The Duke of York’s Laws for the government of the Colony of New York, 1665-1675

The Duke of York’s Laws for the government of the Colony of New York


Establisht by the Authority of his Majesties Letters patents, granted to his Royall Highnes James Duke of Yorke and Albany; Bearing Date the 12th Day of March in the Sixteenth year of ye Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Kinge Charles the Second. Digested into one Volume for the publicke use of the Territoryes in America under the Government of his Royall Highnesse.

Collected out of the Several Laws now in force in his Majesties American Colonyes and Plantations

Published March the 1st Anno Domini 1664 at a General meeting at Hemsted upon Longe Island by virtue of a Commission from his Royall Highness James Duke of Yorke and Albany given to Colonell Richard Nicolls Deputy Governeur, bearing date the Second day of Aprill 1664.



That all actions of Debts Accompts Slanders and Actions of the Case concerning Debts and Accompts shall be tryed within that Jurisdiction where the Cause of action Doth arise.

All actions of Debt or Trespasse under the value of five pounds between Neighbours shall be put to Arbitration of two indifferent persons of the Neighbourhood to be nominated by the Constable of the place; And if either or both parties shall refuse (upon any pretence,) their Arbitration: Then the next Justice of the peace upon notice thereof by the Constable shall choose three other indifferent persons; who are to meet at the Dissenters charge from the first Arbitration and both plaintiffe and Defendant are to bee concluded by the award of the persons so chosen. by the Justice.

In all differences under five pounds not triable in Courts the Constable is to have one shilling for naming Arbitrators to whom the Difference shall be refered, they shall have two shillings six pence each.

If it comes to the Justice, he shall have seaven Shillings and Six pence, the Arbitrators (he appoints) five Shillings each, and the Constable, for his trouble, two Shillings Sixpence, This to be paid by the party is Cast.

If any Person shall pretend his Debt or trespasse to be above five pounds, and on the hearing it shall appear to the Court to come under that vallew, in such cases the Plaintiffe shall loose his action and pay the Defendant Cost.

All actions or cases from the Value of five pounds to Twenty pounds, shall be tryed att the Sessions within that Jurisdiction from whence there is to be no appeal unless the debt appears to be above that summe of twenty pounds, or where there is a dubiousnesse in the expression of the Law, Which doubt made by one, if it tend to the Causeless vexation of ye other Party; the other Person so offending shall pay all the charges.


A project of CENTRAL, University of Cologne.