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ofteni arriving. Most of these came from the Dutch Netherlands, and thus transferred the domestic economy and habits of Holland and the Rhine to the banks of the Hudson. Ships were loaded with bricks, bürnt in Holland; and at first, every dwelling was modeled after those they had left, and with store-rooms for trade, like those of Amsterdam and other trading towns in Fatherland. Thus, at New Amsterdam and Fort Orange (Albany), rows of houses could be seen built of imported brick, with thatched roofs, wooden chimneys, and their gable ends always toward the street. Inside were all the neatness, frugality, order, and industry which the inmates brought from their native land. A few of these original, venerable Dutch homes were to be seen, till within a year or two, in this city; but we do not know of a single one now. Several yet remain in Albany; and it is almost worth a trip there to see these striking relics of “ye olden time.” Until the year 1642, city lots and streets were unknown, adventurers and settlers selecting land wherever most convenient for their purpose.
Hence the crooked courses of some of our down-town streets.*
Cornelius Dircksen owned a farm by the present Peck Slip, and ferried passengers across the East River for the small price of three stivers, in wampum. At that time, Pearl street formed the bank of the river. Water, Front, and South streets have all been reclaimed for the purpose of increasing trade and commerce. The old wooden, shingled house, one of the last venerable relics of the olden time, on the corner of Peck Slip, was so near the river, that a stone could easily be thrown into it. Pearl, it is thought, was the first street occupied, the first houses being built here, in 1633. Bridge street came next; and a deed is still in existence for a lot on it, thirty-four by one hundred and ten feet, for the sum of twenty-four guilders, or nine dollars and sixty-cents. This is the earliest conveyance of city property on record. Whitehall, Stone, Broad, Beaver, and Marketfield were opened soon after. In the year 1642, the first grant of a city lot, east of the fort at the Battery, was made to Hendricksen Rip. During the next year, several lots were granted on the lower end of “Heese Straat,” as Broadway was then named. Martin Krigier was the first grantee of a lot in this section, opposite the Bowling Green, which contained eighty-six rods. There he built the well-known “Krigier's Tavern,” which soon became a fashionable resort.f
Nor during all this time did the fur trade fail to keep pace with the growing local prosperity of the place. During the year 1635, the Directors
* Pearl street, for instance.
+ Upon the demolishment of this tavern, the “ King's Arms' Tavern” occupied its place, which in after years was the headquarters of the British General Gig
ige. Subsequently, it became the “Atlantic Garden,” No. 9 Broadway, where it long remained one of the striking mementoes of the olden time.
in Holland received returns from this province to the amount of nearly 135,000 guilders. But the traffic in furs was not the only source of gain. Besides that monopoly, they had commenced a profitable commerce with New England. Dutch vessels brought tobacco, salt, horses, oxen, and sheep from Holland to Boston. An old account says they came from the Texel in five weeks and three days, “and lost not one beast or sheep." Potatoes from Bermuda were worth two pence the pound; a good cow, twenty-five or thirty pounds; and a pair of oxen readily brought forty pounds. In Virginia, corn rose to twenty shillings the bushel during the year 1637; a shepel, or three pecks of rye, brought two guilders, or eighty cents; and a laborer readily earned, during harvest, two guilders
These were high prices for those times, and were probably caused, in a measure, by the sanguinary war which the New England Puritans* were carrying on with their Indian neighbors. The Pequods, failing to deliver the murderers of Stone, according to treaty, had tendered an atonement of wampum, but Massachusetts demanded" blood for blood”; and they obtained it in the wars that followed. Winthrop says: "Scarcely a sannup, a woman, a squaw, or a child of the Pequod name, survived.' An aboriginal nation had been exterminated. It is the fashion to indulge in much panegyric about these ancestral doings, but here we can calmly trace the first attempt of the white race to extirpate the red men from their ancestral birthright of the northern regions of America.
Notwithstanding, however, the large prices obtained for its wares, the year 1638 found the condition of New Netherland very unpromising. Aithough its affairs had now been administered for fifteen years by that powerful body, the West India Company, still, the country was scarcely removed from its primitive wilderness state, and, excepting the Indians, it was inhabited by only a few traders and clerks of a distant corporation. Its rich, virgin soil remained almost entirely uncultivated, and the farms did not amount to more than half a dozen. Doubtless, the Directors of the West India Company governed New Netherland chiefly to promote their own special interests—to advance which, large sums had been expended. But no efforts had been made as yet to introduce, on a large scale, a sound and industrious emigration. The patroon system also, to which reference has already been made, greatly retarded the settlement of the colony. A monopoly, its patroons neglected their most important duties as planters, and used their energies and means to compete with the Company in the Indian trade; consequently, misunderstandings and disputes followed which became almost fatal to the prosperity of the new settlement.
* Puritans, not Pilgrims. These terms, though generally used synonomously, refer to two entirely different classes of men. The Pilgrims never practiced religious persecution; the Puritans did. The Pilgrims came over some fifteen years earlier than the Puritans.
At this critical moment, William Kieft, the third Director-General and Governor, arrived March, 1638, as the successor of the weak Van Twiller. His first step was to organize a Council, retaining, however, its entire control. Dr. Johannes La Montagnie, a learned Huguenot, was appointed by him a member of this new board; Cornelis Van Tienhoven, from Utrecht, one of the oldest settlers, was made Colonial Secretary, with a salary of two hundred and fifty dollars per annum ; while Ulrich Leopold continued as Schout-Fiscal, or Sheriff and Attorney-General. Adrian Dircksen was made Assistant-Commissary, because he spoke correctly the language of the Mohawks, and was well versed in the art of trading with them.” The Rev. Mr. Bogardus continued the Dominie, and Adain Roolansen the Schoolmaster. *
The new Governor found the town in an extremely dilapidated condition. The fort, rebuilt only three years before, under a government contract, had lasted about as long as work generally does that is performed by army or government contractors, either of the past or present day. It had fallen completely into decay; all the guns were off their carriages ; and the public buildings, as well as the church, were all out of repair ; orly one of the three wind-mills was in operation; and the Company's fine farms had no tenants-not even a goat remaining upon them. But the new Governor came charged with more onerous duties than simply the repair of houses; he was the bearer of a decree that no person in the Dutch Company's employ should trade in peltry, or import any furs, under a penalty of losing their wages, and a confiscation of their goods. Abuses also existed in all the departments of the public service, which Kieft vainly attempted to remedy by proclamations. Death was threatened against all who should sell guns or powder to the Indians; after nightfall, all sailors were to remain on board their vessels; no persons could retail any liquors, "except those who sold wine at a decent price, and in moderate quantities,” under penalty of twenty-five guilders (ten dollars), and the loss of their stock. Tobacco, then as now, was greatly in demand, the rich, virgin soil about New Amsterdam suiting the plant well; consequently, plantations for its cultivation increased so fast, that the plant was now also subjected to excise, and regulations were published by the Director to regulate its mode of culture, and check certain abuses which was injuring "the high name" it had “gained in foreign countries." But the new Governor did not confine himself to correcting official abuses solely; he issued also, proclamations to improve the moral condition of the settlement; and all persons were seriously enjoined to abstain from "fighting, calumny, and all other immoralities," as the guilty would be punished, and made a terror to evil-doers. Rightly judging also, that public worship would be a peaceful auxiliary to his labors, and the old wooden church built by Van Twiller having fallen to pieces, he determined to erect a new one inside the fort. Jochem Pietersen, Knyter, Jan. Jansen Damen, with Kieft and Captain Vries, as “ Kirke Meesters,” superintended the new work, and John and Richard Ogden were the masons. The building was of stone, seventy-two by fifty-two feet, and sixteen high, and cost 2,500 guilders; its legend, translated from the Dutch, read : “ Anno Domini, 1642, Wilhelm Kieft, Director-General, hath the Commonalty caused to build this temple.” New Amsterdam had a townbell; this was now removed to the belfry of the new church, whence it regulated the city movements, the time for laborers, the courts, merry wedding peals, tolled the funerals, and called the people to the Lord's House.*
* Here are some of the salaries of that early day, which we give for the benefit of some of our city officials : La Montagnie, as Member of the Council, fourteen dollars a month; book-keeper, fourteen dollars and forty cents, with eighty dollars for his yearly board; the mason, eight dollars; joiner, six dollars and forty cents; carpenter, seven dollars and fifty cents, and forty dollars a year for board !
† Albany Records, II., 3–12.
Hardly, however, had Kieft got his plans for the moral reformation of his people fairly under way, when, as before hinted, the patroons began to give fresh trouble; that class now (1638) demanded “new privileges"
”— “ that they might monopolize more territory—be invested with the largest feudal powers, and enjoy free trade throughout New Netherland.” Nor was this all. In their arrogance, they also demanded that all “private persons” and poor emigrants should not be allowed to purchase lands from the Indians, but should settle within the colonies under the jurisdiction of the manorial lords—i. e., themselves.
These grasping demands of the patroons were reserved for future consideration by the States-General ; and it was determined to try free competition in the internal trade of New Netherland. A notification was accordingly published by the Amsterdam Chamber, that all the inhabitants of the United Provinces, and of friendly countries, might convey to New Netherland, “in the Company's ships," any cattle and merchandise, and might “receive whatever returns they or their agents may be able to obtain in those quarters therefor.” A duty of ten per cent. was paid to the Company on all goods exported from New Netherland with the freight. Every emigrant, upon his arrival at New Amsterdam, was to receive - as much land as he and his family could properly cultivate.” This liberal system gave a great impulse to the prosperity of New Netherland, by encouraging the emigration of substantial colonists, not only from Holland, but from Virginia and New England. Conscience had ever been free in New Netherland, and now trade and commerce were also made free to all. Political franchise in Massachusetts was limited to church members, and now many men began to inquire after the Southern ports,” not from the climate there, or the necessary wants of life, but, in the language of the old chronicler, “ to escape their insupportable government." The only obligation required of emigrants was an oath of fidelity and allegiance to the colony, the same as imposed upon the Dutch settlers. Both parties enjoyed equal privileges.
* At this period (1638), the settlers in New Amsterdam obtained their supplies from the Company's store at fifty per cent. advance on prime cost, a list of prices being placed in a conspicuous position in some place of public resort. Here are some of the rates: Indian corn, sixty cents per schepel of three pecks; barley, two dollars ; peas, three dollars and twenty-five cents; flour, one dollar ; pork, five stivers ; fresh meat, five ; butter, eight; tobacco, seven; dried fish, twelve (two York shillings) per pound; hard-bread, fifteen; rye, ftve; wheaten, seven; cabbage, twelve dollars per hundred; staves, thirty-two dollars per thousand ; a hog, eight dollars; ordinary wine, thirty-one dollars per hogshead; Spanish wine, four stivers; French wine, ten per quart; sugar, seventeen and twenty-four per pound; flannel, one dollar and twenty cents per ell; cloth, two dollars; white linen, eighteen to twenty stivers ; red flannels, one dollar and twenty cents; children's shoes, thirty-six stivers, or six York shillings; a pair of brass kettles, forty cents each.
This free internal trade, however, produced some irregularities; and a new proclamation now became necessary to warn all persons against selling guns or ammunition to the Indians. Still another edict prohibited persons from sailing to Fort Orange (Albany), and the South River (Fort Hope), and returning without a passport. Another very unpopular edict also, was shortly after issued by Kieft. His extreme anxiety to serve his patrons caused him to “demand some tribute” of maize, furs, or sewant, from the neighboring Indians, “whom," he said, “we have thus far defended against their enemies ;” and in case of their refusal, proper measures were to be taken to remove their reluctance."
In regard, however, to the Governor's proclamation against selling guns, &c., to the Indians, nothing can be said against it. The case demanded it. Freedom of trade with the savages had, indeed, run into abuses and injurious excesses.
The colonists neglected agriculture for the quicker gains of traffic ; and at times by settling“ far in the interior of the country,” and, by great familiarity and treating," brought themselves into contempt with the Indians. Evil consequences, as a matter of course, followed this unwise conduct-the most unfortunate of which was supplying the savages with new weapons of defense. They considered the gun, at first, “ the Devil,” and would not even touch it; but, once discovering its fatal use, eagerly sought the fire-arms of the whites. They would willingly barter twenty beaver-skins for a single musket, and pay ten or twelve guilders for a pound of powder. As no merchandise became so valuable to the red men, the West India Company foresaw the evil of arming the savages, and declared the trade in fire-arms contraband. It even forbade the supply to the New Netherland Indians, under penalty of death. But the prospect of large profits easily nullified this law of prudence and wisdom.