STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER (1764-1839), American political leader and soldier, "last of the patroons," was born at New York City on the 1st of November 1764.
He had civil and criminal jurisdiction within the boundaries of his estate; he could create offices, found cities, and appoint officers and magistrates, and, although the charter permitted an appeal from his court to the directorgeneral and council in any case in which the amount in dispute exceeded fifty guilders ($20), some of the patroons exacted from their colonists a promise not to avail themselves of the privilege.
The Company promised to permit the patroons to engage in the fur trade, whenever it had no commissary of its own, subject to a tax of one guilder (40 cents) on each skin, and to engage in other trade along the coast from Newfoundland to Florida subject to a tax of 5% on goods shipped to Europe.
The colonists of the patroons were exempted from all taxes for a period of ten years, but were forbidden to manufacture any cloth whatever.
Immediately after the issue of the charter a few of the more adroit directors of the Amsterdam Chamber hastened to acquire for themselves, as patroons, the tracts of land most favourably situated for trade.