The fussy incompetence of Kieft and the disastrous results of the Indian war he had aroused led at last to his removal, and in May, 1647, a new director-general arrived, Petrus Stuyvesant, who had made a good record as governor of Curacao in the West Indies. Stuyvesant, the last of the Dutch governors, was a man of character, brave, honest, capable and energetic; but he was proud, headstrong and tyrannical, and had such high notions of a governor's prerogative that from the first he conceived a prejudice against the opponents of Kieft, and presently Kuyter and Melyn were condemned to severe punishment for attempting to bring the latter to justice.
The new director-general was bent on pursuing a vigorous policy toward encroaching English and Swedish neighbors, on repressing the high claims of the patroon's officers at Rensselaerswyck, on putting the province in good condition for defence, on suppressing illegal trading, especially the supplying of fire-arms to the Indians, and on regulating with a strong hand all the doings of his small body of subjects. But such a policy costs money, and to obtain it by taxation he found himself compelled in August, 1647, like many another arbitrary ruler, to summon reluctantly the representatives of the people. Carefully as the functions of the Nine Men were limited, they constituted a permanent element in the governmental system, as the Twelve Men and Eight Men had not. It was inevitable that sooner or later they should become the mouthpiece of popular discontent, which was rapidly increasing under the unprosperous condition of the province and the burdensome taxes, customs and other restrictions imposed upon its economic life.
In December, 1648, the board was partly renewed. One of the new members, Adriaen van der Donck, a lawyer from Breda, who from 1641 to 1646 had been schout for the patroon at Renssellaerwyck, soon became the leading spirit of the new board. Their sense of popular grievances increasing, they planned to send a deputation to the mother country to remonstrate. Stuyvesant opposed, arrested Van der Donck, seized some of his papers, and expelled him from the board. Nevertheless, a bold memorial to the States General was prepared, and was signed on July 26, 1649, "in the name and on the behalf of the commonalty of New Netherland," by Van der Donck and ten others, present or former members of the board of Nine Men. In this memorial, which is printed in Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, I. 259-261, the representatives request the Dutch government to enact measures for the encouragement of emigration to the province, to grant "suitable municipal [or civil] government, ...somewhat resembling the laudable government of the Fatherland," to accord greater economic freedom, and to settle with foreign governments those disputes respecting colonial boundaries and jurisdiction the constant agitation of which so unsettled the province and impeded its growth.
The following document accompanied the memorial, bearing date two days later, July 28, 1649, and was signed by the same eleven men. It is considered probable that Adriaen van der Donck was its main author. Its first part, descriptive of the province, reads like a preliminary sketch for his Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant ("Description of New Netherland"), a very interesting work published at Amsterdam six years later (1665, second edition 1656), and of which a translation appears in the Collections of the New York Historical Society, second series, I. 125-242.
With respect to the remaining, or political portion of its contents, it is only fair for the reader to remember that it is a body of ex parte statements, and should be compared with those made on behalf of the administration by Secretary van Tienhoven in his Answer, the document immediately following this. Stuyvesant, whatever his faults of temper—love of autocratic power, lack of sympathy with the life of a community already far from austere, vindictiveness even—conceived of his province as a political community, not solely as a commercial possession, and honestly tried to govern it with an eye to its own best interest. The directors, moreover, could truthfully say that many of their narrowest actions were prescribed by their instructions from the West India Company. While the States General were often capable of taking a statesmanlike view of New Netherland, and as it lost control of the former found itself involved in greater and greater financial embarrassments, which made it increasingly difficult to do justice to the latter. We may also set down on the credit side of the account that though the administration was slow to concede representative institutions to the province, it did not a little to organize local self-government, Kieft granting village rights, with magistrates and local courts of justice, to Hampstead in 1644, to Flushing in 1645, to Brooklyn in 1646, while Stuyvesant bestowed such rights on a dozen towns during his seventeen years' rule and gave New Amsterdam a somewhat restricted municipal government in 1653.
Of those whose signatures follow Van der Donck's at the end of the Representation, Augustin Herrman was a Bohemian of Prague, who had served in Wallenstein's army, had come out to New Netherland in 1633 as agent of a mercantile house of Amsterdam, and had become an influential merchant. A man of various accomplishments, he probably made the drawing of New Amsterdam which is reproduced at the foot of Van der Donck's map in this volume. Later he made for Lord Baltimore a fine map of Maryland, and received as his reward the princely estate of Bohemia Manor. Arnoldus van Hardenberg, another merchant, had been a victim of judicial oppression by both Kieft and Stuyvesant. Jacob van Couwenhoven had come out in 1633 and resided at first at Rensselaerswyck; he was afterward of note as speculator and brewer in New Amsterdam. Oloff Stevensz van Cortlant had been store-keeper for the Company and deacon of the church; later he was burgomaster of New Amsterdam. Michiel Jansz and Thomas Hall were farmers, the latter, the first English settler in New York State, having come to Manhattan as a deserter from George Holmes's abortive expedition of 1635 against Fort Nassau on South River. Elbert Elertsz was a weaver, Hendrick Kip a tailor. Govert Loockermans, on the other hand, brother-in-law to both Couwenhoven and Cortlandt, was the chief merchant and Indian trader of the province, often in partnership with Isaac Allerton the former Pilgrim of Plymouth. Lastly, Jan Everts Bout, a farmer, had formerly been superintendent for Pauw at Pavonia. Characterizations of these men, by an unfriendly hand, may be seen at the end of Van Tienhoven's Answer to this Representation.
Three of the signers, Van der Donck, Couwenhoven and Bout, were deputed to go to the Netherlands and present the Representation to the States General, while Stuyvesant sent Secretary van Tienhoven to counteracat their efforts. The Voluminous papers which both parties presented to their High Mightinesses were referred to a committee, which in April, 1650, submitted a draft of a reformed and more liberal government for the province. The delegates caused their Representation to be printed, in a pamphlet of forty-nine pages, now very rare, under the title, Vertoogh van Nieu-Neder-Land, Weghens de Ghelegentheydt, Vruchtbaerheydt, en Soberen Staet desselfs (Hague, 1650), i.e., "Representation of New Netherland, concerning its Location, Productiveness and Poor Condition." Much discussion was aroused. "The name of New Netherland," wrote the Amsterdam chamber of the Company to Stuyvesant, "was scarcely ever mentioned before, and now it would seem as if heaven and earth were interested in it." So effective an exposition of the colony's value and of its misgovernment could not fail to awaken consideration and sympathy. Nevertheless, the company, aided by the Answer which Van Tienhoven submitted in November, 1650, were able to ride out the storm, and to temporize until the outbreak of the war of 1652-1654 with England put a new face on colonial affairs. A few concessions were made—the export duty on tobacco was taken off, and a municipal government allowed to New Amsterdam, now a town of 700 or 800 inhabitants (1653). But no serious alteration in the provincial government resulted. "Our Grand Duke of Muscovy," wrote one of Stuyvesant's subordinates to Van der Donck, "keeps on as of old." Disaffection among the Dutch settlers never ceased till the English conquest, though on the other hand the English settlers on Long Island were much better disposed toward Stuyvesant's government, and were treated by him with more favor.
Van der Donck's two companions returned to New Netherland before long. He, however, remained in the old country until the summer of 1653, occupied with the business of his mission, with legal studies, taking the degree of doctor of laws at he University of Leyden, and with the preparation of his Beschryvinge van Nieus-Nederlant. The States General gave him a copyright for it in May, 1653, but the first edition was not published till 1655. In that year the author died, leaving to his widow his estate, or "colonie," which he called Colendonck. The name of Yonkers, where it was situated, perpetuates his title of gentility (Jonkheer van der Donck).
The original manuscript of the Representation is still preserved in the archives of the Netherlands, and a translation of it was printed in 1856 in Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, I. 271-318, and reprinted in Pennsylvania Archives, second series, V. 124-170. A translation of the printed tract, the text of which differs but very slightly from that of the manuscript, was made by Hon. Henry C. Murphy and printed in 1849 in the Collections of the New York Historical Society, second series, II. 251-329. It exists also in a separate form as a pamphlet, and, combined with the Breeden Raedt, in a volume privately printed in an edition of 125 copies by Mr. James Lenox. It is this translation which, revised by Professor A. Clinton Crowell, is printed in the following pages.
THE REPRESENTATION OF NEW NETHERLAND, 1650
The Representation of New Netherland concerning its Location, Productiveness, and Poor Condition.
AMONG all the people in the world, industrious in seeking out foreign lands, navigable waters and trade, those who bear the name of Netherlanderse, will very easily hold their place with the first, as is sufficiently known to all those who have in any wise saluted the threshold of history, and as will also be confirmed by the following relation. The country of which we propose to speak, was first discovered in the year of our Lord 1609, by the ship Half Moon, of which Hendrik Hutson was master and supercargo—at the expense of the chartered East India Company, though in search of a different object. It was subsequently called New Netherland by our people, and very justly, as it was first discovered and possessed by Netherlanders, and at their cost; so that even at the present day, those natives of the country who are so old as to recollect when the Dutch ships first came here, declare that when they saw them, they did not know what to make of them, and could not comprehend whether they came down from Heaven, or were of the Devil. Some among them, when the first one arrived, even imagined it to be a fish, or some monster of the sea, and accordingly a strange report of it spread over the whole land. We have also heard the savages frequently say, that they knew nothing of any other part of the world, or any other people than their own, before the arrival of the Netherlanders. For these reasons, therefore, and on account of the similarity of climate, situation and fertility, this place is rightly called New Netherland. It is situated on the northerly coast of America, in the latitude of 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42 degrees, or thereabouts, coast-wise. It is bounded on the northeast by New England, and on the southwest by Virginia. The coast runs nearly southwest and northeast, and is washed by the ocean. On the north is the river of Canada, a large river running far into the interior. The northwest side is still partially unknown.
The land is naturally fruitful, and capable of supporting a large population, if it were judiciously allotted according to location. The air is pleasant here, and more temperate than in the Netherlands. The winds are changeable, and blow from all points, but generally from the southwest and northwest; the former prevailing in summer, and the latter in winter, at times very sharply, but constituting, nevertheless, the greatest blessing to the country as regards the health of the people, for being very strong and pure, it drives far inland or consumes all damps and superfluous moisture. The coast is generally clean and sandy, the beach detached and broken into islands. Eastward from the North River lies Long Island, about forty leagues in length, forming a fine wide river, which falls at either end into the ocean, and affording a very convenient passage between the shores which is protected from the dangers of the sea by a great number of good bays and other places of anchorage, so that vessels even in winter can readily pass east and west. Towards the south approaching the South River, there are several inlets, but they are muddy and sandy, though after proper experiments they could be used. Inside these again there are large streams and meadows, but the waters are for the most part shallow. Along the seacoast the land is generally sandy or gravelly, not very high, but tolerably fertile, so that for the most part it is covered over with beautiful trees. The country is rolling in many places, with some high mountains, and very fine flats and maize lands, together with large meadows, salt and fresh, all making very fine hay land. It is overgrown with all kinds of trees, standing without order, as in other wildernesses, except that the maize lands, plains and meadows have few or no trees, and these with little pains might be made into good arable land.
The seasons are the same as in the Netherlands, but the summer is warmer and begins more suddenly. The winter is cold, and further inland, or towards the most northerly part, colder than in the Netherlands. It is also subject to much snow, which remains long on the ground, and in the interior, three, four and five months; but near the seacoast it is quickly dissolved by the southerly winds. Thunder, lightning, rain, showers, hail, snow, frost, dew and the like, are the same as in the Netherlands, except that in the summer sudden gusts of wind are somewhat more frequent.
The land is adapted to the production of all kinds of winter and summer fruits, and with less trouble and tilling than in the Netherlands. It produces different kinds of woods, suitable for building houses and ships, whether large or small, consisting of oaks of various kinds, as post-oak, white smooth bark, white rough bark, gray bark, black bark, and still another kind which they call, from its softness, butter oak, the poorest of all, and not very valuable; the others, if cultivated as in the Netherlands, would be equal to any Flemish or Brabant oaks. It also yields several species of nut wood, in great abundance, such as oil-nuts, large and small; walnut of different sizes, in great abundance, and good for fuel, for which it is much used, and chestnut, the same as in the Netherlands, growing in the woods without order. There are three varieties of beech—water beech, common Beech, and hedge beech—also axe-handle wood, two species of canoe wood, ash, birch, pine, fir, juniper or wild cedar, linden, alder, willow, thorn, elder, and many other kinds useful for many purposes, but unknown to us by name, and which we will be glad to submit to the carpenters for further examination.
The indigenous fruits consist principally of acorns, some of which are very sweet; nuts of different kinds, chestnuts, beechnuts, but not many mulberries, plums, medlars, wild cherries, black currants, gooseberries, hazel nuts in great quantities, small apples, abundant strawberries throughout the country, with many other fruits and roots which the savages use. There is also plenty of bilberries or blueberries, together with ground-nuts and artichokes, which grow under ground. Almost the whole land is full of vines, in the wild woods as well as on the maize lands and flats; but they grow principally near to and upon the banks of the brooks, streams and rivers, which are numerous, and run conveniently and pleasantly everywhere, as if they were planted there. The grapes comprise many varieties, some white, some very fleshy, and only fit to make raisins of, others on the contrary juicy; some are very large and others small. The juice is pleasant, and some of it as white as French or Rhenish wine; some is a very deep red, like Tent,(1) and some is paler. The vines run much on the trees, and are shaded by their leaves, so that the grapes ripen late and are a little sour; but with the intelligent assistance of man, as fine wines would undoubtedly be made here as in any other country. In regard to other fruits, all those which grow in the Netherlands also grow very well in New Netherland, without requiring as much care to be bestowed upon them as is necessary there. Garden fruits succeed very well, yet are drier, sweeter, and more agreeable than in the Netherlands; for proof of which we may easily instance musk-melons, citrons or watermelons,(2) which in New Netherland grow right in the open fields, if the briars and weeds are kept from them, while in the Netherlands they require the close care of amateurs, or those who cultivate them for profit in gardens, and then they are neither so perfect by far, nor so palatable, as they are in New Netherland. In general all kinds of pumpkins and the like are also much drier, sweeter and more delicious, which is caused by the temperateness and amenity of the climate.
The tame cattle are in size and other respects about the same as in the Netherlands, but the English cattle and swine thrive and grow best, appearing to be better suited to the country than those from Holland. They require, too, less trouble, expense and attention; for it is not necessary in winter to look after such as are dry, or the swine, except that in the time of a deep snow they should have some attention. Milch cows also are much less trouble than they are in Holland, as most of the time, if any care be requisite, it is only for the purpose of giving them occasionally a little hay.
The wild animals are principally lines,(3) but they are few; bears, of which there are many, elks and deer in great numbers, some of which are entirely white, and others wholly black. The savages say that the white deer are of very great consequence in the estimation of the other deer, and are exceedingly beloved, regarded and honored by the others, but that the reverse is true of the black deer. There are various other large animals in the interior, but they are unknown to the Christians. There are also wolves, dangerous only to small cattle, beavers, otters, weasels, wild cats, foxes, raccoons, minks, hares, musk-rats, about as large as cats, pole-cats and squirrels, some of which can fly. There are also ground-hogs and other small animals, but they are for the most part, as we have said, not known to the Christians.
(1) A deep-red Spanish wine.
(2) The original has water-limoenen, water-citrons, for the watermelon, little known in Dutch gardens at this time, was regarded rather as a citron than as a melon.
Of birds this country is by no means without its share. There are great numbers of birds of prey, as eagles of two kinds—the bald-headed, which has the head, tail and principal wing-feathers white, and the common kind; hawks, buzzards, sparrow-hawks, crows, chicken-hawks, and many others, yet all are birds of prey and capable of being trained and used for hunting, though they differ somewhat in shape from those in the Netherlands. There is also a bird which has its head like a cat, and its body like a large owl, colored white.(1) We know no name for it in the Netherlands, but in France it is called grand duc, and is esteemed very highly.
(1) The cat-owl or great barred own, bubo Virginianus. It is not white, but neither is the grand duc, the European bubo. Van der Donck, in his Beschryvinge, says, "of a light ash color."
The other birds found in this country are turkies, the same as in the Netherlands, but they are wild, and are plentiest and best in winter; several kinds of partridges, some smaller than in the Netherlands, others larger, curlews, wood and water snipes, pheasants, heath-hens, cranes, herons, bitterns, multitudes of pigeons resembling ringdoves, but a little smaller; quails, merlins, thrushes, shore-runners, but in some respects different from those of the Netherlands. There are other small birds, some of which sing, but the names of most of them are unknown to us, and would take too long to enumerate. Water fowl are found here of different kinds, but all very good and fit to eat; such as the swans, similar to those in Netherlands and full as large; three kinds of geese, gray geese, which are the largest and best, bernicles and white-headed geese, ducks of different kinds, widgeons, divers, coots, cormorants and several others, but not so abundant as the foregoing.
The river fish are almost the same as in the Netherlands, comprising salmon, sturgeon, twelves, thirteens,(1) shad, carp, perch, pike, trout, roach, thickhead, suckers, sunfish, eel, nine-eyes or lampreys, both much more abundant and larger than in the Netherlands, besides many other valuable fish which we are unable to name.
(1) Striped bass and drum-fish.
In the salt water are caught codfish, haddock, weakfish, herring, mackerel, thornbacks, flounders, plaice, sheepshead, blackfish, sea-dogs, panyns and many others; also lobsters, crabs, great cockles, from which the Indians make the white and black zeewant, oysters and muscles in great quantities with many other kinds of shell-fish very similar to each other, for which we know no names, besides sea and land tortoises.
The venomous animals consist, for the most part, of adders and lizards, though they are harmless or nearly so. There are snakes of different kinds, which are not dangerous and flee before men if they possibly can, else they are usually beaten to death. The rattlesnakes, however, which have a rattle on the tail, with which they rattle very loudly when they are angry or intend to sting, and which grows every year a joint larger, are very malignant and do not readily retreat before a man or any other creature. Whoever is bitten by them runs great danger of his life, unless great care be taken; but fortunately they are not numerous, and there grown spontaneously in the country the true snakeroot, which is very highly esteemed by the Indians as an unfailing cure.
The medicinal plants found in New Netherland up to the present time, by little search, as far as they have come to our knowledge, consist principally of Venus' hair, hart's tongue, lingwort, polypody, white mullein, priest's shoe, garden and sea-beach orach, water germander, tower-mustard, sweet flag, sassafras, crowfoot, platain, shepherd's purse, mallows, wild marjoram, crane's bill, marsh-mallows, false eglantine, laurel, violet, blue flag, wild indigo, solomon's seal, dragon's blood, comfrey, milfoil, many sorts of fern, wild lilies of different kinds, agrimony, wild leek, blessed thistle, snakeroot, Spanish figs which grow out of the leaves,(2) tarragon and numerous other plants and flowers; but as we are not skilled in those things, we cannot say much of them; yet it is not to be doubted that experts would be able to find many simples of great and different virtues, in which we have confidence, principally because the Indians know how to cure very dangerous and perilous wounds and sores by roots, leaves and other little things.
(2) Probably the prickly pear.
It is certain that the Indigo silvestris grows here spontaneously without human aid. It could be easily cultivated if there were people who would undertake it; at least, the other species would grow very well and yield a good profit. We have seen proof of this in the colony of Renselaerswyck, though it was all sown too late and upon a barren rock where there was little earth. It came up very well, but in consequence of the drought turned very yellow and withered, and was neglected; nevertheless it was evident that if it were well covered it would succeed. Madder plants also would undoubtedly grow well both in field and gardens, and better than in Zeeland.
There may be discovered casually or by little search, different minerals, upon some of which tests have been made according to our limited means, and which are found good. We have attempted several times to send specimens of them to the Netherlands, once with Arent van Corenben by way of New Haven and of England, but the ship was wrecked and no tidings of it have ever been received.(1) After that Director William Kieft also had many different specimens with him in the ship the Princess, but they were lost in her with him.(2) The mountains and mines nevertheless remain, and are easily to be found again whenever it may be thought proper to go to the labor and expense. In New England they have already progressed so far as to make castings of iron pots, tankards, balls and the like out of their minerals, and we firmly believe all that is wanting here is to have a beginning made; for there are in New Netherland two kinds of marcasite, and mines of white and yellow quicksilver, of gold, silver, copper, iron, black lead and hard coal. It is supposed that tin and lead will also be found; but who will seek after them or who will make use of them as long as there are not more people?
(1) Arent Corssen. Van der Donck says that he and Kieft saw an Indian painting his face with a shining mineral. They had it assayed, and it proved to contain gold. Arent Corssen, sent to Holland with a bag of it, embarked early in 1646 in the "great ship" of New Haven, Captain George Lamberton, for whose return into the harbor as a phantom ship, months afterward, see Cotton Mather's Magnalia, I. 84 (ed. of 1853), and Longfellow's poem, "The Phantom Ship."
(2) In August, 1647, some months after Stuyvesant's arrival, Kieft sailed for Holland. With him sailed his enemy Domine Bogardus, and the chief victims of his and Stuyvesant's persecution, Kuyter and Melyn. The ship was wrecked on the Welsh coast. Kieft was drowned; his opponents escaped.
Fuller's earth is found in abundance, and [Armenian] bole; also white, red, yellow, blue and black clay very solid and greasy, and should be suitable for many purposes; earth for bricks and for tiles, mountain-chrystal, glass like that of Muscovy,(1) green serpentine stone in great abundance, blue limestone, slate, red grindstone, flint, paving stone, large quantities of all varieties of quarry stone suitable for hewing mill-stones and for building all kinds of walls, asbestos and very many other kinds applicable to the use of man. There are different paints, but the Christians are not skilled in them. They are seen daily on the Indians, who understand their nature and use them to paint themselves in different colors. If it were not that explorers are wanting, our people would be able to find them and provide themselves with them.
Of the Americans or Natives, their Appearance, Occupations, and Means of Support.
The natives are generally well set in their limbs, slender round the waist, broad across the shoulders, and have black hair and dark eyes. They are very nimble and fleet, well adapted to travel on foot and to carry heavy burdens. They are foul and slovenly in their actions, and make little of all kinds of hardship; to which indeed they are by nature and from their youth accustomed. They are like the Brazilians in color, or as yellow as the people who sometimes pass through the Netherlands and are called Gypsies. The men generally have no beard, or very little, which some even pull out. They use very few words, which they consider well. Naturally they are very modest, simple and inexperienced; though in their actions high-minded enough, vigorous and quick to comprehend or learn, be it right or wrong, whenever they are so inclined. They are not straightforward as soldiers but perfidious, accomplishing all their enterprises by treachery, using many strategems to deceive their enemies, and usually ordering all their plans, involving any danger, by night. The desire of revenge appears to be born in them. They are very obstinate in defending themselves when they cannot run, which however they do when they can; and they make little of death when it is inevitable, and despise all tortures which can be inflicted upon them while dying, manifesting no sorrow, but usually singing until they are dead. They understand how to cure wounds and hurts, or inveterate sores and injuries, by means of herbs and roots, which grow in the country, and which are known to them. Their clothing, both for men and women, is a piece of duffels or leather in front, with a deer skin or elk's hide over the body. Some have bears' hides of which they make doublets; others have coats made of the skins of raccoons, wild-cats, wolves, dogs, otters, squirrels, beavers and the like, and also of turkey's feathers. At present they use for the most part duffels cloth, which they obtain in barter from the Christians. They make their stockings and shoes of deer skins or elk's hide, and some have shoes made of corn-husks, of which they also make sacks. Their money consists of white and black zeewant, which they themselves make. Their measure and valuation is by the hand or by the fathom; but their corn is measured by deontas, which are bags they make themselves. Ornamenting themselves consists in cutting their bodies, or painting them with various colors, sometimes even all black, if they are in mourning, yet generally in the face. They hang zeewant, both white and black, about their heads, which they otherwise are not want to cover, but on which they are now beginning to wear hats and caps bought of the Christians. They also put it in their ears, and around their necks and bodies, wherewith after their manner they appear very fine. They have long deer's hair which is dyed red, and of which they make rings for the head, and other fine hair of the same color, to hang from the neck like tresses, of which they are very proud. They frequently smear their skin and hair with difference kinds of grease. They can almost all swim. They themselves make the boats they use, which are of two kinds, some of entire trees, which they hollow out with fire, hatchets and adzes, and which the Christians call canoes; others are made of bark, which they manage very skilfully, and which are also called canoes.
Traces of the institution of marriage can just be perceived among them, and nothing more. A man and woman join themselves together without any particular ceremony other than that the man by previous agreement with the woman gives her some zeewant or cloth, which on their separation, if it happens soon, he often takes again. Both men and women are utterly unchaste and shamelessly promiscuous in their intercourse, which is the cause of the men so often changing their wives and the women their husbands. Ordinarily they have but one wife, sometimes two or three, but this is generally among the chiefs. They have also among them different conditions of persons, such as noble and ignoble. The men are generally lazy, and do nothing until they become old and unesteemed, when they make spoons, wooden bowls, bags, nets and other similar articles; beyond this the men do nothing except fish, hunt and go to war. The women are compelled to do the rest of the work, such as planting corn, cutting and drawing fire-wood, cooking, taking care of the children and whatever else there is to be done. Their dwellings consist of hickory saplings, placed upright in the ground and bent arch-wise; the tops are covered with barks of trees, which they cut for this purpose in great quantities. Some even have within them rough carvings of faces and images, but these are generally in the houses of the chiefs. In the fishing and hunting seasons, they lie under the open sky or little better. They do not live long in one place, but move about several times in a year, at such times and to such places as it appears best and easiest for them to obtain subsistence.
They are divided into different tribes and languages, each tribe living generally by itself and having one of its number as a chief, though he has not much power or distinction except in their dances or in time of war. Among some there is not the least knowledge of God, and among others very little, though they relate many strange fables concerning Him.
They are in general much afraid of the Devil, who torments them greatly; and some give themselves up to him, and hold the strangest notions about him. But their devils, they say, will have nothing to do with the Dutch. No haunting of spirits and the like are heard of among them. They make offerings to the Devil sometimes, but with few solemnities. They believe in the immortality of the soul. They have some knowledge of the sun, moon and stars, of which they are able to name many, and they judge tolerably well about the weather. There is hardly any law or justice among them, except sometimes in war matters, and then very little. The nearest of blood is the avenger. The youngest are the most courageous, and do for the most part what they please. Their weapons formerly were the bow and arrow, which they employ with wonderful skill, and the cudgel, but they now, that is, those who lives near the Christians or have many dealings with them, generally use firelocks and hatchets, which they obtain in trade. They are exceedingly fond of guns, sparing no expense for them; and are so skilful in the use of them that they surpass many Christians. Their food is coarse and simple, drinking water as their only beverage, and eating the flesh of all kinds of animals which the country affords, cooked without being cleansed or dressed. They eat even badgers, dogs, eagles and such like trash, upon which Christians place no value. They use all kinds of fish, which they commonly cook without removing the entrails, and snakes, frogs and the like. They know how to preserve fish and meat until winter, and to cook them with corn-meal. They make their bread of maize, but it is very plain, and cook it either whole or broken in a pestle block. The women do this and make of it a pap or porridge, which some of them call Sapsis,(1) others Enimdare, and which is their daily food. They mix this also sometimes with small beans of different colors, which they plant themselves, but this is held by them as a dainty dish more than as daily food.
(1) Probably a misprint for sapaan. For the next word, the manuscript has Duundare.
By whom New Netherland was first Possessed and what its Boundaries are.
That New Netherland was first found, claimed and possessed by Netherlanders, has already been stated; but inasmuch as a dispute has arisen, not only with the Swedes (which is of little moment) but especially with the English, who have already entered upon and seized a great part thereof, it is necessary to speak of each claim in particular and somewhat at large. But because this matter has been treated upon by various ingenious minds in its length and breadth, and as those claims are so absurd as to require only a few reasons in answer to them, we will be as brief as in any wise practicable.
After Their High Mightinesses, the Lords States General, were pleased, in the year of our Lord 1622,(1) to include this province in their grant to the Honorable West India Company, their Honors deemed it necessary to take into possession so naturally beautiful and noble a province, which was immediately done, as opportunity offered, the same as in all similar beginnings. Since the year of our Lord 1623, four forts have been built there by order of the Lords Directors,(2) one on the south point of the Manhatans Island, where the East and North Rivers unite, called New Amsterdam, where the staple-right(3) of New Netherland was designed to be; another upon the same River, six-and-thirty Dutch miles [leagues] higher up, and three leagues below the great Kochoos(4) fall of the Mohawk River, on the west side of the river, in the colony of Renselaerswyck, and is called Orange; but about this river there a been as yet no dispute with any foreigners. Upon the South River lies Fort Nassau and upon the Fresh River, the Good Hope. In these four forts there have been always from the beginning to the present time some garrisons, although they are all now in a very bad condition, not only in themselves but also as regards garrisons.
(2) Heeren Majores, the managers or directors of the Company.
(3) Staple-right is a privilege granted to the inhabitants of a place, whereby the masters of vessels or merchants trading along their coasts are compelled to discharge their cargoes there for sale, or else pay duties.
These forts, both to the south and north, are so situated as not only to close and control the said rivers, but also to command the plantations between them, as well as those round about them, and on the other side of the river as far as the ownership by occupation extends. These the Honorable Company declared they owned and would maintain against all foreign or domestic powers who should attempt to seize them against their consent. Yet, especially on the northeast side of New Netherland this has been not at all regarded or observed by the English living to the eastward; for notwithstanding possession was already fully taken by the building and occupation of Fort Good Hope, and there was no neglect from time to time in warning them, in making known our rights, and in protesting against their usurpation and violence, they have disregarded all these things and have seized and possessed, and still hold, the largest and best part of New Netherland, that is, on the east side of the North River, from Cape Cod, (by our people in 1609 called New Holland, and taken possession of [if we are correctly informed] by the setting up of the arms of their High Mightinesses,)(1) to within six leagues of the North River, where the English have now a village called Stamford, from whence one could travel now in a summer's day to the North River and back again, if one knows the Indian path. The English of New Haven also have a trading house which lies east or southeast of Magdalen Island, and not more than six leagues from the North River, in which this island lies, on the east bank twenty-three and a half leagues above Fort Amsterdam.(1) This trading post was established for no other purpose than to divert the trade of the North River or to destroy it entirely, for the river is now quite free. They have also endeavored several times, during eight or nine years past, to buy of the Indians a large quantity of land, (which would have served more than any other thing to draw off the trade), as we have understood from the Indians; for the post is situated not more than three or four leagues from the eastern bounds of the colony of Renselaerswyck.
(1) See De Laet, p. 37, supra. The words in square brackets appear in the manuscript, but not in the printed pamphlet.
(2) Magdalen Island is in the Hudson near Annandale. It appears that the nearest post to the lower Hudson possessed hitherto by the New Englanders was that which the New Haven people established in 1646 on the Housatonic near the present Derby, Connecticut; and that their nearest post to the upper Hudson was that which Governor Hopkins, of Connecticut, set up in 1641 at Woronoco, now Westfield, Massachusetts.
This and similar difficulties these people now wish to lay to our charge, all under the pretence of a very clear conscience, notwithstanding King James, of most glorious memory, chartered the Virginia Companies upon condition that they should remain an hundred miles from each other, according to our reckoning.(1) They are willing to avail themselves of this grant, but by no means to comply with the terms stipulated in it.
(1) The hundred miles of the Virginia patent of 1606 were English miles.
All the islands, bays, havens, rivers, kills and places, even to a great distance on the other side of New Holland or Cape Cod, have Dutch names, which our Dutch ship-masters and traders gave to them.(1) These were the first to discover and to trade to them, even before they had names, as the English themselves well know; but as long as they can manage it and matters go as they please, they are willing not to know it. And those of them who are at the Fresh River have desired to enter into an agreement and to make a yearly acknowledgement or an absolute purchase, which indeed is proof positive that our right was well known to them, and that they themselves had nothing against it in conscience, although they now, from time to time, have invented and pretended many things in order to screen themselves, or thereby to cause at least delay.
(1) An exaggeration, yet the number of such names is considerable, as may be seen by consulting the appendix to Asher's Bibliography of New Netherland.
Moreover the people of Rhode Island, when they were at variance with those of the Bay,(1) sought refuge among the Dutch, and sojourn among them. For all these things, and What we shall relate in the following pages, there are Proofs and documents enough, either with the secretary of the Company or with the directors.
(1) Massachusetts Bay. The most conspicuous instance is Mrs. Anne Hutchinson.
In short, is it just this with the English, they are willing to know the Netherlanders, and to use them as a protection in time of need, but when that is past, they no longer regard them, but play the fool with them. This happens so only because we have neglected to populate the land; or, to speak more plainly and truly, because we have, our of regard for our own profit, wished to scrape all the fat into one or more pots, and thus secure the trade and neglect population.
Long Island, which, on account of its convenient bays and havens, and its good well situated lands, is a crown of the province, they have also seized at once, except on the west and two Dutch villages—Breuckelen and Amersvoort,(1) not of much importance—and some English villages, as Gravesande, Greenwich and Mespat, (from which(2) the people were driven off during the war, and which was afterwards confiscated by Director Kieft; but as the owners appealed therefrom, it remains undecided.) There are now a very few people in the place. Also, Vlissengen, which is a pretty village and tolerably rich in cattle. The fourth and last village is Heemstede, which is superior to the rest, for it is very rich in cattle.
(1) Brooklyn and Flatlands.
(2) I.e., from Mespath or Newtown. Gravesend had been settled by Lady Deborah Moody, Greenwich in 1639 by Captain Daniel Patrick and Robert Feake, Mespath by Francis Doughty in 1642, Flushing and Hempstead by other English in 1645 and 1644.
As we are now on the subject of Long Island, we will, because the English claim it, speak of it somewhat particularly. The ocean on the south, and the East River on the north side of it, shape this island; and as we have said, it is, on account of its good situation, of its land, and of its convenient harbors, and anchoring places, a crown of New Netherland. The East River separates it from Manathans Island as far as the Hellegat. It is tolerably wide and convenient; and has been inhabited by our freemen from the first, according as opportunities offered. In the year 1640 a Scotchman, with an English commission, came to Director William Kieft. He laid claim to the island, but his pretension was not much regarded; for which reason he departed without accomplishing anything, having influenced only a few simple people. Director Kieft also afterwards sent and broke up the English who wished to begin a settlement at Oyster Bay, and thus it remained for a long time.(1)
(1) James Farrett, as agent for Lord Stirling, made grants at Oyster Bay to a company of men from Lynn, who began a settlement there. Stirling had received a grant of Long Island from the Council of New England in April, 1635.
In the year 1647, a Scotchman came here, who called himself Captain Forester,(1) and claimed this island for the Dowager of Sterling, whose governor he gave himself out to be. He had a commission dated in the eighteenth year of King James's reign, but it was not signed by His Majesty or any body else. Appended to it was an old seal which we could not decipher. His commission embraced the whole of Long Island, together with five leagues round about it, the main land as well as the islands. He had also full authority from Mary, dowager of Sterling, but this was all. Nevertheless the man was very consequential, and said on his first arrival that he came here to see Governor Stuyvesant's commission, and if that was better than his, he was willing to give way; if not, Governor Stuyvesant must yield to him. To make the matter short, the Director took copies of the papers and sent the man across(2) in the Falconer; but as this vessel put into England, the man did not reach Holland, having escaped there, and never troubling the captain afterwards. The English have since boasted of this very loudly, and have also given out that he had again arrived at Bastock,(3) but we have not heard of him. It is to be apprehended that if he came now, some new act would be committed, for which reason it would be well to hasten the redress of New Netherland.
(1) Andrew Forester, of Dundee.
(2) Across the ocean.
Of The Fresh River.
After Fort Good Hope, begun in the year 1623,(1) on the Fresh River, was finished, some time had elapsed when an English bark arrived there. Jacob van Curler, factor of the Company, by order of Director Wouter van Twiller, protested against it, but notwithstanding his protest they did, a year or two afterwards, come there with some families. A protest was also made against them; but it was very manifest that these people had little respect for it, for notwithstanding frequent protests, they have finally seized and possessed the whole of the Fresh River, and have proceeded so far in their shameless course as, in the year 1640, to seize the Company's farms at the fort, paying no regard to the protests which we made. They have gone even still further, and have belabored the Company's people with sticks and heavy clubs; and have forcibly thrown into the river their ploughs and other instruments, while they were on the land for the purpose of working, and have put their horses to the pound. The same things happened very frequently afterwards. They also took hogs and cows belonging to the fort, and several times sold some of them for the purpose, as they said, of repairing the damage. Against all these acts, and each one in particular, protests were repeatedly made, but they were met with ridicule. Several sharp letters about this were written in Latin to their governors; of which letters and protests, minutes or copies remain with the Company's officers, from which a much fuller account of these transactions could be made. But all opposition was in vain, for having had a smack of the goodness and convenience of this river, and discovered the difference between the land there and that more easterly, they would not go back; nor will they put themselves under the protection of Their High Mightinesses, unless they be sharply summoned thereto, as it is desirable they should be at the first opportunity.
(1) A misprint for 1633. The narrative below relates to the English settlers at Hartford, founded in 1635. See De Vries, pp. 203, 204, supra.
Of the Right of the Netherlanders to the Fresh River.
To speak from the beginning, our people had carefully explored and discovered the most northerly parts of New Netherland and some distance on the other side of Cape Cod, as we find it described, before the English were known here, and had set up our arms upon Cape Cod as an act of possession. In the year 1614 our traders(1) had not only traded at the Fresh River, but had also ascended it before any English had ever dreamed of going there, which they did first in the year 1636, after our fort, the Good Hope, had been a long time in esse and almost all the lands on both sides the river had been purchased by our people from the Indians, which purchase took place principally in the year 1632. Kievets-hoeck(2) was also purchased at the same time by one Hans den Sluys,(3) an officer of the company. On this cape the States' arms had been affixed to a tree in token of possession; but the English who now possess the Fresh River have torn them down and carved a ridiculous face in their place. Whether this was done by authority or not, cannot be positively asserted; it is however supposed that it was. It has been so charged upon them in several letters, and no denial has been made. Besides they have, contra jus gentium, per fas et nefas,(4) invaded the whole river, for the reason, as they say, that the land was lying idle and waste, which was no business of theirs and not true; for there was already built upon the river a fort which continued to be possessed by a garrison. There was also a large farm(5) near the fort, belonging to the Dutch or the Company. Most of the land was bought and appropriated and the arms of their High Mightinesses were set up at Kievets Hoeck, which is situated at the mouth of the river, so that everything was done that could be done except that the country was not all actually occupied. This the English demanded in addition, just as if it were their right, since they were in greater numbers, to establish laws for our nation in its own purchased lands and limits, and direct how and in what manner it should introduce people into the country, and if it did not turn our exactly according to their desire and pleasure, that they have the right to invade and appropriate these waters, lands and jurisdiction to themselves.
(1) Adriaen Block.
(2) Saybrook Point. Kievit, or kiewit, is the bird pewit.
(3) Hans Eencluys in the manuscript, according to N.Y. Col. Doc., I. 287.
(4) "Contrary to the law of nations, regardless of right or wrong."
(5) Brouwerye, brewery, in the printed pamphlet, but bouwery in the manuscript.
Of the Roden-Berch,(1) by the English called New Haven, and other Places of less Importance.
The number of villages established by the English, from New Holland or Cape Cod to Stamford, within the limits of the Netherlanders, is about thirty, and they may contain five thousand men capable of bearing arms. Their cattle, cows and horses are estimated at thirty thousand; their goats and hogs cannot be stated; neither of them can be fully known because there are several places which cannot well pass for villages, but which nevertheless are beginnings of villages. Among all these, Roden-Berch, or New Haven, is the first. It has a governor, contains about three hundred and forty families, and is counted as a province or one of the members of New England, of which there are four in all.(2)
(1) Red Hill. (2) I.e., of the United Colonies of New England, the confederation formed in 1643.
This place was begun eleven years ago, in the year 1638, and since then the people have broken off and formed Milford, Stratford, Stamford and the trading house before spoken of, etc.
Director Kieft has caused several protests to be drawn up, in Latin and in other languages, commanding them by virtue of his commissions from the Lords States General, His Highness the Prince of Orange and the Most Noble Directors of the Chartered West India Company, to desist from their proceedings and usurpations, and warning them, in case they did not, that we would, as soon as a fit opportunity should present, exact of them satisfaction therefor. But it was knocking at a deaf man's door, as they did not regard these protests or even take any notice of them; on the contrary they have sought many subterfuges, circumstances, false pretences and sophistical arguments to give color to their doings, to throw a cloud upon our lawful title and valid rights, and to cheat us out of them. General Stuyvesant also has had many questions with them, growing out of this matter, but it remains as it was. The utmost that they have ever been willing to come to, is to declare that the dispute could not be settled in this country, and that they desired and were satisfied that Their High Mightinesses should arrange it with their sovereign. It is highly necessary that this should be done, inasmuch as the English have already seized, and are in possession of, almost half of New Netherland, a matter which may have weighty consequences in the future. It is therefore heartily to be desired that Their High Mightinesses will be pleased to take this subject into serious consideration before it shall go further, and the breach become irreparable.
We must now pass to the South River, called by the English Delaware Bay, first speaking of the boundaries; but in passing we cannot omit to say that there has been here, both in the time of Director Kieft and in that of General Stuyvesant, a certain Englishman, who called himself Sir Edward Ploeyden, with the title of Earl Palatine of New Albion, who claimed that the land on the west side of the North River to Virginia was his, by gift of King James of England,(1) but he said he did not wish to have any strife with the Dutch, though he was very much piqued at the Swedish governor, John Prins, at the South River, on account of some affront given him, too long to relate. He said also that when an opportunity should offer he would go there and take possession of the river. In short, according to the claims of the English, it belongs to them, and there is nothing left for the subjects of Their High Mightinesses—one must have this far, and another that far, but they all agree never to fall short.
(1) Plowden claimed under a patent from the viceroy of Ireland under Charles I., June, 1634. The history of his shadowy principality of New Albion is best accounted by Professor Gregory B. Keen in Winsor's Narrative and Critical History of America, III. 457-468. The best account of the Swedish colony in the South River is by the same writer, ibid., IV. 443-500.
Of the South River and the Boundaries there.
As we have now come to speak of the South River and the most southerly portion of New Netherland, we will, although this is well performed by others, relate everything from the beginning, and yet as briefly as is practicable. The boundaries, as we find them, extend as far as Cape Henlopen, many miles south of Cape Cornelius, to the latitude of thirty-eight degrees. The coast stretches, one course with another, west-southwest and west, and although this Cape Henlopen is not much esteemed, it is nevertheless proper that it should be brought to our attention, as very important, not only in regard to the position of the country, but also as relates to the trade with the Indians at the South River, which the English and Swedes are striving after very hard, as we will show. If the boundaries of this country were settled, these people would conveniently and without further question be ousted, and both the enjoyment of the productions of the land and the trade be retained for the subjects of Their High Mightinesses.
Of the South Bay and South River.
The South Bay and South River, by many called the second great river of New Netherland, is situated at the latitude of 38 degrees 53 minutes. It has two headlands or capes—the more northerly bearing the name of Cape May, the more southerly that of Cape Cornelius. The bay was called New Port-May, but at the present time is known as Godyn's Bay. These names were given to the places about the time of their first discovery, before any others were given them. The discovery, moreover, took place at the same time with that of the North River, and by the same ship and persons, who entered the South Bay before they came to the North Bay, as all can read at length in the Nieuwe Werelt of Johannes de Laet.
At the same time that the forts were laid out on the North and Fresh rivers, since the year 1623, Fort Nassau was erected upon this river, which, in common parlance, is called the South River. It was the first of the four, and was built with the same object and design as all the others, as hereinbefore related. It lies on the east bank,(1) but it would have done as well on the west bank, fifteen leagues up the river. The bay runs for the most part north and south; is called New Port-May or Godyn's Bay; and is nine leagues long before you come to the river, and six leagues wide, so that from one shore you cannot see the other. On account of certain bars it is somewhat dangerous for inexperienced navigators, but not so for those who are acquainted with the channels. This bay and river are compared by its admirers with the river Amazon, that is, by such of them as have seen both; it is by everyone considered one of the most beautiful, and the best and pleasantest rivers in the world of itself and as regards its surroundings. Fourteen streams empty into this river, the least of them navigable for two or three leagues; and on both sides there are tolerably level lands of great extent. Two leagues from Cape Cornelius, where you enter on the west side, lies a certain creek, which might be taken for an ordinary river or stream, being navigable far up, and affording a beautiful roadstead for ships of all burdens. There is no other like it in the whole bay for safety and convenience. The main channel for navigation runs close by it; this place we call the Hoere-kil. From whence this name is derived we do not know;(2) it is certain that this place was taken and colonized by Netherlanders, years before any English or Swedes came there. The States' arms were also set up at this place in copper, but as they were thrown down by some mischievous savages, the commissary there very firmly insisted upon, and demanded, the head of the offender. The Indians not knowing otherwise brought a head, saying it was his; and the affair was supposed to be all settled, but some time afterwards, when our people were working unsuspectingly in their fields, the Indians came in the guise of friendship, and distributing themselves among the Dutch in proportionate numbers, surprised and murdered them. By this means the colony was again reduced to nothing; but it was nevertheless sealed with blood and dearly enough bought.
(1) Fort Nassau stood at the mouth of Timber Creek, opposite the present site of Philadelphia. (2) Harlot's creek, from the behavior of the Indian women. The story below is that of the short-lived colony of Swanendael, 1631-1632.
There is another kill on the east side called the Varckens Kil,(1) three leagues up from the mouth of the river. Here some English had settled, but Director Kieft protested against their proceedings, and drove them away, assisted somewhat by the Swedes, who agreed with him to keep out the English. The Swedish governor, considering an opportunity then offered to him, caused a fort to be built at this place, called Elsenborch,(2) and manifests there great boldness towards every one, even as respects the Company's boats or all which go up the South River. They must strike the flag before this fort, none excepted; and two men are sent on board to ascertain from whence the yachts or ships come. It is not much better than exercising the right of search. It will, to all appearance, come to this in the end. What authority these people can have to do this, we know not; nor can we comprehend how officers of other potentates, (at least as they say they are, yet what commission they have we do not yet know,) can make themselves master of, and assume authority over, lands and goods belonging to and possessed by other people, and sealed with their blood, even without considering the Charter. The Minquas-kil(3) is the first upon the river, and there the Swedes have built Fort Christina. This place is well situated, as large ships can lie close against the shore to load and unload. There is, among others, a place on the river, (called Schuylkil, a convenient and navigable stream,) heretofore possessed by the Netherlanders, but how is it now? The Swedes have it almost entirely under their dominion. Then there are in the river several beautiful large islands, and other places which were formerly possessed by the Netherlanders, and which still bear the names given by them. Various other facts also constitute sufficient and abundant proof that the river belongs to the Netherlanders, and not to the Swedes. Their very beginnings are convincing, for eleven years ago, in the year 1638, one Minne-wits,(4) who before that time had had the direction at the Manathans, on behalf of the West India Company, arrived in the river with the ship Kalmer-Sleutel [Key of Calmar], and the yacht Vogel-Gryp [Griffin], giving out to the Netherlanders who lived up the river, under the Company and Heer vander Nederhorst, that he was on a voyage to the West Indies, and that passing by there, he wished to arrange some matters and to furnish the ship with water and wood, and would then leave. Some time afterwards, some of our people going again, found the Swedes still there but then they had already made a small garden for raising salads, pot-herbs and the like. They wondered at this, and inquired of the Swedes what is meant, and whether they intended to stay there. They excused themselves by various reasons and subterfuges, but some notwithstanding supposed that such was their design. The third time it became apparent, from their building a fort, what their intentions were. Director Kieft, when he obtained information of the matter, protested against it, but in vain. It was plainly and clearly to be seen, in the progress of the affair, that they did not intend to leave. It is matter of evidence that above Maghchachansie,(5) near the Sankikans, the arms of Their High Mightinesses were erected by order of Director Kieft, as a symbol that the river, with all the country and the lands around there, were held and owned under Their High Mightinesses. But what fruits has it produced as yet, other than continued derision and derogation of dignity? For the Swedes, with intolerable insolence, have thrown down the arms, and since they are suffered to remain so, this is looked upon by them, and particularly by their governor, as a Roman achievement. True, we have made several protests, as well against this as other transactions, but they have had as much effect as the flying of a crow overhead; and it is believed that if this governor had a supply of men, there would be more madness in him than there has been in the English, or any of their governors. This much only in regard to the Swedes, since the Company's officers will be able to make a more pertinent explanation, as all the documents and papers remain with them; to which, and to their journals we ourselves refer.
(1) Hog Creek, now called Salem Creek, where New Haven men settled in 1641 at or near the present site of Salem, New Jersey. (2) Fort Nya Elfsborg, 1643-1654, a little further down the Delaware River. (3) Christina Creek; the fort was in what is now Wilmington, Delaware. (4) Peter Minuit. (5) Apparently within the present bounds of Philadelphia, where Andries Hudde, acting under orders from Kieft, purchased land and set up the arms of the States General in September, 1646. The Sankikans occupied northern New Jersey, with an important village at or near Trenton.
The English have sought at different times and places to incorporate this river which they say is annexed to their territory, but this has as yet been prevented by different protests. We have also expelled them by force, well knowing that if they once settled there, we should lose the river or hold it with much difficulty, as they would swarm there in great numbers. There are rumors daily, and it is reported to us that the English will soon repair there with many families. It is certain that if they do come and nestle down there, they will soon possess it so completely, that neither Hollanders nor Swedes, in a short time, will have much to say; at least, we run a chance of losing the whole, or the greatest part of the river, if very shortly remarkable precaution be not used. And this would be the result of populating the country; but the Directors of the Company to this day have had no regard to this worth the while, though the subject has been sufficiently brought before them in several documents. They have rather opposed and hindered this; for it has been with this matter as with the rest, that avarice has blinded wisdom. The report now is that the English intend to build a village and trading house there; and indeed if they begin, there is nobody in this country who, on the Company's behalf, can or apparently will, make much effort to prevent them. Not longer ago than last year, several free persons,(1) some of whom were of our own number and who had or could have good masters in Fatherland, wished to establish a trading house and some farms and plantations, upon condition that certain privileges and exemptions should be extended to them; but this was refused by the General, saying, that he could not do it, not having any order or authority from the noble Lords Directors; but if they were willing to begin there without privileges, it could in some way be done. And when we represented to His Honor that such were offered by our neighbors all around us, if we would only declare ourselves willing to be called members of their government, and that this place ran a thousand dangers from the Swedes and English, His Honor answered that it was well known to be as we said, (as he himself did, in fact, well know,) and that reason was also in our favor, but that the orders which he had from the Directors were such that he could not answer for it to them. Now we are ignorant in these matters, but one thing or the other must be true, either it is the fault of the Director or of the Managers,(2) or of both of them. However it may be, one shifts the blame upon the other, and between them both every thing goes to ruin. Foreigners enjoy the country and fare very well; they laugh at us too if we say anything; they enjoy privileges and exemptions, which, if our Netherlanders had enjoyed as they do, would without doubt, next to the help of God, without which we are powerless, have enabled our people to flourish as well or better than they do; ergo, the Company or their officers have hitherto been and are still the cause of its not faring better with the country. On account of their cupidity and bad management there is not hope, so long as the land is under their government, that it will go on any better; but it will grow worse. However, the right time to treat this subject has not yet come.
(1) Persons who came to New Netherland, not as colonists under the patroons, or as employees of the West India Company, but on their own account. (2) I.e., of the governor (director-general) of New Netherland or of the directors of the company.
Of the Situation and Goodness of the Waters.
Having given an account of the situation of the country and its boundaries, and having consequently spoken of the location of the rivers, it will not be foreign to our purpose to add a word as to the goodness and convenience of the waters; which are salt, brackish, or fresh, according to their locality. There are in New Netherland four principal rivers; the most southerly is usually called the South River, and the bay at its entrance, Godyn's Bay. It is so called not because it runs to the south, but because it is the most southerly river in New Netherland. Another which this lies south of or nearest to, and which is the most noted and the best, as regards trade and population, is called Rio Montanjes, from certain mountains, and Mauritius River, but generally, the North River, because it reaches farthest north. The third is the East River, so called because it runs east from the Manathans. This is regarded by many not as a river but as a Bay, because it is extremely wide in some places and connects at both ends with the sea. We however consider it a river and such it is commonly reckoned. The fourth is called the Fresh River, because the water is for the most part fresh, more so than the others. Besides these rivers, there are many bays, havens and inlets, very convenient and useful, some of which might well be classed among rivers. There are numerous bodies of water inland, some large, others small, besides navigable kills like rivers, and many creeks very advantageous for the purpose of navigating through the country, as the map of New Netherland will prove. There are also various waterfalls and rapid streams, fit to erect mills of all kinds upon for the use of man, and innumerable small rivulets over the whole country, like veins in the body; but they are all fresh water, except some on the sea shore, (which are salt and fresh or brackish), very good both for wild and domestic animals to drink. The surplus waters are lost in the rivers or in the sea. Besides all these there are fountains without number, and springs all through the country, even at places where water would not be expected; as on cliffs and rocks whence they issue like spring veins. Some of them are worthy of being well guarded, not only Because they are all (except in the thickets) very clear and pure, but because many have these properties, that in the winter they smoke from heat, and in summer are so cool that the hands can hardly be endured in them on account of the cold, not even in the hottest of the summer; which circumstance makes them pleasant for the use of man and beast, who can partake of them without danger; for if any one drink thereof, it does him no harm although it be very warm weather. Thus much of the proprietorship, location, goodness and fruitfulness of these provinces, in which particulars, as far as our little experience extends, it need yield to no province in Europe. As to what concerns trade, in which Europe and especially Netherland is pre-eminent, it not only lies very convenient and proper for it, but if there were inhabitants, it would be found to have more commodities of and in itself to export to other countries than it would have to import from them. These things considered, it will be little labor for intelligent men to estimate and compute exactly of what importance this naturally noble province is to the Netherland nation, what service it could render it in future, and what a retreat it would be for all the needy in the Netherlands, as well of high and middle, as of low degree; for it is much easier for all men of enterprise to obtain a livelihood here than in the Netherlands.
We cannot sufficiently thank the Fountain of all Goodness for His having led us into such a fruitful and healthful land, which we, with our numerous sins, still heaped up here daily, beyond measure, have not deserved. We are also in the highest degree beholden to the Indians, who not only have given up to us this good and fruitful country, and for a trifle yielded us the ownership, but also enrich us with their good and reciprocal trade, so that there is no one in New Netherland or who trades to New Netherland without obligation to them. Great is our disgrace now, and happy should we have been, had we acknowledged these benefits as we ought, and had we striven to impart the Eternal Good to the Indians, as much as was in our power, in return for what they divided with us. It is to be feared that at the Last Day they will stand up against us for this injury. Lord of Hosts! Forgive us for not having conducted therein more according to our reason; give us also the means and so direct our hearts that we in future may acquit ourselves a we ought for the salvation of our own souls and of theirs, and for the magnifying of thy Holy Name, for the sake of Christ. Amen.
To speak with deference, it is proper to look beyond the trouble which will be incurred in adjusting the boundaries and the first cost of increasing the population of this country, and to consider that beginnings are difficult and that sowing would be irksome if the sower were not cheered with the hope of reaping. We trust and so assure ourselves that the very great experience of Their High Mightinesses will dictate better remedies than we are able to suggest. But it may be that Their High Mightinesses and some other friends, before whom this may come, may think strange that we speak as highly of this place as we do, and as we know to be true, and yet complain of want and poverty, seek relief, assistance, redress, lessening of charges, population and the like, and show that the country is in a poor and ruinous condition; yea, so much so, as that without special aid and assistance it will utterly fall off and pass under foreign rule. It will therefore be necessary to point out the true reasons and causes why New Netherland is in so bad a state, which we will do as simply and truly as possible, according to the facts, as we have seen, experienced, and heard them; and as this statement will encounter much opposition and reproach from many persons who may take offence at it, we humbly pray Their High Mightinesses and all well wishers, who may chance to read this, that they do not let the truth yield to any falsehoods, invented and embellished for the purpose, and that they receive no other testimony against this relation than that of such impartial persons as have not had, either directly or indirectly, any hand therein, profited by the loss of New Netherland, or otherwise incurred any obligation to it. With this remark we proceed to the reasons and sole cause of the evil which we indeed have but too briefly and indistinctly stated in the beginning of our petition to Their High Mightinesses.
Of the Reasons and Causes why and how New Netherland is so Decayed.
As we shall speak of the reasons and causes which have brought New Netherland into the ruinous condition in which it is now found to be, we deem it necessary to state first the difficulties. We represent it as we see and find it, in our daily experience. To describe it in one word, (and none better presents itself,) it is bad government, with its attendants and consequences, that is, to the best of our knowledge, the true and only foundation stone of the decay and ruin of New Netherland. This government from which so much abuse proceeds, is twofold, that is; in the Fatherland by the Managers, and in this country. We shall first briefly point out some orders and mistakes issuing from the Fatherland, and afterwards proceed to show how abuses have grown up and obtained strength here.
The Managers of the Company adopted a wrong course at first, and as we think had more regard for their own interest than for the welfare of the country, trusting rather to flattering than true counsels. This is proven by the unnecessary expenses incurred from time to time, the heavy accounts of New Netherland,(1) the registering of colonies—in which business most of the Managers themselves engaged, and in reference to which they have regulated the trade—and finally the not peopling the country. It seems as if from the first, the Company have sought to stock this land with their own employees, which was a great mistake, for when their time was out they returned home, taking nothing with them, except a little in their purses and a bad name for the country, in regard to its lack of sustenance and in other respects. In the meantime there was no profit, but on the contrary heavy monthly salaries, as the accounts of New Netherland will show.
(1) In 1644 the Bureau of Accounts of the West India Company reported that since 1626 the company had expended for New Netherland 515,000 guilders, say $250,000. At the time of the report the company was practically bankrupt.
Had the Honorable West India Company, in the beginning, sought population instead of running to great expense for unnecessary things, which under more favorable circumstances might have been suitable and very proper, the account of New Netherland would not have been so large as it now is, caused by building the ship New Netherland at an excessive outlay,(1) by erecting three expensive mills, by brick-making, by tar-burning, by ash-burning, by salt-making and the like operations, which through bad management and calculation have all gone to nought, or come to little; but which nevertheless have cost much. Had the same money been used in bringing people and importing cattle, the country would now have been of great value.
(1) A ship of eight hundred tons, built in the province in 1631.
The land itself is much better and it is more conveniently situated than that which the English possess, and if there were not constant seeking of individual gain and private trade, there would be no danger that misfortunes would press us as far as they do.
Had the first Exemptions been truly observed, according to their intention, and had they not been carried out with particular views, certainly more friends of New Netherland would have exerted themselves to take people there and make settlements. The other conditions which were introduced have always discouraged individuals and kept them down, so that those who were acquainted with the business, being informed, dared not attempt it. It is very true that the Company have brought over some persons, but they have not continued to do so, and it therefore has done little good. It was not begun properly; for it was done as if it was not intended.
It is impossible for us to rehearse and to state in detail wherein and how often the Company have acted injuriously to this country. They have not approved of our own country-men settling the land, as is shown in the case of Jacob Walingen and his people at the Fresh River, and quite Recently in the cases at the South River; while foreigners Were permitted to take land there without other opposition than orders and protests. It could hardly be otherwise, for the garrisons are not kept complete conformably to the Exemptions, and thus the cause of New Netherland's bad condition lurks as well in the Netherlands as here. Yea, the seeds of war, according to the declaration of Director Kieft, were first sown by the Fatherland; for he said he had Express orders to exact the contribution from the Indians; Which would have been very well if the land had been peopled, But as it was, it was premature.
Trade, without which, when it is legitimate, no country is prosperous, is by their acts so decayed, that it amounts to nothing. It is more suited for slaves than freemen, in consequence of the restrictions upon it and the annoyances which accompany the exercise of the right of inspection. We approve of inspection, however, so far as relates to contraband.
This contraband trade has ruined the country, and contraband goods are now sent to every part of it by orders given by the Managers to their officers. These orders should be executed without partiality, which is not always the case. The Recognition(1) runs high, and of inspection and confiscation there is no lack; hence legitimate trade is entirely diverted, except a little, which exists pro forma, as a cloak for carrying on illicit trading. In the mean time the Christians are treated almost like Indians, in the purchase of the necessaries with which they cannot dispense. This causes great complaint, distress and poverty: as, for example, the merchants sell those goods which are liable to little depreciation at a hundred per cent. and more profit, when there is particular demand or scarcity of them. And the traders who come with small cargoes, and others engaged in the business, buy them up from the merchants and sell them again to the common man, who cannot do without them, oftentimes at a hundred per cent. advance, or higher and lower according to the demand. Upon liquors, which are liable to much leakage, they take more, and those who buy from them retail them in the same manner, as we have described in regard to dry wares, and generally even more cunningly, so that the goods are sold through first, second and sometimes third hands, at one and two hundred per cent. advance. We are not able to think of all the practices which are contrived for advancing individual and private gain. Little attention is given to populating the land. The people, moreover, have been driven away by harsh and unreasonable proceedings, for which their Honors gave the orders; for the Managers wrote to Director Kieft to prosecute when there was no offence, and to consider a partial offence an entire one, and so forth. It has also been seen how the letters of the Eight Men were treated, and what followed thereupon;(2) besides there were many ruinous orders and instructions which are not known to us. But leaving this at present, with now and then a word, at a convenient point, let us proceed to examine how their officers and Directors have conducted themselves from time to time, having played with the managers as well as with the people, as a cat does with a mouse. It would be possible to relate their management from the beginning, but as most of us were not here then and therefore not eye-witnesses, and as a long time has passed whereby it has partly escaped recollection, and as in our view it was not so bad then as afterwards when the land was made free and freemen began to increase, we will pass by the beginning and let Mr. Lubbert van Dincklaghen, Vice Director of New Netherland, describe the government of Director Wouter van Twiller of which he is known to have information, and will only speak of the last two sad and dire confusions (we would say governments if we could) under Director Kieft, who is now no more, but the evil of it lives after him; and of that under Director Stuyvesant which still stands, if indeed that may be called standing which lies completely under foot.
(1) Export duty.
(2) Nevertheless, the remonstrance of the Eight Men, October 28, 1644, N.Y. Coll. Doc., I. 209, did cause the reform of the system of provincial government and the recall of Kieft.
The Directors here, though far from their masters, were close by their profit. They have always known how to manage their own matters very properly and with little loss, yet under pretext of the public business. They have also conducted themselves just as if they were the sovereigns of the country. As they desired to have it, so it always had to be; and as they willed so was it done. "The Managers," they say, "are masters in Fatherland, but we are masters in this land." As they understand it it will go, there is no appeal. And it has not been difficult for them hitherto to maintain this doctrine in practice; for the people were few and for the most part very simple and uninformed, and besides, they needed the Directors every day. And if perchance there were some intelligent men among them, who could go upon their own feet, them it was sought to oblige. They could not understand at first the arts of the Directors which were always subtle and dark, so that these were frequently successful and occasionally remained effective for a long time. Director Kieft said himself, and let it be said also by others, that he was sovereign in this country, or the same as the Prince in the Netherlands. This was repeated to him several times here and he never made any particular objection to it. The refusing to allow appeals, and other similar acts, prove clearly that in our opinion no other proof is needed. The present Director does the same, and in the denial of appeal, he is also at home. He likes to assert the maxim "the Prince is above the law," and applies it so boldly to his own person that it confutes itself. These directors, having then the power in their hands, could do and have done what they chose according to their good will and pleasure; and whatever was, was right, because it was agreeable to them. It is well known that those who assume power, and use it to command what they will, frequently command and will more than they ought, and, whether it appear right or not, there are always some persons who applaud such conduct, some out of a desire to help on and to see mischief, others from fear; and so men still complain with Jan Vergas de clementia ducis, of the clemency of the duke.(1) But in order that we give nobody cause to suspect that we blow somewhat too hard, it will be profitable to illustrate by examples the government of Mr. Director Kieft at its close, and the administration of Mr. Director Stuyvesant just prior to the time of our departure. We frankly admit, however, that we shall not be able to speak fully of all the tricks, because they were conducted so secretly and with such duplicity and craft. We will nevertheless expose some of their proceedings according to our ability, and thus let the lion be judged of from his paw.
(1) Juan de Vargas, the chief member of the Duke of Alva's "Council of Blood," who complained that the duke's methods were too lenient.
Casting our eyes upon the government of Director Kieft, the church first meets us, and we will therefore speak of the public property ecclesiastical and civil. But as this man is now dead, and some of his management and doings are freely represented by one Jochem Pietersz Cuyter and Cornelis Melyn,(1) we will dispose of this point as briefly as we possibly can.
(1) Stuyvesant, soon after his arrival, at the instance of Kieft, condemned Kieft's chief opponents, Kuyter and Melyn, for lese-majesty, and banished them, forbidding them to appeal. On reaching Holland, however, after their dramatic escape from the shipwreck of the Princess, they appealed, and secured a reversal of their condemnation.
Before the time that Director Kieft brought the unnecessary war upon the country, his principal aim and endeavors were to provide well for himself and to leave a great name after him, but without any expense to himself or the Company, for this never did anything remarkable for the country by which it was improved. Thus he considered the erection of a church a very necessary public work, the more so as it was in contemplation to build one at that time at Renselaers-Wyck. With this view he communicated with the churchwardens—of which body he himself was one—and they willingly agreed to and seconded the project. The place where it should stand was then debated. The Director contended that it should be placed in the fort, and there it was erected in spite of the others, and, indeed, as suitably as a fifth wheel of a wagon; for besides that the fort is small and lies upon a point of land which must be very valuable in case of an increase of population, the church ought to be owned by the congregation at whose cost it was built. It also intercepts and turns off the southeast wind from the grist-mill which stands close by, for which reason there is frequently in summer a want of bread from its inability to grind, though not from this cause alone. The mill is neglected and, in consequence of having had a leaky roof most of the time, has become considerably rotten, so that it cannot now go with more than two arms, and it has been so for nearly five years. But to return to the church—from which the grist-mill has somewhat diverted us—the Director then resolved to build a church, and at the place where it suited him; but he was in want of money and was at a loss how to obtain it. It happened about this time that the minister, Everardus Bogardus, gave his step-daughter in marriage; and the occasion of the wedding the Director considered a good opportunity for his purpose. So after the fourth or fifth round of drinking, he set about the business, and he himself showing a liberal example let the wedding-guests subscribe what they were willing to give towards the church. All then with light heads subscribed largely, competing with one another; and although some well repented it when they recovered their senses, they were nevertheless compelled to pay—nothing could avail to prevent it. The church was then, contrary to every one's wish, placed in the fort. The honor and ownership of that work must be judged of from the inscription, which is in our opinion ambiguous, thus reading: "1642. Willem Kieft, Director General, has caused the congregation to build this church."(1) But whatever be intended by the inscription, the people nevertheless paid for the church.
(1) The inscription was in existence till 1835. This third church stood near what is now called the Bowling Green. The inscription, though susceptible of misconstruction, is not really ambiguous. Its proper interpretation is: "1642, Willem Kieft being Director General, the congregation caused this church to be built."
We must now speak of the property belonging to the church, and, to do the truth no violence, we do not know that there has ever been any, or that the church has any income except what is given to it. There has never been any exertion made either by the Company or by the Director to obtain or establish any.
The bowl has been going round a long time for the purpose of erecting a common school and it has been built with words, but as yet the first stone is not laid. Some materials only are provided. The money nevertheless, given for the purpose, has already found its way out and is mostly spent; or may even fall short, and for this purpose also no fund invested in real estate has ever been built up.
The poor fund, though the largest, contains nothing except the alms collected among the people, and some fines and donations of the inhabitants. A considerable portion of this money is in the possession of the Company, who have borrowed it from time to time, and kept it. They have promised, for years, to pay interest. But in spite of all endeavor neither principal nor interest can be obtained from them.
Flying reports about asylums for orphans, for the sick and aged,(1) and the like have occasionally been heard, but as yet we can not see that any attempt, order or direction has been made in relation to them. From all these facts, then, it sufficiently appears that scarcely any proper care or diligence has been used by the Company or its officers for any ecclesiastical property whatever—at least, nothing as far as is known—from the beginning to this time; but on the contrary great industry and exertion have been used to bind closely to them their minions, or to gain new ones as we shall hereafter at the proper time relate. And now let us proceed to the consideration of what public measures of a civil character had been adopted up to the time of our departure, in order to make manifest the diligence and care of the Directors in this particular.
(1) Seventeenth-century Dutch towns abounded in institutions of this sort.
There was not at first, under the government of Director Kieft, so much opportunity as there has since been, because the recognition of the peltries was then paid in the Fatherland, and the freemen gave nothing for excise; but after that public calamity, the rash war, was brought upon us, the recognition of the peltries began to be collected in this country, and a beer-excise was sought to be established, about which a conference was had with the Eight Men, who were then chosen from the people. They did not approve of it as such, but desired to know under what regulations and upon what footing it would take place, and how long it would continue. Director Kieft promised that it should not continue longer than until a ship of the Company should arrive with a new Director, or until the war should be at an end. Although it was very much distrusted by all, and therefore was not consented to, yet he introduced it by force. The brewers who would not agree to it had their beer given over to the soldiers. So it was enforced, but it caused great strife and discontent.
From this time forward the Director began to divide the people and to create factions. Those who were on his side could do nothing amiss, however bad it might be; those who were opposed to him were always wrong even if they did perfectly right, and the order to reckon half an offence a whole one was then strictly enforced. The jealousy of the Director was so great that he could no bear without suspicion that impartial persons should visit his partisans.
After the war was, as the Director himself said, finished—though in our opinion it will never be finished until the country is populated—every one hoped that this impost would be removed, but Director Kieft put off the removal until the arrival of a new Director, which was longed for very much. When finally he did appear,(1) it was like the crowning of Rehoboam, for, instead of abolishing the beer-excise, his first business was to impose a wine-excise and other intolerable burdens, so that some of the commonalty, as they had no spokesman, were themselves constrained to remonstrate against it. Instead however of obtaining the relief which they expected, they received abuse from the Director. Subsequently a written answer was given them, which the Director had, as usual, drawn up at such length and with such fulness that plain and simple people, such as are here, must be confused, and unable to make anything out of it. Further attempts have accordingly been made from time to time to introduce new taxes and burdens. In fine it was so managed in Director Kieft's time, that a large yearly sum was received from the recognition and other sources, calculated to amount annually to 16,000 guilders,(2) besides the recognition which was paid in the Fatherland and which had to be contributed by the poor commonalty; for the goods were sold accordingly, and the prices are now unbearably high. In Director Stuyvesant's administration the revenue has reached a much higher sum, and it is estimated that about 30,000 guilders(3) are now derived yearly from the people by recognitions, confiscations, excise and other taxes, and yet it is not enough; the more one has the more one wants. It would be tolerable to give as much as possible, if it was used for the public weal. And whereas in all the proclamations it is promised and declared that the money shall be employed for laudable and necessary public works, let us now look for a moment and see what laudable public works there are in this country, and what fruits all the donations and contributions have hitherto borne. But not to confuse matters, one must understand us not to refer to goods and effects that belong to the Honorable Company as its own, for what belongs to it particularly was never public. The Company's effects in this country may, perhaps, with forts, cannon, ammunition, warehouses, dwelling-houses, workshops, horses, cattle, boats, and whatever else there may be, safely be said to amount to from 60,000 to 70,000 guilders,(4) and it is very probable that the debts against it are considerably more. But passing these by, let us turn our attention to the public property, and see where the money from time to time has been used. According to the proclamations during the administration of Director Kieft, if we rightly consider, estimate and examine them all, we cannot learn or discover that anything—we say anything large or small—worth relating, was done, built or made, which concerned or belonged to the commonalty, the church excepted, whereof we have heretofore spoken. Yea, he went on so badly and negligently that nothing has ever been designed, understood or done that gave appearance of design to content the people, even externally, but on the contrary what came from the commonalty has even been mixed up with the effects of the Company, and even the Company's property and means have been everywhere neglected, in order to make friends, to secure witnesses and to avoid accusers about the management of the war. The negroes, also, who came from Tamandare(5) were sold for pork and peas, from the proceeds of which something wonderful was to be performed, but they just dripped through the fingers. There are also various other negroes in this country, some of whom have been made free for their long service, but their children have remained slaves, though it is contrary to the laws of every people that any one born of a free Christian mother should be a slave and be compelled to remain in servitude. It is impossible to relate everything that has happened. Whoever did not give his assent and approval was watched and, when occasion served, was punished for it. We submit to all intelligent persons to consider what fruit this has borne, and what a way this was to obtain good testimony. Men are by nature covetous, especially those who are needy, and of this we will hereafter adduce some few proofs, when we come to speak of Director Kieft's government particularly. But we shall now proceed to the administration of Director Stuyvesant, and to see how affairs have been conducted up to the time of our departure.
(1) Stuyvesant arrived from Holland by way of the West Indies in May, 1647.
(2) Equivalent to $6,400.
(3) $12,000. (4) From $24,000 to $28,000.
(5) A bay on the coast of Brazil, where the Dutch admiral Lichthart defeated the Portugese in a naval engagement, in September, 1645.
Mr. Stuyvesant has almost all the time from his first arrival up to our leaving been busy building, laying masonry, making, breaking, repairing and the like, but generally in matters of the Company and with little profit to it; for upon some things more was spent than they were worth; and though at the first he put in order the church which came into his hands very much out of repair, and shortly afterwards made a wooden wharf, both acts very serviceable and opportune, yet after this time we do not know that anything has been done or made that is entitled to the name of a public work, though there has been income enough, as is to be seen in the statement of the yearly revenue. They have all the time been trying for more, like dropsical people. Thus in a short time very great discontent has sprung up on all sides, not only among the burghers, who had little to say, but also among the Company's officers themselves, so that various protests were made by them on account of the expense and waste consequent upon unnecessary councillors, officers, servants and the like who are not known by the Managers, and also on account of the monies and means which were given in common, being privately appropriated and used. But it was all in vain, there was very little or no amendment; and the greater the endeavors to help, restore and raise up everything, the worse has it been; for pride has ruled when justice dictated otherwise, just as if it were disgraceful to follow advice, and as if everything should come from one head. The fruits of this conduct can speak and bear testimony of themselves. It has been so now so long, that every day serves the more to condemn it. Previously to the 23rd of July 1649, nothing had been done concerning weights and measures or the like; but at that time they notified the people that in August then next ensuing the matter would be regulated. The fiscaal would then attend to it, which was as much as to say, would give the pigeons to drink. There is frequently much discontent and discord among the people on account of weights and measures, and as they are never inspected, they cannot be right. It is also believed that some of easy consciences have two sets of them, but we cannot affirm the fact. As to the corn measure, the Company itself has always been suspected, but who dare lisp it? The payment in zeewant, which is the currency here, has never been placed upon a good footing, although the commonalty requested it, and showed how it should be regulated, assigning numerous reasons therefor. But there is always misunderstanding and discontent, and if anything is said before the Director of these matters more than pleases him, very wicked and spiteful words are returned. Those moreover whose office requires them to speak to him of such things are, if he is in no good fit, very freely berated as clowns, bear-skinners, and the like.
The fort under which we are to shelter ourselves, and from which as it seems all authority proceeds, lies like a molehill or a tottering wall, on which there is not one gun-carriage or one piece of cannon in a suitable frame or on a good platform. From the first it has been declared that it should be repaired, laid in five angles, and put in royal condition. The commonalty's men have been addressed for money for the purpose, but they excused themselves on the ground that the people were poor. Every one, too, was discontented and feared that if the Director once had his fort to rely upon, he would be more cruel and severe. Between the two, nothing is done. He will doubtless know how to lay the blame with much circumstance upon the commonalty who are innocent, although the Director wished to have the money from them, and for that purpose pretended to have an order from Their High Mightinesses. Had the Director laid out for that purpose the fourth part of the money which was collected from the commonalty during his time, it certainly would not have fallen short, as the wine-excise was expressly laid for that object. But it was sought in a thousand ways to shear the sheep though the wool was not yet grown. In regard, then, to public works, there is little difference between Director Kieft and Director Stuyvesant, for after the church was built the former was negligent, and took personal action against those who looked him in the eye. The latter has had much more opportunity to keep public works in repair than his predecessor had, for he has had no war on his hands. He has also been far more diligent and bitter in looking up causes of prosecution against his innocent opponents than his predecessor ever was.
The Administration of Director Kieft in Particular.
Sufficient has been said of what Director Kieft did in regard to the church and its affairs, and in regard to the state, such as buildings and taxes or revenue. It remains for us to proceed to the council-house and produce thence some examples, as we promised. We will, in doing so, endeavor to be brief.
The Council then consisted of Director Kieft and Monsieur la Montagne. The Director had two votes, and Monsieur la Montagne one; and it was a high crime to appeal from their judgments. Cornelis vander Hoykens sat with them as fiscaal,(1) and Cornelis van Tienhoven as secretary,(2) and whenever any thing extraordinary occurred, the Director allowed some, whom it pleased him—officers of the company for the most part—to be summoned in addition, but that seldom happened. Nevertheless it gave discontent. The Twelve Men, and afterwards the Eight,(3) had in court matters neither vote nor advice; but were chosen in view of the war and some other occurrences, to serve as cloaks and cats-paws. Otherwise they received no consideration and were little respected if they opposed at all the views of the Director, who himself imagined, or certainly wished to make others believe, that he was sovereign, and that it was absolutely in his power to do or refuse to do anything. He little regarded the safety of the people as the supreme law, as clearly appeared in the war, although when the spit was turned in the ashes, it was sought by cunning and numerous certificates and petitions to shift the blame upon others. But that happened so because the war was carried too far, and because every one laid the damage and the blood which was shed to his account. La Montagne said that he had protested against it, but that it was begun against his will and to his great regret, and that afterwards, when it was entered upon, he had helped to excuse it to the best of his ability. The secretary, Cornelius van Tienhoven, also said that he had no hand in the matter, and nothing had been done by him in regard to it except by the express orders of the Director. But this was not believed, for there are those who have heard La Montagne say that if the secretary had not brought false reports the affair would never have happened.(4) There are others also who know this, and every one believes it to be so; and indeed it has plausability. Fiscal van der Hoytgens was not trusted on account of his drinking, wherein all his science consists. He had also no experience here, and in the beginning frequently denounced the war as being against his will. So that the blame rests, and must rest only upon the Director and Secretary Tienhoven. The Director was entrusted with the highest authority, and if any body advised him to the land's ruin, he was not bound to follow the advice and afterwards endeavor to shift the burden from his own neck upon the people, who however excuse themselves although in our judgment they are not all entirely innocent. The cause of this war we conceive to have been the exacting of the contribution, (for which the Director said he had the order of the Managers,)(5) and his own ungovernable passions, which showed themselves principally in private. But there are friends whom this business intimately concerns, and as they have already undertaken it, we will leave the matter with them and proceed to cite one or two instances disclosing the aspiration after sovereignty. Passing by many cases for the sake of brevity, we have that of one Francis Doughty, an English minister, and of Arnoldus van Herdenberch, a free merchant. But as both these cases appear likely to come before Their High Mightinesses at full length, we will merely give a summary of them. This minister, Francis Doughty, during the first troubles in England, in order to escape them, came to New England.(6) But he found that he might, in conformity with the Dutch reformation, have freedom of conscience, which, contrary to his expectation, he missed in New England, he betook himself to the protection of the Dutch. An absolute ground-brief(7) with the privileges allowed to a colony was granted to him by the Director. He had strengthened his settlement in the course of one year by the addition of several families, but the war coming on, they were driven from their lands with the loss of some men and many cattle, besides almost all their houses and what other property they had. They afterwards returned and remained a while, but consuming more than they were able to raise, they came to the Manathans where all the fugitives sojourned at that time, and there Master Doughty officiated as a minister. After the flame of war was out and the peace was concluded—but in such a manner that no one much relied upon it—some of the people again returned to their lands. The Director would have been glad, in order that all things should be completely restored, if it had pleased this man likewise to go back upon his land; but inasmuch as the peace was doubtful, and he had not wherewith to begin, Master Doughty was in no haste. He went however, some time afterwards, and dwelt there half a year, but again left it. As peace was made, and in hope that some others would make a village there, a suit was brought against the minister, and carried on so far that his land was confiscated. Master Doughty, feeling himself aggrieved, appealed from the sentence. The Director answered, his sentence could not be appealed from, but must prevail absolutely; and caused the minister for that remark to be imprisoned twenty-four hours and then to pay 25 guilders. We have always considered this an act of tyranny and regarded It as a token of sovereignty. The matter of Arnoldus van Herdenberch was very like it in its termination. After Zeger Theunisz was murdered by the Indians in the Beregat,(8) and the yacht had returned to the Manathans, Arnoldus van Hardenbergh was with two others appointed by the Director and Council curators over the estate, and the yacht was searched. Some goods were found in it which were not entered, whereupon the fiscaal went to law with the curators, and claimed that the goods were confiscable to the Company. The curators resisted and gave Herdenberch charge of the matter. After some proceedings the goods were condemned. As he found himself now aggrieved in behalf of the common owners, he appealed to such judges as they should choose for the purpose. The same game was then played over again. It was a high crime. The fiscaal made great pretensions and a sentence was passed, whereof the contents read thus: "Having seen the written complaint of the Fiscaal vander Hoytgens against Arnoldus van Hardenberch in relation to appealing from our sentence dated the 28th April last past, as appears by the signature of the before-named Sr. A. van Hardenberch, from which sentence no appeal can be had, as is proven to him by the States General and His Highness of Orange: Therefore the Director General and Council of New Netherland, regarding the dangerous consequences tending to injure the supreme authority of this land's magistracy, condemn the before-named Arnold van Herdenberch to pay forthwith a fine of 25 guilders, or to be imprisoned until the penalty be paid; as an example to others." Now, if one know the lion from his paw, he can see that these people do not spare the name of Their High Mightinesses, His Highness of Orange, the honor of the magistrates, nor the words, "dangerous consequences," "an example to others," and other such words, to play their own parts therewith. We have therefore placed this act by the side of that which was committed against the minister Doughty. Many more similar cases would be found in the record, if other things were always rightly inserted in it, which is very doubtful, the contrary sometimes being observed. It appears then sufficiently that everything has gone on rather strangely. And with this we will leave the subject and pass on to the government of Director Stuyvesant, with a single word, however, touching the sinister proviso incorporated in the ground-briefs, as the consequences may thence be very well understood. Absolute grants were made to the people by the ground-briefs, and when they thought that everything was right, and that they were masters of their own possessions, the ground-briefs were demanded from them again upon pretence that there was something forgotten in them; but that was not it. They thought they had incommoded themselves in giving them, and therefore a proviso was added at the end of the ground-brief, and it was signed anew; which proviso directly conflicts with the ground-brief, so that in one and the same ground-brief is a contradiction without chance of agreement, for it reads thus in the old briefs: "and take in possession the land and the valleys appertaining of old thereto," and the proviso says, "no valley to be used before the Company," all which could well enough be used, and the Company have a competency. In the ground-briefs is contained also another provision, which is usually inserted and sticks in the bosom of every one: to wit, that they must submit themselves to all taxes which the council has made or shall make.(9) These impositions can be continued in infinitum, and have already been enforced against several inhabitants. Others also are discouraged from undertaking anything on such terms.
(1) Cornelis van der Huygens was schout-fiscaal (sheriff and public prosecutor) of New Netherland from 1639 to 1645. He was drowned in the wreck of the Princess in 1647, along with Kieft. (2) Cornelis van Tienhoven was a figure of much importance in New Netherland history. An Utrecht man, he came out as book-Keeper in 1633, and served in that capacity under Van Twiller. In 1638, at the beginning of Kieft's administration, he was made provincial secretary, and continued in that office under Stuyvesant, supporting with much shrewdness and industry the measures of the administration. His endeavors to counteract this Representation of the commonalty of New Netherland are described in the introduction, and are exhibited in the piece which follows. (3) The Twelve Men were representatives chosen at the request of Kieft, to advise respecting war against the Weckquasgeeks, by an assembly of heads of families convened in August, 1641. They counselled delay, but finally, in January, 1642, consented to war. When they proceeded to demand reforms, especially popular representation in the Council, Kieft dissolved them. After the Indian outbreak of August, 1643, the Eight Men were elected, also at the instance of Kieft, and did their part in the management of the ensuing warfare; but they also, in the autumns of 1643 and 1644, protested to the West India Company and the States General against Kieft's misgovernment, and demanded his recall. (4) This is intended to connect Kieft's massacre of the refugee Tappaans at Pavonia, February 25-26, 1643, with a previous reconnaissance of their position by Van Tienhoven. (5) Demand of tribute which Kieft made of the river Indians in 1639 and 1640. (6) Reverend Francis Doughty, Adriaen van der Donck's father-in-law, came to Massachusetts in 1637, but was forced to depart on account of heresies respecting baptism. He is reputed one of the first, if not the first, Presbyterian ministers in America. Further details regarding him, from an unfriendly pen, may be seen in Van Tienhoven's reply, post. The conditions on which he and his associates settled at Mespath (Newtown) may be seen in N.Y. Col. Doc., XIII. 8; the Patent, in O'Callaghan's History of New Netherland, I. 425. (7) Conveyance. (8) Shrewsbury Inlet. (9) Mr. Murphy cites the clause, from a ground-brief or patent issued in 1639. After describing the land conveyed, it is declared to be "upon the express condition and stipulation that the said A.B. and his assigns shall acknowledge the Nobel Lords Managers aforesaid as their masters and patroons under the sovereignty of the High and Mighty Lord States General, and shall be obedient to the Director and Council here, as all good citizens are bound to be, submitting themselves to all such taxes and imposts as have been or may be, hereafter, imposed by the Noble Lords."
The Administration of Director Stuyvesant in Particular
We wish much we were already through with this administration, for it has grieved us, and we know ourselves powerless; nevertheless we will begin, and as we have already spoken of the public property, ecclesiastical and civil, we will consider how it is in regard to the administration of justice, and giving decisions between man and man. And first, to point as with a finger at the manners of the Director and Council. As regards the Director, from his first arrival to this time, his manner in court has been to treat with violence, dispute with or harass one of the two parties, not as becomes a judge, but as a zealous advocate, which has given great discontent to every one, and with some it has gone so far and has effected so much, that many of them dare bring no matter before the court, if they do not stand well or tolerably so with the Director. For whoever has him opposed, has as much as the sun and moon against him. Though he has himself appointed many of the councillors, and placed hem under obligation to him, and some pretend that he can overpower the rest by plurality of votes, he frequently puts his opinion in writing, and that so fully that it covers several pages, and then he adds verbally, "Monsieur, this is my advice, if any one has aught to say against it, let him speak." If then any one rises to make objection, which is not easily done, though it be well grounded, His Honor bursts out immediately in fury and makes such gestures, that it is frightful; yea, he rails out frequently at the Councillors for this thing and the other, with ugly words which would better suit the fish-market than the council chamber; and if this be all endured, His Honor will not rest yet unless he has his will. To demonstrate this by examples and proof, though easily done, would nevertheless detain us too long; but we all say and affirm that this has been his common practice from the first and still daily continues. And this is the condition and nature of things in the council on the part of the Director, who is its head and president. Let us now briefly speak of the councillors individually. The Vice Director, Lubbert van Dincklagen,(1) has for a long time on various occasions shown great dissatisfaction about many different matters, and has protested against the Director and his appointed councillors, but only lately, and after some others made resistance. He was, before this, so influenced by fear, that he durst venture to take no chances against the Director, but had to let many things pass by and to submit to them. He declared afterwards that he had great objections to them, because they were not just, but he saw no other way to have peace, as the Director said even in the council, that he would treat him worse than Wouter van Twiller had ever done, if he were not willing to conform to his wishes. This man then is overruled. Let us proceed farther. Monsieur la Montagne had been in the council in Kieft's time, and was then very much suspected by many. He had no commission from the Fatherland, was driven by the war from his farm, is also very much indebted to the Company, and therefore is compelled to dissemble. But it is sufficiently known from himself that he is not pleased, and is opposed to the administration. Brian Newton,(2) lieutenant of the soldiers, is the next. This man is afraid of the Director, and regards him as his benefactor. Besides being very simple and inexperienced in law, he does not understand our Dutch language, so that he is scarcely capable of refuting the long written opinions, but must and will say yes. Sometimes the commissary, Adrian Keyser, is admitted into the council, who came here as secretary. This man has not forgotten much law, but says that he lets God's water run over God's field. He cannot and dares not say anything, for so much can be said against him that it is best that he should be silent. The captains of the ships, when they are ashore, have a vote in the Council; as Ielmer Thomassen, and Paulus Lenaertson,(3) who was made equipment-master upon his first arrival, and who has always had a seat in the council, but is still a free man. What knowledge these people, who all their lives sail on the sea, and are brought up to ship-work, have of law matters and of farmers' disputes any intelligent man can imagine. Besides, the Director himself considers them so guilty that they dare not accuse others, as will appear from this passage at Curacao, before the Director ever saw New Netherland. As they were discoursing about the price of carracks, the Director said to the minister and others, "Domine Johannes,(4) I thought that I had brought honest ship-masters with me, but I find that I have brought a set of thieves"; and this was repeated to these councillors, especially to the equipment-master, for Captain Ielmer was most of the time at sea. They have let it pass unnoticed—a proof that they were guilty. But they have not fared badly; for though Paulus Lenaertssen has small wages, he has built a better dwelling-house here than anybody else. How this has happened is mysterious to us; for though the Director has knowledge of these matters, he nevertheless keeps quiet when Paulus Lenaertssen begins to make objections, which he does not easily do for any one else, which causes suspicion in the minds of many. There remains to complete this court-bench, the secretary and the fiscaal, Hendrick van Dyck,(5) who had previously been an ensign-bearer. Director Stuyvesant has kept him twenty-nine months out of the meetings of the council, for the reason among others which His Honor assigned, that he cannot keep secret but will make public, what is there resolved. He also frequently declared that he was a villain, a scoundrel, a thief and the like. All this is well known to the fiscaal, who dares not against him take the right course, and in our judgment it is not advisable for him to do so; for the Director is utterly insufferable in word and deed. What shall we say of a man whose head is troubled, and has a screw loose, especially when, as often happens, he has been drinking. To conclude, there is the secretary, Cornelius van Tienhoven. Of this man very much could be said, and more than we are able, but we shall select here and there a little for the sake of brevity. He is cautious, subtle, intelligent and sharp-witted—good gifts when they are well used. He is one of those who have been longest in the country, and every circumstance is well known to him, in regard both to the Christians and the Indians. With the Indians, moreover, he has run about the same as an Indian, with a little covering and a small patch in front, from lust after the prostitutes to whom he has always been mightily inclined, and with whom he has had so much to do that no punishment or threats of the Director can drive him from them. He is extremely expert in dissimulation. He pretends himself that he bites when asleep, and that he shows externally the most friendship towards those whom he most hates. He gives every one who has any business with him—which scarcely any one can avoid—good answers and promises of assistance, yet rarely helps anybody but his friends; but twists continually and shuffles from one side to the other. In his words and conduct he is shrewd, false, deceitful and given to lying, promising every one, and when it comes to perform, at home to no one. The origin of the war was ascribed principally to him, together with some of his friends. In consequence of his false reports and lies the Director was led into it, as is believed and declared both by the honest Indians and Christians. Now, if the voice of the people, according to the maxim, be the voice of God, one can with truth say scarcely anything good of this man or omit anything bad. The whole country, save the Director and his party, cries out against him bitterly, as a villain, murderer and traitor, and that he must leave the country or there will be no peace with the Indians. Director Stuyvesant was, at first and afterwards, well admonished of this; but he has nevertheless kept him in office, and allowed him to do so much, that all things go according to his wishes, more than if he were President. Yea, he also says that he is well contented to have him in his service, but that stone does not yet rest. We firmly believe that he misleads him in many things, so that he does many bad things which he otherwise would not do; in a word, that he is an indirect cause of his ruin and dislike in the country. But it seems that the Director can or will not see it; for when it was represented to him by some persons he gave it no consideration. It has been contrived to disguise and manage matters so, that in the Fatherland, where the truth can be freely spoken, nobody would be able to molest him in order to discover the truth. We do not attempt it. Having established the powers of the Council, it is easy to understand that the right people clung by each other, in order to maintain the imaginary sovereignty and to give a gloss to the whole business. Nine men were chosen to represent the whole commonalty, and commissions and instructions were given that whatever these men should do, should be the act of the whole commonalty.(6) And so in fact it was, as long as it corresponded with the wishes and views of the Director. In such cases they represented the whole commonalty; but when it did not so correspond, they were then clowns, usurers, rebels and the like. But to understand this properly it will be best briefly to state all things chronologically, as they have happened during his administration, and in what manner those who have sought the good of the country have been treated with injustice.
(1) Lubbertus van Dincklagen, doctor of laws, was sent out as schout-fiscaal of New Netherland in 1634, quarrelled with Van Twiller, and was sent back by him in 1636. In 1644 he was Provisionally appointed as Kieft's successor, but Stuyvesant was finally made Director, and Van Dincklagen went out with him as vice-director and second member of the Council. He opposed some of Stuyvesant's arbitrary acts, supplied the three bearers of this Representation with letters of credence to the States General, was expelled from the Council by Stuyvesant in 1651, and died in 1657 or 1658. (2) An Englishman who had served under the company several years at Curacao. (3) Ielmer (said to =Ethelmar) Tomassen was skipper of the Great Gerrit in 1647, when Stuyvesant made him company's storekeeper and second in military command; in 1649 and 1650, of the Falcon. Paulus Leendertsen van der Grift was captain in the West India Company's service from at least 1644. In 1647 Stuyvesant made him superintendent of naval equipment. In the first municipal government of New Amsterdam, 1653, he was made a schepen (magistrate and councillor), later a burgomaster. (4) Reverend Johannes Backerus, minister for the Company at Curacao from 1642 to 1647, was transferred to Amsterdam when Stuyvesant came out, in order to fill the vacancy left by Reverend Everardus Bogardus, minister at Manhattan from 1633 to 1647, who, after long quarrelling with Kieft, had gone home in the same ship with him, the ill-fated Princess. (5) Ensign Hendrick van Dyck came out in 1640 as commander of the militia; again with Stuyvesant in 1647 as schout- fiscaal. In 1652 Stuyvesant removed him from that office. His defence of his official career, a valuable document, may be seen in N.Y. Col. Doc., I. 491-513. (6) See the introduction.
His first arrival—for what passed on the voyage is not for us to speak of—was like a peacock, with great state and pomp. The declaration of His Honor, that he wished to stay here only three years, with other haughty expressions, caused some to think that he would not be a father. The appellation of Lord General,(1) and similar titles, were never before known here. Almost every day he caused proclamations of various import to be published, which were for the most part never observed, and have long since been a dead letter, except the wine excise, as that yielded a profit. The proceedings of the Eight Men, especially against Jochem Pietersz Cuyffer and Cornelis Molyn, happened in the beginning of his administration. The Director showed himself so one-sided in them, that he gave reason to many to judge of his character, yet little to his advantage. Every one clearly saw that Director Kieft had more favor, aid and counsel in his suit than his adversary, and that the one Director was the advocate of the other as the language of Director Stuyvesant imported and signified when he said, "These churls may hereafter endeavor to knock me down also, but I will manage it so now, that they will have their bellies full for the future." How it was managed, the result of the lawsuit can bear witness. They were compelled to pay fines, and were cruelly banished. In order that nothing should be wanting, Cornelis Molyn, when he asked for mercy, till it should be seen how his matters would turn out in the Fatherland, was threatened in language like this, as Molyn, who is still living, himself declares, "If I knew, Molyn, that you would divulge our sentence, or bring it before Their High Mightinesses, I would cause you to be hung immediately on the highest tree in New-Netherland." Now this took place in private, and may be denied—and ought not to be true, but what does it matter, it is so confirmed by similar cases that it cannot be doubted. For, some time after their departure, in the house of the minister, where the consistory(2) had been sitting and had risen, it happened that one Arnoldus van Herdenbergh related the proceedings relative to the estate of Zeger Teunisz, and how he himself as curator had appealed from the sentence; whereupon the Director, who had been sitting there with them as an elder, interrupted him and replied, "It may during my administration be contemplated to appeal, but if any one should do it, I will make him a foot shorter, and send the pieces to Holland, and let him appeal in that way." Oh cruel words! what more could even a sovereign do? And yet this is all firmly established; for after Jochem Pieterz Cuyffer and Cornelis Molyn went to the Fatherland to prosecute their appeal, and letters came back here from them, and the report was that their appeal was granted, or would be granted, the Director declared openly at various times and on many occasions, as well before inhabitants as strangers, when speaking of Jochem Pietersz Cuyter and Cornelis Molyn, "Even if they should come back cleared and bring an order of the States, no matter what its contents, unless their High Mightinesses summon me, I should immediately send them back." His Honor has also always denied that any appeal was or could be taken in this country, and declared that he was able to show this conclusively. And as some were not willing to believe it, especially in matters against the Company or their chief officers, a great deal which had been sought out in every direction was cited, and really not much to the purpose. At the first, while Director Kieft was still here, the English minister,(3) as he had long continued to service without proper support and as land was now confiscated, prayed that he might be permitted to proceed to the Islands,(4) or to the Netherlands; but an unfavorable answer was always given him, and he was threatened with this and that; finally it resulted in permission to leave, provided he gave a promise under his hand, that he would not in any place in which he should come, speak or complain of what had befallen him here in New Netherland under Director Kieft or Stuyvesant. This the man himself declares. Mr. Dincklagen and Captain Loper,(5) who then had seats in the council, also say that this is true. One wonders, if the Directors act rightly according to their own consciences, what they wished to do with such certificates, and others like them, which were secretly obtained. The Honorable Director began also at the first to argue very stoutly against the contraband trade, as was indeed very laudable, provided the object was to regulate the matter and to keep the law enforced; yet this trade, forbidden to others, he himself wished to carry on; but to this the people were not willing to consent. His Honor said, and openly asserted, that he was allowed, on behalf of the Company, to sell powder, lead and guns to the Indians, but no one else could do so, and that he wished to carry their resolution into execution. What the resolution of the Company amounts to, is unknown to us,(6) but what relates to the act is notorious to every inhabitant; as the Director has by his servants openly carried on the trade with the Indians, and has taken guns from free men who had brought with them one or two for their own use and amusement, paying for them according to his own pleasure, and selling them to the Indians. But this way of proceeding could amount to nothing, and made little progress. Another plan was necessary, and therefore a merchant, Gerrit Vastrick, received orders to bring with him one case of guns which is known of, for the purpose, as it was said, of supplying the Indians sparingly. They set about with this case of guns so openly, that there was not a man on the Manathans but knew it; and it was work enough to quiet the people. Everybody made his own comment; and, as it was observed that the ship was not inspected as others had been before, it was presumed that there were many more guns, besides powder and lead, in it for the Governor; but as the first did not succeed, silence was therefore observed in regard to the rest; and it might have passed unnoticed, had not every one perceived what a great door for abuse and opportunity the Director so opened to all others, and to the captain and merchant, who were celebrated for this of old, and who were now said to have brought with them a great number of guns, which was the more believed, because they went to the right place, and on their return were dumb as to what they did. This begat so much discontent among the common people, and even among other officers, that it is not to be expressed; and had the people not been persuaded and held back, something extraordinary would have happened. It was further declared that the Director is everything, and does the business of the whole country, having several shops himself; that he is a brewer and has breweries, is a part owner of ships, a merchant and a trader, as well in lawful as contraband articles. But he does not mind; he exhibits the orders of the Managers that he might do so, and says moreover that he should receive a supply of powder and lead by the Falconer for the purpose. In a word, the same person who interdicts the trade to others upon pain of death, carries it on both secretly and openly, and desires, contrary to good rules, that his example be not followed, and if others do follow it—which indeed too often happens secretly—that they be taken to the gallows. This we have seen in the case of Jacob Reyntgen and Jacob van Schermerhoren, against whom the penalty of death was asked, which the Director was with great difficulty persuaded to withdraw, and who were then banished as felons and their goods confiscated.(7) The banishment was, by the intervention of many good men, afterwards revoked, but their goods, which amounted to much (as they were Scotch merchants(8)), remained confiscated. We cannot pass by relating here what happened to one Joost Theunisz Backer, as he has complained to us of being greatly maltreated, as he in fact was. For the man being a reputable burgher, of good life and moderate means, was put in prison upon the declaration of an officer of the Company, who, according to the General and Council, had himself thrice well deserved the gallows, and for whom a new one even had been made, from which, out of mercy, he escaped. Charges were sought out on every side, and finally, when nothing could be established against him having the semblance of crime, he was released again, after thirteen days confinement, upon satisfactory bail for his appearance in case the fiscaal should find anything against him. Nothing has as yet been done about it. After the year and a day had passed by, we have, as representatives of the commonalty, and upon his request, legally solicited, as his sureties were troubling him, that the suit should be tried, so that he might be punished according to his deserts if he were guilty, and if not, that he might be discharged. But there was nothing gained by our interposition, as we were answered with reproachful language, and the fiscaal was permitted to rattle out anything that came in his mouth, and the man was rendered odious beyond all precedent, and abused before all as a foul monster. Asked he anything, even if it were all right, he received angry and abusive language, his request was not complied with, and justice was denied him. These things produce great dissatisfaction, and lead some to meditate leaving the country. It happened better with one Pieter vander Linden, as he was not imprisoned. There are many others, for the most of them are disturbed and would speak if they durst. Now the Company itself carries on the forbidden trade, the people think that they too can do so without guilt, if they can do so without damage; and this causes smuggling and frauds to an incredible extent, though not so great this year as heretofore. The publishing of a placard that those who were guilty, whether civilly or criminally, in New England, might have passport and protection here, has very much embittered the minds of the English, and has been considered by every one fraught with bad consequences. Great distrust has also been created among the inhabitants on account of Heer Stuyvesant being so ready to confiscate. There scarcely comes a ship in or near here, which, if it do not belong to friends, is not regarded as a prize by him. Though little comes of it, great claims are made to come from these matters, about which we will not dispute; but confiscating has come to such repute in New Netherland, that nobody anywise conspicuous considers his property to be really safe. It were well if the report of this thing were confined to this country; but it has spread among the neighboring English—north and south—and in the West Indies and Caribbee Islands. Everywhere there, the report is so bad, that not a ship dare come hither from those places; and good credible people who come from thence, by the way of Boston, and others here trading at Boston, assure us that more than twenty-five ships would come here from those islands every year if the owners were not fearful of confiscation. It is true of these places only and the report of it flies everywhere, and produces like fear, so that this vulture is destroying the prosperity of New Netherland, diverting its trade, and making the people discouraged, for other places not so well situated as this, have more shipping. All the permanent inhabitants, the merchant, the burgher and peasant, the planter, the laboring man, and also the man in service, suffer great injury in consequence; for if the shipping were abundant, everything would be sold cheaper, and necessaries be more easily obtained than they are now, whether they be such as the people themselves, by God's blessing, get out of the earth, or those they otherwise procure, and be sold better and with more profit; and people and freedom would bring trade. New England is a clear example that this policy succeeds well, and so especially is Virginia. All the debts and claims which were left uncollected by Director Kieft—due for the most part from poor and indigent people who had nothing, and whose property was destroyed by the war, by which they were compelled to abandon their houses, lands, cattle and other means—were now demanded; and when the people declared that they were not able to pay—that they had lost their property by the war, and asked My Lord to please have patience, they were repulsed. A resolution was adopted and actually put into execution, requiring those who did not satisfy the Company's debts, to pay interest; but the debts in question were made in and by the war, and the people are not able to pay either principal or interest. Again, the just debts which Director Kieft left behind, due from the Company, whether they consisted of monthly wages, or were for grain delivered, or were otherwise lawfully contracted, these the Director will not pay. If we oppose this as an unusual course, we are rebuked and it has to be so. We have by petition and proper remonstrance effected, however, so much, that the collection of the debts is put off for a time.
(1) Myn Heer Generael is hardly what would be meant in English by "Lord General"; it is most like Fr. Monsieur le General.
(2) The church session, in the Reformed Church, consisting of minister, elders and deacons.
(3) Francis Doughty.
(4) The West Indies.
(5) Jacob Loper, a Swedish naval captain in the Dutch service, who had married the eldest daughter of Cornelis Molyn.
(6) Mr. Murphy quotes an apposite passage from a letter which the company had written to Stuyvesant on April 7, 1648: "As they [the Indians] urge it with such earnestness, that they would rather renew the war with us than be without these articles, and as a war with them, in our present situation, would be very unwelcome, we think the best policy is to furnish them with powder and ball but with a sparing hand."
(7) These sentences were imposed in July, 1648.
Besides this, the country of the Company is so taxed, and is burdened and kept down in such a manner, that the inhabitants are not able to appear beside their neighbors of Virginia or New England, or to undertake any enterprise. It seems—and so far as is known by us all the inhabitants of New Netherland declare—that the Managers have scarce any care or regard for New Netherland, except when there is something to receive, for which reason, however, they receive less. The great extremity of war in which we have been, clearly demonstrates that the Managers have not cared whether New Netherland sank or swam; for when in that emergency aid and assistance were sought from them—which they indeed were bound by honor and by promises to grant, unsolicited, pursuant to the Exemptions—they have never established any good order or regulation concerning it, although (after all) such a thing had been decreed and commanded by Their High Mightinesses. Neither have they ever allowed the true causes and reasons of the war to be investigated, nor have they attempted to punish those who had rashly begun it. Hence no little suspicion that it was undertaken by their orders; at least it is certain that their officers were chosen more from favor and friendship than merit, which did not make their matters go on better. But this is the loss and damage for the most part of the stockholders. Many of the others doubtless knew well their objects. In a word, they come far short in affording that protection which they owe the country, for there is nothing of the kind. They understand how to impose taxes, for while they promised in the Exemptions not to go above five per cent., they now take sixteen. It is a common saying that a half difference is a great difference, but that is nothing in comparison with this. The evasions and objections which are used by them, as regards merchants' goods, smuggling and many other things, and which the times have taught them, in order to give color to their acts, are of no force or consideration. They however are not now to be refuted, as it would take too long; though we stand ready to do so if there be any necessity for it. These and innumerable other difficulties, which we have not time to express, exist, tending to the damage, injury and ruin of the country. If the inhabitants or we ourselves go to the Director or other officers of the Company, and speak of the flourishing condition of our neighbors, and complain of our own desolate and ruinous state, we get no other answer from them than that they see and observe it, but cannot remedy it, as they follow the Company's orders, which they are compelled to do, and that if we have any thing to say, we must petition their masters, the Managers, or Their High Mightinesses, which in truth we have judged to be necessary. It is now more than a year since the commons-men deemed it expedient, and proposed, to send a deputation to Their High Mightinesses. The Director commended the project and not only assented to it but urged it strongly. It was put well in the mill, so that we had already spoken of a person to go, but it fell through for these reasons: When it was proposed, the Director desired that we should consult and act according to his wishes; which some who perceived the object would not consent to, and the matter therefore fell asleep. Besides, the English, who had been depended upon and who were associated in the affair, withdrew till the necessity of action became greater, and the Nine Men were changed the next year,(1) when Herr Stuyvesant again urged the matter strongly, and declared that he had already written to the Company that such persons would come. After the election of the Nine Men, and before the new incumbents were sworn in, it was determined and resolved verbally, that they would proceed with the deputation, whatever should be the consequences; but it remained some time before the oath was renewed, on account of some amplification of the commission being necessary, which was finally given and recorded and signed; but we have never been able to obtain an authentic copy of it, although the Director has frequently promised and we have frequently applied for it.
(1) December, 1648.
As the Company had now been waited upon a long while in vain, promising amendment from time to time but going on worse, a determined resolution was taken by the commons-men to send some person. They made their intention known to the Director, and requested that they might confer with the commonalty; but their proposition was not well received, and they obtained in reply to their written petition a very long apostil, to the effect, that consultation must be had with the Director, and his instructions followed, with many other things which did not agree with out object, and were impracticable, as we think. For various reasons which we set down in writing, we thought it was not advisable to consult with him, but we represented to his Honor that he should proceed; we would not send anything to the Fatherland without his having a copy of it. If he could then justify himself, we should be glad he should; but to be expected to follow his directions in this matter was not, we thought, founded in reason, but directly antagonistic to the welfare of the country. We had also never promised or agreed to do so; and were bound by an oath to seek the prosperity of the country, as, according to our best knowledge, we are always inclined to do.
In the above mentioned apostil it says, if we read rightly, that we should inquire what approbation the commonalty were willing to give to this business, and how the expense should be defrayed; but the Director explained it differently from what we understood it. Now as his Honor was not willing to convene the people however urgent our request, or that we should do it, we went round from house to house and spoke to the commonalty. The General has, from that time, burned with rage, and, if we can judge, has never been effectually appeased since, although we did not know but that we had followed his order herein. Nevertheless it was perceived that the Nine Men would not communicate with him or follow his directions in anything pertaining to the matter. This excited in him a bitter and unconquerable hatred against them all, but principally against those whom he supposed to be the chief authors of it; and although these persons had been good and dear friends with him always, and he, shortly before, had regarded them as the most honorable, able, intelligent and pious men of the country, yet as soon as they did not follow the General's wishes they were this and that, some of them rascals, liars, rebels, usurers and spendthrifts, in a word, hanging was almost too good for them. It had been previously strongly urged that the deputation should be expedited, but then [he said] there was still six months time, and that all that was proper and necessary could be put upon a sheet of paper. Many reports also were spread among the people, and it was sought principally by means of the English to prevent the college of the Nine Men from doing anything; but as these intrigues were discovered, and it was therefore manifest that this could not be effected, so in order to make a diversion, many suits were brought against those who were considered the ringleaders. They were accused and then prosecuted by the fiscaal and other suborned officers, who made them out to be the greatest villains in the country, where shortly before they had been known as the best people and dearest children. At this time an opportunity presented itself, which the Director was as glad to have, at least as he himself said, as his own life. At the beginning of the year 1649, clearly perceiving that we would not only have much to do about the deputation but would hardly be able to accomplish it, we deemed it necessary to make regular memoranda for the purpose of furnishing a journal from them at the proper time. This duty was committed to one Adriaen vander Donck, who by a resolution adopted at the same time was lodged in a chamber at the house of one Michael Jansz. The General on a certain occasion when Vander Donck was out of the chamber, seized this rough draft with his own hands, put Vander Donck the day after in jail, called together the great Council, accused him of having committed crimen laesae majestatis, and took up the matter so warmly, that there was no help for it but either the remonstrance must be drawn up in concert with him (and it was yet to be written,) or else the journal—as Mine Heer styled the rough draft from which the journal was to be prepared—was of itself sufficient excuse for action; for Mine Heer said there were great calumnies in it against Their High Mightinesses, and when we wished to explain it and asked for it, to correct the errors, (as the writer did not wish to insist upon it and said he knew well that there were mistakes in it, arising from haste and other similar causes, in consequence of his having had much to do and not having read over again the most of it,) our request was called a libel which was worthy of no answer, and the writer of which it was intended to punish as an example to others. In fine we could not make it right in any way. He forbade Vander Donck the council and also our meetings, and gave us formal notice to that effect, and yet would not release him from his oath. Then to avoid the proper mode of proof, he issued a proclamation declaring that no testimony or other act should be valid unless it were written by the secretary, who is of service to nobody, but on the contrary causes every one to complain that nothing can be done. Director Kieft had done the same thing when he was apprehensive that an attestation would be executed against him. And so it is their practice generally to do everything they can think of in order to uphold their conduct. Those whose offices required them to concern themselves with the affairs of the country, and did so, did well, if they went according to the General's will and pleasure; if they did not, they were prosecuted and thrown into prison, guarded by soldiers so that they could not speak with any body, angrily abused as vile monsters, threatened to be taught this and that, and everything done against them that he could contrive or invent. We cannot enter into details, but refer to the record kept of these things, and the documents which the Director himself is to furnish. From the foregoing relation Their High Mightinesses, and others interested who may see it, can well imagine what labor and burdens we have had upon our shoulders from which we would very willingly have escaped, but for love of the country and of truth, which, as far as we know, has long lain buried. The trouble and difficulty which do or will affect us, although wanting no addition, do not grieve us so much as the sorrowful condition of New Netherland, now lying at its last gasp; but we hope and trust that our afflictions and the sufferings of the inhabitants and people of the country will awaken in Their High Mightinesses a compassion which will be a cause of rejoicing to New Netherland.
In what Manner New Netherland should be Redressed.
Although we are well assured and know, in regard to the mode of redress of the country, we are only children, and Their High Mightinesses are entirely competent, we nevertheless pray that they overlook our presumption and pardon us if we make some suggestions according to our slight understanding thereof, in addition to what we have considered necessary in our petition to Their High Mightinesses.
In our opinion this country will never flourish under the government of the Honorable Company, but will pass away and come to an end of itself without benefiting thereby the Honorable Company, so that it would be better and more profitable for them, and better for the country, that they should divest themselves of it and transfer their interests.
To speak specifically. Provision ought to be made for public buildings, as well ecclesiastical as civil, which, in beginnings, can be ill dispensed with. It is doubtful whether divine worship will not have to cease altogether in consequence of the departure of the minister, and the inability of the Company. There should be a public school, provided with at least two good masters, so that first of all in so wild a country, where there are many loose people, the youth be well taught and brought up, not only in reading and writing, but also in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. As it is now, the school is kept very irregularly, one and another keeping it according to his pleasure and as long as he thinks proper. There ought also to be an almshouse and an orphan asylum, and other similar institutions. The minister who now goes home,(1) should be able to give a much fuller explanation thereof. The country must also be provided with godly, honorable and intelligent rulers who are not too indigent, or indeed are not too covetous. A covetous chief makes poor subjects. The manner the country is now governed falls severely upon it, and is intolerable, for nobody is unmolested or secure in his property longer than the Director pleases, who is generally strongly inclined to confiscating; and although one does well, and gives the Heer what is due to him, one must still study always to please him if he would have quiet. A large population would be the consequence of a good government, as we have shown according to our knowledge in our petition; and although to give free passage and equip ships, if it be necessary, would be expensive at first, yet if the result be considered, it would be an exceedingly wise measure, if by that means farmers and laborers together with other needy people were brought into the country, with the little property which they have; as also the Fatherland has enough of such people to spare. We hope it would then prosper, especially as good privileges and exemptions, which we regard as the mother of population, would encourage the inhabitants to carry on commerce and lawful trade. Every one would be allured hither by the pleasantness, situation, salubrity and fruitfulness of the country, if protection were secured within the already established boundaries. It would all, with God's assistance, then, according to human judgment, go well, and New Netherland would in a few years be a worthy place and be able to do service to the Netherland nation, to repay richly the cost, and to thank its benefactors.
(1) Reverend Johannes Backerus.
High Mighty Lords! We have had the boldness to write this remonstrance, and to represent matters as we have done from love of the truth, and because we felt ourselves obliged to do so by our oath and conscience. It is true that we have not all of us at one time or together seen, heard and met with every detail of its entire contents. Nevertheless there is nothing in it but what is well known by some of us to be true and certain;—the most is known by all of us to be true. We hope Their High Mightinesses will pardon our presumption and be charitable with our plainness of style, composition and method. In conclusion we commit Their High Mightinesses, their persons, deliberations and measures and their people, at home and abroad, together with all the friends of New Netherland, to the merciful guidance and protection of the Most High, whom we supplicate for Their High Mightinesses' present and eternal welfare. Amen.
Done this 28th of July in New Netherland, subscribed,
"ADRIAEN VANDER DONCK,
ARNOLDUS VAN HARDENBERGH,
JACOB VAN COUWENHOVEN,
OLOFF STEVENSZ" (by whose name was written "Under protest—obliged to sign about the government of the Heer Kieft"),
HENDRICK HENDRICKSZ KIP and
Below was written, "After collation with the original remonstrance, dated and subscribed as above, with which these are found to correspond, at the Hague, the 13th October, 1649, by me;" and was subscribed,
"D. v. SCHELLUYNEN, Notary Public."
THE REPRESENTATION OF NEW NETHERLAND, 1650
Reference material and sources. Adriaen van der Donck, The Representation of New Netherland, 1650. In J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original Narratives of Early American History). NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909.
Source: Narrative New Netherland, edited by J. F. Jameson