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and English crew, in September, 1609, will always remain the most interesting event in this period of beginnings.1
The Dutch East India Company engaged the bold navigator Hudson to find a short route to Asia.2 On April 4, 1609, he left the Netherlands in his little ship with about eighteen sailors to find a passage north of Sweden.
1 See report of Hudson's mate, Robert Juet, in Hart, American History told by Contemporaries, I., 121.
2 Holland gained her independence of Spain in 1609 and was the leading naval and commercial power in the world. Like the other nations she was eager for a short cut to the rich trading fields of the East. See the Dutch Declaration of Independence in 1581. Old South Leaflets, Vol. III., No. 72.
Hudson had already made two efforts to find a northwest passage under an English company, hence was looked upon as well qualified for the work.
Forced by the ice to turn about, he sailed west, touched land at Maine, went south to Chesapeake Bay, then turned north and entered New York harbor September 3. The mate's journal says: "The people of the country came aboard of us, seeming very glad of our coming, and brought greene tobacco and gave us of it for knives and beads."
Hudson's Disappointment and Return.-Hoping to find an opening to the eastern seas, Hudson sailed up the broad "Silent River of the Mountains" as far as Albany.1 Checked by shallows and trees, he sent out a party in a small boat to continue the search. They soon reported that they had found the "end for shipping to go to." The disappointed navigator turned back and soon sailed for home. His British sailors forced him to land at Dartmouth, England, November 7, where King James detained both him and his vessel because he was an Englishman and his discoveries belonged to England. He contrived, however, to send a report of his voyage to his employers, and the Half Moon was allowed to go to Amsterdam in a few months, but the brave captain never again saw Holland.2
To-day the river steamers carry passengers from New York to Albany in about eight hours. It took Hudson more than that many days.
2 Hudson made a fourth effort to find the coveted water-way to the East in 1610 in the employ of English merchants. He reached Hudson Bay. There his crew mutinied, put him, his son, and seven sick sailors into a small boat and left them to perish. His fate is unknown. Thus ended the career of one of the bravest navigators of his age. The ringleaders of the mutiny were killed by Indians on the way home, and the rest of the crew were punished upon reaching England. In vain did the king have search made for Henry Hudson.
The French in New York. Meanwhile Frenchmen were preparing to explore New York from the north. In 1603 King Henry IV. of France gave to De Monts "the sovereignty of the country from the fortieth to the forty-sixth degree of north latitude; that is, from the degree south of the city of New York to the one north of Montreal." This shows that France had an early claim to New York. The king soon gave to De Monts the monopoly of the fur-trade on, the St. Lawrence River in exchange for his land grant. Samuel Champlain was sent out on a trading expedition. He founded Quebec (1608), discovered Lake Champlain, and stood on the soil of New York two months before
Hudson saw it.1 In 1615, accompanied by Indian allies, he penetrated the forests of western New York to attack the Seneca Indians, but was repulsed.
CHAPTER II.-THE INDIANS OF NEW YORK
Meeting of the White Man and the Red Man. -The white man had met the red man in New York many years before the coming of Champlain and Hudson. Verrazano received a friendly greeting from the Indians in 1524. From that time on, no doubt, more or less trade was carried on with them by the various explorers. This may account for the hostility shown to Hudson at times.
1See Champlain's Adventures on Lake Champlain (1609) given in Hart, American History told by Contemporaries, I., 125.
Algonquins and Iroquois.-In New York there were two great branches of Indians, the Algonquins and the Iroquois. The former inhabited the islands and the mainland around New York Bay and the shores up the Hudson. On Long Island alone thirteen tribes of that great family lived. The Manhattans occupied Manhattan Island and its vicinity. Directly north of them, on the Hudson, were the Mohegans, or River Indians, and farther up were the Wabingos, or Esopus Indians.
Tribes of the Iroquois.-The Iroquois, in five great tribes, possessed the land from Albany to Buffalo. The Mohawks inhabited the Mohawk Valley above Schenectady and the shores of Lake George and Lake Champlain. The Oneidas held the creek and lake which bear their name. The imperious Onondagas controlled Onondaga and Skaneateles lakes and the Oswego River. The Cayugas were found around the lake to which they gave their name. Beyond them toward the Genesee River lived the Senecas, on Lake Seneca and Lake Canandaigua. It is estimated that they numbered about 17,000 altogether.
Political Institutions.-The Indian institutions were fairly well developed. Politically they were divided into tribes and ruled by chiefs who were advised by a council of warriors. But to discuss matters of great importance the Algonquins had a loose confederacy, while the Iroquois were united into a strong league known as the "Five Nations" or, after the Tuscaroras were admitted in 1715, as the "Six Nations." The women had a right to vote among them. Their great councilhouse, in which the fifty sachems sat, was near Syracuse. From first to last the Iroquois hated the French and
were friendly to the Dutch and English. They were called the "Romans of New York." 1
Religion. The Indians had no churches, priests, or rites of worship. Their dances and feasts were largely religious. They clothed various objects in nature with divine powers. Their "medicine-men " were conjurers. They believed in one "great spirit" and in a happy hunting-ground after death.
Industry among them had made some advancement. The chief occupations of the men were war, hunting, and fishing. They constructed fine canoes, formed many stone and bone implements, excelled in making bows and arrows, worked in copper, manufactured pottery, built forts and rude houses, and knew how to tan skins and preserve furs. The women developed agriculture and horticulture. Some of the crops raised were maize, hemp, corn, tobacco, beans, and squashes. Hudson was able to trade cheap trinkets for most of these articles. Fine apple, peach, and plum orchards were likewise found among them.2 The women also made clothing, shoes, and various kinds of ornaments.
Education and Society. They had no schools. Their literature was in heroic stories handed down orally. They had no written language, but used a few signs and rude pictures. Oratory was cultivated. Their social life was very marked. They lived in small villages guarded by palisades. When not on the warpath or chase, the men sat around smoking while the women worked. They had many amusements like dances, fes
1 They roamed as conquerors from “Canada to the Carolinas,
and from the western prairies to the forests of Maine."
2 Reported from Sullivan's expedition in 1779.