THE BIRTH OF THE PROVINCE 'Tis the finest land for cultivation that I ever in my life set foot upon. Henry Hudson. 1609. (Quoted by De Laet. 1625.) In 1619 Captain Thomas Dermer, sent out by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the leading spirit of the Plymouth Company, to seek for the northwest passage, skirted the coasts from the Kennebec to Virginia and with the help of an Indian pilot ran an open pinnace through Long Island Sound, the East River, and the Narrows down to Sandy Hook. Describing this voyage, the first attempted in these waters by an English vessel, Dermer wrote that above the 'dangerous cataract' meaning the tide-rips that the Dutch called Hellegat a multitude of savages 'let fly' at him from the bank and that while he was in the bay he talked with others; but he did not mention seeing or hearing of any white men. Of his return voyage in 1620 two accounts exist. One, written by Gorges, says that Dermer, meeting with 'some Hollanders that were settled in a place we call Hudson's River, in trade with the natives,' forbade them the place as belonging by the king of England's order to his own subjects, and that the Dutchmen answered they did not so understand things, had found no Englishmen in the country, and therefore hoped `they had not offended.' The other account, an anonymous pamphlet on the discovery and planting of New England, says less definitely that Dermer held 'a conference about the state of the coast' and their dealings with the Indians with some Dutchmen who had 'a trade in Hudson's River some years before that time,' and that their answer 'gave him good content.' These appear to be the earliest printed narratives in which Henry Hudson's river bears his own name. Probably they supplied the foundation for the story that Argall had visited Manhattan at an earlier day. They do not say where Dermer met the Dutchmen. Most likely it was in the Chesapeake region where Cornelis Mey was cruising in 1620, although a report on 'Mr. Dimmer's' (Dermer's) voyages, read before the Virginia Company in London in 1621, declares that he had entered the Hudson as well as the Delaware `within which rivers were found divers ships of Amsterdam and Hoorn.' Wherever they may have been spoken, Dermer's warning and the Hollanders' reply were unofficial utterances. But Dermer's report quickened the desire of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and some other members of the Plymouth Company to reestablish it with more clearly defined boundaries; and upon their petition in November, 1620, just before the Pil grims from Leyden made their landing on Cape Cod, James I bestowed a charter creating a company with a new name, the Council for New England, and authorizing it to plant and to govern the territories from the fortieth parallel (about fifty miles south of Manhattan) to the forty-eighth and from ocean to ocean. Again the patentees were forbidden to take any places which the subjects of any other Christian prince occu pied or possessed, but, said the charter, King James was cer tain that such were nowhere in possession 'by any authority from their sovereigns, lords, or princes.' Evidently this was not an ingenuous statement for the patent included most of Canada as well as New Netherland, and the French govern ment had not only authorized but directed the New World enterprises of its subjects. France, in fact, protested in regard to the new charter. The Dutch Republic said nothing.
In 1621 the Council for New England gave the colony at Plymouth a patent for the lands on which they had settled without defining their extent; James, as the king of Scotland, gave Sir William Alexander a patent for 'New Scotland' which embraced what is now New Brunswick as well as Nova Scotia, the Acadia of the French; Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason obtained for themselves the country between the Kennebec and the Merrimac; and Sir George Calvert secured part of Newfoundland. Alexander tried without success to colonize his territories; but colonies the beginnings of New Hampshire were soon planted at the mouth of the Piscataqua and at Dover six miles up the stream; and by 1623 there were little settlements on Massa chusetts Bay and one at least on the coast of Maine.
In 1621 England again formally denied the rights of Spain in America as based upon the gift of Pope Alexander VI; and, paraphrasing and emphasizing James's instructions to his patentees and Elizabeth's doctrine that 'possession' not mere 'prescription' gave a title, parliament declared that `occupancy confers a good title by the law of nations and of nature.' Such announcements were necessary as the Span iards were protesting against the English settlements in Vir ginia and Bermuda, but on its own behalf England inter preted them broadly. Saying nothing about the enterprises of the French, it entered a protest against those of the Dutch. In December, 1621, the privy council informed Sir Dudley Carleton, ambassador at the Hague, that the Hollanders had left a colony in New England during the past year and were about to send out vessels, and instructed him to impress upon the States General the fact that by right of first occupation King James had a good and sufficient title to all lands between the fortieth and forty-eighth degrees, and to require that the Dutch plantations be discontinued and the intending ships detained. Carleton answered that some companies of Am sterdam merchants had, indeed, begun a trade between the fortieth and forty-fifth degrees of latitude, had named localities there and kept `factors there continually resident,' but that he could not learn of any colony and did not believe that one had been `either already planted . . . or so much as intended.' All that the States General would say was that they knew of no Dutch settlement that infringed English rights.
In fact, no colony, no permanent settlement, had yet been planted in New Netherland. The existence of the West India Company was at first so precarious that almost two years after it received its charter only one-third of its desired capital had been subscribed. By virtue, however, of a provision in the charter, ships of individual merchants were sailing under special licenses and trafficking with the savages on the Great River, the South or Delaware River, Long Island Sound, the Fresh or Connecticut River, Narragansett Bay, and Buzzard's Bay. On the South River a fort was projected. As the second site chosen for the traders' blockhouse far up the Great River proved inconvenient in its turn, in 1622 they planned a stronger fortification, to be named Fort Orange and to stand a little farther north, on the present site of Albany. Jacob Eelkins, who had done well by the Indians as director in this region, dealt treacherously with them on the Fresh River and was dismissed from the Company's ser vice. Farther east, at Manomet at the head of Buzzard's Bay, called Sloup Bay on the second Figurative Map, the Dutchmen now had a trading station separated only by the base of Cape Cod, a stretch of some twenty miles, from the Englishmen at New Plymouth.
In 1623 the Dutch province was born. Until then it had been forming in embryo; it was a mere vaguely defined stretch of the American wilderness, covered by a Dutch name, visited by Dutch ships, and dotted with three or four Dutch trading posts. In 1623 it became, nominally at least, a political entity. The States General and this was their real answer to the inquiry put by the English privy council two years earlier formally constituted it a province and granted it the armorial rights of a courtship. Its seal was a combination of Old World and New World emblems, showing a beaver surrounded by a string of wampum beads and sur mounted by a count's coronet, with the legend Sigillum Novi Belgii.
The States General had delegated to the West India Com pany, for any colonial settlements it might make, all legis lative, executive, and judicial powers, stipulating only that they themselves should confirm the appointment of the high est officials and the instructions given them, that the Roman Dutch law of the fatherland should prevail when special laws and ordinances issued by the Company did not meet all needs, and that persons convicted of capital crimes should be sent home with their sentences. The largest number of the direc tors belonged to the Chamber of Amsterdam which adminis tered four-ninths of the capital of the Company; and among them were included most of the members of the old New Netherland Company. To this Chamber was intrusted the control of New Netherland while the South American colonies soon to be taken from the Portuguese were controlled prin cipally by the Zealand Chamber. The people of New Nether land always claimed a right of appeal to the home government from the decisions of the provincial court established by the Company as well as a broader right to invoke its interest in the affairs of the province at large ; and more and more as the years went on the States General directed, or tried to direct, both the general policy of the Company and its dealings with individual colonists. Nevertheless, until New Netherland became New York it was ruled by the Amsterdam Chamber of the Company acting under the executive committee called the Assembly of the XIX which represented the Company as a whole and in which a delegate from the States General had a seat.
In another sense also the year 1623 was the birth year of the province. Then the West India Company completed its organization. The States General had ratified its charter in an amplified form, and it stood ready for active work with a subscribed capital of 7,000,000 guilders, equal to $2,800,000 or at least four or five times this sum as money is valued to-day. The years 1623 and 1624 it devoted chiefly to preparations for the conquest of Brazil, yet its Amsterdam Chamber found time to aid in sending a shipload of emigrants to New Nether land. These were the first genuine settlers, the first Euro peans who came not simply to traffic but to live, who meant to establish not merely `factories,' as trading stations then were called, but also farms and towns; the first, so far as we know, who brought women and children with them.
In curious parallel to the fact that the Pilgrims who founded New Plymouth had thought of settling in New Netherland, the first actual settlers in New Netherland had wished to seat themselves in an English colony. Most of them were not Dutchmen but Walloons and Frenchmen a handful among the many thousands of foreign Protestants who had been driven into the free Republic by the massacre of St. Bartholo mew or the rigors of the Spanish Inquisition.
In July, 1621, a certain Jesse De Forest signed and presented to the English ambassador at the Hague a petition, written in French, on behalf of nearly threescore families 'as well Walloons as French, all of the Reformed religion.' De Forest, whose name was also written Des Forests and De Foreest, was himself a Walloon, born at Avesnes, and there fore French in speech a man of good burgher blood, a merchant-dyer by trade who since 1615 had been living at Leyden. His petition asked leave for his friends to establish a colony in Virginia with many special privileges. With it went a round-robin signed by fifty-six men and showing that their households numbered in all two hundred and twenty seven persons. The request was referred to the Virginia Company which did not object to the emigrants but refused to help them or to grant them special privileges. Then, in August, 1622, after Jesse De Forest had secured from the provincial legislature of Holland and North Friesland a promise of transportation, the States General permitted him to 'inscribe and enroll' Protestant families to be sent to the 'West Indies.' This was a generic term for America at large, but New Netherland must have been definitely in De Forest's mind for the West India Company advised the pro vincial legislature to promise him help, and it was evidently for his band of recruits that its Amsterdam Chamber supplied a ship, called the New Netherland, of two hundred and sixty tons, larger by eighty tons than the Pilgrims' Mayflower. Early in March, 1623, it sailed for the Great River carrying thirty families 'most of whom were Walloons.' Cornelis Mey was its skipper and the director of the emigrants, Adriaen Joris was second in command. No list of the emigrants has been preserved but it is known that two of them were Joris (George) Jansen Rapelje and his wife, Catelina Trico, a native of Paris.
Jesse De Forest did not come with them. In December, 1623, his brother Gerard, petitioning for a transfer to himself of Jesse's permit as a dyer, testified that Jesse had left Hol land `by the last ships that sailed from here for the West Indies.' It has usually been thought that he joined the great naval expedition sent out at this time to attack the Spaniards and Portuguese in the West Indies and South America and to plant colonies in Guiana where the Dutch had been established for some years. A journal written in French by Jesse himself and preserved in the British Museum has, however, recently been brought to notice by an English writer who, speaking merely of Dutch enterprises in South America, naturally makes no reference to De Forest's con nection with the settlement of New Netherland. From this journal it appears that, De Forest having petitioned that a number of families which he had enrolled for emigration might be employed in the service of the West India Company, evidently in its southern possessions, the Company disap proved of the request but permitted De Forest and certain `heads of families' to visit the country and choose a place for themselves. Under De Forest's leadership ten such per sons, all with French names, sailed in the ship Pigeon on July 1, 1623, which was four months after the departure of the New Netherland, five before the sailing of the great mili tary expedition. After visiting the settlements on the Ama zon they decided to remain on the Wiapico River where, on January 1, 1624, the Pigeon left them. Here they suffered great hardship for seventeen months, and then gladly availed themselves of a ship sent out by the Company to bring them home should they so desire. Nothing more is known about Jesse De Forest. Certainly he never came to New Nether land, but two of his sons did come in later years, and his descendants are numerous in New York and Connecticut.
The ship New Netherland, flying the flag of the province of Holland, touched at the Canary Islands and the ' Wild Coast' (Guiana), and early in May arrived in the harbor of Manhattan. Here it found a French ship whose captain in tended to take possession of the country by erecting the arms of his king. Fortunately a Dutch yacht, the Mackerel, which had recently come from the West Indies, also lay in the har bor; so, joining their forces and arming a smaller vessel with two guns, the Hollanders ' convoyed the Frenchman out of the river.' Never since that day has a French vessel ap peared in the upper bay of New York with hostile or covetous intent.
Another danger, it appears, had more remotely threatened the Dutch immigrants. The letter of an anonymous English man, dated May 4, 1623, and written on a ship called the Bonnie Bess while she was lying off the Isle of Wight, says that her company had been commissioned by 'high authori ties' to explore Hudson's River, . . . and if we there find any strangers, as Hollanders or others, we are to give them fight and spoil or sink them down into the sea.
But the Bonnie Bess did not try to execute these orders. No one molested the New Netherland's human cargo; and at once it was distributed through the broad province. Two families and six men went up the Fresh River, landed where Hartford now stands, and began to build a small fort which was named the House of Hope or Fort Good Hope. Another little party, taken to the South River, founded Fort Nassau near the site of the present town of Gloucester in New Jersey, about four miles below Philadelphia. Eighteen families, the largest band of settlers, were carried up the North River to Fort Orange; and before the yacht Mackerel returned to Holland they were 'bravely advanced' for the grain they had planted was 'nearly as high as a man.' This means that the city of Albany was founded a little earlier than the city of New York, for only eight of the New Netherland's passengers were dropped on Manhattan and apparently they were all men who lived for a time in the traders' makeshift shelters. Nor does documentary evidence support the tra dition that some of the Walloons settled at this time on the Long Island shore and that thus the spot called by the Dutch 'T Waal-boght and now called Wallabout (the site of the Brooklyn navy-yard) obtained its name, meaning Walloon's Cove. The first recorded settlement at this spot was not planted until 1636, and the name probably meant simply `inner harbor' or 'bend in the harbor,' as it does in the city of Amsterdam where it marks a locality of a similar kind.
Most of what is known about the New Netherland and its passengers is told in the earliest printed story of the fortunes of the province, which forms part of an Historical Account of the Memorable Events of the Years 1621 to 1632 written by Claes (Nicholas) Wassenaer, a Dutch physician. The method of dating employed in this work, which was published in annual sections each dealing with the events of the preceding twelvemonth, has led one or two writers to believe that the year 1624, not 1623, saw the first planting of New Nether land. But they have overlooked Wassenaer's express state ment at the end of the section compiled in 1624 that the description of this planting would be 'related in the com mencement' of the part next to follow as there was not room for it in the part in hand. Moreover, while it is certain that Jesse De Forest went to South America in the summer of 1623, it is unlikely that he departed before his recruits for New Netherland embarked. The evidence of one of these recruits, Catelina Trico, preserved in an affidavit made before Governor Dongan of New York in 1685, when she was a very old woman, has no value, for she could not then remember whether she had arrived in 1623 or 1624. In another deposi tion, made in 1688, she said that she came in 1623 but mis called the ship that brought her. All official documents written by the Dutch, in the province or in the fatherland, which mention the voyage of the New Netherland refer it to 1623; and so does a Memorial laid before the West India Company in 1633 by Kiliaen Van Rensselaer who had been a member of the Amsterdam Chamber and during many years was more actively concerned than any other individual in the peopling of the province.
Thus it was mixed seed that first was sown in the American province which was to be conspicuous always for its cosmo politan character.
The Walloons were a people of Celtic blood descended from the Belgm of Caesar's time, akin to a large part of the Dutch people but speaking an old French dialect and occupying the provinces of Artois and Hainault which now form the north western part of Belgium and the northern corner of France. These two provinces, in which Avennes and Valenciennes were the principal towns, had joined with the Dutch and Flemish Netherlands in their revolt against Spain; but as they were difficult of defence and their population was pre dominantly Catholic, they had been the first to return to their allegiance. Then their Protestant inhabitants moved in large numbers into the Dutch provinces. They supplied several brigades to the armies of the Republic and some of them, it seems, took part in the earliest American ventures of its sons, for Champlain, writing home in 1615 about certain `Flemings' who were trafficking near the fortieth degree of latitude, said that three who had been captured by Canadian Indians were returned to their friends as their speech proved them to be Frenchmen.
Walloons, however, formed only one element in the hetero geneous population from which New Netherland was to draw its settlers. In the corner of Europe where the Dutch, Flemish, French, and German provinces approached each other, native strains of blood were mixed and political affini ties had often changed; and this natural complexity was in creased by the waves of Protestant immigration which, directing themselves chiefly toward the Dutch provinces but eddying over a much wider area, flowed in from England and Scotland, from the northern and western parts of France, and, after the Thirty Years' War began in 1618, from Bohemia, the Palatinate, and the central parts of Germany. From the people of these border lands, from the many kinds of for eigners who had found asylum in the Republic itself, and from their half-Hollandized children as well as from the pure Dutch and Flemish stocks, the colonists of New Netherland were year by year recruited while the Scandinavian countries also sent it their quota. Its settlement did not bear witness, like the settlement of New England, to the discontent of men of a single land with their home conditions but to a much wider agitation, to the general unrest produced by the great European struggle between Protestantism and Catholi cism.
Many of the founders of New Netherland were bilingual; family names were hardly used as yet by the middle and lower classes from which all but a scanty few of them came; such as did exist were written as any writer chose; and fami lies of different origin were constantly intermarrying. There fore, even when the immediate parentage and the place of birth of one of these founders is known it is often impossible to pronounce upon his nationality. It is lawful, however, to speak of them collectively as Hollanders, for as Hollanders they came to America, and in America they still considered themselves sons of the Dutch Republic.
By the end of the year 1623 these Hollanders, in planting their trading posts and little settlements, had dropped the first seeds of civilization on the soil of what afterwards be came five of the Thirteen Colonies New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and in the first two had laid the foundations of enduring communities. The English plantation in Virginia was then thirteen years old and the one at Plymouth was three years old while tentative settlements existed in New Hampshire and Maine. All the rest of the group of colonies which were thus beginning to take root on American soil were of later birth, and the young est of them, Georgia, was not born until the one that the Dutch had founded was a hundred and ten years of age.
The Hollanders had chosen the finest seat for commerce on all this long and diversified coast. They had 'intruded,' said a paper called the Case of the Corporation for New Eng land and written some thirty years later, upon the rights of King James in 'the very best part of all that large northern empire.' Their voyage from Holland usually took six or eight weeks but often a much longer time. They made it by way of the Canary Islands and the Caribbees, sometimes touching at Guiana, passing northward between the Bahamas and Ber muda toward Virginia, and then up along the coast a circuitous route but one that avoided the fierce gales of the North Atlantic and supplied ports for stopping to provision or to refit.
As they approached Manhattan the lower bay offered them immediate shelter behind its projecting sandy arm or hoek. Thence, through a channel deep enough for the largest ships, they entered the great land-locked upper bay, one of the world's few perfect harbors. At the head of this bay lay a long narrow island, washed on one side by Hudson's Great River, on the other by the broad tidal strait, twenty miles in length, called Hellegat or the East River, and at the north separated but not set far apart from the mainland by a lesser strait, or branch of the larger one, seven miles long. This Harlem River, as the Dutchmen named it, in aspect like a slender winding stream, joined Spuyten Duyvil Creek, a little tributary of the Great River, and thus completed the insula tion of Manhattan.
So was Manhattan placed and shaped like a great natural pier ready to receive the commerce of the world. And the river that laved its western bank, navigable to the northward for more than a hundred and fifty miles, was second in im portance, on all the North Atlantic coast, to none excepting the Frenchmen's River of St. Lawrence.
Securing the St. Lawrence the French had acquired the one great natural transcontinental highway, the only navigable river which gave access to the Great Lakes whence the head waters of the affluents of the Mississippi, opening a water route to the Gulf of Mexico, could easily be reached. Holding this highway the French not only controlled the fur-producing regions of the interior but were able eventually to set, from Acadia to the Gulf, a long line of outposts which threatened the English colonies with extinction or, at best, with per petual confinement to a narrow strip of seacoast. There were drawbacks, however, to the immense utility of the St. Law rence. The approaches to it were long and very dangerous, they were closed by ice during five months of the year, so was the river itself, and the lands that bordered upon it were difficult of cultivation.
On the other hand, the harbor of Manhattan was ad vantageously placed midway between Newfoundland and Florida, and was very easy of approach. Although the Great River itself was ice-bound in winter, the lower bay was always open, the passage into the upper bay was always free, and for only a few days two or three times in a century were this bay and the channels around Manhattan frozen. Connected with the upper and lower bays by the straits around Staten Island was another bay of large size into which considerable streams debouched ; and the Atlantic coast-line as well as the shores of Long Island Sound and the banks of the Great River were broken by many small harbors and by the mouths of many tributary streams and creeks water byways highly advantageous to settlers in a wilderness. The soil was rich, its wealth in timber incalculable; and the climate, while colder in winter and hotter in summer than that of northern Europe, had neither the arctic rigor which tried the Canadian nor the enervating languor which tempted the southern colonist to rely upon slave labor, and was distinctly more temperate than the climate of New Eng land.
Furthermore the Great River, cutting through the diagonal line of the great Appalachian mountain system, gave easier access to the interior of the continent than could elsewhere be found south of the St. Lawrence. When the Dutchmen set their first posts far up the river they commanded the end of the great Iroquois trail, a path about fifteen inches wide, beaten hard by Indian feet, running through the forests, and everywhere avoiding wet as well as open places, which led up the Mohawk Valley and beyond it to a point just above Niagara Falls. This trail passed through the only place on the continent whence waters flow toward the St. Lawrence, the Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, a watershed where affluents of Lake Ontario and of the Susquehanna, the Dela ware, the Potomac, the Ohio, and the Hudson have their springs. As some of these nascent streams, connected by short portages, were navigable for canoes, bands of savages from regions as distant as the further shores of Superior easily brought their packs of pelts to the shores of the Great River. Therefore the fur trade flourished in New York long after it had died out in New England.
The chief of the interior water-routes, the Oneida Portage path, ran from the upper waters of the Mohawk by a portage only a mile in length, called the Great Carrying Place, to Wood's Creek which flows into Oneida Lake, and from this lake down the Oswego River to Lake Ontario. When the struggle between France and England grew acute in the New World this route, which flat-bottomed boats could take, was of the utmost importance; and the famous fort called Stan wix, now enclosed in the city of Rome, was built to defend the Great Carrying Place.
The early Dutchmen were not much concerned with the fact that the same great break in the Appalachian barrier that gave access to the northwest afforded the chief natural pas sage from Canada toward the south, by way of the Richelieu River, Lake Champlain, Lake George, another Wood's Creek, and Hudson's River. But to their descendants and the Eng lish rulers of the province it was a fact of capital significance. After a while this route, the Grand Pass from New York to Montreal, became another main channel for the traffic in furs; and its existence made the frontier city of Albany, whence a navigable river ran down to the finest harbor on the coast, the strategical key to the English position in America, the pivotal point in all the wide region between the territories of France and of Spain. Because this point was in the
province of New York, and because the harbor of Manhattan held a midway station on the English colonial seaboard, New York came to be called the pivot province of the king of England's domain.
While the geographical character of the province was thus highly advantageous in one way, a source of danger in another, in still another it proved unfortunate when, in English days, New York had been shorn of a great part of the territory that the Dutch had claimed. The high rocky hills that flanked the valley of the Hudson so limited the arable lands of the province that, largely for this reason although partly because of its less liberal government, it was quickly surpassed in population by Pennsylvania, and, in spite of its unrivalled harbor, its capital city could not keep pace with Philadelphia.
The beauty of the harbor of Manhattan and the fertility of its shores excited the admiration of every explorer. Ver razano, if we accept the most generally accepted reading of his description of the coast, called it a 'most beautiful lake,' and said that he left with great regret a region which seemed so 'commodious and delightful.' Nearly a century later Juet wrote that it was 'as pleasant with grass and flowers and goodly trees' as any he had ever seen and that 'very sweet smells' came from it. Dc Laet quotes Hudson as say ing that it was the finest land for cultivation he had ever trodden, and Van Meteren probably quotes him when he declares that the river was as fine a one as could be found ' with a good anchorage ground on both sides.' Although primeval forests for the most part clothed the land there were natural open spaces, especially near the water, and the aborigines had trodden out a network of paths, cut many trees to build their lodges, stockades, and canoes, cleared many acres to plant their beans and maize, their pumpkins, their tobacco, and their apple orchards, and burned the vegetation from wider areas. Magnificent trees of many kinds formed the dense forests and dotted the meadow-like openings, some of the most useful new to Euro pean eyes the tough hickories, for example, and the tulip tree which because of its lightness the Dutch called the `canoe wood.' Nuts, wild grapes, and edible berries grew in a profusion and variety that amazed the newcomer almost as much as did the multitude of fish that swarmed in the bay and the flocks of wild fowl that clouded the air or islanded the water.
The divers names that the Hudson has borne testify to the varied nationality of those who explored it or lived beside it. Among its Indian titles were Cohohatatea, Shatemuck, and Mohican. It was the San Antonio of the old Portuguese cartographers, probably thus named by Gomez. It may also have been their Ribera de Montanas (River of the Mountains) for De Laet wrote in 1625 that while the Dutch generally called it the Great River others also called it Rio de Mon taigne, and certain maps give its name in this curious bastard form. But it was not, as has been thought, the Rio Grande or the Rio de Gamas (Deer River) of the Portuguese, these being the Penobscot. The English knew it as Hudson's River and River Manahata. And as the Dutchmen's name for their northern fort was Oranje (the j as always in Dutch words pronounced like i) or in Latin Aurania, for two centuries the Canadian French spoke of the river as Riviere d'Orange or d'Auranie. On Champlain's map of 1632 it appears, more perplexingly, as Riviere des trettes.
Although Hudson and Juet spoke simply of the Great River the Hollanders soon named it for their stadholder Maurice of Nassau : Riviere van den Vorst Mauritius is its title on the parchment Figurative Map.' They also called it the Nassau and, more commonly, the North River or the Great North River, partly because it flowed from the north, partly by way of contrast to the Delaware which they called the South River. North River and River Mauritius remained its customary appellations until English times. Then the prince's name gave way to the explorer's; but even to-day the Hudson is usually called the North River by the people who live near its mouth, and is indicated thus on city maps and in the naming of piers, ferries, and steamboat lines. Of course the stranger is puzzled, for he sees that the North River washes the western side of Manhattan, and he knows nothing of the old Dutch name of the Delaware.
It was the Dutchmen who gave the East River its present name although they usually called it Hellegat. Afterwards Hell Gate was applied only to its dangerously obstructed part. The English often called it the Sound, sometimes the South River as opposed to the North River. Long Island also remains as the Hollanders christened it, in spite of the fact that the English officially declared it to be Nassau Island. On Champlain's map of 1632 it appears as Isle de l' Ascension. The most commonly used of its Indian names was Matowack or Metoacs very variously spelled by the whites who also long employed it. Staten Island, called by the natives Eghquous, Monacknong, and Aquetonga, the Dutch named for the parliament of their fatherland Staaten Eylandt, the Island of the States a title which they had already given to the far-away island that lies east of Terra del Fuego, bestowing it when, first of all Europeans to round the end of the continent, they christened Cape Horn. Our northern Staten Island was also called Godyn's Island in honor of a director of the West India Company while Sandy Hook was Brodhead narrates that the fly-boat Half Moon in which Hudson discovered for the Dutch the River of Mauritius was afterwards em ployed in the East India trade, and in 1615 was wrecked on the shore of the Island of Mauritius, then owned by the Dutch.
sometimes Godyn's Point. Governor's Island, the largest in the harbor, the Indians called Pagganck or Pecanuc, the Dutch Nooten Eylandt because of the nut trees it bore. The Narrows were Hamel's Hooftden (Hamel's Cliffs), named for another director of the Company. Coney Island was some times called Coneyn's Eylandt which implies that Concyn was a surname, and sometimes 'T Coneyn Eylandt which means Rabbit Island.
The name Manhattan, spelled in almost half a hundred ways in Dutch, French, and English writings of colonial times, has been very variously interpreted. 'People of the Whirlpool' and 'Place of Intoxication' are fanciful and foolish readings based upon perversions of linguistic analogies and disproved by the testimony of the earliest maps and descriptions. The soundest belief seems to be that Manhat tan was derived from a mutable Algonquin term, meaning `island,' which was by no means limited in its application to the one island that perpetuates it. Possibly, in the form that survives it meant 'Island of the Hills.' By the white men the name was sometimes applied in early days to the aborigines of the neighborhood, but Juet, the very first who set it down in writing, gives it a geographical meaning, saying `on that side of the river that is called Manna-hata.' Which side he meant, whether the island itself or the opposite western bank, the context does not make clear. On the earliest Eng lish map, the one called the Velasco or Simancas Map, the river bears no name, but Manahata ' is written along its western and `Manahatin' along its eastern shore. The paper Figurative Map, which does not show the island, puts Manhattes' on the mainland to the northeast of the harbor while the parchment map sets `Manhates' on the island itself. De Laet wrote that the river was called by some `the Manhattes River from the people who dwell near its mouth' ; and Wassenaer called the island 'the Manhates' and 'the Manhattes,' and explained that it was occupied by 'a nation called the Manhates.' The Dutch commonly used the name in a plural form and gradually extended its significance. Augustine Herrman, whom Governor Stuyvesant sent on an embassy to 1\ Iaryland in 1659, then explained : They commit a grave mistake who will confine the general name of Manhattans . . . to the particular city, which is only built on a little island ; . . . it signifies the whole country and province, or at least the same particular place in the province : as, for example, it is fre quent with many still at this day, to say To go to the Manhattans, or, To come from the Manhattans when they mean the whole province, as they do by the name of Virginia or Maryland, for the particular town itself is never named the Manhattans, but New Am sterdam.
This broader significance died out when the English secured the province. In documents of the English colonial period Island of Manhattan and Manhattan Island serve as inter changeable terms with the meaning they bear to-day. But until very recent times Manhattan Island was in local par lance specifically applied to a knoll on the East River shore above the present foot of Rivington Street, containing about an acre of land and surrounded by creeks and salt marshes. Dockyards here established have left their name to the 'Dry Dock District.' A neighboring Presbyterian church was called the Church in the Swamp or the Manhattan Island Church.
There was one radical difference in the development of European colonies in the northern and in the southern parts of America. In all the Spanish and Portuguese settlements and also in the French West Indies there was a very general mingling of white and Indian blood. But the blood of the French in Canada was by no means so generally modified while that of the Dutch and the English was virtually un affected by an aboriginal strain. The Dutch records assert that, especially in the early days of traffic and incipient colonization, many traders lived with Indian women, yet they mention few half-breeds, and no visible tinge of dark blood survived in the veins of the New Netherlanders. The memory of the red man, however, still broods over the land, preserved by his musical place-names, by the trend of the highroads which in many directions follow his forest paths, and by the products and inventions that he bequeathed to his supplanters by his tobacco and pumpkins and maize, his maple sugar, his clam-bakes, his snow-shoes, toboggans, and bark canoes.
Farther south the most valuable of these gifts was tobacco ; in New Netherland and New England it was maize. Only after long labor and a thorough clearing of the soil could the settler raise European grain. But as soon as he removed the underbrush and cut down the trees, or even girdled them to destroy the foliage and let in the sun, among the ragged trunks and the roots and boulders he could plant the quickly ripening maize. Moreover, as maize could easily be cultivated by hand labor and did not need to be threshed or winnowed, with fewer tools and far less toil the settler could get from an acre so planted twice as much food as any other crop would yield besides the fodder indispensable for his cattle; and by planting maize he was using the best method to loosen and prepare the soil for oats, rye, and wheat.
As maize was seldom exported it plays a small part in commercial records. But even in New Netherland, where quantities of grain were very soon grown, the early settlers greatly depended upon it; and its importance to New Eng land could not be more clearly emphasized than it is by the fact that 'corn,' the Englishmen's generic term for edible grains, means to the modern American only the maize which, taking the country as a whole, is still his principal crop. Maize, 'Indian wheat,' or 'Indian corn' the colonials called it.
The many Indian tribes that occupied Manhattan, Long Island, and the shores of the bay and of River Mauritius were all Algonquins. This great race also embraced the New England and most of the Canadian tribes as well as the Delawares with whom the English of the southern colonies came in contact, and spread itself westward to the Mississippi and probably far beyond. But in the very heart of its vast territories another race had established itself, different in origin, character, and speech. The whole of what is now the State of New York except Long Island and the Hudson River Valley was occupied by a powerful confederacy of five tribes of the Iroquois race, banded together shortly before the coming of the white man through the efforts, as tradition relates with possible truth, of the Onondaga chieftain Hia watha. They were the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. In this order their districts or `can tons' stretched from the shores of Lake Champlain and the neighborhood of Schenectady to the Genesee River. They lived in communal houses, very long and narrow, grouped within strong stockades. For this reason or because of the shape of the territory they occupied some of their own names for themselves meant ' Cabin Makers' or 'People of the Long House.' As the early French missionaries at once perceived, they were the most ferocious, ambitious, and intelligent of the aborigines; and their station gave them full chance to profit by their energies. Commanding important routes from east to west and from north to south, and holding their congresses at a lake village in the valley of Onondaga, the strategically important place not far from the modern town of Syracuse whence forest paths and nascent rivers led in many divergent directions, they sent their war parties so widely and so suc cessfully afield that they ruled or intimidated the other tribes from Maine to the Mississippi and southward to the Savannah and the Tennessee. Yet even in the days of their greatest strength and power, during the first half of the seventeenth century when they had procured firearms from the white men, they numbered not more than four thousand warriors, twenty thousand souls in all. Twice as many of their descendants, it has been computed, now survive in and near the State of New York.
For a time the Dutch and English called all these Iroquois by the name of the most easterly tribe Mohawks or Maquas. Later they were known as the Five Nations, and as the Six Nations after the early years of the eighteenth century when the Tuscaroras, a kindred people driven from the Carolina border, were received into the confederacy.
Other branches of the Iroquois race lived in not far-distant regions : the Hurons or Wyandots in the triangle formed by the St. Lawrence and the northern shores of the Great Lakes, the Eries south of the lake that bears their name, the Andastes or Susquehannocks on the lower Susquehanna. These were all hostile to their powerful relatives in the Mohawk Valley. Between the Five Nations and the Hurons the feud was peculiarly bitter; and the fact that the Hurons allied them selves with the northern Algonquins and the Canadian French was one reason why the Iroquois proper were ready to make friends with the Dutch and their English heirs. On the day in 1609 when Champlain led a handful of Hurons and Algon quin Ottawas against the Mohawks at Ticonderoga, the in ternational conflict really began which did not end until, after the lapse of a century and a half, the flag of France was driven from Canada. During all this time the Iroquois, by virtue partly of their geographical position, partly of their native superiority to the other aborigines, held the balance of power between the rival white nations. Here was another cause of the importance of Albany, another reason why New York became the pivot province of the English colonial domain. As in Albany centred the profitable traffic in furs, as to Albany the Canadians cast their eyes when they dreamed of conquering the English plantations, so to Albany the gov ernors of the New England colonies and of Maryland and Virginia sent their agents or even came in person when Indian wars distressed their borders. Whether or not the Iroquois themselves had lifted the hatchet, peace could rarely be hoped for without their concurrence.
The Algonquins near Manhattan greeted the first white men with a wondering friendliness. Verrazano relates that they came close to the seashore, 'seeming to rejoice very much at the sight of us and . . . showed us a place where we might most commodiously come a-land with our boat.' Hudson wrote that those along the river the River Indians as the Dutchmen afterwards called them were a `very good people,' some near the Catskills a 'loving people.' Juet explained that while they were often very friendly and made a 'show of love' the white men dared not trust them. In fact, any trifling cause or vague suspicion changed the red man's mood of amicable curiosity to one of abject terror or murderous audacity. While the Half Moon was lying inside Sandy Hook and its boats were exploring the neigh boring shores, suddenly for no discernible reason one of them was attacked by Indians in canoes, and a sailor named John Colman was killed by an arrow in his throat. His comrades buried him the first recorded white man who found a grave near Manhattan on Sandy Hook 'and named the point after his name, Colman's Point.' While Hudson was sailing up and then down the river, one day he would enter tain on his ship the savages who brought beaver and otter skins, tobacco, venison, ears of Indian corn, beans, ' very good oysters,' and `grapes and pompions' to exchange for knives, hatchets and 'trifles,' or his men would go among them on the shore where they found 'good cheer.' Another day he would think best to let no sailor land, no red man come aboard the ship. Once the cook of the Half Moon killed a savage whom he caught thieving ; and on the clown stream voyage, when many canoes attacked the ship opposite the northern end of Manhattan, the white men shot several Indians. For the most part, however, relations were friendly, and before the Half Moon sailed away a number of red men had taken three steps toward civilization. They had seen the effect of firearms, they had got drunk, and they had learned to want European goods. Not content with their `mantles of feathers' and 'good furs,' their belts and orna ments of wampum beads, their bracelets, plaques, and 'great tobacco pipes' of ' yellow copper,' their curls and braids of deer's hair dyed red, and their polychrome coats of paint, they coveted the Dutchman's blankets, his coats, his hats, and even his lace-trimmed shirts. More than any of these they wanted his guns and powder and rum; and at first the Dutchmen were very ready to give them rum at least, for it showed ' whether they had any treachery in them.' Although simple barter was of course the first method of exchange the Dutch quickly learned to use the Indians' money, wampum, which consisted of beads of two colors, called white and black but more precisely straw-color and a fine purple. The white were made from periwinkle shells, the black, which were twice as valuable, from the dark spot at the base of the shells of the clam. Both kinds were about as thick as a straw and less than half an inch in length. Smal ler beads, although not used as money, were employed in ornamental work. This, however, bore no likeness to the beadwork that the modern Indian produces with little, round, varicolored beads of the white man's manufacture.
Labor gave wampum its worth in the eyes of the savage. With primitive stone awls the beads were shaped symmetri cally, drilled, and polished. For use as currency they were strung on deer sinews or strands of fibre and then measured by the span or cubit. But 'belts' or scarves a few inches in width and sometimes ten feet in length were formed of these strands applied to strips of deerskin, often in hiero glyphic patterns that had a mnemonic meaning. Thus gain ing a symbolic or historic in addition to their pecuniary and decorative value, wampum belts were worn as ornaments by both sexes and as regalia by the sachems, were treasured as reserves of wealth, and were used for the gifts needed to ratify all formal dealings among the savages themselves or between them and the white men. Wampum, in short, was a useful commodity as well as a currency. In one form or another it was the Indian's substitute for the European's money, plate, jewellery, works of art, written records, and in signia of rank and power. The tribes of the eastern coast of New England, who did not manufacture it, were poor and feeble compared with those that did. It was produced chiefly around Narragansett Bay and at Oyster Bay and more easterly places on Long Island. From these sources it passed in great quantities up River Mauritius, for the Mohawks learned to exact it as tribute from the Algonquin tribes. While the English called it wampum, an Indian name for the white beads, the Dutch, adopting a more generic term, said zeewant or sewan. The most common Indian name for Long Island, Matowack, meant Land of the Peri winkle; another, Seawanhacky, meant Land of Wampum, and a third, Paumanack, Land of Tribute.
The utility of the beads to the white man was based, of course, upon their value to the Indian who would seldom barter his corn and furs even for the European goods he most desired unless a payment in wampum was added. But in the dearth of small coin that afflicted all New "World settlements wampum, throughout the northern colonies, soon passed cur rent between white man and white, a certain number of beads being reckoned as a stiver or penny. Then value was usually computed not by measuring the strands but by counting the beads. Erelong this money was recognized as legal tender in New Netherland and New England, and in 1634 it was indorsed as such by the West India Company for use in its province. In Massachusetts it was not accepted for taxes after 1649, in Rhode Island it ceased to be legal tender in 1662, but in New York it did not wholly lose this character until after the beginning of the eighteenth century and was used in dealings with the remoter Indians for a much longer time. Even in our own day it has been manufactured on Staten Island for export to the West. Beaver skins, the main articles of internal traffic and of export during Dutch times, formed a standard of value according to which from time to time the government of New Netherland tried to regulate the worth of the beads; and so it is easy to see how the price of furs at Archangel might influence the fluctuations of clam-shell money on Manhattan. Of course the beads themselves were never sent to Europe.
In general the Dutchmen tried to treat the Indians well. By nature they were more gentle than the Puritan English man; they did not share his hatred and contempt for aliens and heathen; and they were more strongly inclined by their special needs to a friendly policy. They depended more than the New Englander upon the trade in furs; and even while these were abundant in places close at hand they could be much more easily obtained by bargaining with native hunters and trappers than by personal quest in tangled forests and rapid streams. Therefore the Dutchmen conciliated the savages as middlemen between themselves and the beaver, and also as the only persons from whom, until they had wide cultivated fields of their own, they could supply themselves with food. In after years a Long Island sachem declared that the gifts of his people saved Adriaen Block and his men from starvation while they were building the Restless. Prob ably many an early trader baffled death by the aid of similar ministrations. On the other hand, many must have met with a fate like John Colman's. One such unfortunate was Hendrick Christiaensen. Soon after he built the first Dutch trading post he was murdered by one of the Indians whom he had taken to Holland and afterwards brought back to their tribe.
In theory at least the Hollander considered the Indian a man like himself with analogous rights to his life, liberty, and possessions. The West India Company repeatedly pre scribed that all lands taken by its settlers should be paid for to their owners' satisfaction and that the bargain should be formally ratified and recorded; Indians were not enslaved in New Netherland; and negotiation, not war, was the cus tomary method of securing peace with the red man.
Peace was not always kept in New Netherland and, even in times of peace, by no means every Dutchman was kindly and righteous in his dealings with the savage. The settler's greed for furs, and afterwards for land, could best be gratified by quenching the red man's insatiable thirst for rum; and from this kind of traffic and the equally pernicious traffic in firearms and powder sprang most of the trouble that the white men experienced. Once, indeed, as will be told, their passion and cruelty provoked an Indian uprising which almost annihilated the settlement on Manhattan. But the memory of this tragic incident has too darkly colored most modern accounts of the Dutchmen's treatment of the aborigines. The governor, not the people, of New Netherland was chiefly responsible for it, and it was not a characteristic but an exceptional episode.
In spite of all official lapses and individual transgressions, savage rights, customs, and susceptibilities were respected in the Dutch province more generally than in New England, not to speak of Virginia where the Indians were never well treated and were constantly troublesome. The initial danger was greater in the Dutch province than on the New England coast which had so recently been swept by epidemic diseases that the settlers had time to grow numerous before, as they pressed westward into the Connecticut Valley, their Indian difficulties began. New Netherland was not only much more populous with red men but was also a borderland where the fierce, am bitious Iroquois were in conflict with their hereditary Algon quin foes, where the Mohawks especially were often in arms for years against the Algonquin Mohegans (Mohicans, May kans, Mahicanders) who occupied both banks of River Mau ritius in the neighborhood of Fort Orange. Yet neither as New Netherland nor as New York did the Dutchmen's prov ince see all its Indians arrayed against it; it never thought it needful to sanction for the sake of its own safety such a measure as the officially permitted murder of Miantonomi; and from first to last, until the Revolutionary War broke out, it kept the powerful, irascible Iroquois as its friends and allies.
They often wavered in their fealty to the rulers of New York but they never renounced it in answer to the constant threats and solicitations of the French; and it dated from the early days of the Dutch. The tradition that in the year 1616 by the mouth of Norman's Kill certain Dutch fur-traders smoked the pipe of peace with the sachems of the Mohawks and of some of the semi-subject Algonquin tribes is possibly a fable. Yet in spirit if not in fact it is true, for at the very first, formally or informally, the Dutch inaugurated that amicable method of dealing with the aborigines showing a regard for their rights, a desire for their friendship, and a willingness to trust their promises which in after years served to prevent the French from sweeping down by way of Lake Champlain and Hudson's River to the coast, and thus saved for the English their pivot province and in the end made possible their conquest of Canada.