Ordinance regulating the currency

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

Whereas we see by experience and have seen for some time the decline and daily depreciation of the loose sewant, among which many circulate without holes andhalf finished, made of stone, bone, glass, mussel shells, conch shells, even of wood and broken pieces ], from which stem the manifold complaints of the inhabitants that they are unable to go to market with such sewant, nor obtain any commodities, not even a small loaf of white bread or can of beer from the traders, bakers or tapsters for loose sewant.

Therefore, desiring to provide for the promotion of trade and the general welfare of the inhabitants, according to our best knowledge at this time, we have resolved and decided that henceforth loose sewant shall no longer be acceptable, nor valid for payment unless the same has been strung on a cord, as has been the custom previously, in order to prevent hereby the further infringement and importation of all lump and unperforated sewant, so as to prevent any future misunderstandings, we, the aforesaid honorable director and councilors, order that the trade sewant ] shall pass and be valid as payment as beforehand, to wit, six white or three black for one stiver; on the contrary, the poorly strung sewant shall pass as eight white or four black for one stiver.

We hereby order and command everyone to regulate himself according to the tenor hereof; and in case of refusal, to be deprived of their trade and business, and the fiscal is hereby ordered upon publication to post and make this known wherever appropriate, and ] also to make every effort to see the same executed and obeyed.

Thus done, reviewed and enacted in session in Fort Amsterdam, this 30th of May 1650 in New Netherland.


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.