Search billions of records on

New Netherland and Beyond
New Netherland
Delaware River
Colonial New York
New York State

Historical Documents, 1624-1626

Document E
Special Instructions for Cryn Fredericksz Regarding the laying out of the fort
April 22, 1625

Special instructions for the Engineer and Surveyor, Cryn Fredericxsz,1 and for the Commissary2 and Councilors, according to which they are to regulate themselves in regard to the fortification and the building of houses when the Council, pursuant to our instructions, shall have found a suitable place in which to establish a settlement with all the cattle.

In the first place, Cryn Fredericxsz, the surveyor, [shall] stake out the outer ditch3 and breastworks of the following dimensions, in the manner indicated on the plan, so as to enclose a quadrangle, lying open on the water side.

The outer ditch shall be 24 feet wide and be dug 4 feet deep below the level of the ground. The ditch, according to plan A, shall have but one exit, to wit, in the middle of side A, 10 feet wide, where a bridge shall be made, leading to the fields, and having a gate which shall be closed at night and be guarded during the day by a watchman, who shall take note of what goes in and out.

The outer ditch shall have but three sides, since the [settlement] on side D is to be open to the water.

Side A shall be 2000 feet in length along the ditch, outside measure, and shall have the gate and bridge in its center. Sides B and C shall each be about 1600 feet in length along the ditch, with the obtuse angles to the water, unless the course of the river shall require one side to be somewhat longer and the other somewhat shorter. The fort, however, must be so placed that its fire can sweep both sides of the river; therefore, it must lie not far from the water.

The outside of the surrounding ditch having been staked out as above, 200 feet shall be staked off from the inside along all three sides, A, B, C, for the purpose of locating therein the dwellings of the farmers and their gardens, and what is left shall remain vacant for the erection of more houses in the future.

This having been staked off, the surveyor shall stake out the fort according to plan C, the circular circumference 4 of which is to be 3150 feet and the diameter 1000 feet to the farthest point of the moat; but as the ramparts will have to be somewhat broader than they were first projected, it were well to make the diameter 1050 feet to the extreme point of the moat, in which case the circumference4 will also be greater than 3150 feet.

The shortest distance between the circle of the fort and sides A, B, and C, according to plan A, will be 300 feet if the diameter be taken at 1000 feet; but if it be taken at 1050 feet, the shortest distance from the circle to the sides will be 7 feet, and to the water at most 100 feet, or a little more or less, as the situation may require.

While the surveyor is staking out the aforesaid place, the farmers shall take good care of the cattle, and the smith, Jacob Lourensz,5 with his helper, shall commence to make the most necessary ironwork. The wheelwright6 shall also take in hand what is necessary, while the carpenters shall meanwhile cut and saw lumber, and first of all make an enclosure in which the cattle are to be kept at night, they to be guarded night and day by some boys.

And in order that the work may progress more speedily, the Council shall summon from all other places as many people in the employ of the Company as they can muster, making the sailors, too, do such work as they are fitted for, be it digging, felling trees, sawing lumber, or other things. And if the sailors should demand special pay for this (which, however, were unreasonable., since the crews of vessels going for salt must also wheel it on board), and refuse their services without it, then it shall be permissible for the Commissary and Council to allow them some increase, and, if even then they are not satisfied, in order that somehow they may get to work and not remain idle, to promise them that the Directors here will compensate and satisfy them as in their discretion they shall see fit. When the "Orangen Boom"7 returns hither, care shall be taken by the Council to keep there as many men as possible out of those who are best able and most willing to work, provided always that the vessel remain fit for the homeward voyage and can be properly defended.

Furthermore, the Commissary and Council shall summon free persons, such as colonists and others who are not in the service of the Company, only if they are willing to come to work as aforementioned, when they shall be given proper wages, to wit, a strong, healthy man, 8 stivers a day and his board, and women and children in proportion.

And should the Indians also be willing to work, they shall be paid half as much, in the same manner as the colonists or others, being given for their work some trading-goods, reckoned at about what they cost here in this country, and then at the rate of 2 stivers a day; for example, for a hatchet that costs 14 stivers here, a man will have to work 7 days. But herein the Commissary and Council may exercise their discretion, acting according to circumstances, with an eye to the least expense and to the best interest of the Company.

In the event of the sailors of the chartered ships being willing to work at the fortification, at building, or anything else, during their stay there, the Council shall allow them 8 or 10 stivers a day., but their rations they will have to get from their own ships.

With regard to the dwellings of the farmers, we deem it advisable that ten houses be taken in hand first, according to plan A, to wit, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, all in accordance with the specifications of model D, and that for each house, including the courtyard and garden, back to the surrounding ditch, there be allowed 200 feet, and also 200 feet frontage on the esplanade of the castle, in all 200 feet square. The first five of these houses shall be drawn for by the five head-farmers, and the remaining houses may be used by the foremen of the Commissary, the comforter of the sick,8 Cryeckenbeeck9 and Fongers.10

Concerning the Division of the Lands

The division of the lands shall, if it is in any way feasible, be carried out according to the accompanying plan B.

Between lands No. 1 and No. 2 there shall run a common thoroughfare, No. 14, 25 feet wide, exclusive of the ditches, each of which shall be 9 feet wide. This thoroughfare shall be ranging with the fifth bastion of the fort,11 so as to be protected thereby.

Between lands Nos. 3 and 4, between 5 and 6, as well as between Nos. 8 and 9 and between 10 and 11, there shall also be roads 12 feet wide, exclusive of the ditches, which shall be 6 feet wide.

Road No. 13 shall be a common road, 25 feet wide, exclusive of the ditches, each of which shall be 9 feet wide.

Roads Nos. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 shall each also be 12 feet wide and the ditches 6 feet, but these are not needed until more people come to live there and the number of farms increases.

The lands Nos. 1 and 2 shall each be 80 rods in width along the road and shall extend in length so as to contain up to 60 morgens, instead Of 50 morgens, as put down on the plan, so that they will be 450 rods in length.

Lands 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 shall be 55 rods in breadth along the road and extend in length as far as road No. 15, being 450 rods.

The lands lying between road No. 13 and the water might, it seems to us, best be used for vineyards and gardens, unless the lands between roads No. 13 and No. 15 have not such good pasture as the land between the water and road No. 13 has, in which case the aforesaid lands may each, by adding thereto the opposite piece of land, be made to extend to the water. But if there is no noticeable difference, that is, if the lands between the water and road No. 13 do not contain much more suitable pasture than the land between No. 13 and No. 15 affords, then we desire that as above mentioned they shall be used for gardens and vineyards and not added to the farms.

Farm No. 1 shall in time be reserved for each succeeding commander, on condition that he may employ thereon farm laborers at the expense of the Company and in return for his supervision take one tenth of the cattle and the produce, as the head-farmers do who are in the service of the Company. And Commissary Verhulst may provisionally take up said farm No. 1.

Farm No. 2 shall be reserved for each succeeding commissary on the- same conditions as above, Which farm the comforter of the sick may provisionally take up.

Farms No. 3 and No. 8 shall be reserved for each succeeding pastor and undercommissary, which two farms Crieckenbeeck and Fongers may provisionally take up.

For this purpose, Verhulst, the comforter of the sick, Crieckenbeeck, and Fongers shall select the most capable persons among the farm laborers, sailors, and colonists to clear said lands, placing on each farm a foreman and giving him capable helpers.

And after the best 20 horses and 20 cows shall have been distributed by lot to the five head-farmers12 engaged here by the Company, each receiving 4 horses and 4 cows, they13 shall be permitted to choose from among the remaining horses and cows 4 horses and 4 cows for each farm.

If any horses be left, Commissary Verhulst and the Council shall determine for for what purpose they shall be used.

The remaining cattle he shall apportion to the colonists upon reasonable terms, namely, that they are to have the use of them (for which purpose he shall give them suitable land), on condition that the first calf shall be kept by them for one year and then belong and be turned over to the Company. The second shall be for themselves, the third for the Company, the fourth for themselves, and so on successively, it being understood that when the calves belonging to the colonists shall themselves have calves, one-half of the increase shall likewise be for the Company, but that the colonists shall have the first., and the Company the second they the third, the Company the fourth, and so on successively, provided always that they are to keep them for one year as aforesaid, which conditions are advantageous to the colonists, as the cattle cost the Company a great deal in freight and will be quite valuable in the colony.

Farms Nos. 4, 5, 6, 9, and 1014 shall be apportioned by lot to the head-farmers, and each one shall use what falls to his share.

As soon as the outer ditch shall have been almost completed, Commissary Verhulst and the Council shall at once have the construction of the fort, which is to be called Amsterdam, begun in accordance with plan C, causing as many men to work on it as can in any way be spared from among the farm laborers, sailors, and colonists, the specifications of which fort are as follows:

The diameter, going straight through [the center of] the circumscribing circle to the extreme edge of the moat, shall be roughly 1050 feet, Amsterdam measure, in length, or as much more or less as it shall turn out to be, according to the following specifications.

The moat of the fort shall be 54 feet wide, and be excavated to a depth of at least 8 feet.

The ramparts, No. 1, shall be 40 feet wide at the base, without the interior slope of the parapet, and 20 feet wide at the crest, the difference Of 20 feet allowing for the exterior slope; and on the 20-foot top must be placed a parapet with a banquette, 10 feet wide at the base, 6 feet high, and 4 feet wide at the crest. The height of the crest of the rampart above the field, exclusive of the height of the parapet, shall be 20 feet.

Along three sides of the ramparts there shall run a road or street, 20 feet wide, numbered No. 2.

No. 3 are two gates, one of which we have planned to be on the water side and the other on the land side; but if only one gate be required, we leave [its location] to the discretion of the Commissary, the surveyor, and the members of the Council.

No. 4 and No. 5 is a thoroughfare extending from one gate to the other, 25 feet in width, along which there is room for 25 house lots, each 25 feet wide and 50 feet deep.

No. 6 is a market square, planned in the middle, 165 feet long and 100 feet wide.

No. 7 and No. 8 are two streets, 15 feet wide, in each of which there is room on one side for 6 lots, 25 feet wide and 30 feet deep, and on the other side for 6 lots, 25 feet wide and 35 feet deep.

No. 9 and No. 10 is a street, 15 feet wide, having on one side the rear of the lots on streets No. 7 and No. 8, and on the other side several lots, the street ending in a triangle.

No. 11 and No. 12 are two streets, 15 feet wide, along the small houses standing against the ramparts.

No. 13 is a street, 15 feet in width, on the rampart side of which there is room for 12 lots, each 25 feet wide and 35 feet deep, and on the other side likewise for 12 lots, each 25 feet wide and 35 feet deep.

Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16 are four lots, each 25 feet wide and 50 feet deep, [on] which we desire at the very first to have [buildings] erected which shall be large enough to lodge therein at first with all the people [and to store therein] all the necessary supplies and the goods which must be unloaded from the chartered ships, the "Macreeltgen" keeping its cargo on board until things have been put in some kind of order.

The buildings on these lots shall be of the same shape as model D, following, one after the other without inside work. And whereas they continue together along the market for a distance of 100 feet and shall be made 50 feet wide, being when completed like two models joined together, each of 25 feet, there shall be taken off on one side [a space] having a frontage of 25 feet on the market and a depth of 50 feet, to be used as a hospital, leaving in the middle [a space] 50 feet wide and 50 feet deep for a church. But whereas the height of the first story of the houses is to be 15 feet, which is too low for the church, no floor shall be put in, but the second story of 9 feet shall be added, giving a combined height of 24 feet, which is enough, and above this there shall be a loft. And by the time the population shall increase, in order to have more room for the church, the school and the hospital can be added to it, thus enlarging the church to a width of 100 feet on the market by a depth of 50 feet.

Thereafter, the buildings on streets No. 4 and No. 5 and on the market and thereabout shall be taken in hand, and first of all those on streets No. 4 and No. 5, to wit, all the houses adjoining one another, each 25 feet square, according to the aforesaid model D, so that the water from the roof shall fall into the street and into the back-yard, but wooden gutters may be hung under it to prevent the drip. As to the roof-covering, care shall be taken to find out what is the most serviceable material. If no thatch, straw, or anything else can be found, wooden. shingles will have to be taken at first. The second story of all the adjoining houses, 9 feet high and 25 feet square, shall throughout be reserved for the use of the Company, to store therein at first, all the provisions belonging to the Company, as well as all the trading-goods 'and furs and whatever else belongs to the Company, and after other suitable places therefor shall have been found, they shall be used as grain-lofts, which applies to all the houses in the entire fort, but the garrets above the second story shall be for the use of the respective houses. The house of the Commissary shall occupy a double lot, marked No. 17 and No. 17, each lot being 50 feet deep and 25 feet wide, but all other houses shall occupy but single lots.

N. B. From his own house the Commissary must be able to go into all the lofts on the right-hand side, as well as in all the lofts on the left-hand side, along the entire street, doors to be made from one into the other.

Lots No. 18 and No. 19, fronting on the market, shall be for the under-commissaries, like Crieckenbeeck and Fongers.

No. 20, 40 feet deep, and No. 21, 35 feet deep, each 25 feet wide, shall be for the pastor and the comforters of the sick.

No. 22, 40 feet deep, No. 23, 35 feet deep, Nos. 24 and 25 and Nos. 28 and 29, 50 feet deep, and Nos. 26 and 27, 40 feet deep, are eight lots of various depths to be occupied by the members of the Council and the most prominent persons, but all the lots in the entire fort shall be 25 feet wide on the street and no more nor less, in order to keep the proportion, except Nos. 31, which are to be 20 feet wide.

Nos. 30, 30, 30, 30 are four lots, cut off on a slant in the rear, on which convenient buildings maybe erected wherein the tools of the smiths, carpenters, coopers, wheelwrights, farmers, and others, all belonging to the Company, can be put, and which may also serve for the storage of munitions of war, arms, powder, lead, and other things.

Nos. 31 are 20 lots, 20 feet in width and extending in depth 40 feet, to the ramparts, where single persons, such as sailors and others, may be lodged. By dividing the buildings into spaces of 10 feet each and letting two persons stay in each compartment, 80 persons may be lodged there. It is a matter for consideration, however, whether the 40 feet should be shortened at once, so as to keep a passageway along the rampart, or whether the lots should be allowed to extend to the rampart.

All farmhouses outside the fort shall likewise be made of one size, according to model E and the description thereof.

The kitchens in the fort are planned to be 10 feet [deep], which we intend to apply to all lots which are 35 feet deep, but in connection with lots that are 40 or 50 feet deep, while the general construction of the houses must be the same as that of all other houses, the kitchens need riot be precisely confined to 10 feet, just as the thickness of the beams need also not be taken so exactly.

All of which we desire to have observed without any alteration, unless some evident mistakes have been committed herein, which may be duly corrected by the Commissary, the surveyor, and the Council, provided they advise us of the reasons for such change.

Thus done by the Directors of the West India Company,
at the Chamber of Amsterdam,
this 22d of April, 1625.
And was signed:
S. Goddyn and
Kiliaen Rensselaer.
* * * * *

1Cryn (Kryn, or Quiryn) Fredericksz is mentioned in the "Further Instructions" to Willem Verhulst among the persons who were to compose Verhulst's council. Judging from the date of his instructions, Cryn Fredericksz would seem to have sailed on the fast-sailing yacht "Macreel," which accompanied the Hulft expedition, and which left the Texel on April 25, 1625, but as this yacht, according to Wassenaer, was captured by the enemy and taken to Dunkirk on the 27th, Cryn Fredericksz must, perhaps after having been ransomed, have continued his voyage on another ship. (See note 2 to Document D.) Wassenaer, under date of November 1626, says: "The colony is now established on the Manhates,where a fort has been staked out by Master Kryn Frederycks, an engineer. It is planned to be of large dimensions." Wassenaer adds: en comt met het schip dese maent gearriveert wederom, met monsters van allerhande ghewas aldaer (and returns with the ship arrived this, month, with samples of all sorts of produce growing there). This statement is borne out by de Rasiere's letter printed in this volume, which shows that Cryn Fredericksz returned to Holland on the "Wapen van Amsterdam," which left New Netherland on September 23, 1626, and arrived at Amsterdam on November 4 of the same year. (Cf. Narratives of New Netherland, p. 83, where the Dutch clause quoted above is incorrectly translated: "The ship which has returned home this month [November] brings samples of all sorts of produce growing there.") Cryn Fredericksz, at best, therefore, spent only about one year in New Netherland. Nothing seems to be known about this military engineer. He undoubtedly selected the site and laid out the plan of Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, but not in accordance with the instructions given him, which seem to call for a fort with five bastions, as shown on the Hartgers view, whereas the fort actually built had but four bastions. (See J. F. Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, p. 8 8; J. H. Innes, New Amsterdam and Its People, pp. 2-3, 5; I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, I:12-13, 124, 133-35; 4:67-68, and reproductions of the Hartgers view in the-last two works.)

2Meaning Willem Verhulst.

3Ringhsloot (literally, encircling or surrounding ditch).

4Ronde circumferentie, meaning the circumference of the circumscribing circle going through the angles of the polygon of the fort. 5Jacob Lourensz Bool. (See Document F.)

6The name of the wheelwright is not given.

7The ship "Orangenboom" was to remain in New Netherland until the end of August. It probably returned to Holland in November 1625. (See Document D; J. F. Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, p. 8 2; and note 10 to Document C.)

8Bastiaen Jansen Krol. (See note 2 to Document C.)

9Daniel van Crieckenbeeck. (See note 18 to Document C.)

10Gerrit Fongersz. (See note 1 to Document D.)

11het vyffde punt vant bolwerck -- literally, "the fifth point of the bulwark," which in this case must evidently be understood to mean "the fifth bastion of the fort." Wassenaer, under date of October 1628, speaking of Peter Minuit, says: "He went thither from Holland on January 9, Anno 1626, and took up his residence in the midst of a nation called Manates, building a fort there, to be called Amsterdam, having four bastions and faced outside entirely with stone, as the ramparts crumbled away like sand, and now are to be more substantial." (J. F. Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, p. 88.) The fact that the instructions refer to a fifth point, and that the Hartgers view of "'t Fort nieuw Amsterdam op de Manhatans" shows a fort with five bastions, confirms the statements made in 1. N. Phelps Stokes's The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1:133-34, that "perhaps the most tenable theory is that it [the Hartgers view] was intended mainly to show the Fort as originally projected, or, as is even more likely, to depict a proposed but never executed design, abandoned prior to the reconstruction of the Fort in stone with four bastions," and that "It is quite possible, and even probable, that the view from which the plate was made was drawn for Minuit by Kryn Fredericksz, the engineer sent out in April 162S." (See, also, J. H. Innes, New Amsterdam and Its People, p. 3, where in a note on the Hartgers view he says: "There is also a fifth bastion shown, upon the south side of the fort, of which no mention is made in the records or in maps. It is not at all improbable that this view was originally annexed to a plan, or report of the engineer, to the West India Company.")

12Jacob Walichsen, Jacob Lourensen, Gerrit Mattheussen de Reus, Wolfert Gerritsen van Couwenhoven, and Jan Ides. (See notes 6-10 to Document D.)

13Meaning Verhulst, Krol, van Crieckenbeeck, and Fongersz.

14These numbers do not correspond with those of the first farms laid out on Manhattan Island as shown by the Manatus map of 1639, or the numbers of the farms referred to in the "General List of the Animals in New Netherland in May 1630," reproduced in Edward Van Winkle's Manhattan 1624-1639. (See, also, 1. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, I:181-208.)

* * * * *

Documents relating to New Netherland 1624-1626, In The Henry E. Huntington Library, Translated and Edited by A.J.F. van Laer, ©1924, p 131-168, 269-270.

Copyright ©1999-2007