Laws and ordinances of New Netherland, 1638-1674/1639


Of the Director and Council of New Netherland, prohibiting the sale
of Firearms, etc., to Indians, and requiring Vessels sailing to or from
Fort Orange, the South River, or Fort Hope, to take out clearances.
Passed 31 March, 1639.

[N. Y. Colonial MSS. IV. 36.]

Whereas the Director General and Council of New Netherland have observed that many persons, both Servants of the Company and Inhabitants, have, contrary to the orders and commands of their High Mightinesses the Lords States General and the Incorporated West India Company, presumed to sell to the Indians in these parts, Guns, Powder and Lead, which hath already caused much mischief, and if no means be adopted by Us here to prevent the same, would hereafter entail nothing else than greater evil; Therefore every Inhabitant of New Netherland, be his state, quality or condition what it may, is most expressly forbidden to sell any Guns, Powder or Lead to the Indians, on pain of being punished by Death, and if any one shall inform against any person who shall violate this Law, he shall receive a reward of Fifty guilders.

Furthermore, all persons are hereby notified that no one shall undertake to sail with Boats or other Vessels to Fort Orange, the South River, or Fort Hope, without a permit from the Honble Director, and on coming thence, bringing with him a clearance from the Commissary residing at the aforesaid place on the part of the Company; And in case it be found that any one has been at the places abovenamed without the aforesaid order, such Vessel and the Wares laden therein shall be confiscated to the use of the Company, and the person shall, in addition, be mulcted in such sum as, according to the merits of the case, shall be deemed proper.

And all our dear and faithful Commissaries who have authority at the places where these presents are sent, are ordered and commanded the same to affix at the usual place, so that their contents may be known to every one and each be on his guard against damage.

Thus done and published in Fort Amsterdam this 31st of March, Anno 1639.


Of the Director and Council for the regulation of the Work-
men in the Public Service. Passed 11 August, 1639.

[N. Y. Colonial MSS. IV. 46.]

Whereas the Honble Director and Council daily observe that many of the Mechanics and Laborers in the Company's service do not perform their bounden duty by working, but spend much time unprofitably; yea, frequently lose whole days, all which tends to the great injury and damage of the Company.

Every one whom these may concern is hereby notified to repair to his work when the Bell rings, and there to perform his duty until the Bell rings again to break off, on pain of paying double the loss, for the benefit of the Fiscal and whomsoever it shall behoove.

Therefore, have We ordained and do hereby appoint Gillis de Voocht to be Commissary of the Workmen, and daily to superintend them and continually to go around, and to note those who are in default and report their names to Us.

Done in Fort Amsterdam this 11th of August, Anno 1639.


Of the Director and Council of New Netherland, fixing the price of
Duffels. Passed 22 September, 1639.

[N. Y. Colonial MSS. IV. 50.]

The Director and Council hereby give notice to all the Inhabitants within our Limits that they are forbidden to take less than 12 skepels of Maize from the Indians for a coat of Duffels, until a fixed price for the Heathens shall be established by the Director. All persons shall regulate themselves accordingly. Whosoever will be found acting contrary hereunto shall pay a fine of 100 florins and forfeit during his life the privilege of trade. Let every one guard against damage.