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"By the bitter road, the younger son must tread
In the seventeenth century, among the English, the above stanza was true, with one outstanding difference, as it was when Kipling penned the situation two centuries later. For decades upon decades it had been a custom for the bulk of the father's estate to descend to but one, usually the eldest, son. While this was not universal amongst the yeomanry, nevertheless, it was not unusual. In New England, however, as also in some localities in old England, this procedure, - designated as it was to carry on the family's responsibility, - was not infrequently reversed and the younger son, instead of the elder, often became the heir to the essential part of the parent's estate. This was known as "Borough English". And thus it was with Anthony's family. Two of his oldest sons, Peter and Robert, were well acquainted beforehand, with their future expectations, and had been provided, by their father, with adequate means for setting themselves up in some new quarter. It was thus, the custom for these, the lesser heirs, to look over prospective fields of endeavor, and in America, join with a company about to embark into a new section of wilderness.
Although traveling in the early days was somewhat more of a formidable undertaking as compared with that of later centuries, the sons of these early colonists not infrequently made journeys to and fro not only among the smaller settlements in the vicinity, but often beyond the very frontiers. One of Anthony's sons, Robert, had ventured, as far away as the Dutch territory beyond New Amsterdam, Nieuw Nederlands, it was called and according to tradition, as early as 1657 had negotiated a private purchase from the Indians, residing thereon, of land across from Staten Island. Many of these early English attempts to force a settlement into Dutch territory had been promptly beaten off by Dutch troops; and as for the practice of individuals privately contracting with the Indians for land, without a special warrant from the government, it was soon to be made strictly unlawful procedure, in all the colonies. In this venture into the Dutch terri tory, Peter Morse, the second generation of this tale, may have journeyed with his brother. By 1663, however, Peter accompanied by Robert had travelled to Long Island which, at that time, was a disputed area between the Dutch and the English. If this migration was accomplished over land, it was along the old Indian trails worn deep with centuries of Indian traffic. Perhaps the journey was made by
water, and this would have been by far the less tedious method and the more popular one, for all the men of the period were greatly skilled in the handling of all types of watercraft.
Peter eventually arrived at a tiny new settlement laying but a few miles easterly of the large Dutch trading post and town of New Amsterdam, and under the Dutch influence, if not indeed under its jurisdiction. At this area were not a few Englishmen as well as some seafaring Dutch from the shores of Virginia and Maryland. From here it was an easy sail down New Towne creek to the greater settlement on Manhattan Island. Here was to be found even then a most cosmopolitan community, although the greater part of the inhabitants were Dutch families who had established themselves there more than a decade before. Among them was Claes Martenszoon Van'T Rosenvelt, the founder of a family which was to become so prominent in the America to come.
On the western portion of Long Island Peter and Robert found themselves in a most complicated political territory. The gradual encroachment of Englishmen towards, and even into, the Dutch claims, was creating a situation wrought with considerable embarrassment to both the English and the Dutch authorities. The English had rumors that the Duke of York was shortly to "take over" the entire area. The Dutch, sensing the same, nevertheless were powerless to act, and by some agreement it was determined by both parties, English as well as Dutch, to consider these western Long Island settlements a sort of a semi-official Confederacy of English towns.
Peter and his brother "upon ye disbursement off ffour pounds a peece" joined-up with a company comprising, in the end, some eighty men -- "wel disposed men of sober and peacfull conversation", according to John "inthrop, a contemporary and the most scholarly man of the day in New England. Their object was the "purchase" of land "beyond the bay, or at "Affter Kull -- (as it was called, by the Dutch) -- situated some 15 miles Southwest of Manhattan Island, and not unfamiliar to Peter's brother and to the agents of the "company. A most fertile and healthful area, it seemed destined by fate to be but waiting for them to occupy. But forty-four years before, it had been seriously discussed as a landing place for the Mayflower Pilgrims, later as a proposed Grant to that staunch old Dutchman, Augustus Hermann; and in 1638, as the destination for Anne Hutchinson and her followers. Thus, although thrice threatened, it still retained its wild and primitive nature, including a number of Indian settlements, yet undisturbed. Peter and his company were unsuccessful, at first, in consumating the proposed settlement. For a half dozen years groups of New England men, many of them old hands at founding new settlements elsewhere, and for the time being living