PETER STUYVESANT, THE LAST DUTCH GOVERNOR OF NEW AMSTERDAM
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT
It is impossible to understand the very remarkable character and career of Peter Stuyvesant, the last, and by far the most illustrious, of the Dutch governors of New Amsterdam, without an acquaintance with the early history of the Dutch colonies upon the Hudson and the Delaware. The Antiquarian may desire to look more fully into the details of the early history of New York. But this brief, yet comprehensive narrative, will probably give most of the information upon that subject, which the busy, general reader can desire.
In this series of "The Pioneers and Patriots of America," the reader will find, in the "Life of De Soto," a minute description of the extreme south and its inhabitants, when the Mississippi rolled its flood through forests which the foot of the white man had never penetrated. "Daniel Boone" conducts us to the beautiful streams and hunting grounds of Kentucky, when the Indian was the sole possessor of those sublime solitudes. In the "Life of Miles Standish, the Puritan Captain," we are made familiar with that most wonderful of all modern stories, the settlement of New England. "Peter Stuyvesant" leads us to the Hudson, from the time when its majestic waters were disturbed only by the arrowy flight of the birch canoe, till European colonization had laid there the foundations of one of the most flourishing cities on this globe.
In these Histories the writer has spared no labor in gathering all the information in his power, respecting those Olden Times, now passing so rapidly into oblivion.
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. 13
The Discovery of America. Colonies. The Bay of New York. Description of the Bay. Voyage of Sir Henry Hudson. Discovery of the Delaware. The Natives. The Boat Attacked. Ascending the Hudson. Escape of the Prisoners. The Chiefs Intoxicated. The Return. The Village at Castleton. The Theft and its Punishment. The Return to England.
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 33
Value of the Territory Discovered. Fate of Hudson. The Conspiracy. Aspect of Manhattan Island. The Trail which has Widened into Broadway. The Opening Commerce. The Fur Trade. Visit of the English Man of War. Exploring the Sound. Commercial Enterprise Receives a New Stimulus. Erection of Forts. Character of the Fur Trade.
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 54
The Puritans. Memorial to the States-General. Disagreement of the English and the Dutch. Colony on the Delaware. Purchase Of Manhattan. The First Settlement. An Indian Robbed and Murdered. Description of the Island. Diplomatic Intercourse. Testimony of De Rassieres. The Patroons. The Disaster at Swaanendael.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 77
Friendly Relations Restored. Wouter Van Thiller New Director. Captain Elkins. Remonstrance of De Vrees. Claims for the Connecticut. The Plymouth Expedition. A Boat's Crew Murdered. Condition of the Colony in 1633. Emigration to the Connecticut. Emigrants from Holland. The Red Rocks. New Haven Colony Established. Natural. Indian Remonstrance Against Taxation. Outrage upon the Raritan Indians. Indian Revenge.
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. 100
Approaching Hostilities. Noble Remonstrance. Massacre of the Natives. The War Storm. Noble Conduct of De Vrees. The Humiliation of Kieft. Wide Spread Desolation. The Reign of Terror. State of Affairs at Fort Nassau. The Massacre at Stamford. Memorial of the Select Men. Kieft Superseded by Peter Stuyvesant.
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. 121
New Netherland in 1646. Early Years of Peter Stuyvesant. Decay of New Amsterdam. The Germs of a Representative Government. Energetic Administration. Death of Governor Winthrop. Claims for Long Island. Arrogance of the Governor. Remonstrance of the Nine Men. The Pastoral Office. Boundary Lines. Increasing Discontent. Division of Parties. Dictatorial Measures.
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 144
Action of the Patroons. Settlements on the Hudson. Alarm of the Home Government. Recall of Stuyvesant. His Escape from Humiliation. Difficulties between England and Holland. The Breaking Out of War. Directions to Stuyvesant. The Relations of the Colonies. Charges Against the Dutch Governor. Their Refutation. Efforts of Stuyvesant for Peace. Noble Conduct of the Massachusetts Government. The Advocates for War.
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. 167
Conflict Between the Governor and the Citizens. Energy of the Governor. His Measures of Defence. Action of the English Colony. Claims of the Government of Sweden. Fort Casimir Captured by the Swedes. Retaliation. Measures for the Recapture of Fort Casimir. Shooting a Squaw. Its Consequences. The Ransom of Prisoners. Complaints of the Swedish Governor. Expedition from Sweden. Its Fate.
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. 191
New Amsterdam in 1656. Religious Intolerance. Persecution of the Waldenses. The New Colony on South River. Wreck of the Prince Maurice. The Friendly Indians. Energetic Action of the Governor. Persecution of the Quakers. Remonstrance from Flushing. The Desolation of Staten Island. Purchase of Bergen. Affairs at Esopus. The Indian Council. Generosity of the Indians. New Amstel. Encroachments of the English.
THE ESOPUS WAR. 213
Outrage at Esopus. New Indian War. Its Desolations. Sufferings of Both Parties. Wonderful Energies of the Governor. Difficulties of his Situation. The Truce. Renewal of the War. The Mohawks. The Controversy with Massachusetts. Indian Efforts for Peace. The Final Settlement. Claims of the English Upon the Delaware. Renewed Persecution of the Quakers.
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 234
Purchase of Staten Island. The Restoration of Charles Second. Emigration Invited. Settlement of Bushwick. The Peculiar People. Persecution of John Brown. The Governor Rebuked. Cumulation of Disasters. The Outbreak at Esopus. The Panic. Measures of the Governor. The Indian Fort. The Expedition to Mamaket. Capture of the Fort. Annihilation of the Esopus Indians.
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 257
Annihilation of the Esopus Tribe. The Boundary Question. Troubles on Long Island. The Dutch and English Villages. Petition of the English. Embarrassments of Governor Stuyvesant. Embassage to Hartford. The Repulse. Peril of New Netherland. Memorial to the Fatherland. New Outbreak on Long Island. John Scott and his Highhanded Measures. Strengthening the Fortifications.
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 279
John Scott and his Movements. Losses of the Dutch. The First General Assembly. Action of the Home Government. Peace with the Indians. Arrest of John Scott. Governor Winthrop's Visit to Long Island. Sailing of the Fleet. Preparations for War. The False Dispatches. Arrival of the Fleet. The Summons to Surrender.
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 301
The Approach of the Fleet. The Governor Unjustly Censured. The Flag of Truce. The Haughty Response. The Remonstrance. The Defenceless City. The Surrender. The Expedition to the Delaware. Sack and Plunder. Change of Name. Testimony to the Dutch Government. Death of the Governor. His Farm, or Bouwerie. War Between Holland and England. New York Menaced by the Dutch.
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 324
The Summons. The Bombardment. Disembarkation of the Land Force. Indecision of Captain Manning. The Surrender. Short Administration of the Dutch. Social Customs. The Tea Party. Testimony of Travellers. Visit to Long Island. Fruitfulness of the Country. Exploration of Manhattan Island.
THE OLDEN TIME. 346
Wealth and Rank of the Ancient Families. Their Vast Landed Estates. Distinctions in Dress. Veneration for the Patroon. Kip's Mansion. Days of the Revolution. Mr. John Adams' Journal. Negro Slavery. Consequences of the System. General Panic.
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER.
The Discovery of America.—Colonies.—The Bay of New York.—Description of the Bay.—Voyage of Sir Henry Hudson.—Discovery of the Delaware.—The Natives.—The Boat Attacked.—Ascending the Hudson.—Escape of the Prisoners.—The Chiefs Intoxicated.—The Return.—The Village at Castleton.—The Theft and its Punishment.—The Return to England.
On the 12th of October, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed upon the shores of San Salvador, one of the West India islands, and thus revealed to astonished Europe a new world. Four years after this, in the year 1496, Sebastian Cabot discovered the continent of North America. Thirty-three years passed away of many wild adventures of European voyagers, when, in the year 1539, Ferdinand de Soto landed at Tampa Bay, in Florida, and penetrating the interior of the vast continent, discovered the Mississippi River. Twenty-six years more elapsed ere, in 1565, the first European colony was established at St. Augustine, in Florida.
In the year 1585, twenty years after the settlement of St. Augustine, Sir Walter Raleigh commenced his world-renowned colony upon the Roanoke. Twenty-two years passed when, in 1607, the London Company established the Virginia Colony upon the banks of the James river.
In the year 1524, a Florentine navigator by the name of Jean de Verrazano, under commission of the French monarch, Francis I., coasting northward along the shores of the continent, entered the bay of New York. In a letter to king Francis I., dated July 8th, 1524, he thus describes the Narrows and the Bay:
"After proceeding one hundred leagues, we found a very pleasant situation among some steep hills, through which a very large river, deep at its mouth, forced its way to the sea. From the sea to the estuary of the river, any ship heavily laden might pass, with the help of the tide, which rises eight feet. But as we were riding at anchor, in a good berth, we would not venture up in our vessel without a knowledge of the mouth. Therefore we took the boat, and entering the river, we found the country, on its banks, well peopled, the inhabitants not much differing from the others, being dressed out with the feathers of birds of various colors.
"They came towards us with evident delight, raising loud shouts of admiration, and showing us where we could most securely land with our boat. We passed up this river about half a league, when we found it formed a most beautiful lake three leagues in circuit, upon which they were rowing thirty or more of their small boats, from one shore to the other, filled with multitudes who came to see us. All of a sudden, as is wont to happen to navigators, a violent contrary wind blew in from the sea, and forced us to return to our ship, greatly regretting to leave this region which seemed so commodious and delightful, and which we supposed must also contain great riches, as the hills showed many indications of minerals."
In the year 1609, a band of Dutch merchants, called the East India Company, fitted out an expedition to discover a northeast passage to the Indies. They built a vessel of about eighty tons burden, called the Half Moon, and manning her with twenty sailors, entrusted the command to an Englishman, Henry Hudson. He sailed from the Texel in his solitary vessel, upon this hazardous expedition, on the 6th of April, 1609. Doubling North Cape amid storms and fog and ice, after the rough voyage of a month, he became discouraged, and determined to change his plan and seek a northwest passage.
Crossing the Atlantic, which, in those high latitudes, seems ever to be swept by storms, he laid in a store of codfish on the banks of Newfoundland, and, on the 17th of July, ran his storm-shattered bark into what is now known as Penobscot Bay, on the coast of Maine. Here he found the natives friendly. He had lost his foremast in a storm, and remained at this place a week, preparing a new one. He had heard in Europe that there was probably a passage through the unexplored continent, to the Pacific ocean, south of Virginia. Continuing his voyage southward, he passed Cape Cod, which he supposed to be an island, and arrived on the 18th of August at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay. He then ran along the coast in a northerly direction and entered a great bay with rivers, which he named South River, but which has since received the name of the Delaware.
Still following the coast, he reached the Highlands of Neversink, on the 2d of September, and at three o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, came to what then seemed to him to be the mouths of three large rivers. These were undoubtedly the Raritan, the Narrows, and Rockaway Inlet. After careful soundings he, the next morning, passed Sandy Hook and anchored in the bay at but two cables' length from the shore. The waters around him were swarming with fish. The scenery appeared to him enchanting. Small Indian villages were clustered along the shores, and many birch canoes were seen gliding rapidly to and fro, indicating that the region was quite densely populated, and that the natives were greatly agitated if not alarmed by the strange arrival.
Soon several canoes approached the vessel, and the natives came on board, bringing with them green tobacco and corn, which they wished to exchange for knives and beads. Many vessels, engaged in fishing, had touched at several points on the Atlantic coast, and trafficked with the Indians. The inhabitants of this unexplored bay had heard of these adventurers, of the wonders which they brought from distant lands, and they were in a state of great excitement, in being visited in their turn.
The bay was fringed with the almost impenetrable forest. Here and there were picturesque openings, where Indian villages, in peaceful beauty, were clustered in the midst of the surrounding foliage. The natives were dressed in garments of deer skin, very softly tanned, hanging gracefully about their persons, and often beautifully ornamented. Many of them wore mantles of gorgeously-colored feathers, quite artistically woven together; and they had also garments of rich furs.
The following morning a party from the vessel landed, in a boat, on the Jersey shore. They were received with great hospitality by the natives, who led them into their wigwams, and regaled them with dried currants, which were quite palatable. As they had no interpreters, they could only communicate with each other by signs. They found the land generally covered with forest trees, with occasional meadows of green grass, profusely interspersed with flowers, which filled the air with fragrance.
Another party of five men, was sent to examine the northern shore of the bay. They probably inflicted some gross outrage upon the natives, as the crew of the Half Moon had conducted infamously, at other points of the coast, where they had landed, robbing and shooting the Indians. The sun had gone down, and a rainy evening had set in, when two canoes impelled rapidly by paddles, overtook the returning boat. One contained fourteen Indians; the other twelve. Approaching within arrow shot, they discharged a volley into the boat. One of these keen-pointed weapons, struck John Coleman in the throat, and instantly killed him. Two other Englishmen were wounded.
The Indians seemed satisfied with their revenge. Though they numbered twenty-six warriors, and there were but two white men left unwounded, the savages permitted them to continue their passage to the vessel, without further molestation. The journalist, who records this assault, is silent respecting the provocation which led to it.
Hudson was alarmed by this hostility, and expected an immediate attack upon the ship. He promptly erected bulwarks along the sides of his vessel as a protection from the arrows of the fleet of war canoes, with which, he supposed, he would be surrounded the next morning.
But the night passed quietly away; the morning dawned, and a few canoes approached from another part of the bay, with no signs of hostility. These peaceful Indians had manifestly heard nothing of the disturbance of the night before. They came unarmed, with all friendly attestations, unsuspicious of danger, and brought corn and tobacco, which they offered in exchange for such trinkets as they could obtain. The next morning, two large canoes approached from the shores of the bay which was many leagues in extent, one of which canoes seemed to be filled with warriors, thoroughly armed. The other was a trading boat.
It is probable that those in the war canoe, came as a protection for their companions. It is hardly conceivable that the Indians, naturally timid and wary, could have thought, with a single war canoe containing scarcely a dozen men, armed with arrows, to attack the formidable vessel of Sir Henry Hudson, armed, as they well knew it to be, with the terrible energies of thunder and lightning.
The Indians were so unsuspicious of danger, that two of them unhesitatingly came on board. Sir Henry, we must think treacherously, seized them as prisoners, and ordered the canoes containing their companions, to keep at a distance. Soon another canoe came, from another direction, with only two men in it. Sir Henry received them both on board, and seized them also as prisoners. He intended to hold them as hostages, that he might thus protect himself from any hostility on the part of the natives.
One of these men upon finding himself a captive, leaped overboard and swam ashore. Sir Henry had now three prisoners and he guarded them very closely. Yet the natives, either from policy or from fear, made no hostile demonstrations against him.
The half Moon remained in the outer bay nine days. Several exploring tours had been sent out, visiting what is now known as the Jersey shore. None of these, with the exception of the one to which we have alluded, encountered any hostility whatever from the natives.
On the 11th of September, Hudson sailed through the Narrows, and anchored in the still and silent waters of New York harbor. These waters had never then been whitened by a sail, or ploughed by any craft larger than the Indian's birch canoe. The next morning, the 12th of September, Sir Henry again spread his sails, and commenced his memorable voyage up the solitary river, which has subsequently borne his name. Only here and there could a few wigwams be seen, scattered through the forest, which fringed its banks. But human life was there, then as now, with the joys of the bridal and the grief of the burial. When we contemplate the million of people, now crowded around the mouth of the Hudson, convulsively struggling in all the stern conflicts of this tumultuous life, it may be doubted whether there were not as much real happiness in the wigwam of the Indian as is now to be found in the gorgeous palace of the modern millionaire. And when we contemplate the vices and the crimes which civilization has developed, it may also be doubted whether, there were not as much virtue, comparatively with the numbers to be found, within the bark hut of the red man, as is now to be found in the abodes of the more boastful white man.
Sir Henry Hudson hoped to find this majestic river, inviting him into unknown regions of the north, to be an arm of the sea through which he could cross the continent to the shores of the Pacific. It was not then known whether this continent were a few miles or thousands of miles in breadth. For the first two days the wind was contrary, and the Half Moon ascended the river but about two miles. The still friendly natives paddled out from the shores, in their bark canoes in great numbers, coming on board entirely unarmed and offering for sale, excellent oysters and vegetables in great abundance.
On the third day a strong breeze sprang up from the southeast. All sail was set upon the Half Moon. It was a bright and beautiful autumnal day. Through enchanting scenery the little vessel ploughed the waves of the unknown river, till, having accomplished forty miles, just at sunset they dropped their anchor in the still waters which are surrounded by the grand and gloomy cliffs of the Highlands.
The next morning, the river and its shores, were enveloped in a dense fog, so that one could see but a few yards before him. Taking advantage of this, the Indian captives, whom Sir Henry Hudson had so treacherously ensnared, leaped out of one of the port-holes, and swam ashore. As soon as they reached the land, they raised loud shouts of hatred and defiance.
The sun soon dispelled the fog, and the voyage was continued, and by night the Half Moon reached a point supposed to be near the present site of Catskill Landing. The natives were numerous, and very friendly. They came freely on board, apparently unsuspicious of danger. It was noticeable that there were many very aged men among them. The river seemed full of fishes, and with their hooks they took large numbers. The next day the Indians came on board in crowds, bringing pumpkins and tobacco. The vessel's boats were sent on shore to procure fresh water.
Early the ensuing morning, they pushed up the river five miles, to a point probably near the present city of Hudson.
Sir Henry Hudson does not appear to advantage in the account transmitted to us of this exploration. Mr. Sparks, in his American Biography, gives the following extraordinary account of one of his procedures.
"It is evident that great distrust was entertained by Hudson and his men towards the natives. He now determined to ascertain, by intoxicating some of the chiefs, and thus throwing them off their guard, whether they were plotting any treachery. He accordingly invited several of them into the cabin, and gave them plenty of brandy to drink. One of these men had his wife with him, who, the Journal informs us, 'sate so modestly as any of our countrywomen would do in a strange place.' But the men had less delicacy and were soon quite merry with the brandy.
"One of them, who had been on board from the first arrival of the ship, was completely intoxicated, and fell sound asleep, to the great astonishment of his companions, who probably feared that he had been poisoned; for they all took to their canoes and made for the shore, leaving their unlucky comrade on board. Their anxiety for his welfare soon induced them to return; and they brought a quantity of beads, which they gave him, perhaps to enable him to purchase his freedom from the spell which had been laid upon him.
"The poor savage slept quietly all night, and when his friends came to visit him the next morning they found him quite well. This restored their confidence, so that they came to the ship again in crowds, in the afternoon, bringing various presents for Hudson. Their visit which was one of unusual ceremony is thus described in the Journal:
"'So at three of the clock in the afternoon, they came aboard and brought tobacco and more beads, and gave them to our master, and made an oration and showed him all the country round about. Then they sent one of their company on land, who presently returned; and brought a great platter full of venison, dressed by themselves, and they caused him to eat with them. Then they made him reverence and departed, all save the old man that lay aboard.'"
It was now manifest that no northwest passage to the Indies could be found in this direction, and it was not deemed expedient to attempt to ascend the river any farther in the ship. The mate, however was sent with a boat's crew, to explore the river some distance higher up. It is supposed that the boat ascended several miles above the present site of the city of Albany, Hudson probably going a little beyond where the town of Waterford now is. Upon the return of the boat, the mate having reported that it was useless to attempt any farther ascent of the river with the ship, Sir Henry commenced his return.
Carefully descending the winding channel of the stream, he was so unfortunate as to run the ship on a mud bank, in the middle of the river nearly opposite the present city of Hudson. Without much difficulty the vessel was again floated, having received no injury. But contrary winds detained him upon the spot two days. In the meantime several boat parties visited the banks on both sides of the stream. They were also visited by many of the natives who were unremitting in their kindness.
A fair wind soon springing up they ran down the river eighteen miles, passing quite a large Indian village where Catskill now stands, and cast anchor in deep water, near Red Hook. Baffled by opposing winds and calms, they slowly worked their way down the stream, the next two days, to near the present point of Castleton. Here a venerable old man, the chief of a small tribe, or rather patriarchal family of forty men and seventeen women, came on board in his birch canoe. He gave Sir Henry a very cordial invitation to visit his little settlement of wigwams, picturesquely nestled upon the banks of the river. Distance lends enchantment to the view. The little hamlet in a sheltered cove where fertile meadows were spread out, was surrounded by fields waving with the harvest. From the deck of the ship the scene presented was one of peace, prosperity and happiness. The smoke ascended gracefully from the wigwam fires, children were sporting upon the beach, and birch canoes, almost as light as bubbles, were being rapidly paddled over the glassy waves.
The good old chief took the English captain ashore and led him into his palace. It was a very humble edifice, constructed of bark so carefully overlapped as effectually to exclude both wind and rain. It was from thirty to forty feet long and eighteen feet wide. There was a door at each end, and ample light was admitted by an opening extending along the whole length, through which the smoke of the fires could escape. The interior was finished with great care, and very smoothly. Under certain states of the atmosphere and of the wind the smoke freely ascended, causing no embarrassment to those within. The ground floor was neatly covered with mats, except in the centre where the fire was built. The whole interior as Sir Hudson entered it, on a serene autumnal day, presented a very cheerful aspect. One might easily be pardoned for imagining, in that hour, that the life of the American savage, free from care, was apparently far more desirable than that of the toil-worn European.
Sir Henry, with the few who accompanied him, was received with great hospitality. Some Indians were immediately sent into the forest for a dinner. They soon returned with some pigeons which they had shot with their arrows. A nice fat puppy was also killed, skinned with a clam-shell, and roasted in the highest style of barbaric culinary art. Thick mats were provided as seats for the guests at this royal festival. Hudson was urged to remain all night. He was evidently a man of very cautious, if not suspicious temperament. He could not, or did not conceal, from the Indians his fears that they were meditating treachery. These artless men, to convince him that he had nothing to apprehend, actually broke their bows and arrows, and threw them into the fire. But nothing could induce Hudson to remain on shore through the night. He describes the land here as very fertile, bearing abundantly, corn, pumpkins, grapes, plums, and various other kinds of small fruits.
Availing himself of a fair wind, he again spread his sails, and on the 1st of October, cast anchor at the mouth of Haverstraw Bay, in the vicinity of Stony Point. He had scarcely furled his sails, when a large number of natives came paddling out from the shore in their little birch canoes. They were entirely unarmed, bringing apparently in a most friendly manner, furs, fish and vegetables for sale. Soon quite a little fleet of these buoyant canoes were gliding over the water. One Indian, paddling beneath the cabin windows, and seeing hanging out certain articles pilfered a pillow and a jacket. As he was making off with his treasures the mate caught sight of him, and seizing his gun mercilessly shot him dead. A severe punishment for so trivial a crime in an untutored savage.
All the Indians on board the Half Moon as they heard the report of the gun, and saw their unfortunate companion fall dead in his blood, were stricken with terror. Some rushed into their canoes. Others plunged into the river to swim ashore. The vessel's boat immediately put off to pick up the canoe with the stolen goods. As it was returning, a solitary Indian, in the water, probably exhausted and drowning, grasped the gunwale. The cook seized a hatchet and with one blow, deliberately cut off the man's hand at the wrist. The poor creature, uttering a shriek, sank beneath the crimsoned waves and was seen no more.
The next day, the Half Moon descended the river about twenty miles through Tappan Sea, and anchored, it is supposed, near the head of Manhattan island. Sir Henry Hudson was apparently oppressed in some degree with the unjustifiable harshness with which he had treated the simple-hearted, yet friendly natives. He was continually and increasingly apprehensive of treachery. A single canoe containing several men approached the ship Hudson's eagle eye perceived that one of these men was one of the captives whom he had seized, but who had escaped from his imprisonment by plunging into the river and swimming ashore. The sight of this man alarmed the captain, and he refused to allow any of them to come on board.
It seems to us rather absurd to suppose that half-a-dozen savages could think of attacking, from a birch canoe, with arrows, a European ship with its well-armed crew. It should be borne in mind that we have the narrative from the white man only. The Indians have had no opportunity to tell their story.
Mr. Brodhead, in his valuable history of New York, gives the following account of the untoward scenes which immediately ensued, compiling from the most ancient records:
"But Hudson, perceiving their intent, would suffer none of them to enter the vessel. Two canoes, full of warriors, then came under the stern, and shot a flight of arrows into the yacht. A few muskets were discharged in retaliation, and two or three of the assailants were killed. Some hundred Indians then assembled at the Point to attack the Half Moon, as she drifted slowly by; but a cannon-shot killed two of them, whereupon the rest fled into the woods. Again the assailants manned another canoe and again the attack was repulsed by a cannon shot which destroyed their frail bark; and so the savages went their way mourning the loss of nine of their warriors. The yacht then got down two leagues beyond that place, and anchored over night on the other side of the river in the bay near Hoboken. Hard by his anchorage and upon that side of the river that is called Mannahatta, Hudson noticed that there was a cliff that looked of the color of white-green. Here he lay wind-bound the next day, and saw no people to trouble him. The following morning, just one month after his arrival at Sandy Hook, Hudson weighed anchor for the last time and coming out of the mouth of the great river, in the which he had run so far, he set all sail and steered off again into the main sea."
It is very evident that Sir Henry Hudson was by no means a good disciplinarian. The authority he exercised over his crew, was very feeble. A mutinous spirit began already to prevail, and we are told that they threatened him savagely. It would appear that Sir Henry and his mate wished to repair to Newfoundland, and after having passed the winter, which was close upon them, there to resume their voyage, in search of a northwest passage, through Davis's Straits. But the turbulent crew would not consent. They compelled the captain to turn the prow of his ship towards Europe. After the voyage of a month the Half Moon cast anchor in the harbor of Dartmouth, England, on the 9th of November, 1609.
It will be remembered that Sir Henry Hudson was an Englishman, though he was sailing in the service of the Dutch East India Company. When the Dutch Directors heard of his arrival in England, and of the important discoveries he had made, they sent orders for him immediately to repair to Amsterdam. At the same time the Dutch government claimed, by the right of discovery, all that portion of the North American continent along whose coasts Hudson had sailed and upon whose shores he had occasionally landed, taking possession of the same in the name of the Dutch government.
The English government, jealous of the advantage which had thus been gained by the flag of Holland, peremptorily forbade Hudson to leave his native country; and for several months the Half Moon was detained at Dartmouth.
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
Value of the Territory Discovered.—Fate of Hudson.—The Conspiracy.—Aspect of Manhattan Island.—The Trail which has Widened into Broadway.—The Opening Commerce.—The Fur Trade.—Visit of the English Man of War.—Exploring the Sound.—Commercial Enterprise Receives a New Stimulus.—Erection of Forts.—Character of the Fur Trade.
The Half Moon was detained in England eight months, and did not reach Amsterdam until the summer of 1610. The Dutch Directors, though disappointed in not finding in the region they had explored the much hoped-for Northwest Passage to the Indies, were somewhat elated by the magnificent discoveries which had been made. The territory they claimed, by virtue of these discoveries, extended from the mouth of the Delaware on the South, to Cape Cod on the Northeast. The grand river of Canada, the St. Lawrence, was deemed its northern frontier. Its western boundaries were unexplored and unknown.
This was indeed a princely territory to be owned by any power. The climate was as favorable as any to be found upon the globe. The soil was fertile, the landscape being picturesquely diversified by mountains and valleys. Vast forests, of the most valuable timber, covered immense portions. Wild fruits and nuts in great variety were found in profusion. The territory was watered by several truly magnificent rivers. The region was filled with game; and furs, of the richest kind and apparently in exhaustless quantities, could be purchased of the natives, at an almost nominal price.
It may be worthy of notice, that Sir Henry Hudson never revisited the pleasant region which he had discovered, and which he had pronounced to be 'as beautiful a land as the foot of man can tread upon.' In the summer of 1610, Hudson entered the service of a London company and sailed from the Thames in the "Discovery," in search of either a Northwest or Northeast passage to the Indies. Passing Iceland, appropriately so called, he gazed with astonishment upon Hecla in full eruption, throwing its fiery flood and molten stones into the air. Doubling the Cape of Greenland, he entered Davis's Straits. Through these he passed into the gloomy waters beyond.
After spending a dismal winter, in the endurance of great privation, exposed to severe Arctic storms, his mutinous crew abandoned him, in the midst of fields of ice, to perish miserably. The following artless account of this tragedy, which is taken from the lips of one of the mutineers, will be read with interest. The ship was surrounded with ice and the crew in a starving condition.
"They had been detained at anchor in the ice," says Pricket,
"about a week, when the first signs of the mutiny appeared. Green, and Wilson the boatswain, came in the night to me, as I was lying in my berth very lame and told me that they and several of the crew had resolved to seize Hudson and set him adrift in the boat, with all on board who were disabled by sickness; that there were but a few days' provisions left; that the master appeared entirely irresolute, which way to go; that for themselves they had eaten nothing for three days. Their only hope therefore was in taking command of the ship, and escaping from these regions as quickly as possible.
"I remonstrated with them in the most earnest manner, entreating them to abandon such a wicked intention. But all I could say had no effect. It was decided that the plot should be put into execution at daylight. In the meantime Green went into Hudson's cabin to keep him company, and to prevent his suspicions from being excited. They had determined to put the carpenter and John King into the boat with Hudson and the sick, having some grudge against them for their attachment to the master. King and the carpenter had slept on deck this night, but about daybreak, King was observed to go down into the hold with the cook, who was going for water. Some of the mutineers ran and shut down the hatch over them, while Green and another engaged the attention of the carpenter, so that he did not observe what was going on.
"Hudson now came from the cabin and was immediately seized by Thomas and Bennet, the cook, who had come up from the hold, while Wilson ran behind and bound his arms. He asked them what they meant, and they told him that he would know when he was in the shallop. Hudson called upon the carpenter to help him, telling him that he was bound. But he could render him no assistance being surrounded by mutineers. The boat was now hauled along side, and the sick and lame were called up from their berths. I crawled upon the deck as well as I could and Hudson, seeing me, called to me to come to the hatchway and speak to him.
"I entreated the men, on my knees, for the love of God, to remember their duty. But they only told me to go back to my berth, and would not allow me to have any communication with Hudson. After the captain was put in the boat, the carpenter was set at liberty; but he refused to remain in the ship unless they forced him. So they told him he might go in the boat and allowed him to take his chest with him. Before he got into the boat, he told me that he believed they would soon be taken on board again, as there was no one left who knew enough to bring the ship home. He thought that the boat would be kept in tow. We then took leave of each other, with tears in our eyes, and the carpenter went into the boat, taking a musket and some powder and shot, an iron pot, a small quantity of meal, and other provisions.
"Hudson's son and six of the men were also put into the boat. The sails were then hoisted and they stood eastward, with a fair wind, dragging the shallop from the stern. In a few hours, being clear of the ice, they cut the rope by which the boat was towed, and soon after lost sight of her forever."
The imagination recoils from following the victims thus abandoned, through the long days and nights of lingering death, from hunger and from cold. To God alone has the fearful tragedy been revealed.
The glowing accounts which Sir Henry Hudson had given of the river he had discovered, and particularly of the rich furs there to be obtained, induced the merchants of Amsterdam in the year 1616 to fit out a trading expedition to that region. A vessel was at once dispatched, freighted with a variety of goods to be exchanged for furs. The enterprise was eminently successful and gradually more minute information was obtained respecting the territory surrounding the spacious bay into which the Hudson river empties its flood.
The island of Manhattan, upon which the city of New York is now built, consisted then of a series of forest-crowned hills, interspersed with crystal streamlets and many small but beautiful lakes. These solitary sheets of water abounded with fish, and water-fowl of varied plumage. They were fringed with forests, bluffs, and moss-covered rocks. The upper part of the island was rough, being much broken by storm-washed crags and wild ravines, with many lovely dells interspersed, fertile in the extreme, blooming with flowers, and in the season, red with delicious strawberries. There were also wild grapes and nuts of various kinds, in great abundance.
The lower part of the island was much more level. There were considerable sections where the forest had entirely disappeared. The extended fields, inviting the plough, waved with luxuriant grass. It was truly a delightful region. The climate was salubrious; the atmosphere in cloudless transparency rivalled the famed skies of Italy.
Where the gloomy prison of the Tombs now stands, there was a lake of crystal water, overhung by towering trees. Its silence and solitude were disturbed only by the cry of the water-fowl which disported upon its surface, while its depths sparkled with the spotted trout. The lake emptied into the Hudson river by a brook which rippled over its pebbly bed, along the present line of Canal street. This beautiful lake was fed by large springs and was sufficiently deep to float any ship in the navy. Indeed it was some time before its bottom could be reached by any sounding line.
There was a gentle eminence or ridge, forming as it were the backbone of the island, along which there was a narrow trail trodden by the moccasined feet of the Indian, in single file for countless generations. Here is now found the renowned Broadway, one of the busiest thoroughfares upon the surface of the globe.
On the corner of Grand street and Broadway, there was a well-wooded hill, from whose commanding height one obtained an enchanting view of the whole island with its surrounding waters. Amidst these solitudes there were many valleys in whose peaceful bosoms the weary of other lands seemed to be invited to take refuge.
Indeed it is doubtful whether the whole continent of North America presented any region more attractive. The salubrity of its clime, the beauty of the scenery, the abundance and purity of the waters, the spacious harbor, the luxuriance of the soil and the unexplored rivers opening communication with vast and unknown regions of the interior, all combined in giving to the place charms which could not be exceeded by any other position on the continent.
The success of the first trading vessel was so great that, within three years, five other ships were sent to the "Mauritius river" as the Hudson was first named. There was thus opened a very brisk traffic with the Indians which was alike beneficial to both parties. Soon one or two small forts were erected and garrisoned on the river for the protection of the traders. Manhattan island, so favorably situated at the mouth of the river, ere long became the headquarters of this commerce. Four log houses were built, it is said, upon the present site of 39, Broadway.
Here a small company of traders established themselves in the silence and solitude of the wilderness. Their trading boats ran up the river, and along the coast, visiting every creek and inlet in the pursuit of furs. The natives, finding this market thus suddenly opening before them, and finding that their furs, heretofore almost valueless, would purchase for them treasures of civilization of almost priceless worth, redoubled their zeal in hunting and trapping.
A small Indian settlement sprang up upon the spot. Quite large cargoes of furs were collected during the winter and shipped to Holland in the spring. The Dutch merchants seem to have been influenced by a high sentiment of honor. The most amicable relations existed between them and the Indians. Henry Christiaensen was the superintendent of this feeble colony. He was a prudent and just man, and, for some time, the lucrative traffic in peltry continued without interruption. The Dutch merchants were exposed to no rivalry, for no European vessels but theirs had, as yet, visited the Mauritius river.
But nothing in this world ever long continues tranquil. The storm ever succeeds the calm. In November, of the year 1613, Captain Argal, an Englishman, in a war vessel, looked in upon the little defenceless trading hamlet, at the mouth of the Hudson, and claiming the territory as belonging to England, compelled Christiaensen to avow fealty to the English crown, and to pay tribute, in token of his dependence upon that power. Christiaensen could make no resistance. One broadside from the British ship would lay his huts in ruins, and expose all the treasures collected there to confiscation. He could only submit to the extortion and send a narrative of the event to the home government.
The merchants in Holland were much alarmed by these proceedings. They presented a petition to the States-General, praying that those who discovered new territory, on the North American continent, or elsewhere, might enjoy the exclusive right of trading with the inhabitants of those regions during six consecutive voyages.
This request was granted, limiting the number of voyages however to four instead of six. In the meantime the Dutch merchants erected and garrisoned two small forts to protect themselves from such piratic excursions as that of captain Argal. In the year 1614 five vessels arrived at Manhattan to transport to Europe the furs which had been purchased. Just as Captain Block was preparing to return, his ship, the Tiger, which was riding at anchor just off the southern point of Manhattan island, took fire, and was burned to the water's edge.
He was a very energetic man, not easily dismayed by misfortune. The island abounded with admirable timber for ship building. He immediately commenced the construction of another vessel. This yacht was forty-four and a half feet long, and eleven and a half feet wide. The natives watched the growth of the stupendous structure with astonishment. In the most friendly manner they rendered efficient aid in drawing the heavy timber from the forest to the shipyard. They also brought in abundant food for the supply of the strangers.
Early in the spring of 1614 the "Restless" was launched. Immediately Captain Block entered upon an exploring tour through what is now called the East River. He gave the whole river the name of the Hellegat, from a branch of the river Scheldt in East Flanders. The unpropitious name still adheres to the tumultuous point of whirling eddies where the waters of the sound unite with those of the river.
Coasting along the narrow portion of the sound, he named the land upon his right, which he did not then know to be an island, Metoac or the Land of Shells. We should rather say he accepted that name from the Indians. On this cruise he discovered the mouths of the Housatonic and of the Connecticut. He ascended this latter stream, which he called Fresh River, several leagues. Indian villages were picturesquely scattered along the shores, and the birch canoes of the Indians were swiftly paddled over the mirrored waters. All else was silence and solitude. The gloom of the forest overshadowed the banks and the numerous water-fowl were undisturbed upon the stream. The natives were friendly but timid. They were overawed by the presence of the gigantic structure which had invaded their solitude.
Continuing his cruise to the eastward he reached the main ocean, and thus found that the land upon his left was an island, now known as Long Island. Still pressing forward he discovered the great Narragansett Bay, which he thoroughly explored, and then continued his course to Cape Cod, which, it will be remembered, Sir Henry Hudson had already discovered, and which he had called New Holland.
Intelligence was promptly transmitted to Holland of these discoveries and the United Company, under whose auspices the discoveries had been made, adopted vigorous measures to secure, from the States-General, the exclusive right to trade with the natives of those wide realms. A very emphatic ordinance was passed, granting this request, on the 27th of March, 1614.
This ordinance stimulated to a high degree the spirit of commercial enterprise. The province was called New Netherland, and embraced the territory within the 40th and 45th degrees of north latitude. All persons, excepting the United "New Netherland Company," were prohibited from trading within those limits, under penalty of the confiscation of both vessels and cargoes, and also a fine of fifty thousand Dutch ducats.
The Company immediately erected a trading-house, at the head of navigation of the Hudson river, which as we have mentioned, was then called Prince Maurice's River. This house was on an island, called Castle Island, a little below the present city of Albany, and was thirty-six feet long and twenty-six feet wide, and was strongly built of logs. As protection from European buccaneers rather than from the friendly Indians, it was surrounded by a strong stockade, fifty feet square. This was encircled by a moat eighteen feet wide. The whole was defended by several cannon and was garrisoned by twelve soldiers.
This port, far away in the loneliness of the wilderness, was called Fort Nassau. Jacob Elkins was placed in command. Now that the majestic Hudson is whitened with the sails of every variety of vessels and barges, while steamers go rushing by, swarming with multitudes, which can scarcely be counted, of the seekers of wealth or pleasures, and railroad trains sweep thundering over the hills and through the valleys, and the landscape is adorned with populous cities and beautiful villas, it is difficult to form a conception of the silence and solitude of those regions but about two hundred and fifty years ago, when the tread of the moccasoned Indian fell noiseless upon the leafy trail, and when the birch canoe alone was silently paddled from cove to cove.
In addition to the fort in the vicinity of Albany, another was erected at the southern extremity of Manhattan Island at the mouth of the Hudson. Here the company established its headquarters and immediately entered into a very honorable and lucrative traffic with the Indians, for their valuable furs. The leaders of the Company were men of integrity, and the Indians were all pleased with the traffic, for they were ever treated with consideration, and received for their furs, which they easily obtained, articles which were of priceless value to them.
The vagabond white men, who were lingering about the frontiers of civilization, inflicting innumerable and nameless outrages upon the natives, were rigorously excluded from these regions. Thus the relations existing between the Indians and their European visitors were friendly in the highest degree. Both parties were alike benefited by this traffic; the Indian certainly not less than the European, for he was receiving into his lowly wigwam the products of the highest civilization.
Indian tribes scattered far and wide through the primitive and illimitable forest, plied all their energies with new diligence, in taking game. They climbed the loftiest mountains and penetrated the most distant streams with their snares. Some came trudging to the forts on foot, with large packs of peltries upon their backs. Others came in their birch canoes, loaded to the gunwales, having set their traps along leagues of the river's coast and of distant streams.
Once a year the ships of the company came laden with the most useful articles for traffic with the Indians, and, in return, transported back to Europe the furs which had been collected. Such were the blessings which peace and friendship conferred upon all. There seemed to be no temptation to outrage. The intelligent Hollanders were well aware that it was for their interest to secure the confidence of the Indian by treating him justly. And the Indian was not at all disposed to incur the resentment of strangers from whom he was receiving such great benefits.
The little yacht "Restless," of which we have spoken, on one of her exploring tours, visited Delaware Bay, and ascended that beautiful sheet of water as far as the Schuylkill River. Runners were also sent back from the forts, to follow the narrow trails far into the woods, to open communication with new tribes, to examine the country, and to obtain a more intimate acquaintance with the manners and customs of the Indians.
In the spring of 1617 a very high freshet, accompanied by the breaking up of the ice, so injured Fort Nassau that the traders were compelled to abandon it. A new and very advantageous situation was selected, at the mouth of the Tawasentha Creek, subsequently called Norman's Kill. This name is said to have been derived from a native of Denmark, called the Norman, who settled there in 1630.
In this vicinity there was a very celebrated confederation of Indian tribes called the Five Nations. These tribes were the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. They were frequently known by the generic name of the Iroquois. When the Dutch arrived, the Iroquois were at war with the Canadian Indians, who, though composed of different tribes, were known by the general name of the Algonquins. The Iroquois had been worsted in several conflicts. This led them eagerly to seek alliance with the white men, who, with their wonderful instruments of war, seemed to wield the energies of thunder and lightning.
The Algonquins had, some years before, formed an alliance with the French in Canada. The Iroquois now entered into an alliance with the Dutch. It was a very important movement, and the treaty look place, with many surroundings of barbaric pomp, on the banks of the Norman's Kill.
Ambassadors from each of the five tribes graced the occasion. Leading chiefs of several other tribes were also invited to be present, to witness the imposing ceremony. The garrison furnished for the pageant the waving of silken banners and the exhilarating music of its band. The Indian chiefs attended with their decorated weapons, and they were arrayed in the richest costume of war paint, fringed garments, and nodding plumes.
The assembly was large. The belt of peace, gorgeously embroidered with many-colored beads, on softly-tanned deer skin, was held at one end by the Iroquois chieftains, and at the other by the prominent men of the Dutch Company, in their most showy attire. The pipe of peace was smoked with solemn gravity. The tomahawk was buried, and each party pledged itself to eternal friendship.
The united nation of the Iroquois, in numbers and valor, had become quite supreme throughout all this region. All the adjacent tribes bowed before their supremacy. In Mr. Street's metrical romance, entitled "Frontenac" he speaks, in pleasing verse, of the prowess and achievements of these formidable warriors.
"The fierce Adirondacs had fled from their wrath, The Hurons been swept from their merciless path, Around, the Ottawas, like leaves, had been strown, And the lake of the Eries struck silent and lone. The Lenape, lords once of valley and hill, Made women, bent low at their conquerors' will. By the far Mississippi the Illini shrank When the trail of the Tortoise was seen on the bank. On the hills of New England the Pequod turned pale When the howl of the Wolf swelled at night on the gale, And the Cherokee shook, in his green smiling bowers, When the foot of the Bear stamped his carpet of flowers."
Thus far the Iroquois possessed only bows and arrows. They were faithful to their promises, and implicit confidence could be reposed in their pledge. The Dutch traders, without any fear, penetrated the wilderness in all directions, and were invariably hospitably received in the wigwams of the Indians.
In their traffic the Dutch at first exchanged for furs only articles of ornament or of domestic value. But the bullet was a far more potent weapon in the chase and in the hunting-field than the arrow. The Indians very soon perceived the vast advantage they would derive in their pursuit of game, from the musket, as well as the superiority it would give them over all their foes. They consequently became very eager to obtain muskets, powder and ball. They were warm friends of the Europeans. There seemed to be no probability of their becoming enemies. Muskets and steel traps enabled them to obtain many more furs. Thus the Indians were soon furnished with an abundant supply of fire-arms, and became unerring marksmen.
Year after year the returns from the trading-posts became more valuable; and the explorations were pushed farther and farther into the interior. The canoes of the traders penetrated the wide realms watered by the upper channels of the Delaware. A trading-house was also erected in the vast forest, upon the Jersey shore of the Hudson River, where the thronged streets of Jersey City at the present hour cover the soil.
We have now reached the year 1618, two years before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Though the energetic Dutch merchants were thus perseveringly and humanely pushing their commerce, and extending their trading posts, no attempt had yet been made for any systematic agricultural colonization.
The Dutch alone had then any accurate knowledge of the Hudson River, or of the coasts of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island. In 1618 the special charter of the Company, conferring upon them the monopoly of exclusive trade with the Indians, expired. Though the trade was thus thrown open to any adventurous Dutch merchant, still the members of the Company enjoyed an immense advantage in having all the channels perfectly understood by them, and in being in possession of such important posts.
English fishing vessels visited the coast of Maine, and an unsuccessful attempt had been made to establish a colony at the mouth of the Kennebec River. Sir Walter Raleigh had also made a very vigorous but unavailing effort to establish a colony in Virginia. Before the year 1600, every vestige of his attempt had disappeared. Mr. John Romeyn Brodhead, in his valuable history of the State of New York, speaking of this illustrious man, says:
"The colonists, whom Raleigh sent to the island of Roanoke in 1585, under Grenville and Lane, returned the next year dispirited to England. A second expedition, dispatched in 1587, under John White, to found the borough of Raleigh, in Virginia, stopped short of the unexplored Chesapeake, whither it was bound, and once more occupied Roanoke. In 1590 the unfortunate emigrants had wholly disappeared; and with their extinction all immediate attempts to establish an English colony in Virginia were abandoned. Its name alone survived.
"After impoverishing himself in unsuccessful efforts to add an effective American plantation to his native kingdom, Raleigh, the magnanimous patriot, was consigned, under an unjust judgment, to lingering imprisonment in the Tower of London, to be followed, after the lapse of fifteen years, by a still more iniquitous execution. Yet returning justice has fully vindicated Raleigh's fame. And nearly two centuries after his death the State of North Carolina gratefully named its capital after that extraordinary man, who united in himself as many kinds of glory as were ever combined in any individual."
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONISATION.
The Puritans.—Memorial to the States-General.—Disagreement of the English and the Dutch.—Colony on the Delaware.—Purchase of Manhattan.—The First Settlement.—An Indian Robbed and Murdered.—Description of the Island.—Diplomatic Intercourse.—Testimony of De Rassieres.—The Patroons.—The Disaster at Swaanendael.
In the year 1620 the Puritans founded their world-renowned colony at Plymouth, as we have minutely described in the History of Miles Standish. It will be remembered that the original company of Puritans were of English birth. Dissatisfied with the ritual and ceremonies which the Church of England had endeavored to impose upon them, they had emigrated to Holland, where they had formed a church upon their own model. Rev. John Robinson, a man of fervent piety and of enlightened views above his times, was their pastor.
After residing in Holland for several years, this little band of Englishmen, not pleased with that country as their permanent abode, decided to seek a new home upon the continent of North America. They first directed their attention towards Virginia, but various obstacles were thrown in their way by the British Government, and at length Mr. Robinson addressed a letter to the Dutch Company, intimating the disposition felt by certain members of his flock, to take up their residence at New Netherland.
The proposition was very cordially received. The intelligent gentlemen of that Company at once saw that there was thus presented to them an opportunity to establish a colony, at their trading post, which it would be wise to embrace. They therefore addressed a memorial upon the subject to the States-General, and to the Prince of Orange, in which they urged the importance of accepting the proposition which they had received from Mr. Robinson, and of thus commencing an agricultural colony upon the island of Manhattan. In this memorial they write under date of February, 1620:
"It now happens that there resides at Leyden an English clergyman, well versed in the Dutch language, who is favorably inclined to go and dwell there. Your petitioners are assured that he knows more than four hundred families, who, provided they were defended and secured there by your Royal Highness, and that of the High and Mighty Lords States-General, from all violence on the part of other potentates, would depart thither, with him, from this country and from England, to plant, forthwith, everywhere the true and pure Christian religion; to instruct the Indians of those countries in the true doctrine; to bring them to the Christian belief; and likewise, through the grace of the Lord, and for the greater honor of the rulers of this land to people all that region under a new dispensation; all under the order and command of your princely Highness and of the High and Mighty Lords States-General.
"Your petitioners have also learned that His Britannic Majesty is inclined to people the aforesaid lands with Englishmen; to destroy your petitioners' possessions and discoveries, and also to deprive this State of its right to these lands, while the ships belonging to this country, which are there during the whole of the present year, will apparently and probably be surprised by the English."
The petitioners therefore prayed that the request of Mr. Robinson might be favorably regarded; that the contemplated colony should be taken under the protection of the Dutch government, and that two ships of war should be sent out for the defence of the infant settlements.
The Dutch government was then upon the eve of a war with Spain, and all its energies were demanded in preparation for the conflict. They therefore quite peremptorily refused to entertain the petition of the New Netherland Company. Thus the destination of the Puritans was changed. Though they were not encouraged to commence their colonial life at New Netherland, still it was their intention when they sailed from England, to find a home somewhere in that vicinity, as England, as well as Holland, claimed the whole coast. A note, in the History of New Netherland, by E.B. O'Callaghan, contains the following interesting statement upon this subject:
"Some historians represent that the Pilgrims were taken against their will to New Plymouth, by the treachery of the captain of the Mayflower, who, they assert, was bribed by the Dutch to land them at a distance from the Hudson river. This has been shown, over and over again, to have been a calumny; and, if any farther evidence were requisite, it is now furnished, of a most conclusive nature, by the petition in behalf of the Rev. Mr. Robinson's congregation, of Feb. 1620, and the rejection of its prayer by their High Mightinesses.
"That the Dutch were anxious to secure the settlement of the Pilgrims under them, is freely admitted by the latter. Governor Bradford, in his History of the Plymouth Colony, acknowledges it, and adds that the Dutch for that end made them large offers.
"Winslow corroborates this in his 'Brief Narrative,' and adds that the Dutch would have freely transported us to the Hudson river, and furnished every family with cattle. The whole of this evidence satisfactorily establishes the good will of the Dutch people towards the English; while the determination of the States-General proves that there was no encouragement held out by the Dutch government to induce them to settle in their American possessions. On the contrary, having formally rejected their petition, they thereby secured themselves against all suspicion of dealing unfairly by those who afterwards landed at Cape Cod. It is to be hoped, therefore, that even for the credit of the Pilgrims, the idle tale will not be repeated."
There were many indications that a conflict would ere long arise between the Dutch and the English. The English repudiated entirely the Dutch claim to any right of possession on the Atlantic coast. They maintained their right to the whole American coast, from the Spanish possessions in Florida, to the French posts in Canada. The English government founded its claim upon the ground of first discovery, occupation and possession. Various companies, in England, had, by charters and letters patent from their sovereigns, been entrusted with these vast territories. It was quite evident that these conflicting claims between England and Holland must eventually lead to collision.
The Dutch merchants continued to push their commercial enterprises in New Netherland with great energy. They were preparing to send quite a large fleet of merchant vessels to the extensive line of coast which they claimed, when the British merchants composing what was called the Plymouth Company, took the alarm, and presented a petition to James I., remonstrating against such proceedings. The British government promptly sent an ambassador to Holland to urge the States-General to prohibit the departure of the fleet, and to forbid the establishment of a Dutch colony in those regions. The diplomacy which ensued led to no decisive results.
In the year 1623, the Dutch sent a ship, under captain May, and established a small colony upon the eastern banks of the Delaware, about fifty miles from its mouth. The settlement, which consisted of about thirty families, was in the vicinity of the present town of Gloucester. A fortress was erected, called Fort Nassau. This was the first European settlement upon the Delaware, which stream was then called Prince Hendrick's, or South River. Another fortified post, called Fort Orange, was established upon the western banks of the Hudson River about thirty-six miles from the island of Manhattan.
Very slowly the tide of emigration began to flow towards the Hudson. A few families settled on Staten Island. Not pleased with their isolated location, they soon removed to the northern shore of Long Island, and reared their log cabins upon the banks of a beautiful bay, which they called Wahle-Bocht, or "the Bay of the Foreigners." The name has since been corrupted into Wallabout. The western extremity of Long Island was then called Breukelen, which has since been Anglicised into Brooklyn.
The government of these feeble communities was committed to a Governor, called Director, and a Council of five men. One of the first Governors was Peter Minuit, who was appointed in the year 1624. The English still claimed the territory which the Dutch were so quietly and efficiently settling. In the year 1626, the Dutch decided to make a permanent settlement upon Manhattan island, which was then estimated to contain about twenty-two thousand acres of land. The island was purchased of the natives for twenty-four dollars. It was all that, at that time, the savage wilderness was worth. In that year the export of furs amounted to nineteen thousand dollars.
The colony soon numbered about two hundred persons. The village consisted of thirty log houses, extending along the banks of the East River. These cabins were one story high, with thatched roof, wooden chimneys, and two rooms on the floor. Barrels, placed on an end, furnished the tables. The chairs were logs of wood. Undoubtedly in many of these humble homes more true happiness was found than is now experienced in some of the palatial mansions which grace the gorgeous avenues of the city. About this time three ships arrived, containing a large number of families with farming implements, and over a hundred head of cattle. To prevent the cattle from being lost in the woods, they were pastured on Governor's, then called Nutten's Island.
And now the tide of emigration began pretty rapidly to increase. The Dutch transported emigrants for twelve and a half cents a day, during the voyage, for both passage and food. They also gave them, upon reaching the colony, as much land as they were able to cultivate. With a wise toleration, which greatly honored them, the fullest religious freedom of speech and worship was allowed.
A strong block-house, surrounded with palisades of red cedar, was thrown up on the south point of Manhattan Island, and was called Fort Amsterdam. This became the headquarters of the government and the capital of the extended, though not very clearly defined, realm of New Netherland.
An unfortunate occurrence now took place which eventually involved the colony in serious trouble. An Indian, from the vicinity of Westchester, came with his nephew, a small boy, bringing some beaver skins to barter with the Dutch at the fort. The narrow trail through the forest, led in a southeast direction, along the shore of the East River, till it reached what was called Kip's Bay. Then, diverging to the west, it passed near the pond of fresh water, which was about half way between what are now Broadway and Chatham streets. This pond, for a century or more, was known as the Kolck or the Collect.
When the Indians reached this point, they were waylaid by three white men, robbed of their furs, and the elder one was murdered. The boy made his escape and returned to his wilderness home, vowing to revenge the murder of his uncle. It does not appear that the Dutch authorities were informed of this murder. They certainly did not punish the murderers, nor make any attempt to expiate the crime, by presents to the Indians.
"The island of Manhattan," wrote De Rassieres at this time,
"is full of trees and in the middle rocky. On the north side there is good land in two places, where two farmers, each with four horses, would have enough to do without much grubbing or clearing at first. The grass is good in the forests and valleys; but when made into hay, it is not so nutritious for the cattle as the hay in Holland, in consequence of its wild state, yet it annually improves by culture.
"On the east side there rises a large level field, of about one hundred and sixty acres, through which runs a very fine fresh stream; so that land can be ploughed without much clearing. It appears to be good. The six farms, four of which lie along the river Hell-gate, stretching to the south side of the island, have at least one hundred and twenty acres to be sown with winter seed, which, at the most, may have been ploughed eight times."
There were eighteen families at Fort Orange, which was situated on Tawalsoutha creek, on the west side of the Hudson river, about thirty-six Dutch miles above the island of Manhattan. These colonists built themselves huts of bark, and lived on terms of cordial friendship with the Indians. Wassenaar writes, "The Indians were as quiet as lambs, and came and traded with all the freedom imaginable."
The Puritans had now been five years at Plymouth. So little were they acquainted with the geography of the country that they supposed New England to be an island. Floating rumors had reached them of the Dutch colony at the mouth of the Hudson. Governor Bradford commissioned Mr. Winslow to visit the Dutch, who had sent a ship to Narragansett bay to trade, that he might dissuade them from encroaching in their trade upon territory which the Puritans considered as exclusively belonging to them. Mr. Winslow failed to meet the Dutch before their vessel had sailed on its return to Manhattan.
Soon after this the Dutch Governor, Peter Minuit, sent secretary De Rassieres to Governor Bradford, with a very friendly letter, congratulating the Plymouth colony upon its prosperity, inviting to commercial relations, and offering to supply their English neighbors with any commodities which they might want.
Governor Bradford, in his reply, very cordially reciprocated these friendly greetings. Gracefully he alluded to the hospitality with which the exiled Pilgrims had been received in Holland. "Many of us," he wrote,
"are tied by the good and courteous entreaty which we have found in your country, having lived there many years with freedom and good content, as many of our friends do this day; for which we are bound to be thankful, and our children after us, and shall never forget the same."
At the same time he claimed that the territory, north of forty degrees of latitude, which included a large part of New Netherland, and all their Hudson river possessions, belonged to the English. Still he promised that, for the sake of good neighborhood, the English would not molest the Dutch at the mouth of the Hudson, if they would "forbear to trade with the natives in this bay and river of Narragansett and Sowames, which is, as it were, at our doors."
The authorities at Fort Amsterdam could not, for a moment, admit this claim of English supremacy over New Netherland. Director Minuit returned an answer, remarkable for its courteous tone, but in which he firmly maintained the right of the Dutch to trade with the Narragansetts as they had done for years, adding "As the English claim authority under the king of England, so we derive ours from the States of Holland, and we shall defend it."
Governor Bradford sent this correspondence to England. In an accompanying document he said,
"the Dutch, for strength of men and fortification, far exceed us in all this land. They have used trading here for six or seven and twenty years; but have begun to plant of later time; and now have reduced their trade to some order, and confined it only to their company, which, heretofore, was spoiled by their seamen and interlopers, as ours is, this year most notoriously. Besides spoiling our trade, the Dutch continue to sell muskets, powder and shot to the Indians, which will be the overthrow of all, if it be not looked into."
Director Minuit must have possessed some very noble traits of character. After waiting three months to receive a reply to his last communication, he sent another letter, reiterating the most friendly sentiments, and urging that an authorized agent should be sent from Plymouth to New Amsterdam, to confer "by word of mouth, touching our mutual commerce and trading." He stated, moreover, that if it were inconvenient for Governor Bradford to send such an agent, they would depute one to Plymouth themselves. In further token of kindness, he sent to the Plymouth Governor, "a rundlet of sugar and two Holland cheeses."
It is truly refreshing to witness the fraternal spirit manifested on this occasion. How many of the woes of this world might have been averted had the brotherhood of man been thus recognized by the leaders of the nations!
A messenger was sent to Plymouth. He was hospitably entertained, and returned to Fort Amsterdam with such testimonials of his reception as induced Director Minuit to send a formal ambassador to Plymouth, entrusted with plenipotentiary powers. Governor Bradford apologized for not sending an ambassador to Fort Amsterdam, stating, "one of our boats is abroad, and we have much business at home." Director Minuit selected Isaac De Rassieres, secretary of the province, "a man of fair and genteel behavior," as his ambassador. This movement was, to those infant colonies, an event of as much importance as any of the more stately embassies which have been interchanged between European courts.
The barque Nassau was fitted out, and manned with a small band of soldiers, and some trumpeters. It was the last of September, 1629, when earth and sky were bathed in all the glories of New England autumnal days. In De Rassieres' account of the excursion, he writes:
"Sailing through Hell-gate, and along the shores of Connecticut and Rhode Island, we arrived, early the next month, off Frenchman's Point, at a small river where those of New Plymouth have a house, made of hewn oak planks, called Aptuxet; where they keep two men, winter and summer, in order to maintain the trade and possession."
This Aptuxet was at the head of Buzzard's Bay, upon the site of the present village of Monumet, in the town of Sandwich. Near by there was a creek, penetrating the neck of Cape Cod, which approached another creek on the other side so near that, by a portage of but about five miles, goods could be transported across.
As the Nassau came in sight of this lonely trading port suddenly the peals of the Dutch trumpets awoke the echoes of the forest. It was the 4th of October. A letter was immediately dispatched by a fleet-footed Indian runner to Plymouth. A boat was promptly sent to the head of the creek, called Manoucusett, on the north side of the cape, and De Rassieres, with his companions, having threaded the Indian trail through the wilderness for five miles, was received on board the Pilgrims' boat and conveyed to Plymouth, "honorably attended with the noise of trumpeters."
This meeting was a source of enjoyment to both parties. The two nations of England and Holland were in friendly alliance, and consequently this interview, in the solitudes of the New World, of the representatives of the two colonies, was mutually agreeable. The Pilgrims, having many of them for a long time resided in Holland, cherished memories of that country with feelings of strong affection and regarded the Hollanders almost as fellow-countrymen.
But again Governor Bradford asserted the right of the English to the country claimed by the Dutch, and even intimated that force might soon be employed to vindicate the British pretentions. We must admire the conduct of both parties in this emergency. The Dutch, instead of retaliating with threats and violence, sent a conciliatory memorial to Charles I., then King of England. And Charles, much to his credit, issued an order that all the English ports, whether in the kingdom or in the territories of the British king, should be thrown open to the Dutch vessels, trading to or from New Netherland.
The management of the affairs of the Dutch Colony was entrusted to a body of merchants called the West India Company. In the year 1629, this energetic company purchased of the Indians the exclusive title to a vast territory, extending north from Cape Henlopen, on the south side of Delaware Bay, two miles in breadth and running thirty-two miles inland.
The reader of the record of these days, often meets with the word Patroon, without perhaps having any very distinct idea of its significance. In order to encourage emigration and the establishment of colonies, the authorities in Holland issued a charter, conferring large extents of land and exclusive privileges, upon such members of the West India Company as might undertake to settle any colony in New Netherland.
"All such," it was proclaimed in this charter,
"shall be acknowledged Patroons of New Netherland, who shall, within the space of four years, undertake to plant a colony there of fifty souls upwards of fifteen years of age. The Patroons, by virtue of their power, shall be permitted, at such places as they shall settle their colonies, to extend their limits four miles along the shore, and so far into the country as the situation of the occupiers will admit."
The patroons, thus in possession of territory equal to many of the dukedoms and principalities of Europe, were invested with the authority which had been exercised in Europe by the old feudal lords. They could settle all disputes, in civil cases, between man and man. They could appoint local officers and magistrates, erect courts, and punish all crimes committed within their limits, being even authorized to inflict death upon the gallows. They could purchase any amount of unappropriated lands from the Indians.
One of these patroons, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, a wealthy merchant in Holland, who had been accustomed to polish pearls and diamonds, became, as patroon, possessed of nearly the whole of the present counties of Albany and Rensselaer, in the State cf New York, embracing the vast area of one thousand one hundred and forty-one square miles. Soon all the important points on the Hudson River and the Delaware were thus caught up by these patroons, wealthy merchants of the West India Company.
When the news of these transactions reached Holland, great dissatisfaction was felt by the less fortunate shareholders, that individuals had grasped such a vast extent of territory. It was supposed that Director Minuit was too much in sympathy with the patroons, who were becoming very powerful, and he was recalled. All were compelled to admit that during his administration the condition of the colony had been prosperous. The whole of Manhattan Island had been honestly purchased of the Indians. Industry had flourished. Friendly relations were everywhere maintained with the natives. The northwestern shores of Long Island were studded with the log cottages of the settlers. During his directorship the exports of the colony had trebled, amounting, in the year 1632, to nearly fifty thousand dollars.
We come now to a scene of war, blood and woe, for which the Dutch were not at all accountable. It will be remembered that a colony had been established near the mouth of Delaware Bay. Two vessels were dispatched from Holland for this point containing a number of emigrants, a large stock of cattle, and whaling equipments, as whales abounded in the bay. The ship, called the Walvis, arrived upon the coast in April, 1631. Running along the western shore of this beautiful sheet of water, they came to a fine navigable stream, which was called Horekill, abounding with picturesque islands, with a soil of exuberant fertility, and where the waters were filled with fishes and very fine oysters. There was here also a roadstead unequalled in the whole bay for convenience and safety.
Here the emigrants built a fort and surrounded it with palisades, and a thriving Dutch colony of about thirty souls was planted. They formally named the place, which was near the present town of Lewiston, Swaanendael. A pillar was raised, surmounted by a plate of glittering tin, upon which was emblazoned the arms of Holland; and which also announced that the Dutch claimed the territory by the title of discovery, purchase and occupation.
For awhile the affairs of this colony went on very prosperously. But in May, 1632, an expedition, consisting of two ships, was fitted out from Holland. with additional emigrants and supplies. Just before the vessels left the Texel, a ship from Manhattan brought the melancholy intelligence to Amsterdam that the colony at Swaanendael had been destroyed by the savages, thirty-two men having been killed outside of the fort working in the fields. Still DeVrees, who commanded the expedition, hoping that the report was exaggerated, and that the colony might still live, in sadness and disappointment proceeded on his way. One of his vessels ran upon the sands off Dunkirk, causing a delay of two months. It was not until the end of December that the vessels cast anchor off Swaanendael. No boat from the shore approached; no signs of life met the eye. The next morning a boat, thoroughly armed, was sent into the creek on an exploring tour.
Upon reaching the spot where the fort had been erected they found the building and palisades burned, and the ground strewn with the hones of their murdered countrymen, intermingled with the remains of cattle. The silence and solitude of the tombs brooded over the devastated region. Not even a savage was to be seen. As the boat returned with these melancholy tidings, DeVrees caused a heavy cannon to be fired, hoping that its thunders, reverberating over the bay, and echoing through the trails of the wilderness, might reach the ear of some friendly Indian, from whom he could learn the details of the disaster.
The next morning a smoke was seen curling up from the forest near the ruins. The boat was again sent into the creek, and two or three Indians were seen cautiously prowling about. But mutual distrust stood in the way of any intercourse. The Dutch were as apprehensive of ambuscades and the arrows of the Indians, as were the savages of the bullets of the formidable strangers.
Some of the savages at length ventured to come down to the shore, off which the open boat floated, beyond the reach of arrows. Lured by friendly signs, one of the Indians soon became emboldened to venture on board. He was treated with great kindness, and succeeded in communicating the following, undoubtedly true, account of the destruction of the colony:
"One of the chiefs, seeing the glittering tin plate, emblazoned with the arms of Holland, so conspicuously exposed upon the column, apparently without any consciousness that he was doing anything wrong, openly, without any attempt at secrecy, took it down and quite skilfully manufactured it into tobacco pipes. The commander of the fort, a man by the name of Hossett, complained so bitterly of this, as an outrage that must not pass unavenged, that some of the friendly Indians, to win his favor, killed the chief, and brought to Hossett his head, or some other decisive evidence that the deed was done."
The commandant was shocked at this severity of retribution, so far exceeding anything which he had desired, and told the savages that they had done very wrong; that they should only have arrested the chief and brought him to the fort. The commandant would simply have reprimanded him and forbidden him to repeat the offence.
The ignorant Indians of the tribe, whose chief had thus summarily, and, as they felt, unjustly been put to death, had all their savage instincts roused to intensity. They regarded the strangers at the fort as instigating the deed and responsible for it. They resolved upon bloody vengeance.
A party of warriors, thoroughly armed, came stealing through the glades of the forest and approached the unsuspecting fort. All the men were at work in the fields excepting one, who was left sick at home. There was also chained up in the fort, a powerful and faithful mastiff, of whom the Indians stood in great dread. Three of the savages, concealing, as far as they could, their weapons, approached the fort, under the pretence of bartering some beaver skins. They met Hossett, the commander, not far from the door. He entered the house with them, not having the slightest suspicion of their hostile intent. He ascended some steep stairs into the attic, where the stores for trade were deposited, and as he was coming down, one of the Indians, watching his opportunity, struck him dead with an axe. They then killed the sick man. Standing at a cautious distance, they shot twenty-five arrows into the chained mastiff till he sank motionless in death.
The colonists in the field, in the meantime, were entirely unaware of the awful scenes which were transpiring, and of their own impending peril. The wily Indians approached them, under the guise of friendship. Each party had its marked man. At a given signal, with the utmost ferocity they fell upon their victims. With arrows, tomahawks and war-clubs, the work was soon completed. Not a man escaped.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER.
Friendly Relations Restored.—Wouter Van Twiller New Director.—Captain Elkins.—Remonstrance of De Vrees.—Claims for the Connecticut.—The Plymouth Expedition.—A Boat's Crew Murdered.—Condition of the Colony in 1633.—Emigration to the Connecticut.—Emigrants from Holland.—The Red Rocks.—New Haven Colony Established.—Natural.—Indian Remonstrance Against Taxation.—Outrage upon the Raritan Indians.—Indian Revenge.
De Vrees very wisely decided that it would be but a barren vengeance to endeavor to retaliate upon the roaming savages, when probably more suffering would be inflicted upon the innocent than upon the guilty. He therefore, to their astonishment and great joy, entered into a formal treaty of peace and alliance with them. Any attempt to bring the offenders to justice would of course have been unavailing, as they could easily scatter, far and wide, through the trackless wilderness. Arrangements were made for re-opening trade, and the Indians with alacrity departed to hunt beaver.
A new Director was appointed at Manhattan, Wouter Van Twiller. He was an inexperienced young man, and owed his appointment to the powerful patronage he enjoyed from having married the niece of the patroon Van Rensselaer. Thus a "raw Amsterdam clerk," embarked in a ship of twenty guns, with a military force of one hundred and four soldiers, to assume the government of New Netherland. The main object of this mercantile governor seemed to be to secure trade with the natives and to send home furs.
De Vrees, having concluded his peace with the Indians, sailed up the South river, as they then called the Delaware, through the floating ice, to a trading post, which had been established some time before at a point about four miles below the present site of Philadelphia. He thought he saw indications of treachery, and was constantly on his guard. He found the post, which was called Fort Nassau, like a similar post on the Hudson, deserted. The chiefs, however, of nine different tribes, came on board, bringing presents of beaver skins, avowing the most friendly feelings, and they entered into a formal treaty with the Dutch. There did not, however, seem to be any encouragement again to attempt the establishment of a colony, or of any trading posts in that region. He therefore abandoned the Delaware river, and for some time no further attempts were made to colonize its coasts.
In April, 1633, an English ship arrived at Manhattan. The bluff captain, Jacob Elkins, who had formerly been in the Dutch employ, but had been dismissed from their service, refused to recognize the Dutch authorities, declaring that New Netherland was English territory, discovered by Hudson, an Englishman. It was replied that though Hudson was an Englishman, he was in the service of the East India Company at Amsterdam; that no English colonists had ever settled in the region, and that the river itself was named Mauritius river, after the Prince of Orange.
Elkins was not to be thus dissuaded. He had formerly spent four years at this post, and was thoroughly acquainted with the habits and language of the Indians. His spirit was roused. He declared that he would sail up the river if it cost him his life. Van Twiller was equally firm in his refusal. He ordered the Dutch flag to be run up at fort Amsterdam, and a salute to be fired in honor of the Prince of Orange. Elkins, in retaliation, unfurled the English flag at his mast-head, and fired a salute in honor of King Charles. After remaining a week at fort Amsterdam, and being refused a license to ascend the river, he defiantly spread his colors to the breeze, weighed anchor, and boldly sailed up the stream to fort Orange. This was the first British vessel which ascended the North river.
The pusillanimous Van Twiller was in a great rage, but had no decision of character to guide him in such an emergency. The merchant clerk, invested with gubernatorial powers, found himself in waters quite beyond his depth. He collected all the people of the fort, broached a cask of wine, and railed valiantly at the intrepid Englishman, whose ship was fast disappearing beyond the palisades. His conduct excited only the contempt and derision of those around.
DeVrees was a man of very different fibre. He had, but a few days before, entered the port from Swaanendael. He dined with the Governor that day, and said to him in very intelligible Dutch:
"You have committed a great folly. Had it been my case, I would have helped the Englishman to some eight pound iron beans, and have prevented him from going up the river. The English are of so haughty a nature that they think that everything belongs to them. I would immediately send a frigate after him, and drive him out of the river."
Stimulated by this advice, Van Twiller prepared, as speedily as possible, three well armed vessels, strongly manned with soldiers, and sent them, under an intrepid captain, in pursuit of the intruders. They found the English ship, the William, about a mile below fort Orange. A tent was pitched upon the shore, where, for a fortnight, the English had been pursuing a very lucrative traffic for furs. The Dutch soldiers were in strength which Elkins could not resist.
They ordered him to strike his tent. He refused. They did it for him; reshipped all his goods which he had transferred to the shore, to trade with the Indians, and also the furs which he had purchased. They then weighed the anchors of the William, unfurled her sails, and, with trumpet blasts of victory, brought the ship, captain and crew down to fort Amsterdam. The ship was then convoyed to sea, and the discomfited Elkins returned to London. Thus terminated, in utter failure, the first attempt of the English to enter into trade with the Indians of New Netherland.
The Dutch were now the only Europeans who had occupied any part of the present territory of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. They were also carrying on a very flourishing trade with the Indians on the Connecticut river, which was then called Fresh river, and this "long before any English had dreamed of going there." The Value of this traffic may be inferred from the fact that, in the year 1633, sixteen thousand beaver skins were sent to Holland from the North river alone.
To strengthen their title, thus far founded on discovery and exclusive visitation, the Dutch, in 1632, purchased of the Indians nearly all of the lands on both sides of the Connecticut river, including Saybrook Point, at the mouth, where the arms of the States-General were affixed to a tree in token of possession. A fort was also commenced, near the mouth of the river, and a trading post established some miles up the stream, at the point now occupied by the city of Hartford.
About the same time, Lord Warwick, assuming that a legitimate grant of the region had been made to him by the king of England, conveyed to Lords Say, Brook and others, all the territory running southwest from Narragansett river, to the distance of one hundred and twenty miles along the coast, and reaching back, through the whole breadth of the country, from the Western Ocean to the South Sea. The geography of these regions was then very imperfectly known. No one had any conception of the vast distance between the Atlantic Ocean and the shores of the Pacific. The trading post, which the Dutch had established on the Connecticut, was called Fort Hope.