Ordinance increasing the excise on wines and strong liquors

Scanned Document:

The director general and council having considered the low state of the treasury together with the great expenses and charges which the honorable Company has to bear here, beyond the monthly wages and board of its officers, for the civil, ecclesiastical and military administrations which have daily increased because of the growth of the population, the director general and council having, after previous remonstrance and communication made long before this to the commonalty of this city, deliberated on what supplementary means may be considered the least burdensome and injurious to the inhabitants, have found no better, fitter nor easier expedient than the imposition of some tax on the wine, brandy and spirits which can best be spared yet are consumed in this country, at a great profit both by buyers and sellers by the large and small measure; therefore, the director general and council have deemed it proper and necessary to tax wine, brandy and spirits as follows, namely: all wines, brandies and spirits which from this day forward are laid in and retailed by the tavern keeper, and laid in, consumed or exported from this place elsewhere by any other person, whether officer, inhabitant, or stranger, shall pay, in addition to the ordinary excise paid thereon heretofore: eight guilders on a hogshead of French wine; four guilders on an ancker of Spanish wine, brandy and distilled spirits; unless someone imports it here or exports it elsewhere from, then the tax is to be paid and satisfied promptly at the receiver’s office, half by the buyer and half by the seller. In order to prevent all frauds, connivance and smuggling, the merchants and factors shall be verbally notified and told by the fiscal to regulate themselves accordingly in the sale of their wines, brandies and spirits, and to furnish no wine, brandy or spirits to any person or send off the same elsewhere before and until the same be properly registered and the duty paid thereon. On pain of forfeiting the smuggled wines and a fine five times the value thereof.[1]

Done at New Amsterdam in New Netherland, 26 March 1653.[2]


Another version of this ordinance appears in NYHM, Council Minutes, 5:68.
Also in LO, 142-43.


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.