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De Rasieres at
Observes its institutions.
CHAP. VI. which awaited him at the head of the creek; and soon
reached New Plymouth, "honorably attended with the 1627.
noise of trumpeters."*
Here Bradford entertained the Dutch ambassador sev. New Plym-eral days. The friendly colonists of two allied European
nations now met, for the first time, in the solitudes of America. That first meeting, too, was “the joyful meeting of kindred as well as friends; for the wives and childred of some of the Pilgrims had also their birth-place in Holland.”'f
The English colonists' form of government; their annual elections; their abolition of primogeniture, with only a small difference in favor of the eldest son, as an knowledgment for his seniority of birth ;" their stringent laws on the subject of morality, which they even enforced among the neighboring Indian tribes; the example which they set to those savages, of " better ordinances and a better life,” were noted with interest by the envoy of New Netherland. “They have better means of living than ourselves," wrote De Rasieres, “because they have the fish so abundant before their doors ;'' but then “their farms are not so good as ours, because they are more stony." With these fish they manured their barren soil, which otherwise would produce no maize. Quaintly, but
graphically, the representative of Manhattan described the Describes rival settlement. “New Plymouth lies on the slope of a
hill, stretching east toward the sea-coast, with a broad street about a cannon-shot of eight hundred spaces ?] long leading down the hill, and with (another street] crossing in the middle, northward to the rivulet and southward to the land. The houses are constructed of hewn planks, with gardens also inclosed behind and at the sides with hewn timber; so that their houses and court-yards are arranged in very good order, with a stockade against a sudden attack. At the ends of the streets are three wooden gates. In the centre, on the cross street, stands the governor's house; before which is a square inclosure, upon which
* Bradford, in Prince, 248; ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 364.
+ Moulton, 384.
four swivels are mounted, so as to flank along the streets. Chap. VI. Upon the hill they have a large square house with a flat roof,
1627. made of thick sawn plank, stayed with oak beams; upon the top of which they have six cannon, which shoot iron balls of four and five pounds weight, and command the surrounding country. The lower part they use for their church, where they preach on Sundays and the usual holidays. They assemble by beat of drum, each with his musket or firelook, in front of the captain's door. They have their cloaks on, and place themselves in order, three abreast, and are led by a sergeant, without beat of drum. Behind comes the governor in a long robe. Beside him, on the right hand, comes the preacher, with his cloak on; and on the left hand the captain, with his side-arms and his cloak on, and with a small cane in his hand. And so they march in good order, and each sets his arms down near him. Thus they are constantly on their guard night and day."*
Having “demeaned himself to his own credit and De Rathat of his government, De Rasieres pledged to the Plym- turns to outh colonists “assistance against the French, if need were," and returned to his bark at Manomet, accompanied by an escort of the Puritans. And now they readily The Puripurchased some of his wares, especially the Sewan or chase Wampum, " which was the beginning of a profitable Dutch. trade." The Dutch naturally desired to retain the control of the wampum traffic in the Narragansett, because " the seeking after Sewan” by the Puritans, said De Rasieres, " is prejudicial to us, inasmuch as they would, by so doing, discover the trade in furs, which, if they were to find out, it would be a great trouble for us to maintain; for they already dare to threaten that, if we will not leave off dealing with that people, they will be obliged to use other means." The chief supply of this universally current Indian coin came, as we have seen, from Long
* De Rasieres's Letter, 351, 352. The accuracy of De Rasieres's account is confirmed hy Morton in his Memorial, p. 82. Mr. W. S. Russell, in his "Pilgrim Memorials,” p. 28, says that Leyden Street at Plymouth was originally named First Street, and afterward Great and Broad Street; and that it received its present name in 1823, in grateful memory of the kindness and hospitality shown to the Pilgrims during their eleven years'
goods of the
residence in Leyden.
Mutual trade established at Manomet.
Chap. VI. Island; and De Rasieres now sold a large quantity to the
English," telling us," says Bradford, “how vendible it is 1627.
at their Fort Orange, and persuading us we shall find it 80 at Kennebeck.” Nor were the Puritans disappointed. As soon as the neighboring Indians learned that the Plymouth colonists had a supply of wampum, a great demand sprung up, which, for a long time, yielded them large profits. “The Massachusetts and others in these parts had scarce any, it being made and kept among the Pequots and Narragansetts, who grew. rich and potent by it; whereas the rest, who use it not, are poor and beggarly."
Thus, when the whole tonnage of New England consisted of “ a bass-boat, shallop, and pinnace," a mutually advantageous trade sprung up between the neighboring European colonists. “After which beginning," says Bradford, "they often send to the same place, and we trade together divers years, sell much tobacco for linens and stuffs, &c., which proves a great benefit to us, till the Virginians find out their colony."!
On his return to Manhattan, De Rasieres carried with Bradford him a letter from Bradford to Minuit, in which, saving alurges the ways their allegiance to the King of Great Britain, he Giear their pledged the Pilgrims to the performance of all good offices New Neth-toward the Dutch colonists in New Netherland.
acknowledge ourselves tied," wrote the Puritan governor, “in a strict obligation unto your country and state, for the good entertainment and free liberty which we had, and our brethren and countrymen yet there, have and do enjoy, under our most honorable Lords the States.” With respect to the question of trade and supplies, he expressed his regret that it had not been “propounded at the beginning of the year," before Allerton had gone as agent to England and Holland, until whose return a positive determination must be postponed. But, in the mean time, he reiterated the desire of the Puritans that the Dutch should “clear the title” of their planting “ in these parts
Oct. replies to
* Bradford's Letter Book, 364 ; Prince, 248, 249 : De Rasieres's Letter, 350. + Bradford, ut sup., 364 ; Prince, 248.
which His Majesty hath, by patent, granted to divers his Chap. VI. nobles and subjects of quality ; lest it be a bone of divi
1627 sion in these stirring evil times, which God forbid. We persuade ourselves, that now may be easily and seasonably done, which will be harder and with more difficulty obtained hereafter, and perhaps not without blows."'*
Thus earnestly did Bradford maintain the English title to Spirit of New Netherland, and urge the Dutch to "clear” their own claim. A royal charter, of doubtful validity, was the alleged apology for calling in question those territorial rights which, while in Holland, the Puritans had themselves distinctly admitted, when, in 1620, they solicited the States General “ to protect and defend them” in their proposed settlement within the Dutch Province. But now they found it convenient to insist upon the paramount authority of a patent which had been denounced from the speaker's chair by the highest legal authority, as a monopoly, containing “many particulars contrary to the laws and privileges of the subjects,”+ and which was not sealed until nearly a year after the application to the States General, by which they had virtually affirmed the Dutch title to the fullest extent.
Under these circumstances, the director and council at Minuit Fort Amsterdam felt obliged to call the attention of the Holland for West India Company, as soon as possible, to the somewhat diers. threatening aspect which the subject had assumed. “The last ship from New Netherland brings tidings,” reported 16 Nov. the College of XIX, to the States General, in November, " that our settlers there were menaced by the English at New Plymouth, who (notwithstanding the people of this land had some years ago commended themselves to those very English in all good correspondence and friendship now wish to hunt them out, or disturb them in their quiet possession and infant colony. They, therefore, ask the assistance of forty soldiers for their defense."I
But if Bradford was pertinacious in urging the parch
+ Sir Edward Coke ; see ante, p. 139.
* Bradford, ut sup., 365.
Hol. Doc., i., 159, 160; O'Call., i., 109.
Chap. VI. ment claims of England, King Charles himself was, ap
parently, more considerate. A month before De Rasieres 1627.
visited New Plymouth, an order in council, formally reCharles I. citing the terms of the treaty signed at Southampton in Dutch W.1. 1625, declared that the ships of the West India Company
should have free access to and egress from all English ports ; and commanded all English officers to treat the officers of the company “ with that respect and courtesy as is fitting to be used toward the subjects of a state with whom his majesty is in firm and ancient amity."* Contenting themselves with the liberal provisions of an order, which, by throwing open to them all the English ports, and protecting their vessels from seizure by British cruisers, virtually recognized their trade to New Netherland, the West India Company seemed to think it unnecessary
to take any immediate steps to settle the question of title. 1632. A few years later, when the question was distinctly pre
sented, they vindicated their title with ability and success. At present, the quiet advancement of their colony in New Netherland, and the regular prosecution of trade, was the company's policy. The value of that trade had doubled during the four years succeeding the first permanent colonization under May. In 1624, the exports from Amsterdam, in two ships, were worth upward of twenty-five
thousand guilders, and the returns from New Netherland, Increasing twenty-seven thousand guilders. In 1627, the value of
the goods which the Amsterdam Chamber exported, in four ships, had risen to fifty-six thousand guilders, and that of the peltries received from New Netherland had increased
to the same sum.i 1628. The prosperity of the growing colony steadily increased. 19 August. In the autumn of the next year, Director Minuit dispatch
ed from Manhattan two ships, the "Arms of Amsterdam," Captain Adriaen Joris, and the “ Three Kings," Captain Jan Jacobsen, of Weiringen, with cargoes of ship timber and furs for the West India Company, the aggregate
trade and revenue from New Netherland.
* Lond. Doc., i., 36 ; Hol. Doc., ix., 292; N. Y. Col. MSS., iii., 12, 13. + De Laet, Jaerlyck Verhael, Appendix, p. 26, 29.