Ordinance renewing sundry ordinances which have fallen into disuse

Scanned Document:

The director general and council of New Netherland send ] greetings to all those who hear, see or read this, and ] make known how from time to time various ordinances and proclamations have been enacted and posted by them, aiming at the preservation of good government, order, and the prevention of smuggling. However, because the majority of these have fallen into disrepute as well as disuse by many through connivance and non-execution, therefore, the director general and council have considered it highly necessary to renew some of them, and to bring them back again into memory as a reminder to their good subjects, as they hereby do order and command[1]:

Not to tap on the Sabbath[2]

First, that no one shall, on the Sabbath of the Lord, during divine service, directly or indirectly be allowed to tap any beer, wine or spirits, or to keep a tavern, according to the proclamations of the last of May 1647, 26 September 1656, and 12 June 1657.[3]

Not to keep any taverns after 9 o’clock in the evening

Second, also, that no one shall keep any taverns after 9 o’clock in the evening when the bell ceases to ring, according to the aforesaid proclamation of the end of May 1647.

Not to sell any strong drink to the Indians

Third, that no one shall directly or indirectly sell or give out any strong drink to the Indians, according to the proclamations dated 26 September 1656 and 12 June 1657.[4]

Not to damage any fences; to keep them in repair

Fourth, that no one shall climb into any gardens, farmlands or orchards, much less damage the fruits thereof, or ] remove the clapboards or other fences; also, that everyone shall properly fence in his gardens, farmlands or orchards, and lots, which being done and still suffering damage by someone or by someone’s animals, such person ] to be brought to justice for it and punished according to the proclamation issued the first of July 1647.[5]

Not to bring any goods ashore or on board unless the duties thereof are first paid

Fifth, that no one shall be allowed to bring any goods or merchandise from ships to shore or from shore to ship, much less be allowed to export them, without first having them properly recorded, inspected, and paying the customary duties thereon; especially the goods and merchandise going to and coming from Virginia, New England, the Caribbean islands, and other places lying outside this our government; all which must pay 10 percent according to custom and order.

No one to depart without a pass

Sixth, that no persons with any ships or barks shall be allowed to depart without a proper pass; also, that no skippers or bark captains be allowed to transport any persons without a pass, under penalty of the proclamation issued the 4th of July 1647.[6]

Order concerning constmction on lots

Seventh, that everyone shall properly build on the lots granted to and obtained by them, with the prior knowledge of the appointed surveyors, according to the order of the 26th of July 1647.[7]

No tapsters allowed to brew

Eighth, that no tapsters shall be allowed to brew and no brewers be allowed to tap; or to sell any beer door to door by the pail, whether it be small or heavy beer, according to the ordinance of the 12th of January 1648, hereafter renewed several times.[8]

Orders concerning wooden chimneys

Ninth, that, in order to prevent fire and damage within the city of N. Amsterdam, no one shall be allowed to make wooden or plastered chimneys, or repair those already built; also, that all chimneys shall be properly swept and kept clear by statute of the fire wardens, according to the proclamation of the 23rd of January 1648.[9]

To use no weights or measures except those of Amsterdam

Tenth, to use within this our government no other measure, ell or weight except those of Amsterdam, according to the proclamation of the 10th of March 1648.[10]

Order against brawling

Eleventh, all brawling, maiming, knife-pulling, and wanton acts are forbidden according to the laudable statutes of the aforesaid city of Amsterdam; and all innkeepers and tapsters remain bound and obligated by oath, to report such brawling, maiming, knife-pulling, and wanton acts immediately to the fiscal, upon pain of ] being deprived of his trade and a fine assessed thereon. Amplified on the 15th of December 1657.[11]

To do no illicit work on the Sabbath

Twelfth, that no one shall be allowed to fish, hunt, or do any ordinary business on the Lord’s Sabbath, much less commit any unlawful acts, upon pain of bodily arrest and arbitrary punishment, according to the proclamations of the 29th of April 1648.[12]

Not to detain or incite another man’s servant or maid

Thirteenth, not to seduce or incite anyone’s servants, male or female; or to be allowed to shelter the same longer than 24 hours, as well as fugitives and foreigners, without reporting the same to the fiscal , magistrates, or schouts; and that all servants, male and female, remain bound to complete and obey their contracts, on pain of arbitrary punishment, according to the ordinance of the 6th of October 1648.[13]

No wine or beer to be laid in without notification

Fourteenth, that no brewers, factors, or merchants shall be allowed to send out any unexcised beer or wine, or be allowed to move the same beyond their houses from one cellar to another, without having first recorded the same and receiving for it an excise receipt, on pain ] of forfeiting such wine and beer, and fines imposed thereon by the proclamation of the 8th of November 1648.[14]

Order for the bakers

Fifteenth, that all bakers shall bake white bread and coarse bread at the established ] weight, and sell it at the established price, or hereafter to be established according to the paucity of grain, pursuant to the order and proclamations repeatedly renewed, the last dated the 26th of September 1656.[15]

Public highways to be properly maintained

Sixteenth, all streets, paths, and public highways to be properly maintained, put in shape, cleaned, and kept passable, according to the ordinance of the 23rd of May 1650.[16]

Order concerning smuggling

Seventeenth, in order to prevent all fraud and smuggling, the director general and council ordered under date 28 August 1651 that all ships and vessels departing from here to the fatherland, Virginia, South River or elsewhere, shall be obligated to take in their full cargo before this city of New Amsterdam; also, provide themselves here with necessary firewood and water, and after their departure from this city, allow no barks, boats, or vessels on board without special prior knowledge of the honorable lord director general, fiscal , or whomsoever shall be authorized to do so by the director general and council, on pain as is more fully stated in the aforesaid proclamation.[17]

Eighteenth,[18] that no one shall be allowed to gallop or race about with any wagons, carts, or sleighs inside the gates and walls of this city, but the driver shall walk alongside and not sit thereon, according to the proclamation dated the 12th of July 1657.[19]

Nineteenth, that no one, upon the arrival of any ships, whether from the fatherland or elsewhere, shall attempt at their first arrival to go on board before and until the letters are delivered to the lord General, under penalty of /25 and forfeit ] of the canoe, boat or scow used to go on board, especially pursuant to the proclamation dated the 12th of June 1657.[20]

Twentieth, not to come to anchor except at the ordinary anchorage, and not to convey any goods on board or ashore except in daylight, according to the ordinance dated as above.

Twenty-first, no skippers or sailors shall be allowed to bring with them any goods or merchandise under the guise of seaman’s freight; in any case not exceeding two months’ wages, on pain of confiscation according to the ordinance and proclamation dated the 12th of August 1657.[21]


Although this document was obviously drawn up much later than 1647, it represents the secretary’s attempt to codify various ordinances that needed to be renewed. As many of these ordinances had first been enacted in 1647, this document assumed the first page in the book of laws. See also E. B. O’Callaghan’s Laws and Ordinances, 342-46 (hereafter cited as LO).
The titles in boldface appear as marginal notations in the original.
See LO, 62, 310-11; ordinance for 26 September 1656 no longer exists.
Also in LO, 61.
Also in LO, 311; ordinance for September 26 no longer exists.
Also in LO, 65.
Also in LO, 74, where the date reads 25 July 1647.
Also in LO, 80.
Also in LO, 82-83.
Also in LO, 88.
Also in LO, 324.
Also in LO, 98-99.
Also in LO, 104.
An ordinance for this date is no longer among the records.
An ordinance for this date is no longer among the records.
An ordinance for this date is no longer among the records; however, its substance does appear in LO, 114.
Renews ordinance passed August 28, 1651, which no longer exists.
The remaining renewals appear without headings.
Also in LO, 313; actual date on ordinance is 12 June 1657.
Also in LO, 313.
Also in LO, 314; actual date on ordinance is 9 April 1658.


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 the New Netherland Institute website.