Page images



tha's Vineyard.

Char. 11. of a reddish appearance” was observed lying within. This

was soon known by the Dutch as “Roode” or Red Island, 1614.

from which is derived the name of the present State of the Narra, Rhode Island. Along the western shore of the bay dwelt and thode the tribe of Wapanoos, whom Block described as strong

of limb and of moderate size," but somewhat shy, "since they are not accustomed to trade with strangers." Running out of the Narragansett, he stood across the mouth of Buzzard's Bay to the southward of the Elizabeth Islands, formerly visited by Gosnold, and sailed by the large “white and clayey" island, commonly called " Texel" by the Dutch, and “ Capacke” by others, and which is now

known as Martha's Vineyard. South of the Texel, Block Visits Mar- observed another small island, which he immediately

named “ Hendrick Christiaensen's Island," in compliment
to his early comrade. This island, which Gosnold had
discovered, and named Martha's Vineyard, is now called
“No Man's Land;" while, with a happier fate, Block Isl-
and, retaining to this day the name which the Dutch first
gave it, preserves the memory of the hardy pioneer of
Long Island Sound.

Sailing onward through the “Zuyder Zee,” to the north of the island of “Vlieland," or Nantucket, Block passed near the “ Vlacke Hoeck," or Cape Malebarre, and ran

along the shore of Cape Cod, until he reached its northern Block pass-point, which he named “Cape Bevechier." Thence he

coasted along the “Fuyck,” or “Wyck Bay," or "Staten Bay”—which names the Dutch gave to the waters now known as Cape Cod Bay—and explored the shore of Massachusetts as far north as "Pye Bay, as it is called by some of our navigators, in latitude 42° 30', to which the limits

of New Netherland extend." This Pye Bay is now known Visits Bos- as Nahant Bay, just north of Boston harbor, and, at the

time Block first visited it, “ a numerous people” dwelt there, who were “extremely well-looking, but timid and shy of Christians," so that it required "some address to approach them."*

es Cape Cod.

ion harbor and Nahant.

* De Laet, book iii., cap. viii.; ante, p. 54; ii. N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 292-297. It is clear that Block sailed beyond Cape Cod to Pye Bay, as he gives its distance from the Lizard by his observations. See also the “Figurative Map," or chart, found in the archives at the Hague (no doubt the one to which De Laet refers on page 294); upon which Plymouth harbor is marked as “ Crane Bay," and Boston harbor as “Fox Haven," while Salem Bay is called “ Count Hendrick's Bay” (Appendix, note G). The same designations are retained upon Visscher's and Montanus's maps, which also lay down“ Pye Bay" as near Nahant. The latitude of Nahant is 420 30', which corresponds precisely with that of "Pye Bay," as given by De Laet.


" Northern


On his return from Pye Bay to Cape Cod, Block fell in Chap. II with the ship of Hendrick Christiaensen, which seems,

1614. meanwhile, to have been sent around from Manhattan to the northward. Leaving there his yacht, the Restless, leaves the which had already done such good service, in charge of Cape Cod, Cornelis Hendricksen, to make further explorations on the to Holland. coast, Block embarked in his old companion's ship, the Fortune, and returned with her to Holland, to report the discoveries which he and his fellow-navigators had made in the New World.*

In the mean time, the States General, anxious to encourage the foreign commerce of Holland, had granted, early 27 January in 1614, a liberal charter to an association of merchants, The for prosecuting the whale fishery in the neighborhood of Company Nova Zembla, and the exploration of a new passage to by the China. Of this association, which was named "the North-eral. ern Company," Lambrecht van Tweenhuysen, one of the owners of Block's ship, was an original director; and among his subsequent associates were Samuel Godyn, Nicholas Jacobsen Haringcarspel, and Thymen Jacobsen Hinlopen, whose names have also become historical in our annals.

The importance of a similar concession of privileges in favor of the merchants, at whose expense new avenues of trade were now being explored in the neighborhood of Manhattan, was soon perceived ; and the States of Holland 20 March were petitioned to recommend the general government to pass an ordinance which should assure to all enterprising adventurers a monopoly, for a limited time, of the trade

States Gera. לל

* De Laet, book iii., cap. X. ; Hol. Doc., i., 53-59. De Laet, after stating Block's exploration of the neighborhood of Cape Cod, in the Restless, adds, “whence he returned home with the ship of Hendrick Christiaensen, and left the yacht there on the coast for further use.” The translation in N. Y. II. S. Coll. (second series), i., 301, is inexact. Muilkerk, A, 23, suggests that Cornelis Hendricksen was a son of Hendrick Christiaensen.

t. Groot Placaatbook, i., 670; Wassenaar, vii., 95; viii., 95 ; ix., 124,

27 March.

General ordinance

couragement of new discoveries.

CHAP. II. with the lands they might discover. The States General

accordingly passed the desired ordinance, declaring it to 1614.

be “honorable, useful, and profitable,” that the people of

the Netherlands should be encouraged to adventure themfor the en- selves in discovering unknown countries; and, for the pur

pose of making the inducement“ free and common to every one of the inhabitants,” granting and conceding that s6 whosoever shall from this time forward discover any new passages, havens, lands, or places, shall have the exclusive right of navigating to the same for four voyages.” The ordinance also required that reports of such discoveries should be made to the States General within fourteen days after the return of the exploring vessels, in order that the promised specific trading privileges should be formally passed, in each case, to the adventurers appearing to be entitled to them; and that if simultaneous discoveries should be made by different parties, the promised monopoly should be enjoyed by them in common.

Upon Block's arrival at Amsterdam with the details of the Dutch explorations on the coast of America, the merchants of North Holland, whose enterprise had been rewarded by such interesting results, hastened to appropriate to themselves the advantageous trade opened to them there,

and to exclude all other rivalry. Uniting themselves into Ainsterdam a company, they took the necessary steps to obtain the Company special privileges which were promised in the General Or

dinance of the 27th of March. A skillful draughtsman was employed to construct an elaborately finished “ Fig. urative Map” of their transatlantic discoveries, which was probably prepared under Block’s immediate supervision, and from the data that he furnished. The associates then deputed some of their number to go to the Hague, and lay before the States General an account of their discoveries in America, and to obtain the desired special and exclusive license to trade to those regions.

The deputies, probably accompanied by Block, accord




* Hol. Doc., i., 15, 19; Groot Placaatbook, i., 563.
+ See Appendix, note G, for a description of this map.


ingly proceeded to the capital. Unlike other Dutch cit- Cilap. II. ies, the Hague owed its importance, not to commerce or

1614. manufactures, but to having early been made the seat of government of the United Provinces, and to the constant sent to the presence of the officers of state and the foreign ministers accredited to the republic. For four centuries the abode of the counts of Holland, it derives its name from the “Haeg" or hedge encircling the magnificent park which formed their ancient hunting ground, and the majestic trees in which, at this day, attract the admiration of Europe. On an artificial island in the centre of that beautiful town—its long façade bordering the quiet lake which fronts the Vyverberg-stands a straggling pile of buildings, of irregular forms and of various eras, surrounding a vast quadrangle, quaintly paved with small yellow bricks, and inclosing a lofty and venerable hall, the rival of Westminster, formerly hung round with trophies of the victorious confederacy, and in which were held the solemn and extraordinary meetings of the States General. Spacious galleries and corridors, now consecrated to the preservation of the archives of the Netherlands, stretch over long arcades and gilded apartments, the faded magnificence of which yet attests the former splendor of the republic, when her calm statesmen sat there in the days of her pomp and power. This is the “Binnenhof," or inner court—the an- The Bincient palace of the counts of Holland. Here the States General constantly held their ordinary meetings, in a superbly-decorated apartment facing the old Gothic Hall; their clerk or “greffier” occupying a small, meagerly-furnished adjoining closet, where ambassadors were frequently received, and the weightiest affairs of state transacted.

Hither came the deputies of the Amsterdam Company Interview to tell their story of adventure and discovery, and to ask States Genthe reward promised to their successful enterprise. Around the oval council-table sat twelve “high, mighty lords” of the States General.. One of the assembly was John van Olden Barneveldt, the Advocate of Holland. Spreading upon the council-board the “ Figurative Map” of their



Chap. II. transatlantic discoveries, the petitioners related to the

statesmen of Holland the adventures of their agents in 1614.

the New World ; and, detailing the “heavy expenses and damages" they had suffered during the current year “from the loss of ships and other great risks," they asked a special and exclusive license to trade to the regions which they had explored. The assembled statesmen listened to the narrative with interest and favor. Dutch commercial enterprise had now achieved the exploration of unknown and extensive regions in North America, which might soon become of great political importance to the republic. These regions were sparsely inhabited by various roving tribes of aboriginal savages, who had already shown kindness to the Hollanders. No Europeans but the Dutch traders were in possession of any part of the territory. Why should not the Amsterdam Company now receive their promised charter ? The States General promptly

complied with the prayer of their countrymen; and the 11 October. greffier, Cornelius Aerssen, at once drew up the minute of

a special trading license or charter, the original of which ed by them yet records, in almost illegible characters, the first ap

pearance of the term “New Netherland" in the annals of the world. The formal instrument, bearing date the 11th of October, 1614, was immediately afterward duly sealed and attested ; and thus the government of the United Provinces, by its solemn act, officially designated the unoccupied regions of America lying between Virginia and Canada by a name which they continued to bear for half a century, until, in the fullness of time, right gave way to power, and the Dutch colony of New Netherland became the English province of New York. *

New Netherland for

States General

* Holland Documents, i., 42, 47.. This special charter was brought to light by the researches made in the archives at the Hague, in 1841, by direction of the government of this state. De Laet, however, who wrote in 1624, refers to it in chapter vii., in general terms, and without giving its exact date, as granting an “exclusive privilege” of navi, gating to and trading at New Netherland. Yet Chalmers, in the teeth of De Laet's statements, asserts, that when the Dutch West India Company was finally established in 1621. “neither any plantation nor the name of New Netherland at that time had any existence." -Pol. An., 569. But the whole of the first part of this biased author's chapter relating to New York, as has already been intimated, abounds in gross misrepresentations, some of which have been too eagerly adopted by American writers.

« PreviousContinue »