The Flushing Remonstrance was a petition to Director-General Peter Stuyvesant, that requested an exemption to his ban on Quaker worship. It has been called the ‘Magna Carta of Religious Freedom’ and is credited with incorporating tolerance and a multiethnic culture into the Dutch Colony that became New York.
Petitioned, Dec 27, 1657
Stuyvesant wanted to preserve the true Dutch Reform Church in New Amsterdam as the only religion in the colony. As more people settled, this became quite difficult. He fended off the Lutherans when they requested a minister. In 1654 23 Jewish refugees arrived from Brazil. Three years later 12 Quakers from Yorkshire landed on Long Island and two women began preaching in New Amsterdam. Stuyvesant next tried confiscating vessels carrying Quakers to the colony, imposed a 50 pound fine on anyone shielding a Quaker in their house. His treatment of Quaker Robert Hodgson, preaching in Hempstead who refused to doff his hat in court was so barbaric that Stuyvesant's sister Anna Bayard intervened and saved Hodgson's life and thirty of his neighbors banded together to draft the Flushing Remonstrance. By 1663, the Dutch West India Company which sorely needed immigration, directed Stuyvesant to allow everyone to have his own belief.
The Charter of Freedoms & Exemptions stated that “no other Religion shall be publicly admitted in New Netherland except the Reformed, as it is at present preached and practiced in the United Netherlands”.