THE REMONSTRANCE OF NEW NETHERLAND We humbly solicit permanent privileges and exemptions which promote population and prosperity and which consist, in our opinion, First : In suitable burgher government such as your High Mightinesses will consider adapted to this province and somewhat resembling the laudable government of our Fatherland. Petition of the Commonalty of New Netherland to the States General of the United Netherlands. 1649.
The Nine Men held their sessions, not within the precincts of the fort where the West India Company's officials sat, but in the schoolroom of David Provoost. Director Stuyvesant, laid low by an epidemic of influenza which was sweeping over the country and afflicting Dutchmen, Englishmen, and Indians alike, could not superintend their first deliberations. One of their first acts was to refuse his request for aid in repairing the fcrt. The Company, they said, had promised to defend its colonists and should meet the cost from its customs dues, the tolls at its grist-mill, and the excise that the governor had imposed. They were willing, however, to raise part of the money needed to complete the church and to reinvigorate the public school.
A vendue-master was appointed to take charge of all public sales, and fire-wardens to oversee all the houses between the fort and the Kalck Hoek Pond. Adriaen Keyser the Company's commissary, Martin Cregier, Thomas Hall, and Joris Wolsey were the first members of Manhattan's first fire department, taking office in January, 1648. Two church services, it was prescribed, must be held every Sunday.
Owners of town lots must improve them under penalty of being forced to sell them to those who would make better use of them. All traffic in firearms was again strictly forbidden. To prevent evasions of the excise, brewers were forbidden to retail beer, tapsters to brew it; and a strict license system was established. All existing inns, taverns, and 'tippling places' might continue for four years but must be kept in decent buildings 'for the embellishment and improvement of the town.' No new place of the kind was to be opened without the unanimous consent of the governor and council. No dealer was to transfer his license. Again the selling of liquor to Indians directly or indirectly was prohibited. A supplementary ordinance issued in the following year spoke of conditions oddly analogous to those resulting from a no torious New York law of our own day. Certain brewers, it said, were in despite of the laws acting as tapsters also, thus depleting the excise and hurting the trade of the regular tap sters; therefore: . . . no inhabitants who make a business of brewing shall out of meal times tap, sell, or give away by the small measure any beer, wine, or liquor, not even to boarders who, they pretend, go to eat with them; under which guise, we remark, no trifling fraud is committed.
Although all these things were decreed by the governor in council it is probable that with regard to some of them he consulted the Nine Men, less probable that he deferred to their judgment when it varied from his own. It was, however, by command of the West India Company transmitting orders from the States General that he issued an ordinance giving all ' private inhabitants' of New Netherland liberty to ex port their 'country produce' in their own or in chartered ships to Brazil, upon payment of duties, of course, and upon certain conditions respecting return cargoes, and, provision ally,"to bring negroes from Angola. In February the Nine Men themselves ventured to propose that the people of the province should be protected against the roving traders who came in search of furs. Interlopers' they were called; or, as the merchants of Germany complained for generations of the intrusions of 'Scotch and Nuremberg peddlers,' so those in New Netherland spoke of 'Scotch merchants and petty traders' or sometimes, more queerly, of `Scotchmen and Chinese' (Schotten en Chinezen). Such an ever-growing plague were these itinerant traders that the provincial gov ernment consented to pass stringent rules limiting to persons who had for three years been actual residents of the province all inland traffic and all retail trading in New Amsterdam except at the weekly markets which Stuyvesant had estab lished and at an annual kermis or fair to be held on the Plain in front of the fort. Undoubtedly the Nine Men and the governor and council were alike encouraged to adopt these regulations by the fact that the Company had said, in the instructions framed when Stuyvesant was appointed, that it hoped soon to free the province from the intrusions of inter lopers. Nevertheless, when the Company learned of the new rules it promptly vetoed them, fearing, doubtless, that they would impair its receipts from the customs. They were `impracticable,' it said, especially in a 'first-budding state,' and it would be 'servile and slavish' to compel people to reside in any given place. The governor, however, might well restrict trading in the city to persons who would keep an open shop' there.
Busy though he was with domestic affairs Stuyvesant did not forget that he had been ordered to prevent the English from encroaching farther upon his territories and to try to settle their boundary lines. He made short work of such unfriendly claimants as approached Manhattan. One was a Scotchman named Forrester who, assuming on the strength of credentials from the widow of Lord Stirling the title of governor of Long Island and all the other islands within five miles of it, came to New Amsterdam and demanded a sight of Stuyvesant's commission. Stuyvesant arrested him and packed him off in the first ship that sailed for Holland. Another such visitor was Plowden, making now his last appearance. Little heed was paid to him. The book which was published to advertise his schemes, and which started the story that Argall had visited Manhattan in 1614, seems to have made small impres sion in England. He never planted a colony in America, yet as late as the time of the Revolution persons to whom his heirs had sold his claims tried to revive them in New York and New Jersey.
How to deal with the New Englanders was a harder problem for Governor Stuyvesant, compelled at once to meet a com plicated situation. The courteous letters in which he an nounced his arrival to the federal commissioners and the governors of the colonies and their equally courteous re plies revived the old questions in dispute and opened new ones. The commissioners complained that the Hollanders sold arms to the savages, and asked why high customs dues were exacted at Manhattan and why 'heavy fines and seizures' followed all `omissions or mis-entries' there while the har bors of New England stood `open and free' to all comers. Stuyvesant's own letter to Governor Winthrop, written in English on June 27 and carried to Boston by George Baxter, said that he would try to give satisfaction, always provided that there should be no encroachment upon the 'indubitable right' of the Dutch to the lands between the Connecticut and the Delaware, and asked Winthrop to fix a time and a place where Stuyvesant might meet with him and other impartial persons and 'friendly and Christianly agitate concerning past occurrences.' Winthrop's reply, dated August 17, says that he had acquainted the commissioners of the United Colonies with Stuyvesant's letter, that they readily embraced his `friendly motion,' but that nothing could be arranged before the winter which would soon approach. He himself was too ill to travel and, he added, `the craziness of my head and the feebleness of my hands' prevented him from writing as he would desire. Speaking in his history of the same incident Winthrop says that when the Dutch governor's letter was laid before the commissioners, Some advised that, seeing he made profession of much good will and neighborly correspondency, we should seek to gain upon him by courtesy and therefore accept his offer and tender him a visit at his own home or a meeting at any of our towns where he should choose. But the commissioners of those parts thought otherwise, supposing it would be more to their advantage to stand upon terms of distance, etc. An answer was returned accordingly, only taking notice of his offer and showing our readiness to give him a meeting in time and place convenient. So matters continued as they were.
In regard to New Haven, however, matters took a turn for the worse during this same summer. A Dutch ship called the San Beningo was trading at New Haven and intending to go from there to Virginia, without Stuyvesant's license and without regard to the trading laws of New Netherland. To capture this smuggler, as he called it, Stuyvesant put some soldiers on a vessel that had been bought at New Amsterdam for the deputy-governor of New Haven, Samuel Goodyear, and was about to be delivered to him. By Stuyvesant's orders they cut the San Beningo out of the harbor, on a Sunday when there was no one at hand to interfere, and brought it to Manhattan where he confiscated ship and cargo, the cargo including muskets and ammunition which were contraband wares. Governor Eaton wrote severely of this proceeding. Stuyvesant excused it by citing European precedents, and declared that all Dutch vessels trading along the coasts of New Netherland must pay the recognizances due at Man hattan. His conduct, Eaton answered, was unneighborly and injurious'; the Dutch were inconsistent in their claims, extending them sometimes only to the Connecticut River, sometimes as far as Cape Cod; in any case the claims were unwarrantable; and Stuyvesant would be wholly responsible should peace be broken. What Stuyvesant most' wanted, he averred, was a meeting with the commissioners of New England to take place at any time that Eaton himself might appoint. Goodyear, meanwhile, was writing friendly letters about commercial transactions to the Dutch governor and in November congratulated him on the birth of his first 'little one' a boy who was named Balthazar.
Before the end of the year New Haven refused to surrender three runaway servants of the West India Company and, after a sharp correspondence with Eaton, Stuyvesant decreed in reprisal that Manhattan should shelter all refugees from New Haven, bond or free, `the lowest prisoner included.' This 'atrocious proclamation' displeased his own people as much as their neighbors. They did not want to see Manhat tan a refuge-place for scoundrels; they wished, as John Underhill wrote to Winthrop, for peace and good feeling between themselves and the English; and they realized that their commerce was suffering because traders all along the seaboard and even in the West Indies were alarmed by Stuy vesant's severe enforcement of the Company's rules and his own strict harbor regulations.
During the year 1648 the New Englanders repeatedly accused the Dutch of nefarious dealings with the Indians. Undoubtedly they were provoked to make such charges by a keen sense that the Dutch and the French were getting the fur trade wholly away from them. In the most solemn man ner Stuyvesant denied that he was exciting the Mohawks against them, promised to do his best to suppress the traffic in firearms, and more than once asked for an interview so that the white men might form a defensive league against the savages. He wanted also to submit the whole quarrel be tween New Netherland and New Haven to the judgment of the governors of Massachusetts and Plymouth, but no meeting could be arranged, none of his proposals was accepted. Finally, in deference to the continual outcry about the 'in sufferable burthens' laid upon trade at Manhattan, he re moved temporarily the duties from all goods brought in by English vessels excepting malt and beer. Eaton then asking whether Englishmen were to have 'full freedom' of trade in every respect, and if not why not, Stuyvesant replied that he had already granted as much as he dared without direct orders from his superiors in Holland. Again Eaton brought charges against the Dutch traders who frequented the ports along the sound and especially against Govert Lockermans and David Provoost who, he said, were not only selling arms to the Indians but also threatening that the Dutch would fight the English and engage the savages to help them.
Up the North River also old troubles were growing more acute. During the sixteen years that elapsed between the establishment of Rensselaerswyck and the death of the patroon in 1646 he had sent out only two hundred and ten settlers. A few had joined them who had immigrated in other ways, but the American-born among them were not yet grown and the settlement was still small. It was still administered from Holland by the two trustees of Kiliaen's son Johan, known as the second patroon. One of these trustees was Wouter Van Twiller. To take control on the spot they sent out Brandt Van Slechtenhorst. He boldly denied Stuyvesant's right to any authority within the patroonship. Stuyvesant insisted that the Company had the same rights there as in the other communities that had been formed within the province. In the spring of 1648 he went up to Fort Orange, forbade the patroon's officials to pass any trading regulations without his sanction, and ordered that no building in the little village of Beverwyck should stand within musket-shot of the fort which could not be protected if closely encircled. The site was part of the patroonship, Van Slechtenhorst main tained, adding that under any conditions the fort was a use less semblance of a stronghold. Giving orders for its repair Stuyvesant returned to Manhattan and sent up a few soldiers with directions to demolish any houses that might be begun on the forbidden tract. More wise than he, the soldiers re frained from violence; but they quarrelled so with the local authorities that the Indians marvelled and, highly indignant at the presence of ' Wooden Leg's dogs,' could hardly be kept from doing them hurt.
On Manhattan Wooden Leg's people more and more loudly complained that he did not impartially administer the laws against smuggling, exacted tariff dues to the amount of thirty per cent, which was much more than the Company had pre scribed, unduly favored the traders from New England at their expense, and was trying to engross the ' trade of the whole colony' for himself, having shops of his own, brew-houses, and shares in ships. When he condemned to death three persons whom he accused of trafficking in firearms ' many good men' protested so strenuously that he commuted the sentence. When he tried to collect the debts owing to the Company, including the tenths from the harvests which were to be paid after ten years' occupancy of land and were now falling due, the people cried that he was not discharging the Company's own debts and the Nine Men pointed out to him the 'desolate and ruinous' condition of his province. He consented to postpone the collection but otherwise, he said, could do no more than obey the Company's orders. Then the commonalty decided to appeal over the Company's head to the States General. Stuyvesant commended the idea but said that it must be carried out as he should prescribe. The English settlers, whom the Dutch had expected to support them, de cided to stand aloof, and for the moment the project dropped.
Evidently, Stuyvesant's intention that six of the Nine Men should retire each year was not carried out. Only three new members Adriaen Van der Donck, Oloff Stevensen, and Elbert Elbertsen who took the places of Damen, Bout, and Thomas Hall were sitting in 1649. The board then asked the governor's permission to consult with the commonalty about sending delegates to Holland. He himself, he answered, must be the channel for all communications with the home authorities. The Nine Men promised to give him copies of whatever they might write but said that to appeal through him would be detrimental to the welfare of the province. Forbidden to call a public meeting they instructed their president, Van der Donck, to take the opinions of their con stituents separately and secretly and to keep a journal from which an appeal could be compiled. Jansen, a member of the board in whose house Van der Donck was lodging, and Thomas Hall the ex-member told the governor what was going on. Then General Stuyvesant ' burned with rage.' In person he searched Van der Donck's room and seized a rough draft of his journal. Upon its evidence he arrested and imprisoned the writer on a charge of crimen lesce majes tatis; he also arrested another of the Nine Men, Augustine Herrman; and to stop the agitation he revived Kieft's decree that no documents should be legal unless drawn up by Secre tary Van Tienhoven, and forbade Domine Backerus to read from the pulpit without express permission anything that touched upon public affairs.
In spite of the Company's orders he had not mustered the burgher guard at regular intervals. Yet its organization per sisted and its officers were looked upon as in some sort repre sentatives of the people. Jacobus Van Couwenhoven was at this time captain of the company, Martin Cregier lieutenant, and Augustine Herrman one of the ensigns. Wishing to get support for himself Stuyvesant summoned these and the other officers and three or four delegates chosen by the com monalty to consult with his council, and told them that he meant to call two deputies from each ' colony,' including the English towns on Long Island, so that they might con sider the sending of a mission' to the fatherland to promote the welfare of the province. As Vice-Director Van Dincklagen protested because all this was done without his concurrence and demanded the release of Van der Donck on bail, the gov ernor released him but deposed him from the Board of Nine Men until such time as he should either prove or recant cer tain of the statements in his journal.
Meanwhile it was discovered that Stuyvesant, who had thought that transgressions of the law against the selling of arms deserved capital punishment, had himself imported a small consignment for the up-river Indians. He asserted that it was by the Company's orders, but popular feeling grew very hot and the return of Cornelis Melyn from Holland fanned it into a flame.
Although the West India Company had secured a renewal of its charter its prospects were darker than ever. The Treaty of Munster, concluded by the United Netherlands with Spain in 1648, formally and finally established their independence. Spain kept the Flemish provinces; but as by the treaty the river Scheldt remained closed to commerce, a provision that held good until the time of the Napoleonic wars, and as Antwerp thus lost all hope of resuming its old rank among the seaports of the north, the commercial preeminence of the Republic was assured. The general Peace of Westphalia followed close upon the Treaty of Munster, ending the Thirty Years' War and establishing that idea with regard to a 'bal ance of power,' among the nations of the continent which, ostensibly inspired by dynastic considerations, really by commercial ambitions, was to figure so largely in future wars and treaties. Of course this general peace interfered with the privateering and smuggling industries from which the West India Company, making Curacoa the centre of contra band trade in the Western world, had drawn a great part of its profits. Before the end of 1648 the Portuguese established in Brazil a trading association designed especially to oppose the Dutch Company; and this Company then declared that its 'total ruin and decline' must be expected if the govern ment would not promptly give it aid.
To Stuyvesant it wrote that the low condition of his prov ince was evidently the result of Kieft's neglect of duty, and that in trying to amend it he must use gentle methods with white men and red men- It reproved him for examining merchants' books and visiting their stores to discover smug gled goods, saying that such courses were contrary to the freedom in traffic which it had provisionally granted because, being as yet unable to retain the trade of the province for itself, it was obliged to `content itself with the duty . . . until more favorable circumstances.' In this explanation lies the key to the Company's whole course with regard to New Netherland. It always wanted all the profits, it never gave any right or privilege except when it was forced to, and almost always it hoped to retract what it had bestowed.
Its true temper showed plainly in the matter of Melyn and Kuyter and their complaints. It maintained, as firmly as did Governor Stuyvesant, that no appeals should be allowed to the home government. In spite of its efforts, however, the States General recognized this right in the case of Kuyter and Melyn, suspended the sentence that Stuyvesant had pronounced against them, and in a mandamus which recited the grievances of the appellants, the causes and results of the war that Governor Kieft had `commenced against the Indians,' and the consequent danger that the province might be mastered by the English who had `already got a smack of the productiveness and of the convenient navigable rivers of our New Netherland,' they summoned Director Stuyvesant and the members of his government to defend the aforesaid sentence at the Hague in person or by attorney. Pending a final decision of their case Kuyter and Melyn were per mitted to return to New Netherland and there to enjoy their liberty and their property on the same footing as the other inhabitants, receiving from the States General a passport to this effect. The Company wrote to Stuyvesant that he might better not have meddled with the affairs of his predecessor in office. The Prince of Orange sent him a personal letter forbidding him to molest Melyn and Kuyter, and authorized them to serve him with the mandamus by the hand of any person they might select. Presumably they had explained that no such paper would be served by the regular officials under Stuyvesant's control.
After a hard voyage, says the account in the Breeden Raedt, Melyn arrived at New Amsterdam on January 1, 1649. Kuy ter did not come with him. Twice Stuyvesant sent the secretary and the schout-fiscal to demand all his papers. Melyn gave them only his passport from the States General, saying that he would produce the others before the council in due time. The governor would then have thrown him into jail had not Van Dincklagen protested. The next morn ing, summoned again, Melyn appeared before the council and delivered all the `orders and despatches' he had brought, and Stuyvesant promised to obey them. But he refused to exonerate Melyn as publicly as he had condemned him. Melyn bided his time. On March 8 the commonalty con vened in the church at the call of the governor who intended to have his 'ample commission' read to them and thus to vindicate his 'sovereign government' and to 'kill dead' or at least to suspend the orders of the States General. Hav ing the mandamus still in his possession Melyn now con fided it to Arnoldus Van Hardenbergh who was 'invited' to read it in the presence of the whole commonalty, some three hundred persons, and agreed so to do. Stuyvesant asked Melyn whether he meant thus to have the mandamus exe cuted, and when Melyn said ' Yes' he seized the document from Van Hardenbergh's hands . . . so that the seal of their High Mightinesses hung to the parch ment in halves, and if it had been paper only it could have been torn by this irreverent grabbing. When those who stood next to him ear nestly admonished him to have respect for their High Mightinesses, a copy of the mandate was placed in his hands by Melyn and the orig inal mandate was again put in the hand of the person executing it, who read it out loud, and required his answer thereto. Shortly after wards, the lowest part of the seal fell off.
The words of the mandamus that figured in this lively scene may be read in our Colonial Documents, translated from the copy that was preserved in the archives of the States General. The mandamus itself is now in the library of the New York Historical Society with a number of papers that once belonged to Cornelis Melyn and his son. It is a large sheet, not in fact of paper but of vellum, folded into letter shape. It bears one uninjured incumbent seal with the device of their High Mightinesses the States General, a lion rampant holding a sword and a sheaf of seven arrows; and with it are preserved two similar seals which, as clearly may be seen, were torn from the sheet, one from the outside, the other from the inside near the signature. It is possible that there was also a large pendant seal and that this was the one to which the Breeden Raedt refers as having fallen off. But even as it stands the mandamus may well be thought to show proof of the irascible governor's `irreverent grabbing.' In a letter to the States General the governor protested against the . . . mutinous and indecent service on us of the mandamus pub licly in the church on the 8th of March in the presence of the entire population of the Manhattans and adjoining villages then assembled on the public affairs of the country. . . .
The meeting broke up in disorder, he said, so that public business was neglected and 'massacre and bloodshed' might have followed if he had not converted himself 'from the high est to the lowest' and permitted the 'indecent service of the summons.' Much more than this he was obliged to permit. He refused to go back to Holland, saying that he would send an attorney to represent him, and he continued to persecute Cornelis Melyn; but in regard to the major question of the day his wishes and prohibitions went for nothing now that public opinion was thoroughly aroused. The Nine Men prepared the much-desired Petition to the States General, attached to it many pages of Additional Observations, and also drew up that Remonstrance of New Netherland to the States General of the United Netherlands which to-day is one of the main fountains of knowledge regarding the early history of the province.
`In the name and on behalf of the Commonalty of New Netherland' the Petition and the Observations were signed on July 26, 1649, and the Remonstrance on July 28, all three by the same eleven persons by the Nine Men then in office, including Van der Donck whom Stuyvesant had unseated, and by two who had previously served, Bout and Thomas Hall. Evidently Hall and Jansen had repented of their mo mentary defection from the people's cause. All the eleven signed without comment excepting Oloff Stevensen who would not deny his friendship for Governor Kieft and opposite his name at the foot of the Remonstrance wrote: 'Under protest; obliged to sign as to the Heer Kieft's administration.' On all three papers the signatures are these, of course with diversities in spelling: Adriaen Van der Donck, Augustine Herrman, Arnoldus Van Hardenbergh, Jacob Van Couwenhoven, Oloff Stevensen, Michiel Jansen, Thomas Hall, Elbert Elbertsen, Govert Lockermans, Hendrick Hendricksen Kip, Jan Evertsen Bout.
Two of these three papers, the Petition and the Remon strance, were undoubtedly written by Van der Donck, for he had compiled the journal upon which they were based and some years later he adapted parts of the Remonstrance for use in a book published under his own name. The more bluntly vernacular style of the Observations seems to show the collaboration of less polished pens.
The Petition is a brief but bold, clear, and comprehensive statement of the needs of the province and the proper remedies therefor. It names eight causes for the ' very poor and most low condition' of New Netherland: 1. Unsuitable government ; 2. Scanty privileges and exemptions ; 3. Onerous imposts, duties, exactions, and such like ; 4. Long-con tinued war ; 5. The loss of the Princess; 6. A superabundance of petty traders and peddlers (Schotten en, Chinezen), and a want of farmers and farm servants ; 7. Great dearth in general ; 8. and lastly, The insufferable arrogance of the natives or Indians arising from our smaller numbers, etc.
Among the remedies suggested are: exemption from im posts, tenths, and other burdens until the country shall be come more populous and prosperous; freedom to trade in the produce of the country `every way and everywhere' as is permitted in the fatherland itself; encouragement for the fish eries; the free transportation of agricultural immigrants; and the settlement of the boundaries of the province. But the main demands are that, in view of the ' harsh proceedings and want of means' of the West India Company, the States General shall themselves assume the ownership and control of New Netherland, and shall grant it . . . suitable burgher (borgerlycke) government such as your High Mightinesses shall consider adapted to this province and somewhat resembling the laudable government of our Fatherland.
The Additional Observations, forming a commentary upon the Petition, are framed as a series of short statements eluci dated by a multitude of foot-notes. They say that the gov ernment of the province, as administered in Holland by the Company, in New Netherland by its servants, is ' bad and intolerable.' They say that the petty traders . . . who swarm hither with great industry reap immense profit and exhaust the country without adding anything to its population and security, but if they skim a little fat off the pot they can take to their heels again.
They do not blame the New Englanders for protesting against the trading regulations of New Netherland because these are, in fact, . . . so selfish, onerous, and intolerable, yea, so devoid of good faith, that it is impossible to act in accordance with them.
Unjustly they censure the Company instead of the States General for the delay in settling boundary lines with New England. But truthfully they say that the Indians had never been troublesome until Kieft's war aroused and enraged them. Now, they explain, the only way to defend the prov ince against its enemies, white and red, is to increase its population and to break the tyrannous rule of the Company. If, they add, the ' Dutch freemen' of the province were de pendent only upon their fatherland as such and were granted a suitable local government, then they would enjoy . . . firm, valid, and inviolable privileges whereby every man could with honesty be secure of his life, honor, and property in future, which now he is not.
The Remonstrance of New Netherland as it stands trans lated in our Colonial Documents covers more than forty quarto pages of close print. Intended to supply a solid foundation for the summarized statements and prayers of the Petition, it embraces a description of the country, its products, and its aborigines, an historical sketch of the internal fortunes and the border troubles of New Nether land, a statement of the Dutch title to its soil, and a remon strance against the policy of the West India Company which includes a more detailed review of those 'sad and senseless extravagances' the administrations of Kieft and Stuyvesant. Throughout it is well conceived and well composed, instruc tive in matter, picturesque in manner, and ardent yet con trolled in temper.
The West India Company, it says, had got 'no profit but heavy monthly bills' from its province because it had de voted itself to trade instead of to agricultural colonization, had incurred many needless outlays, one of which was the building of the great ship New Netherland, and had not hon estly fulfilled its promises to the settlers especially in the way of supplying their needs and keeping tariff dues within rea sonable bounds: We highly approve of inspection according to the orders given by the Company to its officers. . . . But it ought nevertheless to be executed without partiality, which is not always the case. The duty
is high; of inspection and seizures there is no lack, and thus lawful trade is turned aside except some little which is carried on only pro forma in order to push smuggling under this cloak. Meanwhile the Christians are treated almost like Indians in the purchase of necessaries which they cannot do without; this causes great complaint, distress, and poverty.
Also, it appears from the witness of the Additional Observa tions, the goods of Christian merchants were treated even worse than those of Christian travellers sometimes have been in the modern port of New York: . . . the cargo is discharged into the Company's warehouse and there it proceeds so as to be a grief and vexation to behold, for it is all measured anew, unpacked, thrown about, and counted without either rule or order; besides which the Company's servants bite sharp and carry away.
Another crying evil, says the Remonstrance, was the despotic attitude of the governors, who comported themselves as though they were `sovereigns of the country' and declared that there was no appeal to the courts of the fatherland a statement which it was easy for them to make effectual as the people were few and the majority were 'very simple and uninformed' while those who were more intelligent and could 'walk on their own feet' were carefully conciliated. Kieft had spent no money for the public good except upon the church. That money the people had willingly contributed. What had become of the school fund they had raised no one could say. Stuyvesant had spent nothing except to finish the church and to build a wooden wharf. Each of these undertakings was `of great use and very convenient,' but the governor was collecting annually about 30,000 guilders from the people in the way of `duties, confiscations, excise etc.,' and he had promised to expend the whole for 'com mendable and necessary public works.' Director Stuyvesant's chance to assist his people, the Remonstrance explains, was much better than Director Kieft's for he had no war on his hands. Yet he was even more haughty 'the word Mijn Heer Generael (My Lord General) and such like titles ' had never been known in the province until he arrived. He was as tyrannical as Kieft in taxing his people without their consent and even more `active and malignant' in looking up causes for prosecution. Many instances are cited in proof of this last charge. To show why the governor's councillors stood by each other to uphold 'the pretended sovereignty,' their faults and deficiencies are set forth and so are the bullying methods that Stuyvesant employed when they differed from him in judgment, losing control of his temper, making `such faces that it was frightful,' and using `foul language better befitting the fishmarket than the coun cil board.' Vice-Director Van Dincklagen had of late begun to protest, but he had to submit to many things, for the director told him at the council board that if he would not obey his wishes he would treat him worse than Wouter Van Twiller had ever done. For twenty-nine months Van Dyck the schout-fiscal had been excluded from the council, Stuyvesant saying that he could not keep a secret. He dared to do noth ing, and this was perhaps as well for he drank so hard that he had a screw loose in his head. But upon Secretary Van Tienhoven falls the heaviest weight of reprobation: He is crafty, subtile, intelligent, sharp-witted good gifts when properly applied. . . . He is a great adept at dissimulation and even when laughing intends to bite. . . . In his words and acts he is loose, false, deceitful, and given to lying; prodigal of promises and when it comes to performance, nobody is at home. The origin of the war is attributed principally to him and some of his friends. The Director was led astray by his false reports and lies, and this is the opinion of both reliable Indians and Christians. Now if the Voice of the People be, according to the maxim, the Voice of God, of this man hardly any good can with truth be said, and no evil concealed. With the excep tion of the Director and his party the whole country cries out against him as a villain, a murderer, and a traitor, and that he must quit this country or there will not be any peace with the Indians.
Furthermore, Van Tienhoven was noted among Indians and Christians for grossly dissolute living. Yet Stuyvesant had taken him over from Kieft as his chief adviser and confidant.
According to the Observations the Englishmen on the Con necticut admitted that the land belonged to the Dutch, ex cused their own presence by pointing out its richness and the fact that the Dutch had let it `lie waste,' and although de termined to remain there were willing to abide by any decision in respect to its government at which the powers in Europe might arrive. The Remonstrance, on the other hand, says that they would not admit the Dutch right although they well knew it, and, far from excusing their invasion, . . . will now accuse us of this and similar things, all under the pre tence of an exceedingly scrupulous conscience, and have forged and invented many things to serve them for a screen or fence, or indeed as a pretext for delay.
That is, as a pretext for delaying that settlement of bound ary lines for which Stuyvesant continued to ask. Their one excuse for their intrusion was that the land was not ' wholly occupied,' . . . as if these people, who now by means of their greater numbers do as they please, were at liberty to dictate the law to our nation within its own purchased lands and limits, and to order how and in what man ner it must settle the country, and if it do not happen to suit exactly their desire and pleasure, they are at liberty to invade and appropriate our waters, lands, and jurisdiction.
In summing up all these grievances and problems the Remonstrance says that public property ought to be rightly cared for; the church ought to be fostered; there should be a public school with at least two good masters instead of only one indifferent teacher irregularly supplied; there should be asylums for aged people and for orphans, and other 'similar institutions' ; and above all: The country must also be provided with moral, honorable, and in telligent rulers who are not very indigent nor yet very covetous. A covetous ruler makes poor subjects, and the mode in which the coun try is now governed is a great affliction and not to be tolerated. . . . Good population should follow good government. . . . If a boundary were added . . . then with God's help everything would, in human probability, go well and New Netherland could be in a short time a brave place able, also, to be of service to the Netherland State, richly to repay expended outlays, and to thank her benefactors.
While the Remonstrance promised this, the Additional Obser vations gave voice to explicit warnings: The country has arrived to that state that if it be not now assisted it will not need any aid hereafter because the English will wholly absorb it. . . . It will lose even the name New Netherland and no Dutchman will have anything to say there. . . .
If your High Mightinesses please to believe us we say, and it is a moral certainty, . . . there will not be another opportunity or season to remedy New Netherland for the English will annex it.
Even if these documents contained no praises of New Netherland, no assurances that under the right conditions it would quickly prosper and flourish, as much might be divined from the very vigor of the protests against existing con ditions. Not hopelessness breeds discontent, but hope that is thwarted by causes seen to be removable ; not mere misery, but a sense that a growing prosperity has been checked, or that a prosperity near to unfolding has been delayed, by a blight that effort may remove. It was natural that, with all their confidence in what the province could do for itself if it got the chance, its spokesmen should complain that the Company had not kept its pledges of assistance. Like most human beings the New Netherlanders wanted all that had been promised them, and did not want to do for themselves what others had engaged to do on their behalf. Moreover, paternalism had not yet been discredited as a method of gov ernment in any part of America. Even the men of Massa chusetts, so fearful of government control from across the sea, thoroughly believed in paternalism at home and in many ways practised it in an extreme degree. Yet, anxious though the New Netherlanders were that if the West India Company should continue to control them it should be made to care for them as it had promised, they saw that to be independent of it would profit them more than to receive any amount of its paternalistic care. To those who live in larger communi ties some of the questions they raised may seem trivial, some of their complaints petty in spirit. But little things loom large in small places, and little acts of oppression may be more exasperating and really more injurious where rulers are in close daily contact with their people than greater ones corn mitted indirectly from a distance. Again, unsatisfactory conditions and unpopular personages are, perhaps, sometimes too blackly painted in the Remonstrance. Yet even when the words are most censorious they almost always carry convic tion because they frame definite charges with such scrupu lous care. Quite pedantically the signers of the Remonstrance distinguish between facts proved and merely believed, between words repeated verbatim and merely paraphrased, between deeds witnessed by all men or only by a few; and at the end they say : High and Mighty Lords ! We have taken the liberty to write this Remonstrance and to submit the case as we have done through our love of the truth and because we have felt bound to do so by our oath and conscience. It is true that all of us, either together or individually, have not seen, heard, or had a knowledge of the entire contents in every particular; nevertheless, it contains nothing but what some among us well know to be true and credible. We all know the greatest part of it to be the truth ; some are acquainted with the remainder of it, and have also heard it from trustworthy persons and sincerely believe it to be wholly true.
For almost two hundred years after they served their im mediate purpose these interesting papers, written by the fore fathers of New York in a tongue strange to its modern ear, lay forgotten amid the archives of the country which soon indeed ceased to have `anything to say' about the province it had created. Because of this eclipse, in which of course almost all the other written legacies of New Netherland were shrouded, all the early and many of the later chapters in the history of the province were for generations misunderstood. In consequence, the part that its inhabitants played in the slow but never ceasing colonial struggle for liberty has seldom been appreciated. The 'rapid change but slow progress of four hundred years' by which liberty has been preserved, secured, and extended, says Lord Acton, has been due to `the combined efforts of the weak made under compulsion to resist the reign of force and constant wrong.' Seldom has any community as weak as was the one on Manhattan in a community of a few hundred souls of diverse nationalities, most of them in poverty, many of them in distress seldom has such a community made so dignified, sensible, and self respecting an effort of this sort; never, perhaps, has such a one left so worthy and interesting a record thereof. The most remarkable of the many paragraphs of the Remon strance are, perhaps, those that reveal a conscientious, gener ous humility of spirit in regard to the savages with whom a disastrous war had so recently been waged : We are also beholden in the highest degree to the Indians who not only surrendered this rich and fertile country and for a trifle made it over to us, but did, over and above, also enrich us with their valuable and mutual trade, so that there is none in New Nether land or trading to that country but is under obligation thereby. Great is our shame now, and fortunate should we be did we duly ac knowledge this benefit and in return for what the Indians had shared with us of their substance endeavor, as much as in us lay, to divide with them the Good Eternal. It is to be feared that for this injury they will stand up against us at the last day. Lord of Hosts ! forgive us that we have not hitherto comported ourselves better in this matter; but grant us the means and direct our hearts that we in future duly acquit ourselves herein unto the salvation of our own and their souls and the glorifying of Thy Holy name, for Christ his sake, Amen.
It is interesting to contrast this passage with one or another in which the New Englanders confessed that their sufferings at the hands of the savages were just scourgings for their own offences. For instance, we read in the records of Massachu setts that King Philip's War was an evident punishment for idleness and excessive drinking, for the neglect to instruct children properly in spiritual matters, and for the pride mani fested by the long hair, natural or false, worn by the women and the strange and immodest fashions of apparel adopted by rich and poor. And when the war was over Increase Mather wrote: Where are the six Narragansett sachems and all their captains and councillors? Where are the Nipmuck sachems with their captains and councillors ? Where is Philip and the squaw-sachem of Pocasset with all their captains and councillors? God do so to all the implacable enemies of Christ and of his people of New England.
Other differences also appear when these Dutch papers are contrasted with those that the New Englanders sent across the sea. Their signers neither feared nor distrusted the gov ernment of their fatherland Patria as they continued to call it. What they wanted in America was not to make themselves independent of Holland but to share in the bene fits its home-keeping sons enjoyed, to reproduce the political conditions under which they lived. The men of New Amster dam thought the government of Holland their best friend and were asking its help against the West India Company which, except to draw profit from the province, never in quired whether it ' sank or swam.' They wanted local self government, not for theoretical reasons and not with the wish to set up a new commonwealth of their own, but because they had learned from happy experience in the Old World, from sad experience in the New, that it was the only foundation for security and progress, for corporate and for individual success. Therefore they could venture to be sincere and frank in their speech as the New Englanders could not when they were writing to the government in England. Nor, again, does it appear from the documents or the correspondence of this or of later years that the New Netherlanders ever thought of using one means of persuasion recognized as essential by the New Englanders during their long struggle to preserve their liberties that means to which Shirley referred when he wrote to Bradford of Plymouth that 'many locks must be unlocked with the silver, nay, with the golden key.' The documents of 1649 show also that the Dutch and semi Dutch inhabitants of Manhattan and its neighborhood were making their struggle for autonomy unsupported. The up river colonists gave them no aid. The patroon's officials were, indeed, fighting the West India Company but in the good old feudal way for that ancient kind of liberty which meant the right of overlords to do as they pleased. They cared noth ing for the case of their enemy's subjects on Manhattan except as the outcome might weaken the Company's authority and thus enlarge their own. The Englishmen near Manhattan, content for the moment with the town charters they had secured, also kept to themselves, hatching schemes of their own. Thomas Hall, the refugee from Virginia, seems to have been the sole Netherlander of English birth who stood with the Dutch petitioners. The other Englishmen were the only persons in the province, except some of Stuyvesant's sub ordinates in office, who declared themselves content with his administration and with the Company's control.
It is not even indirectly true, as has often been said since Bancroft so affirmed, that the 'large emigration from New England' inspired New Netherland's desire for self-govern ment. Neither the Petition nor the Remonstrance of 1649 is tinged with English ideas. Neither mentions the New Eng landers except as dangerous enemies. And although the Additional Observations describe with great praise the methods of government that prevailed in the United Colonies they do so merely to accentuate the general truth that colonies thrive best, that all communities thrive best, when they govern them selves. Nowhere do they hint that the petitioners had got from the English their perception of this truth, and nowhere do they say that they want rights and privileges modelled upon New England patterns. They say that New Netherland ought to have, like its neighbors, entire freedom in trade and respectable men to direct its affairs; and they say so because there was `fundamentally an equality' in condition and in needs between the Dutch and the English colonies. But they do not ask that New England institutions shall be repro duced in New Netherland. Under the 'laudable government' of Patria they had learned the nature and the worth of liberty, and in accordance with the precedents of Patria they wished the government of the province to be framed.
It may be said again that the local institutions they desired were not such as.would have contented Englishmen in America.
But the term `burgher government' implied much more than it seems to when translated. Municipal government did not mean to the Dutchman merely what it meant at the time to an Englishman or what it means to an American. to-day. The United Netherlands were a loose confederation of seven sovereign provinces each of which was a republic built up of many smaller republics chartered cities and towns and the manors that had survived from feudal times. Through their local magistracies these little republics administered their own affairs while some of them, specially privileged, joined in choosing the delegates who formed the provincial assemblies or States. These States in their turn chose the delegates from each province who formed the States General, and this cen tral body held only such powers as the States agreed among themselves to confer upon it. In fact, none of these bodies, central or provincial, was a sovereign legislature like our senates and assemblies. Each was simply a body of delegates held with great strictness to the duty of executing the will of the lower assemblies or the local councils which they rep resented and to which they had to refer back their decisions for confirmation. Thus the real power over the destinies of the great Republic rested with the little local republics and chiefly with the cities, for the representatives of the cities cast many more votes in the provincial States than did the manorial lords in the States of the province of Holland, for instance, eighteen votes as against one which represented the nobility as a whole. It is plain, therefore, that when New Amsterdam demanded `burgher government' it was asking for what it intended should grow into a directing, controlling force in that provincial government which, it may be pointed out, had itself been modelled upon the municipal precedents of the fatherland.
At once the Nine Men selected three of their number Van der Donck, Van Couwenhoven, and Bout to carry their petitions to Holland, giving them a letter of credence to the States General. Van Dincklagen wrote that as he had not been able to dissuade the commonalty from sending these envoys he hoped they would secure an audience; they were thoroughly conversant with the affairs of the country and, he believed, intended what was right. Cornelis Melyn went with them to plead his own cause afresh, being `weary of suf fering without any fault of his own.' Greatly alarmed, Stuyvesant despatched Secretary Van Tienhoven to present his side of the case.
In spite of active opposition from the West India Company the States General graciously received Van der Donck and his colleagues and before the end of the year referred to a com mittee all their papers and those that Stuyvesant had sent. By this time another antagonist had entered the field, con tending less on behalf of New Amsterdam than against the Company on other grounds Wouter Van Twiller, urging the pretensions of Rensselaerswyck to more respect than they had received either from the Company at home or from its representatives on Manhattan. Domine Backerus supported the pleas of his flock by prayers of his own. And the printing press of the fatherland was soon set to work to speak for the province.
It was in 1649 that the Breeden Raedt was published at Antwerp. Broad Advice to the United Netherland Provinces it is commonly called in English although there has been some question as to the accuracy of this translation. It was one among many pamphlets of the time which, from one vulner able point or another, attacked the West India Company in the effort to discredit it with the public and to induce the States General to abandon it altogether. A tract of some forty-five pages, the Breeden Raedt is wholly devoted to the affairs of New Netherland and is the most striking and inter esting commentary upon them that was produced in the father land. The `broad advice' is given in the form of a conversa tion between a Dutch skipper and a Dutch boatswain, a Portuguese sailor from Brazil, a Swedish student, a Spanish barber, a French merchant, a Neapolitan, a Pole, a 'High Dutch gentleman,' and a poor English nobleman.' Lively indeed is their conversation, in which the skipper and the Portuguese take the lead in abusing the Company. A satire in intention, and a very bitter one in temper, it has not the same authority, of course, as the simple and direct com plaints and expositions of the New Netherlanders themselves. But if read with discretion it greatly helps to illuminate their words, and, as has already been shown, it records more than one fact or incident in the history of the province that is other wheres unchronicled or not fully set forth. Many commen tators have fixed upon Cornelis Melyn as its author but the most learned and careful of them all, Asher, does not accept this supposition. Certainly in its exaggerated accusations and its rude and violent modes of expression the Breeden Raedt differs as greatly from the papers Melyn is known to have written as it does in its dramatic form. The defence of himself and Kuyter that Melyn laid before Governor Stuy vesant's court, highly rhetorical in style and sprinkled with quotations from classical authors and apostolic fathers, might have been written by a Leyden professor. It would have meant literary genius to be able to pass from such a style to the bold, virulent, roughly effective style of the Breeden Raedt. More sensibly this may be credited to the pen of one of the professional pamphleteers who abounded in Holland.
In January, 1650, the delegates from New Amsterdam prepared from the papers they had brought with them an abstract, in the shape of sixty-eight briefly stated charges, which they called a Short Digest of the Excesses and Highly Injurious Neglect which New Netherland has Experienced Since it has been Placed under the Company. The original of the Company's reply to this Digest still exists, in the handwriting of Cornelis Van Tienhoven. It proves scarcely anything except the anger of the Company with the inhabitants of its province and its undisguised contempt for their complaints.
Then the envoys from New Netherland laid its case before the people of the fatherland, printing the Remonstrance in a slightly altered form but with the same name Vertoogh van Nieu Nederland as a quarto pamphlet of twenty-nine pages. In February the directors of the Company wrote to General Stuyvesant : Formerly New Netherland was never spoken of ; and now heaven and earth seem to be stirred up by it, and everyone tries to be the first in selecting the best pieces there. . . .
If we were to relate all the intrigues set to work here by the said deputies, Cornelis Melyn, and Wouter Van Twiller, to rob the Com pany of the land so dearly bought with money and blood, we should either not have time enough or our memory would shrink from the task. . . . Your apprehensions concerning Domine Backerus, the preacher, have, as you expected, been verified. He has made common cause with the complainants come from your parts, silly people or at least the majority of them who have been badly misled by a few seditious persons, like Cornelis Melyn, Adriaen Van der Donck, and some others. These men seem to leave nothing untried to upset every form of government, pretending that they suffered under too heavy a yoke. Wouter Van Twiller confirms them in this opinion and aims at the command of the whole North River; he admits publicly that he does not intend to allow anyone to navigate the river for the purpose of trade.. . .
The Company was not satisfied with Stuyvesant, blaming him almost as much as Kieft for the troubles and disorders in its province, yet it publicly sustained his course and con tinued to write to him in an amicable if reproachful strain. Meanwhile the envoys pressed for a decision on their ap peals, saying that the governor was now acting in direct opposition to the Nine Men, and bringing witnesses to prove that these officials dared not express their wishes in the face of his violent enmity. In April the Company wrote to the governor that it had been forced to ask the aid of the city of Amsterdam in upholding its rights in its province: Very likely a great explosion would have been the result if it had not been prevented by the careful management of the Honorable Deputies from their High Mightinesses who have discovered means by which they expect to satisfy provisionally either side.
This scheme, submitted to their High Mightinesses the States General by their committee in April after much con sultation with the directors of the Company, was called a Provisional Order for the Government, Preservation, and Population of New Netherland. It prescribed that no hostili ties with the Indians should again be entered upon without the knowledge of the home government, and that Damen and Planck, who had been instrumental in bringing on Kieft's war, should be examined by this government. It said that the militia of the province should be properly enrolled and armed; that good schoolmasters and three competent clergy men should be provided ; that agriculture should be fostered and trade with Brazil encouraged ; that the Company should annually expend 15,000 guilders in transporting poor emi grants, and that all private vessels should be obliged to carry those who would pay. It ordered that: On the increase of population and the augmentation of inhabitants a Council of Justice shall be erected within the province ; And within the City of New Amsterdam a Burgher Government consisting of a schout, two burgomasters, and five schepens.
Meanwhile the Nine Men should continue three years longer with independent judicial powers in small private cases. Two of the five members of the governor's council should be elected from among the residents of the country on the nomi nation of delegates from the commonalty and the patroons of colonies; they should be asked to give consent to the im position of duties and taxes ; and they should arrange for their payment and for the collection and management of the pub lic funds `on such footing as their constituents shall order.' Furthermore, General Peter Stuyvesant should return to the Hague to report, and a 'suitable person' experienced in agri cultural matters should be sent out in his stead.
This Provisional Order, which the committee asked the States General to ratify and to impose upon the West India Company, did not grant all that the New Netherlanders asked, but if it had been carried out they would have been satisfied for the time. Even the framing of it greatly stimulated emigration to the province.
Immigration from New England also continued. In 1649 so prominent a person as the younger John Winthrop, who three years before had taken his family from Boston to a settlement he had begun at the mouth of the Pequot River (now New London), thought of moving again and asked George Baxter what privileges settlers under the Dutch en joyed. Baxter answered, in March, 1650: For what the English enjoy, in general, are these : each respective town settled by them have the choice of their own magistrates and regulated by such civil orders as they shall make among themselves concerning town affairs; the said magistrates have power to determine absolutely without appeal all actions under 50 guilders for debt, tres pass, or fine, and to pass sentence in all other actions of a greater sum, and cause execution thereof if the party condemned maketh not appeal in eight days' time to the superior court. For deprivation of life, limb, or member the delinquents are to be tried by the superior court and by them adjudged. Liberty of conscience according to the cus tom of Holland is granted unto all. For matter of acknowledgment we are to pay the tenth part of what shall be produced by the plough or hoe after the expiration of ten years, and to be paid in the field before it is housed; for other public taxes we are to be altogether ex empt from.
Baxter also wrote that he had often heard Governor Stuy vesant say that Winthrop would be 'acceptably welcome unto him.' To the great subsequent profit of Connecticut Winthrop decided to remain where he was.
In 1649 the elder John Winthrop died at Boston. Writing then to Governor Eaton of New Haven Stuyvesant said : I do really condole with you, we being all of us in these parts par ticipators in the sad loss of one whose wisdom and integrity might have done much in composing matters between us.
In truth, although Winthrop did not love the New Nether landers and was over-ready to believe evil reports of them, he had been their best friend in New England and had done what he could to keep the peace between them and their nearer neighbors.