THE STORY OF MANHATTAN
Here the history of New York City is told as a story, in few words. The effort has been to make it accurate and interesting. The illustrations are largely from old prints and wood engravings. Few dates are used. Instead, a Table of Events has been added which can readily be referred to. The Index to Chapters also gives the years in which the story of each chapter occurs.
INDEX to CHAPTERS
CHAPTER I. The Adventures of Henry Hudson. From 1609 to 1612
CHAPTER II. The First Traders on the Island. From 1612 to 1625
CHAPTER III. Peter Minuit, First of the Dutch Governors. From 1626 to 1633
CHAPTER IV. Walter Van Twiller, Second of the Dutch Governors. From 1633 to 1637
CHAPTER V. William Kieft and the War with the Indians. From 1637 to 1647
CHAPTER VI. Peter Stuyvesant, the Last of the Dutch Governors. From 1647 to 1664
CHAPTER VII. New York Under the English and the Dutch. From 1664 to 1674
CHAPTER VIII. Something About the Bolting Act. From 1674 to 1688
CHAPTER IX. The Stirring Times of Jacob Leisler. From 1688 to 1691
CHAPTER X. The Sad End of Jacob Leisler. The Year 1691
CHAPTER XI. Governor Fletcher and the Privateers. From 1692 to 1696
CHAPTER XII. Containing the True Life of Captain Kidd. From 1696 to 1702
CHAPTER XIII. Lord Cornbury makes Himself very Unpopular. From 1702 to 1708
CHAPTER XIV. Lord Lovelace and Robert Hunter. From 1708 to 1720
CHAPTER XV. Governor Burnet and the French Traders. From 1720 to 1732
CHAPTER XVI. The Trial of Zenger, the Printer. From 1732 to 1736
CHAPTER XVII. Concerning the Negro Plot. From 1736 to 1743
CHAPTER XVIII. The Tragic Death of Sir Danvers Osborne. From 1743 to 1753
CHAPTER XIX. The Beginning of Discontent. From 1753 to 1763
CHAPTER XX. The Story of the Stamp Act. From 1763 to 1765
CHAPTER XXI. The Beginning of Revolution. From 1765 to 1770
CHAPTER XXII. Fighting the Tax on Tea. From 1770 to 1774
CHAPTER XXIII. The Sons of Liberty at Turtle Bay. From 1774 to 1775
CHAPTER XXIV. The War of the Revolution. In the Year 1775
CHAPTER XXV. A Battle on Long Island. The Year 1776
CHAPTER XXVI. The British Occupy New York. The Year 1776 (Continued)
CHAPTER XXVII. The Battle of Harlem Heights. The Year 1776 (Continued)
CHAPTER XXVIII. The British Fail to Sweep Everything Before Them. From 1776 to 1777
CHAPTER XXIX. New York a Prison House. From 1777 to 1783
CHAPTER XXX. After the War. From 1783 to 1788
CHAPTER XXXI. The First President of the United States. The Year 1788
CHAPTER XXXII. The Welcome to George Washington. The Year 1789
CHAPTER XXXIII. Concerning the Tammany Society and Burr's Bank. From 1789 to 1800
CHAPTER XXXIV. More about Hamilton and Burr. From 1801 to 1804
CHAPTER XXXV. Robert Fulton Builds a Steam-Boat. From 1805 to 1807
CHAPTER XXXVI. The City Plan. From 1807 to 1814
CHAPTER XXXVII. The Story of the Erie Canal. From 1814 to 1825
CHAPTER XXXVIII. The Building of the Croton Aqueduct. From 1825 to 1845
CHAPTER XXXIX. Professor Morse and the Telegraph. From 1845 to 1878
CHAPTER XL. The Greater New York. To the Present Time
TABLE OF EVENTS
LIST of ILLUSTRATIONS
New Amsterdam, 1650—New York, East Side, 1746 The Half Moon in the Highlands of the Hudson Earliest Picture of Manhattan Indians Trading for Furs Hall of the States-General of Holland Seal of New Netherland The Building of the Palisades Old House in New York, Built 1668 Van Twillier's Defiance Landing of Dutch Colony on Staten Island Governor's Island and the Battery in 1850 Dutch Costumes The Bowling Green in 1840 Selling Arms to the Indians Smoking the Pipe of Peace The Old Stadt Huys of New Amsterdam Stuyvesant leaving Fort Amsterdam Petrus Stuyvesant's Tombstone Departure of Nicolls The Dutch Ultimatum Seal of New York New York in 1700 Sloughter Signing Leisler's Death-warrant Bradford's Tombstone The Reading of Fletcher's Commission Arrest of Captain Kidd New City Hall in Wall Street Fort George in 1740 View in Broad Street about 1740 The Slave-Market Fraunces's Tavern Dinner at Rip Van Dam's The Negroes Sentenced Trinity Church, 1760 Coffee-House opposite Bowling Green, Head-Quarters of the Sons of Liberty Ferry-House on East River, 1746 East River Shore, 1750 Mrs. Murray's Dinner to British Officers Howe's Head-Quarters, Beekman House Map of Manhattan Island in 1776 View from the Bowling Green in the Revolution Old Sugar-House in Liberty Street, the Prison-House of the Revolution North Side of Wall Street East of William Street Celebration of the Adoption of the Constitution View of Federal Hall and Part of Broad Street, 1796 The John Street Theatre, 1781 Reservoir of Manhattan Water-Works in Chambers Street The Collect Pond The Grange, Kingsbridge Road, the Residence of Alexander Hamilton The Clermont, Fulton's First Steam-Boat Castle Garden Landing of Lafayette at Castle Garden View of Park Row, 1825 High Bridge, Croton Aqueduct Crystal Palace
THE ADVENTURES of HENRY HUDSON
The long and narrow Island of Manhattan was a wild and beautiful spot in the year 1609. In this year a little ship sailed up the bay below the island, took the river to the west, and went on. In these days there were no tall houses with white walls glistening in the sunlight, no church-spires, no noisy hum of running trains, no smoke to blot out the blue sky. None of these things. But in their place were beautiful trees with spreading branches, stretches of sand-hills, and green patches of grass. In the branches of the trees there were birds of varied colors, and wandering through the tangled undergrowth were many wild animals. The people of the island were men and women whose skins were quite red; strong and healthy people who clothed themselves in the furs of animals and made their houses of the trees and vines.
In this year of 1609, these people gathered on the shore of their island and looked with wonder at the boat, so different from any they had ever seen, as it was swept before the wind up the river.
The ship was called the Half Moon, and it had come all the way from Amsterdam, in the Dutch Netherlands. The Netherlands was quite a small country in the northern part of Europe, not nearly as large as the State of New York, and was usually called Holland, as Holland was the most important of its several states. But the Dutch owned other lands than these. They had islands in the Indian Ocean that were rich in spices of every sort, and the other European countries needed these spices. These islands, being quite close to India, were called the East Indies, and the company of Dutch merchants who did most of the business with them was called the East India Company. They had many ships, and the Half Moon was one of them.
It was a long way to the East India Islands from Holland, for in these days there was no Suez Canal to separate Asia and Africa, and the ships had to go around Africa by way of the Cape of Good Hope. Besides being a long distance, it was a dangerous passage; for although from its name one might take the Cape of Good Hope to be a very pleasant place, the winds blew there with great force, and the waves rolled so high that they often dashed the fragile ships to pieces.
So the merchants of Holland, and of other countries for that matter, were always thinking of a shorter course to the East Indies. They knew very little of North or South America, and believed that these countries were simply islands and that it was quite possible that a passage lay through them which would make a much nearer and a much safer way to the East Indies than around the dread Cape of Good Hope. So the East India Company built the ship Half Moon and got an Englishman named Henry Hudson to take charge of it, and started him off to find the short way. Hudson was chosen because he had already made two voyages for an English company, trying to find that same short passage, and was supposed to know ever so much more about it than anyone else.
When the Half Moon sailed up the river, Hudson was sure that he had found the passage to the Indies, and he paid very little attention to the red-skinned Indians on the island shore. But when the ship got as far as where Albany is now, the water had become shallow, and the river-banks were so near together that Hudson gave up in despair, and said that, after all, he had not found the eagerly sought-for passage to India, but only a river!
Then he turned the ship, sailed back past the island, and returned to Holland to tell of his discovery. He told of the fur-bearing animals, and of what a vast fortune could be made if their skins could only be got to Holland, where furs were needed. He told of the Indians; and the river which flowed past the island he spoke of as "The River of the Mountains."
The directors of the Dutch East India Company were not particularly pleased with Hudson's report. They were angry because the short cut to India had not been found, and they thought very little of the vast storehouse of furs which he had discovered. Neither did the Company care a great deal about Hudson, for they soon fell out with him, and he went back to the English company and made another voyage for them, still in search of the short passage to India. But in this last voyage, he only succeeded in finding a great stretch of water far to the north, that can be seen on any map as Hudson's Bay. His crew after a time grew angry when he wanted to continue his search. There was a mutiny on the ship, and Hudson and his son and seven of the sailors who were his friends were put into a small boat, set adrift in the bay to which he had given his name, and no trace of them was ever seen again. Long, long years after that time, another explorer found the passage that Hudson had lost his life searching for. It is The Northwest Passage, far up toward the North Pole, in the region of perpetual cold and night. So Hudson never knew that the passage he had looked for was of no value, and we may be sure he had never imagined that there would ever be a great city on the island he had discovered.
The Dutch came to think a great deal of Hudson after he was dead. The stream which he had called "The River of the Mountains" they named Hudson's River. They even made believe that Hudson was a Dutchman—although you will remember he was an Englishman—and were in the habit of speaking of him as "Hendrick" Hudson.
The Indians were scattered over America in great numbers. The tribe on the island were called Manhattans, and from that tribe came the name of the Island of Manhattan. All the Indians, no matter which tribe they belonged to, looked very much alike and acted very much the same. Their eyes were dark, and their hair long, straight, and black. When they were fighting, they daubed their skins with colored muds—war paint the white men called it—and started out on the "war-path". They loved to hunt and fish, as well as to fight, and they fought and murdered as cruelly and with as little thought as they hunted the wild animals or hooked the fish. They held talks which were called "councils," and one Indian would speak for hours, while the others listened in silence. And when they determined upon any action, they carried it out, without a thought of how many people were to be killed, or whether they were to be killed themselves.
THE FIRST TRADERS on the ISLAND
For several years after the return of Hudson, Dutch merchants sent their ships to the Island of Manhattan, and each ship returned to Holland laden with costly furs which the Indians had traded for glass beads and strips of gay cloth. The Indians cared a great deal more for glittering glass and highly colored rags than they did for furs.
One trader above all others whose name should be remembered, was Adrian Block. He came in a ship called the Tiger. This ship was anchored in the bay close by what is now called the Battery, and directly in the course that the ferry-boats take when they go to Staten Island.
On a cold night in November it took fire and was burned to the water's edge. Block and those who were with him would all have been burned to death had they not been strong and hardy men who were able to swim ashore in the ice-cold water. Even when they reached the shore they were not safe, for there were no houses or places of shelter; the winter was coming on, and the woods were filled with wild beasts. But Block and his men very soon built houses for themselves; rude and clumsy buildings to look at, but warm and comfortable within. They were the first houses of white men on the Island of Manhattan. If you wish to see where they stood, take a walk down Broadway, and just before you reach the Bowling Green, on a house which is numbered 41, you will find a tablet of brass which tells that Block's houses stood on that self-same spot.
As soon as the hard winter was over, Block and his men began to build a new ship, and before another winter had come they had one larger than the Tiger. It was the first vessel to be built in the new world, and was called the Restless.
That same year the Dutch merchants decided that they were giving too many glass beads for the furs, and that if all the merchants combined into one company they might not have to give so many. So they did combine, and called themselves the United New Netherland Company. It was in this way that the name New Netherland first appeared.
When the first ships of the new company reached the island, a house was built for the use of the fur-traders, just south of where the Bowling Green Park is. This structure was called Fort Manhattan. It was of wood, and did not take long to build because the traders did not intend to live in it a great while. They felt quite sure that all the furs would be collected in a few years, and that then the island would be abandoned. No one thought at that time that the little wooden stockade was the commencement of a great city.
But after a few years it was found that the new country was a much richer place than had been supposed. Shipload after shipload of otter and beaver skins were sent across the ocean and still there were otters and beavers without number. The fur-traders were growing rich, and after a few years there came a decided change, when a new company was formed in Holland; a great body of men this time, who had a vast amount of money to build ships and fit them out. This organization was the West India Company, and was to battle with Spain by land and by sea (for the Netherlands was at war with Spain) and was to carry on trade with the West Indies, just as the East India Company carried on trade with the East Indies. As the West Indies included every country that could be reached by sailing west from Holland, you will see that all the Dutch land in America, which land was called New Netherland, came under the control of this new company.
The territory called New Netherland was the country along the Atlantic Ocean which now makes up the States of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. But its limits at this time were uncertain as it extended inland as far as the Company might care to send their colonists.
Within a few years, the seventy ships sailing under the flag of the West India Company, fought great battles with the Spaniards, and won almost every one of them. There were branches of the Company in seven cities of Holland, and the branch in Amsterdam had charge of New Netherland. So it will be only of the doings of this branch that we shall read. Colonists were to be carried to New Netherland from Holland; farms were to be laid out and cultivated; cities were to be built, and the West India Company was to have absolute control over all, and was to rule all the people. To do these things they had authority from the States-General of Holland, which was the name given to the men who made the laws for that country. The Company was to make regular reports to the States-General, and tell of the growth of the colony and the progress of the people in it. But as the years went on the Company was not as particular as it should have been about what it told the States-General.
It was not until the West India Company took charge of New Netherland that it was decided to make the settlement on the Island of Manhattan a city. Up to this time it had been merely a trading station. In order to build up a city, the Company knew that it would be necessary to send people in sufficient numbers so that no matter how many were killed by the Indians the settlement would not be wiped out. Many inducements were offered, and men with their families soon began to flock to New Netherland. With the ship that brought the first families was Cornelius Jacobsen May, who was to live on the Island of Manhattan and look after affairs for the Company. Rude houses were set up about the fort, and the first street came into existence. This is now called Pearl Street.
Cornelius Jacobsen May cared for the colony for less than a year, when his place was taken by William Verhulst. Before the year was out, Verhulst decided that the new country never would suit him, and he sailed away to Holland. Then came in his place, in the year 1626, Peter Minuit, under appointment as the first Dutch Governor of New Netherland.
PETER MINUIT, FIRST of the DUTCH GOVERNORS
Peter Minuit was a large man, of middle age, whose hair was turning gray, whose eyes were black and dull, and whose manners were quite coarse.
The West India Company gave to this Governor absolute power over all the Dutch lands in America. His power was equal to that of a king; much more than some kings have had. To be sure, in matters of extreme importance he was supposed to refer to the Company in Holland. But Holland was far away, farther away than it is in these days of fast steamers and the telegraph, and the Company had too many other matters to look after to give much thought to New Netherland.
One of the first acts of Governor Minuit was to buy the Island of Manhattan from the Indians, giving them in exchange some beads, some brass ornaments, some bits of glass and some strips of colored cloth; all of which seemed a rich treasure to the Indians, but were in reality worth just twenty-four dollars.
As soon as Minuit had bought the island, he organized a government. In authority next to the Governor was the koopman, who was secretary of the province, and bookkeeper at the Company's warehouse, and who worked very hard. Then came the schout-fiscal, who worked still harder, being half sheriff, half attorney-general, and all customs officer. There was also a council of five men who looked wise but had very little to say and did not dare to disagree with the Governor.
Although in buying their land Governor Minuit had made the Indians his friends, he took care to be prepared in case they should change their minds and become warlike. He had Kryn Frederick, the Company's engineer, build a solid fort on the spot where the fur-traders' stockade had stood. This he called Fort Amsterdam. It was surrounded by cedar palisades, and was large enough to shelter all the people of the little colony in case of danger. Inside this fort there was a house for the Governor, and outside the walls was a warehouse for furs, and a mill which was run by horse-power, with a large room on the second floor to be used as a church.
When Minuit had become fairly settled in his new colony, he divided the lower part of the island into farms, which in those days were called "bouweries." A road which led through these farms was named Bouwerie Lane, and the same road is to-day known as The Bowery.
Minuit had been Governor four years, and there were 200 persons on the island, when the Dutch West India Company, deciding that the colony was not increasing fast enough, made a plan for giving large tracts of land to any man who would go from Holland and take with him fifty persons to make their homes in New Netherland. The grants of land, which were really large farms, stretched away in all directions over the territory of New Netherland. But no grant was made on the Island of Manhattan, as the Company reserved that for itself. Each of these farms was called a manor. The man who brought colonists from Holland was called a patroon. He was the Lord of the Manor.
He had supreme authority over his colonists, who cleared the land of the trees, planted seeds, gathered the ripened grain, and raised cattle which they gave to the Lord of the Manor as rent.
The little town of New Amsterdam was to continue as the seat of government, and the Lords of the Manors were to act under the direction of the Governor. The farms established by these patroons were to belong to them and to their families after them.
The one thing that the patroons were not permitted to do was to collect the furs of animals, for these were very valuable and the Company claimed them all.
Before many years had passed there was much trouble with these patroons, who did a great deal to make themselves rich, and very little for New Netherland. They traded in furs, notwithstanding they were forbidden to do so, and did all manner of things they should not have done.
Governor Minuit was himself accused of aiding the patroons to make money at the expense of the West India Company, and of taking his share of the profit; and finally, the Company ordered him to return to Holland. The ship in which he sailed was wrecked on the coast of England, and Minuit was detained and accused of unlawfully trading in the territory of the King of England. This was not the first time that the English had laid claim to the Dutch lands in America. Charles I. was king then, and he said that England owned New Netherland because an English king, more than a hundred years before Hudson's time, had sent John Cabot and his son Sebastian in search of new lands, and they had touched the American shore.
But the Dutch called attention to the fact that it had been held, time out of mind, that to own a country one must not only discover it, but must visit it continually, and even buy it from any persons who should be settled there. Even if the Cabots had discovered the land in America, the Dutch had occupied it ever since Hudson's time and had paid the Indians for it.
Matters were patched up for the time, and Minuit was permitted to return to Holland. But he was no longer Governor of New Netherland, for his place had been given to another man whose name was Walter Van Twiller.
WALTER VAN TWILLER, SECOND of the DUTCH GOVERNORS
Now this Walter Van Twiller was a relative of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, one of the patroons. You will see why the West India Company's choice of him for a Governor was not by any means a wise choice. For he was soon doing exactly what Minuit had done. The only difference was that Governor Van Twiller favored Van Rensselaer more than he did the other patroons.
Van Twiller was a stout, round-bodied man, with a face much the shape of a full moon. He was a sharp trader, having made two voyages to the Hudson River in the interest of Van Rensselaer, but he knew nothing of governing a colony.
The ship that brought the new Governor to the Island of Manhattan, had also on board a hundred soldiers, and these were the first soldiers ever sent to the island. There was also on the ship Everardus Bogardus, the first minister of the colony, as well as Adam Rolandsen, the first school-master. This school-master had a hard time of it in the new country, for not being able to make a living by his teaching, he was forced to do all kinds of other work. He even took in washing for a time!
By this time negro slaves were being brought to the colony from Africa. They did the household work, while the colonists cultivated the fields These slaves did most of the work on a new wooden church which was set up just outside the fort, for the new minister.
Governor Van Twiller began improving the colony by having three windmills built, to take the place of the horse-mill. But he had them placed in such a position that the building in the fort cut off the wind from their sails, and the mills were almost useless.
The Governor did not neglect his own comfort, for within Fort Amsterdam he built for himself a fine house of brick—finer than any in the little settlement—and on one of the bouweries nearest the fort, he erected a summer-house. On another bouwerie he laid out a tobacco plantation, and had slaves paid by the Company to look after it.
When Van Twiller had been Governor three years, he gave to one of the colonists a farm on the western side of the city along the Hudson River. The colonist died the year after the farm was given him, leaving his widow, Annetje Jans, to care for the property.
Years after, when Queen Anne ruled in England, and the English had come into possession of New Netherland, she gave the Annetje Jans farm to Trinity Church. That was almost two centuries ago. What was once a farm is now a great business section, crossed and recrossed by streets. Trinity Church has held it through all the years, and holds it still.
Close upon the time when the Jans farm was given away by Governor Van Twiller, a sailor of note, who had visited almost every country in the world, founded a colony on Staten Island. This sailor was Captain David Pietersen De Vries. Staten Island attracted him because of its beauty. After the colony was well started, De Vries travelled between New Netherland and Holland, and he will be met with again in this story.
Although Governor Van Twiller did not do much for the colonists, he was very careful to look after his own affairs. He bought from the Indians, for some goods of small value, the little spot now called Governor's Island; which was then known as Nut Island, because of the many nut-trees that grew there. There is little doubt but that Governor's Island was once a part of Long Island. It is separated from it now by a deep arm of water called Buttermilk Channel. The channel was so narrow and so shallow in Van Twiller's time that the cattle could wade across it. It was given its name more than a hundred years ago, from boats which drew very little water, and were the only craft able to get through the channel, and which took buttermilk from Long Island to the markets of New York.
Van Twiller bought the islands now known as Randall's and Ward's Islands, and these, with some others, made him the richest landholder in the colony. On his islands he raised cattle, and on his farm tobacco.
Many of the colonists did not take kindly to Governor Van Twiller's methods, and among them was Van Dincklagen, the schout-fiscal. He told the Governor that it was very evident that he was putting forth every effort to enrich himself at the expense of everybody else, just as Minuit had done. The Governor became very angry. He told the schout-fiscal not to expect any more salary, that it would be stopped from that minute. This did not worry the schout-fiscal much, as he had not been paid his salary in three years! But Van Twiller did not stop there. He sent the schout-fiscal as a prisoner to Holland, which was a foolish thing for him to do. For the prisoner pleaded his own cause to such good effect that before the end of the year 1637, Van Twiller was recalled to Holland, after he had governed New Netherland for four years, very much to his own interest, and very much against the interest of the West India Company and everybody else.
WILLIAM KIEFT and the WAR with the INDIANS
A dreary winter came and went, and just as the first signs of spring showed in the fields that closed about the fort, a ship sailed up the bay, bringing a stranger to the province.
This was William Kieft, the new Governor of New Netherland.
He was a blustering man, who became very angry when anyone disagreed with him, and who very soon was known as "William the Testy." He made no effort to make the Indians his friends, and the result was that much of his rule of ten years was a term of bloody warfare.
The affairs of the Company had been sadly neglected by Governor Van Twiller, and Governor Kieft, in a nervous, testy, energetic fashion set about remedying them. The fort was almost in ruins from neglect. The church was in little better condition. The mills were so out of repair that even if the wind could have reached them they could not have been made to do their work properly. There were smugglers who carried away furs without even a thought of the koopman, who was waiting to record the duties which should have been paid on them. There were those who defied all law and order, and sold guns and powder and liquor to the Indians, regardless of the fact that the penalty for doing so was death. For guns and liquor had been found to be dangerous things to put in savage hands.
Governor Kieft rebuilt the houses, put down all smugglers, and set matters in New Amsterdam in good working order generally. The patroon system of peopling the colony had proven a total failure. So, soon after Kieft came, the West India Company decided on another plan. They furnished free passage to anyone who promised to cultivate land in the new country. In this way there would be no patroons to act as masters. Each man would own his land, and could come and go as he saw fit. This brought many colonists.
At this time there were really only two well-defined roads on the Island of Manhattan. One stretched up through the island and led to the outlying farms and afterward became The Bowery; the second led along the water-side, and is to-day Pearl Street. Bowling Green, although it was not called Bowling Green then, was the open space in front of the fort where the people gathered on holidays. In the fourth year of Governor Kieft's rule, he conceived the idea of holding fairs in this open space, where fine cows and fat pigs could be exhibited. These fairs attracted so many visitors from distant parts of the colony, that the Governor had a large stone house built, with a roof running up steep to a peak, in regular, step-like form. This was called a tavern, and could accommodate all the visitors. In after years it became the first City Hall.
If you wish to stand where this building was, you must go to the head of Coenties Slip, in Pearl Street. On the building which is there now you will see a bronze tablet which tells all about the old Stadt Huys.
The church that Walter Van Twiller had built was little better than a barn. The minister wanted a new one. So did his congregation. Governor Kieft decided that there should be one of stone, and that it should be built inside the fort. There was a question as how to secure the money to build it. Kieft gave a small amount, as did other colonists, but there was not enough. Fortunately, just at this time, a daughter of Bogardus, the minister, was married. At the wedding, when the guests were in good humor, a subscription-list was handed out. The guests tried to outdo one another in subscribing money for the new church. Next day some of the subscribers were sorry they had agreed to give so much, but the Governor accepted no excuses and insisted on the money. It was collected, and the church was built. Close upon this time Kieft decided that he needed money for other work, and he told the Indians of the province that he expected something from them. Of course the Indians had no such money as we have in these days. They used instead beads, very handsome and made from clam-shells. These beads were arranged on strings. There were black ones and white ones, and the black were worth twice as much as the white. The Indians did not see why they should give money to the Governor. Kieft explained that it was to pay for the protection given to them by the Dutch. Then the Indians understood less than ever, for the Dutch had never done anything for them except to give them as little as they could for their valuable furs. The Indians hated Kieft, and this act of his made their hatred more bitter. A war-cloud was gathering. The Indians were well prepared for war, for they had been supplied with guns, with bullets, and with powder by those greedy Dutchmen, the smugglers, who thought more of their personal gains than of the safety of the colonists.
Over on Staten Island about this time, an Indian stole several hogs from a colonist. Kieft's soldiers found the tribe to which the Indian belonged, and in revenge killed ten Indian warriors. After this the war-cloud grew darker.
Kieft was anxious that there should be war. But there were many of the colonists who did all in their power to prevent it. The men who wanted peace were headed by that able sailor, Captain David Pietersen De Vries, who had founded a colony on Staten Island. A council of twelve men was formed to decide whether there should be peace or war. This council declared that there should be no war. They then began to look into public affairs, for they thought it all wrong that Kieft should have the only voice in the management. The Governor regretted having called together the twelve men. But he soon got rid of them, and to show that he was still absolute ruler, he decided to make war upon the Indians. Then the war-cloud broke.
Those Indians who lived nearest New Amsterdam were fighting with another tribe called the Mohawks. The nearby Indians thought that since Kieft had been paid to protect them, he should do so now. So they gathered, some on the Island of Manhattan, and some on the nearby shore of New Jersey. But instead of protecting them, Kieft sent his soldiers against these friendly Indians, and in the night killed them as they slept. The soldiers came so suddenly upon the Indians, sleeping peacefully on the Jersey shore, and slew them so quickly in the darkness, that the Indians believed they had been attacked by the unfriendly tribe. One Indian, with his squaw, made his way to the fort. He was met at the gate by De Vries. "Save us," he cried, "the Mohawks have fallen upon us, and have killed all our people." But De Vries answered, sadly, "No Indian has done this. It is the Dutch who have killed your people." And he pointed toward the deep woods close by. "Go there for safety, but do not come here."
This was not war. It was murder. A cruel, treacherous act, which the greater number of colonists condemned and the record of which is a dark stain on the memory of William Kieft.
After this, all the Indians within the border of New Netherland combined. Colonists were shot as they worked in the fields. Cattle were driven away. Houses were robbed and burned. Women and children were dragged into captivity. The war raged fiercely for three years. By this time Indians and colonists were worn out. Then the war ended. But scarcely a hundred men were left on the Island of Manhattan. The country was a waste.
A strong fence had been built across the island, to keep what cattle remained within bounds. This fence marked the extreme limit of the settlement of New Amsterdam. The fence in time gave place to a wall, and when in still later years the wall was demolished and a street laid out where it had been, the thoroughfare was called Wall Street, and remains so to this day.
While the entire province was in a very bad way, and the people suffering on every side, Governor Kieft sent to the West India Company in Holland his version of the war. He showed himself to be all in the right, and proved, to his own satisfaction, that the province was in a fairly good condition; though during all the years he had been Governor he had not once left the settlement on the Island of Manhattan to look after other parts.
Certain of the colonists also sent a report to Holland. Theirs being much nearer the truth, carried such weight with it, that the West India Company decided on the immediate recall of Governor Kieft, who had done so much injury to the colony, and had shown himself to be utterly incapable of governing.
Kieft returned to Holland in a ship that was packed from stem to stern with the finest of furs. The ship was wrecked at sea. Kieft was drowned, and the furs were lost.
In the same ship was Everardus Bogardus (the minister who had married Annetje Jans), who was on his way to Holland on a mission relating to his church. The people of New Amsterdam mourned for their minister, but there was little sorrow felt for the Governor who had plunged the colony in war by his obstinate and cruel temper.
PETER STUYVESANT, the LAST of the DUTCH GOVERNORS
It was a gay day for the little colony of New Amsterdam, that May morning in the year 1647, when a one-legged man landed at the lower part of the island, and stumped his way up the path that led to the fort. Not only everyone that lived in the town gathered there, but everyone on the island, and many from more distant parts. There were Indians, too, who walked sedately, their quiet serenity in strange contrast to the colonists, who yelled and shouted for joy, and clapped their hands at every salute from the guns. And when the fort was reached (it was only a few steps from the river-bank) the man with the wooden leg turned to those who followed him. The guns were silent, and the people stood still.
"I shall govern you," said he, "as a father does his children."
Then there were more shouts, and more booming of cannon, and the name of Peter Stuyvesant was on every tongue. For the man with a wooden leg was Peter Stuyvesant, the new Governor appointed by the West India Company, and not one of those who shouted that day had an idea that he was to be the last of the Dutch governors.
Stuyvesant had long been in the employ of the West India Company, and his leg had been shot off in a battle while he was in their service.
He was a stern man, with a bad temper, and seemed to have made it a point in life never to yield to anyone in anything. He ruled in the way he thought best, and he let it always be understood that he did not care much for the advice of others. He did what he could for the people to make their life as happy as possible. Of course he had orders from the West India Company that he was bound to obey, and these orders did not always please the people. But his rule was just, and he was the most satisfactory of all the Dutch governors.
Stuyvesant's first work was to put the city in better condition. He did this by having the vacant lots about the fort either built upon or cleared. The hog-pens which had been in front of the houses were taken away. All the fences were put in repair, and where weeds had grown rank, they were replaced by pretty gardens. These, and a great many other things he did, until the town took on quite a new air.
Up to this time the people had been ruled by governors who did all things just as they saw fit. They became tired of this, and complained so much that the Company in Holland decided to make a change. So after Stuyvesant had been Governor for a while, some other officers were appointed to help him. There was one officer called a schout, very much the same as a mayor is in these days. Two others were called burgomasters, and five others were called schepens. The burgomasters and the schepens presided over the trials, in the stone tavern which Governor Kieft had built at Coenties Slip, and which had now become the Stadt Huys or City Hall.
With the appointment of these officers, New Amsterdam became a city. But as Governor Stuyvesant named the officers and as he plainly told them that they must not interfere with his orders, and as he still had his own way, regardless of what the officers said and did, the colony was little different as a city from what it had been before.
In the fall of this year, 1652, war was declared between England and Holland. Stuyvesant, fearing that the English in New England, which was on the borders of New Netherland, would attack the city, set about fortifying it. The fence that Governor Kieft had built so that the cattle could not wander away was changed into a wall that extended from river to river. The fort was repaired, and a strong body of citizens mounted guard by day and by night. Everything was prepared for an attack. But the enemy did not come after all.
Matters went along quietly enough for three years, until some Swedes on the Delaware River began to build houses on Dutch lands. Then Stuyvesant, with 160 men, in seven ships, sailed around to the Delaware River, and conquered the Swedes.
It was quite ten years since the Indian war, and Stuyvesant, by his kindness, had made friends of the savages, and had come to be called their "great friend," But soon after he left to make war on the Swedes, one of the colonists killed an Indian. In a few days there was an uprising of Indian tribes. In New Jersey and on Staten Island they murdered colonists, burned houses, and laid farms waste. Stuyvesant hurriedly returned. He made peace with the Indians, treating them kindly, as though there had never been any trouble. He gave them presents, and used such gentle measures that the war which had threatened to be so serious ended abruptly.
In the calmer days that followed, attention was given to improvements in the city. By this time there were a thousand persons on the island. Streets were nicely laid out, and the city of New Amsterdam grew, day by day. It was a tiny place still, however, for it all lay below the present Wall Street. Some distance beyond the city wall was a fenced-in pasture for cattle, which was later to become The Common, and still later City Hall Park. Farther on there was a wide lake, so deep that it was thought to be bottomless. On its banks were a vast heap of oyster-shells, where an Indian village had been. This place was called Kalch-hook, or Shell-point. Afterward it was shortened to The Kalch, and in time was called The Collect. The lake was called Collect Lake. There is no trace of it to-day, for it was filled in, and the Tombs Prison now stands upon the spot.
The entire province was in a flourishing condition, but danger was near. The English had long looked with covetous eye upon the possessions of the Dutch in America. The English, it must be remembered, claimed not only New Netherland, but a great part of the American continent, on the plea that the Cabots had discovered it.
After all this long time, when the Cabots had been forgotten by most persons, in the year 1664, Charles II. decided that the English claim was just, and gave New Netherland to his brother James, Duke of York. The Duke of York at once sent four ships filled with soldiers to take possession of his property.
When the English war-ships sailed up the bay, the town was ill-protected, and the people had no desire to resist, for Stuyvesant and the West India Company had been most strict, and they hoped to be more free under English rule. Stuyvesant, with scarcely a supporter, stood firm and unyielding. He had no thought of submitting to superior force. "I would rather be carried out dead," he exclaimed. But when at length he realized that he was absolutely alone, and that there were no means of defence for the city, he surrendered.
On this same morning of September 8, 1664, Stuyvesant, with his head bowed sadly, marched at the head of his soldiers out of Fort Amsterdam, with flags flying and drums beating. And the English soldiers, who had landed, and were waiting a little way off, entered the fort with their flags flying and their drums beating.
So the city of New Amsterdam became the city of New York, and the province of New Netherland became the province of New York, and Fort Amsterdam became Fort James—all this in honor of James, Duke of York, who now came into possession.
Stuyvesant went to Holland to explain why he had surrendered New Netherland. But he came back again, and years after he died in the little Bouwerie Village which he had built. In St. Mark's Church to this day may be seen a tablet which tells that the body of the last Dutch Governor lies buried there.
NEW YORK under the ENGLISH and the DUTCH
So now the conquered province had come into the possession of the Duke of York, and Colonel Richard Nicolls, who was in command of the English soldiers, took charge. This first English Governor appeared anxious to make all the people his friends. He made Thomas Willett Mayor, and Willett being very popular, all the citizens rejoiced, and said the new Governor was a fine man. During three years Colonel Nicolls humored the people so much that they were well satisfied. At the end of that time he had grown tired of the new country, and asked to be relieved. The people were really sorry when he returned to England and Francis Lovelace took his place.
Governor Lovelace did not get along so well. He was a man of harsh manner, who did not have the patience or the inclination to flatter with fine promises. Lovelace wanted everyone to understand that he was master. Very soon, when the people said they thought they should have the right to control their own affairs, the Governor told them that he did not think it was best for them to have too much to do with the governing of the city. But he did some things that pleased the people. For one thing, he brought about the custom of having merchants meet once a week at a bridge which crossed Broad Street at the present Exchange Place. There is no bridge there now, but in those days it was necessary, for Broad Street was a ditch which extended from the river almost to Wall Street. But though the ditch has been filled up, and the bridge is gone, the locality has ever since been one where merchants have gathered.
The Governor also had a messenger make regular trips to Boston with letters, which was the first mail route from the city. Matters were going along nicely when trouble arose between England and Holland again. Then the Dutch decided that it would be a good time to get back their lost province of New Netherland. The English in New York heard of this, and made all sorts of warlike preparations. But the Dutch were so long in coming that the preparations for war were given up. Finally the Dutch ships did arrive unexpectedly, sailing up the bay one morning in the month of July, in the year 1673. Governor Lovelace was in a distant part of the colony, and the city had been left under the care of Captain John Manning.
Manning was in despair. He knew full well that there was no hope of defending the city successfully. He sent a messenger dashing off to the Governor, and he sent another to the Dutch ships to ask what they were doing in the bay, just as though he did not know. The Dutch sent word back that the city must be surrendered to them that same day. And to show they meant what was said, the Dutch admiral despatched one of his captains, Anthony Colve by name, who landed with 600 men. The Dutch captain agreed that if the English left the fort without a show of resistance, they could do so with the honors of war and without interference. Then he and his soldiers tramped down the road that is now Broadway. The English marched out of the fort, and the Dutch marched in; just as nine years before the Dutch had marched out and the English had marched in.
When the King in England heard that New York had been so easily captured, all the blame was placed on Captain Manning, and after a time you will see what became of him.
Captain Colve took charge of the reconquered province. He began industriously to undo all that the English had done. The province was again named New Netherland. The city was called New Orange, in honor of the Prince of Orange—a prince of Holland, who in a few years was to marry a daughter of the Duke of York, and who in a few more years was to be King of England under the title of William III.
Captain Colve put the fort in good condition, repaired the city wall, made a soldier of every man and drilled them every day. He had the city gates locked at night, and put a guard at them to see that no one came in or passed out.
In less than a year, when the city was in shape to be defended, the English and the Dutch made up their quarrel. The province of New Netherland was returned to the English, and became again the province of New York, and the Dutch soldiers left the Island of Manhattan, never again to return to it in warlike array.
SOMETHING about the BOLTING ACT
Edmund Andros was sent to govern New York for the Duke of York. The people complained a good deal because he acted as though he were a king with absolute power. They asked that they have some voice in the direction of their affairs. They got up a petition and sent it to the Duke in England.
"What do the people want?" said the Duke. "If they are not satisfied, they can always appeal to me." He did not see that they had just appealed to him, and in vain.
Captain Manning, who had been in charge of the province when the Dutch recaptured it, came again to New York with Andros. Many who had lost their property by the coming of the Dutch, complained bitterly to Andros. So the Governor, and his council, and the officers of the city held many conferences, with the result that Captain Manning was arrested. He was found guilty of cowardice, and his sword was broken in front of the Stadt Huys in the presence of the citizens, and he was declared, on the good authority of King Charles II., unfit ever again to hold public office.
Although disgraced, Captain Manning did not seem to care much. He owned a beautiful wooded island in the East River, to which he now retired. He was wealthy, and there he lived and entertained royally during the remainder of his life.
Andros did many things for the general good. When he had been Governor four years, and when the most important product of trade was flour, a law was made by which no one was permitted to make flour outside of the city. This was called the Bolting Act. Flour cannot be made unless it is "bolted"—or has the bran taken from it—and so the act came by its name. The right to grind all the grain into flour may not now seem very important, but it really was, for it brought all the trade to the city. So you see the Bolting Act was a very good thing for the city, and very bad for the people who did not live in the city. The city folks became very prosperous indeed, but the others, because they could not make or sell flour, became poorer day by day.
This went on for sixteen years, and then the law came to an end. But by that time all the business of the entire province had centred in the city so firmly that it could not be drawn away.
So, after this, when you look at a picture of the Seal of New York, and see a windmill and two barrels of flour, you will remember that the windmill sails worked the mill, and the barrels were filled with flour which laid the foundation of the city's fortunes; and were put on the seal so that this fact would always be remembered. The beavers on the seal suggest the early days when the trade in beaver skins made a city possible. At one time there was a crown on the seal—a king's crown—but that gave way to an eagle when the English King no longer had a claim on New York.
Now that the province was prosperous, one would think that the people would have been quite happy. But they were not. They did not like Governor Andros because they thought that he taxed them too heavily, and they sent so many petitions to the Duke of York that, in 1681, Andros was recalled, and Colonel Thomas Dongan was appointed the new Governor. A few years later, when the Duke of York became King James II., he remembered how carefully Andros had carried out his orders, and appointed him Governor of New England; where he conducted matters so much to the satisfaction of his King that he earned the title of "The Tyrant of New England."
When Governor Dongan reached the city and announced that the Duke had instructed him to let the people have something to say as to how they should be governed, he was joyfully received. It really seemed now that everything was going to be satisfactory. But there came a sudden check. Two years after Dongan became Governor, the Duke of York was made King of England. He thereupon ordered Dongan to make all the laws himself, without regard to what the people did or did not want. The power to make the laws was a great power, but Governor Dongan was a fair and just man and did not abuse it. The year after this he granted a charter to the city, known ever since as the Dongan Charter, which was so just that it is still the base on which the rights of citizens rest.
But while Dongan was popular with the King's subjects, he became unpopular with the King. This was because he stood in the way of the plans of his royal master whenever those plans interfered with the good of the people. He must have known what the result would be. Whether he knew it or not, it came in the year 1688. The King joined the colony of New England and the colony of New York, and called this united territory New England. Dongan then ceased to be Governor, having ruled the province well.
THE STIRRING TIMES of JACOB LEISLER
Sir Edmund Andros, who, you will remember, had been appointed Governor of New England, had been knighted for obeying the King's commands. He now became Governor of the united provinces. He made his home in Boston, and left the care of New York to his deputy, Francis Nicholson. In this year a son was born to the English King, and the people rejoiced. But these were stormy times in England, for King James II. was a tyrant who ordered a great many of his subjects killed when they refused to believe in what he believed. And the people, grown weary and heartsick, overthrew King James and put William III. on the throne. So the sights and sounds of rejoicing over the birth of a prince were scarcely over, when the news came that James was no longer King, and New York was soon in a state of confusion.
In what had been New England before the provinces were united, the people hated Andros. They arrested him. And as they had never been in favor of uniting New England and New York, they restored their old officers and disunited the two provinces, Andros was sent a prisoner to England to give an account of his doings to King William, and New York was left without a Governor. The men who had served under King James insisted that they remain in charge of the province until King William sent new officers to replace them. But most of them wanted to have all who had had anything to do with King James put out of office at once. So those who wanted this change took charge of the city, and chose as their leader a citizen named Jacob Leisler. More than twenty years before, this Jacob Leisler had come from Holland as a soldier of the West India Company. He had left the service and had become a wealthy merchant. He had a rude manner, and but little education. He looked upon as an enemy, and as an enemy of King William, every man who did not think as he did.
The mass of the people now gathered around Leisler and became known as the Leislerian party. They selected a number of citizens, calling them the Committee of Safety, and the committee gave Leisler power to see that peace was preserved. Those who were opposed to Leisler, but who, just as strongly as he, favored King William, were called the anti-Leislerian party. These last were headed by Francis Nicholson, who had watched over the colony for Governor Andros. Nicholson finding that he had few followers, sailed for England.
Leisler had the fortifications repaired, and a battery of guns set up outside the fort. This is the battery which gave to the present locality its name, though all signs of guns have disappeared.
Leisler had an adviser in Jacob Milborne, his son-in-law, who wrote his letters, and counselled him in every way.
In December came a messenger from King William, with a commission for whoever was in charge of the city, to act until further orders. Leisler obtained possession of the commission. He became bolder after this, and showed such a disposition to do just as he pleased, that he made enemies of a great many of his friends. Advised by Milborne, he made laws, and imprisoned all those who refused to obey them or to recognize his authority. Day by day those who were opposed to Leisler and Milborne grew in numbers. Street riots occurred, and several persons were injured. Leisler's life was threatened, and he went about attended by a guard of soldiers. Finally Nicholas Bayard, who had been Mayor, and who was looked upon as leader of the anti-Leislerian party, was put in prison with some others. Bayard would doubtless have been executed had he not written an humble letter to Leisler saying that he had been in the wrong and Leisler in the right. But he wrote to save his life, not that he really believed himself to be in the wrong. He did save his life, but he was kept in jail.
Leisler's enemies continued active. They had a powerful friend in Francis Nicholson, who had reached England and had been received with favor there. He hated Leisler, and denounced him as a traitor before King William.
Leisler, after he had taken charge of the province, wrote to the King, but his letter was written in imperfect English and was not understood. Matters were in a bad state, and were daily becoming worse, when the King appointed Henry Sloughter Governor of New York.
THE SAD END of JACOB LEISLER
This Henry Sloughter was not a good choice. He was a worthless man, who had travelled a great deal, and had spent other people's money whenever he could get it. Now, when he could find no one in England to supply him with money, he took the post of Governor of New York, and his only thought was how much money he could wring from the people. The enemies of Leisler rejoiced at his coming, for they knew that it meant the downfall of Leisler.
Sloughter sailed for New York with a body of soldiers, but his ship was tossed about by the sea, and carried far out of its course, so that the ship of his assistant, Major Richard Ingoldsby, arrived first. But Leisler refused to give up command until Sloughter came. This was three months later, and during that time Ingoldsby and his soldiers did all they could to harass Leisler, who held possession of the little fort, and refused to give it up until he saw the King's order.
When Sloughter arrived, members of the party opposed to Leisler hurried on board the vessel, and escorted him to the City Hall, where at midnight he took the oath of office.
Within a few days Governor Sloughter and his friends met in the City Hall, where the council of the new Governor was sworn in—a council every member of which was an enemy of Leisler. Then Leisler was arrested, with his son-in-law, Milborne, and both were condemned to death as rebels. But the Governor was afraid of displeasing the King by putting Leisler to death, for, after all, Leisler was the man who had been the first to recognize the authority of King William in New York. He refused to sign the death-warrant. But the enemies of Leisler were not content. Nicholas Bayard, who had become more than ever bitter because he had been kept for thirteen months in prison, was anxious for revenge. The council urged the Governor to carry out the sentence, and he finally signed the death-warrant. Two days later Leisler and Milborne were led to execution. The scaffold had been erected in Leisler's own garden, close by where the post-office is now. The people thronged about it, standing in the cold, drizzling rain. They wept, for many of them had been on the side of Leisler.
Leisler ascended the scaffold with firm step, and looked at the people he had tried to serve.
"What I have done has been for the good of my country," he said, sadly. "I forgive my enemies, as I hope to be forgiven."
And so he died; believing that he had done his duty.
Milborne was full of hate for those who caused his death. Close by the scaffold stood Robert Livingston, a citizen who had always been strongly opposed to Leisler. To this man Milborne pointed, and fiercely cried:
"You have caused my death. For this I will impeach you before the Bar of God." And so he died.
The bodies of both men were interred close by the scaffold.
Four years later the English Parliament declared that Leisler had acted under the King's command, and had therefore been in the right, after all. So tardy justice was done to Leisler's memory.
After the death of Leisler, there was an end of open revolt, and affairs were reasonably quiet, although it was many a long year before the rancor of the late struggle and the bitter hatred of the friends and enemies of Leisler died out.
Order was restored, and attention was turned to public improvement. New streets were laid out, and markets were built. In front of the City Hall, by the water-side of Coenties Slip, there were set up a whipping-post, a cage, a pillory, and a ducking-block; which were to serve as warnings to evil-doers, and to be used in case the warning was not effective.
But Sloughter did not live to see these improvements completed. A few months after his arrival he died suddenly, so suddenly that there was a suggestion that he had been poisoned by some friend of Leisler. But it was proven that his death was a natural one, and his body was placed in a vault next to that of Peter Stuyvesant, in the Bouwerie Village church-yard.
GOVERNOR FLETCHER and the PRIVATEERS
When Benjamin Fletcher became the next Governor of New York, in the month of August, 1692, the people gave a great public dinner in his honor, and there were expressions of deep joy that so wise and good and pious a man had been sent to rule over them.
But Governor Fletcher soon came to be disliked. He tried by every means to enrich himself at the public expense. More than that, he wished to make the Church of England the only church of the province, and to have the English language the only language spoken. All of which the people did not like, for the majority of them still spoke the Dutch language and attended the Dutch church.
Governor Fletcher had great trouble in getting the Assembly (the body of men who helped him to govern the province) to agree with him, but he finally won them over in the matter of the Church of England. One of the churches built at this time was Trinity Church. It was a quaint, square building, with a tall spire—not the Trinity Church of this day, although it stood on the same spot.
In the year after Fletcher came, the first printing-press was set up in the city by William Bradford, who came from Philadelphia for that purpose. He became the public printer, and afterward issued the first newspaper. He did a great deal for the general good, and when he died he was buried in Trinity Church-yard. Even now you can see the stone that marks his grave, close by the side-entrance of the present church.
During much of the time that Fletcher governed, the French in Canada were continually threatening to fight with the English in New York. There were fierce and bloody conflicts on the border, but no enemy reached the city. There was also another danger that grew stronger day by day. It came about as the result of privateering.
A privateer was a vessel which under commission from one country, carried on war with the ships of other countries. The captains were called privateers, as were the ships. These privateers were so successful that they grew bold, and instead of attacking only the ships of enemies of their country, they threw away their commissions and attacked ships of all countries for their private gain. Then they were called pirates. They became robbers and murderers, for they murdered as well as robbed. These pirates bore down upon the ships of all nations, carried off their cargoes, then sunk the vessels without knowing or caring how many were on board, that none might escape to tell the tale.
Nowhere were the pirates more daring than near the American coast. The vessels of New York merchants were burned within sight of shore, and the pirates were even bold enough to enter the harbor and seize the ships as they lay at anchor.
The officials of the province made no apparent effort to suppress these pirates. It was thought then, and has since been believed, that they assisted them, and were well paid for such help. Governor Fletcher himself was suspected of sharing in the pirate booty. Merchants who feared to carry on regular trade, as their ships were almost sure to be seized, came, after a time, to lend their aid also to the pirates, by buying their cargoes.
Finally, very few ships dared to cross the ocean. Then the English Government became alarmed. A new Governor was searched for—a man strong enough to resist the bribery of pirate crews, and able to drive them off the seas. And just such a man was found.
CONTAINING the TRUE LIFE of CAPTAIN KIDD
In England there lived a man who had been a great friend of King William; who had been his friend even before he had become King. This man was Lord Bellomont. It was he who was chosen Governor in the year 1696. But it was two years after this that he reached New York. During these two years he worked hard in the interests of the province. He knew all about the pirates, and knew that it would take a strong force to subdue them. He called upon the English Government to fit out men for this purpose. But the Government had neither men, nor ships, nor guns to spare.
So Lord Bellomont decided to raise a private armed force. He got together a company, of which the King was a member, and they fitted out a strong and fast-sailing vessel called the Adventure Galley. Lord Bellomont looked about for a good captain. At last he thought he had found just the man in Captain William Kidd. Captain Kidd just at this time happened to be in London, where he was well known, and well liked. His home was in New York, where his wife and daughter lived in a fine house in Crown Street, and where he was a respected citizen. But best of all for the Company, Captain Kidd had been in command of a privateer, and knew a good deal about pirates and their ways.
And so it came about that Captain Kidd sailed away, commander of the Adventure Galley, with its crew of sixty sailors, and its thirty guns, to destroy the pirates.
Then followed a space of time during which news of the bold Captain was eagerly awaited. It came soon enough—news that was startling. Captain Kidd had been tempted by the adventurous life and great gains, and had himself turned pirate! During the next two years he was heard of as the most daring and fierce of pirates, plundering and sinking ships, until his name became a terror on the sea. He collected great treasure, and then decided to give up piracy. He returned to New York, and touched first at Gardiner's Island, a bit of land at the eastern end of Long Island. There he buried a portion of his treasure. The remainder he divided with his crew. Then he went to Boston, took a new name, and intended to live in quiet and luxury during the remainder of his life. But, unfortunately, one day Lord Bellomont was in Boston, met him, and caused his arrest. In a few months he was sent to England in chains. There he was executed.
When it was known that Captain Kidd had made a stop at Gardiner's Island, search was made there and the hidden treasure was dug up. There were rumors from time to time that Kidd and his pirate crew had stopped at points on the East River shore of the Island of Manhattan, and many men hunted that shore and sought in many places for hidden treasure, but none was ever found there.
During the time that Captain Kidd was roaming the sea, Lord Bellomont was governing New York.
The new Governor was at first much admired. He was a fine man, with faultless manners, and a commander in every inch of his tall figure. He had hands as soft as a woman's, a kindly eye, and a gentle voice. But he could be stern, and was stern and unyielding, too, when occasion required. He dressed in better taste than anyone who had ever lived in the province, and his horses and carriage were finer than had ever before been seen in the city.
Friends of the dead Jacob Leisler had told Lord Bellomont tales of what a good man Leisler had been, and how he had been unjustly executed. So Lord Bellomont, to the end of his life, favored the friends of Leisler.
He was firmly convinced that many of the city merchants had become rich through dealings with the pirates. This belief made many enemies for him. Then, too, there were laws which would not permit merchants to trade with any country except England; hard laws, that were constantly broken, for the merchants could not see why they should not trade with anyone they saw fit. Bellomont was so strict in enforcing these laws and in collecting duties that he made more enemies, who sought his recall.
Nevertheless many improvements were carried out while Bellomont was Governor. A first effort was made to light the streets, which had, up to this time, only had the light of the moon at night. This was done by a lantern with a candle in it hung on a pole from the window of every seventh house. A night-watch was also established, consisting of four men.
After Bellomont had been Governor for a few years, what remained of the city wall was removed, and Wall Street had its beginning on the line of the old wall. The same year the old Stadt Huys was found to be in a state of decay. Then a new city hall was erected on the new Wall Street, close by where Nassau Street now touches it. There were dungeons in the new building for criminals, cells in the attic for debtors, and a court-room on the main floor.
The first library, under the name of the Corporation Library, was opened in the City Hall. This is the library that afterward became the Society Library. It is still in existence, and now has its home in University Place.
All in all, Lord Bellomont was a good Governor, who did much for the people, and much to make the city an agreeable place to live in; and there was deep regret when he died suddenly in the year 1701. He was buried in the chapel in the fort, and as an especial honor to his memory his coat-of-arms was fixed on the wall of the new City Hall in Wall Street. This was a great honor, even though the fickle people, a few years later, when a new Governor came, did tear down the arms and burn them in the street.
John Nanfan, the Lieutenant-Governor, took command of the province until news reached the city that Lord Cornbury had been appointed Governor. Nicholas Bayard, who had made such a bitter fight against Leisler, and who had been imprisoned so long, hated Governor Nanfan, because Nanfan was a friend of the people who called themselves the Leislerian party. So Bayard sent an address to Lord Cornbury saying that Nanfan was an enemy. But Nanfan arrested Bayard, and had him tried under the self-same act under which Leisler had been tried. This act pronounced traitors anyone who should make an effort to disturb the peace of the province. Bayard was sentenced to death, but a reprieve was granted pending the pleasure of the King. Before word could be got to England, Lord Cornbury arrived. Bayard was promoted to a place of honor, and there was a scattering of the Leislerians, who were now looked upon as enemies of the Government.
LORD CORNBURY makes HIMSELF very UNPOPULAR
It was in the year that Princess Anne became Queen of England (1702) that Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, eldest son of the Earl of Clarendon, was sent to govern New York. He was a cousin of the Queen, and left England to escape the demands of those to whom he owed money.
When Lord Cornbury arrived in New York, the Mayor, with much ceremony, presented him with a box of gold, containing the freedom of the city, which gave to him every privilege. It was a great deal of trouble and expense to go to, for the Governor would have taken all the privileges, even if the Mayor had not gone through the form of giving them.
Governor Cornbury very soon let his new subjects see that he was eager to acquire wealth, and that he intended to get it without the slightest regard for their interests or desires.
The Queen had told him that he should do all in his power to make the Church of England the established church of the land; that he should build new churches, punish drunkenness, swearing, and all such vices, and that he should keep the colony supplied with negro slaves.
There was much sickness in the town—so much that it became epidemic. So the Governor and his council went to the little village of Jamaica, on Long Island, and carried on the business of the city in a Presbyterian church building. When the epidemic had passed, he gave the church to the Episcopalians, because he remembered that Queen Anne had told him to make the Church of England the established church. There were riotous times in Jamaica after that, but the Episcopal clergyman occupied the house, and the Episcopalians worshipped in the church regardless of all protests.
Not many improvements were made during Lord Cornbury's administration. He cared little for the good of the city or for anything else except his own pleasures. The constant fear of war gave the people little time to think of improvements. They did, however, pave Broadway from Trinity Church to the Bowling Green. But do not imagine that this pavement was anything like those of to-day. It was of cobble-stones, and the gutters ran through the middle of the street.
The Governor came to be detested more and more by the people, for as the years went by he spent their money recklessly. He had a habit of walking about the fort in the dress of a woman, and another habit of giving dinners to his friends that lasted well on toward morning, when the guests sang and shouted so boisterously that the quiet citizens of the little town could not sleep.
So when the people grew very, very tired of it, they sent word to Queen Anne that her kinsman was a very bad Governor. And she, after much hesitation, when he had been Governor six years, removed him from office. She no sooner did this, than those to whom he owed money, and there were a great many of them, had him put in the debtors' prison, in the upper story of the City Hall in Wall Street. And in jail he remained for several months, until his father, the Earl of Clarendon, died, and money was sent for the release of the debtor prisoner, who was now a peer of Great Britain.
LORD LOVELACE and ROBERT HUNTER
The new Governor arrived in the last months of the year 1708. He was John, Lord Lovelace. As there had been so much trouble caused by the governors appropriating money belonging to the citizens, he decided to take a very different course. He had the public accounts looked into, and said, "I wish it known to all the world that the public debt has not been contracted in my time." And having said this (which made a fine impression) the Governor asked the Assembly to set aside enough money for him to run the affairs of the province for a number of years. This was to be called a permanent revenue. But the Assembly would do no such thing. In the midst of the discussion, Governor Lovelace died, five months after his arrival.
It was quite a year after the death of Lovelace before his successor came. This was Robert Hunter, a most exceptional man. His parents were poor, and when a boy he had run away from home and had joined the British army. By working very hard at his books when the army was not fighting, by studying in the soldiers' quarters and on the battle-field, by making friends with officers of high rank, Hunter had grown to manhood brave, well educated, and of graceful manner. On coming to New York he at once made friends with many influential persons. His most important friendship was with Lewis Morris, whom he afterward appointed chief-justice. This Morris was a son of Richard Morris, an officer in Cromwell's army, who had come to the province, purchased a manor ten miles square near Harlem, and called it Morrisania—by which name it is still known.
The year after Hunter arrived, New York joined with New England in a plan to conquer Canada (which belonged to the French) and join it to the English colonies. Money was raised, troops were gotten together, and ships and soldiers were sent from England. But when the attack was to be made, the English ships struck on the rocks in a fog off the coast of Canada, and eight of them sank with more than 800 men. This great loss put an end to the intended invasion. The soldiers returned home, where there was great sorrow at the dismal failure of a project that had cost so much money and so many lives.
Governor Hunter had only been in the province a short time when he began to urge the Assembly to grant him that permanent revenue that Lovelace had asked for. Queen Anne had said that he was to have it. But the Assembly would only grant him money from year to year.
About this time the first public market for the sale of negro slaves was established at the foot of Wall Street. More and more slaves were brought into the city, and the laws were made more and more strict to keep them in the most abject bondage. It had come to be the law that no more than four slaves could meet together at one time. They were not permitted to pass the city gates, nor to carry weapons of any sort. Should one appear on the street after nightfall without a lighted lantern, he was put in jail and his master was fined. Sometimes a slave murdered his owner. Then he was burned at the stake, after scarcely the pretence of a trial; or was suspended from the branches of a tall tree and left there to die.
But although the slaves were restrained and beaten and killed, their numbers increased so fast that the citizens were always in fear that they might one day rise up and kill all their masters. A riot did occur the year after the slave-market was set up. Several white men were killed and a house was burned. Many negroes were then arrested and nineteen of them were executed under a charge of having engaged in a plot against the whites.
Affairs moved along quietly for a time after the riot. The next most interesting happening was the putting up of the first public clock, on the City Hall in Wall Street. It was the gift of Stephen De Lancey.
De Lancey was a Huguenot nobleman, who had fled from France when the Huguenots were persecuted for their faith, and had found a home in the new world. He lived in a mansion at the corner of what are now Pearl and Broad Streets. The house is there yet, still called Fraunces's Tavern from the owner who turned it into a tavern after De Lancey removed from it.
Governor Hunter was becoming very popular with the people, when unfortunately his health failed. So he surrendered the government into the hands of Peter Schuyler, who was the oldest member in the City Council, and went to Europe, having served for nine years. For thirteen months Schuyler took charge, until William Burnet, the new Governor, replaced him.
GOVERNOR BURNET and the FRENCH TRADERS
Governor William Burnet was the son of a celebrated bishop of England.
His early days were passed at the Court of William III., where he met people of refinement and culture. Of an observing nature, and studying a great deal, he came to be a man of deep learning, a good talker, with manners that attracted attention wherever he went—so fine were they.
The city was gayly decorated in honor of his coming. Women looked from their windows and waved their handkerchiefs. Men crowded the streets and loudly shouted their welcome.
Soon after, he married the daughter of a leading merchant, and so identified himself at once with the city's interests. He became the fast friend of Chief-Justice Lewis Morris. Another friendship was that he formed with Dr. Cadwallader Colden. We shall hear more of this man later. Besides being a physician of note, he had a world-wide reputation as a writer on many scientific subjects.
Along about this time the French were trying hard to get all the trade with the Indians, not only in the province of New York, but in all the lands as far west as the Mississippi country that was then wild and unexplored. By this they could make a great deal of money, but, better still, would make friends of the powerful Indian tribes. Then the French hoped that the Indians would join with them against the English and that they could conquer all the English lands in America.
The New York merchants were quite content to let the French do the trading with the Indians, for the French traders bought all their goods in New York, and the merchants in selling to them did not run the great risk of being murdered, as they would in trading with the Indians in the forests. But although the merchants were satisfied, Governor Burnet was not. He realized the danger to the English provinces should the Indians become enemies. So he decided to establish a line of English trading stations that would enable the colonists to trade directly with the Indians in safety. He also made it unlawful to sell goods in New York to the French traders.
The merchants bitterly disapproved of these acts of Governor Burnet. They believed that he had dealt a death-blow to their French trade, and they became his bitter enemies. He tried hard to establish the line of trading stations, but the English Government refused to help him with money, and the project had to be abandoned, and the law against the French trade, which had caused the trouble, was repealed. The trade was once more carried on.
By this time George II. had become King of England, which was in the year 1728. Influence was brought to bear, and Governor Burnet was removed, and left the province a poorer man than he had entered it.
Toward the end of this same year Colonel John Montgomery was made Governor.
He had been groom of the bedchamber of George II. when the latter was Prince of Wales. He was a weak and lazy man, although he had been bred a soldier. You may believe that he never did much in the soldiering line, for a soldier's life is a hard one, and not likely to encourage a man to be lazy. Montgomery was given a cordial welcome, however.
The year after he came, the first Jewish cemetery was established, the remains of which may still be seen in the neighborhood of Chatham Square in New Bowery Street. It has not been used as a graveyard in many a year, and much of the ground is now occupied by buildings. But there is still a portion, behind a stone wall, and crumbling tombstones have stood there ever so many years longer than the dingy tenements which hem them in on three sides.
In the days of Montgomery, New York was still a small village, for most of the houses were below the present Fulton Street, and they were not at all thickly built, so there was room enough for pleasant gardens around them.
At this time the vacant space in front of the fort, which had been used as a parade-ground and a market-place, was leased to three citizens whose houses were nearby to be used as a Bowling Green. Its name came from this and it still keeps it.
A fire department was organized and two engines were imported and room made for them in the City Hall. Before this the department had consisted of a few leather buckets and a few fire-hooks.
In 1731 Governor Montgomery died, and for thirteen months after, Rip Van Dam, oldest member of the council, and a wealthy merchant, looked after the province until the coming of William Cosby.
THE TRIAL of ZENGER, the PRINTER
Cosby arrived; a testy, disagreeable man who loved money above everything else. The colonists received him with favor, because they did not know these things about him. The Assembly granted him a revenue for six years, and gave him a present of L750 besides. The Governor thought this a very small sum and said so. He presented an order from the King which said that he was to have half the salary that Rip Van Dam had received for acting as Governor.
But Van Dam would not part with his money, and the people sided with him, for they had long been weary of governors who looked upon the colony simply as a means to repair their fortunes. Cosby was determined to get the money, so he sued Van Dam. This suit was conducted in a court where there were three judges, and two of them were friends of Cosby. One of them was James De Lancey, a son of that Stephen De Lancey who had given the clock to the city. The Chief-Justice was still Lewis Morris, who had been appointed by Governor Hunter. So with two judges, friends of the Governor, he won his suit, and Van Dam was ordered to pay him half his salary.
More than this, Chief-Justice Morris, who had disagreed with the other two judges, was removed from office, and James De Lancey became Chief-Justice.
The mass of the people disapproved of these doings, and there were murmurs of discontent. But the Governor had his money, and had made his friend Chief-Justice, and was running matters pretty much his own way, so he was satisfied.
There was still only one paper, the New York Gazette, published by William Bradford. As Bradford was the Government printer, it was quite natural that he should side with Cosby. But just at this time another paper came into existence, a rival to the Gazette, which took up the people's cause. This was the New York Weekly Journal, published by Peter Zenger, who had been one of Bradford's workmen. Each week it was filled with articles assailing Cosby, and all who were in sympathy with him. Very soon Zenger was arrested, charged with publishing libels against the city officials and the King. He was locked up in one of the cells in the City Hall.
The friends of Zenger secretly secured the services of Andrew Hamilton, a distinguished lawyer of Philadelphia, who pleaded his cause to good effect, and showed that Zenger had only spoken as any man had a right to speak, and had pointed out wrongs where wrongs existed. Justice De Lancey, remembering that his friend the Governor had made him Chief-Justice, told the jury that they must find Zenger guilty. But the jury pronounced him not guilty. Thus the freedom of the press was established, and the jury, by their verdict, had opposed the Governor, his council, the Assembly, and the judge before whom the accused had been tried.
About this time Lord Augustus Fitzroy, youngest son of the Duke of Grafton, came from England to visit Governor Cosby. The Governor thanked him for having honored New York with his presence, and told him that the city was open and invited him to go where he pleased. Lord Augustus did not go far. He fell in love with the Governor's daughter. He did more than fall in love, for one day he induced a minister to climb over the fort wall and marry him to her, without leave or license. The friends of the young nobleman were shocked, for the Governor's daughter was considered beneath him in rank. Governor Cosby was accused of having brought about this unequal match, although Lord Augustus said that it was the lady's winning ways and pretty face.
Cosby, after the Zenger trial, did what he could to check the liberty of the citizens, but was soon stricken with a fatal illness. On his death-bed he called together the members of his council, and suspended his old enemy, Rip Van Dam, who would have been his successor until another Governor was appointed. And having done this he died, on March 10, 1736, leaving a quarrelsome state of affairs behind him.
CONCERNING the NEGRO PLOT
The citizens were so far from being pleased when they learned that Rip Van Dam was not to act in the Governor's place, that, for a time, it looked very much as though there would be a riot. There was a member of the Assembly named George Clarke, and when his fellow-members chose him for the place that Rip Van Dam should have had, there was more grumbling. But as no Governor came from England for seven years, Clarke looked after the province all that time. He was an easy-going man, who tried by every possible means to make friends. There was one happening in particular by which he is remembered. It was called the Negro Plot.
Slaves had been brought to the city, until now there were 2,000 of them. The 8,000 citizens were in constant dread lest the negroes should some day rise up in revolt. Early in the spring of the year 1741 several fires occurred in different parts of the city, and the citizens felt quite sure that the slaves had started them. As the hours passed, the idea of a plot grew until it seemed a fact. Then a reward was offered to anyone who would tell of a conspiracy or of anyone concerned in one.
Just at this time a woman was arrested for a small theft, and when she heard of the reward, she all at once remembered that there had been meetings of negroes at a small tavern where she had worked. She told of a plan to kill every white person; to set all the negroes free, and to make one of them King of the city. The woman who told this story was Mary Burton. The tavern-keeper, his wife, and several other negroes were hanged in short order. Still the fires kept on. There were dozens within ten days, and among others the Governor's house in the fort was burned to the ground.
Mary Burton now began a remarkable series of confessions which grew wilder with each passing day. Negro slaves accused by her were arrested in numbers. Liberty was promised all who would speak the truth, and speaking the truth was understood to mean giving information of a conspiracy. Very soon several negroes were burned at the stake in a little valley beyond the Collect Pond. This awful death frightened many, who hastened to cry out that they knew all about the plot. There were some who saved their lives by confessing things that were not true; many more did not.
During the whole long, hot summer the hanging and burning of negro slaves went on. Late in the year, when Mary Burton had seen every person she had accused arrested, she grew more bold. She sought some new story to tell, and found one in remembering for the first time that white people had been connected with the plot. Twenty-four white citizens had been arrested, when Mary Burton began to attack prominent townsmen; even those who had been foremost in the prosecution of the negroes. It was only then realized that the woman's words could not be relied upon. She was paid the hundred pounds that had been promised her, and she disappeared, leaving no trace.
Gradually the fury of feeling against the slaves died away. Whether there had ever been any real plot will always remain unanswered.
Certain it is, however, that the witnesses on whose words arrests were made were all of uncertain and unreliable character; that the evidence was contradictory, and that most of it was extorted under pain of death.
The excitement passed away after a time, and George Clarke went on talking finely and managing his own affairs so well that he was growing very rich indeed when his official life came to a sudden end.
THE TRAGIC DEATH of SIR DANVERS OSBORNE
In this year, 1743, Admiral George Clinton was sent by King George II. of England to take the place of George Clarke as Governor. Then Clarke packed up his riches and went to England and enjoyed the rest of his life far from the little colony that he had governed so much to his own profit.
Admiral Clinton was the son of an English earl.
When he had been Governor not yet a year, there came a man whose influence was soon felt. He was Commodore Peter Warren, of the British Navy, who in later years became an admiral. Before he had been in New York long, he married Susannah De Lancey, a sister of the Chief-Justice. They went to live in a new house in the country, in the district which was then and is now known as Greenwich.
England was again at war with France at this time. There were tribes of Indians who sided with the French, and there were other tribes who sided with the English, and the result was a series of bloody border wars. Two years after the coming of Governor Clinton, New York, with the other English colonies, gathered troops to attack the French, and a great force was sent against a city called Louisburg. This city was on Cape Breton Island, which is close by the coast of Nova Scotia and was a fortress of such great strength, that it was called the Gibraltar of America. Commodore Warren led the English fleet, and the combined forces by sea and land captured the fortress.
You will remember James De Lancey, who was still Chief-Justice. He was very rich, and as he showed at all times that he considered the interests of the citizens above all things, they naturally thought a great deal of him. For a time he acted as adviser to Governor Clinton, but the two had a falling out.
For the ten years that Clinton remained Governor he had great trouble with the people, who sided with De Lancey. At the end of that time Governor Clinton, finding that his power grew less and less, and that De Lancey became more and more popular, resigned his office. A few months went by, and then came Sir Danvers Osborne to be Governor. On the third day after reaching the city he walked out of the fort at the head of the other officials, with Clinton by his side, to go to the City Hall, where he was to take the oath of office. The people, all gathered in the streets, shouted when they saw the new Governor. But at the sight of Clinton, whom they hated, they hissed and shook their fists and yelled, until Clinton became alarmed and hurried back to the fort, leaving the new Governor to go on without him. And Sir Danvers Osborne was much surprised and a little frightened.
"I expect," said he to Clinton that same day, "I expect the same treatment before I leave the province,"
For all the shaking fists and for all the angry shouts, the new Governor was well entertained that day. The church-bells rang, cannon boomed, and at night the town was illuminated. But the citizens did not do this so much for the new Governor as they did for De Lancey, who had now been made Lieutenant-Governor.
Two days after Sir Danvers took the oath of office he called his council before him and told them that the King had said he was to have the permanent revenue about which there had been so much trouble with the other governors. And the council members told him, as they had told others, that this command would never be obeyed. On hearing this Sir Danvers became sad and gloomy. He covered his face with his hands.
"Then what am I come here for?" he cried.
The very next morning there was an uproar in the city. The Governor had been found dead, hanging from the garden-wall of his house. Then the people learned that his mind had been unsettled for a long time, and that he had accepted the governorship hoping to be cured by a change of scene. But the knowledge that his rule would be one of constant struggling to gain his ends had doubtless proven too much for his wrecked brain. So he killed himself, and the government of New York was left in the hands of James De Lancey, and you will see how he still further won the hearts of those around him.
THE BEGINNING of DISCONTENT
Two years James De Lancey acted as Governor, and the citizens were really sorry when Admiral Sir Charles Hardy was sent to take his place.
Sir Charles was not slow to see and to admit that while he was a good sailor, he did not make a good Governor, so after a year he resigned, and the province was once more left to the care of De Lancey.
At this time there was much being said about the need for schools, and for many years plans had been under way for building a college in the city.
Money had been raised by means of lotteries—which were popular and lawful then—and finally the college was established. It was called King's College. It is still in existence, but is now Columbia University. A tablet at West Broadway and Murray Street tells that the college once stood close by.
It was near this time that William Walton, a very rich merchant, built the finest house that the city had yet known. This was in Queen Street, not a great way from the Stadt Huys, and the furniture and fittings were in keeping with the elegance of the exterior. It was so fine that the fame of it spread to England, where it was spoken of as a proof that the colonists were very, very rich indeed. This house stood for 129 years. When it was torn down it had become a tenement that showed scarcely a trace of its early grandeur. Queen Street is now Pearl Street and the building numbered 326 is on the site of the famous old house.