Grant of Exclusive Trade to New Netherland by the States-General of the United Netherlands

October 11, 1614

The States-General of the United Netherlands, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting.

Whereas Gerrit Jacobz Witssen, ancient Burgomaster of the city Amsterdam, Jonas Witssen, Simon Morrissen, owners of the ship named the Little Fox, whereof Jan de With has been skipper; Jans Hongers, Paulus Pelgrom, Lambrecht van Tweenhuyzen, owners of the two ships named the Tiger and the Fortune, whereof Aedriaen Block and Henrick Corstiaenssen were skippers; Arnolt van Lybergen, Wessel Schenck, Hans Claessen, and Berent Sweertssen, owners of the ship named the Nightingale, whereof Thys Volckertssen was skipper, merchants of the aforesaid city Amsterdam, and Pieter Clementssen Bronwer, Jan Clementssen Kies, and Cornelis Volckertssen, merchants of the city of Hoorn, owners of the ship named the Fortuyn, whereof Cornelis Jacobssen May was skipper, all now associated in one company, have respectfully represented to us that they, the petitioners, after great expenses and damages by loss of ships and other dangers, had, during the present year, discovered and found with the above named five ships certain new lands situate in America between New France and Virginia, the sea coast whereof lie between forty and forty-five degrees of latitude, and now called New Netherland. And whereas we did, in the month of March last, for the promotion and increase of commerce, cause to be published a certain general consent and charter setting forth that whosoever should thereafter discover new havens, lands, places, or passages might frequent or cause to be frequented, for four voyages, such newly discovered and found places, passages, havens, or lands to the exclusion of all others from visiting or frequenting the same from the United Netherlands until the said first discoverers and finders shall themselves have completed the said four voyages or cause the same to be done within the time prescribed for that purpose, under the penalties expressed in the said octroy, etc.; they request that we would accord to them due act of the aforesaid octroy in the usual form.

Which, being considered, we, therefore, in our Assembly, having heard the pertinent report of the petitioners relative to the discoveries and finding of the said new countries between the above named limits and degrees and also of their adventures, have consented and granted, and by these presents do consent and grant, to the said petitioners now united into one company that they shall be privileged exclusively to frequent or cause to be visited the above newly discovered lands, situate in America between New France and Virginia, whereof the sea coasts lie between the fortieth and forty-fifth degrees of latitude, now named New Netherland, as can be seen by a figurative map hereunto annexed, and that for four voyages within the term of three years, commencing the first of January, sixteen hundred and fifteen next ensuing, or sooner, without it being permitted to any other person from the United Netherlands, to sail to, navigate, or frequent the said newly discovered lands, havens, or places, either directly or indirectly within the said three years, on pain of confiscation of the vessel and cargo wherewith infraction hereof shall be attempted, and a fine of fifty thousand Netherland ducats for the benefit of said discoverers or finders; provided, nevertheless, that by these presents we do not intend to prejudice or diminish any of our former grants or charters. And it is also our intention that if any disputes or differences arise from these our concessions, they shall be decided by ourselves.

We, therefore, expressly command all governors, justices, officers, magistrates, and inhabitants of the aforesaid united countries that they allow the said company peaceably and quietly to enjoy the whole benefit of this our grant and consent, ceasing all contradictions and obstacles to the contrary. For such we have found to appertain to the public service. Given under our seal, paraple, and signature of our Secretary at the Hague the 11th of October, 1614.

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