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again, and disregarding their advice, sent a company of soldiers to attack the Indians. They were unsuccessful in finding them, and a hollow peace was concluded between the two parties. This however did not long continue.
In 1643, one of the Hackensack tribe, having been robbed by some of the Dutch, killed two of them in revenge. Kieft demanded the murderer, but the Indians refused to deliver him up. At this juncture the Mohawks, the most formidable tribe, in the territory bordering on the Hudson and the Lakes, descended the river for the purpose of levying tribute from the weaker tribes, in the neighborhood of New Amsterdam.
These, terror stricken, fled to the Dutch for protection, and might have been won to sincere friendship, by kindness; but having been received kindly for a few days, they left the colony, and scattered themselves among the adjacent tribes.
It was at this period that Kieft, forgetful of the dictates of humanity, suffered himself to authorize a transaction which stains, most foully, his whole administration. At a drunken revel on the 22d of February, 1643, a petition was presented to him by some of the most blood thirsty of the inhabitants, requesting him to order the extermination of these Indians, thus deprived of a shelter and a home. Kieft readily complied, and when the season of debauchery was past, refused to recall his order.
Two parties of soldiers were sent out at night to surprise and destroy the unsuspecting 'red men.
One hundred and ten were killed, and thirty taken prisoners. Nor were these all warriors, who were thus butchered in their sleep. Women and children were cut to pieces, by the swords of these ruthless exterminators; and neit age, nor sex were spared.
The consequences, as might have been expected, were, that the farms and buildings of the Dutch were burned by the exasperated Indians; numbers of the settlers were killed ; and in a few weeks Kieft was compelled to receive the inhabitants into the fort, as the only place which afforded protection, against the assaults of the savages. His course aroused the prejudices of the people against him; and endeavoring to throw the blame of it upon others, he was threatened with assassination.
In the autumn of 1643, the savages united together to drive the Dutch from New Amsterdam; and almost daily, murders were committed by them. Kieft was again compelled to submit to the association of the representatives of the people, with himself in the government.
Having received a reinforcement, from the English settlers at Westchester, in 1644, under the command of Capt. Underhill, several expeditions were undertaken against their common enemy, in which some eight hundred were slain. These re
sults led the Indian tribes of Long Island, and the shore adjacent, (east of New Amsterdam,) to sue for peace; but it was not of long continuance. In 1645, however, a treaty was concluded, through the powerful intervention of the Mohawks, with most of the Indian tribes.
During this whole period, from 1640 to 1645, the English colonists were constantly pursuing a course of aggression, upon the territories claimed by the Dutch. Determined to harass the commander of the fort at Hartford, till he should be compelled to leave his post, they neglected no means of carrying into effect their resolution. They also proceeded to establish settlements, west of the Connecticut, wherever they could obtain a foothold.
On their southern frontier, too, the Swedes were depriving them of their trade with the Indians, and securing the fairest lands, watered by the Delaware and its tributaries, for their farms, notwithstanding these had been previously purchased of the native proprietors, by the Dutch.
The “Colonie” of Rensselaerwyck, meanwhile, removed from these troubles, and cultivating a friendly relation with the Indian tribes, was peaceful and prosperous. The Patroon complained, indeed, that his rents were not punctually paid; but the number of his bouweries, or farms under cultivation, and the amount of exports, showed conclusively, that its interests were, on the whole, well managed.
Mindful of the religious improvement of his colonists, the Patroon sent over in 1642, the Rev. Johannes Megapolensis, as minister of the “Colonie,” who labored among them efficiently and successfully for many years.
Mr. Van Rensselaer never resided in his colony; but confided its management to a Commissary General, or Superintendent; which office was filled by Arendt Van Curler or Corlaer, a most worthy and excellent man; and after him by Anthony de Hooges.
The office of Schout Fiscal or Sheriff and Attorney General, was also one of great importance, and was filled by Jacob Albertsen Planck, and afterwards by Adriaen Van der Donck.
In 1643, a church was erected on what is now Church street, near Market street, or Broadway, Albany.
In 1646, the venerable Patroon, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, died at Amsterdam. His son Johannes succeeded him as Patroon.
In 1647, two whales ascended the Hudson, one of which grounded on an island at the mouth of the Mohawk, causing great consternation among the honest burghers.
The Assembly of the XIX. finding their colony at New Amsterdam decreasing in numbers and wealth, and verging towards
destruction, under the mismanagement of Director Kiest, resolved to recall him; and in 1645 appointed in his place General Peter Stuyvesant, formerly Director of the Island of Curacoa.
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT'S ADMINISTRATION. Peter Stuyvesant, the successor of Kieft, in the government of New Netherlands, had been Director of the Dutch settlement at Curacoa and the adjacent islands; and had acquired a high reputation for military prowess. Having been wounded in the siege of St. Martins, in 1644, he returned to Holland for surgical aid. In 1645, his health having been partially restored, the West India Company appointed him Director of their colony of New Netherlands.
Changes, however, made at his suggestion, in the organization of the colony, and the difference of opinion which existed between the different chambers of the company, relative to the propriety of these changes, prevented him from proceeding immediately to take charge of his post; and it was not till the 27th of May, 1647, that he entered upon the duties of his office. Meanwhile, the colony continued under the misrule of Director Kieft.
Though possessed of stern integrity and honesty of purpose, yet the strict military education which he had received, had impressed Governor Stuyvesant, with ideas of the necessity of rigid discipline, which soon involved him in contentions with the citizens. These, having tasted in their own country, some of the blessings of freedom, and witnessing, daily, the liberty enjoyed by their English neighbors, were desirous of making trial of a liberal form of government.
His first controversy was with the guardians of Johannes Van Rensselaer, son of the first Patroon, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, who had deceased in 1646, leaving his son Johannes, then a minor, to the guardianship of Wouter Van Twiller, (the second Director,) and one Van Sleightenhorst. This controversy was kept up for a long period, and finally terminated, by a reference to the States General.
While it was pending, in 1649 and 1650, the Gemeente, or Commonalty of New Netherlands, instigated by Adriaen Van der Donck,* already mentioned as the first Attorney General of Rensselaerwyck, sent repeated remonstrances to the States General, concerning the administration of Stuyvesant, and earnestly solicited his recall.
The States General, unwilling to act hastily, in a matter of so much importance, repeatedly appointed committees to investigate the charges made against him; and on the 27th of April, 1652, passed an order for his recall. Just at this juncture, a war with England commenced, and the States General, esteeming it highly important, that their interests in the New World should be protected, by an officer of courage and ability, on the 16th of May, rescinded their resolution of the 27th of April, and Stuyvesant retained his station.
* Van der Donck seems to have been a man of considerable ability and learning, but possessed of a restless and ambitious spirit. He had, previously to this period, created some disturbance at Rensselaerwyck. He evidently possessed The art of enlisting the populace in his schemes.
In order to compensate, as far as possible, for thus slighting the wishes of the people, the States General, in 1653, granted to the city of New Amsterdam, a charter of incorporation, making the city officers elective, and giving them jurisdiction, except in capital cases.
During this period the English, against whom Kieft had so often protested, encroached still farther upon the bounds of the Dutch. They established settlements upon the Housatonic river, and at Greenwich, upon the main land ; and crossing over to Long Island, organized colony after colony, upon its fertile lands.
In vain Stuyvesant remonstrated; in vain he attempted to remove their settlements by force, or compelled the inhabitants to swear allegiance to Holland. For every remonstrance they had a reply; and against the employment of force they made threats, which the more flourishing state of their colonies, he well knew, would enable them to fulfil. They seemed as much offended at his resistance, as the Dutch were by their aggressions; and frequently, in their controversies, laid claim to the whole territory under the king's patent, or on account of Cabot's discovery.
Wearied with these protracted disputes, Governor Stuyvesant repaired to Hartford, in September, 1650, where the commissioners of the colonies were in session, to adjust their difficulties, by a personal interview. Unsuccessful in this, he left the settlement in the hands of four deputies, two to be chosen by each party; and, secure in the justice of his cause, appointed as his commissioners, two Englishmen, Willet and Baxter.
On the 29th of September, the commissioners reported articles of agreement, relinquishing to the English, half of Long Island, and all the lands on the Connecticut, except those actually occupied by the Dutch, and prohibiting the Connecticut calonists from settling within ten miles of the Hudson.
Hard as were these conditions, Stuyvesant having once agreed to them, determined to maintain them in good faith, and obtained their ratification, from the States General, in February, i656. The English government never ratified them, nor did the English colonists pay much regard to them, in their subsequent treatment of the Dutch, for in 1655 they seized, (under Cromwell's orders,) the fort at Hartford, with all its effects; thus terminating, by force, the existence of that colony.
In 1653, a charge of conspiracy between Governor Stuyvesant and the Indians, to massacre the inhabitants of all the New England colonies, was falsely preferred, by Connecticut and New Haven; and but for the firm resistance of Massachusetts, to so iniquitous a transaction, they would have proceeded immediately to destroy New Amsterdam. When this foul charge reached the ears of Governor Stuyvesant, it met with an indignant denial; a denial, to the truth of which, his whole life gave the fullest evidence.
In 1659, Massachusetts, pretending that the agreement made at Hartford, did not extend farther than twenty miles from the coast, claimed the land on the Hudson, above the parallel of 42°, and demanded the right of free navigation of that river.
On the southern frontier, too, the Swedes were not idle. To prevent their encroachments, Stuyvesant, in 1654, erected and garrisoned fort Casimir, on the Delaware, at the site of the present town of New Castle. Risingh, the Swedish governor, soon visited it; and, having, under the guise of friendship, obtained admission, treacherously possessed himself of the fort.
The West India company, indignant at this perfidious act, sent orders to Stuyvesant, to reduce the Swedish settlements on the Delaware. Accordingly, in September, 1655, he left New Amsterdam, at the head of a force of nearly 700 men; and on the 16th, Fort Casimir, and on the 25th of September, Fort Christina, the head quarters of the Swedish governor, capitulated, without bloodshed. The terms offered by the Dutch, to the conquered, were so favorable, that most of them remained in the colony.
During Governor Stuyvesant's absence, upon this expedition, a large body of Indians, deeming it a favorable opportunity to plunder, came upon the defenceless plantations, murdered a number of the inhabitants, and robbed several farms. The return of the Governor, however, put an end to their incursions.
Fort Casimir, after its recapture, became the nucleus of a colony, founded by the city of Amsterdam, and called New Amstel. The terms offered to emigrants were so favorable, that it soon became a place of importance; and in 1657, one Alricks, was appointed Lieutenant Governor of that, and the other Dutch possessions, on the Delaware.
In 1656, Governor Stuyvesant, who was a zealous and somewhat bigoted supporter of the Reformed Dutch church, imprisoned some Lutherans, who had come into the colony, and persisted in the observance of their own forms of worship. In 1658, he banished from the colony, a Lutheran preacher, who attempted to establish a church of his own persuasion. At Vlissingen, (now Flushing,) where the doctrines of the Quakers had made some progress, he attempted, but, of course, un