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INSTRUCTION FOR THE SHERIFF OF NEW AMSTERDAM
[ Duteh Records; Letter V. 1652—1663. ]
1. In the first place, the Sheriff shall, as the Director General and Council's guardian of the law in the district of the city of New Amsterdam, preserve, protect and maintain to the best of his knowledge and ability, the preeminences and immunities of the privileged West India Company, in as far as these have been delegated by previous Instruction to the Board of Burgomasters and Schepens; without any dissimulation, or regard for any private favor or displeasure.
2. In the quality aforesaid, he shall convoke the meetings of Burgomasters and Schepens and preside thereat, also propose all matters which shall be brought there for deliberation, collect the Votes, and resolve according to the plurality thereof.
3. He shall, ex officio, prosecute all contraveners, defrauders and transgressors, of any Placards, Laws, Statutes and Ordinances which are already made and published or shall hereafter be enacted and made public, as far as those are amenable before the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens, and with this understanding that, having entered his suit against the aforesaid Contraveners, he shall immediately rise, and await the judgment of Burgomasters and Schepens who being prepared shall also, on his motion, pronounce the same.
4. And in order that he may well and regularly institute his complaint, the Sheriff, before entering his action or arresting any person, shall pertinently inform himself of the crime of which he shall accuse him, without his being empowered to arrest any one, on the aforesaid information, unless the offence be committed in his presence.
5. He shall take all his information in the presence of two members of the Board of Burgomasters and Schepens if the case shall permit it, or otherwise in the presence of two discreet persons who, with the Secretary or his deputy shall sign the aforesaid informations.
6. Which aforesaid Secretary with the Court Messenger are expressly commanded to assist and be serving unto the Sheriff in whatever relates to their respective offices.
7. He shall take care in collecting and preparing informations to act impartially, and to bring the truth as clear and naked as possible to light, noting to that end, all circumstances which in any way deserve consideration, and appertain to the case.
8. Item. The aforesaid Sheriff, on learning or being informed that any persons have injured each other or quarrelled, shall have power to command the said individuals, either personally or by the court messenger, or his deputy to observe the peace, and to forbid them committing any assault, on pain of arbitrary correction at the discretion of the Burgomasters and Schepens.
9. He shall not have power to compound with any person for their committed offences except with the knowledge of the Burgomasters and Schepens.
10. He shall take care that all Judgments pronounced by the Burgomasters and Schepens, and which are not appealed from, shall be executed conformably to the above mentioned Instruction given to the same, according to the stile and custom of Fatherland and especially the city of Amsterdam.
11. In like manner, that authentic copies of all the Judgments Orders, A.ctes and Resolutions to be adopted by the aforesaid Burgomasters and Schepens shall be communicated once every year, to the Director General and Council of New Netherland.
12. And in case he receive any information or statement of any offences which from their nature, or on account of the offending person are not subject to his complaint, he shall be bound forthwith to communicate the same to the Fiscal (Attorney Genl ) without taking any information himself, much less arresting the offender, unless in actual aggression to prevent greater mischief, or hinder flight in consequence of the enormity of the crime.
13. Which being done, he shall, as before, surrender without any delay the apprehended person with the information taken to the Fiscal, to be proceeded against by him in due form as circumstances demand.
14. In order that the aforesaid Sheriff shall be the more encouraged hereunto, he shall enjoy &c. This must be fixed in the country yonder, with advice.
15. Should the Sheriff violate any of these Articles he shall be prosecuted on the complaint of the Fiscal before the Director and Council, to be punished according to the nature of the case.
NICOLLS' CHARTER. 1665.
[ Book of General Entries 1. ]
The Governors Revocation of ye fforme of Government of New Yorke undr y€ style of Burgomastr
& Schepens. By virtue of his Ma*ies Letters Pattents bearing date the 12th day of March in the .16* year oi his Maie8 Reigne, Granted to His Royall Highnesse, James Duke of Yorke wherein full and absolute power is given and granted to his Royall Highnesse or his Deputyes to Constitute, appoint, revoke and discharge all Officers both Civill & military, as also to alter & change all Names and styles iformes or Ceremonyes of Governm*: To the End that His Maties Royall Pleasure may be observed & for the more Orderly establishment of his Maties Royall authority, as near as may bee Agreeable to the Lawes and Customes of his Maties Realme of England; upon mature deliberacion & adVice, I have thought it necessary to Revoke & discharge, and by these P'sents in his Maties Name, do revoke and discharge the fibrme and Ceremony of Government of this his Maties Towne of New Yorke, under the name or names, style or styles of Scout, Burgomasters & Schepens; As also, that for the future Administracon of Justice by the Lawes established in these the Territor) es of his Royall Highnesse wherein the welfares of all the Inhabitants and the Preservacon of all their due Rights and Privileges, Graunted by the Articles of this Towne upon Surrender under his Mafcies Obedience are concluded; I do further declare, That by a particular Commission, such persons shall be authorized to put the Lawes in Execucon, in^whose abilityes prudence & good affection to his Maties Service and~ye Peace and happiness of this Governm* I have especial reason to put Confidence, which persons so constituted and appointed, shall be knowne and calPd by the Name & Style of Mayor Aldermen & Sherriffe, according to the Custome of England in other his Maties Corporacons: Given under my hand & Seale at ffort James in New Yorke, this 12th day of June 1665.
The Mayor and Aldermen's Commission.
Whereas upon mature deliberation and advice, I have found it necessary to discharge the iforme of Governm^ late in practice wihin this his Ma**68 Towne of New Yorke, under the name and style of Scout, Burgomasters and Schepens, which are not knowne or customary in any of his Malies Dominions; To the en 1 that the? course of Justice for the future may be legally, equally and impartially administered to all his Maties Subjects as well Inhabitants as Strangers; Know all Men by these Presents, That I Richard Nicolls, Deputy Govern1* to his Royall Highnesse, the Duke of York, by virtue of his Matties Letters Pattents, bearing date the 12th day of March in ye 16th yeare of his Maties Reigne, Do ordaine, constitute and declare, that the Inhabitants of New Yorke, New Harlem, wth all other his Maties Subjects Inhabitants upon this Island, commonly called & knowne by the Name of the Manhattans Island, are and shall bee for ever accounted, nominated and established as one Body Politique and Corporate under theGovernm* of a Mayor, Aldermen and Sheriffe, and I do by these P'sents constitute and appoint for one whole year, commencing from the date hereof, and ending the 12th day of June wch shall be in the yeare of our Lord 1666; Mr Thomas Willett to bee Mayor, Mr Thomas Delavall, Mr Oloffe Stuyvesant, Mr. John Brugges, Mr Cornelius Van Ruyven & Mr John Lawrence to bee Aldermen, & Mr Allard Anthony to be Sheriffe; Giving & Granting to them the said Mayor and Aldermen, or any four of them, whereof the said Mayor or his Deputy, shall bee alwayes one, and upon Equall division of voyces, to have always the casting and decisive voyce, full power and authoritye to Rule & Governe as well all the Inhabitants of this Corporacon, as any Strangers, according to the Generall Lawes of this Governm1 and such peculiar^Lawes as are, or shall be thought convenient & necessary for the good and Welfare of this his Maties Corporacon; as also to appoint such under officers, as they shall judge necessary, for the orderly execution of Justice ; and I do hereby strictly charge and command all persons to obey & execute, from time to time, all such warrants, orders & Constitutions as shall be made by the said Mayor and Aldermen as they will answer the Contrary at their utmost Perills; And for the due administracon of Justice, according to the iforme and manner prescribed in this Commission, by the Mayor, Aldermen & Sheriffe, These Presents shall bee to them, and every of them, a sufficient Warrant and discharge in that behalfe; Given under my hand and seale at fifort James in New Yorke this 12th day of June 1665.
BENCKES AND EVERTSEN'S CHARTER. 1673.
[ New Orange. Rec. ]
The Commanders and Honble Council of War in the service of their High Mightinesses the Lords States General of the United Netherlands and his Serene Highness the Lord Prince of Orange etc., Health!
Wthereas We have deemed it necessary, for the advantage and prosperity of Our City New Orange, recently restored to the Obedience of the said High and Mighty Lord States General of th^ United Netherlands and his Serene Highness the Lord Prince of Orange, to Reduce the form of Government of this City to its previous character of Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens as is practised in all the Cities of our Fatherland, to the end that Justice may be maintained and administered to all good Inhabitants without Respect or Regard to Persons; Therefore We, by virtue of our Commission, in the names and on behalf of the High and Mighty Lords States General of the United Netherlands and his Serene Highness the Lord Prince of Orange, have elected from the Nomination exhibited by those in office as Regents of this City for the term of one current year,
As Schout Anthony de Millt.
C Johannes Van Brugen,
/Lowrens Vander Spiegel,
Which abovenamed Schout Burgomasters and Schepens are hereby authorized and empowered to govern the Inhabitants of this City, both Burghers & Strangers, conformably to the Laws and Statutes of our Fatherland, and make therein such orders as they shall find advantageous^and proper to this City [Here the paper is destroyed.] And the Inhabitants of this City are well and strictly ordered and enjoined to respect & honour the above named Regents in their respective qualities, as all Loyal and Faithful Subjects are bound to do. Done ffortress Willem Hendrick, this 17*h August A° 1673
NlCOLAAS BOES A. COLVE.
A F. Van Zeill.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE UNDER SHERIFF AND SCHEPENS
OF THE SUBURBS (BUYTEN LUYDEN) BETWEEN HAERLEM AND THE FRESH WATER; DATED THE 14th
OF NOVEMBER, 1673.
Firstly. The Under Sheriff shall preside at all the meetings but when he officiates for himself as a party, or on behalf of justice, he shall on such occasions rise up and absent himself from the Bench, and in this case have neither an advisory much less a casting vote, but the oldest Schepen shall preside in his place.
2nd, The Under Sheriff and Schepens are authorized to pronounce definitive judgment, without appeal, in suits for debt between man and man &c. arising within their District to the amount of fl. 100 Seawan currency; also in minor criminal cases such as fighting, striking, scolding & such like, but in all cases exceeding said sum of fl. 100, the aggrieved person may appeal to theHonble Court here.
3dJy. Whenever any cases come before the court in which any of the Schepens are interested as parties, in such cases they shall rise up and absent themselves from the Bench as is hereinbefore directed in the first article of the Under sheriff.
4th1?. All Inhabitants within the aforesaid District shall be citable before the said Under Sheriff and Schepens who shall hold their court as often as necessary.
5thJy. The said Under Sheriff and Schepens shall be obliged strictly to observe and punctually to execute all such placards and orders as shall from time to time be directed to them from the Worshipful Court here.
6tbJy. Whereas We are informed of the great ravages the Wolf commits on the small cattle, therefore to animate and encourage the proprietors who will go out and shoot the same, We have resolved to authorize the Under Sheriff and Schepens to give public notice that whoever shall exhibit a Wolf to them which hath been shot on this Island on this side Haarlem shall be promptly paid therefor by them; For a Wolf fl. 20. and for a She Wolf fl. 30 Seawan or the value thereof which said Under Sheriff and Shepens shall by their messenger levy from those who keep any cattle, large or small, within their district, on said Island, each of whom shall, according to the number of cattle, be bound to contribute & pay thereto whatever he shall be taxed thereupon by the Under Sheriff and Schepens.
7thly. Whoever shall fail to pay his fine on the first, second and third notice in the name of the Under Sheriff and Schepens, shall be proceeded against with prompt execution by the Under Sheriff.
8tMy. Whoever shall allow execution to issue, must pay in addition five stivers on each guilder which he owes for the behoof of the Under Sheriff for the trouble of the Execution.
9thiy. Whereas His necessary that the Pound shall be properly kept, the Under Sheriff & Schepens are therefore authorized and ordered to attend that the same be maintained conjointly by those who have lands there; and further make such orders regarding the impounding of cattle as they shall find for the advantage of Agriculture, which orders each and every are required promptly to observe as if they were made by Ourselves.
lOtiiiy. said Under Sheriff and Schepens shall take good heed in the suits brought before them strict justice to administer according to the best of their knowledge, without distinction or respect of persons, or any partiality; and further, the Under Sheriff shall as much as possible prevent and check all disputes and quarrels that may arise within his District.
11 any. The Under Sheriff and Schepens shall, as often as they deem necessary, give publick Notice that any person who causes or allows trees to fall in a common wagon road shall again remove the same, branches and all, from the road, before the going down of the Sun subsequent to the falling of the tree, and make the road passable—or in default thereof and in case a fine be imposed therefor by the Under Sheriff or his order, he shall pay for each tree found across the highway, a fine of fl. 20. to be applied, one half for the Under Sheriff & the other half for the informer; and the person fined shall, notwithstanding, this be bound to remove the tree instantly from the road.
12th1?. If any one exhibit any indisposition towards the order of the Under Sheriff and Schepens, and come before the Court here, and the matter be discovered well founded, he shall pay double the imposed fine.
13th]y. The choice of all Inferior officers (the Secretary alone excepted) shall be henceforward made by the said Under Sheriff and Schepens, & they shall be confirmed in their respective Qualities after being approved by the Worship1 Court here.
14th]y. If any thing further be necessary for Agriculture, or should there be any obscurity or omission or want of clearness in these Instructions, the Under Sheriff and Schepens shall on occasion, communicate the fact to the Bench.
And finally, said Under Sheriff and Schepens shall, 14 days before the Expiration of the Year, apply to the Honble Court here to receive its order regarding the new Nomination of the Under Sheriff & Schepens. Thus done in the City Hall of this City, at the Court of the Schout, Burgomasters & Schepens.
COLVES CHARTER, 1874.
[ New Orange Rec. ]
Provisional Instructvn for the Schout) Burgomasters and Schepe?is of the City of New Orange.
1st. The Schout and Magistrates, each in his quality shall take care that the Reformed Christian Religion conformable to the Synod of Dordrecht shall be maintained, without suffering any other Sects attempting any thing contrary thereto.
2. The Schout shall be present at all Meetings and preside there, unless the Honble Heer Governour or some person appointed by him be present who then shall preside, when the Schout shall rank next below the youngest acting Burgomaster. But whensoever the Schout acts as Prosecutor on behalf of Justice or otherwise, having made his complaint, he shall then rise up and absent himself from the Bench during the deciding of the case.