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Ordinance of the Colony of Rensselaerswyck Regulating Trade, August 12, 1641

Ordinance of the colony of Rensselaerswyck regulating trade

Ordinance of the colony of Rensselaerswyck regulating trade

New York State Library, NYSL_sc7079-b16-f01b
 
Document Description
Ordinance of the Colony of Rensselaerswyck regulating trade, August 12, 1641.
 
Translation
Ordinance of the colony of Rensselaerswyck regulating trade'*
August 12, 1641
We, Adriaen Vander donck, chief officer, with the commissioners and councilors of the colony of Rensselaerswyck, to all who shall see these or hear them read, greeting. As we see and notice daily the great strife, uproar, quarreling, yes what is more, mutual discord, all of which are causes that generally bring about the ruin of a well ordered community, springing solely from the trade which our inhabitants carry on with the foreign residents — that is such persons as have no fixed residence there and only go thither to practice usury, provoke quarrels and discord and incite the inhabitants to private trading of furs which causes them to neglect their own proper duties — and in order to stop all this and prevent it by proper means, we have seen fit to order, enjoin and command, as we do by these, all the inhabitants of the colony on whatever basis or under whatever contract they may live here, that they shall not undertake to buy from or exchange with the residents any goods, or in any manner let them have any beavers, otters or other furs, directly or indirectly, upon fine and forfeiture for the first offense of three times the value of the goods first bought, exchanged or delivered, and 100 rix-dollars additional, if any one should act contrary to this ordinance. But, if any shallops or vessels of the Company or any one else come up the river and the inhabitants want to buy anything of which they are in great need, they shall ask permission of the officer, who will act according to circumstances.
Secondly, no one, whatever his rank may be, shall be allowed on forfeiture as above, to send any beavers, otters or other furs down the river or cause them to be sent down, without handing in a true inventory of them or giving notice of their number, before they are shipped. Herein we dispose as above.
Thirdly, no vessels except those of the Company shall be allowed to sail down the river without inspection and they shall also give notice of everything they carry out of the colony. Everything on forfeiture as above. Done and concluded in council this 12th of August 1641.. By order of the officer and council of the colony of Rensselaerswyck.
Underneath was written:
To my knowledge
Arendt. Van Corler
 
 
Questions
Why was this document created?
When was this document written?
What rules are established in this document?
What are the consequences for breaking the rules?
 

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
How did the residents of Rensselaerswyck attempt to satisfy their basic economic needs?
 
 
Check for Understanding
Explain how this ordinance affected the colonists.