Ordinance for the more general planting of wheat, corn, and other grains

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The director general and council of New Netherland observing the population and growth of this province both through procreation and increase, which we must thankfully acknowledge as a special blessing of God, as well as by the arrival of many passengers who have come over within the last two or three years in various ships from the fatherland, and being informed and notified by the last communication from the fatherland that many passengers, both freemen and servants of the honorable company, are again to be looked for with the expected return ships, if God will grant them a safe voyage; and it being the bounden duty of the administration, after invoking and imploring God’s blessing, to exert every possible effort for means whereby agriculture may be promoted, in order that their subjects entrusted to their care, being supplied with provisions and necessary maintenance, may not experience any want especially of bread grain.

Therefore the director general and council being informed and aware thereof through their own observation that many of their subjects apply themselves solely to the planting of tobacco, of which the director general and council neither disapprove nor forbid, but in order to prevent the apprehended scarcity of bread as much as it lies in their power, the director general and council have, for the welfare of the country and for the better support of their subjects, resolved hereby to forewarn, order and command all tobacco planters to plant or sow as many hills of maize, or as much land with peas or other hard grain for bread, as they plant hills or fields with tobacco, on pain of forfeiting fifty guilders to be paid by whomsoever is found to fail herein, the one being not less profitable than the other, besides which, it is at the present time highly necessary. We also command all our officers, and magistrates and especially our provisional fiscal to keep close watch and to pay strict attention that this our well-intended ordinance be observed and obeyed, as we consider such necessary for the good of the country and our subjects.

Thus done, resumed and enacted in our council in New Amsterdam, the 20th of March 1653.[1]


This renews a previous ordinance of November 8, 1649; see LO, 111-12.


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.