Slavery in New Netherland

Translation from Van Laer, Council Minutes, Volume IV, 1638-1649, doc. 129, pg. 151

On the 11th of July

Whereas we hear dally, God help us, of many accidents caused for the most part by reckless quarreling, drawing of knives and fighting, and the multitude of taverns and low groggerles that are badly conducted, together with the favorable opportunities which all turbulent persons, murderers and other lawless people have for running away and consequently of excaping from condign punishment, against which we should like to provide so as to prevent as much as possible all harm;

Therefore, we hereby ordain, decree and enact, agreeably to the ordinance made last year in Holland by the High and Mighty Lords the States General, that no one shall presume to draw a knife, much less to wound any person, under penalty of fl. 50, to be paid immediately, or, in default thereof, of working for three months with the Negroes in a chain gang; [said penalty to be inflicted] without respect of persons. Let everyone guard himself against damage and take heed. Thus done in council and published on the day above written.

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For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

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