Resolution postponing the collection of tenths and imposing a tax on horned cattle and land

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We, the director-general and council of New Netherland, have on several occasions seriously considered the instructions of the honorable lords-directors at the chamber of Amsterdam, lords and patroons of this province of New Netherland, concerning the collection of the tenths and in regard to providing revenues for defraying past and future expenses. After holding several meetings and consultations on these matters, we find that the collection of the tenths is for the present, and as long as the inhabitants live so far from each other, very difficult and almost impossible, so that the expenses of collecting the tenths would almost be as great as the receipts. In addition to this, some settlers in the country claim by virtue of their patents, each for himself, large tracts of land which remain wild and unimproved, without any hope of producing tenths for years to come. In order to preclude the avarice for land on the one hand and on the other to prevent the great expenses which would be incurred by collecting the tenths, the director-general and council have, for these and other important reasons, deemed it best, most useful and profitable for the honorable Company (subject to the approval of the lords-patroons) not to demand and collect the tenths for some years to come, until the population has increased, levying instead a tax on cattle and land, to wit: for each morgen which a party claims or desires to own under patent, one guilder or 20 stivers shall be paid yearly; for each head of horned cattle over 3 years old, one guilder; for each head of two years 12 stivers, payable one half in November, the other half promptly in April at the General Treasury. The tax on houses and lots in the respective villages, the owners of which neither claim nor enjoy any land, shall be the 100th penny of their real value payable yearly, the assessments to be made by three impartial men, one being a member of the high council and the other two members from the respective courts in the villages, appointed by the director-general. After these assessments are completed, vacant lots shall be conveyed to others, if the owners have neglected or are unwilling to build thereon in pursuance to the printed and published ordinances.[158] Thus done at the session of the honorable director-general and high council held in New Amsterdam in New Netherland, 24 August 1654 and revised on the 28th of the same month; and was signed: P. Stuyvesandt, N. de Sille, C. van Werckhooven, La Montangne, C. van Thienhooven.


See Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, 1638-1674, compiled and translated by E. B. O’Callaghan, Albany, 1868, 105 for this ordinance passed in 1648.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 5, Council Minutes, 1652-1654 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1983).A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.