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Ordinance Prohibiting the Colonists from Trading with the Indians, October 18, 1642

Ordinance Prohibiting the Colonists from Trading with the Indians

Ordinance Prohibiting the Colonists from Trading with the Indians

New York State Library, NYSL_sc7079-b16-f01c
 
Document Description
Ordinance prohibiting the colonists from trading with the Indians, October 18, 1642.
 
Translation
Whereas the Director General and Council of New Netherland have observed that many persons, both Servants of the Company and Inhabitants, have, contrary to the orders and commands of their High Mightinesses the Lords States General and the Incorporated West India Company, presumed to sell to the Indians in these parts, Guns, Powder and Lead, which hath already caused much mischief, and if no means be adopted by Us here to prevent the same, would hereafter entail nothing else than greater evil; Therefore every Inhabitant of New Netherland, be his state, quality or condition what it may, is most expressly forbidden to sell any Guns, Powder or Lead to the Indians, on pain of being punished by Death, and if any one shall inform against any person who shall violate this Law, he shall receive a reward of Fifty guilders.
Furthermore, all persons are hereby notified that no one shall undertake to sail with Boats or other Vessels to Fort Orange, the South River, or Fort Hope, without a permit from the Honble Director, and on coming thence, bringing with him a clearance from the Commissary residing at the aforesaid place on the part of the Company; And in case it be found that any one has been at the places abovenamed without the aforesaid order, such Vessel and the Wares laden therein shall be confiscated to the use of the Company, and the person shall, in addition, be mulcted in such sum as, according to the merits of the case, shall be deemed proper.
And all our dear and faithful Commissaries who have authority at the places where these presents are sent, are ordered and commanded the same to affix at the usual place, so that their contents may be known to every one and each be on his guard against damage.
Thus done and published in Fort Amsterdam this 31st of March, Anno 1639.
 
Questions
What is the purpose of this document?
When was this document written?
What problems do you think might arise from these 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 these rules affected the colonists and the Indians.