Page images


De Vries at

"Vriesen9 dael."

Van der


the company bound itself to maintain proper preachers, Chap. IX . schoolmasters, and comforters of the sick.* New Netherland soon felt a fresh impulse to her pros- Progress:

1640. perity. De Vries now" took hold” in earnest of his pur-codon chase, the previous spring, from the Indians at Tappan, and began a colonie at his new estate, which he named “ Vriesendael." It was beautifully situated along the 1 Dec. river side, sheltered by high hills; and the fertile valley, through which wound a stream, affording handsome mill seats, yielded hay enough, spontaneously, for two hundred head of cattle. Buildings were soon erected, and Vriesendael became, for several years, the home of its energetic owner.1

Early the next year, another colonie was established, 1641 6 within an hour's walk" of Vriesendael, by Myndert Myn- Horst's coldertsen van der Horst, of Utrecht. The new plantation ex- ilackintended from "Achter Cul,”I or Newark Bay, north toward Tappan, and included the valley of the Hackinsack River. The head-quarters of the settlement were about five or six hundred paces from the village of the Hackinsack Indians, where Van der Horst's people immediately commenced the erection of a post, to be garrisoned by a few soldiers.§

Cornelis Melyn now returned to New Netherland, with 20 August his family and servants, to begin a colonie on Staten Isl- Melyn on and, an order for which he had procured in Holland from and. the directors of the Amsterdam Chamber. De Vries, who was already in possession of a part of that island, felt aggrieved at this interference; but Kieft, who had himself just established a small distillery and a buckskin manufactory there, soon obtained the patroon's consent to Melyn's establishing a plantation near the Narrows, provided “his rights should not be prejudiced.” The Staten Island Indians soon afterward committing acts of hostility, the

Staten Isl.

* Hol. Doc., ii., 234–262 ; O'Call., 1., 218-222.

† De Vries, 162, 180, 182. † “ Achter Cul,” or “ Achter Kol,” now called “ Newark Bay," was so named by the Dutch, because it was “achter," or "behind” the Great Bay of the North River. The passage to the Great Bay was known as the “ Kil van Cul," from which has been derived the present name of the Kills." The English soon corrupted the phrase into “Arthur Cull's" Bay.-Benson's Memoir, 93.

De Vries, 165; Hol. Doc., iii., 99, 135 ; O'Call., 1., 238; S. Hazard, Ann. Penn., 51, 56.

12 Sept. Redoubt Flagstaff at the Nar

[ocr errors]

New police regulations.


CHAP. IX. director and council ordered a small redoubt to be built on

one of the headlands; and the soldiers stationed there were 1641.

ordered to make a signal by raising a flag, to warn the officers at Fort Amsterdam whenever any vessels arrived in the lower bay. In the course of the following summer, Kieft issued a formal patent, granting to Melyn the privileges of a patroon over all Staten Island, excepting De Vries's reserved "bouwerij."*

Municipal affairs engaged much of the attention of the 1. Aprilia bustling director. Fresh regulations were published for

the better observance of Sunday; and the tapping of beer

during Divine service, and after ten o'clock at night, was Provincial forbidden. The currency of the province, too, was rereformed. formed. The coins of Europe were seldom seen in New

Netherland. Payments were almost universally made in sewan or wampum; and for many years the Sunday contributions in the churches continued to be paid in this native currency, of which that of Long Island and Manhattan was always esteemed the best.

Of this “good splendid sewan, usually called Manhattan's sewan," four beads were reckoned equal to one stiver. By degrees, however, inferior wampum, loose and unstrung, began to take the place of the better currency; and even, in the judgment

of the director, to threaten “the ruin of the country.” An 18 April. order in council, therefore, directed that the loose beads should


at the rate of six for a stiver. The only reaa son why the “loose sewan” was not entirely prohibited was,

because there was no coin in circulation, and the laborers, boors, and other common people having no other money, would be great losers." To encourage the grow

ing tendency toward agricultural pursuits, two annual Pairs estab- fairs, the one for cattle and the other for hogs, were soon

afterward established at Manhattan.

Had the government of New Netherland been in the hands of a “ prudent director, its prosperity would, per

Value of wampum fixed by law.



lished, 15 Sept.

* De Vries, 163; Alb. Rec., ii., 133 ; O'Call., 1., 228, 239; ii., 592. De Vries's statement is the first record of the establishinent of a marine telegraph in New York harbor.

t Alb. Rec., ii., 110, 118, 134 ; Van Tienhoven's Korte bericht, in Hol. Doc., V., 360 ; and in ii., N. Y. H. S, Coll., il., 332.

Temper of


Vries's col

en Island,


haps, have now been permanently established. But pru- Chap. IX. dence was not an element in Kieft's character. His levy

1641. of contributions had already alienated the savages around Manhattan; and the cruelties inflicted upon the Raritans the sam had aroused a feeling of revenge, which only waited a fitting moment for its display.

That moment came. While they cajoled the director The Rariby peaceful messages, the Raritans suddenly attacked Destroy Do Vries's unprotected plantation on Staten Island. Four of ony at Stat his planters were killed, and his dwelling and tobacco June. house burned. Thus the feeble colony was smothered at its birth, through Kieft's blind folly in "visiting upon the Indians the wrongs which his own people had done."*

Folly breeds folly. The director no sooner heard how the Raritans had avenged their wrongs, than he resolved upon their extermination. “ The savages of Raritan daily Kieft offers grow bolder”-so began the proclamation, in which Kieft the offendoffered a bounty of ten fathoms of wampum for the head 4 July. of every one of that tribe. For each head of the actual murderers, twenty fathoms were promised.t

Incited by the offered bounties, some of the River Indians attacked the Raritans. In the autumn, a chief of 2 Nov the Tankitekes, or Haverstraw tribe, named Pacham, provoked. " who was great with the governor at the fort,” came in triumph to Manhattan, with a dead man's hand hanging on a stick.

This he presented to Kieft as the hand of the chief who had killed the Dutch on Staten Island. have taken revenge for the sake of the Swannekens," said Pacham," for I love them as my best friends."'*

Meanwhile, the island of Manhattan had become the scene of a bloody retribution. Revenge never dies in the breast of the Indian. It may slumber for years, but it is never appeased until the "just atonement” which Indian law demands is fully paid. The young Weckquaesgeek savage, whose uncle had been murdered near the Kolck," during the building of Fort Amsterdam, was now grown


66 I

* De Vries, 163; Alb. Rec., ii., 128 ; Winthrop, ii., 32. † Alb. Rec., ii., 128, 129.

I De Vries, 163. The Indians, both on the South and North Rivers, were in the habit of calling the Dutch “Swannekens."

hlian imurdered at Deutel Bay August.

The Weckquaesgeeks


Chap. IX. to man's estate, and upon him Indian usage imposed the

duty of avenging his kinsman's unatoned death. The 1641.

Weckquaesgeeks were in the constant habit of visiting
Manhattan; and their beaten trail passed near the Deutel
Bay, on the East River, where Claes Smits, a harmless

Dutchman, had built a small house, and was carrying on A Dutch- the trade of a wheel-wright. The nephew of the murder

ed savage, coming to the wheel-wright's humble dwelling, stopped to barter some beaver skins for duffels. While the unsuspecting mechanic was stooping over the great chest in which he kept his goods, the savage, seizing an axe, killed him by a blow on the neck. The murderer quickly plundered his victim's lonely abode, and escaped with his booty.

Kieft promptly sent to Weckquaesgeek to demand satisjustify the faction. But the murderer replied, that while the fort

was building, he, and his uncle, and another Indian, bring. ing some beaver skins to trade, were attacked by some Dutchmen, near the "Fresh Water," who killed his uncle, and stole his peltries. “This happened while I was a small boy,” said the savage, “and I vowed to revenge

it upon the Dutch when I grew up; I saw no better 20 August. chance than with this Claes the wheel-wright." The sa

chem of the tribe refused to deliver up the criminal; who, he said, had but avenged, after the manner of his race, the murder of his kinsman by the Dutch, more than twenty years before. Some soldiers were then sent out from the fort to arrest the assassin; but they returned disappointed. *

The director burned to treat the Weckquaesgeeks as he had treated the Raritans, and commence open hostilities. Yet he feared to exasperate the people, who charged him with seeking a war in order to make a wrong reckoning with the company,” and who now began to reproach him for personal cowardice. It was all very well, they said, for him, “who could secure his own life in a good fort, out of which he had not slept a single night in all the

Kiert's anxiety for a war.

* De Vries, 164; ante, p. 166, 292 ; Hol. Doc., ii., 373 ; V., 314 ; Journal van N. N., in Hol. Doc., iii., 105; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv., 8, 9.

ing of the commonalty of the

years he had been here.” Kieft perceiving that he would Chap. IX. have to bear the whole responsibility of the proposed war,

1641. reluctantly sought the counsel of the community.

All the masters and heads of families at Manhattan and its neighborhood were accordingly summoned to meet at 23 August Fort Amsterdam, “ to resolve there on something of the first necessity."4 On the appointed day, Kieft submitted 29 August . these questions to the first popular meeting ever held in first meetNew Netherland. "Is it not just that the murder lately committed by a savage upon Claes Smits be avenged and province. punished, and in case the Indians will not surrender the murderer at our requisition, is it not just to destroy the whole village to which he belongs? In what manner, and when ought this to be executed ? By whom can this be effected ??'

The assembly promptly chose “ Twelve Select Men” to "Twelve consider the propositions submitted by the director. These pointed! persons were Jacques Bentyn, Maryn Adriaensen, Jan Jansen Dam, Hendrick Jansen, David Pietersen de Vries, Jacob Stoffelsen, Abram Molenaar, Frederik Lubbertsen, Jochem Pietersen (Kuyter), Gerrit Dircksen, George Rapelje, and Abram Planck. Of these first representatives of the people of New Netherland, De Vries was chosen president. The “ Twelve Men” were all Hollanders, or emigrants from Holland.

The popular representatives did not delay their answers 29 August. to Kieft's questions. While they agreed that the murder the Twelve of Smits should be avenged, they thought that “God and the opportunity" ought to be taken into consideration ;

men" ap


* De Vries, 165.

† Alb. Rec., ii., 130. # Hol. Doc., V., 327-329 ; Alb. Rec., il., 136, 137 ; il., N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 277, 278. De Vries, 165, says that Kieft caused the election of the Twelve Men "to aid him in managing the affairs' of the country;" but Van der Donck, in his “ Vertoogh," written eight years afterward, affirms that they " had in judicial matters neither vote nor advice, but were chosen in view of the war, and some other occurrences, to serve as cloaks and catspaws."-ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., il., 300. Of these “ Twelve Men," Bentyn was one of Van Twiller's council; Adriaensen came out as a colonist to Rensselaerswyck in 1631; Dam was also a colonist there in 1634 ; Hendrick Jansen was a tailor at Manhattan ; Stoffelsen was one of Van Twiller's commissaries, and had married the widow of Van Voorst, of Pavonia ; Lubbertsen was “first boatswain;" Pietersen, or as he usually wrote, Kuyter, came out in 1639; Rapelje was one of the original Walloon settlers at the Waal-boyt; Planck, or Verplanck, was a farmer at Paulus' Hoeck ; of Molenaar and Dircksen the records say little ; of De Vries much.

« PreviousContinue »