Ordinance imposing duties on Indian goods, wine, brandy, etc.

Scanned Document:

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

Let it be known to everyone that according to the general contracts made by the skippers and merchants with the honorable company, everyone is bound to deliver into the company’s warehouse the goods they load on board and transport here, and to pay one percent and as much more as the director general and council may have imposed thereon before the arrival of the ships, which one percent the director and council have not hitherto collected and also found impossible to record because of the variety of merchandise, besides it might cause some difficulties and more expense even on the necessary merchandise such as stockings, shoes, linen, shirts, cloth, soap and other items; the director general and council experiencing the low state of the treasury, and the necessity of finding some means by which the civil, ecclesiastical and military service may be supported and maintained, have therefore come to the conclusion instead of one percent, which is due from all merchants in general from their cargoes and merchandise, to impose something reasonable and tolerable only on the Indian cargoes and less necessary merchandise, such as wine, brandy, spirits and imported beer and salt, which items although least necessary render the most gain and profit and are usually paid for in cash, so that the merchants and shopkeepers henceforth, instead of one percent on their general cargoes, shall be obliged to pay only on the Indian cargoes and less necessary goods in the manner as follows:

For one ell of duffels 2 stivers
For one ell cloth, dosijntjes or carpet commonly used by the Indians to make coats 2 stivers
For one Indian coat made of duffels, dosijntjes or carpet 8 stivers
For one hundred pounds of kettle ƒ3
For one dozen blankets ƒ4
For one ancker of brandy, Spanish wine or distilled spirits ƒ3
For one hogshead of French wine ƒ6
Smaller and larger casks in proportion

One barrel or a half pipe of imported beer 3 guilders
For one skipple of salt 20 stivers

Which duty shall henceforth be paid, as the staple right, promptly at the receiver general’s office, or at least proper security for the payment shall be given to the satisfaction of the receiver, before the aforesaid and other cargoes shall be removed from the honorable Company’s warehouse.

Concerning the remaining goods which are numerous and varied, they are hereby free and exempt until further order and regulation, from the indebted one percent, in order to be, like the other merchandise imported into this province, sold and disposed of to the satisfaction of the trader; but on the merchandise which will be exported or sent out of this province or the government thereof, they shall promptly pay the duty or impost previously placed thereon.

Thus done at the session of the honorable director and high council in Fort Amsterdam, dated 28 January 1654.[1]


Also in LO, 153-55.


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.