Ordinance for the better regulation of the currency

Scanned Document:

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

Whereas we have experience, upon the daily complaints of the inhabitants, that our previous orders and proclamations concerning poorly strung sewant, enacted on the 30th of May 1650, for the convenience and protection of the inhabitants, have not been observed and obeyed according to our good intention and meaning, but that, on the contrary, such payment even for small items is rejected and refused by shopkeepers, brewers, bakers, tapsters, tradesmen and laborers, to the great confusion and inconvenience of the inhabitants in general, there being presently no other currency by which the inhabitants can procure small items of daily trade from one another; therefore, the director and councilors, wishing to provide as much as possible for the convenience and protection of the inhabitants, hereby do order and command that, in conformity to our previous proclamations, poorly strung sewant shall be valid, and accepted by everyone without exception for small and daily necessities and commodities required for the household, as currency to the amount of twelve guilders and below, only in poorly strung sewant; from twelve to twenty-four guilders, half and half, that is to say, half poorly and half well strung sewant; from twenty-four to fifty guilders, one third poorly strung and two thirds well strung sewant; and in larger amounts according to the conditions made between buyer and seller, under penalty of forfeiting six guilders for the first time; by refusal and violation of this for the second time, nine guilders; and for the third time, two pounds Flemish and cessation of his trade and business, pursuant to our previous proclamations.

Thus done and enacted at the meeting of the director and council this 14th of September 1650 in New Amsterdam.[1]


These ordinances regarding sewant appear in LO, 115-18. The first ordinance regulating the quality, value and stringing of sewant appeared on April 18, 1641, LO, 26. They were reissued in a more detailed form on January 3,1657, and would be followed by numerous adjustments to the currency; see LO, 289-92.


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 theĀ New Netherland Institute website.