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CHAP. induce fisty persons to settle anywhere in New Nether.
land, except on the island of Manhattan, should be recog1625. nised as “Patroon,” or “Lord of the Manor.”. Under
this arrangement “Patroons" could purchase a tract of land sixteen miles long by eight in width. They secured to themselves, by purchase from the Indians, the most valuable lands and places for trade. The less rich were by necessity compelled to become tenants of the Patroons. The people, thus deprived of that independence which is essential to the progress of any community, took but little interest in cultivating the soil, or in improving the country.
The company, for the sake of gain, determined, even at the expense of the prosperity of the colonists, to make New Amsterdam the centre of the trade of New Netherland. Under the penalty of banishment the people were forbidden to manufacture the most common fabrics for clothing. No provision was made for the education of the young, or the preaching of the gospel ; although it was enjoined upon the Patroons to provide “a minister and a schoolmaster,” or at least a “comforter of the sick,” whose duty it should be to read to the people texts of Scripture and the creeds. The company also agreed, if the speculation should prove profitable, to furnish the Patroons with African slaves.
As Hudson had discovered Delaware bay and river, the Dutch claimed the territory. Samuel Godyn purchased
from the Indians all their lands from Cape Henlopen to 1629. the mouth of the Delaware river. Two years after this
thirty colonists arrived, fully prepared to found a settlement. When De Vries, who was to be Patroon and commander, came the next year, he found not a vestige of the settlement; all had perished by the hands of the savages.
After the resignation of Minuits, Walter Van Twiller, through the "influence of kinsmen and friends," was ap
WILLIAM KIEFT GOVERNOR.
pointed governor. He proved himself unfitted for the CHAP. station. As a clerk, he was acquainted with the mere routine of business, but ignorant of human nature ; as con- 1635. ceited as he was deficient in judgment and prudence, he failed to secure the respect of those he governed. In his zeal for the interests of his employers, he neglected the rights of the people, and was so inconsistent in the management of public affairs that Dominie Bogardus sent him a letter of severe reproof, threatening to give him “such a shake from the pulpit on the following Sunday 1635. as would make him shudder."
The inefficient Van Twiller was succeeded by William Kieft. Though he had not the same defects as Van Twiller, his appointment was a most unfortunate event for the colony. A bankrupt in Holland, his portrait was affixed to the gallows; an evidence of the estimation in which his character was held. Avaricious and unscrupulous, so arbitrary in his measures that during his rule the colony was in a continual turmoil, he quarrelled with the Swedes on the Delaware, had difficulties with the English in New England, made the Indians his enemies, and had scarcely a friend in his own colony.
The Dutch were on friendly terms with the Indians during the rule of Van Twiller. It was forbidden by law to sell them fire-arms; but the traders up the river, indifferent to the interests of the settlers, sold them guns to such an extent, that at one time more than four hundred of the Mohawks, or Iroquois, were armed with muskets. By this means these terrible marauders and despots of the wilderness were rendered more haughty and dangerous. They paid enormous prices for guns, that they might be able to meet their enemies the Canadian Indians, who were supplied with fire-arms by the French. Though the traders did not sell guns to the tribes living near New Amsterdam and on the river, yet they sold them rum.
Kieft pretended that the company had ordered him to
CHAP. levy an annual tribute upon the river Indians—the Mo
hegans and other clans of the Algonquin race. They re1638. fused to pay any tribute, saying he “was a shabby fellow
to come and live on their lands without being invited, and then want to take away their corn for nothing." Such injustice, with the partiality shown to their enemies, the Mohawks, gradually alienated their feelings of friendship for the Dutch.
An act of Kieft awoke the slumbering anger of the savages. The Raritans, a tribe living on the river which bears their name, were accused of stealing hogs, which had been taken by some Dutch traders. Kieft did not inquire into the truth of the charge, but sent soldiers to punish them, who destroyed their corn and killed some of their number. De Vries, who, in the mean time, had planted a settlement on Staten Island, was himself a
friend of the Indians. The Raritans attacked this settle1641. ment and killed four men. The people now urged the
governor to conciliate the savages, but without effect. Twenty years before a chieftain had been killed by a Dutch hunter in the presence of his nephew, then a little boy ; that boy, now a man, according to their custom, avenged the death of his uncle by murdering an innocent Dutch
Kieft demanded that the young man should be given up to him, to be punished as a murderer. The tribe would not comply with the demand, but offered to pay the price of blood. The violent governor refused any
such compromise. 1642 With his permission a meeting of the heads of fami
lies was called. They chose twelve of their number to investigate the affairs of the colony. They passed very soon from the Indian difficulties to other abuses ; even to the despotic actions of the governor himself. As the "twelve men” refused to be controlled by Kieft, but persevered in expressing their opinions of his conduct, he
MASSACRE OF THE INDIANS.
dissolved the Assembly. Thus ended the first representa- CHAP tive Assembly in New Netherland.
Nearly all the difficulties with the Indians may be 1642 traced to some injustice practised upon them by the whites. An instance of this kind now occurred which led to direful results. A Dutchman sold a young Indian, the son of a chief, brandy, and when he was intoxicated, cheated and drove him away. The Indian, raging with drink, and maddened by the treatment he had received, went to his home, obtained his bow and arrows, returned and shot the Dutchman dead. The chiefs of the murderer's tribe hastened to the governor to explain the matter, and to pay the price of blood ; they wished for peace ; but the governor was inexorable. He demanded the murderer ; but he had fled to a neighboring tribe. “It is your own fault !” exclaimed the indignant chiefs ; "why do you sell brandy to our young men ? it makes them crazy ;your own people get drunk, and fight with knives.”
Just at this time came a company of eighty Mohawks, all armed with muskets, to demand tribute of the enfeebled River Tribes. The latter filed to the Dutch for protection. Now is the time, urged the people, to obtain forever the friendship of the Indians living around us, by rescuing them from the rapacious Mohawks. Now is the time, thought the stubborn and cruel Kieft, to exterminate those who have fled to me for safety.
“If you murder these poor creatures who have put themselves under your protection, you will involve the whole colony in ruin, and their blood, and the blood of your own people, will be required at your hands!” urged the kind-hearted De Vries. The admonition was unheeded.
The unsuspecting victims of this scheme of treachery and barbarous cruelty were with the tribe of Hackensacks, just beyond Hoboken. About the hour of mid- Febo, night the soldiers from the fort, and some freebooters from 1643
CHAP, the ships in the harbor, passed over the river. Soon were
heard the shrieks of the dying Indians ;-the carnage 1643. continued, the poor victims ran to the river, to pass over
to their supposed friends in New Amsterdam. But they were driven into the water; the mother, who rushed to save her drowning child, was pushed in, that both might perish in the freezing flood. These were not the only victims. Another company of Indians, trusting to the Dutch for protection, were encamped on the island, but a short distance from the fort. They were nearly all murdered in the same manner. In the morning the returning soldiers received the congratulations of Kieft. When the people learned of the massacre they were filled with horror at its atrocity, and expressed their detestation of its author, and their fears that all the Indians in their neighborhood would become their deadly enemies. The guilty Kieft cowered before the storm ; it would have been well if the only effects of his acts had been the reproaches of the people.
When it became known that it was not their enemies the Mohawks, but their pretended friends the Dutch, who had wantonly killed their countrymen, the rage of the River Tribes knew no bounds. They rose as one man to take revenge. Every nook and corner, every swamp and thicket, became an ambush for the enraged savages. The settlements up the river were destroyed. On Long Island, on Staten Island, the retribution fell ; all around Manhattan the smoke of burning dwellings arose to heaven. The people at a distance from the fort were either murdered or taken captive, especially the women and children. All who could deserted their homes, and sought safety in the fort at Manhattan ; many of whom afterward left for Holland.
A pleasing incident is related of Indian gratitude. De Vries had, on that fearful night, rescued an Indian and his wife from death. When his settlement on Staten