« PreviousContinue »
works, or cloak from calm review the full significance of Chap. VIII. inconvenient truth. The Pequod war, unrighteously be
1637. gun, ruthlessly achieved, was the first serious attempt of the white race to extirpate the red race from the northern regions of America. Its injurious effects did not end with the subjugation and enslavement of its surviving victims. Their coveted land was indeed won. But the seeds of enmity were sown for ages; and it was not long after that the Dutch colonists on the North River were obliged to witness as murderous scenes as did the Puritan conquerors of Connecticut.
Meanwhile, Van Dincklagen, on returning to Holland, 1636. had severely reviewed Van Twiller's government, in a me- Van Dinckmorial to the States General, which was immediately re- liolland. ferred to the Amsterdam Chamber, with an intimation that they should make prompt satisfaction to their injured officer, whose salary was now three years in arrear. The echout-fiscal's complaints, however, were not confined to complains the civil authorities of New Netherland. Domine Bogar-Van 'Twildus was also censured, and to such an extent that, when gurdus. the report of the accusations reached Manhattan, the Consistory of the Church felt it their duty to take “ecclesiastical proceedings" against Van Dincklagen, which, several years afterward, they were obliged to defend before the Classis of Amsterdam.* But the answer which the directors tardily gave to the peremptory order of the States 29 October. General was a virtual denial of justice. It only produced a fresh memorial from the resolute schout-fiscal, who renewed his complaints against the colonial administration 1637. of the company, and invoked the interposition of the home Action or government so earnestly, that their High Mightinesses at govern
ler and Bo
* Hol. Doc., il., 167, 169; Correspondence of the Classis of Amsterdam. The memorial and papers which Van Dincklagen presented, on the 30th of August to the States General, are not now in the Archives at the Hague-at least, I was unable to find them, after a careful search. They were probably never returned by the Amsterdam directors, to whom they had been sent; and their loss is especially to be regretted, as they, no doubt, contained an interesting review of Van Twiller's administration. The Correspondence of the Classis of Amsterdam, which I procured for the General Synod of the R. D. Church, contains several references to Van Dincklagen's case ; and on the 18th of July, 1638, it appears that Bogardus applied to the Council of New Netherland for leave to return to Holland and defend himself.-Alb. Rec., il., 17; post, p. 614, note.
Chap. VIII. length " seriously” urged the College of the XIX. to grant
him full redress. * 1637.
It was now apparent, even to the Amsterdam Chamber,
that a change must be made in the government of New Van Twil- Netherland. The constant reiteration of charges against
their chief provincial officer damaged the reputation of the company at home; and the testimony of De Vries, on his return to Holland, probably turned against Van Twiller the scale which had been kept wavering through the influence of the directors with whom he was connected. The College of the XIX. resolved to remove him at once, and appoint a successor, who, with perhaps more capacity and experience, seems to have been quite as unfit to direct the destinies of a state.
William Kieft was the person selected. An apparently sen as di- unfriendly pen has recorded a few indicative anecdotes of
his earlier life. He was born at Amsterdam, where he was brought up as a merchant. After doing business awhile at Rochelle, he became a bankrupt; and his portrait, according to the uncompromising rule of those days, was affixed to the gallows of that city. Some time after his failure, he was sent to ransom some Christians in Tur. key, where, it was alleged, he basely left in bondage several captives, whose friends had placed in his hands large sums of money for the purchase of their liberty.
To such an agent the West India Company determined to intrust the government of their American Province. One of the members of the Amsterdam Chamber, Elias
de Raedt, was accordingly sent to the Hague, to solicit Kielt com- from the States General a commission for Kieft as Van and sworn. Twiller's successor. The request was promptly granted ;
and the new director, in presence of the grave Assembly, took his oath of office.
* Hol. Doc., ii., 171-173, 177, 178.
Hol. Doc., ii., 183.
Early in the spring of 1638, William Kieft, the fifth Chap. IX. director general of the West India Company's North Amer
1638. ican Province, arrived at Manhattan, after an unusually 28 March: protracted voyage; the “Herring,” in which he sailed William from Holland, having taken the southerly course, and lin-nies at gered over winter at the Bermudas, for fear of approaching the coasts of New Netherland, in the stormy season, with inexperienced pilots.*
Kieft was an active, “ inquisitive,” rapacious person; in Kieft's almost every respect the opposite of Van Twiller. In the and adminjudgment of his New England contemporaries, he was “a more discreet and sober man" than his predecessor. But the history of his troubled administration does not warrant us in considering him “a prudent man” or a good chief magistrate. The official records of New Netherland, which are wanting before, have fortunately been preserved, in an almost unbroken series, from the time of Kieft's inauguration ; and they afford authentic and copious materials for the historian. I
The new director organized his council so as to keep Kieft's the entire control in his hands. Johannes la Montagne, 8 April. a Huguenot physician, who had emigrated to New Netherland the year before, was appointed a counselor, with one vote at the board, while Kieft reserved two votes to himself. Cornelis van Tienhoven, of Utrecht, who had secretary been for several years the company's book-keeper of wages, fiscal.
+ Winthrop, i., 299; ii., 316.
* Alb. Rec., i., 89; De Vries, 149.
See note M, Appendix.
Condition of things at
Chap. IX. was now made provincial secretary; and Ulrich Lupold,
whom Van Twiller had appointed in the place of Dinck1638.
lagen, continued for a short time to act as schout-fiscal. Kieft's council managed all the general affairs of the province, and was the supreme court of justice. "It was a high crime," said Van der Donck, a few years afterward, “ to appeal from their judgments.” This organization, however, was occasionally modified, for “whenever any thing extraordinary occurred, the director allowed some whom it pleased him--officers of the company for the most part--to be summoned in addition; but that seldom happened."*
Finding that the company's affairs were in a ruinous Manhattan. condition, the director caused a formal statement of their
situation to be recorded. Fort Amsterdam was dilapidated, and “open on every side,” except“at the stone point;" all the guns were dismounted; the house in the fort, the church, the lodge, and the other buildings "required considerable repair.” Even the place where the magazine for merchandise once stood could " with difficulty be discovered.” Almost every vessel, except the yacht“ Prince William," and another on the stocks, was in the 6 worst condition.” Only one of the three wind-mills was in operation; another was out of repair ; the third was burned. The five farms of the company were untenanted, and thrown into commons; and all the cattle with which they
had been stocked had been disposed of in other hands." Van Twil. But if Van Twiller failed to administer the affairs of the
province satisfactorily, he took care to improve his private estate. A few days after his supersedure, he hired from Kieft the company's “ farm, number one,” at a yearly rent of two hundred and fifty guilders, and a sixth part of all the produce; and the inventory of the late clerkdirector's property exhibited such an ample estate, that many could not help contrasting it with the sorry condition in which he had left every thing else.
* Alb. Rec., il., 1,2; Vertoogh van N. N., in Hol. Doc., iv., 74, and in ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., ii., 299.
7 Alb. Rec., i., 3, 89, 91, 101 ; ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 279, 280.
Abuses existed in every department of the public serv- Chap. IX. ice, which the bustling Kieft attempted to remedy by
1638. proclamations. It was ordered that no person in the com- Proclamapany's employ should trade in peltries, and that no furs for trade should be exported without special permission, under pen- tiems alty of loss of wages and confiscation of goods.' The pla- 7 June. card forbidding clandestine traffic in New Netherland was republished; and death was threatened against all who should sell powder or guns to the Indians. After night-Police regfall, all sailors must remain on board their ships; hours were fixed for all persons to commence and leave off work; subordination and diligence were enjoined ; and fighting, lewdness, rebellion, theft, perjury, calumny, and all other immoralities,” solemnly prohibited. No person was to retail any liquors, “except those who sold wine at a decent price and in moderate quantities.” And Thursday in each week was appointed as the regular day for the sessions of the council as a court of civil and criminal jurisdiction. Tobacco, which had now become a staple pro- Tobacco induction of New Netherland, was also subjected to excise ; and regulations were published, to check the abuses which 19 August. injured “the high name" it had “gained in foreign coun
Another proclamation declared, that no attestations or Writings to other public writings should be valid before a court in New Netherland, unless they were written by the colonial secretary. This arbitrary regulation was soon objected to as oppressive, and as intended to restrain popular rights; but the policy of the measure was afterward defended by Secretary Van Tienhoven. “ Most of the people living in New Netherland,” said the sycophantic official," are country or sea-faring men, who summon each other frequently before the court for small matters, while many of them can neither read nor write, nor testify intelligibly, nor produce written evidence; and, if some do produce it, it is sometimes written by a sailor or a boor, and is often wholly indistinct and repugnant to the meaning of those who
* Alb. Rec., ii., 3-12, 19, 21, 188; Hazard's Ann. Penn., 49.