EXPLORERS AND FUR-TRADERS Among all the enterprising people in the world who search for foreign countries, navigable waters and trade, those who bear the name of Netherlanders will very easily be able to hold their rank among the foremost, as is sufficiently known to all who have in any wise saluted the threshold of history. Remonstrance of New Netherland to the States General of the United Netherlands. 1649.
At the time when Cortez was completing the conquest of Mexico, when Pizarro was entering Peru, the region where the chief city of the New World now stands was made known to the Old World by a Florentine navigator, Giovanni da Verrazano. Bearing an explorer's commission from Francis I of France he sailed northward along the mainland of Amer ica from about the thirty-fifth to the fiftieth degree of north latitude, and in the spring of 1524 entered the great bay between the fortieth and forty-first parallels, now called the Bay of New York. The letter, generally believed au thentic, in which he made his report to his royal patron con tains the earliest description of any part of the seaboard eventually covered by the Thirteen Colonies.
The next corner, probably, was Estevan Gomez, the Portu guese pilot who had deserted Magellan in the straits off Pata gonia. The accounts of his northern voyage, undertaken for the emperor Charles V, are brief and vague but indicate that in 1525 he may have seen the island of Manhattan. During the same century the bay was undoubtedly visited by other mariners, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch; it must have served at times as a refuge for the European fishing craft that already abounded farther north; and there is reason to believe that shallops if not ships carried Frenchmen and Spaniards up the great river as far, perhaps, as its junction with its chief affluent, the Mohawk. But there is no reason to put faith in the speculations of certain imaginative writers who identify this region with the famous but problematical Norumbega and even suggest as the site of a French fort named Norombegue an island in a lake on Manhattan known to history as the Collect Pond.
The list, if so it may be called, of these early adventurers is more broadly international than the list of those who chanced upon any other spot that became conspicuous in our colonial history. To the fanciful it may seem a prophecy of the after record of the island where the most cosmopolitan community in America grew up. No one of whom it speaks, however, had any share in determining the history of Man hattan. None awakened any real interest in this part of the western world. The general feeling of the time was expressed by Peter Martyr, the first historian of Spanish America, when he wrote, in reference to what Gomez called the 'pleasant and profitable' transatlantic countries of the north tem perate zone: What need have we of these things which are common with all the people of Europe? To the South, to the South for the great and exceeding riches of the Equinoctial; they that seek for riches must not go unto the cold and frozen north.
The history of Manhattan began when discoveries bore results when the explorer gave clear directions where to find its great harbor, and traders and settlers were inspired to follow in his wake. This did not happen until the first decade of the seventeenth century. The Dutch colonists on Manhattan spoke with virtual if not with literal trutL when, forty years later, in a document called the Remon strance of New Netherland, they affirmed: 1\ In the year of Christ 1609 was the country of which we now pro pose to speak first founded and discovered at the expense of the Gen eral East India Company (though directing their aims and desires elsewhere) by the ship Half Moon whereof Henry Hudson was master and factor.
This East India Company was a great trading corpora tion organized at Amsterdam in 1602, a score of years before the birth of the sister association, the Dutch West India Company, which was destined to own the American lands that Hudson discovered. Hudson was an Englishman and his name was Henry, or Henrie in the orthography of the time, not Hendrick as it has often been written. Nothing is recorded of his early years but he seems to have been well and widely known when, in 1607 and again in 1608, the Mus covy Company of London sent him out to try to discover that short water-passage to the Orient of which all the mari ners and traders in Europe were dreaming. Searching for it toward the northeast, he failed, of course, to find it; but the lesser discoveries he made and the dangers he survived spread his fame abroad. For a dozen years or more the Dutch had also been seeking for the northeast route, and after Hudson returned from the voyage of 1608 the East India Company invited him to Holland.
Not only at the northeast, it was then believed, might the coveted passage exist. Every one who saw or heard of a bay or strait or important stream on the Atlantic coast of North America fondly hoped that it would prove to be a lengthening, broadening waterway to seas beyond through the Far West to the Farther East. Verrazano, the first ex plorer officially sent out from France, was the first sent from any country to look for this northwest passage. Almost a century later Captain John Smith of Virginian fame was en gaged in the same quest. Hudson himself had thought it might well be attempted west of Greenland, through Davis Strait; and when he talked with the directors of the East India Company he showed letters and charts, sent him by Smith, which told of a supposed sea 'leading into the western ocean' in about the latitude of 40°. But having their own `aims and desires,' the directors engaged him to search once more to the northward of Nova Zembla and forbade him to think of searching elsewhere, but promised that, if he should fail, another route should be the subject of consideration for another voyage.
The contract signed with the directors who formed the Amsterdam Chamber of the East India Company on Janu ary 8,1609 (now preserved in the royal archives at the Hague), gave Hudson, to pay for his outfit and to support his family during his absence, a sum which was equivalent to $320 but had then four or five times its present purchasing power. Should he lose his life the directors were to give his wife the equivalent of $30. Should he find a good and practicable passage they would reward him at their discretion. After this contract was signed a message from the king of France invited Hudson to enter his service.
On April 4, 1609, Hudson sailed from Amsterdam with his Dutch commission in a Dutch vessel of eighty tons burden named the Halve Mane (Half Moon). Smaller than the car rack of Columbus, it was a flat-bottomed two-master of a type designed to navigate the difficult approaches to the Zuyder Zee and called a vlieboot, a term which was derived from the island of Vlieland but has been translated 'fly-boat.' On April 6 Hudson passed into the open sea through the strait called Texel. His mate was a Netherlander; his clerk, Rob ert Juet, who kept the log of the voyage and doubtless served as second mate, was an Englishman; and his crew of less than twenty men, Netherlanders and Englishmen, probably included his son John.
Near Nova Zembla he found, as he had found before, that the ice prevented further progress. His motley crew was quarrelsome, possibly mutinous. Disregarding his instruc tions he proposed to try for a northwest passage either through Davis Strait or in the latitude of 40° as John Smith had sug gested. To the second plan his men consented. Early in July they were catching codfish on the Banks of Newfound land, on the 12th of the month they saw the mainland coast, and on the 18th they entered a harbor, probably Penobscot Bay, where they lay for a week mending the ship's tattered canvas and stepping a new foremast.
The next landfall was on the elbowed cape which, as Juet noted, the Englishman Gosnold had discovered seven years before and had named Cape Cod. Holding a southwesterly course, on August 18 the Half Moon stood off the entrance of Chesapeake Bay. Turning northward then, sailing slowly, and keeping closer than before to the land, it tarried briefly in Delaware Bay which no white men had seen before; on the afternoon of September 2, as there was 'little wind,' it was brought to anchor in sight of the highlands called Nave sink which rise just south of Sandy Hook 'a very good land to fall with,' wrote Juet, 'and a pleasant land to see' ; and on the 3d, rounding the Hook, it found safe shelter in the bay behind it. Here the ship remained for a week. The savages paddled out to it bringing 'tobacco and Indian wheat to exchange for knives and beads,' and thus began the com merce of these regions with the peoples of Europe.
Meanwhile Hudson was sending his boats to explore the neighboring straits and the upper bay. On September 11 he took the Half Moon through the Narrows, and on the 12th started up the great river which, salt from the flushing of strong tides, he believed might be the much-desired passage to the Orient. Sailing by clay, anchoring at night, on the 19th he was near the present site of Aibany where he remained four days, sending his boats some twenty-five miles farther north in search of a practicable channel. Convinced at last that the river was 'at an end for ships to go in,' on September 23 he started downstream, and on October 4 he left what Juet called 'the great mouth of the great river,' bearing back to Europe a knowledge of regions great to be. Passing out not through the Narrows but through an 'inlet ' farther west the strait west of Staten Island he 'steered away east southeast and southeast by east off into the main sea.' Some of his men were ill, some threatened mutiny, yet they refusedtto return to Holland. So Hudson made for the coast of England and on November 7 reached Dartmouth. Here the ship was long detained by order of the English govern ment while Hudson and his English seamen were forbidden to go to Holland. When the Half Moon was released, in June, 1610, Hudson sent his charts and his journal to the East India Company by her mate. They have disappeared, but portions of the journal were quoted by the historian De Laet in his New World, published in 1625, and the log or journal kept by Juet may be read in its entirety in the third book of Purchas his Pilgrimes, also published in 1625. Hudson's own fate is well known : seeking again for a north west passage, this time with an English commission, he perished in the great northern bay which, like his Great River, now bears his name. Juet, who was one of the mutineers that cast him adrift in the icy solitude with his son and seven sick sailors, died of hardship on the return voyage. No portrait of Hudson exists, and no autograph. A portrait labelled with his name which is owned by the city of New York and hangs in one of its public buildings is certainly not authentic.
Hudson had studied the shores of his Great River and, bartering with their inhabitants, had collected samples of their products. The keen tradesmen of Holland saw that harvests might be reaped by following where he had led the way. The riches flowing for a century from the Occident into Spain and Portugal had inflamed the imagination of all Europe; although it still longed for a short route to the Orient it believed that its treasuries might be filled to over flowing from almost any part of America. There were, in deed, no precious metals among the trophies of Hudson's voyage. But he had seen high hills where he thought there might be mines of silver and copper; and he had brought back skins of the beaver, the otter, the marten and fox. In those days, when houses were scantily heated, furs were worn in doors and out by men as well as women, and even in the south of Europe were more highly prized than velvets and brocades. Holland dealt largely in them, sending each year scores of vessels to bring them from Archangel. In 1607 Dutch mari ners had found their way into Canadian waters and returned with valuable pelts such as the French had long been gather ing there. As Hudson now showed that it was possible to find them in a more accessible region still untrodden by Euro peans, and to buy them with cheap trinkets and stuffs of the coarsest kinds, how could enterprise neglect the chance? At this moment Dutch enterprise felt equal to any and every sort of commercial effort. The East India Company could not concern itself with Occidental undertakings, but without its help the merchants of Holland followed up Hudson's dis coveries. And, so doing, they were led by gradual steps to found colonies on shores already coveted and verbally claimed by other European nations.
The Turks permanently blocked the old routes of traffic between Asia and Europe when they took Constantinople in 1453 and within the next half-century conquered Mesopota mia, Arabia, Greece, Syria, and Egypt. Vasco da Gama, rounding Africa, found for the Portuguese a new route, an `outside route,' to the East while Columbus was throwing open what was not yet understood to be the new hemisphere of the West. And between 1519 and 1522 Magellan's expe dition circled the globe. In consequence, the main currents of trade were turned from the Mediterranean, the Danube, and the Rhine out into the Atlantic, and the seats of com mercial power shifted from Italy and Germany to Portugal and Spain, later to the Netherlands, France, and England.
To the eyes of Christendom all heathen and uncivilized countries were mere fallow fields for possible conquest, pos session, exploitation. In 1493, probably to prevent antici pated strife between Portugal and Spain, the titular head of Christendom, Pope Alexander VI, bestowed upon Portugal all those parts of the 'unknown world' still unpossessed by other Christian nations which lay east, upon Spain those which lay west, of an imaginary line drawn through the Atlantic from pole to pole; and in the following year the grantees compacted that this line should run 370 leagues to the westward of the Cape Verd Islands. Eagerly the Spaniards entered upon the conquest of the vast American domain all of which the Pope had intended them to possess. The Portuguese soon discovered that a portion of it, the great projecting shoulder of Brazil, lay east of the demarcation line, and here they established successful colonies; but even these the king of Spain acquired, with their mother-country, in the year 1581.
Meanwhile the rest of Europe did not accept the fiat of the Pope, feeling, as Francis I explained, that probably it was not justified by the testament of Father Adam. England and France eventually claimed the same wide region, the whole of North America down to the Florida peninsula, the Eldorado which, in 1512, Ponce de Leon had discovered for Spain. England was the first to move, France the first in actual acquirement. The Italian whom the English called John Cabot, commissioned by their king Henry VII to con quer, to occupy, and to possess what countries or places he and his sons might newly find, hoped like every one else to make his way to China; and he thought he had reached it when, in 1497, he set up the standards of England and Venice on the shore of Labrador. In 1498 he and his son Sebastian sailed down along the American coast, possibly as far as Cape Hatteras, but made no landfall.
The English did not follow up this beginning upon which long afterwards they based their title to a great part of the North American continent. On the other hand the French, who based theirs upon Verrazano's landfalls of 1524, began in 1534 to explore the gulf and river which they called St. Lawrence, claiming the country for their king and erecting a white man's post long before any was set within the limits of our Thirteen Colonies. In 1540 a viceroy was appointed for Canada, Newfoundland, and the adjacent regions down to the fortieth parallel. In 1542 a short-lived French colony was set on the banks of the St. Lawrence, and in 1562 another, by a band of Huguenots, on the shore of what is now South Carolina.
France and Spain were at war during all this time. The voyage of Gomez in 1525, revealing coasts which the Spaniards had not seen before, reenforced their claim to the whole of America; and in 1565 they fortified a post on Ponce de Leon's peninsula, now the town of St. Augustine, the oldest in the United States. But the northern parts of the new hemisphere they thought of value chiefly as a barrier which might shut off their rivals from access to the Orient; and other nations did not fear to enter these parts after the sea power of Spain was scotched by the destruction of the Great Armada in 1588.
Until the latter decades of the sixteenth century the Eng lish remained an agricultural and pastoral people. They fished, indeed, and they exported raw materials tin, lead, and especially wool. But they lagged far behind continental peoples in industrial activity; sea-girt though they were, they had claimed no part in Mediterranean traffic; the nations through whose lands this traffic naturally flowed northward had outrivalled them in trading on the North Sea and the Baltic; and their carrying trade they left to Italians, Germans, and Netherlanders. Their first strong impulse to develop into an industrial nation came from the great influx of Flemish artisans which began when the Netherlands took up arms against Spain; and, similarly, they thought little of mari time enterprise until they were tempted out on the high seas by the chance to carry slaves to the West Indian colonies of Spain, to capture the gold and silver that Spanish ships were bringing home from the New World, and, while thus bene fiting themselves, to chastise those who so bitterly perse cuted adherents of the new Reformed religion.
Much earlier than this there were voices that urged the importance of sea power as a bulwark against the enemies of England and a means of bringing its own trade into its own hands. One, for example, spoke in the fine poem called Libellus de Politia Conservativa Maris, written in the first half of the fifteenth century and, much later, included in Hak luyt's famous collection of English voyages. But its vigor ous cry that Englishmen should make themselves 'masters of the narrow seas' antedated by nearly a century the first reference to America that survives in English literature. This occurs in a poem, called An Interlude of the Four Elements and written about the year 1520, which laments that Englishmen were not the first to take possession of such distant lands and to win the honor of extending their king's dominions. Now and again in the succeeding decades the same feeling found emphatic utterance; and it spread and deepened when the marriage of Philip II with Queen Mary, bringing hundreds of Spaniards to England, widened and clarified insular ideas regarding the possibilities of New World enterprise. Nevertheless for two generations the Cabots' voyages had no practical result except a development of the English fisheries off Newfoundland where French fishermen had long been active. They were practically forgotten dur ing half a century of successful privateering, buccaneering, and slave-trading. Not until 1576 did Martin Frobisher start upon the first English voyage in search of gold mines and the northwest passage.
Up to this time Europe may well have thought that Spain and France were destined to divide the New World between them, England contenting itself with a forcible taking of tribute on the ocean and the American seaboard. Then the prospect changed. In 1578 Queen Elizabeth gave Sir Hum phrey Gilbert a patent which authorized him to discover and to occupy any remote and uncivilized lands 'not actually possessed of any Christian prince or people.' When, in 1584, his patent was transferred to his half-brother, Sir Walter Raleigh, it still more distinctly specified lands 'not actually possessed of any Christian prince nor inhabited by Christian people.' Meanwhile Elizabeth, formally protesting against the all-embracing claims put forth by Spain when it demanded the return of the treasures captured by Drake, had laid down in 1580 as a rule of international action the doctrine that neither first discovery nor a mere verbal assertion of right could hold good unless sustained by actual occupation: prcescriptio sine possessione haud valeat. The Spaniards, she declared, had no right to countries which they had not really occupied but had merely touched upon here and there, build ing huts and naming rivers and capes.
In the patents Elizabeth bestowed she did not mention the Cabot voyages; but when Gilbert, in 1582, set up the arms of England on the shore of the harbor of St. John's in Newfoundland, reading his commission to the fishermen of many nations who frequented the place, he took possession for his queen by right of the discoveries of John Cabot. In 1584 Raleigh, inspired by French example, sent out an expe dition which explored the coasts north of Florida. They were then named Virginia; and the English long applied this term to the whole seaboard up to Newfoundland while the French included the same coasts, with Newfoundland and Canada, in the general term New France. In 1585 and in 1587 Raleigh's emissaries vainly tried to establish a colony on Roanoke Sound.
These were the only English experiments in colonization during Elizabeth's reign. It was not a fear of what they might lead to, it was the rage and dread inspired by the depredations of her sea-rovers upon Spanish commerce, that led Philip II to try in 1588 to crush forever the maritime power of England by sending out his Great Armada. Yet English energy and ambition were growing fast, and they were greatly stimulated when, at the end of the century, Hakluyt began to publish the wonderful series of travellers' tales, historic documents, and expositions of the value of sea power, commerce, and exploration which he spent many devoted years in collecting.
When the seventeenth century opened, the authority of England was recognized by the fishermen along the New foundland coasts. In 1602 Gosnold vainly tried to plant a colony on an island at the mouth of Buzzard's Bay. In the next-succeeding years a number of Englishmen coasted and touched upon the shores now called Maine and Massachusetts.
But between Buzzard's Bay at the north and Roanoke Sound at the south no English foot trod American soil.
In 1604 James I concluded a treaty with Spain which, ex cluding his subjects from the Spanish West Indies and thus putting a damper on their privateering ardor, helped to strengthen the genuine interest in schemes for colonization that was now spreading among them. A notable result im mediately followed. In 1606 James licensed a joint-stock company to begin the planting of two colonies between the thirty-fourth and forty-fifth degrees of north latitude in . . . that part of America commonly called Virginia and other parts and territories in America either appertaining unto us or which are not now actually possessed by any Christian prince or people. . . .
Although the same charter covered both intended enterprises those who were concerned in them came to be called the London, London Virginia, or Virginia Company and the Plymouth Company. To the Virginia Company were reserved the lands between the thirty-fourth and thirty-eighth degrees, to the Plymouth Company those between the forty-first and forty-fifth degrees. The intermediate regions, embracing all between Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound, were left open as a sort of neutral territory, for, while each colony was to run a hundred miles along the coast and as far inland, each was enjoined to plant no settlement within a hundred miles of a settlement made by the other. The terms of the patent indicate the belief, more clearly expressed on the maps of the time, that a great body of water, called the Sea of Verrazano, lay only one or two hundred miles west of the Atlantic coast.
The bestowal of this charter was a momentous step, setting the kingdom of England on the path of empire and bringing its destinies into closer relation than before with those of the great continental powers. The commercial creed of the time rested on two fundamental articles : it assumed that the wealth of a nation was synonymous with the amount of specie it owned, and that monopoly was the only road to success that the prosperity of one nation, therefore, must be achieved at the expense of others. Hence the passionate interest ex cited by the New World when it proved to be a treasure house of silver and gold; and hence the struggle which soon began among the seafaring peoples of Europe to obtain footholds on American soil and to hinder others from doing the like. Transatlantic enterprise did not spring from a passion for conquest as such, a hunger to enlarge dominions, to extend political power. It sprang partly from a desire (much stronger in Catholic than in Protestant lands) to Christianize the heathen, and chiefly from a lust for the precious metals, a lust that soon embraced those transatlantic commodities by means of which the precious metals could be procured in the form of coin. Yet commercial enterprise of such a kind led, of course, to national expansion and international conflict. That common eagerness to monopolize the treasures of dis tant lands which first found definite expression when Pope Alexander VI divided them between Spain and Portugal complicated at once and after a time controlled the political policies of western Europe. Portugal and Spain, then Hol land, and then France and England, each striving to make itself the principal 'seat of exchanges' for the products of the Orient and the Occident, became the leading nations of Eu rope; and mutual jealousies of commercial success, with the upgrowth of new powers and ambitions based upon it and of industrial developments stimulated by it (even, indirectly, in countries that never saw an American product), were mainly responsible for the ever-changing enmities and alliances, the ever-recurring declarations of war and treaties of peace, which kept all Europe in a turmoil down to the time when the first Napoleon was cast from his throne.
It was not very long before this influence of the newer continent was understood by the elder. It was a recognized factor in European politics even before Philip sent his Armada into the English Channel to decide whether Spain or England should be the future mistress of the seas : it was Philip's Indian gold, Sir Walter Raleigh had said, that endangered and disturbed the peace of Europe. Therefore there must have been statesmen who knew, whether James I knew it or not, that when he signed the charter which first bestowed upon Englishmen definite areas of American soil, England placed a valuable stake upon the great gaming-table of con tinental politics and pledged itself to become a maritime power in a different sense from the one that its Drakes and lIawkinses had understood.
A year after the charter was given, in 1607, the London Company planted at Jamestown in South Virginia the first English colony that justified the name. Two years later Juet spoke of it, writing that the Half Moon turned north ward after reaching `the entrance into the king's river in Virginia where our Englishmen are.' In 1607 also the Plym outh Company tried without success to establish a colony in North Virginia, at the mouth of the Sagadahoc or Kennebec River. In 1609 the domain of the London Virginia Company was extended to include four hundred miles of seacoast and the breadth of the continent from ocean to ocean.
By this time the French had made a settlement at Port Royal on the great peninsula they called Acadia, now Nova Scotia, and Henri IV had bestowed a patent for 'Acadia, Canada, and other places in New France' which covered the continent from the forty-sixth down to the fortieth parallel, including the present sites of Montreal and Philadelphia. In 1608 Champlain set the foundations of Quebec; and in 1609 he and two other Frenchmen with a few score Huron and Ottawa Indians defeated a band of Mohawks at Ticonderoga near the great lake that bears his name. This, the first bat tle within the borders of New York State in which white men were engaged, was fought, it will be noticed, in the year when Hudson entered his Great River.
Throughout all this early period the people, Dutch, Walloon, and Flemish or Belgian, of the seventeen provinces called the Netherlands or Low Countries did not think of American trade or colonization. Since the Middle Ages those of the Flemish provinces had been the chief manufacturers of Europe. Taking advantage of their position at the inter section of the great trade routes from western Europe to the Baltic and from the Mediterranean along the Rhine to Eng land, they and their Dutch neighbors made themselves, dur ing the first half of the sixteenth century, the common carriers of the northerly nations. Gathering along the Baltic the products of the North, from the ports of Portugal and Spain those of the East and the West, and distributing them, with their own manufactured wares, to all countries above the Mediterranean, they played on a wider field of waters the part that had earlier been played by Venice and by the Hanse towns of Germany. First Bruges and then Antwerp became the chief mart of Europe, and Antwerp grew also into its financial centre.
In 1568 these seventeen provinces began their heroic attempt to resist the spiritual tyranny of the Inquisition and to recover from their sovereign, Philip II of Spain, the rights and privileges they had secured in 1477 from his grandmother, Mary of Burgundy, the freest constitution that had yet been framed in Europe. In 1576, when the Spaniards had sacked, ruined, almost obliterated Antwerp, the ten Walloon and Flemish provinces abandoned the struggle, remaining Catholic and being known thenceforward as the Spanish Netherlands. The seven Dutch and Protestant provinces Holland, Zeeland, Guelderland, Utrecht, Overyssel, Fries land, and Groningen united themselves by a compact called the Union of Utrecht, renounced their allegiance to Philip, and declared themselves an independent nation. Holland so far outranked the other provinces as rich and powerful as all six together that its name was soon used by foreigners to cover them all in a national sense. Right fully, they were the United Netherlands. A loosely con federated republic, their visible head and leader was William of Nassau, Prince of OrangeWilliam the Silent. Stadholder of Holland and Zealand, in these provinces he was chief magistrate and commander-in-chief by land and sea, dignities which, originally held of the sovereign, were now made hereditary in his family. Elsewhere he had no authority save that which political influence and his commanding per sonality won for him. Nor was the highest legislative body in the Republic, the federal assembly called the States Gen eral, a real source of political power. It was a mere focus of the power which resided primarily in the municipal coun cils that appointed the delegates to the provincial assemblies or States which in their turn appointed the members of the States General.
Up to this time when the rebellious Dutchmen formally declared their independence and when, as it chanced, Portugal and its colonies fell to the crown of Spain, they had continued to trade largely at Lisbon; and so indispensable were their services as ocean carriers that even after this time they sup plied, under foreign flags, Spaniards as well as Portuguese, at home and in the West Indies, with the necessaries of life. Merchants, mechanics, and artisans from the crushed and desolated Spanish Netherlands streamed by scores of thou sands into their towns, bringing reenforcements of capital, energy, and skill, and the centre of traffic and finance trans ferred itself from Antwerp to Amsterdam. Even the inter ference of Spain with the carrying trade of a people who by 1590 were annually building a thousand new vessels each year inured to their profit. It compelled them to traffic in the Mediterranean and to seek for themselves the wares of still more distant parts, and so developed them into explorers and traders of widest enterprise. Like the English but with more immediate success they learned to follow in the track of the Portuguese around the Cape of Good Hope to the countries which supplied Europe with its perfumes, dyes, drugs, and raw and manufactured cottons and silks, with its rugs and hangings, valuable woods, precious objects of metal, porce lain, and glass, and above all with the pepper and other spices which alone made palatable the coarse and monotonous food of the time. Thus the war fostered instead of destroying the commerce of the young Republic while the fruits of its commerce enabled it to keep up the war.
Soon after the year 1590 Willem Usselinx, a native of Antwerp, a merchant, navigator, and conspicuous promoter of commercial undertakings, urged these ambitious seafarers to form a great national company to prosecute the West India trade. This scheme was postponed, but small private companies were formed for the same purpose; and in 1602 an East India Company was incorporated with eight times as much capital as the English East India Company, chartered two years before. Uniting the strength and the wealth of all earlier associations engaged in the Oriental trade, this com pany held the exclusive right to traffic for twenty-one years east of the Cape and west of the Straits of Magellan. At the end of its first year it paid its shareholders dividends of seventy-five per cent; at the end of six years its capital had risen in value from six to thirty millions of guilders.
Both England and France had aided the rebellious Dutch men, although less for love of them than for hatred of Spain; and the defeat of the Armada, upon which Philip wasted resources that he might more wisely have expended on his armies, was a potent factor in the success of the United Provinces. England thought the creation of their East India Company, intended especially to compete with its own, a poor return for its military aid; and the event is, in fact, a landmark in the history of that commercial rivalry between the two nations which for generations was to grow more and more pronounced.
When Philip II died in 1598 France made peace with Spain; England, as has been told, did the same in 1604; and in 1606 Philip III wanted to come to terms with the revolted provinces. The negotiations fell through for the Dutch would not relin quish their trade in the East Indies. But in the spring of 1609, five days after Henry Hudson sailed from Amsterdam in the Half Moon, Spain and the Republic concluded a truce for a term of twelve years. Thus the United Netherlands secured a temporary recognition of their independence and of their right to engage in Oriental traffic; and the supremacy of Amsterdam was assured by an agreement which, closing the river Scheldt to commerce, completed the ruin of the Spanish Netherlands.
The seven Dutch provinces were then full of bold and hardy men, natives of their soil or refugees from other countries, whose only trade was fighting and whose one desire was still to fight the Spaniard if no longer at home then on foreign seas and shores, if no longer for liberty then for glory and gold. The great Age of Adventure had not yet closed; what Sebas tian Cabot called `the great flame of desire to accomplish some notable thing' had not burned out; and the golden era of circumterrestrial traffic had begun. It is hard now to con ceive of the vigor with which the new little nation threw itself into a world-wide commercial contest with its older and larger rivals, hard to realize the magnitude of its success, the extent of the power it wielded during the early part of the seventeenth century when it almost supplanted the Eng lish in commerce with Russia, wrested their West African posts and a great part of Brazil from the Portuguese and built up a splendid empire on the foundations they had laid in the East Indies, and alone among Western nations had entrance to Japan; when it owned almost half the mercantile tonnage of Europe, absorbed the West India carrying trade, prac tically monopolized shipbuilding, and gathered incalculable wealth from the fisheries upon which its very existence was based as that of other nations was based upon agriculture. It is more clearly remembered that at this same time the Dutch, achieving the first place in science, jurisprudence, philosophy, literature, and art as well as in trade and finance, made the University of Leyden the soul of the world's learning and culture as the Bank of Amsterdam was the heart that controlled the international circulation of wealth.
The Bank of Amsterdam, the first in northern Europe, was established eighty-five years before the Bank of England, in 1609 the year when the truce with Spain was signed and when Hudson found his Great River. Although France and England then stood ready, in theory, to contend with the traders of Holland for any spot they might wish to exploit upon the American coast, between Manhattan and Florida no spot except Jamestown was occupied by white men, north of Manhattan there were no white men nearer than Acadia and Quebec, and between Buzzard's Bay and Chesa peake Bay, which John Smith explored in 1608, no spot was known to either Frenchmen or Englishmen. This accessible and fertile region, covered though it was by Spanish, French, and English verbal claims, was first explored and first settled by the Dutch.
Their earliest official move was discreetly made and peace ably met. In 1610 the States General suggested that the English and Dutch should join in colonizing Hudson's Great River as well as in prosecuting the East India trade. Nothing came of the proposal. The colonizing ambitions of England had only just begun to awaken, and as yet its trade did not even remotely rival Holland's. Its ambassador at the Hague was warned that if the two nations should ' join upon equal terms' the ' art and industry' of the Dutch would probably `wear out ours.' The incident is interesting chiefly because it shows that at this moment England did not resent the fact that Holland was casting its eyes toward Virginia.
The earliest special map of the coasts so called was sent to Philip III of Spain in March, 1611, by Don Alonso de Velasco, his ambassador in England. As Velasco then wrote, it was a copy, secretly obtained, of one made by a surveyor whom James I had sent to Virginia in the previous year and who had returned `about three months ago.' It portrays the Atlantic coast from Cape Fear to the northern point of New foundland. It shows the 'River of Canada' and, without any name, Hudson's Great River, both of them flowing from the same supposed vast inland sea or inlet of the Pacific Ocean. With considerable accuracy it shows Sandy Hook, Staten Island, and the lower and upper bays that Hudson had explored, but it makes of Long Island a little islet and ignores Manhattan. None of these features bears any name; indeed, no European name is anywhere set between the entrance of Chesapeake Bay and an island off Narragan sett Bay which Verrazano had called Luisa and subse quent explorers Claudia Block Island or perhaps Martha's Vineyard.
The scanty documents relating to the Dutch voyages to the Great River which immediately followed Hudson's and the brief references of contemporary writers have been vari ously interpreted. But it seems certain that soon after the Half Moon was released at Dartmouth and returned to Amsterdam, some merchants of this place sent out a trading ship, probably manned in part by Hudson's sailors and com manded by his mate; and that it was in 1610 or 1611 that two Netherland mariners chartered on their own account a ship in which they visited the Great River and brought back two Indian lads. These mariners were Hendrick Corstiaensen, or Christiaensen, who on his return from a West India voyage had already skirted the coasts near Manhattan, and Adriaen Block. When, soon afterwards, certain merchants of Amsterdam and of Hoorn sent out five vessels filled with goods for barter with the savages, Christiaensen and Block commanded two that went in company, Captain Cornelis Jacobsen Mey an other. Lying in the great bay the traders sent their shallops in search of peltry into the neighboring lesser bays and inlets and far up the river.
Early in the year 1614 Block's ship, the Tiger, was ac cidentally burned in the bay ; but doubtless the rigging and sails were saved, for by the time that the waters were free from ice in the spring Block and his men had built and equipped another vessel, launching it from Manhattan or, more probably, from the neighboring Long Island shore. It was a decked yacht of about sixteen tons burden with a thirty eight foot keel, measuring forty-four feet in length over all and eleven and a half feet in beam. Block called it the Onrust, a name that has come down to us, loosely translated, as the Restless. More accurately onrust means "restlessness," "trouble" or "strife" ; and the Trouble, it seems probable, was what its skipper meant the boat's name to be. Onrust, it may be added, is now and doubtless has been for centuries the name of an islet in the Texel with which, of course, Block was familiar.
A ship of some sort had been built by the Spaniards in Carolina early in the sixteenth century, and one, called the Virginia, by the Englishmen who tried to plant a colony on the Kennebec in 1608. The Restless, so far as is known, was the third white man's vessel launched on American waters. Certainly it was the first launched on the waters of Manhat tan; it was the first that ever passed through the terrifying tide-rips between Manhattan and Long Island which Block called Hellegat (Hell Hole), copying perhaps the name of a branch of the Scheldt; and it was the first that, exploring Long Island Sound, made manifest that the island itself was not a part of the mainland. Following courses that none but Indian prows had known before, Block also explored a large stream which, contrasting it with the salty Great River, he called the Fresh River, and a bay which he called Nassau. Both of these are now known by Indian titles the Con necticut River and Narragansett Bay. Finding other rivers and many islands, one of which perpetuates his name, he pushed around Cape Cod into Boston Harbor which he called Vos Haven (Fox Haven). Turning about after he reached Nahant Bay, he fell in with his friend Christiaensen and re turned with him to Holland, leaving his little Restless in the charge of Cornelis Hendricksen who seems to have been his mate. The southern shore of Long Island was also explored at this time, by Cornelis Mey cruising eastward as far as Martha's Vineyard.
In March, 1614, the States General, upon petition of many merchants, passed an ordinance which said that whosoever might discover any ' new passages, havens, lands, or places' should have the exclusive right to frequent them for four voyages. Encouraged by Block's report of his explorations, the merchants of Amsterdam and Hoorn who had already received cargoes of furs from the Great River then formed themselves into an association called the United New Nether land Company, claimed the offered privileges, and in October received a charter which declared . . . that they alone shall have the right to resort to, or cause to be frequented, the aforesaid newly discovered countries situate in \merica between New France and Virginia, the seacoasts whereof lie in the latitude of from forty to forty-five degrees, now named New Netherland, as is to be seen by a Figurative Map, hereunto an nexed, and that for four voyages within the term of three years com mencing the first January 1615 next coming, or sooner, to the exclu sion of all others.. . .
This is the earliest existing mention of the name Nieuw Nederlandt. Just when or by whom it had first been con ferred cannot now be divined. Its proper form in English is New Netherland, not New Netherlands; in the language of formality it was Nova Belgica or Novus Belgium. It was bestowed a little earlier than the name New England, for almost at the moment when it was officially recognized the Prince of Wales confirmed the name that Captain John Smith suggested should differentiate North from South Vir ginia. Smith had been coasting the New England shore while Block was exploring Long Island Sound; and his map was executed at the same time as the first Dutch map of the regions that were soon to become a Dutch province. This was the 'Figurative Map' referred to in the charter of the New Netherland Company. Laid before the States General with Block's report upon his explorations, it had probably been prepared from rough charts that he brought home. If, as seems probable, it is a large paper map bearing no date which, long forgotten, was found in 1841 among the royal archives at the Hague, it embraces the coast from below the Delaware capes up to the western part of Long Island with an interior region extending much farther north. It shows Staten Island as well as a piece of Long Island but puts a cluster of islets where Manhattan should be. It gives names to none of these places, but several Dutch names, including Nassau and Kinderhoek, are written along the Hudson River, and on the coast that is now New Jersey Eyerhaven (Egg Harbor) and Sandhoek (Sandy Hook).
The charter of the New Netherland Company did not claim New Netherland for Holland or deny the right of other nations to traffic with its aborigines, but merely forbade any other Hollanders to interfere with the rights of the patentees. Nor did it create a joint-stock company but merely what was then called in England a 'regulated company,' each member of which traded on his own account with his own capital according to rules laid down by the company as such. In this manner a number of ships were sent to New Netherland during the three years that the charter covered, and they brought back rich freights of furs.
Hendrick Christiaensen served for a time in New Nether land as factor for the merchants at home; and late in 1614 or early in 1615 he erected the first building of which any valid record remains. It was a little fort or blockhouse placed upon Castle Island which, close to the western shore of the river, is now within the limits of the city of Albany. Here, as some historians believe, the Dutchmen found the ruins of an old and forgotten French trading post. Their own, built for defence as well as for the storage of furs and protected by two large and eleven smaller cannon, was thirty six by twenty-six feet in size, surrounded by a stockade fifty-eight feet square and a moat eighteen feet broad, and called Fort Nassau. Jacob Eelkins was in charge of its little garrison of ten or twelve traders during Christiaensen's absences. It became at once a gathering point for troops of Indians intent upon barter.
Possibly another post was set at this time farther down the river, in the Esopus region where Kingston now stands; and evidently the Hollanders were accustomed to land if not to live on Manhattan, for by order of his employers Christiaensen had brought out some goats and rabbits which it was hoped would multiply on the island. No shred of contemporaneous evidence, however, supports the story that four houses had been built on a certain specified spot near the lower end of Manhattan and that their occupants formally acknowledged that the place belonged to the English. These statements were first made in a book published in 1648 which was called a Description of the Province of New Albion, and professed to be written by one Beauchamp Plantagenet of Belvil in that province. Neither Plantagenet nor Belvil existed, and New Albion was merely a province-on-paper defined in a patent for American lands given in 1634 by the viceroy of Ireland, in the name of Charles I, to Sir Edmund Plowden or Ploeyden. The heroes of the story thus fathered, unques tionably with the wish to bolster up Plowden's claims, are `Sir Thomas Dale and Sir Samuel Argall, Captains and counsellors of Virginia.' This was the Samuel Argall, after wards governor of Virginia, who in 1613 saved New England for the English by breaking up the French settlements at Mt. Desert. On his return voyage to Jamestown, says the supposed Plantagenet, Argall and his companion . . . landed at Manhatas Isle in Hudson's River where they found four houses built and a pretended Dutch governour under the West India Company of Amsterdam share or part, who kept trading-boats and trucking with the Indians; but the said knights told him their commission was to expel him and all alien intruders on his Majesty's dominions and territories; this being part of Virginia, and the river an English discovery of Hudson, an Englishman. The Dutchman contented them for their charge and voyage and by his letter sent to Virginia and recorded submitted himself, company and plantation to his Majesty and to the governor and government of Virginia.. . .
This tale was embodied in the edition of 1669 of Heylin's Cosmography which names the year 1613 as that of Argall's visit, in 1671 in Ogilby's America, in 1747 in Stith's His tory of Virginia, in 1757 in Smith's History of New York, in 1780 in Chalmers's Political Annals of the colonies. It has since been repeated many times, as, for example, in John Fiske's recent book on the Dutch and Quaker Colonies. Yet its falsity was demonstrated more than half a century ago. In 1613 and for nearly a decade longer there was no West India Company in Holland and no Dutch governor in America; and the records of Virginia contain neither a reference to any act of submission on the part of any Dutch trader nor a sign that in 1613 or any later year Argall visited Manhattan. In a letter written in 1632 to the secretary of state in England Captain John Mason of the Plymouth Company says, indeed, that Argall and some of his friends had intended to start a plantation on the Manahata River '; but he gives the date as 1621, he says that at this 'same time' the Dutch had just intruded there, and he explains that their arrival caused a `demur' in Argall's `proceedings.' Of course belief in the four houses which Argall was said to have seen on Manhattan topples down in the general destruction of the story.
More and more vessels bound for America were now sailing from English ports, and a few English fishing stations or temporary fishermen's hamlets were scattered, probably, along the coasts of New England. But north of Jamestown, which was the centre of a population of about four hundred souls, Englishmen had not as yet established a colony or even built a bloCkhouse. Much greater was the activity of the French. They had set posts on the shores of Maine and explored Lake Ontario. Planning to Christianize the Indians, they had sent out missionaries as well as adventurers and traders. In 1611 Montreal was founded. In 1612 Louis XIII granted to Madame de Guercherville, a figurehead for the Jesuits, all the region between the St. Lawrence and Florida. In 1615 Champlain discovered Lake Huron and penetrated within the present borders of New York as far as Oneida Lake.
Soon after the building of the Dutchmen's Fort Nassau far up the Great River three traders, wishing to explore the in terior country, seem to have pushed their way from this point southward along Indian trails to the banks of the Schuylkill where they were captured by the savages. The news of their mischance reached Manhattan; and, partly to rescue them, partly to gain acquaintance with the region, Cornelis Hen drickson was sent in the little Restless to Delaware Bay and River. Possibly Cornelis Mey had already explored these parts. More probably Hendricksen was the first white man who sailed up the river as far as its point of junction with the Schuylkill (now the site of Philadelphia) where he found and saved his captive compatriots.
He had gone beyond the limits of the territory assigned for exploitation to the New Netherland Company. Therefore, when he returned in the same year to Holland the Company asked for an extension of its trading grounds, laying Hen dricksen's report before the States General and with it, prob ably, another so-called Figurative Map, on parchment, which was discovered in 1841 with the paper map already described and which covers a longer stretch of coast from the Vir ginian capes to the Penobscot River. Here we find Man hattan on too large a scale, Long Island divided by several inlets, the Mohawk as well as the Hudson River, and what appears to be meant for the Susquehanna. There is no hint that a post yet existed on Manhattan although Fort Nassau is marked and named and its dimensions are given. It is possible that this parchment map may be the older of the two Figurative Maps, the one presented in 1614 with Block's report, but the way in which it shows Manhattan and describes Fort Nassau may be held to signify its later date.
Neither of the Figurative Maps was published, for every government interested in transatlantic enterprise was trying to keep its rivals ignorant of its achievements and plans. Yet the English government knew what Dutchmen as well as Englishmen were doing. In 1616 its agents at the Hague informed it that some private persons of Amsterdam had set on foot a trade in North America between forty and forty-five degrees of latitude.
In 1617 Fort Nassau, endangered on its low-lying island by spring floods, was abandoned in favor of a similar post then set about two miles below the site of Albany on the west bank of the river at the mouth of the Tawasentha, a creek which preserves its Dutch name, Norman's Kill.
At the opening of the year 1618, when the American privileges of the New Netherland Company expired, it asked that its charter be renewed. Instead, its members got only individual licenses covering brief periods of time. In the summer of 1620 Cornelis Mey returned to report upon a voy age during which he had entered Chesapeake Bay and visited the Englishmen on the James River. His name is still borne by the southern point of New Jersey, Cape May. His request for a license giving him the sole right to trade in the regions he had explored conflicted with so many others of a similar kind that the States General granted none of them. More over, the States General had a great enterprise in mind which was soon to quash the claims and the schemes of all such private adventurers. They were considering the incorpora tion of that West India Company which had come near to being established some thirty years before.
To the revival of this enterprise may also be traced, in part at least, the reasons why the first scheme for colonizing New Netherland resulted only in the planting of the first colony in New England.
In 1609 a congregation of English Separatist refugees Brownists ' the Dutch commonly called them migrated from Amsterdam to Leyden. Its pastor was John Robinson, its ruling elder was William Brewster, and two of its leading members were William Bradford and Edward Winslow. At Leyden, as Nathaniel Morton wrote in New England's Memorial, these exiles 'did quietly and sweetly enjoy their church liberties under the States.' Yet there were many reasons why they were not content why they thought that spiritually and materially it would be for the benefit of their posterity should they establish themselves somewhere in what Bradford called 'those vast and unpeopled countries of America which are fruitful and fit for habitation.' In 1619 they obtained from the London Virginia Company a patent authorizing them to settle on its territories south of the fortieth parallel. Just when they were greatly discouraged by the difficulty of arranging for their voyage and settlement 'some Dutchmen,' says Bradford again in his History of Plymouth Plantation, 'made them fair offers about going with them,' but a merchant coming from London after 'much confer ence . . . persuaded them to go on (as it seems) and not to meddle with the Dutch.' There was more to the episode than this. The Separatists asked aid of some Dutch merchants, and the New Netherland Company petitioned the States General on their behalf. The Company had learned, it said, that King James was 'inclined to people . . . with Englishmen' the American region in which it was interested; it feared that its ships might be sur prised in distant, unprotected harbors; it wished to establish something more stable than posts that were merely head quarters for shifting bands of sailors and fur-traders; and it thought that it might turn to profit, for itself and for the Republic, the desires of the Leyden Separatists. The Reverend John Robinson, said an explanatory petition addressed to the Prince of Orange as admiral of the navy of the Republic, was `well versed in the Dutch language' and 'well inclined to proceed to New Netherland to live.' He asserted that he could induce more than four hundred families to accompany him, . . . both out of this country and England, provided they would be guarded and preserved from all violence on the part of other po tentates, by the authority and under the protection of your Princely Excellency and the High and Mighty Lords States-General, in the propagation of the true, pure Christian religion, in the instruction of the Indians in that country in true learning and in converting them to the Christian faith, and thus, through the mercy of the Lord, to the greater glory of this country's government, to plant there a new commonwealth all under the order and command of your Princely Excellency and the High and Mighty Lords States-General.
Therefore the petitioners urged that these Englishmen might be taken under the protection of the Dutch government, and that with them two ships of war might be despatched to secure to this government the aforesaid countries.
Probably the Reverend John Robinson inspired the phras ing of this document. With its talk of founding a new com monwealth and propagating a 'pure' form of faith it has an alien sound among the colonial records of tolerant and com mercial Holland. At all events, New Netherland was not destined to receive as its first settlers a compact body of Englishmen intent upon governing themselves under whatso ever potentate they might hold their lands. Twice the States General declined to supply the necessary ships of war. The Separatists fell back upon their patent from the Virginia Company and secured the financial backing of a company of merchant-adventurers formed for the purpose in London. Although John Robinson remained in Holland, in the autumn of 1620 some seventy of his parishioners with a lesser number of emigrants from England set sail for the New World in the Mayflower.
The declared intention was to plant the colony in the neighborhood of the mouth of Hudson's River in the 'northern parts of Virginia' ; and when the Pilgrims understood that the first land they made was the point of Cape Cod, far out side the territories of the Virginia Company, they resolved, says Bradford, 'to stand for the southward . . . to find some place about Hudson's River.' The danger of round ing the Cape deterred them, and before the end of the year they chose for their settlement the shores of the harbor at the base of the Cape which John Smith had called New Plymouth.
Neither in Bradford's pages nor in any others of contempo raneous date, Dutch or English, official or unofficial, can a word be found to support the story, long believed, that the merchants of Holland had bribed the Mayflower's skipper not to take its passengers to New Netherland. This idle tale was first put forth by Morton whose book was published in 1669. If intrigue did indeed guide the Mayflower to New England, the intriguers were some of the members of the Plymouth Company eager to begin the settlement of their own territories with so promising a body of colonists.
The scheme for the creation of a warlike Dutch West India Company, which prevented a favorable consideration of all lesser schemes for Western enterprise, had never dropped out of sight since it was broached by William Usselinx. It could not take shape during the Twelve Years' Truce with Spain, but was one of the many issues involved in a struggle between two great political parties whose dissensions, held in check while the war continued, in the years of the truce almost disrupted the Republic.
These parties were known as the Orangist, led by the stad holder Maurice of Nassau, the son of William the Silent, and the Arminian or Remonstrant, led by the great statesman John of Barneveld. As the name Arminian shows, their rivalry crystallized around a theological quarrel of a hair splitting sort that suggests the court of Justinian rather than the forums of a free republic which during the long agony of its war with Catholic Spain had made itself an asylum for schismatics, heretics, and Jews, for the persecuted, oppressed, and distressed of all Europe. Ostensibly the great issue was whether within the bosom of the established Calvinistic Church, the Reformed Church of Holland, it was permissible to deny, not the dogma of predestination in general, for this both parties accepted, but the dogma of `absolute' predestina tion. In reality, however, the determination of the orthodox clergy to prevent the tolerance of heresy within their fold was based upon the knowledge that such tolerance would surely lead to the official recognition of many churches, and that if there were more than one recognized church all must be sub ject to the civil power. The orthodox church was determined to stand alone so that it might rise above the civil power, while Arminius had taught that the clergy should depend upon the state. Here was a highly practical and important issue inextricably entangled with every other major and minor public question of the time. The seemingly Byzantinesque quarrel about man's chances of eternal bliss was really a struggle between sacerdotal tyranny and the demand for freedom in faith and worship; and it was the expression of a wider struggle between centralizing and decentralizing ten dencies in politics, between the military and the civil element for the control of public affairs, between the partisans of the House of Orange and of the municipalities, between Maurice of Nassau and John of Barneveld.
Barneveld had secured the truce of 1609 and, at the head of the decentralizing, anti-military, unorthodox party, he worked to develop it into a permanent peace. He believed that long-continued war would foster in his compatriots a spirit of greed, restlessness, and ambition which would turn friendly powers into enemies and, making the services of the House of Orange indispensable, would lay at home the founda tions of a military despotism. Although an advocate of free trade and navigation and a hater of monopolies, he had fa vored as a war measure the establishment of the East India Company. During the truce he became, in 1616, one of the members of the little New Netherland Company whose only object was traffic with the aborigines, but opposed the crea tion of a West India Company, which Usselinx and others were urging again, for he knew that its chief aim would be plunder, not trade, and its certain result a revival of hostili ties with Spain. Such a revival was what the Orangists de sired, partly for commercial reasons, partly for reasons of military ambition, partly because many believed that the independence of the Republic was not yet secure. And there fore they were bent upon the establishment of a strong and aggressive West India Company.
The great partisan conflict in which this question figured resulted in a triumph for the Orangists. In May, 1619, the international Synod of Dort thrust the Arminians from the established church. In the same month Barneveld died on the scaffold. War with Spain began again when the truce expired, now as a branch of the widespread and terrible struggle called the Thirty Years' War. And on June 3, 1621, the States General bestowed a charter valid for twenty-four years upon the Incorporated West India Company.
This charter when compared with the one that had been given in 1602 to the East India Company bears witness, even more in its spirit than in its form, to the growing ambitions of the Republic. The principal aim of the elder association was trade although to defend its merchantmen and its colonial posts it had to keep up a considerable armament. Of course the new company was also to trade; and it was given the exclusive right to do so, and to authorize others to do so, along the American coast from Newfoundland to the Straits of Magellan, along the Atlantic shores of Africa from the Tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope, in the inter mediate islands, and in all places from the Cape westward to the eastern end of New Guinea. But its main purpose was to harass and to injure the Spaniard by capturing his ships, by conquering his colonies, by breaking his connections with his American mines.
More as though it were an allied if subordinate power than a mere trading company it was authorized to make, in the name of the States General, contracts and alliances with the rulers of the strange countries its ships might visit. It was permitted not ordered as some translations of the charter say by founding colonies to promote the settlement of `fertile and uninhabited districts,' and was given the right to rule, under the supervision of the States General, all its possible posts and plantations. On the other hand it was to support its own officials, ships, and troops, and to build its own forts and defences. The States General did not guarantee its safe possession of any territories it might acquire, and strictly forbade it to engage in war without permission. But they promised to secure it against all Dutch competitors, to assist it with a million guilders to be paid within five years, in case of war to supply it with sixteen ships of war, to supply troops also if the Company would support them, and to reim burse it for expenses incurred for the security of the state.
Five chambers of directors were to be formed in different parts of the Republic. Executive power was lodged in a body called the College or Assembly of the XIX, to sit at Amsterdam and to embrace eighteen delegates from the chambers with one representative of the States General. The flag of the Company was the national standard three equal horizontal stripes, orange, white, and blue charged with its own initials, G.W.C. (Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie).
New Netherland was not named in the charter, which granted no definite areas of soil, but of course was included in the countries that the new-born Company was to colonize and to control should it so desire.