Instructions for the schout and magistrates of Willemstadt and Renselaerswyck

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Provisional Instruction for the Schout and Magistrates of the city of Willemstade and Colonic Renselaerswyck.

1st. The Schout and Magistrates shall each in his quality take care that the Reformed Christian Religion agreeably to the Synod of Dort shall be maintained, without suffering any attempt to be made against it by any other sectaries.
2. The Sheriff shall be present, as often as possible, at all the meetings and preside over the same; but should he act for himself as party, or in behalf of the rights of the Lords Patroons or of Justice, he shall in such case, rise from his seat and leave the Bench and in that event he shall not have any advisory much less a concluding vote, but the oldest Schepen shall, then, preside in his place.
3. All cases relating to the Police, Security and Peace of the Inhabitants; also to Justice between man and man, shall be finally determined definitively by the Magistrates of the aforesaid Town of Willemstadt and Colonic Renselaers wyck, to the amount of and under two hundred and forty florins, Beaver, without appeal: In case the sum be larger the aggrieved party may appeal to the Governor-General and Council here; also all judgments pronounced by the court of Schaneghtede and amounting to upwards of sixty guilders, Beaver value, and as high as fl. 240, Beaver, as aforesaid, may be carried by appeal and determined by the court at Wellemstadt.
4. In case of inequality of votes, the minority shall submit to the majority; but those who are of a contrary opinion may have it recorded in the minutes but not divulge it without the meeting on pain of arbitrary correction.
5. Whenever any cases occur in the meeting in which any of the Magistrates are interested, such Magistrate shall, in that instance, rise and absent himself, as is hereinbefore stated, in the 2nd article, of the Sheriff.
6. All Inhabitants of the abovenamed city and colonic shall be citable before said Sheriff and Schepens who shall hold their meetings and courts as often as they shall consider requisite.
7. All criminal offences which will be committed there shall be referred to the jurisdiction of said Schout and Schepens, with power to pronounce judgment thereon to death inclusive, on condition that all capital sentences be not executed until the approval thereof by the Supreme Court here be first requested and obtained.
8. The Sheriff and Schepens shall have power to conclude on some needful ordinances for the welfare and peace of the Inhabitants of their district, provided such ordinances are not contrary but as far as is possible, conformable to the Laws of our Fatherland and the Statutes of this Province.
9. The said Sheriff and Schepens shall be bound strictly to observe and cause to be observed the Placards and Ordinances which shall be enacted and published by the supreme authority, and not suffer anything to be done against them, but cause the transgressors therein to be proceeded against according to the tenor thereof; and further, promptly execute such orders as the Governor-General shall send them from time to time.
10. The Sheriff and Schepens shall be also obliged to acknowledge as their Sovereign Rulers, their High Mightinesses the Lords States-General of the United Netherlands and his Serene Highness the Lord Prince of Orange, and to maintain their sovereign jurisdiction, right and domain in this country.
11. The selection of all inferior officers and servants in the employ of said Sheriff and Schepens, the Secretary alone excepted, shall be made and confirmed by themselves.
12. The Sheriff shall, by himself or deputies execute all the Magistrates' judgments and not discharge any one except by advice of the Court; he shall also take good care that the places under his charge shall be cleansed of all mobs, gamblers, whore-houses and such like impurities.
13. The Sheriff shall receive the half of all civil fines accruing during his term of office together with one-third part of what belongs to the respective villages from criminal cases; but he shall neither directly nor indirectly receive any presents forbidden by law.
14. Towards the time of election, the Sheriff and Schepens shall nominate as Schepens a double number of the best qualified, the honestest, most intelligent and wealthiest inhabitants, exclusively of the Reformed Christian Religion or at least well affected thereunto, to be presented to the Governor, who shall then make his election therefrom with continuation of some of the old ones in case his Honor may deem it necessary.
Dated 5th of November, 1673.

This day an Instruction is transmitted to the court of the Town of Schaneghtede in like form, word for word as the instruction to the Schout and Magistrates on Long Island, which is hereinbefore recorded under date first October, with this alteration only: That those of the Town of Schaneghtede, (instead of. To the commissioned Council,) shall be at liberty to appeal to the court of Willemstadt for the sum of fl. 240 Beavers, and that all criminal offences shall be referred to the Schout and Magistrates of Willemstadt aforesaid.
Mr. Cornelis Steenwyck, Captain Carel Epestyn and Lieutenant Carel Quirynsen, commissioned on date ,[      ] last, to proceed to the Towns of Southampton, Southold and Easthampton to encourage the inhabitants there to dutiful obedience and to have the oath of Allegiance administered to them, returning this day Report, that said inhabitants exhibited an utter aversion thereto, making use of gross insolence, threats &c., so that the Commissioners were obliged to return, their object unaccomplished. Furthermore they have handed to the Governor a Journal in writing of the occurrences there, whereof the principal is herein recorded.


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.