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.
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.
In the meantime the patroons had claimed unrestricted rights of trade within the boundaries of their estates.
DirectorGeneral Minuit was recalled in 1632 on the ground that he had been partial to the patroons; and Wouter van Twiller, who arrived in 1633, endeavoured to promote only the selfish commercial policy of the Company; at the close of his administration (1637) the affairs of the province were in a ruinous condition.
Two years later, by a revision of the Charter of Privileges and Exemptions, the prohibition on manufactures was abolished, the privileges of the original charter with respect to patroons were extended to " all good inhabitants of the Netherlands," and the estate of a patroon was limited to 4 m.
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.