Laws and ordinances of New Netherland, 1638-1674/1646

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Of the Director and Council of New Netherland establishing a Court
of Justice in Breuckelen. Passed 12 June, 1646.

[N. Y. Colonial MSS. IV. 259.]

We, William Kieft, Director General, and the Council residing in New Netherland on behalf of the High and Mighty Lords States General of the united Netherlands, his Highness of Orange and the Honble Directors of the General Incorporated West India Company.

To all those who shall see these presents or hear them read, Greeting.

Whereas Jan Eversen Bout and Huyck Aertsen from Rossnm were on the 21 May last unanimously chosen by the proprietors (geintresseerde) of Breuckelen, situate on Long Island, as Schepens to decide all questions which may arise, as they shall deem proper, according to the Exemptions of New Netherland granted to particular Colonies, which election is subscribed by them, with express stipulation that, if any one refuses to submit in the premises aforesaid to the above mentioned Jan Eversen and Huyck Aertsen, he shall forfeit the right which he claims to the land in the allotment of Breuckelen; And in order that every thing be done with more authority, We, the Director. and Council aforesaid have, therefore, authorized and appointed, and do hereby authorize the said Jan Eversen and Huyck Aertsen to be Schepens of Breuckelen, and in case Jan Eversen and Huyck Aertsen do hereafter find the labor too onerous, they shall be at liberty to select two more from among the Inhabitants of Breuckelen to adjoin them to themselves. We charge and command every Inhabitant of Breuckelen to acknowledge and respect the abovenamed Jan Eversen and Huyck Aertsen as their Schepens, and if anyone shall be found to exhibit contumaciousness towards them, he shall forfeit his share as above stated.

Thus done in Council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland.


Of the Director and Council of New Netherland further providing for
the proper drawing up of Legal Instruments. Passed 12 June,

[N. Y. Colonial MSS. IV. 259.]

Whereas it is daily observed that, contrary to Law and the Ordinance of the Lords States General and the Edict published A° 16, grave mistakes occur in the writing and drawing up of evidence of the truth by private individuals, who are neither bound by oath nor called by Authority thereto, whereby many things are written to the advantage of those who have the papers drawn up, interspersed with sinister, obscure and dubious words, oftentimes contrary to the meaning of the Attestors, to the great prejudice and damage of the parties; And in order to prevent this result, dangerous in a Republic, and to strengthen the knowledge of the truth necessary in all Courts, Therefore we annul and declare invalid, as we do hereby annul and declare invalid all Affidavits, Interrogatories or other Instruments serving Court, which are written by private Individuals and not confirmed by oath before the Court here or other Magistrates, as we also, from now henceforth annul all Affidavits which will not be written by the Secretary or other duly authorized person, likewise all Contracts, Testaments, Agreements and other important documents, unless that through necessity it should be impossible to call on such person. Ady 12 June, 1646.


Granted by the Director and Council of New Netherland manumitting a Negro
Slave. Passed 27 September, 1646.

[N. Y. Colonial MSS. IV. 271.]

At the request of the reverend and very learned Dome Johannes Megapolensis, minister in the Colonie Renselaerswyc, and in consequence of the promise heretofore given by our predecessor[1] unto Jan Francisco, the younger, a Negro and of his long and faithful service, he is set and made free, on condition that he pay to the Company during his life 10 skepels of wheat, or its value, yearly, in return for his freedom.


  1. Wouter van Twiller