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CHAP. VII.

Nether land.

The introduction of the feudal system into New Neth

erland, was the most unfortunate result of the charter of 1630. Feudalism exemptions. In the Fatherland, the industrial spirit of a into hered self-relying and liberty-loving people had shorn feudalism

of many of its worst attributes; and, practically, there
was, perhaps, now, more popular freedom in Holland, than
in England, or in any other country in the Old World.
But there is always danger in delegating political pow-
ers; and the danger increases the further the exercise of
those
powers

is removed from the fountain of supreme authority. Feudalism, which in Holland was made to bow before the spirit of a people long accustomed to self-government, had less restraint in the distant Province, which was itself wholly under the arbitrary rule of a commercial corporation. The free spirit of the Netherlander went with him, indeed, to his new home across the sea. But his

political freedom was less secure there, than in the Fatherland. It was only by degrees, and after constant struggles against an oppressive colonial government, that the people of New Netherland worked their way to some of those franchises which their countrymen were enjoying at home, The colonists under the patroons were subjected to the double pressure of feudal exaction and mercantile monopoly.

Thus it was, that the agricultural colonization of New embarrass. Netherland was begun under circumstances, in many re

spects, less favorable to the development of true popular New En- liberty, than was the colonization of New England. The

feudal system of Europe was never introduced into the Puritan colonies; nor were their magistrates the agents of close commercial monopolies in the mother country, The first settlements in New England were unembarrassed by the difficulties which paralyzed the prosperity of New Netherland. The Puritan emigrants to America had a clear field and a fair start. No political incubus oppressed them. They claimed to form their own governments; and, to a great extent, they did form them. Every advantage was on their side; and it was less the fault of circum

Colonira. tion more

ed in New Netherland than in

.

to the

chants.

stance than of will, if the grand principles of Democratic Chap. VII. liberty did not, at once, receive a noble illustration at

1630. their hands. If religious intolerance smothered popular freedom in the Puritan colonies, it was not because the Council of Plymouth forced an involuntary policy upon their inhabitants. If civil liberty was hampered and restrained, it was not because the people of New England, like the people of New Netherland, were constantly obliged to wring reluctant concessions of popular rights from grudging superiors at home.

The privileges which the charter offered to patroons Privileges were peculiarly attractive to the aristocratic sentiment attractive which grew with the acquisition of wealth in Republican Dutch merHolland. Almost all the land outside of the walls of the towns was already the property of old and noble families, who were loth to part with any portion of their hereditary estates. It was, therefore, no easy matter for a Dutch merchant, who had grown rich, to become a Dutch landlord. Though much of the prejudice which had separated the ancient noble from the wealthy burgher of the Fatherland was worn away, there still remained a great gulf between them. But now, boundless estates might easily be secured on the magnificent rivers of New Netherland, and the yearnings of successful tradesmen be readily gratified. From the middle rank of enterprising men who had reared Dutch commerce and trade upon the basis of Dutch liberty and industry, was now to be formed a specially-privileged class, in a new and growing world. The Holland shareholder might now become the colonial patroon. The lord of the Amsterdam counting-house might now become the lord of the New Netherland manor.

The charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, which had Charter been adopted by the College of XIX. in the summer of 1629, was printed, in a pamphlet form, early the follow- March. ing year, and circulated throughout the United Provinces. By this means, the attention of stockholders in the company, who might be desirous to become patroons, as well as of persons of all classes who might be disposed to emi

published. * Wassenaar, xviii., 94 ; Lambrechtsen, 29; Moulton, 389; ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 369. + De Vries, 162.

the Amster

tors.

19 June.

Char. VII. grate from the Fatherland, was invited to the temperate

climate, fertile soil, varied resources, and advantageous 1630.

commercial situation of New Netherland.*

While the details of the charter were yet under advisePatroon- ment in the meetings of the company, several directors of cured by the Amsterdam Chamber, who had been appointed "comdam direc- missaries of New Netherland,"+ hastened to appropriate

to themselves the extensive privileges which they knew would soon be publicly guaranteed to colonial proprietaries. The most prompt in action were Samuel Godyn and Samuel Blommaert; the latter of whom had befriended Isaac de Rasieres, the late secretary of the Province. Influenced, perhaps, by his representations, Godyn and Blommaert dispatched two persons to the South River, “ to ex

amine into the situation of those quarters," and purchase 1629. a tract of land from the savages. At the first meeting of

the Amsterdam Chamber after the adoption of the charter, Godyn notified his associate directors that, in quality of patroon, he had undertaken “to occupy the Bay of the South River," and that he had "advised the director, Peter Minuit, and charged him to register the same there.”'

The agents in New Netherland faithfully executed the Godyn and orders of their principals in Holland. A tract of land on purchase on "the south corner of the Bay of South River," extending

northward about thirty-two miles from Cape Hinlopen to the mouth of the said river," and inland about two miles in breadth, was actually purchased from the native Indians, for Godyn and Blommaert, a few days before the

adoption of the charter in Holland. The formal patent 1630. for the territory thus secured, was attested in the summer

of the following year, by the director and council, at Manhattan. It was the first European title, by purchase from the aborigines, within the limits of the present State

the South River.

1 June.

15 July

1

# Hazard's Ann. Penn., 22 ; O'Call., i., 479. Ø Hól. Doc., i., 176 ; O'Call., i., 122. The original patent to Godyn and Blommaertwhich I found in the West India House, at Amsterdam, in 1841--is now deposited in the Secretary's Office at Albany. It has the only signatures, known to exist, of Minuit and his council.

of Delaware; and it bears date two years before the char-CHAP. VII. ter of Maryland, granted to Lord Baltimore by Charles I.

1630. Another director of the Amsterdam Chamber, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, “who was accustomed to polish (rafinee- huys at ren) pearls and diamonds,"* had his attention meanwhile Fort Ordirected to the regions adjacent to Fort Orange, on the North River; where Sebastian Jansen Krol had now been stationed for four years, as under director and commissary of the West India Company. At Van Rensselaer's request, Krol purchased for him, from the Indian proprietors, 8 April. a tract of land on the west side of the river, extending northward from Beeren Islandt to Smack's Island, and “stretching two days' journey into the interior.” In the mean time, vigorous preparations for colonization had been sends out made; and several emigrants, well provided with imple-Rensselments and cattle, were sent out from Holland, early in the spring, under the supervision of Wolfert Gerritsen, as “opper-bouwmeester," or overseer of farms. The colonists em- 21 March. barked at the Texel, in the ship “Eendragt," or Unity, Captain John Brouwer. In a few weeks they arrived at Manhattan ; whence they proceeded at once to Fort Or- 24 May ange, and commenced the actual settlement of the 6 colonie of Rensselaerswyck." Krol's first purchase, however, did not comprehend the lands in the immediate vicinity of Fort Orange. A few weeks after the arrival of the first colonists, the patroon's special agent, Gillis Hossett, in sailing up the river, came to the place where several men were busy in cutting timber for a new ship which Minuit was building at Manhattan. Meeting there several Indian sa- Additional chems, Hossett secured for Van Rensselaer the cession of chased on their lands won the west side of the North River, south and east and north of the Fort Orange," and extending nearly to river. the “ Monemins Castle,” on a small island now called Haver Island, at the confluence of the Mohawk. The land on the east side of the North River, extending northward

Kiliaen van
Rensselaer

ange.

colonists to

aerswyck.

the west

sides of the

27 July.

* De Vries, p. 162.

+ “ Bear's Island, since called Barren Island, about twelve miles south of Albany."— Moulton, 403.

aerswyck.

Michael

Pauw pur

Chap. VII. ly from Castle Island to the Mohawk, was the private prop

erty of the sachem Nawanemitt. From him, Van Rens. 1630.

selaer's agents also purchased the territory called Semesseeck, lying on the east side of the aforesaid river, opposite the Fort Orange, as well above as below, and from

Poetanock, the mill creek, northwards to Negagonce, being 8 August about twelve miles large measure.” These purchases were 13 August, confirmed a few days afterward, by formal patents, signed Extent of by the director and council at Manhattan.*

Thus a large of Renssel- portion of the present counties of Albany and Rensselaer

became the private property of a shrewd member of the Amsterdam Chamber. Fort Orange itself, with the land immediately round its walls, was all that now remained, in that neighborhood, under the exclusive jurisdiction of the West India Company.

An inviting region near Manhattan was still unapprochases Pa- priated. Another director of the Amsterdam Chamber, Staten Isl- Michael Pauw, of Achtienhoven, near Utrecht, finding

that Van Rensselaer had already monopolized the lands in the neighborhood of Fort Orange, hastened to secure for himself, the tract called "Hobokan-Hacking, lying opposite the Island Manhatas," and bounded on the east by the North River, and on the south by Ahasimus.† A few days afterward, Pauw also procured from its Indian owners the cession of the whole of Staten Island, won the west shore of Hamel's Hooftden,”\ now called the Narrows. The purchase of Staten Island was succeeded, in the following autumn, by the still more advantageous investiture of "Ahasimus" and "Aressick," extending " along the River Mauritius and Island Manhatas on the east side, and the Island Hobokan-Hacking on the north side, and surrounded by marshes, serving sufficiently for distinct boundaries.” The spot was a favorite resort for the Indians, who were in the habit of conveying their peltries

and.

12 July.

22 Nov.

ܪ

* Hol. Doc., i., 181 ; Alb. Rec., i., 199; G. G.,4-26; Deed Book, vii.; Doc. Hist. N. Y.,
ji., 49; Rensselaerswyck MSS. ; O'Call., i., 122–125, 319, 429; Moulton, 403.
+ Modern usage has converted " Ahasimus” into " Horsimus."

# These “ Hooftden," or headlands, were so named after Hendrick Hamel, one of the members of the Amsterdam Chamber; see ante, p. 148.

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