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a most dangerous cataract among small rocky islands," Chap. III. he lost his anchor by the strength of the current, which

1619. hurried him on through the East River with such swiftness, that, without stopping at Manhattan, he passed, “ in a short space,” into the lower bay, which gave him “light of the sea." From Sandy Hook, Dermer coasted safely to 7 Sept. Cape Charles, and the James River; whence he sent an account of his adventures to his friend Purchas at London.* 27 Dec.

Having finished his business in Virginia, " where he was kindly welcomed and well refreshed,” Dermer put to sea again, early the next spring, "resolving to accomplish, in 1620 his journey back to New England, what in his last discovery he had omitted. In his passage, he met with certain Hollanders, who had a trade in Hudson's River some years before that time, with whom he had a conference about the state of that coast, and their proceedings with those people, whose answer gave him good content." This 6 conference” was held, no doubt, with the Dutch traders who were then settled at Manhattan Island. Availing himself of the information which he thus obtained, Dermer" betook himself to the following of his business, discovering many goodly rivers, and exceeding pleasant and fruitful coasts and islands, for the space of eighty leagues from east to west; for so that coast doth range along," from the North River to Cape Cod. But, before he left Manhattan, Dermer took care to warn the Dutch, whom he found there in quiet possession, not to continue their occupation of what he claimed as English territory. Meeting, says Gorges, with “some Hollanders that were settled in a place we call Hudson's River, in trade with the natives," Dermer - forbade them the place, as being by his majesty appointed to us.” The Dutch traders, however, replied that “they understood no such thing, nor found any of our nation there ; so that they hoped they had not offended."4

* Dermer's letter of 27th December, 1619, in Purchas, iv., 1778, 9, and in ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., p. 352 ; Morton's Memorial, 56 ; Prince, 154 ; Holmes, i., 158.

+ Smith, ii., 219; “A Brief Relation," &c., in Mass. Hist. Coll., xix., 11; Gorges, “ Brief Narration," in Mass. Hist. Coll., xxvi., 72; De Laet, book iii., cap. iv. It seems


30 June.

explorer of

On reaching New England, Dermer transmitted to

Gorges " a journal of his proceeding, with the description 1620.

of the coast all along as he passed."* Upon the receipt

of this journal, and the previous letter to Purchas, the Dermer un- Plymouth Company seem, most unjustly, to have considered by sidered Dermer as the original discoverer of Long Island as the first Sound and of the adjacent coasts. But though Dermer Long Isina, appears to have been the first Englishman that ever sailed

through the Sound, he had been preceded, several years, by Block and his Dutch associates ; with the details and results of whose earlier enterprise he was made fully acquainted, in the “conference about the state of that coast" which he had with those Hollanders, whom, on his retur from Virginia, he found "settled" at Manhattan.

The first account of his adventurous voyage to Virginia, which Dermer had sent to Purchas, from his winter quar

ters on the James River, seems to have quickened the efPatent for forts of Gorges and his associates to obtain from the king

the new privileges for which they had so long pined. Constant appeals were addressed to the court for a new

patent--"such as had been given to Virginia." The old 3 March. Plymouth adventurers petitioned the king that the terri

tory might be called New England, " as by the Prince his Highness it hath been named," and asked that its proposed boundaries should be settled “ from forty to forty-five degrees of northerly latitude, and so from sea to sea through the main, as the coast lyeth."

At length, after two years entreaty, the king yielded, and the solicitor general was directed by the Privy Council to prepare a patent for the limits 6 between the degrees of

New England.

23 July.

clear that the Dutch, whom Dermer conferred with and " forbade the place," were those

settled” at Manhattan, though they do not appear, as yet, to have built any fort there. Dermer says nothing about ascending the river, while he speaks distinctly of his explorations eighty leagues eastward from the North River to Cape Cod. It likewise appears to me very probable that Dermer's account was the only foundation for“ Beauchamp Plantagenet's” fabulous story of Argall's visit; see Appendix, Note E.

* Morton's Memorial, 56-60 ; Gorges, “Brief Narration,” in Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., xxvi., 63; Prince, 157. Holmes, i., 158, misled by Prince, erroneously asserts that Dermer was “the first person" who ascertained Long Island to be an island. Bancroft, in a note, ii., 273, corrects Belknap's similar error.

+ London Doc., i., 6; N. Y. Col. MSS., iii., 3 ; Mass. llist. Coll., xix., 11, 12.

forty and forty-eight."* The original charter of 1606 had CHAP. III. . fixed the northern boundary of British territory in America

1620 at the parallel of forty-five degrees; and to that line the prayer of the petitioners had been limited. Now, the English government boldly instructed their law officer to include in the new patent all that part of Canada comprehended between the forty-fifth and the forty-eighth degrees. While the details of the proposed instrument were yet under advisement, Gorges and his associates probably received Dermer's second journal. By this they were in- 30 June. formed that the Hollanders were fairly s6 settled in a place" which the English called “Hudson's River, in trade with the natives;'? and that, upon those Hollanders being forbidden the place as British territory, they had answered that "they understood no such thing," nor had they found any English subjects there. In truth, since the return of the Sagadahoc colonists, no English subjects had permanently occupied any part of what was called New England. On the other hand, it was certain that the Dutch were actually in quiet possession of the region “ between New France and Virginia,” and that they had been so for at least six years after the building of their fort at Castle Island in 1614, and the grant of the New Netherland charter by the States General. The applicants for the New England patent deprecated any further delay. The tedious forms of English official law were at length completed; and a royal charter, which included three degrees of latitude more than had been originally comprehended in the patent of 1606, or been petitioned for by the Plymouth adventurers, was finally engrossed. Late in the au- i Nor tumn, the important instrument duly passed the great seal, by which the Duke of Lenox, the Marquises of Buckingham and Hamilton, the Earls of Arundel, Southampton, and Warwick, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Sir Francis Popham, and their associates and successors, forty in all, were incorporated by the king, as "the council established

* London Doc., i., 8; N. Y. Col. MSS., iii., 4; Hazard, i., 99; Mass. Hist. Collection, xxvi., 64.

CHAP. III. at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting,

ruling, and governing of New England in America.” 1620.

The political powers granted to the new corporation were immense. Emigrants who might become inhabitants of New England were to be subject to the plenary authority of the Plymouth council. By the terms of the patent, the corporation was invested with the absolute propriety and exclusive jurisdiction of the territories thenceforth to be known as “ New England in America,” extending from forty to forty-eight degrees of northerly latitude, and in length, by all the breadth aforesaid, throughout the main land, from sea to sea." It was distinctly alleged, in the preliminary recitals of the instrument, that the king had been certainly given to understand” that there were “no other the subjects of any Christian king or state, by any authority from their sovereigns, lords, or princes, actually in possession" of any of the lands or precincts “between the degrees of forty and forty-eight,” whereby any right or title might accrue to them; and this bold allegation was made a leading inducement to the patent. Yet the French occupation of Canada, as far south as the forty-fifth degree of latitude, was notorious to the world ; and Gorges and his associates, before their patent was sealed, must have received from Dermer the clearest evidence that the Dutch were “settled” in actual and quiet possession of New Netherland. The conveying clause, however-as if future embarrassment was anticipated-expressly provided that the premises intended to be granted “be not actually possessed or inhabited by any other Christian prince or estate," nor be within the bounds of Virginia.*

Thus the weak-minded King of England attempted to

affirm a dishonest dominion over nearly all the American The Dutch territory north of Virginia. Meanwhile, the Dutch re

mained in possession of their original discoveries, and continued to explore New Netherland. Cornelis Jacobsen May, who had been among the first to visit the neighbor* See the patent at length, in Hazard, i., 103–118; and in Trumbull's Connecticut, i., 546.

continue to explore New Nethorland.

May at the South Riy. er.

hood of Montauk Point, in the "Fortune," came out again Chap. III. in a new vessel, the “Blyde Boodschap," or Glad Tidings.

1620. On this voyage he seems to have directed his attention chiefly to the coasts and rivers southward of Manhattan. Besides examining the regions which Hendricksen had explored four years before, May also visited the Chesapeake, and ascended the James River as high as Jamestown.* The bay at the mouth of the South River was soon called by the Dutch “New Port May;" and the point at the southern extremity of New Jersey still retains the name of “ Cape May." Returning to Holland in the summer of Cape May. . 1620, May reported that he had discovered “certain new, populous, and fruitful lands” on the South River. The owners of the Glad Tidings accordingly applied to the 29 August States General for a special charter in their favor. At the same time, Hendrick Eelkens and his partners presented an opposing petition, alleging their prior discovery of the regions which May had only recently visited, and praying that the exclusive right to trade there might be granted to them. Upon this, the States General called both parties into their presence, and directed them to meet together and special arrange their differences. These differences, however, ap- fused. peared to be irreconcilable. After nearly three months' 6 Nov. investigation, a committee of the States General reported that they had vainly attempted to adjust the conflicting claims; and their High Mightinesses peremptorily refused the prayers of both memorials. But the importance of the regions around Manhattan was now becoming more fully appreciated at the Hague. In less than seven months from the rejection of May's ship-owners' petition, the long-pend - Company ing question of a grand commercial organization was final- by the ly settled ; and an ample charter gave the West India eral. Company almost unlimited powers to colonize, govern, and 1621. defend New Netherland.

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3 June,

* De Laet, xiii., p. 93.

+ Hol. Doc., i., 104-106 ; Wassenaar, ix., 124.


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