Twenty-five years ago, when the late Lord Sherbrooke, better known as Robert Lowe, was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he made a very shallow speech on the uses of a classical education, in the course of which he amused himself with belittling the Greeks and Romans. Their history, he said, was hardly worth the time spent on it. The battle of Marathon, for example, was of less account than a modern explosion in a coal mine, which often slays a greater number of victims than the 192 Greeks who perished in withstanding the hosts of Darius Hystaspes. The moral intended was that the newspaper is a better text-book than Herodotus. Now I can imagine that too exclusive attention to the newspaper, with its myriad disconnected items of fact and fancy, might so destroy one's sense of perspective as to blind one to the importance of an event upon which hung the whole future of European civilization. No one with any sense of historic perspective needs to be told that the battle of Borodino, where 70,000 were killed and wounded, was a trivial event, even for Russians, compared with the battle of Marathon. In history we cannot measure things with a foot rule.
Possibly it may have occurred to some of my readers that the events recounted in the three foregoing chapters are extremely petty, almost beneath what some people call the dignity of history, whatever that may mean. We have the squabbles of rather commonplace men in a wilderness, intrigues and fulminations over the possession of some crazy blockhouse, campaigns in which there is more cursing than slaying, varied by the protests of a small trading village p191against misgovernment. There is not much that is inspiring in it, and the pettiness stands to some extent confessed. There is certainly no fateful Marathon here, yet here too we find that events physically small may have large consequences. Champlain's victory over the Mohawks at Ticonderoga in 1609 was in itself a small affair compared with Montcalm's victory over British and American troops at the same place in 1758; yet Champlain's fight is an event of prime importance in American History, while Montcalm's is but a subordinate incident.
But even where the moral significance of an event is less marked than in this instance, there is real interest in the study of the minute and homely beginnings out of which great communities have grown. It is to be hoped that students of history will never forget the refusal of the men of Watertown in 1631 to pay part of the cost of a stockade at Cambridge; nor is it in any wise beneath the dignity of history to recall the fact that the sitting of the Massachusetts legislature in two chambers instead of one was determined by the grotesque incident of the Widow Sherman's stray pig.1 So in New Netherland the disputes of the Director with his board of Nine Men, the questions of jurisdiction between the Company and the patroons, involve principles of permanent interest to any one who studies the building of states. Oftentimes, indeed, there is an advantage in contemplating political and social phenomena on a small scale. The forces at work and the personalities of the actors seem to stand out more sharply and distinctly against the simple background. In spite of Mr. Robert Lowe, there is no better elementary training in history than that which one gets from studying the small city-states of ancient Greece, or the town life of Italy and Flanders in the Middle Ages.
In the beginnings of European colonization in America it is instructive to watch the kind of political seed sown in a virgin soil and see what it tells us concerning the fruition p192attained by the country from which it came. In the memorial addressed by the Nine Men of New Amsterdam to the States General at the Hague, we have seen that three things were asked for: 1. Government by the States General instead of by a commercial company; 2. A free municipal government at New Amsterdam instead of the arbitrary rule of the Director; 3. An adjustment of boundaries by treaty with the English government, so as to afford some security for the future. At the same time the Nine Men took occasion to express their admiration for the easy and spontaneous way in which free government had sprouted up in the English colonies all around them. There were many things of which they did not approve in their neighbours in New England, but they did approve of the town meetings and selectmen, the elected governors and free legislative assemblies. These were time-honoured English institutions, which the Puritans brought with them as inevitably as they brought their English speech, their Bibles, and their steeple hats. Under the influence of the feudal system the ancient English township meeting had differentiated into the open vestry for ecclesiastical and the manorial courts for civil purposes. The migration to New England was mainly a movement of organized churches; the manor with its courts was left behind, while the open vestry, resuming civil functions, became the town meeting. The change was almost automatic and unconscious; it did itself. The genesis of the legislature was equally simple. The representation of towns and boroughs by elected deputies in a county court had been for ages familiar to every Englishman, and the principle that only by such chosen representatives could he be taxed had been admitted for four centuries, though now and then a king had partially succeeded in evading it. When the Company of Massachusetts Bay — with its governor, its deputy-governor, and board of assistants — transferred itself across the Atlantic, it was only necessary to add to it the elected representatives, as was done after the Watertown protest, and p193there was at once a miniature parliament. When the towns on the Connecticut River organized themselves into a state with a written constitution, they naturally followed the same model. It was the form in which the English idea of government found spontaneous expression.
Now we do not find in New Netherland any such immediate and irrepressible reproduction of the free institutions of Holland. One explanation for this contrast at once suggests itself. The migration to New England was a migration of communities already organized in England; the parish, crossing the ocean, became the township, and, in its relations to the powers above it, assumed a shape essentially similar to that which it had maintained in the old country. The most fundamental fact in the case was that government by the primary assembly had not lost its vitality in rural England. What did not cross the ocean at that time, but was at a later period made the subject of conscious imitation, was the urban form of representative government, with the mayor at its head. Now the Dutch migration to New Netherland was not a migration of churches but of individuals. It brought with it no preëxisting organization. The resulting community was for a long time a fortuitous aggregation of traders, more at home on a ship's deck than in the farmyard, and without that abiding interest in creating and sustaining homes which an agricultural community feels.
This shifting mercantile community was governed by a commercial company whose prime interest in it was to make large dividends for its stockholders. The Director General was the salaried servant of the Company, and felt responsible to the Company rather than to the people whose affairs he administered. An honest officer, like Stuyvesant, never forgot that his first duty was to do things according to the Company's wishes, and he sometimes confessed, with a sigh, that he would be glad if it were consistent with duty to be more agreeable to people. A man of doubtful character, like Kieft, had little or nothing p194to restrain him from pursuing his own selfish ends at the expense of the people and in the name of the Company. In this rule, then, of a great commercial corporation, we see a grave obstacle to the ready transference of Dutch freedom from the Old to the New Netherland. We understand why the Nine Men in 1649 begged the home government to oust the Company and govern Dutchmen in America on the same principles as in Europe. We observe that sooner or later the same kind of petition was apt to go forth from English colonies under the government of proprietaries, as in the case of the Carolinas and Georgia. And perhaps we may feel like concluding that the principal cause of the difference between New Netherland and New England was the rule of the West India Company.
But the example of Virginia shows that such an explanation does not quite cover the ground. During the first seventeen years of its existence Virginia was governed by a great commercial corporation; during the first eleven years its population was quite as nondescript as that upon the island of Manhattan; and among its early rulers the unscrupulous Argall and the honest Dale were quite as despotic as Kieft and Stuyvesant, and far more harsh. Yet while New Netherland had to struggle so long, and with meagre success, for self-government, Virginia got it in full measure simply for the asking. The creation of a House of Burgesses in 1619 was as remarkable an instance of the reproductiveness of English institutions as anything that can be cited from New England. It was the work of two illustrious members of the Virginia Company, Sir Edwin Sandys and the Earl of Southampton, far-sighted statesmen who did not need to be told that a self-supporting English colony should be governed on the same principles that had made England great. It was easy to make this House of Burgesses because its constituencies, the parishes, had already sprung up spontaneously in Virginia. It immediately asserted the principle that no power save itself could lay taxes upon Virginians, and as early as 1635 p195we find it deposing an unpopular governor and sending him back to England. Thus in spite of the fact that Virginia, like New Netherland, started under the rule of a commercial company, there can be no doubt that the English liberties flourished in Virginia as notably as Dutch liberties languished in New Netherland. The example of Maryland is similarly instructive. In 1632 the need for a representative assembly in an English colony was recognized by making express provision for one in Lord Baltimore's charter. The growth of parishes, manors, and hundreds in Maryland is a further illustration of the spontaneous reproductiveness of English free institutions.
If we go to the bottom of the question, I think we shall see that the framework of political liberty on a national scale had never been so thoroughly organized in the Netherlands as in England. In some points the Dutch of the seventeenth century were still struggling with ideas which the English had mastered in the thirteenth and fourteenth. This was because the continental people of the Netherlands had been exposed to vicissitudes from which their insular cousins had been free. There was always the risk of a set-back from such a catastrophe as Roosebeke, or horrors like those of Liège and Dinant. Meanwhile Netherlandish liberty was won chiefly by walled cities, by guilds of craftsmen and traders. It was not uniformly diffused through the rural and urban populations, as in England. The Netherlands had never seen anything like the rising of the barons under Henry III. The burgomaster and the country squire had never learned to coöperate with each other as freely and naturally as in that House of Commons where the county magistrate, heir to a dukedom, sat side by side with the weaver and the locksmith. The form which the Dutch political constitution should assume on a national scale was not yet fully determined. For rural organization in the Dutch colony, the Dutch mind had reached only the patroonship; for urban organization the burghers asked for that with which they p196were familiar, a representative municipal government. The uses and powers of the primary assembly no longer retained their vitality, as in England.
When Mr. Douglas Campbell, in the midst of his asseverations that American free institutions are derived almost entirely from Holland and scarcely at all from England, comes to the point where such contrasts as the above need to be taken into consideration, he turns away his head and assures us that at least we learned from Holland the practice of recording deeds and mortgages!
Resuming our narrative where it was broken off at the close of the preceding chapter, we may note that Van der Donck's mission to the Hague achieved some of the results contemplated, albeit slowly and in spite of desperate opposition. The States General did not feel able to take over to themselves the government of New Netherland, for the interests enlisted in behalf of the West India Company were too powerful to be overridden. So the first article of the Nine Men's petition was not granted. As to the second article, the States General were willing that New Amsterdam should have a municipal government, with a schout, two burgomasters, and five schepens, and they recommended to the Company various wholesome measures, at the same time resolving that Stuyvesant should again be summoned to the Hague to give an account of his conduct. As to the third article, there was no serious objection to a commission for settling boundaries. The chief discussion was over the second article. The Company was opposed to the States General in every particular, denied the need for any reforms at New Amsterdam, sneered at the Nine Men, and upheld Stuyvesant in everything. This encouraged him to go on with his arbitrary ways. He began by insulting the Nine Men. The consistory of the church had assigned them a certain pew for their sole use; Stuyvesant forbade their using it. Then he stigmatized them in public as promoters of "schisms, factions, and intestine commotions." Finally p198a brilliant idea came to him; when a vacancy occurred in the board he refused to allow it to be filled, and by this ingenious method the obnoxious body was practically dissolved. But before such a consummation was reached, the Nine Men again appealed to the States General. At last, in 1653, the opposition gave way, and New Amsterdam was incorporated as a city. Its population had reached something like the number of 800 souls. It was declared with a flourish that the municipal government was to be as nearly as possible like that of the mother-city Amsterdam; but the Company's ideas of possibility were evidently quite limited, for Stuyvesant retained in his own hands the appointment of schout, burgomasters, and schepens, and insisted that he still had the right in his own person to make ordinances or to publish interdicts binding upon the city of New Amsterdam. The ordinary meetings of the city government were held on Monday mornings in the City Tavern which Kieft had built on Pearl Street; the building was thereafter known as the Stadt Huys, or City Hall. There the burgomasters and schepens at nine o'clock opened their sessions with prayer, and then proceeded to civic business. Stuyvesant often sat in the room and stamped on the floor with his wooden leg when things were not going as he wished.
This year 1653 may be cited as marking a new era for the Dutch province. Down to this time its progress in numbers and wealth had been slow and precarious. Looking back to the arrival of Henry Hudson in 1609, we can seem to distinguish five successive phases of colonial life: 1. The period of occasional visits of fur traders, from 1610 to 1614; 2. The period of unorganized and desultory effort under the New Netherland Company's monopoly, from 1614 to 1623; 3. The first experiments of the West India Company, under May, Verhulst, Minuit, and Van Twiller, from 1623 to 1638, including the establishment of patroonships; 4. The administration of Kieft, from 1638 to 1647, beginning with the attempt to attract colonists by p200throwing down all monopolies, and ending with the exhaustion consequent upon a great Indian war; 5. The first six years of Stuyvesant, during which the province was rapidly recovering from this loss of strength.
This rapid recovery was in part the tardy effect of the wholesome liberal measures of 1638. Colonists were beginning to come during Kieft's administration in much greater numbers than before, and had it not been for the Indian war the population would surely have shown an increase. In point of fact it diminished. But in 1649 the mission of Van der Donck to the Hague gave a more decided impulse to colonization than anything that had happened before. The long and animated discussion in the States General, and the personal eminence of Van der Donck, who was an advocate in the Supreme Court of Holland and a Doctor of Laws in the University of Leyden, created an interest in America hitherto unknown. In 1653 Van der Donck published his "Description of New Netherland," which was very widely read, — an excellent book for whatever had come within the author's direct knowledge, but often uncritical in what he gives us from hearsay. To the fresh interest in New Netherland thus excited on the continent of Europe there was added the knowledge that the traditional Dutch policy of religious toleration had been consistently carried out by Director Kieft. Of this there were several conspicuous instances, some of which I mentioned in a former chapter.
It was thus that many men of many creeds and tongues were drawn to New Amsterdam. During Stuyvesant's rule there was a great influx of Waldenses from Piedmont and of Huguenots from France, and besides these there were Scotch Presbyterians, English Independents, Moravians, Anabaptists, and Jews. In 1655 you might have gone from the Penobscot all the way to Harlem River without meeting any other civilized language than English, but in crossing the island of Manhattan you might have heard a dozen or fifteen European languages spoken. At p201that early stage the place had already begun to exhibit the cosmopolitan character which has ever since distinguished it. The increase of population consequent upon such a general migration was remarkable. In 1653 the population of New Netherland was about 2000, including the 800 in the city. By 1664 the total population was nearly 10,000, of which about 1600 were in the city. Thus while the population of Manhattan doubled in those eleven years, that of the whole province increased fivefold. Farmers had come, at last, and rural settlements had greatly expanded on Long Island and Staten Island, and on both shores of the Hudson, while the remotest northern frontier was pushed out from Beverwyck to Schenectady. The universal tolerance which made New Amsterdam so cosmopolitan was simply the traditional Netherlandish custom. It was not prescribed by the Company; on the contrary, one of the Company's rules forbade the setting up of any church except the Calvinistic Dutch Reformed. At first this restriction made no trouble. For several years there was no regular clergyman except Dominie Bogardus, and not enough people to make it worth while to establish other churches, while the general spirit was charitable and tolerant. But with the wholesale influx of sects under Stuyvesant a change was witnessed and attempts were made to inaugurate a persecuting policy. In this particular either Stuyvesant was less intelligent than Kieft or else his sense of duty to the Company was greater; and moreover the pastor at New Amsterdam, the most influential clergyman in the colony, Dominie Megapolensis, was something of a heresy hunter. By 1658 there were quite a number of Swedish and German Lutherans in New Amsterdam, who instead of going to church to listen to Megapolensis preferred to hold conventicles in private houses. They petitioned the Company for leave to set up a Lutheran church, with a pastor of their own, but the permission was refused. p202Stuyvesant imprisoned several persons for attending private meetings, but for this he was censured by the States General. In 1657, when Rev. Ernestus Goetwater arrived at Manhattan, with a commission from Amsterdam to act as pastor for the Lutherans, Dominie Megapolensis had him arrested and sent back to Holland.
The heavy hand of the law was also laid upon a few humble Baptists at Flushing. William Hallett, the sheriff, had the audacity to hold conventicles in his own house, and there "to permit one William Wickendam to explain and comment on God's Holy Word, and to administer sacraments, though not called thereto by any civil or clerical authority." For this heinous offence Hallett was removed from office and fined 500 guilders; while Wickendam, "who maintained that he was commissioned by Christ and dipped people in the river," was fined 1000 guilders and ordered to quit the country. On inquiry it appeared that he was "a poor cobbler from Rhode Island," without a stiver in the world; so the fine was perforce remitted, but the Baptist was not allowed to stay in New Netherland.
The worst sufferers, however, were the Quakers, a party of whom, expelled from Boston, landed at New Amsterdam in August, 1657. Several were at once arrested, but one of them, Robert Hodshone, kept on to Heemstede, on Long Island, where he spoke to several persons about the new society of Friends and its benevolent aims. While walking in an orchard he was seized and taken before a local magistrate, Richard Gildersleeve, who locked him up and went over to consult with Stuyvesant. Presently Gildersleeve returned with a squad of soldiers, who took away Hodshone's Bible and papers, tied him to a cart's tail, and dragged him over a rough road to the Brooklyn ferry. On arriving in New Amsterdam he was thrown into a filthy cellar among vermin and kept there half starved for several days. Then he was brought before Stuyvesant and the council, but was not allowed to speak in his own defence. He was sentenced to two years' hard labour with a wheelbarrow, or else to pay 600 guilders. As he had no money, the first alternative was imposed upon him. So on a sultry August morning the poor Quaker was brought out from his dungeon, chained to a wheelbarrow, and ordered to load it. He said he had done no evil and broken no law, and he would not obey. Then he was stripped to the waist, and a stalwart negro with a piece of rope beat him until he fell to the ground. This was repeated for several days, on one of which Hodshone was brought before Stuyvesant, who warned him that the whipping would go on until he should submit to his sentence. This, he assured the Director, he would never do. Then he was kept for two nights and a day without bread or water, and then hung up to the ceiling by his hands while a heavy log of wood was tied to his ankles. In this position he was cruelly beaten with rods. As he remained obdurate, the same torture was repeated after two days. But public sympathy was now aroused for Hodshone. An English woman came and bathed his wounds, and her husband sought to bribe the schout with a fat ox to let him come to his house until he should recover. It could not be done, said the schout, unless the whole fine were paid. There were those who were ready to make up the sum, but the Quaker would not allow it; a principle was at stake, and he would rather die. At length Stuyvesant's sister, Mrs. Bayard, a woman of sense and spirit, came to her brother and implored and upbraided him until in sheer self-defence he was obliged to set the prisoner free.
This outrageous treatment of Hodshone was condemned by public sentiment. We do not know what was said, but we may infer its tone from what happened a fortnight later at Flushing. One Henry Townsend, an upright and respected citizen, had some Quaker meetings in his house. He was fined eight pounds Flemish, or was else to be flogged and banished. The town officers of Flushing doggedly refused to enforce the sentence; and they set their names to a magnificent protest, in which they say: "The law of love, peace, and liberty, extending in the state to Jews, Turks, and Egyptians, forms the true glory of Holland; so love, peace, and liberty, extending to all in Christ Jesus, condemn hatred, strife, and bondage. But inasmuch as the Saviour hath said that it is impossible that scandal shall not come, but woe unto him by whom it cometh, we desire not to offend one of His little ones, under whatever form, name, or title he appear, whether Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist, or Quaker. . . . Should any of these people come in love among us therefore, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands on them. We shall give them free ingress and egress to our houses, as God shall persuade our consciences." In so doing, they said, they were convinced that they were conforming to the law of God, to the spirit of their charter, and to the wishes of the States General.2
The names of thirty-one valiant men are signed to this document. I do not know whether Flushing has ever raised a fitting monument to their memory. If I could have my way I would have the protest carved on a stately obelisk, with the name of Edward Hart, town clerk, and the thirty other Dutch and English names appended, and would have it set up where all might read it for the glory of the town that had such men for its founders. From Director Stuyvesant it brought them persecution. The town clerk was kept three weeks in jail; the two justices of the peace were suspended from office, the sheriff was cashiered and condemned to pay 200 guilders and costs, or, in case of refusal, to be banished from New Netherland, and various penalties were inflicted upon some of the other signers.
We sometimes hear the tolerant policy of New Netherland commended in loose general terms which seem to imply that record of that colony is unstained by acts of persecution. Unfortunately that is not the case. Quite a number of instances of persecution might be added to those which I have cite. But they were certainly exceptional cases, condemned by public opinion, and wholly at variance with Dutch policy. They redound to the discredit not of New Netherland, but of Stuyvesant. Had there been any effective constitutional method of restraining the Director's arbitrary will, they would not have occurred and therefore we cannot hold the people of New Netherland responsible to such an extent as we hold the people of Massachusetts responsible for the hanging of Quakers on Boston Common. As for Stuyvesant, his violent zeal carried him too far. There were narrow-minded men in the Amsterdam Chamber who did not favour the setting up of Lutheran or Baptist churches; but when it came to active persecution, the condemnation was unanimous; and a sharp rebuke was sent across the ocean to the over-zealous Director. Thus ended the letter of censure from the Amsterdam Chamber: "The consciences of men ought to be free and unshackled, so long as they continue moderate, peaceable, inoffensive, and not hostile to the government. Such have been the maxims of prudence and toleration by which the magistrates of this city have been governed; and the consequences have been, that the oppressed and persecuted from every country have found among us an asylum from distress. Follow in the same steps, and you will be blest."
The refined and courteous tone of this reprimand took nothing from its severity. Stuyvesant interfered no further with liberty of conscience. The case illustrates a tendency of his to err through excess of zeal, which made him sometimes a trial to the impatience of his employers. It was more than once decided to recall him to Holland, but the decision was often reconsidered. The points in his favour were his absolute integrity and loyalty, his executive ability, and the general confidence in his military capacity. The time was one when such a public officer could not well be spared. New Netherland was beset with rivals and enemies. Something must be said of the colony of New Sweden and p206of the rupture between Holland and England which had such momentous consequences in America.
It will be remembered that the original projector of the Dutch West India Company was the exiled Antwerp merchant, William Usselincx. After the incorporation of that company, in 1623, Usselincx visited Sweden and submitted a similar project to the consideration of Gustavus Adolphus. It was hoped that Gustavus would soon take part in the great war that was raging, which we now remember as the Thirty Years' War. Usselincx wished to see the Spaniards driven from the Flemish Netherlands, and an important step toward this desirable end was to add to the number of Spain's enemies on the ocean. In 1624 Gustavus issued a manifesto for the establishment of a trading association to be known as the Australian Company, with extensive privileges of traffic with Asia, Africa, and America. If Swedish colonies could be established anywhere on the American coast, it would be well. There was plenty of room for them, and they might prove to be safe places of retreat for political and religious refugees. The scheme met with much favour, and the subscription list, headed by the king, contained the names of many of the nobility and clergy, with some of the most enterprising merchants and craftsmen. But the war in Germany absorbed so much attention that nothing was done until 1635, after the death of Gustavus. Then the Chancellor Oxenstjerna formed a specific scheme for planting a colony in America under the auspices of this corporation, which had now come to be known as the South Company.
The person selected to conduct the expedition was none other than Peter Minuit, who had formerly been Director General of New Netherland and had reason to feel that his dismissal was undeserved and unjust. In 1638 Minuit landed his colonists on the west shore of Delaware Bay, and bought of the natives a tract of land on and about the present site of Newcastle and Wilmington, stretching northward as far as the p207Schuylkill and westward as far as circumstances might determine. This region he called New Sweden, and built a blockhouse to guard it, which he called after the queen, Fort Christina. He sent a sloop to Jamestown for a cargo of tobacco, and while she waited at anchor in James River the treasurer of Virginia wrote to England for permission to oust these Swedes from the Delaware, which he described as the boundary between Virginia and New England. Protests were soon heard also from Lord Baltimore's colony. When the Swedish sloop went up the Delaware River she was challenged by the Dutch commander at Fort Nassau, and presently a notice came from Director Kieft, warning Minuit that he had better go away. But Minuit paid no heed to protests or threats. He worked away at his fort until everything was quite secure and comfortable, left it abundantly stocked with food and ammunition, and started home for reinforcements. While stopping at the island of St. Christopher in the West Indies, the worthy Minuit perished in a hurricane, but his ships returned safely to Sweden.
Now in spite of Kieft's warning, the Swedes well knew that the Dutch would be extremely unwilling to enter into hostilities against them. The Thirty Years' War was still raging. The Swedish generals, Banér and Torstenson, able pupils of Gustavus, were inflicting heavy defeats upon the Imperialists; and the sympathies of Holland were with Sweden. She did not wish to interfere with such good work. Accordingly, when a richly laden Swedish vessel was arrested at Enckhuysen for illegally trading within the West India Company's American dominions, and when the Swedish minister at the Hague demanded her release, she was at once set free in the most courteous and obliging manner. For these reasons the little Swedish colony at Fort Christina was unmolested, and in 1640, along with a new governor, Peter Hollender, it received considerable accessions. The Dutch were more hospitable to the Swedes in this neighbourhood than to the English. The good people of the New Haven colony seem always to have found something attractive in the shores to the south of Sandy Hook. In 1641 they made a settlement near Salem, on the Jersey side of the Delaware River, and another on the Schuylkill, and declared that these settlements formed a part of the republic of New Haven. But in 1642 Kieft sent a couple of sloops with a small force a soldiers who arrested all the English in these two settlements, and carried them to Fort Amsterdam, p209whence they were sent back to New Haven. In the work of arresting them, a party of Swedes assisted. No blood was shed, but the English complained that they had suffered damages to the amount of £1000 sterling.
In that same summer Queen Christina sent out John Printz, who had been a lieutenant of cavalry, to be governor of New Sweden, and she guaranteed military protection to the colony. Printz was instructed to maintain as pleasant relations with both Dutch and English as might be consistent with not allowing either of them to encroach a foot upon his territory. Within its limits nobody was to be permitted to trade in peltries except the agents of the Swedish Company. The Lutheran was to be the established church, but the Dutch Reformed Church was to be tolerated. Early in 1643 the new governor arrived at Fort Christina, accompanied by the pastor and historian, John Campanius, and two shiploads of settlers. Printz built on Tinicum Island, on the west shore, •about twelve miles below the site of Philadelphia, a fortress of heavy logs, which he called New Gottenburg. Between here and Fort Christina many farms were planted. Opposite New Gottenburg, on the east shore whence the New Haven people had lately been driven, Printz built a triangular fort which he called Elsingburg and armed it with eight cannon. Now the Dutch Fort Nassau was a few miles up the river, and these twin fortresses, New Gottenburg and Elsingburg, watched over the approach to it like Bunyan's lions before Palace Beautiful. Every ship coming up must strike her colours and wait for Governor Printz's permission to pass on. The first person to arrive upon the scene was our old friend p210David De Vries, the genial mariner and colonist, the racy and charming chronicler. He was coming up the river in a Rotterdam ship when the challenge came from Elsingburg, and the skipper asked him if he had not better lower his flag. "Well," said De Vries, "if it were my ship I should n't lower to these intruders;" but the skipper's view of the case was "anything for a quiet life," and he hauled down his colours. Then an officer came aboard, and they passed on to New Gottenburg, where they were cordially welcomed by Governor Printz, "a brave man of brave size," says De Vries, "for he weighed more than 400 pounds." Printz was delighted at meeting a man of whom he had heard so much, and the fate of whose colony at Swandale had aroused such wide interest. He produced a colossal jug of Rhenish wine, and the evening was passed in friendly discourse.
For a dozen years more the colony of New Sweden was suffered to exist, and the altercations which from time to time arose stopped short of warfare. But in Stuyvesant's time, after the peace of Münster, Holland had no longer the same reasons for wishing to keep from interference with Sweden. Moreover, Queen Christina was dead, and her successor, Charles X, was absorbed in that mighty war with Poland which forms the theme of Sienkiewicz's brilliant novel "The Deluge." It was the golden opportunity for New Netherland, and Stuyvesant seized it in the summer of 1655. With a force of seven warships and 700 soldiers he swooped into Delaware Bay and up the river; and there was nothing for New Sweden, whose total population was barely 500 souls, to do but surrender. The settlers were not interfered with, but only changed their allegiance.
The time was coming when a precisely similar fate was to overtake Peter Stuyvesant and New Netherland. The relations between the Dutch and British governments were suddenly altered, and into the causes and consequences of this change we shall inquire in the next chapter.
1 See my Beginnings of New England, Illustrated Edition, pp112-116.
2 O'Callaghan, History of New Netherland, II.350.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
on Dutch History
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 13 Sep 16