Page images
PDF
EPUB

Continued differences between

the compa

patroons.

Chap. VII. home in 1626 was about forty-six thousand guilders; in

1632, it had increased to more than one hundred and for1632

ty-three thousand guilders. Within the same period, the value of the imports from Holland was a little over two hundred and thirty-eight thousand guilders, while the gross value of the exports from New Netherland exceeded four hundred and thirty-five thousand guilders. The ship in which the Director returned to Amsterdam brought to the company's warehouse a cargo of five thousand beaver skins. *

Minuit's return to Holland did not quiet the unfortunate

differences between the West India Company and the pany and the troons. The large appropriations of territory were not as

exasperating causes of irritation as was the pertinacious interference of the patroons with the fur trade, which the company had intended to reserve to itself. To arrest the encroachments of the new manorial lords, who claimed, under the charter, the largest freedom of traffic “ within the territories of their patroonships," the company issued a proclamation, forbidding all “private” persons in New Netherland from dealing, in any way, in sewan, peltries, or maize. The patroons instantly protested against this decided step, and insisted that, according to the charter, they were " privileged," and not “private" persons. But the company, resolute to maintain its superior monopoly,

soon afterward dispatched commissaries into the different nists for- patroonships, with orders to post the proclamation, and to

oblige all the colonists, under oath, to abstain from any

interference with the interdicted traffic. 1631. Meanwhile, the colony which Heyes had established at

Swaanendael had gone on pleasantly, for a time, under the superintendence of Gillis Hossett; and De Vries himself had prepared to visit New Netherland. Heyes's unlucky voyage damped, for awhile, the ardor of his em

ployers; but the vision of a profitable whale-fishery still 1632.

haunted Godyn. Early in the year 1632, a new arrange

9 June,

18 Nov. The colo

bidden to trade in furs.

Affairs at Swaaiendael.

12 Feb.

* De Laet, App., 26-30; Hol. Doc., i., 210.
+ Hol. Doc., ii., 95, 105-114 ; O'Call., i., 137.

reaches

sails for

his way

River.

ment was made between the partner-patroons, to equip Chap. VII. another ship and yacht, with which De Vries himself was

1632. to go out to the South River, as "patroon and commander," and test the experiment in person, during the next winter. The expedition accordingly left the Texel toward the end of May. But just before it sailed, news brought 24 May. by Minuit, from Manhattan, reached Amsterdam, that the destruction colony at Swaanendael had been destroyed by the savages, Holland. and thirty-two men killed outside of the fort, as they were working in the fields.* In sadness and disappointment De Vries proceeded on De Vries

.

But misfortune still attended the enterprise of the South the South River patroons. An unskillful pilot ran the ship on the sands off Dunkirk ; and the leaky vessel was navigated with difficulty to Portsmouth, where she went 28 May. into the "King's Dock” to be repaired. After two months' delay, De Vries set sail again, in company with the “great 1 August. ship New Netherland,” which had been built at Manhattan, and was now making her first return voyage from Holland. Running southwardly by Madeira, and lingering three months among the West India Islands, De Vries arrived, early in December, at the South River, and an- 5 Dec. chored off Swaanendael, where he promised himself “royal work" with the whales, and a beautiful land" to cultivate.

The next day, a well-armed boat was sent into the kill 6 Dec. to open a communication with the savages. Reaching Swaanenthe spot where their little fort had been, they found the house itself destroyed, the palisades almost all burned, and the ground around bestrewn with the skulls and bones of their murdered countrymen, intermingled with the remains of horses and cattle. The silence of the grave hungi over the desolate valley. Not a savage was seen lurking about the ghastly ruins. Gloomy and sorrowful, De Vries returned on board his yacht, and ordered a gun to be fired to attract the inland Indians.

dael.

* De Vries, 95 ; Deposition of A. D. Korn, in Deed Book, vii. ; and in Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii., 49; ante, p. 205, note.

CHAP. VII.

7 Dec.

8 Dec.

endael.

A smoke was seen, the next morning, near their devasta

ted post. Again the boat was sent into the creek, and two 1632.

or three savages were observed prowling among the ruins. But mutual distrust prevented any intercourse. Fearful of the arrows of the Indians, De Vries now took his yacht into the creek, to give a better shelter than the open boat afforded. The savages soon came down to the shore; but none, at first, would venture on board. At last one made bold to come; and De Vries, presenting him with a cloth

dress, sent word to the chief that he wished to make a An Indian peace. That night one of the savages remained on board story of the the yacht, and was prevailed on to relate the catastrophe of swaan- which had befallen the colony. Pointing out the spot

where Heyes had set up the pillar bearing the tin plate with the arms of Holland, he said, that one of their chiefs, not thinking he was doing amiss, had taken down the glittering metal, to make it into tobacco pipes. But Hossett, who was then in charge of the post, made such an ado, that the savages, to hush up the affair, slew the chief who had done it, “and brought a token" of their deed to the Dutch commander. Hossett told them they had done wrong: they should have brought the chief to the post, when he would have been simply forbidden to repeat the offense. But the mischief was already done. The friends of the slaughtered savage instigated their companions to a bloody vengeance on the unsuspecting strangers. A party of warriors soon visited the settlement, where they found most of the colonists at work in the fields, having left one sick man at home, and a large English mastiff chained up. Had the dog been loose, “ they would not have dared to approach the house.” Hossett, the commander, stood near the door. Three of the boldest sav. ages, under pretense of bartering some beaver skins, entered the house with him, and, as he was coming down stairs from the garret, where the stores lay, struck him dead with an axe. They then killed the sick man; and going to the place where the dog, "which they feared the most,” lay chained, they shot him with full five-andtwenty arrows, before he was dispatched.” The rest of Chap. VIL . the colonists, who were scattered over the fields at work,

1632. were then approached under the guise of friendship, and, one by one, all were murdered.

Such was the awful narrative which one of the spoilers of Swaanendael related to De Vries. The bones of his countrymen marked the spot where the patroon had hoped to establish a flourishing colony. Thus early was the soil of Delaware moistened by European blood. The Dutch possession was “sealed with blood, and dearly enough bought.” But what could now be done? A barren vengeance alone could follow retaliation against the roaming savages. So a formal peace was ratified the next day, by 9 Dec.

Peace made presents of duffels, bullets, hatchets, and Nuremburg toys; with the and the astonished red men “departed in great joy,” to hunt beavers for the Hollanders, who, instead of exacting a cruel retribution, had quietly let pass their inhuman of..

savages.

fense. *

* De Vries, 95-101 ; Vertoogh van N. N., in Hol. Doc., iv., 71; and in ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., ii., 281.

CHAPTER VIII.

1633–1637.

CHAP. VIII.

1633.

erland without a director.

New NETHERLAND had now been, for more than a year,

without a director. The experiment of introducing a modNew Neth. ified feudal system into the province had just been com

menced; jealousies had already sprung up between the patroons and the West India Company, and embarrassment was evidently in store; the British government had again boldly denied the Dutch title to any part of New Netherland; and English colonists, firm of purpose and zealous in faith, were preparing to take actual possession of portions of the territory, over the whole of which their sovereign claimed an exclusive jurisdiction. In this crisis, the administration of the affairs of the Dutch province should have been intrusted only to the ablest hands. But when did a commercial monopoly ever govern a country wise

The person selected to succeed Peter Minuit as Diler appoint- rector General of New Netherland, was WOUTER VAN TWILceed Min- LER, of Nieuwkerke, one of the clerks in the West India

Company's warehouse at Amsterdam. He had married a niece of Van Rensselaer, and had been employed by the patroon in shipping cattle to his colony. These were Van Twiller's recommendations: the influence of kinsmen and friends, rather than acknowledged administrative ability, secured for him the most important colonial office under the West India Company. The new director was inexperienced, except in the details of trade which he had learned in the counting-room. Incompetent, narrow-minded, irresolute, and singularly deficient in knowledge of men, Van Twiller was rashly intrusted with the command of

Wouter van Twil

ly?

ed to sila

uit.

« PreviousContinue »