Ordinance for the surer prevention of smuggling

Scanned Document:

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

Whereas it is found more and more every day that great frauds and smuggling are committed and perpetrated by the importation of diverse merchandises under the name and guise of sailors’ freight, whereby not only the honorable company is curtailed in its account; the farmer defrauded in his leased excise, inasmuch as such imported goods are most times sold under hand in a clandestine manner; the general merchants who pay the regular duties, are injured in their trade, for they cannot with their goods compete against such imported and smuggled articles; but also the owners and freighter of such ships are themselves wronged out of a great part of their freighted money, as it is confidently presumed and believed that the greater part of such smuggled goods are embarked without their knowledge or consent.

The director general and council of New Netherland wishing to provide herein, hereby order all skippers, ship’s officers and sailors not to bring with them any goods or merchandises without exhibiting here a proper list thereof signed in the fatherland, and in all cases, not to exceed two months’ wages, which must appear on the invoice, on pain of forfeiting the imported and unrecorded merchandise or goods.

Thus done in the session of the honorable director general and council held at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 12th of August 1657.[1]


Also in LO, 314-15. In a letter dated December 29, 1657, the directors write Stuyvesant that they have approved his ordinance with some changes to be seen in the printed copies. See NYCD, 12:69; extract translated in LO, 315. See LWA, 63 for prior ordinance.


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.