In 1839 it became the centre of the "Anti-Rent War," which was precipitated by the death of Stephen van Rensselaer (1764-1839), the last of the patroons; the attempt of his heirs to collect overdue rents resulting in disturbances which necessitated the calling out of the militia, spread into several counties where there were large landed estates, and were not entirely settled until 1847.
In general the small shop-keepers, small farmers, sailors, poor traders and artisans were arrayed against the patroons, rich fur-traders, merchants, lawyers and crown officers.
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.