« PreviousContinue »
CH, XVI. for instant war. The General Court of Massachusetts,
however, again interposed. In an able exposition of the 1653
Articles of Confederation, they declared that it was not competent "for six commissioners of the other colonies to put forth any act of power in a vindictive war, whereby
they shall command the colonies dissenting to assist them Massachu- in the same." Thus Massachusetts, affirming the doctrine vents a war of "state rights,” prevented New England from commenc
ing an offensive war" against New Netherland. The commissioners, foiled in their hostile designs, sent a peevish reply to Stuyvesant, reiterating that the English were right and the Dutch were wrong on every point in controversy, and telling him, with insulting pertinacity, that his s confident denials of the barbarous plot charged, will weigh little in the balance against such evidence, so that we must still require and seek due satisfaction and security:99*
But if open war was averted, covetousness was not repressed. Underhill, finding his offer of service neglected, availed himself of his Rhode Island commission to better his private estate at the expense of his recent friends.
Going to the unoccupied Dutch Fort Good Hope, he postFort Good ed upon it a notice, declaring that, “with permission from
the General Court of Hartford,” he did " seize upon this Uuderhill. house and lands thereunto belonging, as Dutch goods
claimed by the West India Company in Amsterdam, enemies of the commonwealth of England, and thus to remain seized till further determined by the said court."
A special meeting of the General Court of Connecticut was now held at Hartford, and a representation was ordered to be made to the Bay," humbly craving that “the design may go on according to the consult of the commissioners," and that Connecticut might have liberty to
Hope seized by
* Col. Rec. Conn., 244 ; Hazard, ii., 233, 248, 250-256, 268-273 ; Trumbull, i., 206–208; Hutchinson, i., 167, 168.
# Hartford Rec. Towns and Lands, i., 77, 81, 86-88 ; O'Call., ii., 234, 570. Within four months, Underhill twice sold the Dutch fort and lands, as his private prize, to citizens of Rhode Island and Hartford. But though he alleged that he had permission from the General Court to make the seizure, there is nothing in the records of Connecticut to justify his assertion; on the contrary, Hartford the next year sequestered the property for herself.-Col. Rec. Conn., 254, 16th April, 1654.
“gather up volunteers” in Massachusetts ; and Haynes Ch. XVI. and Ludlow were appointed to confer with the govern
1653. ment of New Haven on the subject. Eaton and the New Haven court fully coincided with their brethren at Hart- 7 July. ford ; and messengers were sent to Massachusetts to urge cut and that “by war, if no other means will serve, the Dutch, at ven urge and about the Manhatoes, who have been and still are like 8 July. to prove injurious and dangerous neighbors, may be removed.” But Massachusetts again refused to act "in so 24 July weighty a concernment as to send forth men to shed blood," setts again unless satisfied “ that God calls for it; and then it must be clear and not doubtful, necessary and expedient."*
In the mean time, Stuyvesant had not neglected measures for the security of New Netherland. A new danger seemed to threaten the province from Virginia, where Berkeley, the royal governor, had been obliged to capitu- 1652. late to a parliamentary expedition, and had been succeed- 22 March. ed by Richard Bennett, one of the Roundhead commis- 30 April. sioners. Maryland, too, was reduced to subjection, and Jane. Lord Baltimore's authority was abrogated. In this situation of affairs, Stuyvesant, in obedience to his instructions to arrange, if possible, a treaty with Virginia, sent 1653. Van Tienhoven, the fiscal, and Van Hattem, one of the May: burgomasters of New Amsterdam, to negotiate with Ben-Virginia.
But the Puritan governor did not feel at liberty to conclude a treaty without instructions from Westminster. He, nevertheless, agreed to submit Stuyvesant's propositions to the home government; and with this promise the Dutch agents returned to New Amsterdam.
It was also thought necessary to send Allard Anthony, 5 June one of the schepens, as a special agent to represent the sit- Holland. uation of affairs to the Amsterdam Chamber. The voluntary loán raised by the inhabitants in the spring had enabled the municipal authorities to inclose a part of the city with palisades. Fort. Amsterdam, however, was not yet entirely repaired; and Stuyvesant called upon the city 28 July.
* Col. Rec. Conn., 244; New Haven Rec., 3, 8, 11, 12, 27; O'Call., ii., 231 ; Trumbull, i., 208, 209.
tween the director and the city govern ment.
CH. XVI. government for assistance. The corporation replied that
the citizens had done all they had undertaken to do, and 1653.
should not be further burdened, as they were "altogether 2 August. in the background.” A few days afterward, Stuyvesant's ment be demand was submitted to a meeting of the principal burgh
ers at the City Hall. The meeting, considering that the repair and maintenance of the fort was a proper charge upon the provincial revenue alone, unanimously resolved “not to contribute any thing until the director general give up the whole excise on wines and beers." With this resolution, the burgomasters waited upon Stuyvesant, who peremptorily refused to yield; and the meeting promptly resolved not to contribute any thing "unless the director general acceded to their terms."*
Van der Donck now prepared to return to New NethDonck from erland, from which he had been absent nearly four years.
He had taken the degree of Doctor of Laws at the University of Leyden, and had been admitted to practice as an advocate in the Supreme Court of Holland. During his leisure hours, he had occupied himself in writing a “Description of New Netherland," which he submitted to the West India Company for their approval. The directors, pleased with the book, recommended it to the States
General; and a copyright was granted to the author. The " Descrip- work, however, as it had been prepared, was chiefly a top
ographical description of New Netherland--an amplification of parts of the “Vertoogh.” Wishing to give it a more historical character and value, Van der Donck deferred its publication, and applied to the company for permission to examine the records in the office of the provincial secretary. He also asked to be allowed “ to follow his profession as advocate in New Netherland." The di
rectors referred Van der Donck's application to examine 24 July
their records to Stuyvesant, with an intimation that the permission, if given, should not be so used that “the company's own weapons should be turned against itself, and
tion of New Netherland."
* Hazard, i., 560-563 ; Alb. Rec., iv., 117, 122, 165; viii., 96, 97; ix., 57 ; xviit., 163 ; New Amst. Rec., i., 199, 219-221; O'Call., ii., 216, 235, 254 ; Valentine's Manual, 1850, 450.
new troubles raised to its annoyance.” As to his other Ch. XVI. demand, they resolved to permit him “ to give his advice
1.653. to all who may desire to obtain it;" but as regards his pleading before the courts, they could not see that it can be admitted yet, with any advantage to the director and council in New Netherland.” “Besides that,” wrote they to Stuyvesant, "we are ignorant if there be any of that stamp in your city (who, nevertheless, before they can be admitted, must apply to your honor, or directly to our department) who can act and plead against said Van der Donck in behalf of the other side." Returning to New Amsterdam, he was s suspected so vehemently” by Stuyvesant, that he was obliged to petition the municipal au- 1 Dec. thorities of the city, whose interests he had so ably represented in the Fatherland, for protection “as a citizen or burgher."*
To strengthen the council of New Netherland " with 24 July. another expert and able statesman,” the Amsterdam Cham-counselor. ber at the same time commissioned Nicasius de Sille, man well versed in the law, and not unacquainted with military affairs," as first counselor to the director, to reside at Fort Amsterdam. Cornelis van Ruyven was likewise Van Ruyappointed provincial secretary, and Van Brugge, whom vincial serStuyvesant had provisionally named to that office, was ordered to be employed in the custom-house, where he served before. Upon the arrival of these new officers, the director again endeavored to arrange a commercial treaty with Virginia. Domine Drisius, whose knowledge of the Domine English recommended him for the position, was selected sent to Viras the envoy of New Netherland, and sent with specific 16 Dec.
* Hol. Doc., vii., 40-47; Alb. Rec., iv., 111, 112, 135 ; viii., 75; N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 128-130, 378, 379; ii., 258, 259 ; New Amst. Rec., 1., 321. Van der Donck appears never to have gained Stuyvesant's good will, or even a permission to examine the provincial records; and we have thus lost what would no doubt have been an interesting history of the early days of New Netherland and of Minuit's and Van Twiller's directorships. He published his book as he wrote it in Holland, under the title of “Beschryvinge van Nieuw Nederlandt," &c. The first edition was printed at Amsterdam in 1655, in which year the author himself died, leaving to his widow his estate at Colendonck. In 1656, the second edition was published. It contained a map reduced from the larger one of Visscher, which had just appeared, and was embellished by a view of New Amsterdam, drawn by Augustine Heermans. Both editions are in the library of the N. Y. Historical Society, and a translation of the second in ii., Coll., i., 129. See post, p. 074, ncte.
N N Ν
16 Dec. Complaints
CH. XVI. proposals to Bennett for the regulation and encourage
ment of trade between the two provinces. The Domine's 1653
success in this negotiation prepared the way for a more formal treaty several years afterward.*
In the mean time, Stuyvesant's high-handed proceed1652. ings at Beverwyck had been brought under review in Hol
land. The proprietors of Rensselaerswyck complained to of the prof the Amsterdam Chamber that he had extended the juris.
diction of Fort Orange; demanded the production of the colonial records; imprisoned Van Slechtenhorst; absolved Gerrit Swart, the newly-appointed schout, from his oath of office, and obliged him to swear allegiance to the com-pany; levied taxes and excises, for the company's benefit on the colonists; and encouraged a contraband traffic with the savages. The company answered unsatisfactorily;
and the proprietors of the colony addressed a memorial to 1653. the States General. The directors soon sent their reply to Kebaparle the Hague. They were not aware that the patroon's flag company. had been hauled down, or his colonists released from their
oaths, or his lots taken away, or that a court of justice had been established in Fort Orange. As to the jurisdiction of that post, it had been determined " before the colonie of Rensselaerswyck was granted.” The schout, Gerrit Swart, had not been absolved from his oath to the patroon, but had only been obliged to swear allegiance to the company, "remaining subject to both masters.” The charter authorized Stuyvesant to demand the production of the colonial rolls and papers, and to levy taxes and excises within the colonie. Van Slechtenhorst had been arrested, in order to curb his "insufferable insolence, effrontery, and abuse of power.” In regard to the sale of arms and ammunition to the savages, “it was deemed prudent that it should be now and then permitted.” The company then charged the proprietors of the colonie with having unlaw. fully attempted to engross additional territory on the North River; monopolize trade; assert an unfounded claim to a
* Alb. Rec., iv., 100, 107, 111, 117; vii., 328; ix., 57-59; O'Call., ii., 236, 237 ; post,