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fitt for that purpose which I intend to view next week." In October of the same year he says, "I have been obliged to purchase a tract of land on Hudson's river from Mr. Livingston, consisting of 6000 acres, for J£400 of this country money, for planting of the greatest division of the Palatines." He remarks that the soil is good, adjacent to pines which he had also purchased, and convenient to vessels of fifty foot water. He also informs the board of trade he had found an ungranted tract near by on the west side of the river where he had planted the remainder of the Palatines or intended to do so soon.
Mr. Robert Livingston, who sold the 6000 acres to Hunter, obtained a contract from the governor to victual the Palatines, and cheated them in the quantity of flour delivered, by marking the tare of the barrels less than the actual weight of them. The Palatines on Livingston's manor and on the opposite side of the Hudson river, in 1711, numbered about 1800 in all, according to the subsistance accounts rendered to the government by Livingston and his agents, and it is not probable they would make the number less than they should be. There appears to have been much complaint among these people in respect to their treatment by the government officials, and they no doubt felt themselves sorely aggrieved, and did not hesitate to present their case to the home government in strong but respectful language, boldly asserting that the conditions on which they agreed to come to New York had not been kept with them. A very considerable number of their children were taken from them by the governor and bound out to the inhabitants of the colony, and among these were two sons of John Conrad Weiser, who afterwards became somewhat conspicuous among the Schoharie settlers; and also John Peter Zenger, the son of a poor widow, who was bound to William Bradford, a printer in New York. Zenger, it is said, afterwards became the proprietor of a newspaper in that city, and having indulged rather freely in some strictures on the government, his paper was burned by the common hangman, and the patriotic and fearless Palatine was indicted for a libel in 1734. He was however acquitted on the traverse of the indictment, to the great gratification of the people assembled to hear the trial. Zenger was then about thirty years old.
In the year 1711, about three hundred Palatines accompanied Col. Nicholson in the expedition into Canada, and among these volunteers the following names are found: Hen. Hoffman, Warner Dirchest, Fred. Bellinger, Hen. Wederwachs, Frantz Finch, Martin Dillenback, Jacob Webber, William Nellis, George Dachstader, Christian Bauch, Mich. Ittick, Melch. Folts,NiclausLoux,Hartman Windecker, Hans Hen. Zeller, Jno. Wm. Finck, Jno. Hen. ArendorfT, Johan Schneider, Henry Feling, Joh. Jost Petry and Lud. W. Schmit, names familiar in the Mohawk valley, if they did not compose some of the first settlers at the German Flats.
Mr. Clark, the colonial secretary, under the date of May 30, 1711, informed the board of trade that the Palatines would not work at making pitch and tar, nor remain on the lands where they had been seated, on the Hudson river, but were intent on going to Sclwhary and settle on the lands the queen had ordered for them. In 1712 the insubordination had become so great that troops were called into the Palatine settlements to reduce the people to order. But Gov. Hunter failed in compelling an entire submission to his will, for in the fall of that year some of their leading men were sent to the Indians on the Schoharie creek to crave permission to settle among them, and this being granted, a Palatine migration to the Schoharie valley took place in the winter of 1712-13, comprising some forty or fifty families. Others followed, no doubt, soon after. This seems to be the first off-shoot of the first two emigrations in the direction of the Mohawk valley.
While the French retained Canada, it was no doubt a wise policy on the part of the mother country to strengthen the northern and western frontiers of this colony, and the Palatines having tasted the bitter cup of persecution in their own country, and suffered all the horrors that savage and relentless war could inflict, but death, which to many would have been a blessing, were the fittest people on the European continent to be placed where the home government designed they should be. They had not forgotten the names of the nations, the armies and religionists which had sacked and burned their towns and hamlets and driven them from loved homes and revered fatherland, nor would they soon disremember them.
In a letter written in March, 1711, by a member of the British government to one of his colleagues, the writer says: "I think it unhappy that Colo. Hunter at his first arrival in his government fell into ill hands, for this Livingston has been known many years in that province for a very ill man, he formerly victualled the forces at Albany, in which he was guilty of most notorious frauds by which he greatly improved his estate; he has a mill and a brew-house upon his land, and if he can get the victualling of those Palatines who are conveniently posted for his purpose, he will make a very good addition to his estate, and I am persuaded the hopes he has of such a subsistance to be allowed, were the chief, if not the only inducements that prevailed with him to propose to Colo. Hunter to settle them upon his land." Hunter was no doubt the willing dupe of, or sadly overreached by Livingston, and his folly or imbecility had come to the knowledge of his superiors. His bills were protested and the adjustment of his accounts suspended for further examination and vouchers.
A biographical notice of this Robert Livingston shows him to have been a native of Scotland—that he came to this country in 1674, settled at Albany, and filled several important offices in the course of a long and pretty successful life. That at one time he had some connection with the world-renowned and "most abandoned villain," Capt. Kidd, whom he had introduced to the notice of Lord Bellomont, when colonial governor, and that all three were in some way concerned in fitting out a privateer of which Kidd was to take charge on joint account. Livingston's biographer acquits him and Lord Bellomont of being cognizant of Kidd's felonies on the high seas, but thinks he was possessed of large acquisitiveness. He no doubt acquired a good deal of wealth from his connection with the Palatines, not alone by means of his contract with the government for victualing them, but in appropriating their labor to improving his lands.
Governor Burnet came out in the year 1720, and in consequence of the preceding troubles had with the Palatines and the difficulties attendant on the coercive efforts to retain them on the Hudson river, he was specially instructed to remove such of them as might desire it, to lands more suitable for them. The action of the home government was, no doubt, accelerated by the presentation of a strong memorial from the commissioners of the Palatines at Schoharie, who went to England in 1718 to present the condition, grievances and oppressions of the Germans in the province of New York to the proper authorities there. John Conrad Weiser, a captain of one of the companies in the expedition against Montreal in the year 1711, was at the head of this commission. Their petitions or memorials were presented to the board of trade only sixteen days before the above instructions were given.
The object has been, in this examination, to fix the date of the first settlement of the Palatines at German Flats, and since it is known that these people came over at different times, to ascertain which three bodies of immigrants, or what portions of them finally seated themselves in the wilderness frontier of the upper Mohawk valley.
The third company of Palatine immigrants arrived at New York from Holland in October, 1722, having touched at England on the passage ; and the ship in which they came had lost many of its passengers during the voyage. The exodus of the Palatines from Schoharie to Pennsylvania and the lower valley of the Mohawk had not taken place before this period.
On the 21st November, 1722, Gov. Burnet informed the board of trade, &c., that he had expected when he was at Albany, to have fixed the Palatines in their new settlement which he had obtained of the Indians for them at a very easy purchase, but in consequence of the divisions among them, and their complaints about the quality of the lands in the new purchase, he concluded not to show any earnestness in pressing them to go on to the lands. But he says there were about sixty families who desired to have a distinct tract by themselves, and being those who had all along been most hearty for the government, he had given them leave to purchase lands from the Indians between the English settlements near Fort Hunter and part of Canada, on a creek called Canada creek, where they will be more immediately a barrier against the sudden incursions of the French, who made this their road when they last attacked and burned the frontier town called Schonedady. The Indian deed for the lands at and west of Little Falls, covered in part by the so called Burnetsfield patent, is dated July 9th, 1722, anterior to the arrival of the third company of Palatine immigrants, and this fact forces the conclusion that the grantees of the patent were composed chiefly, if not entirely of those Palatines who arrived in 1710, and were first seated on the Hudson river; and this view seems to be strengthened by Gov. Burnet's remarks to the board of trade. It is quite certain that but few, if any, of the Schoharie people were among the first settlers of the German Flats, unless they straggled from below. But there is no such name as Erghemar, Herkemer or Herkimer in the lists of those who came over in the two first companies of immigrants, nor apparently any name from which Herkimer could be derived or coined without violating all known rules of etymology.