Page images

Hackinsack attacked. 17 Sept.

sincks aroused.

Chap. X1. Here Doughty officiated as minister for the English resi

dents; but they not supporting him, two collections were 1643.

taken up for his benefit, to which both Dutch and English residents contributed. *

The war-whoop, which rang through West Chester and Long Island, was re-echoed through New Jersey. The grumbling Hackinsacks, unappeased by a sufficient atonement, soon fulfilled their sachem's foreboding words. A sudden night attack was made on Van der Horst's colony at "Achter Cul.” The house was set on fire ; and the small garrison, “ five soldiers, five boys, and one man," after a determined resistance, barely escaped in a canoe,

with nothing but their arms. The plantation was utterly The Neve- ruined. The Nevesincks below the Raritan were aroused.

Aert Theunisen, of Hoboken, while trading at the Beere-
gat—now known as Shrewsbury Inlet, just south of
Sandy Hook-was attacked and killed by the savages.
The yacht had scarcely returned to Manhattan with the

tidings, before a nearer calamity appalled the Dutch. 1 October. Nine Indians, coming to Pavonia with friendly demon

strations, approached the house of Jacob Stoffelsen, which was guarded by a detachment of three or four soldiers. Stoffelsen, who had married the widow of Van Voorst, Pauw's former superintendent, was a favorite with the savages, who, making up a “false errand," succeeded in sending him across the river to Fort Amsterdam.

As soon as Stoffelsen was safely out of the way, they approached surprised. the soldiers under a show of friendship. These, incautious

ly laying aside their arms, were all murdered. Not a soul escaped alive, except the little son of Van Voorst, whom the savages carried off a prisoner to Tappan, after burning all the bouweries, and houses, and cattle, and corn at Pavonia. At Kieft's earnest entreaty, De Vries, the only person who "durst go among the Indians," went up the river, and procured the release of the captive.f


* Breeden Raedt, 25; Hol. Doc., iv., 71 ; V., 360; ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., ii., 301, 333.

† Alb. Rec., iii., 153 ; Hol. Doc., iv., 247; ii., N. Y. H.S. Coll., 11., 302 ; Benson's Mem. oit, 92 ; De Vries, 183.

War re-

Thus the war began anew.

West Chester was already Char. XI. laid waste, and Long Island almost "destitute of inhabit

1643. ants and stock." From the Highlands of Nevesinck to the valley of Tappan, the whole of New Jersey was once more in possession of its aboriginal lords. Staten Island, where Melyn had established himself, was hourly expecting an assault. The devastating tide rolled over the island of Manhattan itself. From its northern extremity to the Kolck, there were now no more than five or six bouweries left; and these were threatened by the Indians every night with fire, and by day with the slaughter of both people and cattle." No other place remained, where the trembling population could find protection, than 5 around and adjoining Fort Amsterdam." There women and children lay " concealed in straw huts," while their husbands and fathers mounted guard on the crumbling ramparts above. For the fort itself was almost defenseless; it resembled “rather a mole-hill than a fortress against an enemy.” The cattle which had escaped destruction were huddled within the walls, and were already beginning to starve for want of forage. It was indispensable to maintain a constant guard at all hours; for seven allied tribes, " well supplied with muskets, powder, and ball,” which they had procured from private traders, boldly threatened to attack the dilapidated citadel, “ with all their strength, now amounting to fifteen hundred men.” So confident had the enemy become, that their scouting parties constantly threatened the advanced sentinels of the garrison; and Ensign Van Dyck, while relieving guard at one of 5 October the outposts, was wounded by a musket-ball in his arm. All the forces that the Dutch could now muster, besides the fifty or sixty soldiers in garrison, and the enrolled English, were 66 about two hundred freemen.” With this handful of men was New Netherland to be defended against the “implacable fury” of her savage foe.*

“ Fear coming more over the land,” the Eight Men The Eight were again convoked. There were two of the company's convoked.

* Hol. Doc., iii., 134-140; Alb. Rec., ii., 238; Winthrop, ii., 136.


of the Eight Men.

Kieft refuses to

stop the

Curaçoa ships.

Chap. XI. ships at anchor before the fort, which had just been load

ed with provisions for Curaçoa. The Eight Men proposed 1643.

that the cargoes of these ships should be relanded, and a

part of their crews drafted into the service of the province. 6 October. They also recommended an application to their English mendations neighbors at the north, for the assistance of one hundred

and fifty men. For the payment of these auxiliaries, the director was advised to draw a bill of exchange on the West India Company for twenty-five thousand guilders, and, as a security for its payment, to mortgage New Netherland to the English.*

But Kieft did not consider expedient” the suggestion to divert supplies from the West Indies; and while famine and an overwhelming enemy were desolating the precincts of Fort Amsterdam, the starving population watched the departing vessels, as they bore to Curaçoa the wheat

which they had raised, and for which they were now pinSends to ing. The recommendation to apply to New England for ven for as- assistance, was, however, promptly adopted; and Under

hill and Allerton were dispatched to negotiate with New Haven. But their mission utterly failed. Eaton and the

General Court, after maturely considering Kieft's letter, Refusal of rejected the proposal to assist New Netherland with an

auxiliary force. They were prohibited, by their Articles of Confederation, from engaging separately in war; and they were not satisfied 6 that the Dutch war with the Indians was just." Nevertheless, if the Dutch needed corn and provisions, the court resolved to give them all the assistance in its power.t

At this conjuncture, the suffering province lost one of its best citizens. The bouweries where De Vries had attempted to establish colonies all lay in ashes, and the Indians, whose confidence he had never lost, were “ restless, and bent on war, or a full satisfaction.” The ruined patroon determined to return to the Fatherland. A Rotterdam Herring-buss, whose master, disappointed in selling


New Haven.

De Vries
leaves New

* Hol. Doc., iii., 116, 117; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv., 13, 14, 22.
† Alb. Rec., iii., 159; Trumbull; i., 139 ; iii., Mass. Hist. Coll., vii., 244,

28 Sept.

his cargo of Madeira wine in New England, - because the Chap. XI. English there lived soberly," coming through Hell-gate to

1643. seek a market in Virginia, anchored before Fort Amsterdam. De Vries, accepting the schipper's invitation to pilot his vessel to Virginia, called on Kieft to take his leave. For the last time the director listened to the voice which had so often warned him in vain. 6 The murders in which

66 you 8 October. have shed so much innocent blood will yet be avenged upon your own head," was De Vries's awful prophecy, as he parted from Kieft, and left Manhattan forever. *

The Eight Men soon met again. Cornelis Melyn, the Meeting of patroon of Staten Island, was their president. The utter Men ruin which now menaced the province, and the cold repulse which his application for aid had met at New Haven, if they did not entirely overcome Kieft's jealousy of the popular representatives, at least prevented him from interfering with their purpose of communicating directly with their common superiors in Holland. The people of New Netherland had never yet spoken to the authorities of the Fatherland. The time had now come when their voice was, for the first, to be heard at Amsterdam and at the Hague. A letter signed by all the Eight Men, was 24 October. addressed to the College of the XIX. In simple and pa- letter to the thetic words the representatives of the commonalty told Company. their tale of woe. How 66 the fire of war” had been kindled around them, their wives and children slaughtered or swept away captives, their cattle destroyed, their tates wasted. How famine stared them in the face ; for, 6 while the people are ruined, the corn and all other produce burnt, and little or nothing saved, not a plough can be put, this autumn, into the ground.” “ If any provi- . sions should be obtained from the English at the East, we know not wherewith we poor men shall pay for them.” “ This is but the beginning of our troubles, especially as these Indians kill off our people one after another, which they will continue to do, while we are burthened with our muskets, our wives, and our little ones.”+

the Eight

* De Vries, 183.

† Hol. Doc., iii., 134-140; Breeden Raedt, 18.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1643. 3 Nov. Letter to the States General.


To the States General the Eight Men addressed a still more bold remonstrance ; for they were speaking to the statesmen of their Fatherland. “We are all here, from the smallest to the greatest, without counsel or means; wholly powerless. The enemy meets with no resistance. The garrison consists of but fifty or sixty soldiers, without ammunition. Fort Amsterdam, utterly defenseless, stands open to the enemy day and night. The company has few or no effects here, as the director informs us. Were it not for this, there might still have been time to receive some assistance from the English at the East, ere all were lost; but we, helpless inhabitants, while we must abandon all our property, are exceedingly poor. The heathens are strong in might. They have formed an alliance with seven other nations; and are well provided with guns, pow. der, and ball, in exchange for beaver, by the private trad

who for a long time have had free course here. The est they take from our brethren whom they murder. In short, we suffer the greatest misery, which must astonish a Christian heart to see or hear."

We turn then, in a body, to you, High and Mighty Lords, acknowledging your High Mightinesses as our sovereigns, and as the Fathers of Fatherland. We supplicate, for God's sake, and for the love which their High Mightinesses bear toward their poor and desolate subjects here in New Netherland, that their High Mightinesses would take pity on us, their poor people, and urge upon, and command the Company—to whom we also make known our necessities—to forward to us, by the earliest opportunity, such assistance as their High Mightinesses may deem most proper, in order that we, poor and forlorn beings, may not be left all at once a prey, with women and children, to these cruel heathen. For, should suitable assistance not very quickly arrive, according to our expectations, we shall be forced, in order to preserve the lives of those who remain, to remove ourselves to the East, among the English, who would like nothing better than to have possession of this place; especially on account of

« PreviousContinue »