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CHAP. I. ment in Canada, and a monopoly of the fur trade for one
year.* Two ships were promptly equipped at Honfleur, 1608.
and dispatched, under the command of Champlain, to the Saint Lawrence. On the 3d of June, the expedition anchored at Tadoussac. After a short delay, Champlain ascended the great river, examining, as he went along, the shores on both sides, for the most appropriate spot on which to establish the future capital of New France. Finding
more commodious or better situated than the point of Quebec, so called by the savages," the rude foundations of a town were laid, near the spot where Cartier had passed the winter about three quarters of a century before.† For five dreary months the secluded colonists endured the inhospitable climate, and saw the face of nature all around continually covered with a deep snow. A bright spring again opened the streams; and in the following summer, Champlain, accompanied by two of his country. men, boldly ascending the River Richelieu or Saurel with
a war-party of Hurons and Algonquins on an expedition 1609. against the Iroquois, gave victory to his allies by his Eu
ropean fire-arms, and discovered the beautiful lake on our northeastern frontier, which will ever commemorate his illustrious name.*
While England and France were thus quietly appropricompetitors ating, by royal charters, nearly all the northern territory
of the New World, a fresh competitor in American discov
30 July, Discovery of Lake Champlain.
The Dutch become
with the English and French
* Champlain, 114,
+ Ibid., 118-124, # Champlain (edit. Paris, 1632), page 149, states that on the night of July 29, 1609, his party, while passing up the lake in their canoes, discovered their Iroquois enemies, "at the point of a cape which runs out into the lake from the west side.” The enemy barricaded themselves with trees on this cape; and the next morning, Champlain, advancing at the head of the invaders, killed two of the Iroquois chiefs with a discharge of his arquebuse, and put their frightened followers to flight. He adds (p. 152), that" the place where this attack was made is in forty-three degrees and some minutes of latitude, and I named it the Lake of Champlain.” On the map which accompanies his work, Champlain marks ihe place where the Iroquois were defeated," as a promontory a little to the northeast of “ a small lake by which one goes to the Iroquois, after having passed that of Champlain." These particulars seem to identify Ticonderoga, in Essex county, as the spot where the first encounter took place, between the white man and the red man, on the soil of New York. Champlain distinctly states that he “afterward” saw the “ waterfall” or outlet of
another lake, which is three or four leagues long." This lake, now known as Lake George, was first named “ Saint Sacrement," by the Jesuit Father Jogues, in 1646. Translated extracts of Champlain's work have just been published in iii. Doc. Hist. N. Y., 1-9. See also Yates and Moulton's History of New York, i., 177--181.
of the Neth
ery suddenly appeared, to divide with them the magnifi- Chap. I. cent prize. The red flag of England waved over Virginia,
1609. and the white banner of France floated over Canada, as the tricolor of a new nation was first unexpectedly displayed in the unknown intermediate region.*
A generation of men had lived to see a powerful repub- 1579. lic result from the confederation at Utrecht of the North- The United ern Provinces of the Netherlands against the bigotry and erlands. despotism of Spain. These provinces, whose whole population scarcely exceeded two millions of souls, animated by a spirit which Sir Philip Sydney said to Queen Elizabeth, “is the spirit of God, and is invincible," after a long and desperate conflict against a powerful adversary, finally triumphed over their vindictive oppressor, and com- 1609. pelled him to acknowledge their independence and sovereignty.
The “Union of Utrecht," originally a league which bound the provinces together for mutual defense and protection, became the Constitution of a Confederated Repub- Their relic. This Constitution, though complex and not entirely Constitupopular, was nevertheless a decided and memorable step in human progress; and it enabled the Dutch to establish and maintain a system of universal toleration, which, while contributing materially to the freedom of their own country, made it an inviting asylum for the oppressed of other lands.
Providence early indicated to that singular country her Maritime destiny. While foreign despotic power inflamed the pa-Holland. triotism of her people, and forced them to struggle for civil and religious freedom, the natural disadvantages of her geographical position stimulated their enterprise, and
The national ensign of the United Provinces was adopted about the year 1582, at the suggestion of William I., prince of Nassau and Orange. It was composed of the prince's colors, orange, white, and blue, arranged in three equal horizontal stripes. After the death of William II. (1650), a red stripe was substituted for the orange; and the Dutch ensign, at the present day, remains what it was, as thus modified, two centuries ago.-J. C. de Jonge, "Over den Oorsprong der Nederlandsche Vlag,” 1831, 26-68.
+ I shall invariably use the term “Dutch," in its legitimate English sense, as referring exclusively to the inhabitants of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands and their descendants. A blunder is frequently committed in applying the name “Dutch," instead of their proper denomination “Germans," to the people of Germany in general.
Chap. I. taught them continual lessons of perseverance. A vast
morass, protruding into the sea, and formed by the accu1562.
mulations which the Rhine continually brings down from the foot of the Alps, the Low Countries are only saved from the encroaching ocean by the ceaseless and irrepressible energy of their inhabitants.
But the very ocean, which the untiring industry of the Dutch drives back from their narrow shores, was destined to be their widest scene of triumph, and their open avenue to wealth. A few fishermen's huts at the mouth of the Amstel, at a period when the cities of Flanders had attained celebrity, soon became the Venice of the North ;" the sea, subdued by skillful toil, flowed quietly through her splendid canals, and brought treasures from the ends of the earth to the very doors of her cosmopolitan burghers; and crowded streets, and rich warehouses, and stately palaces, and magnificent churches, usurped the ancient abode of the stork and the heron. Well might Fenelon describe the Tyre of his day as the “queen of all the seas.
Energetic, undaunted, and persevering at home, the
Dutch could not fail to push their enterprising commerce The way or into every zone. The very legend on their earliest coin
age predicted, in holy words borrowed from the Vulgate, the maritime destiny of that people, whose “way is in the sea," and whose "paths are in many waters.”+ Accustomed from childhood to play fearlessly with the waves, the natives of Holland and Zealand were foremost in adventure; and the capital of the merchants of Amsterdam and Middleburg found abundant employment for the hardy crews which their own cities readily furnished. Even while its political existence was yet uncertain, the upstart republic “ grasped the whole commerce of the world as its
the Dutch " in the
* Cette grande ville semble nager au-dessus des eaux, et être la reine de tout la mer. Les marchands y abordent de toutes les parties du monde, et ses habitants sont eux-mêmes les plus fameux marchands qu'il y ait dans l'univers. Quand on entre dans cette ville on croit d'abord que ce n'est point une ville qui appartienne à un peuple particulier, mais qu'elle est la ville commune de tous les peuples, et le centre de leur commerce.”—Télé
maque, liv. iii.
† In 1562, the mint of Zealand issued a penny, stamped with the effigy of a sceptered king riding a sea-horse over the waves, and surrounded by the words “In mari via tua, et semitæ tuæ in aquis multis." See Bizot's "Medalische Historie," 12; Van Loon, i., 58.
portion, and thus supplied itself with resources for a strug- Chap. I. gle which was longer and more desperate than that of
1594. Greece with Persia."
While Charles V. was yet their sovereign, the Dutch appear to have become familiar with part of the New World, Early vaywhich the Pontiff had granted, as a perpetual donation, to the kings of Spain. But the Revolution, which followed the accession of Philip II., interrupted for awhile the distant voyages of the insurgent Batavians. The same summer that the United Provinces declared their independence of Spain, Thomas Buts, an English captain, who had five times visited the Spanish American islands, proposed to 1581. the states of Holland to conduct an expedition to the West Indies. But though the projected adventure seems to have been viewed with favor, no results are recorded. All the while, commerce flourished at home; and in spite of edicts, the Dutch maintained the command of the nearer seas. 1585. One thousand new vessels were annually built in Holland. From the Cape de Verd Islands to the White Sea, a profit- Home comable coasting trade was carried on; out of the Vlie alone the Dutch. sailed nearly six hundred ships, in one year, to bring corn 1587. from the Baltic. Before long, William Usselincx, a native of Antwerp, who had spent many years in Castile, Portugal, and the Azores, suggested the advantage of an associ- 1591. ation for trading to the West Indies. The views of Usselincx were listened to with respect, but his counsels were not immediately followed. Yet they were not without their effect. A few years afterward, Gerrit Bicker Peterszoon, of Amsterdam, and Jan Corneliszoon Leyen, of Enck- Voyages to huysen, under the patronage of the States of Holland, Indies. organized separate companies for the West India trade. 1597. Their enterprise was the forerunner of eventual success.I
Meanwhile, the Dutch, sharing largely in the carrying trade of Europe, had sought distant regions for a more lucrative traffic. In 1594, Cornelius Houtman, the son of a
† Sir John Carr on the Commerce of the Dutch. # Van Meteren, xiii., 260, 261 ; xiv., 283, 324 ; xix., 419; Wagenaar, Amst., i., 407, 408, 416 ; Vad. Hist., ix., 152, 153; Davies's Holland, ii., 181, 182, 200, 201 ; Muilkerk (Berg Van Dussen), Bydragen tot de Geschiedenis onzer Kolonizatie in Noord Amerika, A., 2-7.
Chap. I. brewer of Gouda, returning from Lisbon, where he had
spent the previous year, brought back tempting accounts 1.594.
of the gorgeous products of the East, which he had seen crowding the quays of the Tagus. His glowing descriptions provoked emulation; and nine merchants of Amsterdam, forming an association, equipped a flotilla of four
ships, equally fitted for war and for trade, of which Houtkiest voorke man undertook the command. Following the track of the
Portuguese, he doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and in two 1596. years returned to Amsterdam with rich cargoes of Eastern products.*
And thus began the marvelous Indian commerce of the Dutch. The edicts of Philip could not exclude the independent Netherlanders from the free navigation of the seas. Thenceforth they determined to vindicate, by force of arms, their right to participate freely in that commerce which despotic selfishness was vainly attempting to monopolize. The privateers of the Batavian
Provinces were every where victorious; and the ware1598. houses of their owners were soon filled with the choicest Duten en productions of the Indies, and ornamented with the ensigns terprises in of the conquered galleons of Spain. And while the cir
cuitous voyage round the Cape of Good Hope thus gave ample returns, mercantile enterprise sought shorter avenues to the East. Under the influence of the vigorous
Balthazar Moucheron, of Middleburg, expeditions were dis1594. patched from Zealand and Holland to explore a more direct
passage to China, and Cathay or Japan, by way of Nova Expeditions to the Zembla and the Polar Seas. Again, and a third time, un1595-6. successful attempts were repeated; and the daring enter
prise, in which Barentsen, Cornelissen, and Heemskerk endured almost unparalleled trials, and won a renown as lasting as that of Willoughby or Davis, was at length aban
doned in despair.t 1600. The wealth of the East, which soon began to pour into
Holland, naturally produced competition among the participants in the open traffic. Influenced by the representa* Richesse de la Hollande, i., 35; Van Meteren, xxiii., 509. † Van Meteren, xviii., 371, 376; xix., 404, 419; Lambrechtsen, 7, 8; Davies, ii., 290
294, 328 ; Muilkerk, A., 18, 19.