Ordinance against goats and hogs running at large in New Amsterdam

Scanned Document:

Whereas the honorable director general and lords councilors of New Netherland have daily seen and noticed that the goats and hogs here around Fort Amsterdam daily cause great damage in orchards, gardens and other improvements, whereby not only hinderance to the propagation of beautiful orchards and gardens follows but also great injury to many private parties.

Therefore, the honorable lord director general and council, desiring to provide herein, order and proclaim that henceforth no hogs or goats shall be pastured or kept between the fortification of New Amsterdam (or thereabouts) and the Fresh Water,[1] except within their own enclosures. Also, if goats are found outside the enclosures on this side of the Fresh Water, and beyond the Fresh Water without a herdsman or shepherd, the fiscal shall be allowed to seize them, and the honorable lord director and council declare them as a prize. Let everyone be warned hereby and protect himself against loss.

Enacted the 10th of March and publised the 16th of March 1648 in New Netherland.


’t Varse Waeter. See annotation on page 13 for further information about this early Manhattan landmark. The common pasturing area on Manhattan was just to the south of this body of water. It was customary to allow hogs, goats and other domesticated animals to roam free, foraging for themselves until autumn when they were either slaughtered or sheltered for the winter. At this time the owners identified their animals by distinctive marks clipped in the animals’ ears.


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.