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To assist him in carrying out his instructions, the Director was furnished with an Executive Council. The latter body was, in turn, assisted by the Koopman, who acted as Secretary to the province and book-keeper of the public warehouse. Last of all, came the Schout-Fiscal, a civil factotum, half sheriff and attorney-general, executive officer of the Council, and general custom-house official. Thus early had the Dutch an eye to the “ main chance," the export of furs that year (1626) amounting to $19,000, and giving promise of a constant increase.
Some thirty rudely-constructed log-houses now extended along the shores of the East River, and these, with a block-house, a horse-mill, and a " Company's" thatched stone building, constituted the settlement two hundred and forty-two years since of the present City of New York. Clergyman or schoolmaster was as yet unknown in the infant colony. Every settler had his own cabin and cows, tilled his land, or traded with the Indians—all were busy, like their own emblem, the beaver.
In the year 1629, the “Charter of Privileges and Exemptions" was granted in Holland, and patroons were allowed to settle in the new colony. This important document transferred to the free soil of America the old feudal tenure and burdens of Continental Europe. The proposed Patrooneries were only transcripts of the Seigneuries and Lordships so common at that period, and which the French were, at the same time, establishing in Canada. In that province, even at the present day, the feudal appendages of jurisdiction, preëmption rights, monopolies of mines, minerals, and waters, with hunting, fishing, and fowling, form a part of the civil law. Pursuing, however, a more liberal policy, the grantees of the charter to the New Netherland patroons secured the Indian's right to his native soil, at the same time enjoining schools and churches.
Meanwhile, the settlement in New Netherland continued to prosper, and soon became the principal depot for the fur and coasting trade of the patroons. The latter were obliged to land all their cargoes at Fort Amsterdam; and in the years 1629–30, the imports from old Amsterdam amounted to 113,000 guilders, and the exports from Manhattan exceeded 130,000. The Company reserved the exclusive right to the fur trade, and imposed a duty of five per cent. on all the trade of the patroons.
The inhabitants, in order not to be idle, turned their attention, with fresh zeal, to ship-building, and with so much success, that as early as 1631, New Amsterdam had become the metropolis of the New World. The New Netherland, a ship of 800 tons, was built at Manhattan, and dispatched to Holland—an important event of the times, since the vessel was one of the largest merchantmen of the world. It was a very costly experiment, however, and was not soon repeated. Emigrants from all nations now began to flock into the new colony. They were principally induced to come by the liberal offers of the Dutch Company, who transported them in its own vessels at the cheap rate of twelve and a half cents per diem for
passage and stores; giving them, also, as a still further inducement, as much land as they could cultivate. Nor were these the only reasons which caused so many to leave their Fatherland. With a wise and liberal policy, totally different from that of its eastern neighbors, the Dutch province granted the fullest religious toleration. The Walloons, Calvinists, Huguenots, Quakers, Catholics, and Jews, all found a safe and religious home in New Netherland, and here laid the broad and solid foundation of that tolerant character ever since retained by the City of New York. In our streets and along our broad avenues may be seen on any Sabbath, Jews, Gentiles, and Christians, all worshipping God in their sacred temples, and "according to the dictates of their own consciences.”
In the meantime, the Directors of the West India Company calculated, with the strong aid of the patroons, upon colonizing the new country, and, at the same time, securing the important free trade in their own hands. But they were met, almost at the outset, with serious opposition from that class who, not content with a negative policy, took active measures to seriously injure this traffic. From the first, the object of the patroons had seemed to be a participation in the Indian trade, rather than the colonization of the country; and they had even claimed the privilege of trafficing with the Indians from Florida to Newfoundland, according to their charter of 1629. This extensive trade the West India Company justly considered an interference with their vested rights and interests, and no time was lost in presenting their complaints to the States-General. That body thereupon adopted new articles, the effect of which was essentially to limit the privileges already granted to the patroons. This misunderstanding had the effect of interrupting, for a time, the efforts making to colonize and advance the new country. At length, in 1632, both parties became in a complete state of antagonism as to their privileged charters; and, for a little time, a civil war seemed inevitable. In the same year (1632), Peter Minuit, the Director, it will be remembered, of New Netherland, was suspected of favoring the -patroons, and was recalled from his Directorship. He returned to Holland in the ship Eendragt (which had brought over his dismissal), whịch carried, also, a return cargo of 5,000 beaver-skins-an evidence of the colony's commercial prosperity. The vessel, driven by stress of weather, put into the harbor of Plymouth, where she was retained, on the ground of having illegally interfered with English monopolies. This arrest of the Dutch trader led to a correspondence between the rival powers, in which the respective claims of each were distinctly set forth. The Hollanders claimed the province on the following grounds : 1st. Its discovery by them in the year 1609; 2d. The return of their people in 1610; 3d. The grant of a trading charter in 1614; 4th. The maintainance of a fort, until 1621, when the West India Company was organized; and, 5th. Their purchase of the land from the Indians. The English, on the
contrary, defended their right of possession from the prior discovery of Cabot, and the patent of James I. to the Plymouth Company. The Indians, they argued, as wanderers, were not the bona fide owners of the land, and hence, had no right to dispose of it; consequently, their titles must be invalid. But England, being at this period just on the eve of
civil war, was in no condition to enforce her claiins; and she, therefore, having released the Fendragt, contented herself with the mere assumption of authority-reserving the accomplishment of her designs until a more convenient season.
At length, in the month of April, 1633, the ship Southberg reached Manhattan with Wouter Van Twiller, the new Director-General (or Governor), and a military force of one hundred and four soldiers, together with a Spanish caraval, captured on the way. Among the passengers, also came Dominie Everadus Bogardus and Adam Roolansen, the first regular clergyman and schoolmaster to New Amsterdam. A church now became indispensable ; and the room over the horse-mill, where prayers had been regularly read for seven years, was abandoned for a rude, wooden church, on Pearl, between Whitehall and Broad streets, on the shore of the East River. This was the first Reformed Dutch Church in the city; and near by were constructed the parsonage and the Dominie's stables. The grave-yard was laid out on Broadway, in the vicinity of Morris street.
Van Twiller occupied "Farm No. 1” of the Company, which extended from Wall to Hudson street. “Farm No. 3,” at Greenwich, he appropriated as his tobacco plantation. The new Governor and the · Dominie did not harmonize. Bogardus having interfered in public concerns, which Van Twiller resented, the former, from his pulpit, pronounced the Governor a “ Child of Satan.” This, doubtless, was very true, but the
Child of Satan” became so incensed, as never to enter the church-door again. Early times had their own peculiar ways of doing things, the same as ourselves. In 1638, " for slandering the Rev. E. Bogardus,” an old record states, “ a woman was obliged to appear at the sound of a bell, in the fort, before the Governor and Council, and say that she knew he was honest and pious, and that she had lied falsely."
*Van Twiller had been promoted from a clerkship in the Company's warehouse, and seems to have been a very incompetent Governor. He probably obtained the place, not from fitness, but from the same means which act in similar cases at the present day, viz. : political influence, arising from the fact that he had married the daughter of Killian Van Rensselaer, the wealthy patroon.
The Company had authorized him to fortify the depots of the fur trade. Accordingly, the fort on the Battery, commenced in the year 1626, was rebuilt, and a guard-house and barracks prepared for the soldiers. Several brick and stone dwellings were erected within the fort, and three windmills, used to grind the grain necessary for the garrison, on the southwest bastion of the fort. African slaves were the laborers principally engaged upon these improvements. At a subsequent period, when these slaves had grown old, they petitioned the authorities for their freedoin, and recounted their services at the time mentioned in support of their application,in proof of which they presented a certificate, given them by their overseer: “That, during the adminstration of Van Twiller, he (Jacob Stoffelsen), as overseer of the Company's negroes, was continually employed with said negroes in the construction of Fort Amsterdam, which was finished in 1635; and that the negroes assisted in chopping trees for the big house, making and splitting palisades, and other work." The big house” here referred to was the Governor's résidence. It was built of brick, and was, no doubt, a substantial edifice, as it is found to have served for the residence of successive chiefs of the colony during all the Dutch era, and for a few years subsequent.
In respect to the walls of the fort, they were in no wise improved by the incompetent Van Twiller, except the northwest bastion, which was faced with stone. The other parts of the walls were simply banks of earth without ditches; nor were they even surrounded by a fence to keep off the goats and other animals running at large in the town. When Governor Kief arrived, in 1638, as Van Twiller's successor, he found the fort in a decayed state : "opening on every side, so that nothing could obstruct going in or coming out, except at the stone point.” Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the fort exercised a very salutary influence in keeping the Indians at a respectful distance.*
In 1633, the commercial importance of New Amsterdam was increased by the grant of the “Staple Right," a sort of feudal privilege similar to the institutions of Fatherland. By it, all vessels trading along the coast, or sailing on the rivers, were obliged either to discharge their cargoes at the port, or pay certain duties. This soon became a valuable right, as it gave to New Amsterdam the commercial monopoly of the whole Dutch province.
A short time before the arrival of Governor Van Twiller, De Vries, whose little colony at Suaaendael, Delaware, had been cut off by the
* In 1641, an Indian war broke out, and raged for many months, resulting in the complete devastation of most of the farms and exposed settlements, even those lying within a stone's-throw of Fort Amsterdam. The frightened settlers fled to the fort ; but the accommodation in the fort not affording them an adequate shelter, they established their cottages as close as possible to the protecting ramparts. Thus it was that two or three new streets were formed around the southern and eastern walls of the fort. After the danger had passed, these buildings were allowed to remain, and grants of land were made to the possessors. Thus was formed that portion of the present Pearl street west of Whitehall street, and also a portion of the latter street - Valentine's Manual, **
Indians, returned to America on a visit, in the mammoth ship, New Nethers, land. A yacht, about this time, also arrived—the English ship, William, with Jacob Eelkins, who had been dismissed as supercargo by the Company, in 1632. Enraged by this dismissal, he had entered the service of the English, and had now returned to promote their interests in the fur trade on the Mauritius (Hudson) River...
This was a bold act, and contrary to the policy of the West India Company. Accordingly, Van Twiller, who, though an inefficient Governor, was a thorough merchant, and understood the important monopoly of the fur trade, refused permission for the vessel to proceed further on its way. His demand upon Eelkins for.his commission was refused by the latter, on the ground that he occupied British territory, and would sail up the river at the cost, if need be, of his life. Thereupon, the Director, ordering the national flag to be hoisted, and three guns fired in honor of the Prince of Orange, forbade him to proceed further in the name of his master, the Dutch Government. But, far from being daunted by this prohibition, Eelkins answered by running up, in his turn, the British colors, firing a salute for King Charles, and coolly steering up the river in defiance of Fort Amsterdam. The amazement of Van Twiller at the audacity of the ex-Dutch Agent may be easily imagined. Astonished, as he was, at this daring act, the Director, nevertheless, proceeded very philosophically :First, he summoned all the people in front of the fort, now the Bowling Green; next, he ordered a cask of wine, and another of beer; then, filling his own glass, he called on all good citizens who loved the Prince of Orange to follow his patriotic example, and drink confusion to the English Government. The people, of course, were not slow in obeying this reasonable request; indeed, what more could they do, for the English ship was now far beyond all reach, safely pursuing her way up the Hudson. Still, while they drank his wine, they were deeply mortified at the Governor's cowardice. De Vries openly accused him with it, and plainly told him, if it had been his case, he should have sent some “eight-pound beans" after the impudent Englishman, and helped him down the river again; but it being now too late to do this, he should send the Southberg, after him, and drive him down the river. The effect of this advice was not lost upon the Governor, for in a few days after, Van Twiller screwed up his courage sufficiently to dispatch an armed force to Fort Orange (Albany), where Eelkins had pitched his tent, and where he was found busily engaged in trading with the Indians. The Dutch soldiers quickly destroyed his canvas store, and, reshipping the goods, brought the vessel back to Fort Amsterdam. Eelkins was then required to give up his peltry; after which, he was sent to sea, with the warning never again to interfere with the Dutch Government trade.
Meanwhile, the settlement at Fort Amsterdam--the New York embryo—continued to increase and prosper, men of enterprise and wealth