Слике страница
PDF
ePub

in 1626, Staten Island was purchased of the Indians; and in the same year, the island of Manhattan was bought for the sum of twenty-four dollars. The fort, upon this latter island, received the title of Fort Amsterdam, and the colony that of New Amsterdam.

An affray occurred between some of Minuit's farm servants and an Indian, in which the latter was killed. No attempts were made to punish the murderers; and this outrage afterwards led to serious consequences. The exports of the colony this year amounted to about $19,000.

In the ensuing year, 1627, amicable correspondence was opened between the Dutch authorities at New Amsterdam, and the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth. In this correspondence the English authority was set up by the Plymouth colonists over the region watered by the Connecticut, and denied by the Dutcb.

Up to the year 1629, no colonies, properly so called, can be said to have been established in the New Netherlands. The settlements were simply trading establishments, in which the traffic in furs was the principal employment; and the soil was hardly cultivated in sufficient quantities to supply the wants of the traders.

In Sept. 1628, Admiral Heyn, who had charge of the West India Company's feet, captured the Spanish Plate ships, containing gold, silver, &c. to the value of five millions of dollars. The directors of the company, elated by such unexpected good fortune, were disposed to yield to any measure apparently calculated to increase their wealth; and at the meeting of the company's council (commonly known as the XIX,) on the 7th of June, 1626, a measure was adopted, the effects of which are yet felt in the state.

This measure was, the passage of a grant to certain individuals, of extensive seignories, or tracts of land, with feudal rights, giving them power over the lives and persons of their subjects. Certain restrictions and limitations were made in this grant, which was called “The Freedoms and Exceptions, granted by the Assembly of the XIX, of the Priviliged West India Company, to all such as shall plant any colonies in New Netherlands."

Under this grant Samuel Godyn and Samuel Bloemmaert purchased, soon after, a tract of land, thirty-two miles long, and two miles wide, on the south-west side of Delaware Bay; and on the 18th of April, 1630, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, a pearl merchant of Amsterdam, secured a tract on the west side of the North river, embracing the site of the present city of Albany.

By subsequent purchase, in this year and in 1637, Mr. Van Rensselaer became proprietor of a tract of land, twenty-four miles long, and forty-eight broad, now composing the counties of Albany, Rensselaer, and part of the county of Columbia.

In 1630, Godyn and Bloemmaert also secured a tract, on the opposite shore of the Delaware Bay, making a territory of sixtyfour miles in circumference. Another of the company's directors, Michael Paauw, purchased Staten Island, Jersey City and Ahasimus, now called Harsimus, with the lands adjacent.

This colony was called Pavonia: that on the Delaware, Zwanendal, or the valley of swans, and Mr. Van Renseelaer's, Rensselaerwyck.

Active exertions were forthwith made to colonize these vast estates. Colonies were sent to Rensselaerwyck and Zwanendal; and fortifications erected. Anxious, however, to participate in the very profitable trade in furs and peltries, the Patroons, in the opinion of the other directors, soon transcended the limits prescribed, in the bill of Freedoms and Exceptions, Hence difficulties arose between the two parties, which materially embarrassed the prosperity of the infant colonies. Minuit the director, was recalled, partly probably from the machinations of Wouter Van Twiller, who, in the capacity of agent of the company, had visited the colony two years before, (1632.)

On his way home in March, 1632, Director Minuit was forced, by stress of weather, to put into the port of Plymouth, England, The vessel was immediately seized, on her arrival, on a charge of having traded and obtained her cargo in countries subject to Her Brittanic Majesty. Considerable diplomatic correspondence ensued between the State officers of England and the Netherlands; and finally, the object of the English government, (the assertion of their title,) having been attained, the vessel was released.

During this period the dispute between the Patroons and the colony continued. In the latter part of the year, the Indians in the neighborhood of the Delaware Bay, considering themselves injured, came suddenly upon the colony of Zwanendal, and butchered in cold blood all the colonists, thirty-four persons in number. The next year, Captain de Vries, the founder of the colony, returned from Holland, and, finding himself unable to punish the treachery of the Indians, made a peace with them.

DIRECTOR VAN TWILLER'S ADMINISTRATION. In April, 1633, Wouter Van Twiller, a relation of the Patroon Van Rensselaer, having been appointed director of the settlement, arrived at New Amsterdam. About this time also Rev. Everardus Bogardus, the first minister, and Adam Roelandsen, the first schoolmaster, arrived in the colony. Van

[ocr errors]

Twiller seems to have been ill calculated to govern the colony, at so stormy a period as this. Addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors, he only resorted to heavier potations, when the emergency called for sober and vigorous action.

In the early part of his administration, the Dutch settlements, on the Connecticut, were established. In 1614, Adrien Blok, one of the most enterprising captains the employ of the New Netherlands Company, had discovered this river, and named it the Fresh Water River.

In 1632, Hans Encluys, one of the servants of the West India Company, had set up the arms of the States General at Kievits Hoeck, now Saybrook Point, thus formally taking possession of the river. He had also purchased a tract of land, at that point, for the company, from the Indians.

On the 8th of June, 1633, Jacob Van Curler, under the direction of Van Twiller, purchased territory along the Connecticut river, embracing most of the site of the present city of Hartford, and several of the adjacent towns, of Tattoepan, chief of Sickenam (Little) River. On this territory he erected a fort or trading post, which he fortified with two pieces of cannon.

On the 16th of September following, a vessel commanded by Capt. Wm. Holmes, and sent by the Plymouth Colony, who had settled about Massachusetts Bay, ascended the Connecticut. On passing the fort, Capt. Holmes was ordered to stop; but being in stronger force than the Dutch, he persisted; and proceeded, (though not without repeated protests from the Dutch authorities at New Amsterdam,) to erect, a little above, the frame of a house which he had brought round in his vessel.

During this and the succeeding year, the contest between the Patroons and the Company continued to the manifest disadvantage of both parties.

In 1635, the English at Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, sent several new colonies to the Connecticut river, one of which, under the command of Governor Winthrop, landing at Saybrook Point, tore down the arms of the States General, and carved a buffoon's face in its stead. They also refused to let the Dutch land, on the tract they had purchased in 1632; and erected on the very same tract, Saybrook fort.

At the present site of Springfield, Mass., Mr. Pynchon established a trading house and a plantation: and the next year, 1636, Hooker and his followers located themselves in Hartford.

DIRECTOR KIEFT'S ADMINISTRATION. In 1637, the mal-administration of Director Van Twiller having come to the ears of the company, William Kieft was appointed in his place. Director Kieft arrived in New Amsterdam in March, 1638, and found the fort greatly dilapidated; the company's property wretchedly managed, and every thing betokening the prevalence of disorder. Director Van Twiller, however, had not suffered his own interests to be neglected; his farms were well stocked, and his houses in good repair.

The new director began, with a strong hand, to reform abuses, and to improve his colony; but he was a man of headstrong temper, who would not brook control or advice, and possessed, at the same time, a weak and ill balanced mind. Like his predecessor, he was addicted to intemperate habits.

In 1638, Peter Minuit, the first Director of the New Netherlands, who had, after his dismission from that station, gone to Sweden, arrived on the coast with a Swedish colony, and settled upon the banks of the Delaware, within the limits of the territory claimed by the Dutch.

Having erected a fort there, which he named Fort Christina, after the Swedish queen, Kieft protested against his course, as an invasion of his territory : but from the weakness of his own colony, he was obliged to content himself with protesting.

In the latter part of the year 1638, the restrictions which hitherto had been placed, by the company, upon the trade to the New Netherlands, were taken off, and free traffic encouraged. This measure gave a new impulse to trade and emigration; new farms were taken up; and a number of gentlemen of wealth and distinction removed to the colony.

Persecution, too, drove many, from New England and Virginia, to settle among the more tolerant Dutch, who, though firm in their adherence to their own creed, did not deem it necessary to persecute those who differed from them in religious tenets.

In the mean time the aggressive disposition of the English settlers still continued. They founded a colony at New Haven, notwithstanding Director Kieft's protests; they occupied the fertile valley of the Tunxis (Farmington) river; and even went so far as to plough and sow the company's lands around the Fort of Good Hope at Hartford, assaulting and severely wounding some of the men in charge of that post, whom they found at work in the fields.

The commander of the fort, Gysbert Op Dyck, promptly remonstrated against this unwarrantable procedure, but the English justified themselves on the ground, that as the lands were uncultivated, and the Dutch did nothing to improve them, “it was a sin to let such fine lands lie waste."

Not satisfied with these aggressions, the Plymouth company proceeded to grant the whole of Long Island, to the Earl of Stirling; and a settlement was soon afterwards effected, by Lyon Gardiner, at Gardiner's Island.

The Dutch, meantime, were active in establishing settlements, at the western extremity of the island. Lands were granted to settlers in Brooklyn, then called Breuckelen; at Gowanus, and at Gravenzande, now called Gravesend.

In May, 1640, a company of emigrants from Lynn, Mass., claiming authority under the Earl of Stirling's patent, commenced a settlement near Cow Neck. The Director having learned this fact, despatched the Schout, or Sheriff, with a band of soldiers, to investigate the matter ; and, if they had actually commenced a settlement, to take them prisoners. This was accomplished; and after examination, they were dismissed, on condition, that they should leave the territory of their High Mightinesses, the States General.

In the autumn of the same year they returned, and founded the town of Southampton, L. I. Other settlers, from the same quarter, soon after founded Southold. These settlements were not disturbed by the Dutch.

This year, a most sanguinary contest commenced, with the Indians, which continued to disturb the colony for five years; and had well nigh depopulated it. The causes of this war were many. The Indians saw, with daily increasing envy and dislike, the heritage of their fathers occupied by strangers. The settlers, often arrogant and selfish, deprived them of their real or imagined rights.

In addition to this, Director Kieft, acting, as he alleged, under instructions received from Holland, proceeded to lay a tax on the Indian tribes for the support of the colony. This aroused their indignation; and unfortunately, about this time, a robbery, committed by some of the servants of the colonists, was attributed to the Indians. Kieft's imprudent disposition led him to send a body of soldiers, to execute summary vengeance upon the supposed offenders. A number of them were inhumanly butchered, and their crops destroyed.

This produced deep hostility of feeling, on the part of the Indians; and the following season, with the cunning characteristic of their race, they took measures for revenge. Unexpectedly, they attacked Staten Island, and killed several planters. Kieft sought satisfaction, by exciting a war between the Indian tribes.

Early in 1642, he determined to avenge a murder, which had been committed by one of the Indians. He accordingly called a council of twelve men, from among the citizens of New Amsterdam, to aid him, in deciding upon the proper course to be pursued.

This council advised patience and forbearance; and then proceeded to take up the abuses of his government, and to ask for reforms. Kieft soon dismissed them, forbade their meeting

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »