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Ordinance of the Patroon Concerning the Sale and Export of Furs, Grain, Etc., August 3, 1639

Ordinance of the patroon concerning the sale and export of furs, grain, etc.

Ordinance of the patroon concerning the sale and export of furs, grain, etc.

New York State Library, NYSL_sc7079-b16-f01a
 
Document Description
Ordinance of the patroon concerning the sale and export of furs, grains, etc., August 3, 1639.
 
Translation
Ordinance of the patroon concerning the sale and export of furs, grain, etc.
August 3, 1639
Ordinance
Part 1 
  Whereas it is just and fair to prevent and check as much as possible all frauds and abuses, and whereas many of them originate in the shipment of divers furs and other goods out of the colony of Rensselaerswyck by the inhabitants or residents thereof, without entering them properly or in any way giving notice thereof, whereby the Chartered West India Company may very easily be deprived and cheated of its dues and their patroon of his profits.
 
Part 2
Therefore, the aforesaid lord patroon, in order to prevent such evil, as well as for other reasons, has seen fit hereby earnestly to admonish and strictly to enjoin all subjects and inhabitants of the said colony that no one of them, whoever he may be, may send out of the aforesaid colony, by himself or by the servants of the aforesaid Company or by any one else, either directly or indirectly, any furs, tobacco or other goods, whether by water or by land, up or down, to the manhatans or to the fatherland or wherever else it may be, without having legally and properly entered and given notice of the same in writing, both to the secretary and to the representative of the patroon, to each separately (and this before any one has loaded or shipped any of the goods in the ships, sloops, canoes or other vessels), with declaration as to the patroon's share therein, everything on pain of forfeiture of the said goods by the sender to the patroon, who shall have the disposal of them, which aforesaid secretary and representative must each for himself keep accurate accounts thereof and furnish the senders with proper certificates.
 
Part 3
And in order that no one may be exempt there from, the aforesaid secretary and representative must, each for himself, notify the supercargo of the vessel of the goods they want to send, even if the goods belong to the patroon, on forfeiture and disposal as above, and no shipments which have not been legally entered shall be sent. And in order that the aforesaid lord patroon may not be deprived of his share of the grain, tobacco and other products, no farmers, tobacco planters or the like, in his employ and under special contract, shall be allowed to alienate, sell or deliver, to whomsoever it may be, any grain, tobacco, products of the soil, animals or whatever else it may be, in which the patroon has a share, without notice to and knowledge and consent of the secretary, representative and supercargo of the vessel, each one separately, or at least two of them, with the exception of the tithes which shall be in the hands of the receiver of the tithes.
 
Part 4
And in case any one do this without knowledge and consent as above, the half share of the concealer shall be void and forfeited, whenever it shall be discovered or become known, to wit, one fourth part to the officer and the other three fourth parts to the secretary, the representative and the supercargo of the vessel, on condition that they take care, jointly and separately, before they divide, that the patroon's half be properly accounted for and turned over to him. And as the office of officer or schout is at present still vacant, the fourth part belonging to the officer shall be divided into three parts and given to the secretary, the representative and the supercargo of the vessel, which three shall provisonally and until further orders perform the duties of officer, the secretary having the precedence.
 
Part 5
And the council of the aforesaid colony is hereby ordered and authorized to declare such goods confiscated and to proceed against the violators of this ordinance as according to circumstances they shall see fit, as none of them ought to permit the aforesaid lord and patroon to be in any wise injured in his rights or share, or to connive thereat, in view of the fact that he is far away and can not be present to protect his rights.
 
Part 6
The aforesaid council shall also see to it that this present ordinance be properly proclaimed and recorded by the secretary and that this ordinance be made known to all the inhabitants, subjects or residents in the said colony (without however admitting any residents) by posting of public notices, proclamation, personal notification or otherwise, in order that no one may claim exemption on account of ignorance, and if the council be neglectful herein, they will be held responsible, since the rights of the aforesaid West India Company and the profit of their patroon are most vitally concerned in this matter. For which purpose the lord patroon has sealed this original instrument with the seal of the colony and signed it with his own hand. In Amsterdam, this third of August 1639.
 
 
Questions
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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
How did this document affect the colonists?