DISPUTES AND COMPLAINTS AND DANGERS We humbly conceive that our rights and privileges are the same, harmonizing in every respect with those of the Netherlands, being a member dependent on that State and in no wise a people conquered or subjugated, but settled here on a mutual covenant and contract entered into with the Lords Masters and with the consent of the natives, the first proprietors of these lands, from whom we purchased the soil with our own funds. Remonstrance and Petition to the Director-Gen eral and Council of New Netherland. 1653.
Although Stuyvesant's people supported him loyally when New England accused him they did not long forget their old grievances. Van Dyck sent home a voluminous defence of his own conduct which was in fact another review of the whole colonial situation. The city magistrates declared that the people should not be more heavily burdened to pay for the new fortifications: the Company ought to bear the cost of defending those whom it kept 'altogether in the background' in public affairs. And, as the provincial revenue did not suffice to meet even the regular expenses of the government, once more Stuyvesant was compelled to let the people come into the foreground.
In August, 1653, the magistrates summoned some of 'the principal burghers and inhabitants' to meet with them in the Stadt Huis. They would do nothing, they decided, toward raising the 7000 guilders required for the works of defence unless the governor would surrender to the city the proceeds of the excise on wine and beer. The governor said he could not think of such a thing, the burghers refused to think of raising money, and the magistrates, declaring their `lack of power,' protested that the blame would not be theirs should any mishap occur. In September delegates from the neighboring `courts' and `colonies' met with the governor and council and enacted ordinances to regulate trade, to reduce the excessive cost of provisions, and, as had more than once been done in New England, to cut down the current rates of wages. It is not known who appeared at this meeting, the first in New Netherland that could be called a legislative assemblage. In November, some of the principal burghers and inhabitants being again `legally' summoned by the mag istrates and twenty-three of them appearing, they were in formed that the governor had agreed to give up the excise but that little ready money would thereby be provided and other means to get it must be found. Asked whether they would abide by the action of their magistrates they unani mously pledged themselves in writing to obey them in all things 'as good subjects are bound to do.' At the same time a petition from the citizens was laid before the magistrates urging them to demand a schout of their own. A week later the magistrates, saying that they had had no confirmation of Stuyvesant's promise, which was verbal only, resolved to wait upon him to demand a ' proper grant' and, should they not obtain it, to tender their resignations. Then the governor said that they might have part of the excise money if they would support `the two preachers, the schoolmasters, and secretary.' This, said the magistrates, could hardly be done with the moneys offered. As they had threatened, they unanimously requested their dismissal, saying it was impos sible for them 'to continue thus any longer,' but decided not to abandon their offices when Stuyvesant declared that he had no power to dismiss them. Finally he had to consent to surrender the whole excise, stipulating that the magis trates should farm it out after the manner practised in Holland, and should 'supply subsidies for the maintenance of the works of this City and its ecclesiastical and civil servants.' The southern shores of New England were suffering almost as much as Long Island from the Rhode Island marauders with Thomas Baxter at their head, yet the New Englanders forbade the New Netherlanders, who had armed two vessels to pursue the pirates, to follow them into any New England harbor without a special permit in each case. Stuyvesant sent one of the schepens of New Amsterdam to ask for help in Holland ; and at the request of Gravesend, Flushing, and Middleburg he summoned a convention to consider measures for putting an end to Thomas Baxter's raids and otherwise insuring the public safety. Accordingly on November 26, the day after the governor had made terms with the citizens about the excise, there gathered in the Stadt Huis two mem bers of the council, two of the city magistrates, and two dele gates from each of the three Long Island towns, George Baxter and James Hubbard representing Gravesend. At once the English delegates, led by Baxter, declared that the governor's councillors had no right to be present. The Dutchmen agreed with them, and the councillors retired. Then the English men declared that they would pay no taxes if they got no protection, and would form a union among themselves if New Amsterdam would not join with them. New Amsterdam declined to join until the other Dutch settlements should be heard from.
This defection of his old supporters, the English settlers, seems to have daunted Stuyvesant for a moment. Only such places, he said, as had local courts of justice were entitled to speak about public matters, but he would incorporate some of the Dutch villages so that the Hollanders might have equal votes with the Englishmen. Without waiting for this the convention proposed that a memorial be sent to Holland. It might be done, the governor declared, if the delegates would meet under the eye of two of his councillors and would draw up a truthful statement. The action of the Englishmen in excluding the councillors, he said, smelt of rebellion, and how, he asked, could he protect them from roving marauders, who included land-pirates or outlaws from New England as well as seafaring robbers, when they had scattered themselves far and wide contrary to reiterated orders that they should live in compact villages and, moreover, often gave friendly shelter to the very offenders of whom they so loudly com plained ? On November 29 the delegates informed him that they had adjourned until December 10 and asked permission to call others from the Dutch settlements. Those far up the North River could not be reached because of the lateness of the season, yet the convention which in December gathered in the Stadt Huis to represent `the state of the country' to its rulers could rightly be esteemed a little land-dag or pro vincial diet. No member of the governor's council appeared at it. It was composed of ten Dutchmen and nine English men representing four Dutch towns, New Amsterdam, Breuck den, Amersfoort (Flatlands), and Midwout (Flatbush), and four English towns, Flushing, Newtown (Middleburg), Graves end, and Hempstead. The delegates of New Amsterdam were its burgomasters, Cregier and Van Hattem, and three of its schepens.
The Remonstrance and Petition of the Colonies and Villages in this New Netherland Province which the land-dag at once drew up and presented to the governor and council was written by George Baxter but in substance and form was as thoroughly Dutch as the antecedent petitions of the Twelve Men, the Eight, and the Nine. On behalf of the people of `various nations from different parts of the world,' who at their `own expense' had left their native shores and put themselves `vol untarily' under the protection of the States General in Amer ica, it expressed the utmost loyalty to the government and the laws of the United Netherlands. Summarizing once more the people's grievances it said that the Indians were restless and dangerous largely because they had not been rightly compensated for their lands; the land patents given by Stuyvesant were of doubtful validity because he had acted with an insufficient council and had often granted too much to a single individual; the people were oppressed by old auto cratic ordinances which they did not understand; officials were appointed without the 'consent or nomination' of the people; and all these grievances formed a solid basis for the main one, which was thus defined: Our apprehension of the establishment of an arbitrary government among us : It is contrary to the first intentions and genuine principles of every well-regulated government that one or more men should arrogate to themselves the exclusive power to dispose at will of the life and prop erty of any individual, and this by virtue or under pretense of a law or order which he or they might enact without the consent, knowledge, or election of the whole Body or its agents or representatives. Hence the enactment, except as aforesaid, of new laws or orders affecting the Commonalty or the Inhabitants, their lives or property, is con trary and opposed to the granted Freedoms of the Netherland Govern ment, and is odious to every free-born man. . . .
This, in effect, was a denial of the right of the West India Company to govern the province. It was followed by the first expression framed on Manhattan of the truth that New World were different from Old World communities and might not be adequately served by Old World laws. The denial of the right of self-government, the Remonstrance said, was particularly odious . . . to those whom God has placed in a free state on newly settled lands which might require new laws and orders not transcending but resembling as near as possible those of Netherland. We humbly sub mit that it is one of our privileges that our consent or that of our repre sentatives is necessarily required in the enactment of such laws and orders.
Joined to the paragraph which is quoted at the head of this chapter, these words written in the New Amsterdam of 1653 form a declaration of rights which would have met with approval in the New York of Stamp Act or of Revolutionary days. The Remonstrance that contained them was laid be fore the governor and council as representing the Company which in its turn was declared to be merely the holder of powers delegated by the States General, the true rulers of all Hol landers `within the United Provinces and in the foreign settle ments thereunto belonging.' The governor was asked to give a 'categorical answer' to each of the six grievances it named. This was too much to demand of Peter Stuyvesant. He pronounced the little congress illegal as containing dele gates from unincorporated settlements, and called its petition `a private and obscurely-styled remonstrance' of a few 'un qualified delegates' from communities some of which had 'no court or jurisdiction.' He taunted his people unfairly with following the lead of 'an Englishman,' meaning George Bax ter. In answer to the charge that he had prevented them from choosing their own city magistrates he said that those he selected were presented to the people in front of the Stadt Huis and the question was put whether any one objected to them. And he set forth his ideas about popular government in a way that would have pleased the Long Island English men much better in 1651 than it did in 1653. If popular government were granted, he declared, . . . if it is to be made a rule that the selection and nomination shall be left to the people generally, whom it most concerns, then everyone would want for a magistrate a man of his own stamp ; for instance, a thief would choose for magistrate a thief, and a dishonest man, a drunkard, a smuggler etc. their likes, in order to commit felonies and frauds with so much more freedom.
The convention said that its meeting was legal because the `law of Nature' authorized all men to associate together in defence of their liberty and property a form of argument which an Englishman of that time could hardly have phrased, which was not current even among Frenchmen until nearly a century later; and once more it asked for an answer to its petition. Saying once more that only magistrates might assemble to deal with public affairs, the governor ordered the delegates to disperse and not to meet again under penalty of 'arbitrary correction.' All of them had signed the Remonstrance. Now four of them Burgomaster Cregier, Paulus Van der Grist a schepen of the city, Lubbertsen of Amersfoort, and Baxter of Graves end signed a series of Short Notes explaining the Remon strance and laying special stress upon Stuyvesant's arbitrary method of ruling without even the advice of his council, and also a letter to the burgomasters of the 'praiseworthy and renowned' mother-city of Amsterdam. In this they explained that the governor had rejected the Remonstrance and de scribed the 'great and alarming' danger in which the province now stood, . . . bitter foes without and suspected neighbors round about, within discontented citizens and a government by no means as ample as the present conjuncture of affairs particularly demands.
Furthermore the city magistrates drew up on their own behalf a petition to the Amsterdam Chamber declaring that as the powers conceded to them by the director-general were `too contracted, too curtailed, and too limited' they were unable properly to govern the body of the burghers, and asking for . . . an Instruction not so extremely limited but as far as possible in accordance with the form of government of the renowned City of Amsterdam she who gave the name to this our New Amsterdam.
More specifically they asked for certain powers in taxation and legislation, for a properly inducted city schout, for a city seal different from that of the province, for the Stadt Huis as their own property to be granted by the Company by gift or by sale, for the privilege of farming out the ferry to Breuck elen, and for the whole of the excise moneys without the need to pay civil and ecclesiastical salaries only one-third of which these moneys would cover. They also asked for a supply of munitions of war including muskets with barrels three and a half feet long as such weapons would not be sold to the Indians who preferred shorter barrels. With the other peti tions this one was intrusted to a qualified messenger to be duly laid before the authorities in Holland.
Meanwhile the Englishmen of Gravesend wrote to the Amsterdam Chamber, declaring their loyalty to the Company and their friendship for the governor but complaining of many things. One of these was Stuyvesant's failure to keep his solemn promise to enlarge their lands. Another was 'the refusal of the enjoyed freedoms (we mean Dutch freedoms) for which we came' a grievance that contrasts rather curiously with the sentiments that the same writers had expressed a few years before.
Before the end of the year 1653 the West India Company sent out at his own request Nicasius De Sille, an 'expert and able statesman,' to be Stuyvesant's 'first councillor,' and Cor nelis Van Ruyven to be secretary of the province. As De Sille's name is unusual it may be assumed that he was of the immediate family of an earlier Nicasius De Sille, the dis tinguished publicist and diplomat who is believed to have drawn up the articles of union, adopted at Utrecht in 1579, which made of the seven Dutch provinces a nation.
At the opening of the year 1654 the city magistrates asked that they might receive pay for their services and nominate their successors. 'For the sake of peace and harmony' Stuyvesant granted them modest salaries, continued them in office, and gave them the right to impose a 'small or burghers' excise' a tax, distinct from the tapsters' excise, upon liquors bought at wholesale for private consumption which became the city's chief source of income. Like all other indirect taxes it was farmed out to the highest bidder. Sharply Stuyvesant reproved the magistrates when he heard a report that they meant to exclude from the bidding all employees of the West India Company.
During the spring Governor Stuyvesant, mindful of his promise to incorporate Dutch villages, increased at Breuckelen the number of magistrates named in Kieft's charter and erected for this town, Midwout, and Amersfoort a superior district court which had charge of highway, school, church, and other local affairs. In the previous year he had given a charter to Middleburg (Newtown), the English settlement planted in Kieft's time by the Reverend Francis Doughty. Here the pastor was now John Moore, a Presbyterian, best remembered as the ancestor of two bishops of the Episcopal Church and two presidents of Columbia College.
On Long Island and along the neighboring coasts the pirates who called themselves privateers continued their maraudings. Again Stuyvesant tried to suppress them, sending envoys to New England to explain that his armed vessels had no designs upon any one else. A greater danger threatened his province from across the sea.
When Connecticut and New Haven asked Cromwell to aid them in attacking New Netherland their story of Stuyvesant's plot with the Indians was believed in the mother-country and supported by a widely circulated pamphlet called The Second Part of the Amboyna Tragedy, or True Account of a Bloody, Treacherous, and Cruel Plot of the Dutch in America. Referring to the fact that in 1623 at Amboyna in the Spice Islands the Dutch had tortured into confession and then executed ten Englishmen and ten Javanese whom they ac cused of plotting to murder them, it said that their 'treacher ous cruelty,' spreading from the East to the West Indies and thence to New Netherland, had resulted in a conspiracy to assassinate the New Englanders when gathered in their churches on a Sunday. Of course it brought forth in Holland passionate rejoinders. To affirm such things of Stuyvesant and his people on the strength of an occurrence so remote in time and in place, said the West India Company, was an `infamous lying libel' which would 'startle the devil in hell.' Scorning to answer the pamphlet the Company simply trans lated and printed it and scattered it broadcast to show, as it wrote to Stuyvesant when it sent him a manuscript copy, what `stratagems' the English were willing to employ to irritate 'the whole world against the Dutch.' It was well understood in Holland that the extreme and lasting irritation of the English over the Amboyna affair, fed and fostered during many later years by their poets and dramatists as well as their politi cians, bore witness to the fact that it resulted in their exclu sion from the Spice Islands that group of six islands just under the equator where, and where only, the nutmegs and mace, the allspice and cloves that Europe so greatly coveted could be obtained.
Whether or no Oliver Cromwell believed the slanderous tales about Stuyvesant he despatched to New England four ships with two hundred soldiers, commissioned two Massa chusetts men, Major Robert Sedgwick and Captain John Leverett, to command an expedition against New Nether land, and instructed them to ask the aid of the United Colonies in this 'undertaking for vindicating the English right and extirpating the Dutch.' No cruelty, he said, should be used toward the people of `the Manhattoes'; they should be urged to remain in their homes or permitted peacefully to return to their fatherland. They were so few in number, he added, that the New Englanders ought to have expected a 'comfort able success' even if they had ventured to deal with them unassisted.
Connecticut, condemning John Underhill's seizure of Fort Good Hope but, on the other hand, ignoring the Hartford Treaty of 1650, now sequestered the fort and its lands. The Dutch never tried to regain them. In the early years of the nineteenth century remains of the fort still existed within the city of Hartford, but the river gradually wore away its site and the only vestige of the little Dutch stronghold that now survives is a single yellow brick preserved in the rooms of the Connecticut Historical Society.
On and near Manhattan apprehension deepened. The city magistrates ordered a levy of sixty men, and the neighboring Dutch towns detailed one-third of their inhabitants as minute men and promised a general levy in case of need. In May Isaac Allerton, who had removed to New Haven some years before, sent word to Stuyvesant that Cromwell's ships were coming.
New Amsterdam had no gunners, no musketeers, no sailors, and only sixteen hundred pounds of powder, and its 'naviga tion,' said the governor, was entirely `shut off.' Although it had sent out three or four expeditions to drive the pirates from Long Island the Dutchmen there, he knew, would not desert their own homes to come to its aid and, he feared, might not even defend their homes, hoping for security should they not oppose the invaders. Determined nevertheless to put his defences in good condition he declared that soldiers and la borers must be got by promises of pay. The Company had said that volunteers should not be raised in its province by any such pledges given in its name; but the city magistrates consented to borrow the money, promising to repay it by tax ing real estate and cattle and laying an impost of one-tenth upon all merchandise exported during the coming year; and to this plan the merchants agreed, with the stipulation that the Company must eventually refund the sums thus gathered.
As for the English of Long Island, they had sworn allegiance but would surely join the enemy; to ask them into the city, Stuyvesant wrote, would simply be `to drag the Trojan horse within our walls.' In fact, they were growing openly muti nous. Middleburg proposed that it should begin the war. Gravesend, still inspired by George Baxter and James Hub bard, now ignored Governor Stuyvesant, chose magistrates without deferring to his confirmatory powers, issued letters of-marque to would-be privateers, and entered into corre spondence with the military leaders at Boston. Some of the Englishmen in New Amsterdam itself were writing secretly to Boston, others were preparing to leave the city.
Early in June the four ships that Cromwell had sent lay in Boston harbor, and the New Englanders bestirred themselves to increase and to provision the force they carried. The gov ernment of Massachusetts would raise no men but permitted Sedgwick and Leverett to recruit volunteers within its borders. They enlisted three hundred, Connecticut sent two hundred, and New Haven more than a hundred. Plymouth had re cently stated its belief that the savages had drunk deep of 'an intoxicating cup at or from the Monhatoes' and had thereby been excited against the English who had 'sought their good both in bodily and spiritual respects' ; but now it declared that it `only joined' in the design `against the Monhatoes in reference to the national quarrel.' Its governor at this time was the same William Bradford who had assured Governor Minuit of the gratitude of the Pilgrims thirty years before. To command the fifty men it promised to impress it appointed Miles Standish and the Thomas Willett who four years before had signed the Hartford Treaty on behalf of New Netherland. In the event, dilatory in its preparations, it sent no troops to Boston, but it did send Willett in the belief that as he was familiar with Manhattan he could give the leaders of the ex pedition 'advice and counsel.' John Underhill and John Young, who was the leading spirit among the English at the eastern end of Long Island, also betook themselves to Boston. They all journeyed in vain. The expedition did not sail. On June 20, the very day when the federal commissioners were informed that an adequate force stood ready, counter manding orders arrived from England. Peace had been concluded between the English and the Dutch.
The war had gone against the Dutch and had greatly injured their shipping and fishing industries. Yet the English also were glad to lay down their arms, and Cromwell's govern ment was able to enforce only a portion of its demands.
The chief element in the foreign policy of Cromwell was a desire to weaken Spain, the great enemy of Protestantism and of English ambition in the West Indies. He had just assumed the title of Lord Protector with all but monarchical powers; and in the first bloom of the laurels that the navy of the Commonwealth had won he and his advisers dreamed colossal dreams. One of them pictured a great perpetual union of all Protestant lands with common rights of citizen ship and free trade; and as the first step toward its realiza tion Cromwell secretly proposed to the Dutch envoys a new alliance, offensive and defensive, between England and Hol land, to be supported by sixty English and forty Dutch men of-war. The allies were to have equal rights of trade in Europe and Africa. Asia and America they were to keep altogether for themselves. The Dutch, that is, were to have exclusive rights in the East Indies, where they had already taken the last English trading post, but were to compensate the English East India Company for its losses; and they were to aid the English to win control of 'all America,' North and South, 'and the trade thereof.' This, it was thought, might be accomplished within two years. Then the Dutch were to have the whole of Brazil and the 'salt pans of Ven ezuela' the famous salt mines of Punta de Araya or Punta del Rey near the Orinoco while all the rest of the Western hemisphere was to pass into the hand of England. The spread of the Protestant religion was to be one of the results of these magnificent re-arrangements, but the special baits held out to the Dutch were the humiliation of their old enemy, Spain, and the general pacification of Europe, for: There would of necessity follow the unableness of the Spaniard, that having lost America the sword, as it were, is taken out of his hand; and so consequently all Europe will be discharged of the cruel wars and perpetual attempts and plots either by himself or by the emperor of Germany. . . .
On the other hand it was said for the tempting of Crom well's own people that . . . by this conquest England may very well enjoy such a revenue as to discharge all taxes of the subject of England and to pay all the navy and forces by sea and land by the customs of America, besides the great trade and riches the subject shall have thereby.
Rejecting all such proposals of alliance the Republic saved its independence but lost its chance to escape the effects of the Navigation Act. Cromwell's dream of a great Protestant league under the leadership of England dwindled to the ac tuality of a treaty of amity with the Republic. The Hol landers then agreed to pay a large sum of money, to make reparation for the Amboyna affair, to appoint commissioners to settle other old disputes, to recognize the right of the English to trade in the Orient, to instruct their ships to salute the English flag 'in the British seas,' and permanently to exchide the grandson of Charles Stuart, the young Prince of Orange, from his hereditary offices as stadholder and military chief of the province of Holland. This meant, of course, his exclusion from power and influence in the Republic at large.
Of the Protector's vision of pan-American conquest he realized an even smaller part. Although England and France were at peace Major Sedgwick's commission contained a cus tomary clause giving power to make reprisals on the French. Urged and helped by the New Englanders when they were denied the chance to attack New Netherland, he attacked Acadia and brought it once more temporarily under the English flag. Then, as ordered by the home government, he joined the expedition sent out under comm nd of Venables and Penn against the Spaniards in the West Indies which, after a panic-stricken flight from the ill-defended shores of Hispaniola, seized and held the island of Jamaica.
This acquirement of Jamaica is a conspicuous milestone in the history of the British empire. It compelled Spain to recognize the right of other powers to hold territory in the West Indies; it gave England a firm footing in what had grown to be a great international battleground ; and it determined that policy of expansion, adopted by the English government after the accession of Charles II, which, with the Navigation Acts that were then inspired by the Act framed in 1651, worked to establish the so-called `mercantile system' of colo nial administration. Nevertheless, to acquire Jamaica and Acadia was a small achievement in comparison with a scheme intended to force all Europe into quiescence, to give England and Holland the monopoly of American lands and wealth, and thus to enable England, with its lion's share, to live on its colonial revenues.
The historians of England and the biographers of Cromwell make scant reference, if any reference at all, to this abortive scheme, but for two reasons it should be remembered when the story of the American colonies is written. It reveals pic turesquely the attitude in regard to transatlantic possessions that all colonizing nations preserved until long after England lost its most valuable dependencies the attitude of a mother who feels that her children exist in order that she may enrich herself by their labors. And it proves how clearly by the middle of the seventeenth century Europe recognized the dominating influence of the western hemisphere upon its own internal affairs. Interesting testimonies to the same fact may be found in the pages of the English poets of this period for example, where Edmund Waller writes of Spain: From the New World her silver and her gold Came, like a tempest, to confound the Old; Feeding with these the bribed electors' hopes, Alone she gave us emperors and popes ; With these accomplishing her vast designs, Europe was shaken with her Indian mines.
When the formal announcement of peace reached New Amsterdam from Holland in July Stuyvesant felt that he had good reason to order a day of thanksgiving. Narrowly indeed had his province escaped the fate that was to fall upon it just ten years later. His slender band of Dutchmen might have done their very best yet could have done nothing against the naturalized but disloyal English at their elbow and four ships of war carrying two hundred English regulars and more than six hundred New England volunteers.
The vessel that brought the news of the peace brought also the answer of the Amsterdam Chamber to the petitions that had been sent seven months before. The city magistrates got some of the things they had asked for. They were to have a schout of their own, distinct from the provincial schout fiscal, although he was not to be chosen by election; they were to own their Stadt Huis on condition that they would never alienate or mortgage it, and to have a city seal; they were to receive and to disburse the excise moneys if they would pay the municipal salaries, to lay 'any new small excise or impost with consent of the commonalty' should the director and council not object, and to have the power to execute transfers of property within the city limits, which insured them a revenue from fees. These concessions, how ever, the Amsterdam Chamber tempered by scolding the mag istrates for helping to organize an 'independent assembly' and forbidding them for the future to hold 'private conven tides with the English or others,' matters of state being none of their business and, still less, attempts to alter the existing government. The recent Remonstrance, it said, contained not a single point that justified an appeal but only `forged pretexts for an immediate factious sedition.' The people, it declared, had no right to send an agent to represent them in Holland, and the one whom they had sent should not return to America. Nor, it wrote to Stuyvesant, ought the people to be consulted in the imposition of taxes, adding: We think that you should have proceeded rigorously against the ringleaders of this work, and not to have meddled with it so far as to answer protests by counter protests and then to let it pass without further notice ; for as it is highly arrogant for inhabitants to protest against their government, so do the authorities prostitute their office when they protest against their subjects without punishing them ac cording to the situation and exigencies of the case. . . .
For once there was some excuse for words of this temper: no one in Holland could know what the Long Island English men had said and done during the past two years without distrusting a movement in which they had had a share. In fact, despite their admittance to a convention with the Dutch, distrust and dislike of them had grown general in New Am sterdam as well as in Holland. This is shown even by the church records in which during earlier years English names frequently occur as those of sponsors in baptism for the chil dren of Dutch parents but by 1653 cease to appear.
The governor in council also took the opportunity to lecture the city magistrates, resolving not to inquire into their past course but to summon them before the governor, in presence of the ministers of the gospel to admonish them to be more respectful, and then to deliver to them the letters from the Company.
With its letters the Company sent out arms, ammunition, and a few soldiers, ordering the governor to chastise the rebels at Gravesend. Knowing that this would be too dangerous a move he merely deposed their magistrates, appointed others, and dismissed George Baxter from his post as English secre tary.
Jochem Pietersen Kuyter whom the Amsterdam Chamber had selected as the city schout had recently been murdered by the Indians. In his stead Stuyvesant named Jacques Corteljau, or Cortelyou, a tutor in the household of the Hon orable Cornelis Van Werckhoven ; but Cortelyou refused the place and for a time the city had still to content itself with the provincial schout-fiscal, still the detested Van Tienhoven.
During the summer the dispute about the tapsters' excise revived. The magistrates, said the governor, had broken their promise to support the ministers, had not paid for the fortifying of the city, and had charged to the city's account the cost of sending a messenger with their appeals to Holland. The city, he said, must support its officials and also the soldiers from Holland whose number was soon to be increased. The city, said its magistrates, would support its schout, burgo masters, and schepens, a secretary, a court messenger, 'and what we further shall deem necessary to have' ; and as re garded the church it would maintain one minister, one pre centor who should also be schoolmaster, and one `dog-whipper' or beadle. It would not support the soldiers. It must have a schout of its own. Neighboring places ought to contribute toward the defences of the capital in which their people had expected to take refuge; nevertheless it would give one-fifth of the cost, 3000 guilders, if its magistrates might lay a tax on city property. Highly indignant, Stuyvesant resumed into the provincial treasury the proceeds of the tapsters' excise; and, saying that it had been impossible to collect the tenths from the harvest, he imposed in its stead throughout the province a tax of a new kind a direct annual tax of twenty stivers on each head of horned cattle, twenty stivers on each acre of land, and the hundredth penny of the real value on each house and lot in New Amsterdam and Beverwyck owned by a person who held no lands elsewhere. It seems, however, that the governor was afraid to act upon the words which proclaimed taxation of so novel a sort as this. There is no proof that the property tax was ever collected; and later documents show that on Long Island at least the tenths were exacted, the people being forbidden to remove their crops from the field until the share of the government therein had been officially 'counted out.' The debt for the city fortifica tions was never entirely discharged.
Lower than ever had sunk the West India Company. It has been estimated that between the years 1633 and 1652 it received about three million guilders in subsidies, but nine millions were still owing to it without counting what it should have received before 1633. Moreover, what had been given was bestowed in such small successive amounts that it never had money enough at any one time to enable it to hold its colonies in Brazil. In 1654 it resigned them perforce to the Portuguese. On the other hand, in making his treaty of peace with the Dutch the Lord Protector of England had recognized them as the lawful owners of New Netherland, and this encouraged the Company to urge again the settle ment of boundary lines. Accordingly, the States General instructed their ambassadors in England to suggest that the Connecticut River be made free to both nations and that the plantations to the westward of it be held by their English occupants as manors under the jurisdiction of New Nether land. The ambassadors replied that they had not facts enough to go upon, not even a copy of the Hartford Treaty; and the Company confessed that Governor Stuyvesant had never sent them a copy. Of course the government of England saw no reason why it should act in a matter of which the govern ments of New England had not spoken. So once again the matter dropped.
Massachusetts repealed its prohibition of traffic with New Netherland when the prospect of war faded away. Thomas Baxter was at last arrested, upon the order of New Haven, and surrendered to Stuyvesant who held him for trial and when he broke jail confiscated his property on Manhattan. It has been said that it was the piratical energy of Thomas Baxter and his fellows that awakened commercial energy in Newport and the coast towns of Connecticut. If so, the impetus worked very slowly. More than twenty years later Edward Randolph, sent by Charles II to inquire into the condition of New England, reported that Connecticut had only small vessels `to trade along the coast and take fish' ; and a report written in 1680 by Governor Sanford of Rhode Island says that this colony had as yet ' no merchants' although the people exported horses and provisions and imported ' a small quantity of Barbadoes goods' to supply their own families.
Although by 1650 eight expeditions had been sent from Sweden to New Sweden, in 1652 Governor Prinz wrote home that it had only two hundred inhabitants, some of whom were Dutch, while twenty-six Dutch families were living where Stuyvesant had placed them under the walls of his new Fort Casimir. Prinz, greatly discouraged, asked more than once to be recalled, and in 1653 some of his people wanted again to move to Manhattan. In 1654 a ninth expedition was de spatched from Sweden taking John Rising, commissioned as as sistant to the governor, and three hundred and fifty colonists. Rising's instructions directed him to try to secure the whole river by peaceably expelling the Dutch but to leave them undisturbed rather than run the risk of admitting the English. When he arrived, in May, Prinz had already sailed for home in a Dutch ship. Rising turned the little Dutch garrison out of Fort Casimir and declared that all the Hollanders in the region must come under his government. When the news reached Manhattan Stuyvesant and his burghers agreed for once in their wrath. A Swedish ship which strayed without a pilot into the waters back of Staten Island the governor seized and confiscated; and to the West India Company he wrote an earnest appeal for definite orders in regard to Ris ing's outrage.
While he was waiting for these orders he took another voy age without the knowledge of his employers, going to Bar badoes to try to establish trading relations with its English settlers and the Spaniards their neighbors. On the eve of his departure he was the guest of honor at a ' jovial repast' in the Stadt Huis the first civic banquet of which the records of Manhattan tell. The magistrates then renewed their request for permission to name their successors. To this Stuyvesant would not accede, but graciously he bestowed upon them the city seal that had been sent from Holland and a painted coat of arms to hang in their meeting room.
The arms thus formally conferred, the first borne by the city that is now New York, have been thus described : Argent per pale ; three crosses saltire ; crest a Beaver proper sur mounted by a mantle on which is a shield argent bearing the letters G. W. C. Under the base of the arms : Sigullum Amstellodamensis in Novo Belgio ; the whole environed by a wreath of laurel.
The three St. Andrew's crosses on a silver ground were the arms of the mother-city in Holland; the initials G. W. C. were those of the West India Company.
When Stuyvesant reached Barbadoes he found that he had come in vain although the islanders greatly desired to traffic with outsiders. Commissioners had recently been sent from England to enforce the new trading laws in the West Indies; at Barbadoes they had laid an embargo on all the foreign vessels in the port; and a letter written by one of them says : We have met the Dutch governor of New Netherland with three ships under his command. . . . This man's business was to settle a fair trade between the Netherlands and this place; but we spoiled the sport. He hath been under the embargo ever since we came ; and the rather because he told us he had business with the Spanish plantations, and we are in more fear of him for the discovering our raw and defective forces than all the world besides. . . . This Dutch governor undertook to plead the cause of his countrymen and hath our answer in writing.
Stuyvesant's own report upon this fruitless voyage has not been preserved. Not for months, it appears, could he get permission to go back to Manhattan. Meanwhile a dis quieting rumor about him probably reached his people, for John Davenport of New Haven, writing to John Winthrop, spoke of reports . . . that the Dutch governor is slain by the Spaniards, sed ubi, quo modo, quando, quare, nondum constat.
Disquieting also was another rumor that is known to have reached Manhattan : Van Tienhoven, now the presiding officer in the council, reported that at Gravesend George Baxter had recently declared that the English fleet had re turned victorious from Canada to Boston and that the Lord Protector had again sent orders to reduce New Netherland.
Early in the year 1655 the council named the successors of those city magistrates who, according to the custom of the fatherland, should retire on February 2, appointing Oloff Stevensen as burgomaster to replace Martin Cregier, and Jan Vinje and Johannes De Peyster as two of the four new schepens. On Candlemas Day they were duly sworn. Al though Stuyvesant had forbidden the notary public, Dirck Van Schelluyne, to practise when the States General sent him to the province, he had soon been confirmed in his func tions by orders from the Company, and now with the advice and consent of the magistrates the council appointed him to a newly created office, high constable of the city.
It was Christmas Eve of the year 1654 when the governor sailed for Barbadoes; it was July, 1655, when he returned. Soon afterwards the orders he had asked for regarding the trouble on the South River arrived. Sweden being now at war with Poland, and Holland therefore less afraid of giving offence, the West India Company directed him to avenge the insulting seizure of Fort Casimir and to drive the Swedes out of the river, and sent for his use a ship which in after years he described as carrying about thirty-four guns, ninety sailors, and fifty soldiers. He was too ill at the moment to make his preparations in person but his deputies vigorously executed his orders to enlist volunteers under promise of compensation for loss of life or limb, and to press men and provisions from the North River trading sloops. A letter written on the ship that had come from Holland by a cer tain Johannes Bogaert, a clerk in the employ of the Company, does not tally with the governor's own account for it says that the seven vessels of his squadron mounted in all only sixteen guns. They carried, it also says, three hundred and seventeen fighting men besides `a company of sailors' a force which, including a large majority of the able-bodied burghers of Manhattan, greatly outnumbered any that the Swedish colony could raise. It was divided into two com panies, one commanded by Stuyvesant himself, the other by his chief councillor Nicasius De Sille. Domine Megapolensis went with them as chaplain.
The local records say that they set sail on Sunday, Sep tember 5, `after the sermon.' By Monday afternoon they were in Delaware Bay. A day or two later, set on shore near the ravished Fort Casimir, they threw up breastworks and prepared to attack it. But it surrendered before a blow had been struck, so did Fort Christina, and the Swedes and Finns on the outlying farms could not think of resistance. Some of the settlers swore allegiance to New Netherland, some removed to Manhattan, some accepted Stuyvesant's offer of free transportation to Europe. According to Israel Acrelius who wrote a history of New Sweden when, about a hundred years after its fall, he was serving as pastor among the de scendants of its people, only nineteen took the oath of alle giance while . . . the flower of the Swedish male population were at once torn away and sent to New Amsterdam although everything was done as though it were with their free consent.
No one was deprived of his property by official order although it appears that many farms were raided before the forts surrendered. It was a small and a bloodless war, but it re moved the flag of Sweden forever from the American con tinent. It was possible, Acrelius thought, . . . that if Director Rising had not upon his arrival stirred up the Hollanders anew both races might have lived many years together and by their common forces have kept out the English.
No triumphant home coming awaited General Stuyvesant. He found New Amsterdam in imminent danger, in wild alarm. The River Indians had broken loose again.
They had never been really friendly since the conclusion of Kieft's war. Stuyvesant had treated them kindly and promised to punish any offending white man if they would appeal to him; and his ordinances in regard to the sale of bread show that he still permitted them to traffic freely at New Amsterdam. But, his enemies said, he had sometimes disregarded their rights in granting lands ; and undoubtedly a contagion of restlessness infected them from the north and northwest. Here the Iroquois had long been on the war path, defeating and scattering the Hurons and the so-called Neutral Nation which occupied the peninsula beyond the Great Lakes, harassing the French settlements, and in the current year, 1655, destroying the Eries along the southern shore of the water that bears their name.
A Remonstrance Exposing the Bad Conduct of the Barbarous Indians toward the Dutch Nation, sent by Stuyvesant to Holland before the end of the year, tells of the uprising of the River tribes. It says that after the `firm and irrefragable peace' concluded by Kieft in 1645 the savages near New Amsterdam, `without any cause so far as we know,' destroyed at various times much of the settlers' property and murdered ten persons, five of them, including Jochem Pietersen Kuyter, on Manhattan itself. The government had demanded in vain the surrender of the murderers and for the sake of peace had 'winked at' the crimes. Then, fourteen days after the governor sailed for the South River taking every able-bodied soldier from the fort and most of the burghers, . . very early in the morning, nigh this City of New Amsterdam, arrived sixty-four canoes full of Indians who before scarcely anyone was yet risen scattered themselves throughout this city and during the following day in many houses and to divers burghers offered numerous insults. . . . Thereupon their Sackimas or Chiefs, being summoned before the council, gave very fair words and promised to depart before the evening. They remained nevertheless, with what intent God the Lord only knows.
The city doubled its guards during the night but in the morning the savages wounded Hendrick Van Dyck with an arrow and threatened Paulus Van der Grist with an axe: Thereupon great uproar and tumult arose ; some of the burghers got into conflict with the Indians and some, though few, were killed on both sides.
Nineteen hundred savages, it appears from other accounts, had gathered together on the North River, and seven or eight hundred fully armed had landed on Manhattan. The general belief, as Stuyvesant reported, was that they had not meant to harm the Dutch but were merely on their way to attack a tribe of Indians at the eastern end of Long Island. Some thought, however, that they had planned a raid on New Amsterdam to avenge a squaw whom Van Dyck had shot when he found her stealing peaches in his orchard. At all events Van Dyck seems to have been the only person they tried to kill until the burghers 'got into conflict' with them. It was Cornelis Van Tienhoven who urged on the burghers although as schout he was chiefly responsible for the public peace. Evidently he had learned nothing at all from the result of the evil counsels he had given Governor Kieft in 1643. Tragical again were the effects of his folly. The Indians retreated to Pavonia, burned all the buildings there, killed almost every man, took the women and children captive, and then, crossing to Staten Island, ruined its eleven bouweries and murdered twenty-three of their ninety inhabit ants. Even the Kuyter bouwerie and another on the upper part of Manhattan were ravaged and the households mur -2E dered; the same thing happened at one or two spots on Long Island ; and above the Harlem River Van der Donck's patroonship and the Bronck and Cornell plantations were sacked although their people escaped. Altogether, within three days fifty colonists (some accounts say one hundred) lost their lives, a hundred and fifty were captured, Cornelis Melyn among them, and three hundred were left homeless and penniless. Twenty-eight bouweries and many lesser farms were desolated and great quantities of recently gar nered grain were destroyed.
The English towns on Long Island sent word to the city that the Indians meant to kill all their Dutch inhabitants. From the farms in the neighborhood and from the newly settled Esopus region up the North River bands of refugees flocked into New Amsterdam. Deprived of its defenders by Stuyvesant's expedition it sent an express to call him home. The councillors who had remained at home added ' extraor dinary ' members to their board, and with their consent the city magistrates borrowed money from the burghers to pro tect the transinsular wall by a high screen of planks which the savages could not scale. Fortunately the raiders, lack ing food and embarrassed by the number of their prisoners, did not attack the city. When the governor returned he forbade any vessel to leave the harbor, any able-bodied man to depart, and sent guards to the suburban settlements. After some parleying the Indians exchanged more than seventy of their captives for a quantity of powder and lead. The life of one Christian, said Stuyvesant, was more valuable than the lives of a hundred barbarians, and to redeem it even contraband articles might rightly be given. The commis sioners of the United Colonies, learning while in session at New Haven that many Dutchmen had been captured, decided to send two or three messengers to try for their release but let the matter drop when they heard that the worst had passed and that the Dutch themselves were treating with the savages.
Toward the end of October Rising and some of his soldiers came from the South River and reembarked on two of the Company's ships which landed them in England. The Re monstrance about the barbarous natives was despatched at this time, reciting the disastrous effects of the raid and ask ing for substantial help in soldiers and in money ; and it seemed best to the governor and council to send several copies of it because, they said, driven now to courses which they had condemned the people for adopting, the Company might be unable to help its province and there fore the appeal ought also to reach the States General and the city of Amsterdam.
Among the manuscripts in the Public Library of New York are two letters of Nicasius De Sille's which throw the blame for the recent disaster partly upon the governor him self. One is addressed to the Amsterdam Chamber of the Company, the other to J. Bontemantel, a member of the Chamber and at the time a burgomaster of Amsterdam. In the first De Sille complained that Stuyvesant always ordered him to accompany him when he went to a distance, thus leaving the province without proper direction, and when at home scoffed at him over the council-board. A governor, De Sille hoped, might be sent out who was not so self-willed and had not so ignorant a schout-fiscal; but in case `the two' were to be continued in office he himself ought to have a commission that would give him more power. Writing to Bontemantel in the autumn of 1656 he related that the South River forts had been taken `without stroke or shot.' When the expedition returned to New Amsterdam it found everything `very desolate.' All the houses at Pavonia and on Staten Island were burned, more than a hundred persons lay dead, and many were wounded. People were wanting to return to Holland, and some merchants were actually leaving. The burghers and the farmers who had flocked into the city were calling down ' vengeance and death' on Cornelis Van Tienhoven and two or three others, crying out that they were the only cause of the calamity. General Stuyvesant was ' not praised' because he made no investigation of the matter, seeming to intend to protect the schout-fiscal and to give the complainants no chance to be heard. De Sille him self could get no hearing from any one because everything had occurred during his absence. There was now, the letter implies, only one councillor besides the two, Van Tienhoven and De Sille, who with the governor composed the supreme council.' Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven, it says, cast three votes in the council while La Montagne and De Sille cast only two and therefore were obliged to follow' whether for the good of the Company or not. Moreover, the governor and the schout-fiscal, although they appeared like enemies, were really working together, and La Montagne was also in the ring (in mede in't parquet). Unless a change were made De Sille, he insisted, could not perform his own duties properly and everything would go to ruin. And again he explained that when Stuyvesant left home he gave no proper orders for the conduct of the government, and that either the gov ernor or he himself, the first councillor, ought always to remain at New Amsterdam.
For a while Stuyvesant debated with his councillors whether it would be wise to attack the offending Indian tribes. The party that had landed on Manhattan, he believed, had been diverted from its original design upon the Long Island tribes by a culpable want of vigilance' and the 'too hasty rash ness' of a few 'hot-headed spirits'; and the council decided that it would be highly imprudent to take the offensive. Only Cornelis Van Tienhoven spoke for war. All agreed that the settlers were greatly to blame for not gathering in com pact villages, the very smallest of which the savages would never molest; and all said that more caution should be observed in admitting Indians into the settlements. Before the end of November the government renewed its old com pacts with the Long Island Indians and the Mohawks. Against the River Indians it attempted nothing. From this time on no red man was permitted to remain overnight within the walls of New Amsterdam.
For the South River region, where there was no one now to dispute the authority of the governor of New Netherland, Stuyvesant organized a subordinate government with a deputy governor, secretary, and `court of civil justice.' The most absorbing question of the time, however, was the old ques tion of taxation, doubly pressing because of the losses and the outlays resulting from the Indian raid.
Some months before, the Company had instructed Stuyve sant to establish no more patroonships or `colonies,' fearing presumably that they would promote the growth of the spirit of independence. It reproved him for his failure to send it a complete copy of the Hartford Treaty of 1650, saying that its negotiations had thereby been so delayed that there was now little prospect of ever settling the boundary dispute, and charging him to repair his error at once and never again to make the Company suffer through `such care lessness.' Furthermore it wrote : We have been aware and now again learn with displeasure that the community there cannot be persuaded to raise subsidies ; it looks very strange that people of experience and sound judgment, as the municipal officers and others under you must be, continue to sustain so perverse opinions contrary to all reason and justice and notoriously in contra diction to the maxims of every well-governed county or city. But what we have said at large in our last letter we repeat now : It is not necessary to wait for their consent and approbation.
As it was so difficult to collect the tenths from the har vests, the Company added, the effort should be suspended for a year. It approved of the governor's 'measures to raise subsidies' those taxes upon land and cattle which he had imposed but apparently did not try to collect. And to the city magistrates the Amsterdam Chamber wrote in the same strain, explaining that taxation could no longer be post poned without bringing ruin on the province, and directing that, as the magistrates had misappropriated the money from the tapsters' excise, using it to send an agent to Holland and to further other ' private matters to the injury and discontent' of the Company, therefore the aforesaid revenue should be turned into the Company's treasury as the governor had ordered.
In spite of all this backing from his superiors Governor Stuyvesant walked very cautiously. A property tax was, indeed, collected from the people to pay the public debts recently incurred; but it was laid in a way that shows how loth were the authorities to resort to such an expedient even in a time of great need. It was really not a tax in our sense of the term but in the old English sense a ' benevolence' ; and in imposing it the city magistrates took the initiative. The burgomasters, petitioning the provincial government for leave to raise the needed sum, estimated at 4000 guilders, were instructed to get the indorsement of the schepens ; and this being done the governor in council empowered them . . . to ask from the trading skippers, merchants, factors, passen gers, and from the common burghery, a voluntary subscription and contribution, each according to his condition, state, and circumstance. And in case of opposition or refusal by disaffected or evil-minded, which the Director-General and Council do not expect, the aforesaid . . . are authorized at the instance of the Director-General to assess such and according to the state and condition of the same to exact a reasonable contribution and promptly to levy execution for the same.
The inhabitants were then summoned before the governor and the city magistrates to offer their contributions or to be assessed for them. The method of assessment was merely a rough guess at what would be `reasonable' in each case. In this fashion 6305 guilders were pledged by two hundred and twenty-eight persons including a few women and also some non-residents several of whom lived near Fort Orange. The list begins : The Honorable Lord Petrus Stuyvesant offers for his share 50 guilders above the most, being 150 guilders.
Almost all the provincial and municipal officials gave volun tarily, some of them as much as 100 guilders. So did the two clergymen and many other citizens rich and poor. Only sixty-five, offering nothing at all, were taxed, and these in cluded of course all absent persons. Some men said that they were willing to pay but asked to have the amounts fixed for them. Others offered sums which the city fathers increased, and a few were told that they need not give as much as they had volunteered to pay. The smallest sum accepted was four guilders, and no one paid more than a hundred excepting three absent skippers each of whom was taxed for as much as the governor had contributed. Some persons of the poorer sort commuted for a certain number of days' labor. No English names appear on the list except those of Thomas Hall and of Isaac Allerton and Thomas Willett who, although non-residents, had business interests on Manhattan. It proved more difficult to collect than to assess the contributions. They were not all paid until two years had gone by.
It would take many years, Stuyvesant and the council had written to Holland, to bring the province back into the flourishing condition it had reached before the Indian foray. Property to the value of a hundred thousand guilders had been destroyed, Pavonia was tenantless, only seven or eight persons remained on Staten Island, and everywhere the white men were in terror of the red men. Even in New Amsterdam it was thought best to patrol the streets on Sun days while the citizens were at church. Before the spring, the governor ordered, the settlers must abandon all isolated farms and gather into villages a mandate more easily spoken than obeyed; and each merchant in the city, he said, must contribute a piece of cloth towards a fund for the ransom of such captives as might still be surrendered by the savages. Not all the unfortunates were rescued. Some the Indians insisted upon keeping as hostages, others they had taken so far into the wilderness that they could not be traced.
As a result of the calamity one person justly suffered. In answer to the reports upon it the directors of the Company wrote that they believed that the schout-fiscal `with clouded brains filled with liquor' had been a `prime cause' of the late `doleful massacre,' or at all events might have prevented it by caution and good sense. They were `astonished' that Stuyvesant and the council should wish to shield such a per son in the face of the reiterated complaints of the community. Having also discovered frauds in the accounts of his brother, Adriaen Van Tienhoven, who had held various minor posts in the province and was now a customs officer on Man hattan, they ordered that both the offenders be dismissed from their service, and appointed Nicasius De Sille schout fiscal. Thus in 1656, New Netherland was at last relieved of an official whom for fifteen years it had rightly considered its heaviest burden and deepest disgrace.
Even then Stuyvesant would not give the city a schout of its own but put De Sille in this place also. A few months later De Sille asked permission to seize and seal the property of Van Tienhoven as he had `absconded.' His hat and cane were found `floating in the water' near the shore of the island, but what had become of him no one ever knew. His estate was administered upon as that of a dead man He was, said a witness cited to prove his immoralities in the courts at the Hague, a `corpulent and thickset person of red and bloated visage and light hair' ; or, as another de scribed him, `of ruddy face, corpulent body, and having a little wen on the side of his face.' These appear to be the only verbal portraits of a New Netherlander that have come down to us.
Adriaen Van Tienhoven also vanished but was known in after years to be working as a cook in Barbadoes. One or both of the brothers left descendants on Manhattan, and a Van Tienhoven married in 1737 John Jauncey, the founder of a well-known New York family. The name, however, has died out, and two streets that were called Tienhoven for a time were long ago rechristened.