Ordinance reducing the duty on furs

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The director-general and council having observed the great expenses which they have annually to sustain themselves for the support of the civil government, the military, the church and school, and having seen, on the other hand, ] the meager revenue and income thus far produced only from the duty on peltries and the small excise on tapsters, and the annually increasing charges while on the contrary the duties are diminishing, because it had pleased the directors of the Chartered West India Company, chamber of Amsterdam, to contract with some merchants of Amsterdam not to exact more than eight percent on beavers and otters, while, however, it was customary in the time of Mr. Kieft, of blessed memory, to exact 15 stivers from each merchantable skin which was also continued by us and has been paid by the majority of the merchants here without offering any objections until finally some merchants in the fatherland claimed and obtained from the honorable Company the privilege by special contract of paying eight percent, whereby then, such parties being more favored than those generally interested, the revenues here are greatly diminished and curtailed. Thus, with the garrison being daily increased and the revenue decreased, nothing else can follow than a sinking into deep debt, to the great detriment of the honorable Company in this its territory. Whereupon the director-general and council, being necessitated to provide as much as possible, have, for the common good of the inhabitants and the maintenance of this country, found it necessary and expedient, pursuant of the honorable directors to allow the inhabitants here, as well as the merchants and traders, to enjoy the same benefits and to command the fiscal, first to collect eight percent in specie from the quality of the peltries; and because of the heavy burdens under which the director-general and council find themselves laboring, and considering that the merchants thus far have been exempt from the payment of storage and of the one percent of their imported goods, which according to instructions they are bound to pay here, the director-general and council have resolved that there shall be paid, in addition to the eight percent, f our stivers a piece for each merchantable otter and beaver skin, and bear and elk hide, the thirds and ] halves calculated in proportion. Thus done, 4 September 1652.


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.