On August 27, 1664, four English warships arrived in New Amsterdam to claim the colony under the orders of James, Duke of York. New Amsterdam had limited defenses, ammunition and manpower, so Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant was forced to surrender without a shot in September. However, the Articles of Capitulation that Stuyvesant signed at his Bouwerij (Bowery) home granted extraordinary rights to the Dutch settlers, including freedom of worship (see Article VIII below).
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Articles of Capitulation on the Reduction of New Netherland
[General Entries, I., 1664-1665, p.23, In Secretary of State’s Office, Albany, N.Y.]
These Articles following were consented to by the persons hereunder subscribed at the Governor’s Bowry, August 27th Old Style, 1664.
We consent that the States-General or West India Company shall freely enjoy all farms and houses (except such as are in the forts), and that within six months they shall have free liberty to transport all such arms and ammunition as now do belong to them, or else they shall be paid for them.
All public houses shall continue for the uses which they are now for.
All people shall still continue free denizens and enjoy their lands, houses, goods, shipps, wheresoever they are within this country, and dispose of them as they please.
If any inhabitant have a mind to remove himself he shall have a year and six weeks from this day to remove himself, wife, children, servants, goods, and to dispose of his lands here.
If any officer of State, or Public Minister of State, have a mind to go for England, they shall be transported, freight free, in his Majesty’s frigates, when these frigates shall return thither.
It is consented to, that any people may freely come from the Netherlands and plant in this country, and that Dutch vessels may freely come hither, and any of the Dutch may freely return home, or send any sort of merchandise home in vessels of their own country.
All ships from the Netherlands, or any other place, and goods therein, shall be received here and sent hence after the manner which formerly they were before our coming hither for six months next ensuing.
The Dutch here shall enjoy the liberty of their consciences in Divine Worship and church discipline.
No Dutchman here, or Dutch ship here, shall, upon any occasion, be prest to serve in war, against any nation whatever.
That the townsmen of the Manhatoes shall not have any soldier quartered upon them without being satisfied and paid for them by their officers, and that at this present, if the fort be not capable of lodging all the soldiers, then the Burgomaster, by his officers, shall appoint some houses capable to receive them.
The Dutch here shall enjoy their own customs concerning their inheritances.
All publique writings and records which concern the inheritances of any people, or the reglement of the church, or poor, or orphans, shall be carefully kept by those in whose hands they are, and such writings as particularly concern the States-General, may, at any time, be sent to them.
No judgment that hath passed any judicature here shall be called in question, but if any conceive that he hath not had justice done him, if he apply himself to the States-General the other party shall be bound to answer for ye supposed injury.
If any Dutch living here shall, at any time, desire to travel or traffic into England, or any place or plantation in obedience to his Majesty of England, or with the Indians, he shall have (upon his request to the Governor) a certificate that he is a free denizen of this place, and liberty to do so.
If it do appear that there is a public engagement of debt by the town of the Manhatoes, and a way agreed on for the satisfying of that engagement, it is agreed that the same way proposed shall go on, and that the engagement shall be satisfied.
All inferior civil officers and magistrates shall continue as now they are (if they please), till the customary time of new election, and then new ones to be chosen, by themselves, provided that such new chosen magistrates shall take the oath of allegiance to his Majesty of England before they enter upon their office.
All differences of contracts and bargains made before this day by any in this country, shall be determined according to the manner of the Dutch.
If it does appear that the West India Company of Amsterdam do really owe any sums of money to any persons here, it is agreed that recognition and other duties payable by ships going for the Netherlands be continued for six months longer.
The officers, military and soldiers, shall march out, with their arms, drums beating and colors flying, and lighted matches, and if any of them will plant they shall have 50 acres of land set out for them, if any of them will serve any as servants, they shall continue with all safety, and become free denizens afterwards.
If at any time hereafter the King of Great Britain and the States of the Netherland, do agree that this place and country be re-delivered into the hands of the said States whensoever his Majesty will send his commands to re-deliver it, it shall immediately be done.
That the town of Manhatans shall choose Deputies, and those Deputies shall have free voices in all public affairs, as much as any other Deputies.
Those who have any propriety in any houses in the fort of Orange, shall (if they please) slight the fortifications there, and then enjoy all their houses, as all people do where there is no fort.
If there be any soldiers that will go into Holland, and if the Company of West India, in Amsterdam, or any private persons here will transport them into Holland, then they shall have a safe passport from Colonel Richard Nicolls, Deputy Governor under his Royal Highness and the other Commissioners, to defend the ships that shall transport such soldiers, and all the goods in them from any surprisal or acts of hostility to be done by any of his Majesty’s ships or subjects.
That the copies or the King’s grant to his Royal Highness and the copy of his Royal Highness’ commission to Col Richard Nicolls, testified by two Commissioners more, and Mr. Winthrop to be true copies, shall be delivered to the Honorable Mr. Stuyvesant, the present Governor, on Monday next by eight of the clock in the morning, at the Old mill.
On these articles being consented to and signed by Col. Richard Nicolls, Deputy Governor to his Royal Highness, within two hours after, the fort and town called New Amsterdam, upon the Isle of Manhatoes, shall be delivered into the hands of the said Col Richard Nicolls by the service of such as shall be by him deputed by his hand and seal.
John De Decker, Robert Carr,
Nich: Verleet, Geo: Cartwright,
Sam: Megapolensis, John Winthrop,
Cornelius Steenwick, Sam: Willys,
Oloffe Stevensen Kortlant, Thomas Clarke,
Jaams Cousseau, John Pincheon.