Give Me Liberty! Sources of Freedom History Center
Sources of Freedom: Freedoms and Exemptions
This excerpt is from the Dutch West India Company's "Freedoms and
Exemptions," which granted large estates to patrons in what was
essentially a feudal system.
III. All such shall be acknowledged Patroons of New Netherland who shall, within the
space of four years next after they have given notice to any of the Chambers of the
Company here or to Me Commander or Council there, undertake to plant a Colonie there
of fifty souls, upwards of fifteen years old; one-fourth part within one year, and within
three years after Me sending of the first, making together four years, the remainder, to the
full number of fifty persons .
.. ; but it is to be observed that the Company reserve the
Island of the Manhattes to themselves.
IV. They shall, from the time they make known the situation of the places where they
propose to settle Colonies, have the preference to all others of the absolute property of
such lands as they have there chosen; but in case the situation should not afterwards
please them, or they should have been mistaken as to the quality of the land, they may,
after remonstrating concerning the same to the Commander and Council there, be at
liberty to choose another place.
V. The Patroons, by virtue of their power, shall and may be permitted, at such places as
they shall settle their Colonies, to extend their limits four leagues along the shore, that is,
on one side of a navigable river, or two leagues on each side of a river, and so far into the
country as the situation of the occupiers will permit; provided and conditioned that the
Company keep to themselves the lands lying and remaining between the limits of
Colonies, to dispose thereof, when and at such time as they shall think proper, in such
manner that no person shall be allowed to come within seven or eight leagues of them
without their consent, unless the situation of the land thereabout be such that the