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The “Burgher Oath," Pledging Allegiance to the Patroon, November 28, 1651

The “Burgher Oath” [pledging allegiance to the patroon] with resolution of [commis], 28 November 1651

The “Burgher Oath” [pledging allegiance to the patroon] with resolution of [commis], 28 November 1651

New York State Library, NYSL_sc7079-b17-f14
 
Document Description
The “Burgher Oath” [pledging allegiance to the patroon] with resolution of [commis], 28 November 1651.
 
Translation
FORM OF OATH TAKEN BY THE COLONISTS OF RENSSELAERSWYCK TO THE PATROON
"I, N. N., promise and swear that I shall be true and faithful to the noble Patroon and Co-directors, or those who represent them here, and to the Hon'ble Director, Commissioners and Council, subjecting myself to the Court of the Colonie; and I promise to demean myself as a good and faithful inhabitant or Burgher, without exciting any opposition, tumult or noise; but on the contrary, as a loyal Inhabitant, to maintain and support offensively and defensively, against every one, the Right and Jurisdiction of the Colonie. And with reverence and fear of the Lord,and uplifting of both the first fingers of the right hand, I say—So Truly help me God Almighty."
This date, 15th July, 1649, hath Steven Jansen Carpenter taken the Oath of allegiance from the hands of the Honorable Director before the commissioners of the colonie. Witness, A. De Hooges, Secretary.
23d Nov., 1651. Resolved, that all Householders and Freemen of this Colonie shall appear on the 28th day of November of this year, being Tuesday, at the house of the Honorable Director, and there take the Burgerlyke oath of Allegiance.
The following persons have taken the Oath at the appointed time, according to the foregoing formulary:—
Mons'r Arendt van Curler,                                          EverardusJansz.
Mons'r Johan Baptist van Rensselaer,                         AdriaenPietersz.vanAlkmaer,
Pieter Hartgers,                                                           Thomas Jansz.
Jan Verbeeck,                                                              Jochim Weasels Backer,
Sander Leendertsz, (Glen.)                                         Jacob Luyersz.
GysbertCornelisz. vanWeesp,                                     Thomas Sandersz Smith,
Willem Fredericksz.                                                    Evert Pels,
Jan Michelz.                                                                -------- Hendricksz. Verbeeck,
RutgerJacobszen,                                                        [One name defaced here,}
GoosenGerritsz.                                                          -------- Van Es,
AndriesHerbertsz.                                                       HendrickWestercamp,
CornelisCornelisz. Vos,                                              Thomas Keuningh,
Jan van Hoesem,                                                         CornelisSegersz.
Jan Thomasz. Cornelia                                                Cornelisz.vanVoorbout,
Pieter Bronck,                                                             Jan Ryersz.
Jacob Jansz. vanNostrandt,                                         Jan Helms,
HarmenBastiaensz.                                                     AertJacobsz.
TeunisCornelisz.                                                          GuysbertCornelisz. aende Berg,
Jacob Adriaensz. Raedmacker,                                   Evert Jansen Kleermaker,
TeunisJacobsz.                                                            Dirck Jansen Croon,
RutgerAdriaensz.                                                        Jacob Simonsz. Klomp,
Casper Jacobsz.                                                           Volcker Jansz.
Abraham Pietersz. Vosburg,                                                   [21st May, 1652. Renss.MSS.]
 
 
Questions
What was the purpose this document?
Why would someone take this oath?
 

Historical Context
The West India Company brought the first settlers to New Netherland to gather beaver pelts to sell back in the Netherlands but they had a hard time finding enough people to settle the colony. In an effort to attract more people, the company decided to give private entrepreneurs pieces of land in New Netherland if the entrepreneurs (patroons) promised to ship fifty colonists to it within four years. So, in 1631, a Dutch diamond merchant named Killiaen van Rensselaer bought a large tract of land around Fort Orange from the Mahicans who had long lived there. He established a "patroonship," or private farming community, which he named Rensselaerswijck. Many patroons bought land, but Kiliaen Van Rensselaer was the only one who was able to build a successful colony. His patroonship, Rensselaerswyck, lasted into the nineteenth century, passing down through generations of the Van Rensselaer family.
 
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer never visited America, but he worked hard to make his patroonship a success. Rensselaerswyck grew quickly, with a steady stream of farmers and tradesmen coming from Europe. Farming was the main activity in the patroonship. The products of farming were used to support the growing patroonship, but also the settlers in colonies nearby. Van Rensselaer had thought that the nearby West India Company settlement of Fort Orange, in the area of present day Albany, and his own colony of Rensselaerswyck would be mutually supporting: the fort would provide protection, and the patroonship would supply the fort with goods. Van Rensselaer hoped to make a profit by selling goods to the settlers in the fort. But the two settlements were so close to each other that they competed for profits, leading to a tense relationship between the patroon and the West India Company that controlled the fort.
 
 
Essential Question
What problems existed with this system of authority and how did the leaders attempt to solve these problems?
 
 
Check for Understanding
Explain what was required by those who took the Burgher Oath.