slaves sue for their freedom
act of the director and council of new netherland, 1644.
We, William Kieft and Council of New Netherland having considered the petition of the Negroes named Paulo Angola Big Manuel, Little Manuel, Manuel de Gerrit de Reus, Simon Congo, Anthony Portugis, Gracia, Peter Santomee, Jan Francisco, Little Anthony, Jan Fort Orange, who have served the Company 18 a 19 years, to be liberated from their servitude, and set at liberty, especially as they have been many years in the service of the Hon West India Company here, and have been long since promised their Freedom. . . Therefore, We the Director and Council do release, for the term of their natural lives, the above named and their Wives from Slavery, hereby setting them free and at liberty, on the same footing as other Free people here in New Netherland, where they shall be able to earn their livelihood by Agrculture, on the land shewn and granted to them, on the condition that they, the abovenamed Negroes, shwall be bound to pay for the freedom they receive, each man for himself annually, as long as he lives, to the West India Company, or its Deputy here, thirty skepels of Maize, or Wheat, Pease or Beans, and one Fat hog, valued at twenty guilders, which thirty skepels and the hog they, the Negroes, each for himself, promises to pay annually.