Answer to the petition of merchants recently arrived from Holland remitting one-fourth of the present duties

Scanned Document:

The Following Decision was made
on the Foregoing Request:

Pursuant to the general, old and well-known contract, all merchants are obliged to pay here to the director-general and council one percent of all their goods and merchandise, in addition to as much more as may have been imposed before their arrival, of which the merchants cannot be ignorant. Because of the benevolence of the director-general and council, it has not been collected. However, current excessive expenses and borrowed revenue have reduced the funds in the treasury so that the director-general and council would be unable to pay the civil, ecclesiastical and military personnel, much less repay the loans, if they desist any longer from collecting the one percent and other revenue sources. However, they realize that greater hardship and trouble would be created for the community and more expense for the merchants, if the director-general and council were to collect the one percent on all goods and merchandise pursuant to the old and well-known contract; therefore, they have decided it would be more suitable and bearable, pursuant to their enacted resolution in place of the general one, to collect the equivalent amount only from the Indian goods and the least necessary merchandise, which, nevertheless, bring in the most profit and cash or payments and causes the least trouble for both the community and the factors. Therefore, the director-general and council think that it is unnecessary to refer the matter to the directors in the fatherland, especially as the paucity of funds and the increase in expenses will not tolerate delay. In the meantime, desiring to show our good will and inclination to promote commerce and to deprive the petitioners of causes for complaints because of too much strictness, the director-general and council herewith release the petitioners from the payment of about one fourth of the demanded duty and staple right, so that one shall pay for a price of duffels, commonly 38, 39 and 40 ells long ...................................................... f3

one ell of cloth, lining or carpet  f0,1,8 
one Indian coat  f0,6 
100 lbs. of kettles   f 3 
one dozen of blankets  f 3 
one hogshead of Rhenish or French wine  f 6 
one anker of brandy, spirits or Spanish wine   f 2,1 0 
one tun or half pipe of overseas beer   . f 2,1 0 
(Larger or smaller amounts in proportion.) 

We direct herewith our fiscal and receiver neither to demand nor take more, and after he has complied with this order, the merchant or trader shall not be delayed, but shall receive absolute permission to remove his goods from the warehouse, and to transport and sell them to his satisfaction and at his wholesalers' profit. Salt is presently excluded from duty because of its great scarcity. Thus done at the session of the honorable director-general and council held in New Amsterdam, New Netherland, 22 July 1654; and was signed: P. Stuyvesant, Nicasius de Sille, C. van Werckhooven and La Montangne.


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.