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Declaration of Nicolaes Coorn Respecting a Disturbance at the City Tavern, March 17, 1644

Declaration of Nicolaes Coorn and others respecting a disturbance made at the city tavern by Captain John Underhill and other Englishmen
New York State Archives, NYSA_A0270-78_V2_101b
Document Description
Declaration of Nicolaes Coorn and others about a disturbance at the city tavern by Captain John Underhill and other Englishmen, March 17, 1644.
Declaration of Nicolaes Coorn end others respecting a disturbance made at the city tavern by Captain John Underhill and other Englishmen
Volume 2
[101b] Before me, Cornelis van Tienhoven, secretary of New Netherland, appeared Nicolaes Coorn, 38 years of age, Hans Kirstede, about 32 years of age, Jan Jacobsz, about 30 years of age, and Gysbert op Dyck, 37 years of age, who on the requisition of Cornelis van der Hoykens, fiscal, jointly attest, testify and declare, in place and with promise of a solemn oath if need be and required, that they, the deponents, on the evening of the 15th instant, were invited with their wives to the public tavern of Philip Gerritssen, innkeeper, where about an hour after supper there came in Jan Onderhil with his lieutenant, Bacxter, and the drummer, to whom the above mentioned Philip Gerritssen said:  "Friends, I have invited these persons here with their wives; I therefore request that you will betake yourselves to another room where you can be furnished with wine for money."  They finally did so after many words.  Having been gone a short time, said Jan Onderhil and his company, who had then been joined by Tomas Willet, invited some of our, the deponents’, company, to have a drink with them, which was done.  Gorge Bacxter, by Onderhil's orders, came and requested that op Dyck would please to come and join them, which he refused.  Whereupon he, Onderhil, and his companions with drawn swords knocked to pieces all but three of the mugs which hung from the shelf in the tavern, as may be seen by the marks which remain in the shelf and by the cuts and hackings in the posts and doors; furthermore endeavoring by force, having drawn swords in their hands, to come into the room where the invited guests were.  This was for a long time resisted by the landlady with a leaded bludgeon and by the landlord by keeping the door shut, but finally Jan Onderhil and his aforesaid companions, in spite of all opposition, came into the room, where he made many unnecessary remarks, Captain Onderhil having his sword in his right hand and the scabbard in the left, the blade about a foot out of the scabbard, which said Jan Onderhil, holding his sword as described, said to the minister:  "Clear out of here, or I shall strike at random."[1]  Presently, some English soldiers came likewise, to assist him, we suppose, whereupon the above mentioned Onderhil and his companions became guilty of gross insolence, so that the fiscal and the guard were sent for and, these having arrived, the English and the above mentioned Onderhil were ordered to depart.  They refused to do this, saying to the minister:  "If the director comes here, 'tis well; I would rather speak to a wise man than to a fool."[2]  And in order to prevent further and more serious mischief, yes, even bloodshed, we broke up our pleasant party before we had intended.  All of which we declare to be true.  Done this 17th of March anno 1644, in Fort Amsterdam.
This Is the X mark of Jan Jacobsz
Niclaes Koren
Gysbert op Dyck
Hans Kierstedt

[1] At this point the words:  "Thomas Willet also asked the minister, Do you want to take Op Dyck’s part?, then come outside," are crossed out.

[2]In the margin is written:  The witnesses say that they did not hear this.
What is the purpose of this document?
List three important pieces of evidence from this document.
Summarize the main idea of this document in two or three sentences.

Historical Context
The taverns were a center of social life in both the Netherlands and New Netherland. The Dutch colonial tavern was an important place for people to find entertainment and conduct business. People drank, smoked, gambled, and completed business transactions within the tavern walls. Colonists also ordered their drinking and medicinal wine from the tavern keeper. Drinking was a key component of business transactions in Dutch life. A business agreement would not be considered complete without the two parties having a drink to make the deal official.
Individuals from all social classes frequented the tavern. For example, the tavern keepers of New Netherland not only did business with the colonists but also with the local Indians. The government of the colony regulated the taverns and the amounts of alcohol that could be sold to local Indians. The government also tried to limit the amount of gambling that took place at the tavern.     
Essential Question
How were taverns both a positive and negative influence on the colony?
Check for Understanding
Explain the importance of taverns in the Dutch colony.