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to Virginia with eighteen prisoners, and the plunder of a Char. Il. peaceful colony, which the pious zeal of Madame de
1613. Guercheville had sent to America to convert the savages to Christianity.
Gates no sooner received the report of this piratical ad- Argall venture of his subordinate, than, by the advice of his coun-Maine and cil, he determined to undertake a new enterprise against tia. the French in Acadia, and destroy all their settlements south of the forty-sixth degree of latitude. Three armed vessels were immediately dispatched, under the command of Argall; who, returning to the scene of his former outrage at Mount Desert, set up the arms of the King of England, in place of the broken cross of the Jesuits. Argall next visited St. Croix, and destroyed the remnants of De Monts' former settlement. Thence he sailed to Port Roy- . al. Meeting no resistance there, Argall loaded his ships with the spoil of the ruined town; and having thus effect- 9 Nov. ed all his purposes, he returned to Virginia about the middle of November. *
The pretext under which Argall had been dispatched to Pretexts for gather inglorious laurels on the coasts of Acadia, was the al proceedalleged encroachment of the French settlers there upon the territory comprehended within James's sweeping grant, in 1606, to the London and Plymouth adventurers. Gates naturally leaned toward the most grasping interpretation of an instrument in which he was named first among the original grantees of an enormous monopoly. But James's patent, nevertheless, distinctly excepted from its purview all lands “possessed by any other Christian prince or people;" and the French had unquestionably been in quiet possession of the neighborhood of Acadia two years before the first English charter passed the great seal. By his second charter of 1609, James had also expressly restricted the Virginia Company's northern boundary to a line two hundred miles north of Point Comfort, or about the fortieth parallel of latitude. The predatory proceedings of Gates and Argall were, therefore, entirely unwarranta
* Champlain, 101-109; Lescarbot ; Bancroft, i., 148.
Chap. 11. ble; and they were promptly resented by the court of
France. As soon as intelligence of the outrage reached 1613.
Europe, the French ambassador at London made a formal French am- complaint to the English government. The privy council bassador at immediately demanded explanations from the Virginia
1614. Company; who excused themselves by stating in reply, 23 January. that they had received no information from Virginia “ of
any such misdemeanors."'* 1613. On his return voyage from Acadia to Virginia, late in November. November, Argall is said to have “landed at Manhatas Alleged vis-Isle, in Hudson's River," where, finding "four houses it of Argall to Manhat- built, and a pretended Dutch governor," he forced the Hol
landers to submit themselves to the King of England and to the government of Virginia. But this favorite story is very suspicious; it is inconsistent with authentic state papers; it has been deliberately pronounced to be " a pure fiction;" and it certainly needs to be sustained by better authority than any that has yet been produced, before it
can be received as an historical truth.t 1614. In the spring of 1614, explorations began to be vigorDrogenesis of ously prosecuted around Manhattan, by the several trading
vessels which had been dispatched from Holland. De Witt, sailing up the Mauritius River, in the "Little Fox," gave his name to one of the islands near Red Hook. May, in the “ Fortune,” coasting eastward, beyond the Visscher's Hook, or Montauk Point, visited a large “white and clayey” island, around which Gosnold had sailed twelve years before. This island, the Indian name of which was Capacke, the Dutch for awhile called “the Texel;' but it is now known as Martha's Vineyard.;
By this time, it was perceived that, to secure the largest return from the peltry trade, a factor should reside permanently on the Mauritius River, among the Maquaas, or Mohawks, and the Mahicans, at the head of tide-water. * Champlain, 112; Lond. Doc., i., 1, 3; N. Y. Colonial Manuscripts, iii., 1, 2. + See, Appendix, note E. # De Laet, book iii., cap. viii. On Visscher's and Van der Donck's maps of New Netherland, there is an island in the North River, marked " Jan de Witt's Eylant," just north of Magdalen Island. Jan de Witt's Island is the small one just south of Upper Red Hook landing, or Tivoli ; Magdalen Island is the larger one next below.
upper part of the river.
Hendrick Christiaensen, who, after his first experiment in Chap. II. company with Adriaen Block, is stated to have made ós ten
1614. voyages" to Manhattan, accordingly constructed a trading Christidenhouse on
66 Castle Island," at the west side of the river, a little below the present city of Albany. This building, san, " at the which was meant to combine the double purposes of a warehouse and a military defense for the resident Dutch traders, was thirty-six feet long, by twenty-six feet wide, inclosed by a stockade fifty-eight feet square, and the whole surrounded by a moat eighteen feet in width. To compliment the family of the stadtholder, the little post was immediately named “ Fort Nassau.” It was armed with two large guns, and eleven swivels or patereros, and garrisoned by ten or twelve men. “ Hendrick Christiaensen first commanded here;" and, in his absence, Jacob Eelkens, formerly a clerk in the counting-house of an Amsterdam merchant. *
It has been confidently affirmed that the year after the No fort at erection of Fort Nassau, at Castle Island, a redoubt was also thrown up and fortified on an elevated spot,” near the southern point of Manhattan Island. But the assertion does not appear to be confirmed by sufficient authority.t
Adriaen Block had, meanwhile, completed the building Block comof his yacht, which he appropriately named the Onrust, yacht, " the or “Restless." With this small vessel, about sixteen tons in burden, and the first ever constructed by Europeans at Manhattan,# Block proceeded to explore the bays and rivers to the eastward, into which the larger ships of the Dutch
* Figurative Map, from the archives at the Hague ; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii., 27, 38; Wassenaar, vi., 144 ; viii., 85 ; De Laet, book iii., cap. ix. ; De Vries, 113; Hol. Doc., ii., 136 ; Alb. Rec., xxii., 317 ; xxiv., 167; Smith's Hist. N. Y., i., 22. Castle Island was the first below Albany, and, after 1630, was known as Van Rensselaer's, or Patroon's Island. The rapid progress of improvement has, however, now nearly obliterated its former insular character, and “annexed” it to the thriving capital of our state.
† See Appendix, note F.
# The "Restless" was forty-four and a half feet long, eleven and a half feet wide, and of about eight lasts or sixteen tons burden.--De Laet, book iii., cap. X. ; Hol. Doc., i., 53. Mr. Cooper, in his Naval History (i., p. 41), speaks of Block's yacht as "the first decked vessel built within the old United States.” But the honor of precedence in American naval architecture must, fairly, be yielded to Popham's unfortunate colony on the Kennebeck. The “Virginia, of Sagadahoc," was the first European-built vessel within the original Thirteen States--if Maine be considered as part of Massachusetts. The “Restless, of Manhattan," was the pioneer craft of New York
Sails through Hell-gate
Chap. II. traders had not yet ventured. Sailing boldly through the
then dangerous strait of “the Hell-gate,»* into "the Great 1614.
Bay,” or Long Island Sound, he carefully "explored all the
places thereabout,” as far as Cape Cod. Coasting along into Long the northern shore, inhabited by the Siwanoos, Block gave
the name of "Archipelagos" to the group of islands oppoDiscovers site Norwalk. At the present town of Stratford, he visit
ed the “River of Roodenberg," or Red Hills, now known as the Housatonic, which he described as about "a bowshot wide,” and in the neighborhood of which dwelt the indolent tribe of Quiripey Indians. Passing eastward along the bay at the head of which New Haven now stands, and which, on account of the red sandstone hills
in its neighborhood, the Dutch also soon called the “RooExplores denberg,” Block came to the mouth of a large river runticut River. ning up northerly into the land. At its entrance into the
Sound it was a very shallow;" and Block, observing that there were but few inhabitants near its mouth, ascended the river to the rapids, at the head of navigation. Near Wethersfield, he found the numerous Indian tribe of Sequins. At the latitude of 41° 48'-between Hartford and Windsor-he came to a fortified village of the Nawaas tribe, who were then governed by their Sagamore Morahieck.' Here he heard of another nation of savages, who are called Horikans," dwelling “ within the land," probably near the lakes west of the upper part of the river, and who navigated the waters "in canoes made of bark.” From the circumstance that a strong downward current was perceived at a short distance above its mouth, Block immediately named this beautiful stream the “ Versch,"
* “Our people (the Dutch) call this Inferni os, or the Helle-gat," says the accurate De Laet. According to Block's account, as stated by De Laet, the Dutch likewise originally called the whole of what was soon more familiarly known as the "East River,” by the name of the “Hell-gate River;" and the currents from that river and from the North River are described as “ meeting one another near Nutten (Governor's) Island.” A branch of the Scheldt, near Hulst, in Zealand, is called the “Hellegat,” after which Block probably named the whirlpool through which he was the first known European pilot. Modern squeamishness has endeavored to improve this expressive hi torical appellation into “Hurl-gate.” But while modern science has overcome the nautical terrors of old Hellgate, it is to be hoped that a vicious modern conceit will not prevail to rob us of one of the few remaining memorial names of early New York.
or Fresh Water River. By the native savages it was call- Chap. II ed the - Connittecock,” or Quonehtacut; and the aborig
1611 inal appellation survives to the present day, in the name of the river and the state of Connecticut.*
Continuing his course eastward from the mouth of the Block disConnecticut, Block came to the “ River of the Siccana- Thames mos," afterward called by the English the Pequod or Thames River, where he found the powerful tribe of Pequatoos or Pequods, who were "the enemies of the Wapanoos,” in possession of the country. From there, stretching over across the Sound,” he visited the 66 Visscher's Hoeck," or “Cape de Baye," now known as Montauk Point, which he discovered to be the eastern extremity of 6. Sewan-hacky,” or Long Island, “on which a nation of savages, who are called Matouwacks, have their abode.” A little to the northeast of Montauk Point, he next visited Visits a large island, to which the Dutch immediately gave the and.” name of " Block's Island," in honor of their countryman.f
Thence, following the track of Verazzano, Block ran across to Nassau, or Narragansett Bay, which he thoroughly explored. The western entrance was named “Sloup Bay," and the eastern " Anchor Bay;" while "an island
« Block Is
* De Laet, viii. ; Hol. Doc., vii., 12 ; Verbael van Beverninck, 607; Winthrop, i., 52. Trumbull, in his History of Connecticut (i., p. 31), affirms that “none of the ancient adventurers, who discovered the great continent of North America, or New England, made any discovery of this river. It does not appear that it was known to any civilized nation until some years after the settlement of the English and Dutch at Plymouth and New Netherland." Yet Hubbard (Mass. Coll., XV., 18, 170) distinctly states that the Dutch first discovered it, and if Trumbull had consulted the accurate details of De Laet, he would have found the clearest evidence that Block explored not only the river, but the whole coast of Connecticut, in 1614, or six years before the first Puritan Englislı colonists landed at Plymouth Rock. Bancroft, ii., 273, following Hubbard, says that “the discovery of Connecticut River is undoubtedly due to the Dutch.” It would have been safe to have added that Block was “its first European navigator.”
+ It has been usual to consider Block as the first discoverer of the island which still bears his name. But while we thus honor the memory of the explorer of Long Island Sound, we should not forget to do justice to his predecessor Verazzano, who, in 1524, after sailing along the Atlantic coast of Long Island (which he took to be the main land), for fifty leagues eastward from Sandy Hook, " discovered an island of a triangular form, about ten leagues from the main land, in size about equal to the island of Rhodes." This island, which was undoubtedly Block Island, Verazzano named “ Claudia," in honor of the mother of King Francis I. It is so laid down in Lock's map of 1582.-Hakluyt Society's “ Divers Voyages," 55, 64 ; N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 53 ; i. (second series), 46, 49. The editor of Hakluyt, however, though he seems unable to reconcile Verazzano's account with the supposition that “Claudia” was Martha's Vineyard, does not appear to have thought of Block Island.