MISMANAGEMENT In the infancy of this country the directors adopted wrong plans and, in our opinion, looked more to their own profit than to the coun try's welfare. Remonstrance of New Netherland to the States General of the United Netherlands. 1649.
Little is known of Governor Minuit's administration for, barring a few land patents, the official records have disap peared. The Michaelius letters, however, the Van Rensselaer papers, and the references to Minuit's time in New Netherland documents of later days suffice to show that there was constant quarrelling on Manhattan and constant disputing among the directors of the West India Company at Amsterdam.
Many evil tongues vilified Minuit, says Van Rensselaer, especially the tongue of the `crafty knave' Jan Van Remund. Sent out in 1628 to replace De Rasieres as secretary of the province, he was doing his best to excite the minister against the governor. The minister's letter to Foreest went by the hands of one of the councillors who, dissatisfied with the Company's course, was thinking of leaving the province for good. He had done `faithful service,' Michaelius wrote. According to another councillor, Simon Dircksen Pos, no official was doing such service. Writing to Van Rensselaer in the autumn of 1630 Pos said that the farmers on Manhat tan were daily ploughing and harrowing so much land that they needed more seed-corn from Holland ; a good deal of rye and wheat was ready to be delivered, and therefore the directors should soon be relieved of one of their 'great ex penses,' the provisioning of their people. On the other hand there were as yet no more than two or three hundred people on the island, and the governor and the secretary were so `embittered' against each other that they entirely neglected their duties: Here all is left to drift as it will. They let trade slip away and show no zeal to increase it, either by sloops or otherwise, but accuse each other in exorbitant lawsuits and defame each other's walk and con versation to the Lords. The minister, Jonas Michelzoon, is very zealous in stirring up the fire between them ; it would beseem him to be a mediator in God's church and community; but he seems to me to be the contrary.
Consequently the 'Lords Directors' heard from their under lings in New Netherland nothing but 'idle propositions,' one saying one thing and one another while, as none looked after trade, other people in the meantime ran away with the furs. The settlers were sending them away secretly in their chests, and the English were likely to thrust the New Netherlanders from the traffic on Buzzard's Bay.
According to Michaelius also 'some of the directors and heads' had 'by bad management . . . rather kept back than helped the people and the country' while many of the people had wanted to live in idleness, saying that if they had to work they might as well have stayed in Holland, and that if they were in the service oi the Company it mattered not whether they did much or little. But such persons were 'reshipped home as useless ballast,' things were already going better in 1628, and they would continue to improve if the Company would send out good laborers and take due care to supply its people's needs. Nor does it seem as though Minuit can have been quite as supine as Pos declared, for the exports from the province trebled during the six years that he governed it, amounting in round numbers in 1626 to 45,000 guilders, in 1630 to 68,000, and in 1632 to almost 150,000. The goods received from the Company in these same years were valued at 20,300, 57,500, and 31,300 guilders. In 1628, however, the Company had sent out no supplies, in 1631 it had received no furs at all. De Laet gives similar figures in a history of the West India Company which contains no other facts about New Netherland ; in the nine years between 1624 and 1632 the Company had received more than 63,000 skins, almost all beavers, worth 454,000 guilders, and had consigned to the province 273,000 guilders' worth of goods, sending once dur ing a single year four ships, usually two or three, twice only one. More timber was cut and sawed, says Domine Michael ius, than there were ships to carry away, and various indus tries were started although not with much success : They bake brick here but it is very poor. There is good material for burning lime, namely oyster shells in large quantities. The burn ing of potash has not succeeded ; the master and his laborers are all greatly disappointed. There is good opportunity for making salt.
Certainly the governor had shown energy and good sense in opening trade with Plymouth; and he showed energy at least when, in 1631, he subsidized certain Swedish shipwrights who, bringing the timber from far up the North River, built at Manhattan a great ship called the New Netherland. It was fitted to carry thirty guns and according to some accounts was of six hundred tons burden, according to others of eight hundred. It was one of the largest merchantmen afloat, and not for two hundred years was another as large launched in the same waters. Sent at once to Holland and employed in the West India trade, everywhere it excited wonder by its size and by the excellence and variety of the timber used in its construction. But it was so costly that the Company blamed Minuit for building it ; and in after years the colonists cited it as one among many proofs that the Company had grossly mismanaged their affairs while in the same sense they complained of the ill-judged attempts to make lime, potash, and salt.
The brig Blessing of the Bay, the first decked vessel built in Massachusetts, which was also launched in 1631, was of but thirty tons burden and was intended simply to gather corn from the Indians along the coast. The first New England vessel sent across the Atlantic was built in 1638.
Naturally the fact that things were not going well on Man hattan strengthened the party in the Amsterdam Chamber which had always opposed colonization; and the quarrel between Minuit and Van Remund intensified the disputing at home, for Van Rensselaer supported the governor while the special commissioner for New Netherland affairs supported the secretary. All this worked against the success of the patroons. In Van Rensselaer's Memorial of 1633 he says that his partners had spent 15,000 guilders in an attempt to colonize the island of Tortugas which was soon taken by the English because the Company did not give its patroons the protection it had promised them; a vessel sent to take pos session of the Isle du Sable had been captured by the French; twenty-eight persons sent in 1631 to colonize the patroonship called Swanendael (Swan Vale), for which Godyn had claimed lands on the bay of the South River, perished at the hands of Indians whom their leader did not know how to conciliate, and again the Company although urged to do so would not lend a helping hand. Moreover, when the news of the first purchases of land reached Holland and the patroons' agents returned with cargoes that brought some profit, the gain was greatly magnified by the 'contrary minded' who declared that the patroons had appropriated all the desirable lands in the province yet did not intend to colonize them but only to absorb the fur trade to the ruin of the Company. This in creased the number of the `contrary minded' and also intimi dated several persons who had meant to plant colonies, among them Samuel Blommaert who had claimed a tract on the Fresh River. Nor were the patroons' enterprises popular among from which emigrants were drawn. It was hard for them to get any settlers although a number of people were willing to go out as free colonists.
The `contrary minded' being now in a majority in the Amsterdam Chamber it was decided to recall for examination Director-General Minuit and some of his subordinates. Van Remund's accusing reports had had their effect, and as great an effect Minuit's own generosity in the matter of grants to the patroons. The order for his return was sent in August, 1631, by the hands of Coenraed Notelman who was to replace Jan Lampo as schout-fiscal; and on the ship that took him out, the Eendraght (Unity), Minuit, Lampo, some of the coun cillors, and a number of families who had decided to return to the fatherland set sail from New Amsterdam in the early spring of 1632.
Although Van Rensselaer was no longer a member of the Chamber he still had much influence. Notelman was his nephew ; and his own letters show that he had been active in securing the appointment of the director-general named in Minuit's stead, Bastiaen Crol who had been the Com pany's representative at Fort Orange but also an agent of the patroon in the management of the affairs of Rensse laerswyck.
This is the name, Bastiaen (Sebastian) Janssen Crol, or Krol, that on the evidence of the Van Rensselaer papers must be added to the list of the governors of New Netherland. Until they were published it was thought that for more than a year the province was administered by such subordinate officials as remained after Minuit's departure. The most im portant of the papers that make Crol's promotion clear is a synopsis, attested as correct by his own signature, of an exami nation to which, by request of the patroons, he was subjected before a notary at Amsterdam in 1634. Entitled Examina tion of Bastiaen Jansz. Crol, former Director of New Nether land, it relates chiefly to the deeds and misdeeds of one Hans Hunthum who while Crol was governor served as a member of his council and as his successor at Fort Orange. Sum marizing in the third person Crol's answers to the questions put to him, it says that when asked in what capacity and for how long he had been in the Company's service in New Nether land he replied (giving no dates) that he had made the voyage three times first as comforter of the sick, the second time in the same capacity, being then appointed to the director ship at Fort Orange on the North River which post he held for three years, and the third time to fill this post again. For two years he then held it : After which he was elected Director-General of New Netherland at Fort Amsterdam on the island Manhates lying in the mouth of the aforesaid North River also named Mauritius, and served in this office thirteen months.
By `elected' Crol meant appointed by the votes of the directors at Amsterdam. It is more than probable that they put him in the place merely to bridge the interval until Minuit should be sent back or a successor be sent out, for by July of the year in which he took office Van Rensselaer wrote him that Wouter Van Twiller had been named director-general. The fact that documents of later days do not refer to Crol as director-general while occasionally they say or imply that Van Twiller immediately succeeded Alinuit, means of course that his administration was uneventful as well as brief. In deed, only two incidents chance to be recorded in which as governor he played a part. In fear of English aggression the West India Company had ordered that territory be bought of the savages on the Fresh River; and in 1632 agents whom Crol must have sent bought and paid for a point at the mouth of the river which they called Kievit's Hook and in sign of possession affixed to a tree the arms of the Republic, while farther up the stream they arranged for the purchase of several miles above and below the blockhouse, Fort Good Hope, founded by the first settlers in 1623. Of the second incident the Van Rensselaer letters tell. Despite the Com pany's promise to transport cattle for the patroons it would not find the necessary shiproom. Therefore when two farmers, after making their first payments as tenants of two of the Company's bouweries on Manhattan, were summoned home by the directors and prevented from returning, Van Rensselaer engaged with them to discharge the rest of their indebtedness and ordered his agent at New Amsterdam to send their animals up to Rensselaerswyck. This Governor Crol would not permit, thinking it unwise to deprive the Company's farms of cattle.
Meanwhile the ship Eendraght carrying Peter Minuit home was driven by stress of weather into the harbor of Plymouth in England and there for a time detained.
The English had been active in America during the decade since the establishment of the Dutch province. In 1624, the charter of the London Virginia Company being annulled, the crown resumed the privileges it had granted and assumed the management of the colony. Thus Virginia became the first of those royal provinces which in after years included New York. Some of the smaller West Indian islands had now been acquired, and in 1625 the colonization of Barbadocs was begun. Small settlements sprang up on and near Massachu setts Bay. In 1628 John Endicott arrived with sixty men to strengthen the one called Salem. In 1629 a royal charter created a corporation called the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay which was to possess and to govern terri tories extending from three miles north of the Merrimac southward to the Charles River and from the Atlantic to the western ocean, but was forbidden to take lands 'actually possessed or inhabited by any other Christian prince or state.' Under this charter the government of the colony was trans ferred to its own soil. In 1630 Boston was founded. At the same time the Plymouth settlers obtained from the Council for New England a new patent which defined their boundaries, and Gorges and Mason received new titles to portions of the coast at the north, Mason's grant being called New Hampshire. Still farther north the territories of the French came briefly into England's hands.
In 1627 Cardinal Richelieu, determining to build up New France into a more valuable possession, annulled previous grants and handed it over with all rights in government and traffic to a trading company, the Company of New France, of which he was himself the head. Nevertheless, Sir William Alexander persisted in his efforts to colonize Acadia; in 1629, the two nations being then at war, he obtained letters-of marque with permission to displant the French' in America; and aided by royal influence he sent out a privateering expe dition which took possession of Acadia, forced the surren der of Quebec where there were then less than a hundred persons, and brought Champlain home a prisoner. By the time the fleet reached home, however, a treaty had been signed between England and France which stipulated for the restoration of any conquests made after it was con cluded. And Charles I thought best to recognize the title of his brother-in-law to Acadia as well as the St. Lawrence region, getting in return a pledge that the French would not disturb the New England settlements and, what he valued more, a promise of the unpaid half of the dowry of his queen.
This Treaty of St. Germain, signed in 1632, was the first international compact relating to definite areas of New World soil. The settlers on Manhattan can have taken little interest in it. But if Charles had held on to the easily effected con quests of 1629 New York would have been spared a hundred and thirty years of constant anxiety and danger, several decades of actual or imminent conflict, and the active share it was forced to take in that great Seven Years' War which finally thrust the French power from Canada.
In October, 1630, shortly after John Winthrop and his associates settled at Boston, his brother-in-law, Emanuel Downing, wrote him from England that if the things were true which were reported of Hudson's River by Isaac Allerton, then visiting England on behalf of the Plymouth Colony, cer tainly . . . there is no place comparable to it for a plantation, and 'twill quit cost for you to remove thither though all be lost in the place where you are, . . . for he saith that Hudson's River goes into Canada and those two make New England an island.
This meant that Hudson's River was an admirable place for trading in furs. Other Englishmen also had their eyes turned toward the same tempting region. In 1632 Gorges wrote to Mason that he hoped to induce the king to sanction the displanting of the New Netherlanders, and Mason com plained to the secretary of state that these Hollanders had fallen 'as interlopers . . . into the middle' between Virginia and New England, were fortifying themselves there `under a pretended authority from the West India Company of Hol land,' and had published a map of the coast `under the title of New Netherlands,' naming `the country and river of Manahata' for their Prince of Orange and . . . giving other Dutch names to other places which had been formerly discovered and traded unto divers times by several English men, as may be proved.
This was the letter in which, as has been told, Mason ex plained how Samuel Argall had been deterred from settling on 'the Manahata River' in 1621. It also speaks of the profit able beaver trade of the Dutch, of their great ship New Nether land, and, incorrectly, of the warning spoken by Governor Bradford to Governor Minuit, saying that Minuit's people `with proud and contumacious answers' had declared that they held a commission to fight against any disturbers of their settlements.
In the same year Edward Winslow of Plymouth, then acting as agent for that colony and for Massachusetts, presented to the king's privy council a petition describing the contentions of the New Englanders with the Dutch and with the French who were interfering with them on the coast of Maine, and asking among other privileges for a `free commission for dis planting' these dangerous rivals. Thus were justified the fears that Isaac De Rasieres had expressed in regard to the people of New Plymouth.
It was at this time, early in April, 1632, that the Eendraght was forced into the harbor of old Plymouth. Upon suit of the Council for New England it was seized for trading unlaw fully in countries under the king of England's jurisdiction. The States General sent to their ambassadors a copy of the charter they had given the United New Netherland Company in 1614, and an explanatory statement prepared by the West India Company which affirmed that the English themselves had drawn for New England and Virginia such boundaries . . . that our boundaries, according to their own showing, should be from the thirty-ninth to the forty-first degree, within which bounds we are not aware that they ever undertook any plantation.
Basing upon these papers a remonstrance to Charles I, the ambassadors explained that the Dutch had bought the island called Nanathans from the savages, and in coming and going from their fatherland had ' freely enjoyed . . . without any objections' the hospitality of English ports. In reply the English government denied that the Indians were pos sessores bone fidei of those countries so as to be able to dispose of them either by sale or donation,' holding the land only in common and having no settled residences. It declared that no proof could be brought that all the natives of the said country had contracted with the Hollanders 'at the said pre tended sale.' It rehearsed the claim of England to the North American coast as based upon discovery, occupation, and possession and upon charters such as the States General had never bestowed. It said that the New Netherlanders might remain where they were only if they would acknowledge their subjection to the king of England. And it affirmed that in 1621 the States General had denied all responsibility for the `companies of Amsterdam merchants' who were trading in Hudson's Great River. This assertion the West India Com pany contradicted. Nor does any evidence exist to support it. In 1621, it will be remembered, the States General had merely said that they knew of no Dutch plantations in America that infringed English rights.
None the less the States General had placed New Nether land, and were now leaving it, in an ambiguous position.
Tacitly they were claiming it as the property of the Republic. Actually and distinctly they were not doing so, and had never done so except by erecting it into a province with the right to a coat of arms. They had permitted the West India Com pany to acquire it but had given no patent for it, had not defined its boundaries, had not guaranteed its safe possession. They thought, beyond a doubt, that in this way they could hold it with the minimum of risk. Still at war with Spain, the Republic could dare no step that might embroil it with England.
After a long delay the Eendraght was released but `saving and without prejudice to his Majesty's rights' to the disputed territory. If the Dutch, they were told, chose to remain in New Netherland without his Majesty's license they might ' impute it to themselves if hereafter they suffered.' The States General, said the West India Company at this time, ought to maintain their own sovereignty, the freedom of the seas, and the validity of treaties made by their subjects with the unsubjugated ' tribes of North America. It also loudly lamented its lack of the profits it had hoped to get from the colony it was spending so much money to maintain. On the other hand, as the letters of their first clergyman make clear, its colonists complained that the Company did not keep its pledges and expected them to maintain them selves too soon. Where the many good things for the sup port of life, Michaelius wrote, were in an uncultivated and wild state it was necessary that there should be better regula tions and that people who had ' the knowledge and the imple ments for gathering things in their season should collect them together.' Instead, as the people themselves explained a few years later, the Company flung a lot of hare-brained folk into Manhattan to be their guides and rulers, wanted to fill the land not with independent settlers but with its own servants, and tried to reap profits before they could rightly be expected. In consequence, its people tried in legal and illegal ways to evade its trading restrictions and soon began to desire lands of their own. Plainly, the Hollanders' attempt at coloniza tion did not promise well.
It should be understood, however, that in attempting colo nization at all the Hollanders had set themselves a task which, difficult even to-day, was wholly novel then, and that they had gone about it in much the same way as the French and the English.
It was an age of monopolistic efforts, personal, corporate, and national, domestic and colonial. It was an age when it was held as a fundamental tenet of government that trade should be so regulated that the state as such should profit as greatly as possible, yet an age when governments, however powerful in seeming, were weak compared with those of to-day and precariously supplied with funds. Spain and Portugal, getting great stores of specie from America, kept foreign trade in the hands of the government itself. Else where governments deputed the work. But individuals could not undertake it. Although capital had begun to grow abundant in private hands during the early years of the century, few persons could father enterprises involving great outlays and great risks. Therefore large mercantile schemes, including those in which colonization figured, were undertaken by corporations with the sanction of government and the promise of more or less valuable monopolies and, in certain cases, of support with force if needed. In England, in France, and in Holland the government was besieged with demands for distant territories, for subsidies, and for trading privileges intended to be used exclusively for the benefit of some sort of a company. Of course the appetite of those whom oppor tunity favored grew by what it fed upon. It could not be expected that a company obliged to arm its merchant vessels, to protect them often with ships of war, and to maintain strong posts with garrisons and factors in uncivilized and hostile lands, would permit rivals to profit by its costly pre cautions. And when it was understood, first by the Dutch but soon by all others excepting the Spaniards, that colonies could be made useful as markets for home products, then to governments and to corporations the reasons for monopolistic strictness seemed doubly strong.
Expediency, not any broad and settled policy, guided the commercial practices of the Dutch. Thriving at home upon liberal trade regulations, in the East Indies they became the fiercest of monopolists, in North America monopolists of a less ruthless sort. What the West India Company here effected was only what its neighbors at the north and the south did or tried to do. The record of New France is a long list of monopolistic experiments. The story of the founding of Virginia and New England is a tangled tale of rival monopo lists crying out against infringements of their privileges and against the granting of privilege to others, while a strenuous battle against monopolies of all sorts chiefly engaged the attention of the parliaments of James I. In this parliamen tary struggle, however, colonial enterprises, still new and relatively few, were of minor moment. It was the course of the crown in regard to monopolies within the kingdom itself that provoked the famous Statute of Monopolies of 1624 and in after years formed a main reason for the revolt against Charles I.
Jamestown and Plymouth were sustained for a time by stock companies of merchants to whom their profits were pledged. Massachusetts Bay was founded as a colony of a similar kind; the name preserved by its assembly, the 'gen eral court,' shows that this was merely the governing body of the company formed in England transplanted to the colony itself. Self-government was nowhere contemplated at the first. The early governors of Virginia were even more auto cratic than Peter Minuit, appointing their own councillors. ' Assisted emigration' played a large part in the settlement of the southern colonies; and Lord Baltimore, who obtained his patent for Maryland in 1632, advertised like the West India Company for emigrants to go out under contract. The real difference between the English colonies and the Dutch was that in New England and Virginia the first arrangements were quickly changed when they proved economically unde sirable while in New Netherland, although they were greatly modified in the course of years, they were never abolished.
One reason for this was the fact that the West India Com pany, unlike the English companies, had no rivals. Its sole right to adventure in America was never impaired, and was not even seriously questioned in Holland until the Company itself was at the point of death and the English were about to seize its province. Another reason may be read in the difference in number and in kind between the settlers in New Netherland and New England. Men were not leaving Hol land in large numbers, as they were leaving England, because of religious or political discontent or, in spite of the testimony of Baudartius, for lack of industrial opportunities. Those that emigrated at this period were recruited and sent out for the sake of the service they might render to the Company or its patroons, and few could be found who were willing to go. In 1629, just at the time when wonderful waves of willing immi gration began to sweep into Massachusetts Bay, the West India Company wrote in a Remonstrance against a proposed truce with Spain : Moreover, the colonizing of such wild and uncultivated countries demands more inhabitants than we can well supply, not so much through lack of population, in which our provinces abound, as from the fact that all who are inclined to do any sort of work here procure enough to eat without any trouble and are therefore unwilling to go far from home on an uncertainty.
No trouble, distance, or uncertainty seemed deterrent to Eng lish Puritans in the years when Charles I was ruling without a parliament. In throngs they flocked to New England two thousand during the twelvemonth when Winthrop and Dudley came, twelve thousand within half a score of years. They were permitted to assume the government of their colony, many of them were men of substance, a great civil war soon distracted the attention of their motherland, and so they were able to erect in the New World a new commonwealth free for a long time from the control of parliament and crown. Mean while the West India Company was trying to people its prov ince from a land where men were free and content; and to this land every dissatisfied settler was eager to return. There fore New Netherland grew very slowly and was only just gain ing strength enough to throw off the last of the Company's swaddling-bands when it was seized for the king of England.
If even from its own self-seeking point of view the Com pany did not deal wisely with New Netherland, for this fact also there are visible reasons. It was always hampered by the strife in Holland between the two great political parties one of which was from first to last its avowed enemy. Its constitution, resembling that of the Republic itself, stood in the way of energetic action upon debatable points, for although each of its five chambers was charged with special responsi bilities none of them could do much without the indorsement of the Assembly of the XIX, and this executive body could do little without the consent of all the chambers. Moreover, the affairs of New Netherland seemed for many years of com parative unimportance on the long list of those with which the Company had to deal.
To show why they seemed unimportant it suffices to con trast the cargoes that were coming from River Mauritius with the sumptuous freights pouring in from South American, West Indian, and West African seas and shores. In 1624, for ex ample, the Company reported to the States General : Two ships have arrived from the coast of Guinea bringing, in addition to their freight of 627 pounds of gold, 1840 elephants' teeth, and 330 tons of pepper, news that the General there hath made an alliance and treaty with the Rings of Sabou and Ancora not to trade with anyone except with those of the Company, and that he is engaged in a like negotiation with a third King. And . . . four ships have arrived from the Bay of All Saints, bringing the Viceroy and his son and the Jesuits prisoners.
Five years later four thousand cases of indigo, three thou sand chests of sugar, and thirty-six thousand rawhides were brought home within a twelvemonth, . . . as also the handsomest lot of cochineal that was ever brought into this country . . . a considerable quantity of tobacco which is now an important article of commerce; and finally a vast amount of wealth in all sorts of precious stones, silks and silk goods, musk, amber, all sorts of drugs, Brazil and log-wood, and other wares too numerous to mention here.
Richer even than this was the booty brought home in 1627 by Admiral Pieter Heyn who captured near Havana the ' plate fleet' that was annually sent to Spain nineteen ships laden with a hundred and forty thousand pounds of pure silver and other precious wares valued in all at 12,000,000 guilders, `so great a treasure that never did any fleet bring such a prize into this or any other country.' Barbarian kings, captured viceroys, ivory tusks by the thousand, gold by the hundredweight, silver by the ton, silk and perfumes, amber and jewels it reads like a grand fairy tale from which we drop back to a very poor and prosaic bit of mother-earth when we think of Manhattan with its hamlet of bark huts and its bales of beaver skins. And this tale meant to the Hollander much more than fairylike riches. It meant the achievement of the task for which the Company had been created. It meant wealth and glory gained at the expense of the hated Spaniard, revenge for generations of oppression and half a century of pitiless war. To many eyes it meant the safety of the young Republic. Listen once more to the proud words spoken by the Company in 1629 when it was explaining that another truce with Spain would work its own ' utter ruin and desolation' : We have moreover captured some even of the King of Spain's galleons, hitherto considered invincible, besides some other of his men-of-war, exclusive of more than two hundred ships and barks which we have taken from his subjects and partly appropriated to our own use and partly destroyed. Our fleets also reduced and for a time kept possession of the rich and mighty city of San Salvador in Brazil, sacked Porto Rico, pointed out the way to seize its enclosed harbor, and destroyed the castle of Margrita. By all which acts have we not only drained the King of Spain's treasury but also further pur sued him at considerable expense. We say, exhausted his treasury . . . by depriving him of so much silver which was as blood from the arteries of his heart.
Here, in the reference to the sacking of Porto Rico, we learn how the church bells were got that rang in New Amsterdam. Not all the successful raids of the West India Company meant sustained possession, but by 1630 it had taken from the Portuguese (which meant from the king of Spain) a great part of Brazil; it had secured territories in Guiana, several towns on the Mexican Gulf, and some of the lesser West Indies; and within a few years it was to grasp the last remnants of Portu guese dominion on the Gold Coast of Africa.
At the north few prizes and no rich conquests could be hoped for, no injury could be inflicted upon Spain. Nor in regard to peaceful traffic could the unimaginative look ahead except in the light of past and present facts; and judging by these they naturally ranked the promise of New Netherland far below that of the Company's other possessions and of the trade factories set by its sister association on East Indian shores. From the northern parts of America Europe had as yet got nothing that it greatly wanted excepting furs and tobacco only furs and tobacco to set against the gold and silver, the silk, cotton, and dyewoods of southern lands, their coveted articles of art and luxury, their invaluable pepper and spices, and the sugar that was still rare in northern countries. It may be added that even in much later years, when the Dutch had no North American possessions but the English had many, England valued its West Indian islands more than the mainland colonies which sent it only products similar to those of Europe.
If all these facts are understood it does not seem strange that although the West India Company owned scores of vessels it appropriated only two or three for the trade and commerce of New Netherland. It should also be understood that by 1630 the Company was beginning to decline, partly because of its own optimistic extravagance, chiefly because it did not get the national support that had been promised it. Created as a weapon against the king of Spain, it was virtually thrown aside as a sword not needed when its own efforts and the re sults of the first period of the Thirty Years' War had so weakened the Spaniard that he was no longer greatly to be feared. The Republic was tired of the long struggle, and although individuals had grown rich the national and the local governments were poor. Had the States General been a paymaster with full powers the Company might have been sustained in spite of the persistent antagonism of the Arminian party. But according to the peculiar constitution of the Republic the States General could force no province to pay its quota of any national obligation, nor could the provincial States force the municipalities whom they represented to consent to such payments.
In 1629 the Company lent the national government 600,000 guilders although it had not yet received the whole of its first subsidy, the one promised by its charter. In 1630 it claimed an additional 600,000 guilders as the compensation promised for special services rendered to the nation, and declared that in places where the quota was not forthcoming it would not distribute its recently declared dividend of 75 per cent. In 1632 it was permitted to send delegates to the provinces to urge the payment of their indebtedness but obtained only the quota of the province of Holland, 57 per cent of the whole. In 1634 when it was granted, in words, a subsidy of 700,000 guilders its decline was already talked about, and even the province of Holland now refused to pay until the other prov inces should do so.
None of these facts, however, and no excuses that can be framed for the Company relieve it from the charge of a dull short-sightedness in its management of New Netherland. Its colonists were the sons and foster-sons of a land where in medileval times there had been vassals but no serfs and where the lords of manors had a limited jurisdiction a land, nourished to greatness by trade and commerce, which for centuries had possessed rights of local self-government and, after an heroic struggle, had secured national independence and given to civil liberty a broader meaning than was else where understood. The emigrants from this land now found themselves in a New World of limitless opportunity. They had entered it under tutelage but of their own free will, and this tutelage was not an actual despotism, for the Company was subject to supervision by the government of the father land. Wise eyes could see from the beginning that such would not long be satisfied with a system of auto cratic administration and close commercial monopoly. A passage in Wassenaer's history, written before the town on Manhattan was founded, says of the first little settlements: They have already a prosperous beginning; and the hope is that they will not fall through provided they be zealously sustained. . . . For their increase and prosperous advancement it is highly necessary that those sent out be first of all well provided with the means both of support and defence, and that, being freemen, they be settled there on a free tenure ; that all they work for and gain be theirs to dispose of and to sell it according to their pleasure ; that whoever is placed over them as their commander act as their father, not as their execu tioner, leading them with a gentle hand ; for whoever rules them as their friend and associate will be beloved by them, as he who will order them as a superior will subvert and nullify everything; yea, they will excite against him the neighboring provinces to which they will fly.
History could not write words much truer than these pre dictions proved to be. The settlers at Fort Amsterdam were poor and humble but, said Michaelius, they were 'mostly freemen' ; that is, they were neither bond-servants nor agricultural laborers accustomed to hire themselves out to others. They felt, if vaguely at first, that one of them had as good a title as another to make what he could of his New World chances, as good a title as the Company itself that not monopoly but equal rights must be the New World recipe for success. And with clearer eyes they saw that the worst results of the system under which they lived sprang from the mistakes and misdemeanors of their local rulers, and that the appointment of such rulers implied indifference on the part of the Company. Therefore they began at once to complain and to struggle in legal and illegal ways for commercial free dom, and as soon as they could they began to strive for a share in the local government. Nothing of this did the West India Company foresee; all the liberties and privileges it granted in later years it granted grudgingly; and in 1632, when it first heard definite murmurs of discontent, its only impulse was to tighten its bonds.
When the ship Eendraght at last reached Holland Peter Minuit, after an examination lasting several months, was dis missed from the Company's service. Van Remund, sustained in his complaints against his chief, was sent back as secretary for the province. Wouter Van Twiller was appointed director general and Bastiaen Crol was summoned home.
Van Twiller had been a clerk in the employ of the West India Company. Like Notelman he was a nephew of Van Rensselaer; but this time, the patroon informed Crol, he had had no hand in the appointment. In fact he was astonished at the changes the directors were making, going on the prin ciple that they wanted to bring home almost all their people and to send out a wholly new set. But for his own influence, he said, Notelman also would have been recalled. To Van Twiller he gave a long series of memoranda instructing him how to look after the interests of Rensselaerswyck, and with him he sent out some colonists.
In the spring of 1633 Van Twiller arrived at New Amster dam in a ship called the Soutberg (Salt Mountain) and, it appears from Van Rensselaer's replies, wrote his uncle that he had had a 'difficult and perilous' voyage but had escaped the Turks and taken a prize, and that he liked New Netherland and felt well there. The prize was a Spanish bark laden with sugar. With the governor came Van Remund; one Cornelis Van Tienhoven, sent out to be 'bookkeeper of wages,' an office now separated from that of provincial secretary; a clergyman, Dominc Everardus Bogardus, sent by the Com pany to take the place of Michaelius; New Amsterdam's first official schoolmaster, Adam Roelantsen; and one hundred and forty soldiers, the first seen in the province.
The soldiers, undoubtedly, were sent in answer to the request for aid against the New Englanders that Minuit had spoken after De Rasieres' visit to Plymouth; but except as a defence against possibly troublesome Indians and a warning to the New Englanders not to resort to arms they could be of little service, for the States General still strictly forbade the Company to use force against men of any nation with which the Republic was at peace. Domine Michaelius probably re turned to Holland at this time; it is possible that he visited New Netherland again before he died, in Holland, in 1646. The prenuptial contract which pledged Jan Vinje's mother and her second husband to send her children to school shows that there was a school of some sort in New Amsterdam even before the arrival of Roelantsen. The one that he set up was a free school, supported by the West India Company, under the supervision of the church, and, to judge by the customs of the fatherland, open to both boys and girls. Although it was interrupted during the Revolution it still exists, still under control of the church established by Domine Michaelius; and until recent years it received girls as well as boys. It is now called the School of the Collegiate Reformed Church in the City of New York. Founded two years before the Boston Latin School it is the oldest school in the United States.
Secretary Van Remund and four others composed the new governor's council. The new bookkeeper, Van Tienhoven, soon proved himself a pest to the colony. It is less easy to pronounce upon the character of Van Twiller. Certainly he is not to be identified with the person who bears his name in Washington Irving's farcical Knickerbocker History, a book that has done sorry work in distorting the story of New Amsterdam. Its comic-opera background with groups of foolish, plethoric burghers dozing, boozing, and smoking in comfortable chimney-corners bears, of course, no remotest likeness to the real New Amsterdam of 1633 to the poor, stinted, struggling little frontier post where, only five years before, even the clergyman suffered hardship. Were Irving's the only pen to flout Van Twiller its jeers and the reproaches they imply might be dismissed unnoticed. Nor need full credence be given to the charges brought against Van Twiller, as against Minuit, by his subordinates with Van Remund at their head. But testimony of a similar sort, more convincing although possibly exaggerated, remains in a book written by a contemporary, Captain David Pietersen De Vries, and called Short Historical and Journal Notes of Several Voyages made in the Four Parts of the World.
Little is known of De Vries himself except what this book tells. Fortunately it is not a short but a long journal and a true sailor's book, frank, explicit, and emphatic. Born at Rochelle of Dutch parents of good social standing De Vries returned with them to Holland when four years old and from his youth up was trained to the sea. His journal tells of six long voyages, on all but the last of which he commanded one or more vessels. The first took him to the Mediterranean for grain and involved him in a brush with Turkish pirates. On the second he brought fish from Newfoundland to the Mediterranean where again he trafficked in grain and again fought the Turks, this time driving off with a crew of thirty men two galleys carrying five or six hundred. After a long dispute with the West India Company regarding a trading voyage that he wanted to make to Canada he entered the service of the king of France. This seems to have embroiled him again with the Company. In 1627, in command of a fleet of seven French vessels, he went to the East Indies on a voyage that lasted three years. Afterwards, between 1632 and 1644, he went three times to New Netherland, remaining there for many months. His journal contains the only extant description written by a Dutch seaman of the coasts and rivers of the province. It is also the only sustained personal narra tive written by any one who figured in the affairs of the province. Fortunately it throws its vivid light upon the most dramatic scenes in the early history of New Amsterdam; and as its author reveals himself in its pages he wins interest as the most attractive, sympathetic figure of Manhattan's Dutch days.
Returning from the East Indies, De Vries relates, he en gaged as patroon with Godyn, Blommaert, Van Rensselaer, and De Laet in the attempt to colonize Swanendael on the South River. In 1632, when the destruction of the settle ment was known, he went out himself with a ship and a yacht the first patroon, he remarks, who visited America. At Swanendael he pacified the savages and, leaving his ship to engage in whale-fishing, went in his yacht down to Vir ginia to get provisions which he thought he might not be able to obtain at New Amsterdam. Passing the places he called Point Comfort and 'Newport Snuw,' at Jamestown he was cordially received by the governor, Sir John Harvey, but when he told whence he came was informed that the bay of the South River was rightly Lord Delaware's Bay and the property of the English king 'and not New Netherland.' The Dutch had had a fort there, De Vries explained, and for ten years no Englishman had been seen there. Finally Har vey said that `there was land enough we should be good neighbors,' and that the Dutch were in no danger if the people of New England did not come too near but 'dwelt at a dis tance'; and when De Vries left he gave him some goats and a ram as a present for the governor at New Amsterdam.
Returning to the Delaware and sailing with both his ves sels for New Amsterdam, on April 16, 1633, De Vries entered the harbor where he found the Soutberg which had brought `the new governor, Wouter Van Twiller.' At once he had occasion to find fault with this personage.
Two days after his arrival there came from New Eng land an English ship, called the William, intending to traffic with the Indians on Hudson's River. As supercargo it carried a Dutchman, the same Jacob Eelkins whom, years before, his Dutch employers had dismissed because of his treatment of the natives on the Fresh River. Now, says De Vries, despite his acquaintance with the country the West India Company would not employ him, rather 'seeking out an unfit person like this governor whom they had transferred from a clerkship to a governorship to perform a farce.' In vited by Eelkins, Van Twiller went on board the William with Dc Vries and with some of his officials who got drunk and disorderly, making the Englishmen marvel that a governor should have no more control over them. After lying for a few days in the harbor the Englishmen declared their wish to go up the river which, they said, was theirs. This the Dutch men denied, giving their proofs. Van Twiller, as Eelkins afterwards related in England, ordered the whole ship's com pany on shore, and in their presence ran up the flag of the Prince of Orange and had three guns fired in his honor, where upon Eelkins sent the gunner to the ship to hoist the flag of the king of England and in his honor to fire three guns. Then the William sailed up the river to Fort Orange the first English ship to enter the Hudson. As it departed, says De Vries : Wouter Van Twiller assembled all his forces before his door, had a cask of wine brought out, filled a bumper, and cried out for those who loved the Prince of Orange and him to do the same as he did and protect him from the outrage of the Englishman . .
The people laughed, said that they and the Englishmen were friends, and willingly drank the governor's wine. He had com mitted a great folly, De Vries informed him; the English man had no commission to come to New Netherland but merely a custom-house permit to carry passengers to New England. If it had been De Vries's own affair, he added, I would have helped him away from the fort with beans from the eight-pounders and not permitted him to sail up the river I would rather have held him back by the tail as he said he was a man from England. I told him that as the English committed some excesses against us in the East Indies we should take hold of them ; that I had no good opinion of that nation for they were of so proud a nature that they thought everything belonged to them ; were it an affair of mine I would send the ship Soutberg after him and make him haul down the river. . . .
The captain was too truculent; it would have been folly to attack an English ship when the orders to keep the peace with friendly nations were so clear and strict. More wisely, Van Twiller sent the former governor, Bastiaen Crol, with one or more small vessels up the river in pursuit of the Englishman. Crol's testimony, given when he was examined in Holland a year later, differs in details from that given by Eelkins and his companions at about the same time in England, but there is no divergence in regard to the main facts. The Dutchmen did not attack or plunder the interlopers but pulled down the tent they had set up on the beach near Fort Orange as a place for traffic with the Indians, sent their goods, including some four hundred beaver skins, on board the William, boarded it themselves, hoisted the anchor, and started the ship down the river under convoy of a Dutch hoy. Before this happened, say the English affidavits, the director at Fort Orange, Hon thum, and some of his people captured a shallop that be longed to the strangers, ornamented it with 'green boughs' and came to the tent, sounding a trumpet and making very merry with 'a bottle of strong waters of three or four pints.' Peaceably the William was allowed to set sail for England. When its experiences were made known there its owners presented to the Dutch ambassadors a claim for damages against the West India Company. By rights, said the Com pany, it should get damages from the English trespassers on its domain, and the States General ought to try at once to have the boundaries marked out between New Netherland and New England. The States General preferred that the matter should 'take its own course.' No damages were paid, there was no attempt to settle boundary lines. Again the New Netherlanders were left to take care of themselves; and diplomacy, which would do nothing for them in Europe, was the only arm of defence permitted them in America.
Although interesting as the first attempt of Englishmen to get a footing on Hudson's River the affair of the William was a mere episode of no historic importance. Very different in its immediate result and in its lasting consequences was the first attempt of the New Englanders to get a footing on the Connecticut River.
In his history of Plymouth Governor Bradford says that when Minuit's envoys visited his people in 1627 and saw them `seated in a barren quarter' they told them of the Fresh River, . . . which they commended unto them for a fine place both for plantation and trade, and wished them to make use of it, but their hands being full otherwise, they let it pass.
If this invitation was given it was the friendly utterance of some irresponsible individual; the letters of Alinuit and De Rasieres show that they knew nothing of it and would not have indorsed it. In mentioning it Bradford does not say or hint that his people or any other Englishmen had then made any claim to the river or had even visited it. By the year 1633, he continues, the Dutchmen began 'to repent' of the invitation of 1627, endeavored to 'prevent' the Plymouth men, and, getting into the river 'a little before them,' set up a small fort and planted two pieces of cannon. In reality the Plymouth men made no effort to acquire lands in the Connecticut yalley until they knew that the Dutch had done so.
As soon as Van Twiller took office his agents completed by formal purchase Crol's bargains with the Indians there, fin ished Fort Good Hope, and mounted two guns for its defence. The Pequots, a tribe whose seat was between the Pequot River (the Thames) and the Connecticut but who had recently conquered the savages dominant in the Connecticut Valley, made the sales to the Dutchmen with the consent of the chief sachem of the dispossessed Indians. By this time Winslow, then the governor at Plymouth, had visited the river and selected a good place for a trading post, and his people, as Bradford tells, had tried with small success to traffic along its banks, urged to do so by some of the savages who had been driven away 'by the potency of the Pequots which usurped upon them.' In 1633 a pinnace from Plymouth chancing to be at Manhattan brought back word that the Hollanders had formally taken possession of the river where they had been trading for many years. Winslow then hurried with Brad ford to Boston and suggested to Governor Winthrop that the two colonies should join in trafficking on the river and should erect a house there 'to prevent the Dutch.' The dispossessed Indians had also approached the Massachusetts authorities, `for their end was to be restored to their country again,' and Winthrop had found their offers tempting. The Dutch on the 'River Quonektacut,' he recorded in his history of New England, got yearly 'about ten thousand beaver skins' which might be 'diverted' if the English should 'settle a course of trade' farther up the river. But his people, who had then been only two years in America, did not yet feel equal to an enterprise which he thought would be dangerous, and he himself was not sure that their patent entitled them to undertake it; so with his approval the Plymouth people adventured alone.
Yet, thinking best to assert English rights, Winthrop sent the new bark Blessing of the Bay to Manhattan, to inform Governor `Gwalter van Twilly' that as the king of England had granted the 'river and country of Connecticut' to his own subjects the Dutch should forbear building there. His messengers were 'very kindly entertained' but in a 'very courteous and respectful letter' Van Twiller told him that the States General had granted the same parts to the West India Company and begged that the New Englanders would `forbear the same' until the matter should be decided in Europe. The Dutch documents show that Van Twiller added that the powers at home ought to agree 'concerning the limits and partings of these quarters' and that their colonists ought to live as good neighbors in 'these heathenish coun tries' where were 'divers heathen lands that are empty of inhabitants so that of a little part or portion thereof there needs not any question.' Meanwhile the Plymouth men made their move. As the Dutchmen threatened to bar their passage, says Bradford, . . . they having made a small frame of a house ready, and having a great new bark, they stowed their frame in her hold and boards to cover and finish it, having nails and all other provisions fitting for their use. This they did rather that they might have present defence against the Indians who were much offended that they brought home and restored the right Sachem of the place . . . so as they were to encounter a double danger in this attempt, both the Dutch and the Indians. When they came up the river the Dutch demanded what they intended and whither they would go ; they answered, up the river to trade (now their order was to go and seat above them).
The Hollanders bade them strike their flag and stop. They replied that they would not molest the Hollanders but, no matter what these might attempt, would obey the orders of their governor at Plymouth: So they passed along, and though the Dutch threatened them hard yet they shot not. Coming to their place, they clapt up their house quickly and landed their provisions and left the company appointed and sent the bark home; and afterwards palisadoed their house about, and fortified themselves better.
Winthrop tells the same story more briefly: The company of Plymouth sent a bark to Connecticut, at this time, to erect a trading house there. When they came they found the Dutch had built there, and did forbid the Plymouth men to proceed; but they set up their house notwithstanding, about a mile above the Dutch.
When Van Twiller heard, he ordered his commissary at Fort Good Hope to serve a formal protest on the English commander, notifying him to depart; and 'some while after wards,' says Bradford, he . . . sent a band of about seventy men in warlike manner with colors flying to assault them ; but seeing them strengthened and that it would cost blood they came to a parley and returned in peace.
Van Twiller had contemplated no assault, for in reply to a prayer for permission to expel the intruding Englishmen the West India Company had merely reiterated the old com mand to keep the peace. Friendly traffic between Dutch and English continued at Manhattan. Of the year 1634 Winthrop wrote: Our neighbors at Plymouth and we had oft traded with the Dutch on Hudson's River . . . we had from them about forty sheep, and beaver, and brass pieces, and sugar etc. for sack, strong waters, linen cloth, and other commodities.
Soon Winthrop's people followed the people of Plymouth with stronger strides. Now it was the Pequots who invited them. In giving the deed to the Dutch for the lands around Fort Good Hope the Pequots had agreed to Van Twiller's stipulation that the tract should be neutral ground where red men of all tribes might come to trade and none should molest another. But they had broken the pact, killing some of their rivals within the Dutch limits, and they had also slain one Stone, a skipper from Virginia, and his company while coming up the river to trade with the Dutchmen. The Dutch commissary executed some of the murderers. The Pequots then turned to the English as possible allies against the Dutch as well as against their principal red enemies, the Narragansetts; and in the autumn of 1634 their emissaries signed at Boston a treaty promising to surrender the re maining murderers of Stone's party and to give 'Winthrop's people 'all their trade.' In the spring of 1635 the general court of Massachusetts permitted groups of families in Watertown and in Dorchester to remove elsewhere provided they did not go out of its juris diction. After hard overland journeys the Watertown people settled on the Connecticut where the town of Wethersfield grew up, and the Dorchester people close to the Plymouth trading house, founding the town of Windsor. In 1636 came the whole town of Newtown (from the spot now called Cam bridge) led by its pastor, Thomas Hooker; and, instead of seeking an unoccupied tract, this party sat down 'a short gunshot' from Fort Good Hope on lands that the Hollanders had bought. Thus Hartford was founded, and soon its in habitants were sowing and reaping almost at the gates of the Dutchmen's fort. In the same year a small company from Roxbury established themselves farther up the river at Agawam, afterwards called Springfield, at the intersection of the two important Indian trails which, when the white men had learned to use them, were known as the Valley Trail and the Bay Path.
In the meantime the younger John Winthrop, son of the governor, had come in 1635 from England to Boston with a commission from Lord Say and Sele, Lord Brooke, and others to be 'governor of the River Connecticut' for a term of one year. From Boston he sent some twenty men under Lion Gardiner, a Scotch soldier, to build a fort on the Dutchmen's tract, Kievit's Hoek, at the mouth of the river. Driving off a party of New Netherlanders whom, just too late, Van Twiller had sent to occupy the place, Gardiner's party tore down the arms of the Republic from the tree where they had hung for three years and insulted them, said the Dutchmen, by putting 'a ridiculous face' in their stead. Saybrook sprang from this beginning.
There was much excuse for the New Englanders who thus pushed westward from their barren quarter into the rich valley that the Dutch had claimed. There was much for the New Netherlanders who bitterly resented the invasion. As firmly as Englishmen they believed in the right of their nation to regions which they had first seen, explored, named, opened to trade, and inhabited. They thought that the good rule laid down by Elizabeth for the checking of Spain and ap proved by James and by parliament ought to work both ways praescriptio sine possessione hand valeat. And they felt that insult was heaped upon injury when the New Englanders made a practice of calling them 'intruders' and saying that they 'encroached' where they were merely trying to hold what they had been the first to find. There was much reason why they should feel that Captain De Vries spoke the truth when he said, after visiting the Connecticut settlements, that the New Englanders believed that . . . they are Israelites, and that we at our plantation are Egyptians, and that the English in Virginia are also Egyptians.
In regard to the Plymouth men the Dutchmen had pecul iar cause to feel aggrieved. Half a dozen of them, including Bradford himself, had been admitted freemen of the city of Leyden with the same rights and obligations as the native born. More among them than those who came on the May flower in 1620 had found refuge from persecution and distress in Holland, and some of them had Dutch wives or children born on Dutch soil. In fact, as the commissioners noted who were sent in 1664 by Charles II to investigate the condition of New England, even in the second generation the Plymouth people were called 'mongrel Dutch' by their neighbors. The deep gratitude they had often expressed for their welcome in Holland Governor Bradford had emphasized in the first of his letters to Governor Minuit, writing of . . . the good and courteous entreaty which we have found in your country, having lived there many years with freedom and good content, as many of our friends do to this day . . . for which we are bound to be thankful and our children after us, and shall never forget the same but shall heartily desire your good and prosperity as our own forever.
This, says Bancroft, was the ' benediction of Plymouth on New Amsterdam.' This, however, was the whole of it a few fair words immediately qualified. 'But,' the letter con tinues, Minuit and his people would 'please to understand' that they had no right to their plantation, though doubtless they could get a title through the powers in Europe, and that they must not come to trade where they had been trading for years before Plymouth was founded. Bradford seems to have felt a touch of compunction when afterwards he added to his account of his people's entrance into the Connecticut River that they . . . did the Dutch no wrong for they took not a foot of any land they bought but went to the place above them and bought that tract of land which belonged to those Indians which they carried with them and their friends, with whom the Dutch had nothing to do.
The context as already quoted shows that Bradford and his people knew very well that the Dutchmen did not see things in this light.
Some of the Massachusetts men likewise owed personal debts of gratitude to the Dutch, notably Thomas Hooker who chose to settle upon the very lands of Fort Good Hope. Nor were he and his fellows unaware that they would thus give offence. One of the reasons he mentioned for wishing to move westward was the danger that the fruitful Connecti cut Valley would be 'possessed by other Dutch and English' ; and one of the arguments advanced by the general court of Massachusetts to dissuade him was that his party would be exposed to 'evident peril' from the Dutch who claimed the river and had 'already built a fort there.' It would also, said the general court, be exposed to danger from the resentment of the English government which had given no one permission to settle in the valley. In truth, none of the English parties that chose lands below the Massachu setts line had any title to them except by virtue of the general claim of the crown of England to the greater part of the con tinent and of purchase from Indians who denied that they had assented to the antecedent purchases of the Dutch. In the eyes of the English crown they were simply squatters. Soon they all said that they held under a grant given by the Earl of Warwick, president of the Council for New England, to Lord Say and Sele and his associates the grant under which Saybrook was planted on the Dutchmen's tract at the mouth of the river. But they never were able to produce any document supporting this assertion; Warwick's right to make the grant to Say and Sele cannot now be proved by any existing evidence; and at the time it was not recognized by the Council for New England which in 1635 gave the territory between Narragansett Bay and the Connecticut to another patentee. Moreover, none of the settlers excepting those at Saybrook thought of the Warwick grant when they established themselves, and only those at Saybrook ever bought any lands of Say and Sele's agent. This quasi claim, however, based upon the Warwick grant, which therefore came to be called `the Old Patent for Connecticut,' was the only title that any of the settlers below Springfield had to their lands until Connecticut Colony obtained a charter from Charles II in 1662.
From other quarters vaguer dangers threatened Van Twiller's province. Lord Baltimore's patent for Maryland, saying that its northern border touched New England, ig nored the existence of New Netherland, and so, more dis tinctly, did two other patents that were bestowed upon British subjects.
In 1632 Sir Edmund Plowden and eight associates peti tioned King Charles, explaining that there was a 'remote place within the confines of Virginia' about a hundred and fifty miles north of Jamestown 'and a convenient isle there to be inhabited called Manatie or Long Isle . . . not formerly granted,' and that they were willing to settle there three hundred persons to fish, to make wine, salt, and iron, and to raise corn and cattle, wherefor they asked for a patent under the seal of Ireland to cover the said island and `thirty miles square of the coast adjoining.' Of the Dutch colony this petition said nothing. But preserved with it is a paper entitled The Commodities of the Island Called Manati or Long Isle Within the Continent of Virginia seemingly, with the exception of Hudson's journal and Juet's log-book, the first description written in English of any part of what is now the State of New York. And this paper, lauding the fertility, the climate, and the trading possibilities of the island, evi dently with reference to its eastern parts, declares that there would be good hope of gain if friendly intercourse could be maintained with the savages and with Virginia on the south, New England on the north, and `the Dutch plantationmiles on the west' where, says another paragraph, there were `two Dutch forts.' It was in answer to the petition thus reenforced that in 1634 Sir Edmund Plowden and his associates got from the viceroy of Ireland the grant of the province of `county palatine' called New Albion, now best remembered in connection with the baseless story of Samuel Argil's visit to Manhattan a province that was to embrace Manatie or Long Island,' the adjacent ' Hudson's or Hudson's River isles' including, of course, the true Manhattan, and a mainland tract forty leagues square extending down to the coast to Cape May. At about the same time Charles I, who had given back Canada and Acadia to the French in 1632 but declared in 1633 that he had not thereby abandoned his right to Acadia, confirmed the privileges of Sir William Alexander, now known as Earl of Stirling and Viscount Canada; and early in 1635 the Council for New England bestowed upon him a great part of Maine and, ignoring Plowden's grant, ' the Island of Mato wack or Long Island' to which it gave a new name, the Isle of Stirling.
It was fortunate for New Netherland that Charles and his counsellors were growing more and more distrustful of the independent and heterodox attitude assumed by the New Englanders at a time when disaffection was rife in the king dom itself. As people of 'refractory humors' they were denied the favors asked by their agent Edward Winslow, including the permission to displant their French and Dutch neighbors. This was partly due to the influence of Sir Ferdi nando Gorges who had always hoped to see all the New Eng land settlements united under his own control. Now in a petition to the king he said that, although the agents of Plymouth 'pretended' that the Dutch had entered the Con necticut River without their knowledge, it would be unsafe to give them more authority because they were ' openly dis affected' and, in fact, were seeking `to fortify themselves by the aid of the Dutch' an assertion that would have sounded oddly enough to Van Twiller and De Vries. By 1634 the flood of Puritan emigration so alarmed the government that it detained ten ships bound for America until their passengers took the oath of allegiance and promised to conform to the Prayer-Book. In the same year the king created the first board specially empowered to supervise and regulate the affairs of the colonies, a Commission for Foreign Planta tions composed of twelve members of the privy council with Archbishop Laud at their head. In 1635 the Council for New England resigned its charter to the crown, and the charter of Massachusetts Bay was by process of law attacked. That these steps were not followed up, that New England was not then consolidated and, like Virginia, transformed into a royal province, was due in part to the difficulty of serving writs with legal promptness at so great a distance, in part to the disturbed condition of England and Scotland. It is probable that but for the progress in these kingdoms of the rebellion that was to bring Charles I to the scaffold the New Englanders would have lost at this time the liberties of which Charles II and James II deprived them half a century later.