Ordinance for the better collection of the fees of the weigh house at New Amsterdam

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The director general and council of New Netherland, to all those who see this or hear it read, greetings.

Let it be known that whereas the impost master of the weigh house of this city has made various complaints to us that the fees, which rightfully accrue to him from all the goods subject to being weighed or which are to be sold by weight, are significantly abridged, because various goods, subject to being weighed, are transported, shipped, and exported without having been properly weighed, and the weighing fees having been paid.

Therefore, the director general and council do hereby notify, warn and order all burghers, merchants and traders residing in this country, or frequenting this place, that from this time forward no person, of whatever capacity he may be, shall be allowed to weigh, transport, ship or export any goods subject to be weighed, or that are to be sold by weight, exceeding 25 pounds without having first paid the fees for weighing them, according to the ordinance posted in the weigh house, and that as often and as frequently they shall be sold, transported or transferred; however, in order to avoid the heavy charges for labor, which might burden the merchandise because of transporting to and from the weigh house, the delivery shall be made from ship to ship or from house to house, provided that, before the transporting or exporting occurs, the impost master be notified of it, and the weighing fees be paid; on pain of forfeiting the wares and merchandise, or the just value thereof, or otherwise at the discretion of the director general and council.

Further, in order to prevent all frauds and smuggling as much as possible, it is hereby expressly ordered and commanded that no person shall keep in his house, warehouse or cellar any weight over 25 pounds, except with the express consent of the farmer. Let everyone be warned hereby and guard himself against loss.

Thus done at the session of the honorable lord director general and council, held at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 27th of April 1656.[1]


Also in LO, 222-23.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New Netherland Documents Series: Vol. 16, part 1, Laws and Writs of Appeal, 1647-1663 (Syracuse: 1991).A complete copy of this publication is available on theĀ New Netherland Institute website.