« PreviousContinue »
does not intend to permit any one to navigate this river Chap. XV. with a commercial view; and that he will repel with force
1650. every one who with that purpose shall come there, or into Rensselaerswyck.'*
Suggestions were soon made that several hundred char- 22 Feb. ity children in the orphan houses at Amsterdam should be to promote sent over; and emigrants in large numbers pressed their applications for means of conveyance. But the company did not supply sufficient vessels for the demand. At last Van der Donck and his colleagues succeeded in arranging 19 Mareh. for the conveyance of two hundred additional persons. The company agreed to advance four thousand guilders, and to allow seven thousand more out of the colonial revenue, upon condition that the emigrants would bind themselves to remain three years in the province. Van Tienhoven also prepared several explanatory papers respecting the boundaries, the customs' regulations, the mode of establishing colonies and bouweries in New Netherland, and a schedule of the taxes imposed in New England, which were all submitted to the committee of the States Gen- 4 March. eral. The delegates of the commonalty, on their part, presented further memorials respecting the high duties exact- 7 March. ed by the company, and the unredressed grievances of the province.t
After full consideration, the committee reported to the 11 April States General " a remedy" which it was thought "ought the comto give contentment to both parties until further provision the S. G. on should be made.” Passing over for the present several erland . points in the “great Remonstrance presented from the commonalty,” they submitted the draft of a " Provisional Order” for the government of New Netherland, which they recommended that the States General, with the advice and consent of a majority of the directors of the company, should enact.
The proposed Order condemned the measures by which Kieft had brought on the Indian war, and required that
* Alb. Rec., iv., 25, 26 ; ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 377; ante, p. 420. + Hol. Dọc., v., 111, 123, 131, 134, 159, 179, 191, 215; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv., 25–36.
order for the governerland.
Chap. xv. in future no hostilities should be waged against the ab
origines or neighbors of New Netherland” without the 1650. Provisional knowledge of the States General. Darn and Planck, who
had petitioned for the war, should be sent to the Hague, New Neth- to be examined. The trade with the Indians, in guns and
ammunition, should be gradually and totally abolished.; the inhabitants should be armed and enrolled as militia ; and the forts should be maintained in such a manner as
to afford proper protection to the inhabitants. Three clerClergymen gymen more should be provided; one to attend divine serv
ice at Rensselaerswyck, one "in and around the city of New Amsterdam,” and a third in the distant settlements ;" while the commonalty should “be obliged to cause the youth to be instructed by good schoolmasters." The provincial council should favor, by every means, agriculture and the peopling of the country, restrain the exportation of cattle, and promote “a good trade and commerce" between New Netherland and Brazil.
The commonalty should be convoked, and be induced to consent to the imposition of taxes and duties, "placing the collection, administration, and payment of the recognitions on such a footing as their constituents shall order.” Two counselors should be elected by the commonalty. Stuyvesant should be instructed to return to Holland and report;" and a suitable person, “experienced in matters relating to agriculture," should be dispatched “ to take charge of the country lying on both sides of the great North River, extending south to the South River, and north to the Fresh River.”
A Court of Justice should be erected in the province. A Burgher burgher government, consisting of a schout, two burgomas
ters, and five schepens, should be established in the city of New Amsterdam.” In the mean time, the Nine Men should continue three years longer, and should have limited judicial powers in small causes “ between man and man." All inhabitants and immigrants should take “ an oath of fidelity.” Private ships, sailing from Holland to North America, should, according to their tonnage, be compelled to convey emigrants. And, finally, at least fifteen thousand
guilders should be expended every year by the commis- Chap. XV. sioners of New Netherland," in the Amsterdam Chamber,
1650. in the transportation of poor agricultural emigrants. *
While, on the one hand, this Provisional Order did not 11 April. fully meet the views of the delegates of the commonalty, sterdam on the other it provoked the determined resistance of the opposes the Amsterdam Chamber. Its statements relative to Kieft's order. war were questioned. In regard to the Indian trade, the provincial government was obliged to furnish the savages sparingly with arms," in order to prevent misunderstanding;” and as to prices, the Indians would sometimes in the spring pay one hundred and twenty guilders for a gun, and ten or twelve for a pound of powder. The patroons of Rensselaerswyck should provide a clergyman for themselves; there was one already at New Amsterdam, and
none are required for the more distant places.” It was improbable that the colonists could be induced to defray the public expenses voluntarily, when they had already complained so much about the wine and beer excises. For the satisfaction of the colonists, however, two persons might be added to the council; but they should be selected by the company from a triple nomination by the people. It would be unnecessary to recall Stuyvesant; the vice-director could be sent for, if requisite. The Nine Men should have no more power; the administration of justice in the province had better be left “as it then stood.” Vessels going thither would be required to carry as many passengers as their burden was rated in tons; but it would be unjust to the creditors of the company if, in the exhausted state of their treasury, the directors should be bound to expend fifteen thousand guilders a year for the conveyance of emigrants to New Netherland.
Thus pertinaciously did the Amsterdam directors oppose the measures of improvement suggested at the Hague; and the meagre modifications of the “Freedoms and Exemptions" of 1629 and 1640, which they grudgingly pro- 24 May. posed, scarcely deserved the name of reforms. The Pro
* Hol. Doc., V., 223-238 ; O'Call., il., 132-137; Doc. Hist. N. Y., 1., 598, 599.
15 April. Instructions to
Chap. XV. visional Order itself was referred back to the committee,
and was also communicated to the several Chambers of 1650. the company.
“ We send you a copy of this resolution," wrote the directors to Stuyvesant, “from which you may Stuyve- learn what vexations we have suffered, and how full of
danger it is to irritate a furious multitude.”
Leaving Van der Donck to prosecute in the Fatherland the cause of the commonalty, Couwenhoven and Bout obtained letters from the States General forbidding Stuy
vesant to molest them; and accompanied by Dirck van 8 April. Schelluyne, who had received a commission to practice as
a notary public in New Netherland, the two delegates set sail for New Amsterdam, carrying with them two hundred stand of arms and a flag for the use of the burghers.*
The Classis of Amsterdam, anxious to promote the cause of education and religion in New Netherland, where Me
gapolensis was their solitary clergyman, now sent out Will19 January. iam Vestens, “a good, God-fearing man," as " Siecken
trooster," or consoler of the sick, and schoolmaster at Manhattan. Domine Wilhelmus Grasmeer, a son-in-law of Megapolensis, also set sail to take charge of the church at Beverwyck. Grasmeer, however, had been under the censure of the Classis of Alckmaer, and his departure for
America without their approbation was considered disor4 April derly. The consistory of the church at New Amsterdam
was, therefore, warned not to allow him to take any part in the administration of the Gospel, in case he should offer to do so, “until he should have made satisfaction to the Classis of Alckmaer." of
The municipal affairs of the capital of New Netherland New Am- continued to be administered by the provincial govern
ment. Jan Cornelissen was employed to keep the common school; and an academy was contemplated. Contracts for land on Manhattan Island had now become so frequent, that to guard against fraud, it was ordained that all sales of real estate should be void, unless approved by
Municipal affairs of
* Hol. Doc., V., 202-207, 211 -213, 239-259, 274, 276-296; Alb. Rec., iv., 29. + Cor. Classis Amsterdam.
the director and council. Bakers were required to make Chap. XV. their bread of the “standard weight of the Fatherland,"
1650. and to use "naught else than pure wheat and rye flour as it comes from the mill.” . The currency of the province was again regulated; and “there being at present no other 30 May specie," wampum was made lawfully current, at the rate of six white or three black beads of commercial sewan," or of eight white and four black of the “ base strung," for one stuyver. As men were now employed in repairing and restoring Fort Amsterdam, in obedience to the orders of the company, the inhabitants were warned not to 24 June. let their cattle run at large without a herdsman, " between the fort and the company's bouwery, and the pastureground occupied by Thomas Hall, and the house of Mr. Isaac Allerton."*
On the return of Couwenhoven and Bout, the common- 28 June. alty learned the details of what had occurred in Holland. sant's conThe States General had not turned a deaf ear to the com- position to plaints of the people of their province; and though the form. Provisional Order was not yet ratified, it at least foreshadowed reform. The Nine Men now requested the director to promulgate it officially; but all he would do was to proclaim the peace of Westphalia, in obedience to the orders of the States General. The company, he said, was opposed to the Provisional Order, and he would not conform to an instrument which his immediate superiors disregarded.
For two years, Stuyvesant's jealousy had prevented the Fresh diffimustering of the burgher guard ; the same jealousy now refused them the stand of colors which the delegates had brought out from Holland. Even the arms which had been procured for their use were not delivered. Food, too, was scarce ; for the previous winter had been so cold “ that the ink froze in the pen." In the midst of this famine, the director was obliged to send provisions to Curaçoa, and victual the company's vessels. Van Dincklagen and the Nine Men protested against diminishing the scanty supplies of the province. The people were exasperated, and 15 August. .
* New Amst. Rec., 1., 28-31, 33; ii. N. Y. H. S. Coll., ii., 331.