Page images

Maverick, who came as commissioners. While the Dutch had heard rumors of the designs of the English, they had made no effectual defence.* Stuyvesant had endeavored to rouse the inhabitants to make a spirited defence by recalling the famous deeds of their forefathers, but he met with a feeble response.† Nevertheless, he determined to assume a bold front in the matter and sent a request to the English commander for the reason of his hostile appearance. Nicolls replied asserting the claims of England and demanding that New Amsterdam be surrendered immediately, guaranteeing that the lives, liberties and property of the inhabitants would be respected. Stuyvesant, however, protested against such procedure and recited the manner in which the Dutch had settled the country, at the same time asserting his belief that "if his Majesty of Great Britain were well informed of such passages, he would not be too judicious to grant such an order" as that by which he was summoned. He also reminded the commissioners that it was "a very considerable thing to affront so mighty a state as Holland, although it were not against an ally or confederate." The English commander, however, was not moved by either threat or argument; he refused to continue

* For the system of defence see Osgood, American Colonies, vol. ii., p. 389 et seq. See also Stuyvesant's description of the state of defences in N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. ii., pp. 430, 475. Doyle, Middle Colonies, p. 98.

parleying and threatened to attack the city immediately if it were not surrendered. Though extremely mortified, Stuyvesant felt that it was best to submit to circumstances, particularly as the majority of citizens were unwilling to run the risk of assault by the English, the city being in no way able to offer an effectual opposition. Moreover, the inhabitants were discontented with Dutch rule and there were many who were disposed to welcome a change to English domination and jurisdiction.* A liberal capitulation was arranged; the inhabitants were guaranteed their rights and privileges,† and on September 4, 1664, New Amsterdam became an English possession. A few days later, Fort Orange up the Hudson capitulated, and subsequently a treaty was concluded at that place with the chiefs of the Five Nations.|| Meanwhile Sir Robert Carr had entered the Delaware, and on Octo


* Roberts, New York, vol. i., pp. 92–93. also the letter of the town council of New Amsterdam in Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, pp. 451-453, and in Berthold Fernow, Records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674, vol. v., pp. 114-116; Lamb, City of New York, vol. i., pp. 209-213.

† Bulletin of the New York State Library, General Entries, p. 95; N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. ii., pp. 250-253; Bancroft, vol. i., pp. 517-519; Brodhead, vol. i., pp. 762-763, vol. ii., pp. 27-35; Doyle, Middle Colonies, pp. 98-104; Trumbull, History of Connecticut, vol. i., pp. 220-223 (1898 reprint).

Stuyvesant's report will be found in V. Y. Col. Docs., vol. ii., pp. 365-370, and in Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, pp. 458-466.

|| Brodhead, vol. ii., pp. 45-47.


ber 10, 1664, after the fleet had anchored off New Amstel, the civil population at once accepted English supremacy, but the commander of the fort, Alexander d'Hinoyoosa, refused to surrender. The ships then opened a broadside, and an attacking party was sent against the fort. At the first fire the Dutch lost 13 men, without inflicting any damage on the English, who then rushed to the attack and soon reduced the garrison into submission.* Thus New Netherland became an integral part of the English colonial empire. The Dutch inhabitants readily acquiesced in the change of rulers, and even Stuyvesant himself, because of the strong attachment to the country, remained in New York until his death.+ One of the first acts of Nicolls was to change the names of the various towns, not only in New York but also in the surrounding region. New Netherland and New Amsterdam became New York (province and city respectively), New Amstel became New Castle, Fort Orange was changed to Albany, Long Island was called Yorkshire, and the territory between the Hudson and the Delaware was entitled Albania.‡

Mr. Brodhead seems to think that

* See Carr's report in N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. iii., p. 83.

Bayard Tuckerman, Peter Stuyvesant (1893); Washington Irving, Diedrich Knickerbocker's History of New York; Palfrey, History of New England, vol. ii., pp. 62-64; Fiske, Dutch and Quaker Colonies, vol. i., pp. 283-294; Roberts, New York, vol. i., pp. 95-96.

N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. iii., p. 105.


the Dutch have received scant justice at the hands of historians, and in this connection says:

"The reduction of New Netherland was now accomplished. All that could be done further was to change its name; and, to glorify one of the most bigotted princes in English history, the royal province was ordered to be called New York


* * The flag of England was at length triumphantly displayed, where, for half a century, that of Holland had rightfully waved; and, from Virginia to Canada the King of Great Britain was acknowledged as sovereign. This treacherous and violent seizure of the territory and possessions of an unsuspecting ally was no less a breach of private justice than of public faith. It may, indeed, be affirmed, that among all the acts of selfish perfidy which royal ingratitude conceived and executed, there have been few more characteristic and none more base.


emigrants who first explored the coasts and re-
claimed the soil of New Netherland, and bore
the flag of Holland to the wigwams of the Iroquois,
were generally bluff, plain-spoken, earnest, yet
unpresumptuous men, who spontaneously left their
native land to better their condition, and bind
another province to the United Netherlands.
They brought over with them the liberal ideas,
and honest maxims, and homely virtues of their
They came with no loud-
sounding pretensions to grandeur in purpose,
eminence in holiness, or superiority in character.

They were more accustomed to do than to boast;

nor have their descendants been ambitious to invite and appropriate excessive praise for the services of their ancestors rendered in extending the limits of Christendom, and in stamping upon America its distinguishing features of freedom in religion, and liberality in political faith. * Much of what has been written of American history has been written by those, who, from habit or prejudice, have been inclined to magnify the influence, and extol the merit of the Anglo-Saxon race, at the expense of every other element which has assisted to form the national greatness. In no particular has this been more remarkable than in the unjust view which has so often been taken of the founders of New York. Holland has long been a theme for the ridicule of British writers; and even in this country, the character and manners of the Dutch have been made the subject of an unworthy depreciation, caused, perhaps, in some instances, by too ready an imitation of those

[merged small][ocr errors]

Meanwhile the Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware were suffering under the rule of Sir Robert Carr. After its submission to the English, the colony was placed under government and named the "Delaware Territories." The English now began systematically to plunder the Swedish and Dutch possessions, even some of the people themselves being seized and sold as servants to Virginia planters. Carr even went so far as to appropriate the choicest pieces of reclaimed land for himself, his son, and one of his favorites.‡ Governor Nicolls soon put a stop to his lawlessness, and for three or four years the colony experienced comparative peace. Lovelace was soon placed in charge, however, and instituted some very harsh measures, including a duty of 10 per cent. In 1672 the town of New Castle was incorporated, and as a free port, the largest village in that section and the capital of the government, it assumed an important position. Under English control the industries of the settlement underwent a change, the farms gradually dwindling in size and amount of produce, while the traffic in rum increased.

Shortly after gaining possession of

* Brodhead, History of the State of New York,

1st period, pp. 745-750.

N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. iii., p. 342.

N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. iii., p. 115.

New Netherland, the Duke of York promulgated a code of laws which embodied many valuable privileges and customs derived from local experience and adapted to the wants of the colonists. Among these laws was that granting trial by jury. This code was presented to an assembly of elected representatives which met March 1, 1665, at Heemstede (later Hempstead, L. I.), at the summons of Governor Nicolls.* But this did not satisfy the colonists. They had become possessed of a democratic spirit which caused them to rebel against the tyranny of Stuyvesant, but when the English rule did not bring the promised liberality in the government, they became dissatisfied and greatly disappointed, and bitterly remonstrated against the system which was no less despotic than that of Stuyvesant. The merchants complained against the fresh duties which had been levied upon their imports and exports to fill the coffers of the Duke of York. In 1668 Nicolls resigned the governorship and was succeeded by Sir Francis Lovelace, who governed for the next six years

*N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. xiv., p. 564 et seq.; Collections of the New York Historical Society, series 1, vol. i., pp. 305-428; Bulletin of the New York State Library, General Entries, pp. 79, 100, 132; Lamb, City of New York, vol. i., pp. 227-229; Brodhead, vol. ii., p. 67; Roberts, New York, vol. i., pp. 97-98.

For the various measures instituted see Fiske, Dutch and Quaker Colonies, vol. ii., pp. 1-10; Hildreth, vol. ii., p. 44 et seq.; Doyle, Middle Colonies, p. 108 et seq. The Duke's laws will be found in N. Y. Hist. Coll., 1st series, vol. i.


with more zeal for his master's coffers than for the good of the colony. He imposed a duty of 10 per cent. upon all imports and exports, at which eight of the Long Island towns protested, but their protest was burned. Therefore, in 1673, when war was declared between England and Holland, the inhabitants of the city and the surrounding territory were in a frame of mind eagerly to desire a change of government. During the course of that year a Dutch fleet suddenly appeared before the city and Colonel John Manning, who held possession of the fort during the absence of Governor Lovelace, surrendered on August 9 without such a stubborn resistance as he might have been expected to make. For this act he was subsequently found guilty by a court martial of cowardice and treachery.||

*It is worthy of note here that the first mail on the American continent started from New York

for Boston on New Year's Day, 1673, the post

man going by way of Harlem, Greenwich, Stamford, New Haven, Hartford, Springfield and so on until he descended the valley of the Charles into Boston. At this time also was established the first merchant's exchange-a weekly meeting held at about the point where Exchange Place now crosses Broad Street. Fiske, vol. ii., pp.


† Hildreth, vol. ii., p. 54; Roberts, New York, vol. i., pp. 101-103; Doyle, Middle Colonies, p. 131. Doyle, however, names only seven towns.

See Doyle, Middle Colonies, pp. 136-138 and the various documents in N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. iii., pp. 200, 213, 364, 527; Lamb, City of New York, vol. i., pp. 233-258; Roberts, New York, vol. i., pp. 104-106.

For the details of the trial see O'Callaghan, Documentary History of New York, vol. iii., pp. 52-65.


Lovelace was arrested for theft, but the charge does not seem to have been pressed and he left the colony in most straitened circumstances.* For a short time thereafter New York remained in the possession of the Dutch and was under a Dutch governor, Anthony Colve.t In September all but two ships of the fleet sailed away, it being deemed best to leave a small force to guard against invasion.

Soon after coming into office, Colve made two changes in the governments, which contrasted unfavorably with the government under the English. The municipality of New York was no longer a corporation, but was kept alive by self-election, the outgoing magistrates framing a list of their successors, one-half of whom were nominated by the governor. Colve also ordered that the Reformed Christian religion should be maintained in each township to the exclusion of other sects, though he did allow the Lutherans at Albany to keep their church and their worship.‡

In 1673 Colve sent commissioners to the Long Island towns to enforce the oath of obedience, and the majority of the towns acceded to his demands, but a few resisted, the most stubborn being Southampton which, undoubtedly at the instigation of Connecticut, absolutely refused al

[blocks in formation]

legiance to a foreign power. With good judgment, Colve sent a second commission to bring about a peaceful settlement of the dispute, but finding the people in arms and the current of feeling against them, they returned to New York without accomplishing anything. In November, 1673, Connecticut sent a volunteer force under Fitz-John Winthrop to the aid of the Long Islanders and, thus reinforced, the latter were better able in February, 1674, to refuse the surrender of the towns demanded by a fleet sent against them by Colve.*

While these events were in progress in New York, the diplomats of England and Holland were negotiating for peace, and in August, 1673, reached an agreement, one of the conditions of which was the restoration of all territorial conquests made during the war. In February, 1674, the two nations finally accepted these terms, then signing the treaty of Westminster, and New York consequently again passed into the hands of the English.†

A new grant was now obtained by the Duke of York, both increasing his territorial rights and giving him authority" to govern the inhabitants by such ordinances as he and his assigns should establish." In 1674 Major Edmund Andros was sent out

[ocr errors][merged small]


to assume the office of governor, to assert the rights of the proprietary, and to consolidate the various scattered settlements under a uniform system of government. One of the first proceedings of Andros in order to accomplish this was to send an expedition to Fort Saybrook to enforce the claim of the Duke of York to all that territory lying between the Hudson and the Connecticut rivers which had been settled by the citizens of Connecticut. The Connecticut men sturdily resisted the expedition and then refused to allow the commission of Andros to be read. Though the whole proceeding was conducted without violence, the display of ability to resist was such that Andros was compelled to return to New York without having accomplished anything.t plished anything.† At New York Andros found the people little disposed to submit to the levying of taxes by irresponsible authority, and fully determined to obtain the same rights and advantages as were possessed by the other English colonies under their charters.‡

For the letters of Andros to Colve and the treaty of surrender submitted by the latter, see O'Callaghan, Documentary History of New York, vol. iii., pp. 45-51.

Palfrey, History of New England, vol. ii., pp. 117-121; Connecticut Colonial Records, vol. ii., pp. 262, 334, 339-343, 579-584; Doyle, Puritan Colonies, vol. ii., pp. 183-186.

Fiske, Dutch and Quaker Colonies, vol. ii., pp. 35-42. Fiske, pp. 62-91, gives an excellent description of New York as it was in 1680. See also Lamb, City of New York, vol. i., p. 277 et seq.; W. L. Stone, History of New York City.

« PreviousContinue »