PROSPERITY AND DANGER Kieft thus being made Director had now a path wherein, with good appearance and without being subject to much being said, he could have acquired honor 'and distinction. . . . Passing by divers trifling abuses . . . be it known then that he had a long time nourished in his own bosom the design of making war upon the Indians of New Netherland because they had refused him certain contributions, which they had done for reasons, saying that they did not consider themselves bound to contribute to the Director of the Netherlanders. Breeden Raedt. 1649.
The regulations adopted by the West India Company in 1638 did not settle the disputes about patroons and their colonies. They failed, as has been indicated, to please the one patroon who had really established a colony. And Van Rensselaer was all the more dissatisfied because this colony was not flourishing as he had hoped. He was not content with the services rendered him by either of his nephews, Van Twiller and Notelman. His people, most of them in debt to him for advances when they reached Rensselaers wyck, and all forbidden to trade their products except with his own commissary, found it hard to gain anything although he directed that the merchandise he sent out should not be bartered at such rates as would deprive them of all their share of profit from the farms. Discouraged and disobedient they turned to contraband traffic. Every peasant in the colony, wrote De Vries when he visited it in 1640, was a trader as well as a farmer. And at home Van Rensselaer and his partners did not always agree. Nevertheless he continued to urge the establishment of more patroonships as the only way to insure that the province would not be `contracted and encroached upon as is done even now by foreigners, English as well as Swedes,' and would be peopled by a better sort of persons than the `tatterdemalions' who were now emigrating. His partner the historian De Laet, he wrote to a correspondent in Holland, took no interest in the colony `except to enquire about rarities or to ask for some copy of a document.' Of himself he said: I acknowledge that I talk too much, but when I think of the trouble that I had for others and how I received nothing but opposition in return I do not know how to balance my labor against the ingratitude shown me.
In 1640 the Company, directed again by the States General to settle its disputes and to consult with delegates from their own body, published a new Charter of Freedoms and Exemp tions. It was not at all what Van Rensselaer desired. It was less favorable to patroons, much more favorable to other settlers, than the charter of 1629. Any Netherlander, whether a member of the Company or not, was now permitted to establish a patroonship but might claim for it only four miles along coast or river. Any person who would transport to the province five adults besides himself might claim as 'master or colonist' two hundred acres with hunting and fishing privileges. If such colonists should form themselves into ' hamlets, villages, or even cities' they were to be permitted to choose their own magistrates after the manner customary in the fatherland the director-general to select incumbents from triple nominations presented by the vote of the free inhabitants and to erect courts of justice. From such courts as well as from the patroons' a right of appeal in all but small cases lay to the court of the director-general. This was the second promise of local self-government for the Dutch province.
To such emigrants as were willing to travel between decks the Company offered free transport. Should Company ships not be available patroons and free colonists might get special permission to send out their own, taking on board a supercargo of the Company. The Company pledged itself to supply its province with `capable' councillors and other officials, clergymen, comforters of the sick, schoolmasters, and `as many blacks as possible.' And it promised that so long as the new charter should remain in force it would not burden the colonists with `customs, tolls, excise, imposts, or any other contributions.' This evidently meant that it would demand nothing beyond the export duties prescribed by the charter itself which were ten per cent upon all merchan dise sent from Holland and, to be paid at New Amsterdam ' all in kind,' ten per cent upon skins, five per cent upon other wares. Paying these duties and respecting the staple-right regulations regarding Manhattan, all settlers might now engage in the internal and coastwise traffic previously reserved to patroons ; and all were now permitted to manufacture.
Another clause in the charter promised protection to the colonists `against all domestic and foreign wars and violence' provided they would put themselves in a proper state of defence, each man supplying himself with a gun or a cutlass and side-arms. This mandate Kieft echoed by ordinance, adding that all inhabitants `at and around Fort Amsterdam' should hold themselves ready instantly to repair under their respective corporals to the appointed places when summoned by signals duly described. Such were the first militia regula tions of the province. The soldiers who garrisoned the fort, detached from the regular army in Holland and sent out for short periods, numbered at this time only fifty although in 1633 Van Twiller had brought out thrice as many. To take command of them, to be ' commander of the military,' Van Rensselaer wrote to Kieft in May, 1640, Hendrick Van Dyck who appeared to have qualities of ' intelligence and courage' was just then setting sail. Ensign Van Dyck he is called in the records.
It was at this time that Cornelis Melyn, a man of means who had been a tanner at Amsterdam, had visited New Netherland in 1638 as supercargo of a ship, and had since obtained in Holland permission to settle as a patroon on Staten Island, returned with his family and dependents to start his colony. De Vries objected, thinking that the island should have been reserved for him, but was induced to con sent that Melyn should establish himself at a place near the Narrows. A little later Kieft gave him a patent conferring the rights of a patroon for the whole island excepting the portion actually covered by De Vries's bouwerie. Melyn seems to have had to begin his enterprise twice over for he testified in later years that in 1640 the pirates called Dun kirkers had taken him, his ship, people, cattle, and all his belongings. Early in 1641 a patroonship which seems never to have amounted to much was established north of Newark Bay, then called Achter Col.
In spite of his energy and its good results Governor Kieft did not please his people. Some of the accusations showered upon him and his employers were exaggerated or untrue. For example, the Breeden Raedt, a bitter controversial pamphlet published at Antwerp in 1649, goes beyond the verge of the probable when it says that the West India Com pany so envied the growing prosperity of its colonists that it instructed Kieft to bring suits against them ' in order to take more of their profits from them.' Kieft, however, appears to have done much this sort of thing on his own ac count, haling men into his court on the slightest pretexts and imposing unjust fines and fees. Soon the settlers declared that he had made himself an autocrat and used his power to oppress and to plunder them. They objected to a court which consisted only of himself and a single councillor, and complained that when he wanted to enlarge it he asked assist ance not of reputable freemen but of the Company's sub ordinate servants. Especially they resented an ordinance which prescribed that no `contracts, obligations, leases, bills of sale,' or formal papers of any sort should be valid unless drawn up by Secretary Van Tienhoven. Kieft's design, they said, was to prevent them from sending plaints or pleas to Holland. He merely wished, he explained, to avoid misunderstandings in a place where many people were illiterate and ignorant of law.
In spite of his orders that no man should leave Manhattan without a permit all men continued to do so and to traffic with the savages wherever they chose. This was one cause of the Indian troubles which began in 1640. The chief and actively exciting cause was the governor's injustice to the red men.
Permitted freely to frequent New Amsterdam with maize, tobacco, and furs for sale, entertained as guests, and employed as outdoor and even as indoor servants, the Indians soon lost their awe of the white man, developed their passion for his drinks, and offered irresistible prices for his firearms and powder as much as twenty beaver skins for a single musket. The Company wisely forbade under penalty of death any such traffic, and Kieft prevented it almost entirely in the neighborhood of Fort Amsterdam. Farther away, and especially at Rensselaerswyck, he had less control. There fore the Mohawks rejoiced in an abundance of the coveted weapons while the Indians around Manhattan, getting but a meagre supply, grew morose and indignant with the Dutch. The newly granted liberty in internal trade increased the number of wandering traders and tempted them deep into the wilderness. It also scattered the settlers, who thought they could traffic best with the savages by living far from one another; and this meant that their straying cattle often injured the Indians' crops while their isolation invited re vengeful attacks.
Such a state of things provoked individual crimes and paved the way for local outbreaks which even a wise governor might not have been able to prevent. Yet for a long time peace and amity prevailed. As late as 1640 Captain De Vries wrote of the Indians: Though they are so revengeful towards their enemies they are very friendly to us. We have no fears of them; we go with them into the woods; we meet each other sometimes at.an hour or two's distance from any house, and we think nothing more of it than if a Christian met us. They also sleep in the chambers before our beds, but lying down on the bare ground with a stone or a piece of wood under the head.
Kieft had clear orders from the Company to preserve these good relations with the savages by clement as well as just and prudent treatment. Instead, he treated them as the New Englanders had treated the Pequots: if one of them killed a settler the governor refused the customary Indian reparation, blood-money paid in wampum, and demanded the surrender of the culprit. Also, falsely professing to act under instruc tions from the Company, he tried to collect tribute in corn or service from the friendly River Indians whom the Dutch, he said, had protected against the Mohawks, but who hotly re sented the injustice of the demand. His people asserted at a later day that this was the main cause of the war. Captain De Vries names another : Kieft visited on the savages, `who although they are bad enough will do you no harm if you do them none,' certain wrongs which his own agents had com mitted. That is, in 1640 he accused the Raritans of Staten Island of depredations actually committed by white men, and sent soldiers to ask satisfaction; the soldiers killed several Indians without the governor's orders but in the belief that he would be pleased ; and one or two other persons, De Vries asserts, cruelly maltreated one or more of the savages. So in 1641 the tribe retaliated, desolating De Vries's plantation and killing four of his people. It was the general alarm awakened by this raid that prevented Kieft from sending Councillor La Montagne with reenforcements to check the English who were persecuting the little garrison at Fort Good Hope. The Almighty had directed the raid in the in terests of his chosen people, thought Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts. It `pleased the Lord,' he explained, thus 'to disappoint the purpose of the Dutchmen.' Declaring now that he would exterminate the Raritans Kieft tried to excite the River Indians against them and offered bounties for their heads, as the New Englanders did in the case of their savage enemies when at a much later day King Philip's War was beginning. And then the spectre of a long-past crime arose, dramatically, to excite him to other rash and cruel courses.
This crime had been committed in 1626, the year of the first governor's arrival. Three of Minuit's servants, whom some accounts describe as negroes, then robbed and killed a Wech quaeskeck Indian on Manhattan near the borders of the Kalck Hoek Pond. Minuit did not punish them or pay the blood-money that the tribe demanded. An Indian boy who had witnessed the murder, a nephew of the victim, nursed his revenge for years. In 1641 he came to Manhattan from the home of the tribe beyond the Harlem River in what is now Westchester County and treacherously slew an old man, called Claes Cornelissen Swits (the Swiss) or Rademaker (the Wheelright), who had leased part of Jacobus Van Corlaer's farm on the Muscoota Flats. Kieft demanded the surrender of the young brave. His sachem replied that he had merely done his duty and that he himself regretted that twenty Chris tians had not been killed.
Kieft now began to grow alarmed. The people said that he was seeking a war so that he might make `a bad account ing for the Company,' presumably for his private profit. Also, writes De Vries, they accused him of cowardice because he imperilled their safety but guarded his own: he had not slept outside the fort `a single night during all the years he had been there.' Fearing therefore, De Vries continues, that the trouble which now seemed imminent would be laid to his charge, Kieft . . . called the people together to choose twelve men to aid him in the direction of the affairs of the country, of which number I, as a patroon, was one.
Such was the first faint dawning of popular government on Manhattan. In answer to Kieft's summons `all heads of families' met in the fort on August 29, 1641; and with the twelve men whom they then chose to act on behalf of the `Commonalty of New Amsterdam' begins the roll of the representatives who, under widely differing conditions, have since been elected to do the will of the people of New Amster dam and New Netherland, of the city and province and State of New York. Their names were: Here were residents of Manhattan, Pavonia, Long Island, and Staten Island, for what was called the Gemeende or Com monalty of New Amsterdam embraced not only the people in the little town around the fort but also the other settlers on Manhattan and in its neighborhood. All twelve appear to have been true Netherlanders except Kuyter the Dane and Rapelje the Walloon. Both of these were farmers. So was Dircksen, Planck (if, as is probable but not certain, he was the Planck or Ver Planck who had settled at Paulus Hoek), and Stoffelsen who had been one of the Company's commissaries and overseer of its negroes. Bentyn had served on Van Twiller's council. Jansen was a tailor, Lubbertsen a seaman, Molenaar a miller. Damen (also called Dam) has already been mentioned as the stepfather of the first-born soli of Manhattan. Adriaensen had recently come from Rensse laerswyck whither the patroon had sent him as a master tobacco planter in 1631.
As their president the Twelve Men chose Captain De Vries. His account of their proceedings says: Commander Kieft then submitted a proposition whether we should avenge the murder of Claes the Wheelwright by declaring war upon the Indians or not. We answered that time and opportunity must be taken as our cattle were running at pasture in the woods and we were living far and wide, east, west, south, and north of each other; that we were not prepared to carry on a war with the Indians until we had more people like the English who make towns and villages. I told Commander Kieft that no profit was to be derived from a war with the Indians ; that he was the means of my people being murdered at the colony which I had commenced on Staten Island in the year forty. . . .
De Vries also told the governor that the West India Company had ordered its colonists to keep peace with the savages. But Kieft `would not listen to it,' and again the captain lamented the careless manner in which the Company made choice of its officials.
The Twelve Men insisted that Kieft should send `one, two, and three times' peaceably to demand the murderer of Swits before declaring war. Arguing with them individually Kieft urged immediate action. Not until January, 1642, when repeated solicitations had failed to effect the surrender of the culprit, did they consent, unwillingly, to attack the Wech quaeskecks provided the governor would accompany the expedition `to prevent all disorder.' He was also to supply guns and ammunition, provisions and a steward to distribute them, but, they added, 'if anyone require more than bread and butter, he must provide it himself.' These facts are told in papers which Kieft afterwards took with him when he sailed for Holland. From the people's own petitions and narratives of a later day it appears that as soon as they had settled the main matter under discussion they seized their chance to speak about other things. They demanded for the people a share in the government, saying that in Holland even the smallest village had its elected judiciary of five or seven schepens. To save `the land from oppression' they asked that the governor's council should consist of at least five persons, that four of them should be members of their own board, and that, according to the Dutch custom of rotation in office, two of these should annu ally be retired in favor of others. They also asked for a proper organization of the burgher guard or militia, which was not being maintained as the Company had prescribed, and for sundry commercial regulations. To some of these requests Kieft gave a qualified assent. But he made small effort to redeem his promises; he told the Twelve Men that the Commonalty had not empowered them to do anything except advise about the murder of Swits; and in February he practically dissolved their board, forbidding them to meet or to call 'any manner of assemblage' without his express command. Thus, as the Remonstrance of New Netherland declared, he proved that he had sanctioned their election merely that they might serve him 'as a cloak and as a cat's paw' when he was `wholly bent' upon fighting the Indians.
Possibly he had sanctioned it because of certain things that Van Rensselaer had pointed out to him in one of his long let ters, dwelling upon the difference between commanding 'a loose mass of people' and ruling 'a republic' where, after the custom of Holland, there should be local governments attend ing to matters within their own spheres so that only 'great and important' ones would come before the 'general chief,' which general chief, moreover, 'should be assisted by dele gates from the respective members.' So, thought Van Rens selaer, New Netherland ought to be governed, but as the Company was 'not inclined that way' it would not be feasible to bring about such a state of things 'gradually and carefully' but only . . . to introduce it when the charges become too heavy, in order to get relief, though it will not be possible to do it then as conven iently as if matters had been guided in this direction from the beginning.
Whether or no these sensible words influenced for a moment Governor Kieft, they contained a prediction which, like Was senaer's, came true.
In March Kieft sent Ensign Van Dyck with eighty men to attack the Wechquaeskecks, quietly staying in the fort him self. The expedition went astray yet it alarmed the sav ages; in the house of Jonas Bronck they made a pact with the white men, promising to deliver up the assassin of Swits; and, although they did not keep their word, peace prevailed during the remainder of the year 1642. The wiser settlers must have realized that, Kieft being at the helm, the little provincial ship of state was probably drifting through a deceptive calm into another and a wilder storm. Apart from this danger the condition of New Amsterdam was more pros perous and promising than ever before.
There were now, it is recorded, thirty bouweries near Fort Amsterdam ' as well cultivated and stocked as in Europe' and a hundred lesser plantations in a fair way to become regular bouweries. Some of the most promising had been started by Englishmen. Although the first of these to settle in the province, says the Journal of New Netherland, were bond-servants whose time had expired, soon came families, . . . and finally entire colonies . . . in order to enjoy freedom of conscience and to escape from the insupportable government of New England.
The most conspicuous result of the theological disputes that had grown bitter and hot in Massachusetts was the found ing of the settlements which grew into the colony of Rhode Island. In 1636 Roger Williams sought among the red men at the spot he called Providence the shelter denied him by the Puritans of Massachusetts and the Pilgrims of Plymouth; and in 1638 William Coddington, John Clarke, William Dyer, Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, the famous Antinomian who had been banished from Massachusetts, her husband, and a few more of the unorthodox found refuge on the island of Aquidneck (Rhode Island).
Others of their kind betook themselves to New Netherland. Many persons were leaving Massachusetts, Winthrop tells, because of hard material conditions a great depression of trade resulting largely from the disturbed condition of the mother-country; but many accepted the 'very fair terms' upon which Governor Kieft offered them lands on Long Island because they were ' infected with Anabaptism.' The authori ties at Boston reproached them . . . not for going from them but for strengthening the Dutch our doubtful neighbors, and taking that from them which our king challenges and had granted a patent of . . . to the Earl of Stirling, and especially for binding themselves by an oath of fealty.
Some thereupon promised to desist; others were not so easily bridled. Nor was Long Island the only place in which Kieft made them welcome. The Reverend Mr. Throgmorton, or Throckmorton, of Salem settled with thirty-five Anabaptist adherents in the region afterwards called Westchester, north east of Bronck's Land, calling his place Vreedenland, the Land of Peace. The name of Throg's Neck preserves his memory. Just above him at the place then named Annie's Hoek, now Pelham Neck in Pelham Bay Park, settled Mrs. Anne Hutchinson and her household, driven from Rhode Island by the fear that Massachusetts or Plymouth would absorb it. A little stream which now forms the western boundary of Pelham Bay Park is still called Hutchinson's River. From Rhode Island came also Thomas Cornell who settled between Bronck's and Throgmorton's plantations. Among his descendants have been the founder of Cornell University and a governor of the State of New York.
To the Reverend Francis Doughty and a group of his friends Kieft gave a great tract of land on Long Island where they founded a village at Mespath, afterwards called Middel burg and Newtown. Doughty was not an Anabaptist or an Antinomian, yet the Remonstrance of New Netherland, which was written a few years later by his son-in-law Adriaen Van der Donck, says that after emigrating from England to escape persecution and finding that he had got . . . from the frying-pan into the fire . . . he betook himself in consequence under the protection of the Netherlanders in order that he might, according to the Dutch Reformation, enjoy freedom of conscience which he had unexpectedly missed in New England.
Another Anabaptist immigrant was Lady Deborah Moody. Winthrop writes : The Lady Moody, a wise and anciently religious woman, being taken with the error of denying baptism to infants, was dealt with by many of the elders and others and admonished by the church of Salem . . . but persisting still and to avoid further trouble she re moved to the Dutch against the advice of all her friends. . . . She was afterwards excommunicated.
Not all her friends can have opposed her departure, for besides her minor son, Sir Henry Moody, forty persons came with her when she decided, as a clergyman of Lynn wrote to Winthrop, to `sit down' at Gravesend on Long Island `from under civil and church watch among the Dutch.' On the security of their oaths of allegiance and in accord ance with a set of Articles regarding English settlers published by Kieft in June, 1641, all these aliens received their lands without price, promising after the end of ten years to pay tenths of their harvests to the West India Company. They were to enjoy ' free exercise of religion' as well as the hunting, fishing, and trading privileges enjoyed by their Dutch neigh bors. And should they 'desire a magistracy' they might set up, in the manner prescribed by the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions of 1640, inferior courts of justice from which an appeal should lie to the governor and council in all civil cases involving more than forty guilders and in all criminal cases involving corporal punishment 'blood-letting' is the Dutch term.
Time was to show how the English settlers of whom these were the first would regard their oaths of allegiance and repay the generous welcome they received. It may be said in ad vance that again Van Rensselaer proved himself a prophet when he wrote to a correspondent at New Amsterdam in 1643: I fear that the arrival of so many Englishmen will later give trouble. The Lord grant that it may turn out better.
So many foreign vessels were now entering the harbor of New Amsterdam that in 1642 Kieft issued a stringent ordinance saying that all goods which had not paid the legal `recogni tions' to the West India Company in the fatherland or in one of the other Dutch colonies should be charged with equivalent import duties at New Amsterdam. And so many were the English residents and the English skippers stopping on the way between Virginia and New England that Kieft had to supply himself with a secretary of their nation. The person he chose the first English-speaking official of the province was one of Lady Deborah Moody's companions, Ensign George Baxter, who in spite of his military title had had `some experience in law cases.' Although the commonalty of New Amsterdam included five hundred men of fighting age, which implies a total of some twenty-five hundred persons, the `village' under the walls of the fort, says the Journal of New Netherland, sheltered only one hundred men and their families. Yet as it was the centre of life and traffic for the whole neighborhood, the seaport of the up-river settlers, a much-frequented place of call, and the resort of troops of Indians, it was a very lively, busy little town. Besides the Company's people at Fort Orange and the farmers and artisans of Rensselaerswyck, elsewhere in the wide province there were only a few trading posts. In Massa chusetts there were some fifteen thousand people. And although New Netherland was now building vessels for coast wise traffic and engaging in transatlantic commerce, Massa chusetts was developing the fisheries to which New Nether land paid no attention and was building much larger vessels and more of them for example, in 1643 five ships of from one hundred to four hundred tons' burden. Thanks to the fur trade, however, New Amsterdam was probably as yet without a rival in New England as a place of export to Europe.
The early settlers in New Amsterdam, having no titles to the land, had placed their houses as they chose with little regard to their neighbors'. After the `free people' petitioned for title-deeds in 1638, streets were laid out and the land was sold or leased in small parcels. The earliest known private deed, dated in 1643, transferred from Abraham Jacobsen Van Steenwyck to Anthony Jansen Van Fees a lot on Brugh Straet (now Bridge Street) measuring thirty feet on the street and one hundred and ten feet in depth for the sum of twenty-four guilders less than $10, or more than $40 according to the present value of money. Secretary Van Tienhoven lived in a house thirty feet long and twenty feet wide. Within the fort Kieft built a new official residence of stone, one hundred feet in length, fifty in width, and twenty-four in height.
On the outlying bouweries the farmers built substantially and lived in comfort. Jonas Bronck had a stone house roofed with tiles which, as is shown by the ' plot' of his land in the State archives, stood near the site of the present Morrisania station of the Harlem River railroad. An inventory taken in 1643, after his death, mentions good furniture and clothes, some curiosities including a 'Japanese cutlass,' table silver and pewter, eleven pictures ' big and little,' twenty books in Danish, Dutch, and German, eighteen `old printed pamphlets,' and `seventeen manuscript books which are old.' This polyglot little library is the earliest of which any record sur vives in the annals of New York. There may well have been larger ones on Manhattan but nothing to rival the largest libraries in New England. Chief among these, most prob ably, was the library of the younger John Winthrop who, as his father recorded, owned a thousand volumes. About three hundred of them, mostly Latin books relating to astrology, alchemy, and kindred subjects, came in 1812 by gift from a member of the Winthrop family into the possession of the Society Library of New York.
On Perel Straet or the Strand, near the modern Stone and Bridge streets, the West India Company now had five stone warehouses which were also workshops for the artisans coopers, armorers, tailors, hatters, shoemakers, and so forth whom it sent out to supply the needs of its soldiers and em ployees. Near by stood its brew-house which gave Brouwer Straet its name, afterwards changed to Stone Street.
Not only his credit but his heart would break, wrote Gov ernor Harvey in 1632, if he had to continue to be the host as well as the governor of Virginia. In 1642 Governor Kieft, just as tired of entertaining strangers in his own house, built for the West India Company a Stadt's Herberg or City Tav ern, such official inns for the accommodation of travellers being customary in Dutch towns. It is best remembered as the Stadt Huis or City Hall of New Amsterdam, a dignity to which it attained in after years. It seems to have been about forty by thirty feet in size and of two main stories with a basement and a high attic. It stood apart from the town and faced the East River, but its site is now well away from the shore of the widened modern city on the north side of Pearl Street at the head of Coenties Slip. It was leased at first for 300 guilders a year to Philip Geraerdy who pledged him self to sell only the Company's liquors and wines.
The first public ferry to Long Island was established in 1642. The ferry-boat, a flatboat summoned by the blowing of a horn, plied where the river was narrow, well above the village of New Amsterdam, between points which are now the foot of Fulton Street in Brooklyn and Peck Slip in New York.
The main road northward from the fort was an old Indian path which, forking below the present City Hall Park, con tinued along the eastern and western banks of the Kalck Hoek Pond. Its lower end, then called the Heere Weg or Heere Straet, began to assume a likeness to a street in 1643 when, it is said, a tavern owned by Martin Cregier was built upon the lots now numbered 9 and 11 Broadway. Barring the Stadt's Herberg this was the chief place of entertainment in Governor Kieft's New Amsterdam. The building which replaced the first one on this site and was also a house of entertainment grew famous during the Revolution as Burns' Coffee House, was known in its latter days as the Atlantic Garden, and stood until 1860.
Captain De Vries tells of the founding of New Amsterdam's first substantial church building : As I was daily with Commander Kieft, generally dining with him when I went to the fort, he told me that he had now a fine inn, built of stone, in order to accommodate the English who daily passed with their vessels from New England to Virginia, from whom he suffered great annoyance and who might now lodge in the tavern. I replied that it happened well for the travellers but there was great want of a church, and that it was a scandal to us when the English passed there and saw only a mean barn in which we preached ; that the first thing which the English built, after their dwellings, was a fine church, and we ought to do so too as the West India Company was deemed a principal means of upholding the Reformed Religion against the tyranny of Spain, and had excellent materials therefor, namely, fine oak-wood, good mountain stone, and lime burnt of oyster shells, much better than our lime in Holland. He then inquired who would super intend the work. I answered, the lovers of the Reformed Religion who were truly so. He then said that I must be one of them, as I proposed it, and must give a hundred guilders.
De Vries consented, saying that the governor also must give on his own account and more largely on the Company's, that the church must be built in the fort to guard against any surprise by the Indians, and that he and the governor, with Damen who lived close to the fort and Jochem Pietersen Kuyter who was a devout person and had good workmen who could quickly prepare the timber, must as church war dens superintend the work. Kieft promised on behalf of the Company one thousand guilders. The Remonstrance of New Netherland tells how he got money from the people. At a wed ding-feast in the house of Domine Bogardus whose stepdaughter Sarah, the daughter of Annetje Jans, was marrying Dr. Hans Kierstede, 'after the fourth or fifth drink' the governor passed around his subscription list, setting a liberal example : Each then, with a light head, subscribed away at a handsome rate, one competing with the other; and although some heartily repented it when their senses came back, they were obliged nevertheless to pay; nothing could avail against it.
The church was located in the fort, against the people's wish as it turned the wind from the grist-mill that stood near by; and, writes De Vries, its walls were . . . speedily begun to be laid up with quarry-stone and to be covered by the English carpenters with slate, or rather with oak shingles which by exposure to the wind and rain turn blue and look as if they were slate.
The contract signed by these carpenters, brothers named Ogden who came from Stamford in New Haven Colony, is preserved among the State archives and shows that they engaged to erect as well as to roof the church, a structure of undressed stone 72 feet in length, 54 in width, and 16 in height. They were to be paid 2500 guilders in cash, beaver skins, or merchandise, and if they `well earned' this money 100 guild ers more. The paper bears the signatures of John and Richard Ogden and of two other persons who probably acted as their sureties Gysbert Op Dyck, a prominent New Netherlander, and Thomas Willett, an Englishman from Plymouth destined to play a prominent part in the later history of New Nether land and in early English days to serve as the first mayor of the city of New York.
This was the church with the high-pitched roof that is shown in pictures of New Amsterdam. It was not finished for some years. Tradition says that it was dedicated to St. Nicholas. With the voice of its bell, one of the old bells from Porto Rico, it regulated the daily life of the people. They paid for their church, says the Remonstrance, although the inscription Kieft placed upon it was somewhat ambigu ous: Anno Domini 1642 William Kieft Director General, hath the Commonalty caused to build this temple.' The church was torn down shortly before the end of the century. When the fort in which it had stood was razed a century later, in 1790, the slab was unearthed that bore Kieft's in scription, reading : Ao. Do. MDCXLII W. Kieft Dr. Gr. Heeft de Geemeente
dese Tempel doen Bouwen.
Placed in the belfry of the Dutch church which then stood on Exchange Place, the old slab perished with this building in the great fire of 1835.
Dr. Hans Kierstede, it may be noted, whose wedding be came historic through its connection with the building of the church, was a surgeon from Magdeburg in Saxony whom the West India Company had sent out with Governor Kieft. He and La Montagne were the chief physicians of New Amster dam although one named Van der Bogaert practised before their arrival and by 1638 there were three others, probably ships' surgeons whose stay was brief. Kierstede's descendants followed in his steps with a constancy rare in our changeful America: it is believed that always since his time New York has had a physician or an apothecary of his blood and name Although the earliest known view of New Amsterdam was not published until 1651, by Joost Hartgers in a book describ ing the English colonies, New Netherland, Bermuda, and the West Indies, it must have been drawn before 1642 as it does not show the church. It is a simple sketch; four and three quarters inches square, showing the fort as seen from the water with a large Indian canoe in the foreground, and was probably made with the help of a camera obscura as it reverses the points of the compass. It is labelled 'T Fort nieuw Amsterdam op de Manhatans. Of even earlier date is prob ably the first special map or, rather, bird's-eye view or plan of Manhattan, indorsed Manhatus gelegen op de noot rivier and believed to have been made for the West India Company by a draughtsman named Vingbooms. This was discovered in Amsterdam not many years ago and was first reproduced in a French periodical in 1892 when it was shown at the Columbian exhibition in Paris. It measures 68 by 45 centi metres and gives the eastern shore of Long Island, the East River with its islands, and Manhattan, not very correctly outlined, with its hills and creeks. Only two localities have names, Eylandt Manatus itself and Hilla Gat; but as the fort and its windmills are indicated so doubtless would the church have been had it stood when the drawing was made.
On Staten Island Kieft established a buckskin factory and what is said to have been the first distillery in North America, certainly the first in New Netherland. In 1641 he ordered that two annual fairs should be held at New Amsterdam on the Plain in front of the fort, one in October for live stock of all kinds, one in November for swine. In the same year he tried, as the Twelve Men had requested, to regulate by ordi nance the local currency.
Coin being excessively scarce in the province, 'merchandise' was accepted in other transactions as well as in mere barter ing while beavers' (dried beaver skins) passed current and soon formed the local standard of value, and wampum was the customary medium of exchange. The growing demand for wampum tempted the Indians to make the beads care lessly and the English at the east end of Long Island to dye the white ones black that their value might be doubled and to counterfeit them with beads of stone, bone, glass, horn, wood, and mussel-shell. The savages, better judges of their own money than the whites, rejected even the genuine when it was not perfect; but, as Kieft's ordinance explained, the rough unpolished stuff,' often broken and unstrung, was brought to his town and passed off at fifty per cent more than its value while . . . the good polished sewan, commonly called Manhattan sewan, is wholly put out of sight or exported which tends to the ruin and destruction of this country.
Therefore all persons were forbidden under penalty of 'ten guilders for the poor' to pay out or to receive unpolished sewan except at the rate of six beads for a stiver. 'Well polished sewan' was to remain at its former value, four beads to a stiver. In all cases, it was prescribed, the beads must be properly strung. This was New York's fii:stmonetarylaw.
Early in the William Hawkins laid the foundation for the slave trading of the English; and the coat of arms of his more famous son John, knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1566, bore three gold coins with a black man `bound and a captive' as the crest. It is commonly said that negroes were first introduced into the English colonies by a Dutch ship which carried a score of them to Virginia in 1619, but it is possible that this ship was commissioned by English men, probable that negroes had been taken to Virginia before it arrived. Two decades later even the northern colonies wanted negro slaves, for reasons which Emanuel Downing explained in a letter to his brother-in-law Winthrop, whom by this time he had followed to Massachusetts. A just war with the Narragansett Indians might be advisable, he said, first because it was possibly a sin to suffer the savages to con tinue their worship of the devil, and secondly because if the Lord should deliver red men, women, and children into the Englishmen's hands they could be exchanged for 'Moors,' and this would be very 'gainful pillage' as it was hard to see how the whites could thrive until they got slaves enough to do all their work, . . . for our children's children will hardly see this great continent filled with people, so that our servants will still desire freedom to plant for themselves, and not stay but for very great wages. And I sup pose you know very well how we shall maintain twenty Moors cheaper than one English servant.
The Dutch West India Company, which gradually got con trol of the slave trade on the coasts of Africa, set blacks by the thousand at work in the sugar plantations of Brazil. In spite of repeated promises it sent only a few to Governor Kieft's province. Almost all of these were kept as the Com pany's property and hired out upon occasion to individual settlers. It was probably for the Company's account that in 1636 Van Twiller had paid forty guilders apiece for three negro men.
As no special ordinances were ever passed in New Nether land for the management of slaves they must have been tractable. They appear to have been kindly treated, and in 1644 Kieft manumitted nineteen men with their wives because they had faithfully served the Company for eighteen years or more. These freedmen were put on 'the same footing as other free people here,' and were allotted from three to nine morgens of land apiece upon a promise to pay as an annual tax a certain proportion of their crops and, if required, to work for the Company `at fair wages.' All their children, however, including those `yet to be born,' were to be held as slaves a singular arrangement which, said the Remonstrance of New Netherland five years later, was `contrary to all public law.' The West India Company did not even promise to send out, except to the patroonships, persons bound to serve others for a certain time `for board and clothing only.' The few indented servants who came in other ways into the other parts of the province appear to have been bound for very short periods. The indentures of two Englishmen whom Captain De Vries brought in covered only a single year.
The need of Massachusetts for servants of both sexes soon tempted it, not only to export Indian captives in exchange for negroes, a practice sanctioned by a law of 1646, but to enslave them on the spot. After Block Island was swept by the Puri tan torch in 1636, Winthrop writes, forty-eight women and children sent to Boston were disposed of to different persons, and some who ran away and were brought back by neigh boring Indians were then branded on the shoulder. After the Pequot War, he wrote to Governor Bradford, the prisoners were divided between Connecticut and Massachusetts, the male children were shipped to Bermuda, the women and girls `disposed about in the towns.' The Massachusetts code of 1641, called the Body of Liberties, formally sanctioned this enslavement of 'lawful captives taken in war.' They were also bestowed as gifts upon red men of other and more friendly tribes.
In the Dutchmen's province a few Indian slaves were intro duced from foreign parts and two governors saw fit to export a few captives in a time of war; but to keep or to sell the natives of the soil as slaves was never sanctioned by law, by custom, or by public opinion.
Docile servants though they seem to have been, the half savage negroes in New Netherland added, of course, more than their share to its list of sins and crimes. With the worthy English immigrants came many bad ones so many doubtful characters from Virginia and New England, chiefly runaway bond-servants, that Governor Kieft forbade any resident to harbor a stranger for more than a single night without informing the authorities. Rough and mutinous sailors were often troublesome. And as the residents had introduced the tongues, habits, and temperaments of many different nationalities, and were most of them penniless when they arrived, it can easily be believed that New Amsterdam was not at this period a virtuous little town.
Drunkenness was everywhere the great sin of the Dutch. A careful English observer, Sir William Temple, fancied that in their fatherland much drinking might conduce to ' the vigor and improvement of their understandings in the midst of a thick foggy air.' In a frontier village with a brisk and stimulating air no such excuse for drinking could be invented; and of course it led to many misdeeds. One of Kieft's ordi nances said that 'many accidents' were caused by quarrels in `low taverns and groggeries' and, copying a law recently enacted in Holland, prescribed that any one drawing a knife in anger should pay a fine of fifty guilders or serve three months `with the negroes in chains.' In 1641 nine negroes belonging to the Company confessed to the killing of another. As justice did not sanction the sacrifice of nine lives for one a single culprit was chosen by lot to be hanged. The doom fell upon 'Manuel the Giant.' When the was swung off from the gallows the 'two strong halters' broke. All the bystanders cried 'Mercy !' and the governor relented. Three years later he named this self same giant among the nineteen worthy slaves whom he then manumitted. Another negro convicted of 'a crime con demned of God as an abomination' was choked to death and then 'burned to ashes' ; and in 1639 a white man was 'shot as a mutineer.' These executions were legal, for the West India Company had not repeated in its recent regulations the original order of the States General that all crimi nals convicted of capital offences should be sent back to Holland.
Other mutineers were 'transported beyond seas,' undoubt edly to be worked as slaves in the West Indies. 'Improper conduct' with women was a frequent offence, varying from the blackest crimes of the sort to words and actions of which the law does not now take cognizance. Thievery was common but on a very small scale. Next in frequency to drunkenness was the use of slanderous or scurrilous language. Sometimes it was severely punished: once a man and his wife were ban ished from the province as 'public disturbers and slanderers.' Much more often it was punished by a small fine or the order to beg pardon on bended knees of God and the court; yet these were penalties severe enough, for to be called 'Turk, rascal, and horned beast,' or to be charged as was Annetje Jans, the preacher's wife with lifting one's petticoats too high in crossing the street, are fair samples of the insults which provoked New Netherlanders to drag the offender before the bar of justice. It should be noted, however, that the court at Fort Amsterdam was a court of conciliation as well as of justice in our sense of the term, and that to appeal to it did not involve the payment of lawyers' fees. There were no lawyers in Kieft's town. Every defendant spoke on his or her own behalf, and so did the plaintiff whether he was the public prosecutor or a private individual.
It is impossible, of course, to estimate from fragmentary court records the degree to which vice and wickedness pre vailed in early New Amsterdam. Other testimonies are few and are not unanimous. Secretary De Rasieres, for instance, wrote in 1628 in his letter to Blommaert that the Plymouth people gave the Indians 'the example of better ordinances and a better life' than did the Dutch, and that they 'spoke very angrily' when the savages told them how 'barbarously' the Dutchmen lived as regarded 'fornication and adultery'; but in the same year Domine Michaelius wrote to his friend Smoutius that although his parishioners were 'somewhat rough and loose' they were mostly 'good people' and respect ful to their minister. In Director Kieft's time also those who broke his ordinances were for the most part loose and rough rather than boldly vicious. Crimes of violence were evidently few, for so little fear was felt of ruffians black, red, or white that no night-watchmen guarded the town; and the Calvinis tic insistence that even what we now consider small private sins were offences to be publicly punished implies a commend able regard for decency. New Amsterdam can never have been nearly as lawless and wicked as some of its modern analogues, the isolated mining and trading stations of our Far Western wilderness. And if it be compared with the con temporary English settlements, even with Boston which tried to keep itself as pure from strains of foreign blood as from heretical opinions, the result is not altogether in its disfavor.
With more or less discretion every one drank intoxicating drinks at this period, water being the only alternative; tea, coffee, and chocolate were all unknown until near the end of the century. Rum was one of the chief articles that the Plymouth people offered in barter with Governor Minuit's people. When De Vries held up as a model to his fellow colonists the temperance of the English on the Connecticut he did not mean that they never drank; he said that they . . . live soberly, drink only three times at a meal, and whoever drinks himself drunk they tie him to a post and whip him as they do thieves in Holland.
Massachusetts did not permit itself to be troubled in its early days by such dubious refugees from other colonies as New Netherland received; and it was much more active in driving beyond its borders its own unsatisfactory inhabitants, banishing some without specific accusations, saying merely that they were 'not fit to live with us.' Thus it reduced in number its criminals and sinners as well as its advocates of free thought and free speech. Yet Governor Winthrop lamented that 'the swinish sin of drunkenness' much pre vailed and that `as people increased' other forms of wicked ness abounded and especially the sin of uncleanness. Slander, contentiousness with the tongue, the fist, and the cudgel, gambling, profanity, thievery, adultery, and unmentionable crimes with all these the lawmakers and magistrates of the Bay Colony were concerned; and the records of New Haven indicate that the last-named were probably more common there than in New Netherland.
De Vries was shocked by the prevalence of gambling among the Virginians, who played away even their bond-servants, and told them that he had 'never seen such work in Turk or barbarian.' Also, he charged them with a general dishonesty that he did not attribute to the New Netherlanders despite their fondness for illicit fur trading. The English in Vir ginia, he wrote, were very hospitable but were so far from being `proper persons to trade with' that one had to be watch ful or he would be 'struck in the tail.' If they could deceive any one they counted it `a Roman action' or boasted of play ing 'an English trick.' If any one did trade in Virginia he should . . . keep a house there and continue all the year, that he may be prepared when the tobacco comes from the fields to seize it if he would obtain his debts.
It was thus that the Virginians did among themselves, the captain explained. In a less judicial mood he wrote on another page that the English, whom he had known in the East and West Indies as well as on the American mainland, were a ' villainous people' who would 'sell their own fathers for servants on the islands.' Under heavy penalties the laws of Massachusetts forbade dancing in public inns even at weddings, `unprofitable fowl ing,' all kinds of games, and the taking of tobacco publicly. Those of New Amsterdam said merely that no form of amuse ment, like no form of work, should be indulged in before, during, or between service hours on the Sabbath. Many other marks of difference help to show that New Amsterdam supplied a better soil than a Puritan community for the growth of the gracious plants called hospitality and cheerfulness. It also supplied a less congenial soil for the weeds hypocrisy and perjury. Roger Williams pointed out how these weeds were fostered and forced by the laws which in Massachusetts and New Haven made orthodox opinions a test for full rights of suffrage ; and, writing to the Reverend John Cotton, Sir Richard Saltonstall said : This your practise of compelling any in matters of worship to do that whereof they are not fully persuaded is to make them sin . . . and many are made hypocrites thereby, conforming in their outward man for fear of punishment.
' Better be hypocrites than profane persons,' wrote Cotton in reply. This was not the Dutch point of view. Nor was it the Dutch practice to interfere in matters of conscience and private belief.
In all countries there were many persons at this period and in some there were sects that advocated religious tolera tion; in England congregations of foreign refugees had re ceived special permission from the crown to enjoy their own forms of discipline and worship as native nonconformists might not; and in France the Edict of Nantes, issued in 1598, gave the Huguenots political rights and in a few specified cases religious privileges. But Holland and the Turkish empire were the only European states that sanctioned that general toleration which now prevails in all really civilized lands and in one or two has borne the perfected fruit of full religious liberty. As the world owes constitutional govern ment to the English revolution, says Lord Acton, federal repub licanism to the American revolution, and political equality to the French revolution and its successors, so to the Dutch revolution it owes religious liberty.
In seventeenth-century Holland, it need hardly be ex plained, religious liberty and equality in our modern American sense did not exist; there was an established Calvinistic church which the people at large were taxed to support, no other church was officially recognized, and the toleration of others was often opposed. Yet such toleration was estab lished by one of the articles of the Treaty of Union between the provinces, and it continued to prevail even more widely in practice than in theory. Protestants of all sorts had political rights and privileges of private worship, even the poor and humble Anabaptists who were bitterly persecuted everywhere else. Although after the conclusion of the truce with Spain in 1609 Catholics were still excluded from public office they were permitted to have large churches if by making them look like houses outside they respected the letter of the law enacted during the life-and-death conflict between Protes tantism and Catholicism. And although the law gave the Jew no rights he also found in the Republic a safe asylum and worshipped there privately in peace. Moreover, the clergy even of the orthodox church were excluded from political office and only in one province had any visible political power; only in Utrecht, and there as landed proprietors, were they represented in the provincial assembly.
During the famous ten years' struggle of the Calvinists to cast the Arminians out of the established church Holland still remained the most tolerant country in Europe. This struggle, as has been told, was in its essence political. The great leader of the Arminians, John of Barneveld, was condemned to death on political not on ecclesiastical charges; and the punishments meted out to others when the international Synod of Dort decided against the Arminians were mild indeed compared with those that followed upon ecclesiastical victories in other lands. Many Arminian ministers were banished, and all non conformists were forbidden publicly to preach or to teach. But the ban was soon removed, and thereafter Arminians en joyed the same tacit rights of semi-public worship as other schismatics. In spite of the great diversity of opinion in the Republic, wrote Bishop Burnet, during a visit he made in the year 1664 he found 'much peace and quiet ' ; and he attrib uted the fact to 'the gentleness of the government and the toleration that made all people easy and happy.' The Amsterdam classis of the Reformed Church was the ecclesiastical head of the church in New Netherland as in other Dutch colonies, sending out ministers and comforters of the sick at the request of the West India Company, of congregations lacking pastors, or of the patroon who in 1642, as he wrote to Governor Kieft, secured for Rensselaerswyck a 'very pious and experienced minister,' Domine Megapolen sis, who, he hoped, would be blessed by the Lord in his work `among the dissolute Christians and blind heathen.' Mega polensis, who in after years was a conspicuous figure on Man hattan, was now thirty-nine years old. His contract pledged him to serve at Rensselaerswyck for six years on an annual salary for the first three of 1100 guilders, half to be paid from Holland, half on the spot in necessaries, food, and clothing; he was also to get an allowance of wheat and of butter, and after the end of the three years 1300 guilders. He preached his first sermon at Rensselaerswyck to about one hundred persons.
The secular head of the colonial church was the West India Company which reserved to itself rights of presentation and the power to determine ecclesiastical conditions. It first ex pressed its wishes in this direction in the regulations of 1638, saying: Religion shall be taught and practised there according to the Con fession and formularies of union here publicly accepted, with which everyone shall be satisfied and content, without, however, it being inferred from this that any person shall hereby in any wise be con strained or aggrieved in his conscience, but every man shall be free to live up to his own in peace and decorum provided that he avoid frequenting any forbidden assemblies or conventicles, much less col lect or get up any such. . . .
Each householder and inhabitant shall bear such tax and public charge as shall hereafter be considered proper for the maintenance of clergymen, comforters of the sick, schoolmasters, and such like necessary officers. . . .
The Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions of 1640 laid no emphasis upon liberty of conscience and prescribed no eccle siastical assessments, saying succinctly : No other religion shall be publicly admitted in New Netherland excepting the Reformed as it is at present preached and practised by public authority in the United Netherlands; and for this purpose the Company shall provide suitable preachers, schoolmasters, and com forters of the sick. ) In short, liberty of conscience was granted in New Nether land while the state church of its fatherland was there estab lished and the local government was empowered to forbid the public exercise of any other form of worship. The last named provision, however, remained a dead letter in Governor Kieft's province; no form of religious worship was forbidden.
These arrangements, more liberal than any European gov ernment except the Dutch would then have countenanced, did not mean, be it repeated, what we now call religious free dom. This existed as yet only in the newly born plantations of Rhode Island. Even Domine Michaelius, who wanted to separate ecclesiastical from secular affairs in New Amsterdam, would not have maintained, like Roger Williams, that a state church was an abomination and that between state and church there should be no point of contact. On the other hand no typical Dutchman can have understood the spirit of New England, a spirit briefly expressed by Nathaniel Ward when he wrote in his Simple Cobbler of Aggawa'in that two of the things his heart naturally detested were `foreigners dwell ing in my country' and `toleration of divers religions or of one religion in segregant shapes.' Incomprehensible to a New Netherlander must have been the action of the synod of Massachusetts when, in 1637, it carefully tabulated eighty heretical, erroneous, and unsafe opinions as held by the people of the colony twice as many as the Catholic church had condemned Martin Luther for teaching.
It was upon a basis of toleration that Maryland was suc cessfully founded, by a Catholic proprietor who even if he had so desired could not have attempted to make of an Eng lish a Catholic colony. But much nearer to the Puritan than to the Dutchman stood the orthodox Englishman of the time. As early as 1632 the assembly in Virginia laid penalties on all who might dissent from the Anglican church as there estab lished; and in 1644 it passed a law requiring conformity to the Book of Common Prayer which effected the dispersion of the dissenting congregations that had been formed in the province.
In the eyes of the New Netherlanders even a priest of Rome was a man to be helped and comforted in distress and admired for missionary zeal. In the year 1642 when the famous French Jesuit, Isaac Jogues, the first missionary sent from Canada among the dreaded Iroquois, was captured by the Mohawks young Arendt Van Corlaer of Rensselaerswyck tried to rescue him, making with two companions a long journey on horseback to his place of detention. The Indians refused the offer of a ransom of six hundred guilders' worth of goods `to which,' Van Corlaer wrote Van Rensselaer, `all the colony will contribute' but promised to spare the priest's life. In 1643 they brought him to the shore of River Mauritius. Urged by Van Corlaer, helped by a Dutch skip per, and befriended by Domine Megapolensis he escaped, secreted himself for weeks, and at last, when the Mohawks consented to exchange him for a great ransom, was brought by Kieft's order to Manhattan. Megapolensis and other friends accompanied him down the river, Kieft fed him at his own table, supplied him with 'black clothes and all things needful,' and gave him free passage home. At New Amster dam, he afterwards reported, he met only two persons of his own faith, an Irishman and a Portuguese woman, but the people all flocked to see him, deeply lamenting his misfor tunes, and some of them embarrassed his humble soul by their passionate sympathy. A Polish Lutheran, falling at his feet and kissing the fingers that torture had mutilated, with streaming eyes exclaimed: 'Martyr of Christ ! Martyr of Christ !' Soon afterwards the life of another Jesuit, Father Joseph Bressani, was saved in a similar way. He also was brought to Manhattan where Kieft allowed him to administer the rites of his church to his co-religionists, and issued a procla mation recommending him to the Christian charity of all Dutch officials whom he might meet on his journey back to Europe. In Massachusetts it was then a punishable offence to say that the Catholic was a Christian church. In 1647 the general court ordered that if a Jesuit or popish priest who was not an accredited envoy were brought within its jurisdic tion by shipwreck or other accident he should depart at once, that any who might come of his own free will should be banished or otherwise punished and if he repeated the offence should be condemned to death, and that suspected papists should be arrested and examined Although Father Jogues, it may be added, reached France in safety he returned to his labors among the Iroquois and perished at their hands in 1646 the first of the Catholic missionaries martyred on the soil of New York.
The last execution for witchcraft in Holland took place in 1610. To the New Netherlanders thirty years later the belief in witches so firmly held in New England must have seemed as unwarrantable as to the New Englanders appeared the faith of the Canadians in the miracles exploited by their Jesuit and Sulpitian shepherds. The one and only sign of the delusion that was so closely connected with the hatred of heresy to be found in the annals of the Dutch province is a fear expressed by Governor Kieft that the Indian medicine men were directing their incantations against himself.
Again, in New Netherland self-righteousness and morbid curiosity were not stimulated by law as they were in Massa chusetts where magistrates had the right to pry, and to depute others to pry, into the details of family life. There was none of that delving in the substrata of other people's souls which tempted even John Winthrop to prurient thought, leading him to believe and to record things with which we forget that he concerned himself because the pages that tell about them cannot be reproduced in modern books. Reading the chronicles of New Netherland one cannot fancy it the scene of such episodes of mingled intolerance, superstition, and indecency as those in which Winthrop most prominently figured when magistrates and elders sought to demonstrate the schismatic iniquity of Mrs. Dyer the Quakeress and Mrs. Hutchinson the Antinomian by proving that they had given birth to monstrous infants.
Civil marriage was customary in New Netherland but there was no prejudice against the ecclesiastical ceremony as there was in New England. Records of both kinds of marriages were kept. As we have them they begin with the year 1639.
In Holland the public schools, primary and secondary, which in Protestant times replaced the old church and cathe dral schools were established by law, as they were not in England, and were supported from the general public revenue. They were true public schools `the common property of the people,' writes Motley, ' paid for among the municipal ex penses.' They were free to all and were frequented in demo cratic fashion by the children of the well-to-do and of the poor and by girls as well as boys. At the very first and often again as the years went by the West India Company pledged itself to supply its province with such schools. It did not wholly ignore these promises but never adequately fulfilled them, and the colonists loudly complained of the fact. In the prom ises as in the complaints the minister and the schoolmaster are bracketed together as public officials of equal importance although neither the one nor the other had any concern with political or judicial affairs. Schoolhouses are referred to in the people's petitions as public buildings of prime Until 1639 Adam Roelantsen remained the master of the official school which was set up when Governor Van Twiner arrived and was evidently an elementary school. Jan Steven sen succeeded him. There was then at least one private school on Manhattan. In this each pupil paid annually two beaver skins. By 1643 the people had raised a fund for a public schoolhouse which appears to have been placed in the hands of Governor Kieft.
In New England as in England much less public attention was paid to elementary than to advanced schools. Harvard College was founded in 1636, three years after the Jesuit college at Quebec and as distinctly for theological purposes. To prepare pupils to enter it was the chief task of the first school established in Boston, by order of town-meeting, in 1635; and this school, perpetuated in the Boston Latin School, remained for half a century the only public school in the larg est of American towns. The first Massachusetts school law, enacted in 1642, did not order the establishment of schools but simply the teaching of reading to children and appren tices by heads of families 'or others.' The more famous law of 1647 was provoked by the decay of learning in the colony where immigration from England had virtually ceased by the lack of persons competent to hold positions requiring education. The general court then ordered that each town of one hundred householders should maintain a grammar school to fit boys for college, naming definite penalties for non-performance; and without mention of penalties it said that each town of fifty households should designate a master to teach reading and writing to the children 'who should resort to him.' In Plymouth there was no public school for fifty-two years after the founding of the colony, during which time it had spread into twelve villages. The first that was established, in 1672, was a Latin school. In Connecticut the first educa tional move of the general court was to try to get money for Harvard College. Its first school law was not passed until 1650. . Hartford established a town school in 1642, the other towns apparently not until later years.
The term ' free school,' it may be explained, meant at this time in England an endowed school where boys from certain families, or boys specially selected to be sent to college, got their education free or for less than the usual cost. Nor were the early New England schools free schools in our modern sense. They were maintained partly by the colony or the town from specified sources of revenue, partly, as Winthrop explains, by annual payments from the individuals benefited, these charges being `either by voluntary allowance or by rate of such as refused.' Only Indians were taught without charge. Again, girls were not admitted to any public school in Massachusetts until after the Revolution. They had to depend altogether upon home instruction, as seems to have been very largely the case with boys in their younger years.
All these facts have a significance deeper than that which attaches to them as facts in the history of education in America. They belong with many others which, as they gradually come to light, will show how much more democratic in spirit was New Netherland than any of the English prov inces, always excepting Rhode Island whose place in the world was as a place of refuge for the radical, protestant, innovating spirits unwelcome or ill at ease in the neighboring colonies. In regard to one highly important engine in the work of democratizing the world, however, the Dutchmen's province lagged very far behind Massachusetts. A printing-press was set up at Cambridge in 1639. There was never one in New Netherland; there was none in New York until the year 1694.