« PreviousContinue »
a province. But interest—which, rather than considera- CHAP. VIII. tions of personal fitness, so often controls public appoint
1633. ments-triumphed over all objections. Embarking in the company's ship “ Soutberg,” of twenty guns, with a military force of one hundred and four soldiers, the raw Amsterdam clerk set sail to assume the government of New Netherland.
Van Twiller arrived at Manhattan early in the spring, April the ship having captured, on her voyage, a Spanish cara- ler arrives vel, the Saint Martin, which was brought safely into port. tan. Among the Soutberg's passengers were Jacob van Couwenhoven, and his brother-in-law, Govert Loockermans, both of whom were soon taken into the company's service, and afterward rose to distinction in the province. Ever- Everardus ardus Bogardus, the first clergyman at Manhattan, and the first Adam Roelandsen, schoolmaster, came out from Holland at the same time.*
The new director commenced his administration, assisted by the experience of Secretary Van Remund and Schout Notelman. The council consisted of Jacob Jansen Hesse, Provincial Martin Gerritsen, Andries Hudde, and Jacques Bentyn. officers. Cornelis van Tienhoven, of Utrecht, was made the company's book-keeper of monthly wages at Fort Amsterdam; and Sebastian Jansen Krol was succeeded in the command at Fort Orange by Hans Jorissen Houten, who had traded on the river in 1621. Michael Paulusen was commis- Commissasary of Pauw's " colonie" at Pavonia.i In their management of New Netherland, the West In- Unwise co
lonial polidia Company seem to have looked rather to the immedi- cy of the ate profits which they might derive from its trade, than to Company the permanent political interests of the province. Those interests would have been best secured by the prompt colonization of the country with free agricultural emigrants, bringing along with them the industrious habits and the simple virtues of their Fatherland. During the first years * De Vries, 113 ; De Laet, App., 5; Hol. Doc., V., 396, 399; Alb. Rec., i., 52, 107 ; ii.,
Renss. MSS. ; O'Call., i., 142 ; ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., ii., 338, 339. + De Vries, 116 ; Hol. Doc., ii., 88; viii., 32 ; ix., 187. “Paulus' Hook," now Jersey City, derived its name from this Michael Paulusen, the commissary at Pavonia.
ry at Pavonia.
Revenue from New Netherland.
Caap. VIII. of their organization, the company had, indeed, done some
thing toward the agricultural settlement of New Nether1633
land. But their policy was soon changed. Unwisely surrendering to subordinate patroons the care of subduing and cultivating the soil, the company seemed to limit their own views to the improvement of their revenue, and the jealous maintenance of their trading monopoly. They seemed anxious “ to stock the land with their own servants.” This was the cardinal error which, for so many years, retarded the progress and blighted the prosperity of the province.
The temptation, indeed, was strong. During the year 1632, the exports of furs from New Netherland had exceeded in value one hundred and forty thousand guilders. This revenue formed, it is true, an inconsiderable item in the grand total of the company's yearly income. But it would probably improve by careful management; and to this end the efforts of the Amsterdam Chamber were chiefly bent. Its mercantile directors viewed New Netherland rather commercially than politically, and exhibited themselves as selfish traders, rather than enlightened states
They authorized large expenditures in building forts and mills, and for “ unnecessary things, which, under more favorable circumstances, might have been suitable and very proper.” But in making these expenditures, they seemed to have had “more regard for their own interest than for the welfare of the country."* Powerful and successful as the West India Company had now unquestionably become, its directors displayed far less sagacity in the management of their American province, than in the conduct of their naval war with Spain.
Van Twiller's chief objects seem to have been the mainTwiller's tenance and extension of the commercial monopoly of his
principals. In many respects he was, perhaps, their faithful representative. He was acquainted with trade; but he was ignorant of public affairs. From the dealing with
Character of Van
* Journal van N. N., in Hol. Doc., iii., 97 ; Vertoogh van N. N., in Hol. Doc., iv., and in ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., ii., 288, 298; De Laet, App., 30,
wares, and the shipping of cattle, he had been suddenly Chap. VIII. exalted to the command of men, and the management of
1633. a province. It was only natural that, from the moment he began to administer the government of New Netherland, Van Twiller should have given constant proofs of the folly and danger of intrusting to inexperienced and incompetent hands the interests of a community and the wellbeing of a state.
In the mean time, De Vries, after concluding a peace De Vries ar with the savages at Swaanendael, had endeavored to re- dael. trieve his damaged fortunes, by establishing a whale-fishery on the South River. But provisions soon began to 1 January. run short; and, in hopes of obtaining supplies of beans from the savages, he went up the river through the floating ice, in his yacht, “the Squirrel," as far as Fort Nassau. Goes up to That post, “where formerly some families of the West India sau. Company had dwelt," was now deserted by the Hollanders. Here De Vries found some savages, who urged him to go 5 January. up the Timmer Kill, or Timber Creek. But a Sankitan or Stankekan Indian warned the Dutch not to venture into the creek; for the savages were only plotting to destroy them, as they had a little while before murdered the crew of an English shallop, which had gone into “Count Ernest's River.” The Squirrel's small crew of seven men, therefore, stood on their guard. At the mouth of the Timmer Kill, 6 January more than forty savages from Mantes, or Red Hook, came on board, offering to barter beaver skins, and playing on reeds, to lull suspicion. But De Vries, observing that some of them wore the jackets of the slaughtered Englishmen, ordered them all on shore, declaring that their “ Maneto” had revealed their treacherous designs; and the yacht dropped down again to Fort Nassau.
Here the chiefs 8 January. of nine different tribes came on board; some of whom had worn English jackets at the Timmer Kill. These they had now replaced by robes of fur. Sitting down in Treaty a circle on the yacht's deck, the chiefs declared that they Indians. had come to make a lasting peace; and a present of ten beaver skins, each accompanied with Indian ceremony,
18 January De Vries revisits Fort Nas
Chap. VIII. ratified their formal treaty with the Dutch. After obtain
ing a small supply of beans and corn, and purchasing some 1633. 13 January
beaver skins, De Vries returned to his ship off Swaanendael. *
A few days afterward, the yacht again ascended the river. After remaining a fortnight frozen up in “Vineyard Creek,” the beautiful banks of which abounded in wild grape vines, and shooting multitudes of wild turkeys, “ weighing from thirty to thirty-six pounds," De Vries at length reached Fort Nassau once more. But the Minquas were now at war with the Sankitans, and no provisions could be obtained. So making the best of her way through the floating ice, the yacht rejoined the ship, whose crew were overjoyed to meet once more their adventurous comrades. De Vries now resolved to go for supplies to Virginia, where he thought that corn could be more readily obtained than at Fort Amsterdam. Supposing that no
Dutch vessel from New Netherland had yet gone to the 5 March. Chesapeake, the patroon was ambitious to be the first Virginia Hollander from this quarter to visit that region.”
In three days, De Vries reached Cape Henry. As he sailed up the James River, he saw, every where, beautiful gardens stocked with Provence roses, and apple, and cher
ry, and pear, and peach trees, blossoming around the houses. 11 March. Arrived at Jamestown, he was welcomed by Sir John Harby Govern- vey, the governor, who came down to the beach, attended
by a guard of halberdiers and musketeers. 66 Whence come you?" was the friendly challenge. “From the South Bay of New Netherland," the prompt reply. “How far is that from our Bay ?" demanded the governor. “About ninety miles," replied the Dutch patroon. Inviting De Vries into his house, and pledging him in a “Venice glass of sack,” Harvey produced an English chart, on which he pointed out the South Bay, “named by them my Lord
* De Vries, 101-104.
† De Vries, 104-107. May, however, had visited Jamestown in 1620 (ante, p. 97); and it seems, from an entry in Winthrop's journal, that in the month of April, 1632, a Dutch ship arrived at Boston from Virginia, bringing two thousand bushels of.corn, which were sold at four and sixpence a bushel.-Winthrop, i., 73.
Delaware's Bay.” Some years before, explained the gov-CHAP. VIII. ernor, Lord Delaware had been driven into this bay by
1633. foul weather, but, finding it full of shoals, had supposed it unnavigable; and therefore they had not looked after it since.* “ Yet it is our king's land, and not New Neth-Harvey's erland,” insisted the loyal knight. De Vries replied, that ing. the South River was a beautiful stream, into which no Englishman had been for ten years; and that, several years before, the Dutch had built a fort there, which they called Fort Nassau. Harvey was surprised to hear that he could have had such neighbors without knowing it. He had, indeed, heard that the Dutch had a fort upon “ Hudson's River, as the English called it;"4 and only in the previous September, he had sent a sloop, with seven or eight men, to Delaware Bay, " to see whether there was a river there.” But they had not yet returned; "he did not know whether the sea had swallowed them up or not.” De Vries then told Harvey of the savages he had seen in the South River, wearing English jackets, and related what he had heard of the tragical fate of the sloop's company. “ There are lands enough—we should be good neighbors with each other,” said the honest knight; adding expressively, “you will have no trouble from us—if only those of New England do not approach too near you, and dwell at a distance from you.”*
Thus a pleasant intercourse was opened between the Intercourse Dutch and their English neighbors in Virginia. Harvey's the Dutch genial frankness, on his first interview with De Vries, con- Virginians. trasts significantly with Bradford's querulous pertinacity six years
before. The Virginia governor's warning was prophetic. From “ those of New England” came encroachment and annoyance; until, in the end, the coveted possessions of the Dutch in New Netherland were seized by an overwhelming British force. The open-hearted cava
* See note D, Appendix.
† This seems to sustain Chalmers's position (p. 229), that by the phrase “the adjoining plantations of the Dutch,” in Clayborne's trading license of 18th March, 1632 (N. S.), Harvey meant the settlements on the North or Hudson River only. Moulton (p. 412) and Bancroft (ii., p. 281), however, seem to suppose that Harvey referred to De Vries's colony at Swaanendael.
De Vries, 110.