted to our principals. 
5th Those of Schanhectede not to extend their privilege any further. The land was granted them by the late General Stuyvesant solely that they should occupy themselves with agriculture, on express condition not to trade with the Indians; which was confirmed by the English Governor Nicolls according to his Proclamation in existence.  5th The inhabitants of Schaneghtede shall have to regulate themselves provisionally by their previous instruction, and in case any difference arise about it, they shall have to address themselves to the Governor-General. 
6th To request that the Excise be taken off what the Burghers and farmers consume, who are taxed to pay the same Excise as the Tapsters, directly contrary to all reason; and that there be paid here only on each anker of Brandy fl. 14 for Tapsters' excise; and for Burghers' excise fl. 4. 10; in all, fl. 18. 10; and up at the Fort, fl. 24, making a difference of six guilders payable in Beavers or Wampum, calculating three for one, as is the case here at Willemstadt.  6th The subject of the Excise shall be taken into consideration by the Governor as soon as possible, to whom the consumption by the inhabitants will be recommended. 
7th To request that Fort Orange be well provided with powder and lead, so that the Burghers, in case of invasion or dearth, may be accommodated there, as the place is badly provided therewith.  7th The Governor will take care that the Fort be supplied with necessary ammunition 
8th To request four pieces of cannon in order to be able to make use of them in time of need, for the defence of this place, Beverwyck.  8th Four cannon shall be sent by the first opportunity to the Petitioners. 
9th To request that the Town of Beverwyck shall retain its former privileges of trade and barter with the Indians, &c., as heretofore.  9th The petitioners shall enjoy the same and privileges as they did in the time of the previous Dutch government. 

Moreover, an Order is sent to the Commissaries of Willemstadt to cause their Commonalty to nominate a double number of 8 persons and three for Secretaries, and to send said nomination down by the first opportunity, from which the election shall then be made.


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.