THE FALL OF NEW AMSTERDAM Whether we turn us for assistance to the north or the south, to the east or the west, 'tis all in vain ! . . . If on the other hand we examine our internal strength, alas ! it is so feeble and impotent that, unless we ascribe the circumstance to the mercy of God, we cannot sufficiently express our astonishment that the foe should have granted us so long a reprieve. Remonstrance of the People of New Amsterdam to the Governor and Council. September, 1664.
Cornelis Van Ruyven who was receiver-general as well as secretary of the province, Nicasius De Sille the schout-fiscal, and Johannes De Decker who had been for a time vice director at Fort Orange were the only members of Stuyve sant's council during his last years as director-general of New Netherland. His real helpers in his struggle to preserve his province for Holland were his people speaking through their local magistracies and their militia officers and, when special need required, through representatives elected for the pur pose.
This change in local conditions, the growing prosperity of the province, and the state of affairs in Holland afford good ground for the belief that if neither the English nor the French had seized New Netherland it would soon have grown into a self-reliant and flourishing Dutch colony. Adam Smith was right when, looking back at it after the lapse of a century, he declared that even under the control of Holland it must soon have become a `considerable colony.' For the development of character, energy, and ambition in its people it had been better served by the neglect of the West India Company than it could have been by a more careful paternalism. It had grown slowly but more rapidly and healthfully than Canada, the type of a paternally supported province. Its people at large had achieved more influence, more real power, than those of Virginia, despite their assembly, then possessed; and their voice was not muffled and weakened, as was the popular voice in Massachusetts, by theologico-political dis sensions. Already, as Stuyvesant complained to his superiors, some of his people boasted that they lived in a 'free country.' And he was now well aware that the trend toward freedom could not be withstood. He hoped, he wrote in 1662, that the privileges granted by the city of Amsterdam to its new colony on the South River would not make it 'too insubordinate,' for the places planted at an earlier day could claim, by virtue of their patents and deeds, 'all immunities, privileges, and liberties' secured by any other; and he asked to be instructed how to act 'in an emergency' if, because of rights already granted or to be granted to New Amstel, New Amsterdam should demand the same.
Even the West India Company confessed that New Nether land was no longer a 'little colony' but a 'rising republic.' Nevertheless its colonists were very wise in their desire to rid themselves altogether of its yoke. Only thus could they feel sure of keeping and enlarging the powers and privileges which, because of its weakness, it had unwillingly granted them. This is clearly shown by the history of the pastoral and agricultural colony which soon grew up around the port of call established in 1652 at the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch East India Company as a watering-place for ships passing to and from the Indies; for in aims, methods, and spirit the two great trading associations were essentially alike. Just as in New Netherland and Brazil the West India Com pany, so in South Africa the East India Company failed because of niggardliness to strengthen its people, and ham pered and embittered them by its selfish and arbitrary policy.
From the first the settlers resented its autocratic attitude; but, stronger than the West India Company, it continued to ignore their plaints and demands. As late as 1779 only twenty-one years before the Company perished in the conti nental upheaval effected by Napoleon, thirty-five before Cape Colony passed finally to the English the descendants of its early settlers were still begging for what the New Nether landers had demanded more than a hundred years earlier. They begged for greater security and for such freedom as the citizens of the fatherland enjoyed; and the spokesmen of its owners answered, in a way to which virtual parallels may be found in the letters of the owners of New Netherland : It would be a mere waste of words to dwell on the remarkable distinction to be drawn between burghers whose ancestors nobly fought for and conquered their freedom from tyranny . . . and such as are named burghers here, who have been permitted, as matter of grace, to have a residence in a land of which possession has been taken by the Sovereign Power, there to gain a livelihood as tillers of the earth, tailors, and shoemakers.
In 1663, however, the Dutchmen in America had much more reason to hope for autonomy under the direct supervision of their P atria than had at any time the Dutchmen in Africa. The West India Company was almost at its last gasp and was surrounded by enemies eager to deal it a finishing stroke. Keenly conscious now of the value of its province, especially as a factor in the struggle to evade or override the trading laws of England, it was trying to people the parts between the North and South rivers with emigrants from the Netherlands and from France, was loudly calling upon the government for aid, and in broadsides addressed nominally to the govern ment but really to the public was clamorously telling of the `tyranny and violence' displayed by the New Englanders toward its colonists. But although the restoration of Charles II had revived the hopes of the Orangist party in Holland, the Arminian party under the leadership of De Witt was still in firm control of public affairs; and, always hostile to the West India Company, it was now determined to destroy it and to build up New Netherland under a better form of gov ernment into a domain of greater national value. These intentions may be read in the words and between the lines of certain books and pamphlets of the time which treat of the problems of colonization and set forth the advantages to colo nies of self-government and free trade. One of the most im portant is called Short Account (Kort Verhael) of New Nether land's Situation . . . and Peculiar Fitness for Population; another, Netherland Glorified by a Restoration of Commerce. This is a conversation between a countryman, a burgher, and a seaman in which the seaman interprets the story of the dealings of the West India Company with New Netherland. The province, he explains, had suffered because the Company, unable to colonize it and to maintain its trade, had neverthe less the right to exclude all others. In such matters the gov ernment should take the initiative and should make sure that for their free development colonies be permitted as large a measure of autonomy as possible. If the general govern ment could not find money for such a fostering of commerce, as it did to keep up armies for the protection of commerce, the cities of the fatherland could find it, lending at interest to individual settlers and reserving to themselves for a time the trade of the colony, after which time twenty-five or thirty years at most trade should be free to all inhabitants. Only under a right system of self-government could a colony flourish, the fatherland giving it first assistance until it was well started.
All this was excellent if belated theorizing, full of hope for New Netherland to eyes which did not look abroad. But meanwhile the disputing factions were leaving the province unprotected just at the time when the desire of the English to possess it was waxing strong and taking definite shape.
This desire formed part of that more definite course in colonial administration which began with the accession of Charles II and the establishment of Clarendon's influence over commercial affairs. Consequently it was bound up with the policy of antagonism to Holland as the great commercial rival of England which prevailed during the early part of the reign of Charles, as it had in the time of the Commonwealth, and was soon to force the Dutch into another naval war.
Before the end of the year 1660, as has been told, the com mercial interests of the realm and its dependencies were con fided to the care of three bodies a small Committee for Trade and Plantations composed of members of the privy council, which together with the secretary of state for the southern department held all actual power in regard to the colonies, and two larger advisory boards, a Council for Foreign Plantations of forty-eight members and a Council of Trade of sixty-two. The composition of these two councils, which had many members in common, shows the growing in fluence of the commercial classes in national and inter national affairs, for besides high-placed officials they included merchants, ship-masters, and capitalists engaged in colonial enterprises.
Difficult tasks were cut out for the committee and the councils. The most obvious and insistent was the enforce ment of the Navigation Acts, for New England ignored them, Virginia hotly resented and openly transgressed them, and the English West Indies, deprived of their commerce by a dearth of those English vessels in which alone it could now be conducted, cried out that they were indeed 'hard pinched' : their ports were almost empty while those of their French neighbors were 'crowded with shipping' as never before. Furthermore, the New Englanders were growing wool to the probable future detriment of Englishmen at home. Each of the New England colonies was on bad terms with its neighbors, especially in regard to boundary lines. Connecticut and New Haven were disputing about the consolidation effected by the charter that Winthrop had obtained. Great numbers of the people of Massachusetts were dissatisfied with its govern ment, and this government was thought to be disloyal to the crown. In 1661 it had spoken loyally enough. It then pro claimed the king and by the hand of Governor Endicott signed an address to him which began: Illustrious Sir, That majesty and benignity both sat upon the throne where unto your outcasts made their former address, witness the second eucharistical approach unto the best of kings, who to other titles of royalty common to him with other gods among men delighted herein more peculiarly to conform himself to the God of Gods in that he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.. . . Your just title to the crown enthronizeth you in our consciences, your graciousness in our affections; that inspireth us unto duty, this naturalizeth unto loyalty; thence we call you lord, hence a saviour. ...
The godlike king, however, wanted concrete proof of rever ence actual obedience to his expressed desire that Massa chusetts should recognize his sovereignty in the conduct of its government and its courts, respect the laws of trade, and abolish those sectarian tests for the suffrage which excluded from civil rights and public life members of the established church of England. Instead, he got only a semblance of compliance even when, reiterating his wishes, he confirmed the charter of the colony.
Even at this period of crescent commercial ambition and antagonism to the Dutch, a Dutch-American colony in another situation might not have been thought by the king's advisers a possession to be strongly coveted. The situation of New Netherland made it seem indispensable. That it cut across the territories granted, from sea to sea, to Massachusetts and Connecticut merely accentuated the main fact that it em braced the most desirable and strategically the most impor tant parts of the far-stretched region where the English plan tations had been set. Unless the English owned Hudson's River they could not gain military control of this region for the checking of the French; and as long as river and harbor remained in Dutch hands they could not profit by the fur trade of the western wilderness, nor, a still more important fact, could they enforce the laws of trade in the colonies to the north and the south. Cromwell had understood this when he sent out the expedition of 1654; and of course the fact that he had afterwards recognized the right of Holland to its province weighed nothing in the balances of royalty restored.
To prove the right of England to the coveted territory base less tales like Plowden's story of Argall's early visit were re vived while others seem to have been freshly invented. For example, Samuel Maverick, an active, intelligent man who had settled in Massachusetts before Winthrop and his people arrived and had always been in opposition to its theo cratic government, ought to have known something about the true history of New Netherland for he had had business dealings with Governor Kieft as agent of the West India Com pany. Yet, returning to England at the time of the Restora tion, he then wrote, in a treatise called a Brief Description of New England, that in the year 1630 when the Dutch ship Eendraght on its way home from Manhattan was detained at Plymouth the Hollanders had relinquished 'any title they had or might have' to Hudson's River, and that soon afterwards an English ship (meaning the William of Van Twiller's time) had carried the king's commission 'to sail unto Manatas' and had gone up the river 'towards Fort Oranja . . . without any opposition.' Again, an anonymous paper dated 1663 and evidently written for the eye of the king says that New Nether land's Great River was discovered by Henry Hudson, an `English gentleman' whom two English merchants, men tioned by name, had sent out 'by King James's permission with three ships well equipped,' adding that Hudson after quarrelling with his crew went to Holland and 'sold his maps and cards to the Dutch' and that it was the Dutch who sub sequently cast him adrift to perish in the icy wilderness. The same paper also declares that the Dutch had treacher ously carried English emigrants from their own shores to the `barren country since called Plymouth' and then, in de spite of 'engagements' they had made with Captain Argall, had established themselves 'through fraud and treachery' on Hudson's River 'to the wearing out of our English in terest in that place.' That they were there wresting trade from English merchants might be seen from the Dutch returns for the year 1662. Surely England ought to submit no longer to the intrusions of 'such monsters and bold usurpers.' In other quarters of the globe the Dutch, as the English said, were even more monstrous in their usurpations and in the injuries their great trading companies inflicted upon Eng lish commerce and English merchants. This was the period when Thomas Mun the economist wrote that it was a shame to England that the Hollander should support his own `strength and happiness' by the cod and herring fisheries of ' his Majesty's seas,' thereby 'taking the bread' out of English mouths, and when Dryden the poet in his Satire on the Dutch urged his compatriots against the 'lubber state' which had managed to 'bestride' the world: As Cato fruits of Afric did display, Let us before our eyes their Indies lay: All loyal English will like him conclude, Let Czsar live and Carthage be subdued Young Samuel Pepys, who was then clerk of the acts of the navy, would have found few fellow-countrymen to agree with him had he spoken aloud what he wrote in the diary kept for his own eye that it was not really the skill of the Dutch that injured the trade of the English, who had 'so many ad vantages over them in winds, good ports, and men,' but rather the 'pride and laziness' of the merchants of England. These merchants saw only that their rivals had the upper hand in the Orient and had so firmly established themselves on the Guinea coast that the Royal African Company of England found its pathways to profit blocked. Therefore, as Hume explained a century later, a 'ground of quarrel was indus triously sought for by the English,' and the chief agent in this work was that 'man of an insolent, impetuous temper,' Sir George Downing that 'untrustworthy, avaricious, and brutal Downing' as, a hundred and fifty years later still, he is called by Blok, the most recent historian of Holland.
This Downing was a cousin of John Winthrop's and had been educated in Massachusetts, graduating from Harvard College. Returning to England he had served as a regimental preacher in Fairfax's army, as staff-officer to Cromwell, sec retary to Thurloe, and member of parliament, and in 1657 had been employed by the Protector as his resident at the Hague. When the Commonwealth tottered he turned toward the house of Stuart; and Charles, condoning his past course, gave him the same diplomatic post and made him a baronet. Under both masters he conducted in the House of Commons the financial policy of the government, consulting with his col leagues in his own house, which bequeathed his name to Downing Street where now stands the official residence of the first lord of the treasury, most commonly the prime minister of the crown.
In Holland, in England, and in America Downing was held responsible for the policy expressed by the Navigation Acts; the first of them was generally called 'George Downing's law.' Everywhere, and especially in Holland, he was hated for his insolence, rapacity, and falsehood. And under the crown as under the Commonwealth there was no one else who did as much as was done by this semi-New Englander, deliberately, systematically, malevolently, to stir up strife between the mother-countries of New England and New Netherland.
Strong in the same direction was also the influence of the king's brother James, Duke of York and Albany, heir-presump tive to the throne, lord high admiral of the realm, and, what was more to the point, special fosterer and nominal head of the Royal African Company. In this ambitious trading com pany the king also was a large shareholder; and there were certain other reasons why, although Charles was less keen for a war than parliament and people, he was not wholly averse to the prospect. He thought that it would distract public at tention from home affairs, he believed that it would force par liament to grant him money, and he hoped that it might end in the reinstatement of the Orangist party in Holland. In short, as Pepys recorded, ' all the court' was 'mad for war' although persons like himself, who could see more under standingly, 'dreaded' rather than hoped for it.
In 1663 Downing, then the English resident at the Hague, thought it a good time to begin a war or, as he believed that the Dutch were afraid of war, a good time to force them to grant the many claims that England had against them. Par liament had urged the king to demand reparation for the alleged wrong-doings of their East and West India Compa nies, and Downing now presented to the States General a list of their 'depredations.' All that he mentioned dated back beyond the year 1662 when the treaty between England and Holland had been concluded, yet none of them had been referred to in the treaty a 'remarkable' fact, to _quote Hume again, which gave 'no favorable idea of the justice of the English pretensions.' Neither the treaty, it should be noted, nor the subsequent list of anterior offences mentioned the occupation by the Dutch of the territories they called New Netherland.
Samuel Maverick had followed up his Brief Description of New England with a series of letters to Clarendon in which, while he urged the reform and restraint of the New England ers, he suggested the conquest of the New Netherlanders, describing their wealth in furs, their two 'gallant rivers,' and the way in which they continued to 'encroach and increase,' and declaring that the Dutch as well as the English among them would make 'little or no dispute' about surrendering if they were promised safe enjoyment of their lands and goods and relief from the 'unheard of taxes' now imposed on their imports and exports and even 'on what they eat and drink.' In the summer of 1663 the counsels of this recalcitrant New Englander were vigorously reenforced by those of George Baxter the renegade New Netherlander and a disreputable friend of his, Captain John Scott.
Baxter seems to have been trying for a long time to get a hearing, for in 1658 he and two others had presented to Crom well a petition on behalf of several inhabitants of 'Fairfield and Long Isle in New England.' This was two years after he had fled from New Amsterdam and shortly after Stuyvesant had prevented the publication of the Protector's letter to the people of Long Island.
Captain John Scott, according to his own account, was the son of an English officer killed in the service of Charles I, and when very young had been deported to Massachusetts and bound out as a servant because he was caught cutting the bridles and girths of the horses of a parliamentary troop. Going to Long Island when his term of service expired, there, as other accounts set forth, he made constant trouble, first joining the would-be rebels in the days of Cromwell's expedi tion, and afterwards giving for large tracts of land, which he said he had bought from the Indians, conveyances that the courts pronounced to be void. Then he made himself con spicuous in New England. Massachusetts had long been trying to get possession of the districts between Narragan sett Bay and the Pequot River. Now a company called the Atherton Land Company, which included many of the lead ing men of Connecticut as well as of Massachusetts, Governor Winthrop among them, was reviving claims based upon a discredited grant, the so-called Narragansett Patent of 1643 to lands along the western shore of Narragansett Bay that really belonged to Providence Plantations. Scott joined the Atherton Company, and before the end of the year 1660, when Charles was newly wearing his crown, he went to Eng land by way of New Amsterdam, returning in 1662 to New England and Long Island where he ruffled about for a while boasting of the king's favor, but soon going back again to London. Here he acted, it is believed, as a secret agent for Massachusetts, and certainly as a special emissary of the Atherton Company.
In July, 1663, the agent of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, John Clarke, obtained for them a charter which covered the Narragansett lands. These had already been covered by the Connecticut charter secured by Winthrop a year before, but Clarke had arranged with Winthrop for a friendly compromise. Meanwhile, however, in June, by intrigue and bribery Scott had secretly obtained a letter from the king to the governments of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven which instructed them that the Atherton Company had a 'just propriety' in the Narragan sett lands, and directed them to protect it against the 'tur bulent' people of Providence Plantations. The second name on the list of members of the company embraced in this royal missive was the name of Scott himself, the third was John Winthrop's, another was Thomas Willett's; the first of all was the name of Thomas Chiffinch, the notorious `page of the back stairs,' valet and pander to King Charles, to whose good offices with the king Scott was largely indebted for his success. Exhibiting the letter after Clarke had got his charter, and falsely declaring that before he got it he had known that the letter revealed the king's real intentions, Scott threw upon the agent of Rhode Island a stigma of bad faith which only the investigations of recent years have removed.
In the meantime New Haven had appointed Scott its mouthpiece to protest at Whitehall against its consolidation with Connecticut ; and as early as 1661 Governor Stuyvesant had written to Holland of a report that all Long Island was granted to `one John Scott who sailed from here in the Oak Tree last year.' This report was untrue; but in 1663, while Scott was juggling for the Atherton Company, he petitioned the king on his own behalf, recounting the early misfortunes due to adherence to the royal cause, saying that he had bought `near one-third part of Long Island,' and asking that he be appointed its governor or at least that its people be allowed to choose a governor for themselves. Through Henry Bennet, who soon afterwards as Lord Arlington became secretary of state, Charles replied that having 'good testimony' in regard to Scott he would inquire whether any other claim to Long Island stood in his way.
How particularly the government was now concerning itself with the colonies is shown by the Act for the Encourage ment of Trade of 1663 which was framed for the regulation of colonial traffic. The farmers of the customs were com plaining that the kingdom was losing £10,000 a year by the non-execution of the laws, blaming above all Virginia and Maryland which still gave almost the whole of their tobacco carrying trade to the Dutch. Here was a great reason for proceeding against the Dutch-American province. Another may well have been the knowledge that it was disputing the rights recently conferred by the king upon Connecticut. And there seems also to have been a fear that if the Hollanders were left in possession the disaffected party in Massachusetts might some day make common cause with them. But the king's Council for Plantations has left us its own record of its reasons for taking the first definite step toward the seizure of New Netherland. In a paper dated July 6, 1663, it says that it was moved by the complaint, recently brought by Captain John Scott, that the Dutch had `of late years' pos sessed themselves of part of New England and in especial of `the Manhadoes' and Long Island, by a petition of Lord Stirling to his Majesty to the same effect, by the corroborative testimony of a number of other persons, and by the belief of some of its own members that existing conditions frustrated the intent of the Acts of Trade and Navigation by these influences, it said, it was moved to order the said Captain Scott, Mr. Maverick, and Mr. Baxter to draw up within a week a `brief narrative' to serve as the basis of a report to the king. They were to make plain his Majesty's title to the premises in question, the facts about the ' Dutch intrusion,' the subsequent conduct and the method of government of the intruders, their strength, and 'the means to make them acknowledge and submit to' his Majesty's government ' or by force compel them to or expulse them.' It is probable that, when the three thus selected as expert advisers wrote their `narrative,' they suggested, for the sake of getting the backing of the Duke of York and of Clarendon whose daughter he had married, that upon him the coveted province might well be bestowed.
As Governor Winthrop did not go home when he secured the charter for Connecticut but remained in England until April, 1663, and as he then left many friendly correspondents there, undoubtedly he knew how the Dutch province was threatened when, at the conference with Governor Stuyvesant at Boston in September, he and his colleague, saying that they needed time to prepare the case of Connecticut, persuaded the other federal commissioners to postpone for a year the con sideration of the claims of New Netherland.
Many were the tribulations of New Netherland in this autumn of 1663. Not only was Long Island seething with disaffection, Connecticut claiming almost the whole of the province : a great freshet had destroyed the crops along the valley of River Mauritius ; a great earthquake had every where affrighted the people ; the Indian war at Esopus was not yet at an end, and the savages, it was said, were planning a descent on Manhattan. So hard pushed for money was the provincial government that it borrowed 12,000 guilders in wampum from Cornelis Steenwyck, pledging the four brass cannon in Fort Amsterdam as security for a bill drawn on the West India Company. And so anxious were the city magistrates that they begged that they might have the aid of the rest of the province and especially of Beverwyck and Rensselaerswyck in their deliberations. This was the first time that a convention had been thought of since the establish ment of the city government ten years before. It was a reasonable request, said the governor and council, but, as delegates from the up-river places could hardly come and return before winter would set in, it would be best to summon only neighboring places and then communicate their `advice and suggestions' to the more remote. The English towns paid no attention to the notifications they received, but on November 1 representatives of New Amsterdam, New Harlem, Bergen, and the Five Dutch Towns of Long Island met in the Stadt Huis and, calling themselves delegates to a Gemeene Landts V ergaderingh (a General Convention or Diet), on November 3 signed a Remonstrance to the Amster dam Chamber of the West India Company. The Chamber, they said, had tempted settlers into its province with pledges of protection, but it had not even secured a proper patent from the States General and so, as the English now declared, had placed its people ' on slippery ice,' giving them lands to which it had itself no valid title. The 'well-intentioned' Englishmen of the province were in a 'labyrinth and maze' while soon, beyond a doubt, the province itself would be totally lost or else so cramped and clipped' that its Dutch inhabitants would be forced to abandon it and to become outcasts with their families.' The Company should take speedy steps to give assistance to its subjects in this alarm ing and painful extremity.' Jan Baptist Van Rensselaer and Johannes Van Brugh, an old schepen' of the city, were chosen to carry the appeal to Holland at the expense of the convention, Secretary Van Ruyven pledging 400 guilders toward this end. It was needful, the convention explained to them, that they should appear in support of the written prayer, for the governor's 'notable exertions' in person at Boston and by embassy at Hartford had failed of effect, the English were basing their hostile pretensions upon the charter newly obtained by Governor Winthrop contrary to the intention' of the king of England, and the West India Company had neglected to get a similar patent from the States General. At the same time Stuyvesant wrote home that the boundary question positively must be settled and the charter of the Company confirmed under the great seal of the States General, a thing of a sort 'which an Englishman commonly dotes upon like an idol.' Two Englishmen, he reported, were now going through Long Island inducing the English towns to change their Dutch names, displacing their old magistrates, and installing others who would take the oath of allegiance to King Charles. As only a handful of soldiers could be sent to protect the Dutch towns, the rest being still engaged with the Indians at Esopus, Stuyvesant thought best to accept the teens that Connecticut had previously proposed in vain : Westchester should belong to Connecticut, the English towns on Long Island should be for the time autonomous. He found it possible, however, to send Captain Cregier and some of his men to expel certain friends of Captain Scott who were trying to buy lands of the Indians on the mainland back of Navesink. Lurid accounts of this incident were circulated in England.
In November George Baxter returned to New England bringing the charter that Clarke had obtained for Rhode Island. Like the charter of Connecticut it had been given in the hope that rivalry among the New England colonies, were the lesser ones strengthened, might help to bridle the strongest and most insubordinate, Massachusetts. It was even more liberal than the Connecticut charter, establishing religious liberty as well as practical political independence ; and it was even longer lived, remaining the constitution of the State of Rhode Island until 1842. From England came also Captain John Scott bearing the royal letter about the Atherton Company and royal instructions in regard to the Navigation Acts which, if obeyed, would have put an end to the traffic of New Eng land with New Netherland. The many dignitaries in Massa chusetts and Connecticut who were interested in the Atherton Company bade Scott welcome. Governor Winthrop sent him to Long Island with John Young and another colleague, administering an oath which empowered them to incorporate the towns of the island with Connecticut. And New Haven reimbursed him for his outlays in England and supplied him with a troop of almost two hundred men. Before he left Hartford he wrote to Joseph Williamson, then secretary to Arlington the secretary of state, begging that no heed be given to any petitions from the Dutch regarding Long Island until some person from New England could come to confront them or their complices; and sending his `services' to Thomas Chiffinch.
When he reached the island he found that the English towns of New Netherland, Hempstead, Jamaica, Newtown, Flushing, and Gravesend, preferring not to come under Puritan rulers, had formed a combination' ; and, breaking his oath to Connecticut, he accepted their invitation to act as their president' until the Duke of York or the king of England should establish a government among them. These words show that Scott and Baxter must have spread in America the news of what the king and his advisers were considering but had not yet openly announced in England. Then Scott, setting out to reduce the neighboring Dutch towns with what Stuyvesant called his ragged troop . . . intent upon plunder,' seized the block-house at New Utrecht, raised the English flag at the village called the Ferry, and threatened fire and violence there and at Midwout and Amersfoort. His followers attacked the citizens, and he himself bastinadoed' Captain Cregier's son about the head and neck with a rattan because he would not take off his hat to him. ' I will stick my rapier in the guts of any man who . . . says that this is not the king's land,' he cried to three envoys whom Stuyvesant had commissioned to treat with him as the agent of Connecticut. After a parley he agreed to withdraw but said that he would come back in April and publish his commission, declaring that the Duke of York intended soon to possess himself of all New Netherland and promising the people that as soon as this place will be king's land you shall have more freedom.' So great was the disorder on Long Island, many individual Englishmen under pretence of new grants from the Indians driving Dutchmen by force' from their lands, that in Febru ary, 1664, the Five Dutch Towns drew up a Remonstrance to the governor and council, demanding prompt assistance from the West India Company : In default whereof we roundly declare that we cannot any longer dwell and sit down on an uncertainty, but shall be obliged to our hearts' grief to seek by submitting to another government better pro tection as well against such vagabonds as against barbarians.
Again the governor, not daring to risk another Indian out break by bringing down his soldiers from Esopus, asked advice of his council and the city magistrates, laying before them a series of written questions. New Amsterdam, they replied, . . . is adorned with so many noble buildings at the expense of the good and faithful inhabitants, principally Netherlanders, that it nearly excels any other place in North America. Were it duly forti fied it would instil fear into any envious neighbors, protect both the East and the North Rivers, the surrounding villages and bouweries, as well as full ten thousand inhabitants, both Dutch and French, who in the course of a few years, if it pleased God, might become a mighty people in this happily situated province.
If left in peace, said the writers, such a province would soon become ' the granary of Patria' and an emporium of `tobacco, hemp, flax, and other necessaries.' But peace was not in sight ; beyond a doubt the English meant to seize New Amsterdam as the key to all New Netherland. It was not for the people at large to dispute whether the country be longed to Holland or to England. Their part was to resist all attacks on their ' property, liberty, and privileges.' Burgh ers and townsmen were bound to defend their own places within their walls, the Company's soldiers to protect the villages and the open country. To secure New Amsterdam its magistrates offered to use all its revenues and to raise a large loan if the governor would resign to them the tapsters' excise so that the lenders could gradually be reimbursed with interest. The governor consented, stipulating that the city should support a hundred and fifty soldiers. Bonding its property, a thing that the West India Company had for bidden it to do, and pledging the tapsters' excise the city then borrowed from almost a hundred persons a total of 27,500 guilders, promising to discharge the debt within five years and to pay meanwhile in wampum ten per cent interest which should commence `when each shall have paid his last promised penny.' The list of subscribers to the loan, dated February 24, shows that Governor Stuyvesant lentguilders, the members of the city corporation an aggre gate of 6300, the `deaconry' of the church 2000, Domine Megapolensis 600, his colleague Drisius 500, Paulus Richard `one cargo' equivalent to 500, and others from 100 to 1500 guilders each.
What to hope for, whither to turn with the best prospect of safety, the English of the western parts of Long Island did not know, some of them dreading the dominion of Connecticut, others who had longed to come under the Commonwealth of England now feeling differently about a Stuart king. Among the latter was John Underhill. In Cromwell's time he had broken his oath of allegiance to the Dutch. Now he expressed great indignation because others were doing the like, writing to Winthrop in March : Truly, Sir, some have offended God in violating their oaths and interest, obliged to the Dutch before taken of by royal power. Sir, who can expect honor and fidelity from such a wandering people as they have manifested themselves in turning, turning, and turning again? Great was their cry for Captain Scott ; he sought not them but they him, and cried him up, hosanna today and down with him to morrow.
So also, said Underhill, they had behaved about the claims of Connecticut. Now, he added, Scott declared that he would not hinder Connecticut if it should assert its authority as resting on its new charter, . . . but some, other ways persuaded, would not consent to this, it not being clear to myself nor many more.
It had become clear enough to the Dutch authorities that as Scott and his `rebellious troop' could not be expelled he must put into writing the semi-agreement he had made a few weeks before; and toward the end of February, acting as president of the English towns and `in the name' of King Charles and of the Duke of York 'as far as his Highness is therein concerned,' he formally compacted that these towns should remain under the king of England without let or hindrance from the Dutch authorities while the ' Dutch towns or bouweries ' should remain under the States General . . . for the space of twelve months and longer (viz.) until his Majesty of England and the States General do fully determine the whole difficulty about the said Island and the places adjacent.
This document was signed and sealed by Scott and attested on behalf of the English towns by John Underhill, Daniel Denton, and Adam Mott, on behalf of Governor Stuyvesant by Oloff Stevensen Van Cortlandt, Jacobus Backer, and John Lawrence.
Once more Stuyvesant wrote to Holland that the English men wanted to provoke him to shed the first blood, and that if no 'immediate' settlement were made in Europe the Com pany must send him instant and sufficient 'reinforcements of ships and men.' Otherwise he and his people could not be held responsible for what might ensue. They were already filled with 'strange emotions' because they had not yet obtained even the single man-of-war they had long before demanded.
In Holland their rulers were enjoying a mood of purblind optimism. In January, 1664, the West India Company did, indeed, explain to the States General that its province was likely to be `torn away' by the English. The States General, moved by this appeal, by the pleas of the city of Amsterdam on behalf of its South River colony, and by the Remonstrance sent from Manhattan, confirmed the right of the Company to its province by an act given under the great seal. They also ratified the Hartford Treaty of 1650, urged King Charles to ratify it and to rectify the `abuses' under which the Com pany had suffered, and notified all friendly powers that they had so done. But they ignored what was really the most important request of the Company : it had asked whether it might proceed against its enemies 'in a hostile way' and, if so, whether the States General would give it the needful aid. Nevertheless the Company forgot its fears, pinning its faith on the one hand to the 'great hopes and promises' which, it said, were held out to it in England, and on the other to what it considered a 'favorable inclination on the part of Governor Winterop ' of Connecticut. Undoubtedly, it wrote to Stuyvesant, King Charles would immediately ratify the Hartford Treaty, and undoubtedly New England would not support the few rebels on Long Island. Thus encouraging the governor, it sent him sixty soldiers, a meagre supply of ammunition, a copy of its charter as newly confirmed, much elaborate advice about fortifications, finances, trade, and taxes, and mandatory letters from the States General to the Long Island towns.
Undoubtedly the demand of the States General about the Hartford Treaty helped to crystallize the desires of the king into a determination to seize New Netherland at once. He made no reply, for to ratify the treaty would have been to resign all claim to the province, to refuse would have been to warn the Dutch to protect it. Just at this time a committee
of three members of the Council for Plantations, appointed to receive complaints about New Netherland and to decide upon the feasibility of capturing it, presented their report. One of the three was the secretary of the Duke of York. The others were Sir John Berkeley, a brother of the governor of Virginia, and Sir George Carteret. Both of these were among the patentees to whom a charter for the province of Carolina, to extend from Virginia to the borders of Spanish Florida, had been given in 1663; and both were intimate friends of the duke intent upon profiting personally and largely by the enterprise on his behalf which now they counselled the king to undertake. Three ships, they said, with about three hundred soldiers would suffice to reduce New Netherland, for on Long Island one-third of the 1900 people were English, Englishmen would `come freely' from the other colonies to help, and the Indians might probably be engaged 'if need require.' In February, when Scott was announcing on Long Island what were still state secrets in England, active measures against the Dutch in other quarters were put in hand. Borrowing two men-of-war from the king, the Duke of York as patron of the Royal African Company secretly despatched a small squadron commanded by Robert Holmes to attack the posts of the West India Company on the western coast of Africa. Lord Clarendon confessed, says Samuel Pepys, that this expedition was sent `without any shadow of justice,' for war had not yet been declared. Nevertheless, as soon as it was upon its way another enterprise, of a distinctly piratical sort, was organized, and this time the king himself took the lead in the work.
His first move was to give away, in the manner that Scott had foretold, the region that he intended to seize. On March 12 he bestowed upon his brother the Duke of York a charter covering that part of the district called Maine which extended from the point nearest Nova Scotia westward to Pemaquid and northward to Canada, with Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, And also all that island or islands commonly called Matowacks or Long Island situate, lying, and being towards the west of Cape Cod and the Narro Higansetts abutting upon the main land between the two rivers there called or known by the several names of Conectecutte and Hudson's River. Together also with the said river called Hudson's River and all the land from the west side of Connectecutte River to the east side of De La Ware Bay.
A duplicate of this patent, given the duke as evidence of title, now hangs under glass in the State Library at Albany a single sheet of parchment measuring 32 by 27 inches, beauti fully engrossed in black and red with a deep floriated border at the top. The original and the warrant given by Charles for its preparation are in the Public Record Office in London. The warrant shows that the first intention was to give the duke only the region between the Hudson River and the Delaware. It is not known whether the fact that the patent as actually drawn ignored the terms of the charter recently bestowed upon Connecticut was due to ignorance, carelessness, or design; but it is known that the Connecticut charter had passed the great seal with the understanding that boundary questions were left open for future settlement. The bestowal within so short a time of these two patents and of those ob tained for Rhode Island and Carolina was merely one feature in that general distribution of rewards and sources of mainte nance to the needy faithful which followed the Restoration. But the fact that powers and privileges in America were bestowed upon a royal duke and other impoverished English men of high station, as well as upon colonials believed to be loyal, shows, as does in another way the passage of the Navi gation Acts, how greatly interest in the colonies increased after the fall of the Commonwealth and the cessation of civil strife in England. Also it marks the seizure of New Nether land as part of a genuine if as yet somewhat inchoate desire to bring England's colonial domain to a fuller development.
In defining the duke's territories his patent said nothing of their owners or inhabitants, speaking here as it might have spoken of uninhabited lands. And in transferring to the duke all the king's rights, powers, and privileges therein, and all emoluments that might accrue therefrom, it did not even hint that part of his domain would have to be acquired by force or that another part was already under a government recently recognized by a royal charter. It simply gave him the power to govern all such subjects of the king of England and his heirs and successors . . . as shall from time to time adventure themselves into any the parts or places aforesaid or that shall or do at any time thereafter inhabit within the same . . . , this power to be exercised through such laws, ordinances, and directions as the duke might frame, but 'as near as con veniently may be' in accordance with the laws of England and with a right of appeal to the king expressly reserved to the inhabitants.
Toward the cost of the intended expedition the king gave his brother £4000. The claims of Lord Stirling, grandson of the patentee of that name, which covered the Maine country, voL. I. -2 L Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket as well as Long Island, were bought by Clarendon for his son-in-law the duke with a promise of £35,000. And in April the duke gave a com mission as deputy-governor of all his anticipated possessions to Colonel Richard Nicolls whom the king then authorized to raise recruits for the enterprise in which he was to bear the chief command. Nicolls, always a devoted royalist, had commanded a troop of horse in the civil wars, following the Stuart princes into exile had served with James in France in the wars of the Fronde, and since the Restoration had been one of his gentlemen of the bedchamber. He understood, it appears, both Dutch and French.
Thus the demand of Captain Scott for the governorship of Long Island was forgotten or ignored, to his great dissatis faction and, as will appear, to the great future detriment of the province soon to be called New York.
All the preparations regarding New Netherland were kept secret lest Holland take alarm and send aid to its colonists. Nor was it difficult to mask them, for the king appointed a commission, composed of Colonel Nicolls, Colonel Sir Robert Carr, Colonel Sir Robert Cartwright, and the New Englander Samuel Maverick, which he empowered to inquire into 'the state of New England,' to receive the complaints of its people, and to settle 'the peace and security of the said country.' This was the ostensible purpose of the expedition. But the king's instructions to the four commissioners said that first of all they were to reduce to an 'entire obedience' the Dutch on or near Long Island and everywhere else within his do minions. These aliens, he explained, supplied 'a constant receptacle and sanctuary' for all mutinous and discontented English colonials, and . . . as soon as they shall grow to any strength or power their busi ness is to oppress their neighbors and to engross the whole trade to themselves by how indirect, unlawful, or foul means whatsoever, wit ness their inhumane proceedings at Amboyna in a time of full peace and all professions of particular friendship, and therefore it is high time to put them out of a capacity of doing the same mischief there. . . .
And so, in this other time of full peace, and a time of spe cial treaty obligations, the king ordered his commissioners to proceed against the New Netherlanders as they should see fit, using force only if it could not be avoided. It would have been poor policy to depopulate or to injure the province from which the duke had been magnificently promised that he might expect an annual revenue of £30,000. Therefore the commissioners were to assure its people that if they would yield to King Charles they should enjoy the same protection as his other subjects ; and the governors of New England, ordered to `assist vigorously' in the work of reducing the Dutch, were afterwards to treat them as 'neighbors and f ellow-subj ects.' Late in May the expedition set sail by the express command of the king given through his brother as lord high admiral three small men-of-war and a transport, mounting in all ninety-two guns and carrying three companies of veteran troops (four hundred and fifty men) well equipped and accom panied by engineers. Its purpose was suspected in Holland, and by Downing at least was not actually denied. When De Witt asked him why it had been sent to New Netherland he replied that he knew of no such country except on the maps ; the English had 'the first pattern of first possession of those parts ' ; and, he added, the Netherlanders would fain con sider all the rest of the world New Netherland. Charles II was more discreet, continuing when he knew his ships were on the sea to assure the Dutch ambassador that he meant to inquire into all matters in dispute without taking any action to interrupt good correspondence with the States.
In June the West India Company informed the burgomasters of Amsterdam as owners of the South River colony that it had asked the States General for ships of war, transports, and three hundred soldiers, explaining that Robert Holmes had seized Cabo Corso and was attacking other places on the Guinea coast while another English fleet was on its way to take New Netherland or 'at least' Long Island. The city agreed to support the demand if no acts were sanctioned at which England could take offence. The States General, likewise unwilling to exasperate the English people, refused all aid, trusting in the report of their ambassador whom the king still assured that he would not 'in any way violate his alliance with the Dutch.' Meanwhile New Amsterdam knew only that the Long Islanders were expecting the advent of an English fleet. It was fearful but not hopeless or panic-stricken. Its magis trates went quietly about their usual tasks and the governor attended to his own, deeding lands on Long Island to Dutch men and issuing ordinances for the more regular catechising of the children of the city and for the maintenance of fences around the bouweries on Manhattan.
In April, however, another convention gathered in the Stadt Huis. Again the magistrates had asked for it, and this time it fully deserved the name of a Landtsdag or Landts Verga deri,ngh, for it represented all parts of the province except the English towns that had recently been cut away from it. Two delegates sat for each of twelve communities New Amsterdam, New Harlem, Staten Island, and Bergen, the Five Dutch Towns of Long Island, Wiltwyck, Fort Orange (or Beverwyck), and the one surviving patroonship, Rensse laerswyck. A burgomaster and a schepen, Cornelis Steenwyck and Jacobus Backer, sat for New Amsterdam, Jeremias Van Rensselaer and the secretary of the patroonship for Rensse laerswyck. Bergen sent its schoolmaster. One Englishman appeared Thomas Chambers who came from Wiltwyck with a Dutch colleague. Although New Amsterdam pro tested, Van Rensselaer was chosen to preside because his colony was the oldest in the province.
Again the delegates reproached the West India Company for not protecting them against the 'malignant English.' Stuyvesant replied that he had done all he could and that they themselves had done too little. Refusing to vote more money they adjourned. Before they met again the few sol diers, the scant supplies, and the plentiful advice tardily sent by the Company arrived. Its 'categorical' orders to extirpate the Esopus Indians and to put down the Long Island rebels could not be carried out, Stuyvesant at once replied. The rebels, the convention declared, were six to one as compared with any force the Dutch could muster and, besides, could call for help upon the populous eastern part of Long Island and the whole of New England. The Indian troubles, however, it did bring to a close, not by an attempt at extirpation but by a formal treaty with more than twenty sachems from the Esopus 'nation' and the nearer River and Long Island tribes. This was all that the little Landts Vergaderingh accomplished, but it was enough to justify the day of thanksgiving that the governor proclaimed.
In June Stuyvesant reported that the letters from the States General to the Long Island towns had had no effect. The towns had sent them unopened to Hartford, thus seeming `to say and indicate, You may get your answer there' ; and at Hartford, as Thomas Willett, John Lawrence, and other well affected Englishmen bore witness, the authorities declared that the letters must have been 'fabricated and forged' either by the West India Company in Holland or by its agents on Manhattan, for the States General had nothing to do with New Netherland, being aware that it belonged to the king of England and by his charter had been given to Connecticut.
Connecticut had promised that if this charter should in clude New Haven the lesser colony should be free to `join' or not. New Haven decided to 'remain distinct as formerly,' and Winthrop would not permit it to be coerced. But Con necticut gladly received some of its towns which asked for acceptance, hoping thus to gain the whole colony piecemeal; and it also authorized Thomas Pell to buy again from the Indians the old Dutch tracts between Westchester and the Harlem River including Bronck's Land and the moribund Van der Donck patroonship. If, however, Connecticut would not actively support and defend Westchester, wrote a certain Richard Mills of that place, it ought to say so, for before it asserted its claims the people there had 'lived in peace . . .
without disturbance or danger.' This meant under the Dutchmen whom John Underhill had described as insuffer able tyrants, whom John Scott saw fit to call the 'cruel and rapacious neighbors' of the English on Long Island.
In only one thing Connecticut agreed with New Netherland in calling John Scott a usurper. In March he was arrested on Long Island and taken to Hartford for trial. Many Long Islanders demanded his release, one hundred and forty-four persons at Flushing, for instance, signing a petition which said that he had acted according to the will of the people and that if they would not rise for him the 'very stones' might justly do so. New Haven also asked that he be set at liberty ; and Massachusetts and Plymouth sent agents to speak the same demand, fearful lest a favorite of the king be hardly dealt with, or alarmed by Scott's threat that he could send damaging reports about them to England. Nevertheless, Scott was tried on ten charges including perjury, forgery, calumny, treachery, sedition, usurpation, and defamation of the king, and was convicted, fined, and sentenced to imprison ment during the pleasure of the court.
In May the general court of Connecticut, formally resolv ing that by the terms of its charter its jurisdiction embraced Long Island, deputed Governor Winthrop and two others to settle accordingly the governments of the English towns. In June, coming with some two hundred followers, Winthrop deposed Scott's magistrates and appointed others. Stuy vesant, Van Ruyven, Burgomaster Van Cortlandt, and other prominent New Netherlanders had gone to meet him, hoping to make terms with him. Less tractable even than Scott he refused all offers of a compromise, saying that the Indians from whom the Dutch had bought the western part of the island were not its rightful owners and that the English title was clear 'according to the proverb,' Governor Stuyvesant remarked, `sic volo, sic jubeo, stat pro ratione voluntas.' In short, Stuyvesant reported to his superiors, Long Island was `in terminus'; and Domine Selyns wrote that the Englishmen declared they would take New Amsterdam 'with flying colors.' On July 8 Thomas Willett informed the governor that he had news from Boston that an English fleet had set sail bearing one `Nicles' with a commission to take his govern ment from him. The city was put in posture of defence, lookouts were set to watch the entrances to the harbor, and prayers for money were sent to Fort Orange and Rensselaers wyck, for ammunition to the South River colony. Soon Willett retracted his warning, and letters from the West India Company lulled the growing alarm. Writing before the English ships had sailed, the Company resented the charge that it had 'abandoned' its province and said that when Stuyvesant received its previous letters and the soldiers it had sent him he had doubtless determined that his people `ought not to submit to the English yoke.' It promised to do all that it could in Europe, and it confidently affirmed that the English fleet was going simply to 'install bishops' in New England 'the same as in Old England.' Reassured by this letter and urged by his councillors Stuy vesant went up to Fort Orange where the white men were again endangered by a war between the Mohawks and Mohe gans. Refusing to believe a story that the New Englanders had fomented the trouble between the savage tribes, he urged Thomas Willett to warn Governor Winthrop that the Mohawks were harboring evil designs against his people, and Winthrop in a letter to Willett returned his thanks for these 'loving and friendly intimations.' It was on the last day of July that Stuyvesant started up the river. Two of the English frigates bearing two of the royal commissioners, Maverick and Carr, had then been lying for ten days in the harbor of Pascataway, now Ports mouth in New Hampshire; and the Long Islanders knew of the fact for Maverick had sent them word.
Sailing late in May from Portsmouth in England the fleet, as Maverick reported, had met with 'cross winds and very bad weather.' Not until the beginning of August did all four ships lie in Boston harbor. Massachusetts did not wel come them very cordially but allowed the recruiting of two hundred volunteers. Connecticut sent a strong contingent; and at the request of the chief commissioner, Colonel Nicolls, Governor Winthrop started for the western end of Long Island there to await the invaders' appearance. With him were other representatives of Connecticut including his son Fitz-John, and also Thomas Willett, no longer showing friendship for the Dutch but acting on behalf of Plymouth.
Sure now that the invaders were really coming, New Am sterdam sent an express to recall Governor Stuyvesant from Fort Orange. Ill when he embarked on what proved a `diffi cult and dangerous' river voyage he reached Manhattan on August 25. Immediately he ordered the soldiers down from Esopus and lent the city six small cannon and some powder from the fort. By order of the magistrates one third of the inhabitants were constantly at work upon the defences. On August 26 Nicolls's flag-ship, the frigate Guinea, anchored in the little bay called Nayack, now Graves end Bay, between Coney Island and New Utrecht. By August 29 its companions had arrived with the transports that carried the New England levies, all piloted by New Englanders familiar with the waters of Manhattan. Promptly Nicolls blockaded the Narrows, seized a block-house which had been set on Staten Island to defend them, patrolled the rivers forbidding the farmers to feed the city, and distributed a proclamation promising to all 'foreigners' safety and good treatment if they would quietly submit. In answer to his summons the English Long Islanders gathered in throngs for plunder and bloodshed, as could easily be understood from their 'cursing and talking' when any one spoke of a capitula tion so at least declared the magistrates of New Amster dam when, a few days later, they described in a farewell letter to the West India Company the results of its 'neglect and forgetfulness.' New Netherland was in as good a condition for defence as any American colony ; Fort Amsterdam, indeed, was a better fortification than could elsewhere be found. Yet the state ments made at the time by Stuyvesant's council of war, the reports which he afterwards prepared, and various support ing documents show how impossible it was to defend city or fort against an invading force of any size. The fort contained neither cistern nor well. Its walls were only two or three feet thick and 'backed by coarse gravel' ; in some places they were not more than ten feet high; they were so closely encircled by private buildings that at almost any point they could easily be scaled; and they were commanded within pistol-shot by the hills at the north over which the Heere Weg ran. In the fort there were less than a hundred and fifty sol diers and only twenty-five hundred pounds of powder. And in the city there were not more than two hundred and fifty civilians able to bear arms. The magistrates, according to Domine Drisius, were as anxious as the Company's officials to protect the place, but how could they do so ? Even if the walls had been real fortifications and the fort a veritable fortress the circuit of the city could not have been guarded; its defenders would have stood 'four rods distant' from each other. Although Stuyvesant had called for one man in three from the Dutch towns no man dared to desert his own home to assist the capital; no aid from Holland could reach it for months; and its English inhabitants were almost with out exception hostile. Only John Lawrence, it appears, prayed that he might remain neutral; only Thomas Hall stood openly with the Dutch. Moreover, New Amsterdam would have starved even if it could have fought: the great freshet had swept the fields along River Mauritius so bare that although sloops had been sent to New England for a supply of grain only fifteen hundred schepels could be found in the city. On his own bouwerie Stuyvesant kept his servants and negroes busy threshing wheat to be carried to the fort. Greatly he regretted that when the Company's lulling letter came he had let a vessel laden with provisions sail for Curacoa; and sadly he deplored the arrival about a fortnight before of the ship Gideon freighted, as has been told, with more than three hundred negroes. As these alone, he said, would have required a hundred schepels of grain a week he sent them in small parties overland to the South River.
On August 29, the day when the last of the frigates reached Nayack, he sent Domine Megapolensis and his son with two of the city magistrates to inquire why a hostile fleet lay at his doors. Nicolls civilly explained the nature of his commission, demanding instant surrender and renewing his pledges of protection for all who would yield and obey. As he forgot to sign the letter Stuyvesant sent it back. Before it came again in proper form on the 30th, Saturday the magistrates, the militia officers, and delegates from the people meeting in the Stadt Huis determined not to resist but simply to take such measures of defence as would pre vent a surprise and thus `obtain good terms and conditions.' On Monday when they reassembled they forced the governor against his will to make public what Nicolls had written. It would discourage the people, Stuyvesant said, while he him self would be held responsible for a surrender.
The following day, September 2, Governor Winthrop, Fitz-John Winthrop, and Willys of Connecticut, Willett of Plymouth, and John Pynchon and Thomas Clarke of Massa chusetts came, says Stuyvesant's account, 'in a row boat with a white flag' to the city wharf in front of the public store ' whence they were immediately conducted to the nearest tavern.' Thither Stuyvesant repaired 'to greet them' with his councillors and the two burgomasters, Cornelis Steenwyck and Paulus Van der Grist. They had brought him a letter written by Winthrop but indorsed by Nicolls and two of the other commissioners. A 'friendly advertisement,' Winthrop called it, of the good terms that were offered, promising that the Dutch should have the same privileges as ' his Majesty's English subjects,' that any who desired might freely return to their fatherland in their own vessels, and that other Nether landers might as freely come to settle in the province. Resist ance could mean only a `wilful protraction' of the inevitable end, said the governor of Connecticut. General Stuyvesant, he begged, would not provoke a 'needless war' when only `peace, liberties, and protection' were tendered.
This letter, which merely recorded what the emissaries had verbally made known, Stuyvesant, he reported, opened in the council chamber after their departure and read to the council lors and the two burgomasters. The burgomasters asked for a copy of it to show to the other members of their court. ' For reasons' their request was refused, and they `departed greatly disgusted and dissatisfied.' Then it was resolved to destroy the letter 'to prevent its communication.' Shortly afterwards the work of 'setting the palisades on the land side of the city' suddenly stopped and the greater part of the burghers thronged around the Stadt Huis, clamoring for `a view and copy of the letter' and saying that the city could not be defended and that no succor could be hoped for. 'To prevent the appearance of a mutiny' the torn letter was pieced together `as well as possible' by De Sille, copied by Nicholas Bayard `who understood the English language,' and delivered to the burgomasters.
It had always been plain, General Stuyvesant afterwards said, that 'whosoever by ship or ships is master on the river will in a short time be master of the fort' ; this had been proved on the South River at the time when the Company had sent a well-armed ship to reduce the Swedes ; had New Amsterdam been 'how strong soever,' without 'superior rein forcements in men and ships' it must have fallen in twelve days before such a force as Nicolls brought against it. Yet for two days after he got Winthrop's proposals the old general stood firm, sending to Nicolls nothing more humble than one of his ever excellent, ever futile expositions of Dutch rights with a demand that the English should make no move until further advices should come from Europe where, he felt sure, the king and the States General had already agreed about their colonial boundaries. Refusing to argue, Nicolls gave the governor forty-eight hours in which to accept his terms. On September 4 large numbers of Long Island Englishmen gathered at Gravesend to meet the king's commissioners.
Nicolls published the Duke of York's patent and his own credentials. Winthrop resigned on behalf of Connecticut its pretensions to the island. On the same day the regular troops landed at Gravesend and marched northward to the Ferry where the New Englanders were already encamped with a multitude of volunteers from the eastern end of the island under command of Captain John Young. Also, as Domine Drisius tells, two of the frigates, sweeping up the bay under full sail, passed beneath the walls of Fort Amster dam and anchored between Manhattan and Nutten Island They had put all their cannon on one side intending if any resistance were offered to pour a full broadside into this open place and so to take the city by assault, giving up everything to plunder and massacre.
As they came to anchor in the best spot for attack General Stuyvesant, a gunner with a lighted match beside him, stood on one of the points of his useless fort, broken-hearted, help lessly defiant. ' The ministers Megapolensis father and son,' it is written, 'led him away.' Once more he wrote to Nicolls, saying now that he was ready either to `stand the storm' or to arrange an accommodation. If he would raise the white flag on his fort, Nicolls replied, then terms might be debated. This message also the people heard ; and, men, women, and children thronging about the governor, they besought him to yield. He would rather, he cried to them, be carried a corpse to his grave.
Then they drew up a formal written Remonstrance. The first person who signed it was Hendrick Kip ; the next was Stuyvesant's son Balthazar who, born on Manhattan, was only seventeen years of age; the third was Abraham Wilmer-. doncx a director of the West India Company who had recently been sent from Holland. Stuyvesant's brothers-in-law added their names; so did the magistrates, old residents like Van Cortlandt and Van Dyck, prominent merchants like De Pey ster and Lockermans, and many persons of a humbler sort, ninety-three in all Dutchmen, Flemings, Frenchmen, and a single Englishman, the first who had come to live on Man hattan, Thomas Hall. Thus the last of New Amsterdam's many popular petitions expressed the will of the whole city; and to the modern reader it symbolizes the life of the city from its very beginning almost to the end of the seventeenth century, bearing with the name of its first-born son, Jan Vinje, the name of Jacob Leisler who was to become in 1689 the act ing governor of New York.
In this sad and dignified petition the people urged Governor Stuyvesant not to reject the offers of 'so generous a foe' but to arrange an `honorable and reasonable capitulation.' To resist could mean only . . . misery, sorrow, conflagration, the dishonor of women, murder of children in their cradles, and in a word the absolute ruin and de struction of about fifteen hundred innocent souls, only two hundred and fifty of whom are capable of bearing arms.
Meanwhile the soldiers who had recently come from Holland, and who were almost all mercenaries, German, French, Scotch, and English, were openly babbling that they knew where plunder could be found if fighting should ensue. Captain John Scott, escaping from the Hartford jail, appeared at the English rendezvous on Long Island with his 'horse and foot' ; and, Domine Drisius relates, there also came . . . daily great numbers on foot and on horseback from New England, hotly bent upon plundering the place. Savages and priva teers also offered their services against us. Six hundred northern Indians with a hundred and fifty French privateers had even an English commission.
Of course not all of this was true. But it was evident, as Stuyvesant declared, that the English would, 'like the heads of the serpent Hydra, have grown more numerous the more they were lopped off from day to day.' Even he could hesi tate no longer. Nicolls consented to his request 'to treat of a good accommodation,' pledging himself to `redeliver' the fort and the city should the powers in Europe so decree ; and on Saturday, September 6, twelve delegates met outside the walls in the governor's own bouwerie house and drew up in English an agreement called Articles of Capitulation of the Surrender of New Netherland. Three of the six Dutchmen represented the provincial government and the West India Company Councillor De Decker, Nicholas Varleth, and the younger Megapolensis ; three represented the city Cornelis Steenwyck an actual burgomaster, Oloff Stevensen Van Cort landt an old burgomaster,' and Jacques Cousseau an old schepen.' The six Englishmen were the royal commissioners Carr and Cartwright, Winthrop and Willys of Connecticut, and Pynchon and Clarke of Massachusetts, the New Eng landers being appointed to sign because, as Nicolls explained, their colonies might be involved should trouble with the Dutch ensue.
The Articles upon which they agreed said that a copy of them signed by Nicolls, with copies of his commission and the Duke of York's patent, should be delivered to Stuyvesant at the old mill' the nearest building to the ferry-landing on Manhattan, well outside the city by eight o'clock of the Monday morning, and that within two hours thereafter the fort should be surrendered to Colonel Nicolls, the garrison to march out with the honors of war. Nicolls at once in dorsed the Articles. On Sunday after the second service they were read aloud to the burghers in front of the Stadt Huis. On Monday, the official copy having duly reached Governor Stuyvesant, they were ratified by him, and by De Sille the schout-fiscal, Martin Cregier the chief militia officer of the province, Peter Tonneman the city schout, Burgomaster Van der Grist, Jacobus Backer the president of the board of schepens, and three other schepens Timotheus Gabry, Isaac Greveraet, and Nicholas De Meyer. The certificate of their ratification, now in the Public Record Office in London, bears the indorsement : On the same day the town and fort were delivered accordingly.' This day was September 8 on the Dutch (the New Style) calendar, August 29 on the English calendar that was now to be used on Manhattan. Before the sun had set, Cornelis Van Ruyven, now no longer the secretary of the province, wrote to the town of Boswyck and doubtless in similar words to the other Dutch towns of the neighborhood : It has happened that the New Netherland is given up to the English and that Peter Stuyvesant, Governor for the West India Company, has marched out of the fort with his men by Beaver Lane to the Holland shipping which lay there at the time; and that Governor Richard Nicolls, in the name of the king of England, ordered a corporal's guard to take possession of the fort. Afterwards the governor, with two companies of men, marched into the fort accompanied by the burgo masters of the city who inducted him as governor and gave him a wel come reception. Governor Nicolls has altered the name of the city of New Amsterdam and named the same New York, and the fort, Fort James.
Nicolls was installed by the burgomasters and proclaimed to his new subjects as deputy-governor for the Duke of York; but the duke had delegated to him and a council which he was at once to form all his own autocratic powers. It was in honor of the duke that the city and the fort received their new names ; yet naturally the Latin name for New York, Novum Eboracum, reproduced the Roman name of the city of York in England.
By special agreement only the English regulars were al lowed to cross the ferry, for the burghers, in Stuyvesant's words, were especially afraid of being plundered by their ' most bitter enemies' the New England and Long Island volun teers. These soon dispersed to their homes, Nicolls promising in a letter to John Young, as commander of the Long Island militia, that 'in convenient time and place' deputies should be summoned `to propose and give their advice in all matters tending to the peace and benefit of Long Island.' Part of the Dutch troops, now grumbling loudly because they had not been permitted to fight, embarked on the slave-ship Gideon and a few days later, with a safe-conduct from Nicolls, sailed for Holland. General Stuyvesant remained on Manhattan. The city magistrates, secured in their offices by the Articles of Surrender, continued to perform their functions as before, dealing with petty thefts and disputed bargains on the very day when they prepared their letter of farewell to the West India Company.
This letter, signed ' Your sorrowful and abandoned sub jects' and indorsed ' Done in Jorck heretofore named Am sterdam in New Netherland, Anno 1664, the 16th September,' was sent by the Gideon as were likewise the one from Domine Drisius that has also been quoted and the official reports of the surrender. These appear to have been papers of which only extracts are preserved. One, called a Register of the Principal Events which Occurred in the Attack upon and Re duction of New Netherland, ended with the words And thereupon . . . the place of New Amsterdam in New Nether land, situate on the Manhatans, surrendered to the English, the garri son retiring with all their arms, flying colors and beating drums; and thereby the English, without any contest or claim being put forth by any person to it, took possession of a fort built and continually garri soned about forty years at the expense of the West India Company.
To be exact, it was fifty-five years since Hudson's dis covery of Manhattan, forty-one years since the birth of the province and the beginning of the West India Company's niggardly, selfish, myopic system of administration. It was thirty-eight years since the birth of the town, eleven since its incorporation as a city.
The other report was a General Letter, addressed to the Company, of which the surviving fragment reads : And what is above stated was done to us by pretended friends in time of peace, not by way of reprisal or pretence that they had suf fered wrong but only, as they unanimously declare, intimate, and express by their summons and published commission . . . that this country, belonging to the crown and domain of England's Majesty, had thus long been unjustly usurped and possessed etc.
Dated Amsterdam in New Netherland, 17th September, 1664, we having been ordered on the 7th not to call this place otherwise than New York, on the Island of Manhattan, in America.
In truth, the conquest of New Netherland, as it is often called, was really a lawless capture or seizure. It was a proof, wrote Samuel Pepys at the time, that the English were doing ' mischief ' to the Dutch 'in several parts of the world without public knowledge or reason.' Undoubtedly Charles had been led to believe not only that, as the heir of the Cabots' employer, he had an indisputable right to the territory but also that the Dutch were recent and aggressive 'intruders' there. Moreover, a time had come when England could not do without the central portion of the American seaboard and when the temptation to seize it was peculiarly strong. None the less Charles seized it in defiance of the law of nations as this law was even in his day understood. Secretly and behind a screen of lies he took possession of a province that he had never asked might be ceded to him, that he had never openly claimed, and that was held by a power with which he had re cently agreed not to right by force just such wrongs as those that he alleged in excuse of force. Whatever may now be thought of the validity of his title to New Netherland, unquestionably he asserted it by means not of a naval or even of a privateer ing but of a buccaneering enterprise, planned and carried out under conditions that made it a flagrant example of bad faith.
As to the validity of his title, it is one of those questions which, for other reasons than a lack of evidence, the historian cannot hope to call questions closed. For and against it the same sufficiency of undisputed facts has been plausibly used in arguments which are best described as the geometrician describes parallel lines. The unargumentative, unlearned opinion that has prevailed on Manhattan itself was recorded by the poet of the Revolution, Philip Freneau a New Yorker of Huguenot descent, when, telling how Charles II `sent over a squadron' to assert his claims, he wrote : Had his sword and his title been equally slender In vain had they summoned Mynheer to surrender The soil they demanded, or threaten'd their worst, Declaring that Cabot had looked on it first.
The absorption of New Netherland by the English had begun, however, in the year 1634 when the bark from Ply voL. I. -2M mouth sailed up the Connecticut River carrying the ready made frame of a block-house. Thirty years of constant aggressions, thirty years of unavailing protests on the spot and futile demands for aid from Holland, had taught the New Netherlanders to foresee the inevitable and to recognize it when it came. They loved their Patria but detested their actual overlord the West India Company. They hated the Englishman, but their dread of him had grown so slowly that the actual touch of his yoke could not excite such reckless bursts of courage as may follow sudden bursts of rage. The moderation and the good-will of Colonel Nicolls were evident; the Articles of Surrender were clear, comprehensive, and more favorable, probably, than have ever been granted to any other captured place ; and the half-century of indepen dence enjoyed by New England seemed to guarantee to New Netherland at least the measure of self-government it had already secured. In the event almost every shred of political liberty was taken away from it. But such an outcome of so peaceful, so amply guarded a surrender could not be antici pated. Therefore the people of New Amsterdam accepted their fate quietly and hopefully, seeing no reason why they should break their personal or commercial ties with their fatherland or should cease to feel themselves its children.