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Ordinance

Of the Director and Council of New Netherland prohibiting Wooden Chimneys, and appointing Firewardens in New Amsterdam. Passed 23 January, 1648.

[N.Y.Col. MSS.IV.857; XVI 10.]

The Hon’ble Director General of New Netherland, Curacao and the Islands thereof, and the Hon’ble Council having by experience seen and observed that some careless people neglect to keep their Chimneys clean by sweeping, and do not pay attention to their fires, whereby recently two Houses were burned and greater damage is to be expected in future from fire, the rather as the houses here in New Amsterdam are for the most part built of Wood and thatched with Reed, besides which the Chimneys of some of the houses are of wood, which also is most dangerous;
Therefore the Hon’ble General and Council aforesaid have considered it proper and most expedient to provide herein, wherefore the said Hon’ble General and Council Ordain, enact and command as they hereby do, that from now henceforward no Chimney shall be built of wood or [lath and] plaister in any houses between the Fort and the Fresh Water, but those already erected may remain until further order and pleasure of the Firewardens; and in order that the foregoing shall be well observed, to that end are appointed as Firewardens – from the Hon’ble Council, Commissary Adriaan d’Keyser; from the Commonalty Thomas Hall, Marten Crigier and George Wolsey, with power at their pleasure to see if the Chimneys in all houses situate and standing within this city every where around, between this Fort and the Fresh Water, are kept well cleaned by sweeping, and if anyone be found negligent he shall, every time the Firewardens aforesaid examine and find the Chimneys foul, pay them forthwith, without any contradiction, a fine of three Guilders for every fire found on examination to be dirty, to be expended for Fire ladders, Hooks and Buckets which shall be procured and provided at the earliest and most convenient opportunity, and if any one’s house be burned, or be the cause of fire, either through negligence or by his own fire, he shall forfeit 25 florins to be applied as above.

Thus done and enacted in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 23d January, Ao 1648. Published.