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FIRST APPLICATION FOR A MUNICIPAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT.

[ Holland Doc. Vol. IV. ]

To the Noble, High and Mighty Lords

the Lords States General of the United Netherlands,

our Most Illustrious Sovereigns.

Gracious Lords,—This Province of New Netherland having been reduced, in the course of time to a very sad and utterly ruinous condition, in consequence,as we presume, of firstly, An unsuitable government; secondly, Scantiness of privileges and exemptions; thirdly, Heavy burthens of imposts, exactions and such like ; fourthly, Long continued war; fifthly, The wreck of the Princess; sixthly, The multitude of Traders and fewness of Boors and farm servants; seventhly, Great scarcity in general; eightly and lastly, The insufferable arrogance of the Natives and Indians arising from the paucity of our numbers etc. and having long waited in vain, though we have petitioned and sought for aid redress and assistance from the Lords Directors, in the highest degree necessary for them and for us; We, therefore, unable to delay any longer, being reduced to the lowest ebb, have determined to fly for refuge to their High Mightinesses, our gracious Sovereigns and the Fathers of this Province, most humbly praying and beseeching them to look with merciful eyes on this their Province and that their High Mightinesses would be pleased to order and correct matters so that dangers may be removed, troubles terminated, and population and prosperity promoted, as their High Mightinesses in their renowned wisdom shall be determined, We, with humble reverence only deeming it good and necessary to petition their High Mightinesses for the following Points as of advantage for this Province:—

Firstly, We supplicate and beseech their High Mightinesses to people New Netherland so that it may support sustain and defend itself against Indians and others who might trouble and invade it; for if this should fail, that country will not only fall into the uttermost ruin, but also become easily appropriated by our Neighbors ; and those who already dwell there will be forced to use all possible means to return and save themselves from misery, or to submit to foreign Nations. All which, according to our humble understanding, is to be remedied

1st. When their High Mightinesses shall be pleased to take this Province under their own gracious safeguard, and to allow their Fatherly affection for this Land to be promulgated and made manifest, throughout the United Netherlands, by their own accorded privileges. Many would, then, be attracted towards this country, whilst, on the contrary every one is discouraged by the Company's harsh proceedings and want of means. 2nd. Were their High Mightinesses pleased to equip some ships for a few years, for the free conveyance and transportation of people principally Boors and farm servants with their poverty hither, together with some necessary maintenance until the poor people had obtained something in esse, their High Mightinesses would not only relieve many incumbered men, but also expect from God, through their intercession, luck, blessing and prosperity. 3rd. If their High Mightinesses would please to order all vessels proceeding and trading toward these northern parts of America, to call first at tne Manhattans in New Netherland, and bring with them as many persons as they can seasonably procure and conveniently carry, [vol. I.J 49

at suitably fixed rates, many proprietors would, no doubt, emigrate within a short time to New Netherlands Secondly, We humbly solicit permanent privileges and exemptions which promote population and prosperity & which in our opinion consist in

1st. Suitable Burgher Government, such as their High Mightinesses shall consider adapted to

this Province and resembling somewhat the Laudable government of our Fatherland. 2nd. Freedom from duties, tenths and imposts which at the first beginning are useless and oppressive, until the country is peopled and somewhat firmly established. 3rd. That the Returns in Tobacco shipped hence, be free from all duties, which would not only afford great encouragement to the planters who convert the forest into farms but be better also for their servants who could thus be accommodated with all sorts of necessaries. 4th. Also, permission to export, sell, & barter grain, timber work, and all other wares and merchandize the produce of the country every way and every where their High Mightinesses have allies and have granted to the Netherlanders the privilege of resort and trade. 5th. That their High Mightinesses would be pleased to accord privileges and freedoms for the encouragement of the inhabitants in favor of the fisheries, which many suppose were good and profitable heretofore, and would hereafter be of great consequence. Thirdly, We humbly beseech their High Mightinesses to be pleased to determine and so to establish and order the Boundaries ot this Province, that all causes of difference, disunion and trouble may be cut off and prevented; that their High Mightinesses subjects may live and dwell in peace and quietness, and enjoy their liberty as well in trade and commerce as in intercourse and settled limits. 2d. That their High Mightinesses would be pleased to preserve us in peace with the neighbouring Republics, Colonies and others their High Mightinesses allies, so that we may pursue without let or hindrance, under proper regulations from their High Mightinesses, the trade of our country as well along the coast from Terra Nova to Cape Florida as to the West Indies and to Europe whenever our Lord God shall be pleased to permit; and 3d. to make manifest to the incredulous their High Mightinesses earnest support of this Province, we respectfully request that their H. M. would be pleased to quarter here a company or two of soldiers, for the defence of those residing at a distance and the establishment of Mew Plantations and Colonies, until by our progress, we shall dread neither Indians or other enemies, but even shall be able to prevent their mischievous designs.

All this have we concluded with humble reverence to propose according to our limited knowledge and understanding, earnestly supplicating their High Mightinesses, for the love of New Netherland which now lies at its extremity, as is to be seen at length in our annexed Remonstrance, to be pleased to direct their attention thereto according to their wise and provident council, and to interpret most favorably this our presumption.

We pray and hope that the name of New Netherland and the conversion of the Heathen which ought to be hastened, shall move their H. M. hereunto. Expecting, therefore, a happy deliverance we commend their H. M's persons and deliberations to the protection of the Almighty, and remain their H. M's humble and obedient servants. Written in the name and on the behalf of the Commonalty of New Netherland, the Six and Twentieth of July, in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ, One Thousand, Six hundred, Nine & Forty, in New Amsterdam on the Island Manhattans in New Netherland. (Signed,)

Adriaen Van Der Donck, Oloff Stevens,

Augustin Herman, Michael Jansen,

Arnoldus Van Hardenberch, Thomas Hall,

Jacob Van Couwenhoven, Elbert Elbertzen,

Govert Loockermans, Jan Evertsen Bout,

Hendrick Hendricksen Kip.

PROVISIONAL ORDER

FOR THE GOVERNMENT, PRESERVATION AND PEOPLING OF NEW NETHERLAND. ANNO. 1650. ] ExtractJ\

* - ■ [ Holland Doc. V. ]

Art. X. The request for freedoms and exemptions shall be more fully examined, together with the considerations moved thereupon.

XVII. And within the city of New Amsterdam shall be erected a Burgher Government, consisting of a Sheriff, two Burgomasters, and five Schepens.

XVIII. In the meanwhile shall the Nine men continue for three years longer, and have Jurisdiction over Small Causes arising between Man and Man, to decide definitely such as do not exceed the sum of Fifty Guilders, and on higher, with the privilege of appeal.1

THE DIRECTORS OF THE WEST INDIA COMPANY

TO THE DIRECTOR AND COUNCIL OF NEW NETHERLAND; DATED AMSTERDAM, THE 4th APRIL 1652.

[ Dutch Records, Letter Q. 1648—1664. ]

"We have already connived as much as possible at the many Impertinences of some Restless spirits in the hope that they might be shamed at our discreetness and benevolence, but perceiving that all Kindnesses do not avail, we must, therefore, have recourse to God, to Nature and the Law. We accordingly hereby charge and command your Honors, whenever you shall certainly discover any Clandestine Meetings, Conventicles or machinations against our States' government or that of our Country, that you proceed against such malignants in proportion to their crimes, with this precaution however, that we in no wise require that any one should have it in his power to complain, with reason or cause, that he was injured through private malice, which is far from our intention.

"We remark in many Representations, though of Malversants that some hide themselves under this cloak, though we must believe and even see, that they have not, in reality, so suffered; yet to stop the mouth of all the world, we have resolved, on your Honors' proposition, to permit you hereby, to erect there a Court of Justice (een banck van Juqtitie) formed, as much as possible, after the custom of this City: to which end printed copies relative to all the Law Courts and their whole government are sent herewith. And we presume that it will be sufficient at first to choose one Sheriff,2 two Burgomasters and five Schepens, from all of whose judgments an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Council, where definite judgment shall be decreed.

"In the Election of the aforesaid persons every attention must be paid to honest and respectable individuals who we hope can be found among the Burghers; and especially do we wish that those promoted thereto be, as much as possible, persons of this Nation, who we suppose will give the most satisfaction to the Burghers and Inhabitants.

1 The above <e order " will be found entire in O'Callaghans Hist, of N. Netherlands Vol. 2. p. 132, but so much of it only is given here as applies to the first establishment of a Municipal form of government, in the present city of New York.

2 In a Duplicate of the above Despatch, the words <e een Schout" (a Sheriff,) are crossed over with ink, tho' not of the same color as that in which the original was written. New Amsterdam did not have a City Sheriff until 1660.

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