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Bill Thayer

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On this webpage you can read a chapter of
Stories of Heroism

William Mace

published by
Rand McNally & Company
New York, 1909.

It's all right to copy it or use it any way you want.

I checked this page carefully for mistakes,
and didn't find any:
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 p95  The Men Who Planted Colonies for Many Kinds of People

Henry Hudson, whose Discoveries led Dutch Traders to Colonize New Netherland

57. Hudson's Explorations. While the Pilgrim fathers were still living in Holland, the Dutch themselves began the colony which became the Empire state. About the time John Smith was working hard for Jamestown, his friend Henry Hudson was sailing for some Dutch merchants in search of a northern sea route to India (1609).

One bright fall day Hudson sailed into the mouth of the great river which now bears his name. He hoped that he had entered the arm of the sea which might carry him to India. He turned the prow of his vessel, the "Half Moon," up stream.

Soon the beauty of the river, the rich colors of the great forests, the steep sides of the palisades, the slopes of the highlands, the strange Indians in their bark canoes, so took the attention of Hudson and his crew that, for a time, they forgot all about a route to India.

What a flutter of excitement the "Half Moon" must have caused among the Indians! They came on board to give welcome and presents to Hudson and his men.

On the return, probably near the present city of Hudson, an old chief came on board and invited Hudson to visit the little village of  p96 wigwams located on the river. There these Dutchmen saw beautiful meadows, fields of corn, and gardens of pumpkins, grapes, and plums.

The chief showed Hudson his palace of bark, and spread a feast of roasted pigeons and other Indian food before him. In spite of such kind treatment, Hudson would not stay over night with the Indians, who even broke their bows and arrows and then threw them into the fire to prove that they meant no harm to the white man, but Hudson and his men were still afraid.

Indeed, Hudson had every reason to fear the Indians, for he had treated them badly and his men had even murdered some. In less than a month, Indian friendship had been turned into Indian hatred.

The next year Hudson sailed in an English vessel in search of the long-wished‑for passage. On he went, far to the northward, past Iceland and Greenland, surrounded by fields of ice and snow, Hudson and his men spent a fearful winter.

In the winter, his angry sailors threw him and a few faithful friends into a boat and sent them adrift. Nothing more was ever heard of them. In Irving's "Rip Van Winkle," the story tells of nightly scenes in the Catskills in which the ghosts of Hudson and his friends were the actors.

 p97  58. Dutch Traders and the Indians. Just as soon as the news of Hudson's first voyage reached Holland, the Dutch merchants claimed all the region explored and hastened to trade with the Indians. As early as 1614 a trading post was established on Manhattan Island — the beginning of a great city, New York.

Other posts were soon located: one up the Hudson became Fort Orange, another on the Delaware was named Fort Nassau, and a fourth was placed where Jersey City now stands. Later the Dutch traders went as far east as the Connecticut Valley.

The Dutchmen treated the Indians kindly and early made a great treaty with the Iroquois, or Five Nations. The chiefs of many tribes came to Fort Orange dressed for the event. Their bows and arrows and tomahawks were decorated, their garments tasseled and fringed, and on their heads they wore nodding plumes of many sorts, while their faces were hideous with paint. A peace belt of deer skin covered with beads was held at one end by the chiefs and at the other by the Dutch traders. They "smoked the pipe of peace, buried the tomahawk," and made vows of everlasting friendship.

The Indians liked the Dutch, who often visited them in their wigwams and sat around their camp fires. The fur  p98 trade grew rapidly. The Indians hunted and trapped as never before. They paddled their canoes up the Hudson, and crossed over to lakes George and Champlain. They went up the Mohawk far beyond where Schenectady now is, and plunged deeper into the dark, unbroken forests, and even climbed the mountains in search of fur-coated animals. Among the favorite fur-bearing animals the beaver was first. Besides, the otter, mink, and weasel were hunted.

When the fur pack was made up the dusky hunters from every direction made their way to the nearest trading post. There they traded their furs for guns, powder, and ball, and for whatever else the white trader had that pleased Indian fancy. Great Dutch ships came every year to carry to Amsterdam and other Dutch cities rich cargoes of furs.

59. The Settlement of New Netherland. Already a great company of Amsterdam merchants were sending settlers, as well as fur traders, to the new colony, which now was called New Netherland. Peter Minuit, the first governor, bought the Island of Manhattan from the Indians for twenty-four  p99 dollars' worth of glass beads and other trinkets, built a town of log cabins on the end of the island, and named it New Amsterdam.

But settlers did not come rapidly enough, so the company offered its members large tracts of land and the title of "patroon" or "patron," on condition that they plant colonies at their own expense. Each patroon was to govern the people on his own land.

The greatest of the patroons was Van Rensselaer, whose plantation in the region of Fort Orange included one thousand square miles. The farmers and servants on these plantations looked upon the patroon as being much above them in authority and social position.

Every year the farmers and their families came with their wagons filled with what they had raised to pay the patroon for the use of the land. He set them a great feast, and there was merry-making all day long.

The growth of New Netherland attracted bad men as well as good men. Some mean traders robbed and murdered a number of Indians not of the Five Nations. The Indians robbed and murdered in return. War broke out and before it ended many settlements were broken up, and hundreds of settlers killed.

Parties of Indians roved day and night over Manhattan Island, killing the Dutch even in sight of Fort Amsterdam. The people blamed their governor, Kieft, and threatened to arrest him and send him to Holland. He finally made peace with the Indians just before the new governor arrived.

 p100  Peter Stuyvesant, the great Dutch Governor of New Netherland

60. Peter Stuyvesant. This sturdy son of Holland was born at a time when his country was fighting hard against Spain for independence. His father was a minister, who, it may be supposed, brought up Peter after the strict manner of Dutch boys.

Peter early began to study Latin. He was vain of his knowledge, and in later years took pride in showing off his Latin to the settlers of New Amsterdam.

When he left school young Peter joined the army, where he found plenty of hard work; but he performed duties as a soldier quicker and better than some of his comrades, and after a few years he was given command over a Dutch colony in the West Indies.

In a fierce assault on a Portuguese fort Stuyvesant lost a leg and had to return to Holland. But he was no sooner well than the Dutch West India Company sent him to New Netherland to save that colony from the Indians.

 p101  The arrival of Stuyvesant, with his little army and fleet of four vessels, brought great joy to the discouraged settlers and fur traders. He said to the people: "I shall reign over you as a father over his children." But Stuyvesant ruled the colony far more like a king than a father. He was not only commander-in‑chief of the army, but was also lawmaker, judge, and governor, all in one.

The new laws made by Stuyvesant showed that he intended to keep order in New Netherland. He forbade Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, the sale of drink to the Indians and to any one else after the nine o'clock bell had rung. He ordered the owners of all vacant lots in New Amsterdam to improve them, and tried to fix the location of all new buildings. He taxed traders, whether they shipped goods to Europe or brought goods into New Netherland.

Stuyvesant did, indeed, restore order to the colony, but he stirred up the people until they demanded a voice in the government. He finally agreed that they might select nine of their wisest men to advise with him. They were called the Council. He had no idea of following anybody's advice unless it agreed with his own notions, but the people had gained something.

At the same time Stuyvesant was just as busy with his neighbors' affairs. For he quarreled with the English in New England, as well as with the patroons in his own colony.

Stuyvesant claimed all the region now included in New Jersey,  p102 a large part of that in the states of New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, and also a part of the territory of New England.

The colony grew in numbers. New towns sprang up along the Hudson and on Long Island. But the increase in the number of the towns only made the call for a government by the people still louder.

For several years the dispute between the people and the governor went on until, one day in 1664, news came that a fleet of English war vessels was in sight. Although England and Holland were at peace, the English king had given New Netherland to his brother, the Duke of York, and the English fleet had come to take it for the duke.

Governor Stuyvesant was resolved to defend the colony to the last. But he was surprised to find that his people were not willing to fight for a governor who had given them so little share in governing themselves.

The commander of the fleet sent a letter to Stuyvesant offering very favourable terms of surrender. The council wanted the  p103 governor to surrender, but he grew angry, tore the letter to pieces, and declared he would never give up. The council put the pieces of the letter together and read it to the people. The minister of his own church begged the governor not to fight, and leading citizens, and mothers with their children, pleaded with Stuyvesant to surrender. Now what could the brave old Dutch man do? He could not fight a whole fleet alone. He turned sadly away, saying, "I would rather go to my grave than to surrender the city."

61. The Dutch Surrender to the English. The English took possession, and the colony of New Netherland became the colony of New York, and at the same time the town of New Amsterdam became the town of New York. Fort Orange became Albany. English governors came to rule instead of Dutch governors. A few years later a Dutch fleet recaptured the colony; but, by a treaty at the end of the war, Holland returned it to England. When William and Mary came to the throne of England (1689) they gave New York a Representative Assembly.

 p104  Although Dutch ruled was gone forever, the Dutch people and Dutch ideas and customs remained. Peter Stuyvesant himself had become so attached to the colony that he came back from Holland and spent his remaining years on his great farm or bowery, as the Dutch called it.

Dutch customs and ways lived longest on the estates of the patroons; but wherever a Dutch family lived there remained for many generations the quaint and simple ways which their ancestors had brought from Holland — the land of dikes and windmills.

William Penn Founds a Home for the Quakers, but Makes Welcome All Persecuted Christians

62. The Quakers; George Fox. We have seen the Puritan flee to New England, the Catholics to Maryland, and the Cavaliers to Virginia. But the Quakers were not welcome in any American colony except Rhode Island, the home of Roger Williams. Yet the Quakers were even worse off in England, where the jails were fuller of Quakers than of Catholics.

Who were the Quakers and who were their leaders?

George Fox, their founder, was born an English peasant. While yet a boy he was put to herding sheep. As a shepherd lad he wandered over the hills, through the meadows, and along the hedges with only his dog and his sheep for companions.

His quiet life made him thoughtful, and he began to ask himself great questions. What does the vast world about me mean? And what are the stars and the sky? What is man for? Where is he going? He asked his friends, but they could not satisfy him.

He finally went to London, but the wise men there could not help him. Sadly he returned home, but could get no peace of mind.

One day, while thinking by the fireside, a voice from within  p105 startled him. A great calm came over his soul, and from that time George Fox was happy, for he believed that this "Inner Light" was "the voice of God in his soul."

He immediately began to talk and preach about the "Inner Light." He declared that every man had a sure guide within his own breast, hence there was no need of paid preachers and fine churches. But the preachers and the rich people drove him out of their churches. At first only the common people — peasants and laborers — believed him.

By and by Fox's friends went about preaching the new doctrines everywhere. They went into Scotland, crossed over to Ireland, and even went to Rome to try to convert the pope.

In England the Friends, as the followers of Fox called themselves, were being fined, whipped, and thrown into jail. The Friends taught that all men are equal in the sight of God, and should be equal in the sight of man. Hence they would not bow to great people nor take off their hats even to the king or queen. They refused to call officers by their titles, using only the person's given name and the words "friend," "thee," and "thou." They were opposed to fine dress.

 p106  The Friends also taught that kings ought to make peace instead of making war, and that war, for any cause, is wrong. Hence they refused to fight in the king's army.

63. William Penn. One day Thomas Loe, a Quaker preacher, ventured into the old university town of Oxford, where hundreds of aristocratic young men were being trained for high places in the Church and in the State.

A few students believed his teachings and resolved to become members of the hated sect of Quakers. Among them was William Penn, the son of a great naval officer, Admiral Penn. What a buzzing there was in that old college town when the news spread that William Penn, the fine scholar, the skilled oarsman, and all-round athlete, had become a Quaker!

Some of his comrades would not believe it. But when they saw him put off the cap and gown of his college, which some of the greatest men in English history had worn with pride, and put on the plain garb of the Quakers, they gave up! The college officers were also convinced when Penn and other Quakers tore off the gowns of fellow students. The authorities promptly expelled these young and over-enthusiastic Friends.

What more disgraceful thing could happen to the family of Admiral Penn? To have a son expelled from Oxford was bad enough, but to have him become a Quaker was a disgrace not to be borne — so thought his family. The stern old admiral promptly drove him from home. But William resolutely refused to give up his Quaker views, and the admiral decided to try the plan of sending him to Paris, where life was as un-Quakerlike as it could be.

William Penn himself looked little like a Quaker. He was then eighteen years old, fine looking, with large eyes and long, dark, curly hair reaching to his shoulders.

 p107  Young Penn, however, did not entirely waste his time in the gay life of Paris. He attended school and traveled in Italy. At the end of two years he came back.

It was not long before the admiral again saw Quaker signs in his son and hastened him off to Ireland to cure him entirely. But who should be preaching in Ireland but Thomas Loe. William went to hear his old preacher, and this time became a Quaker forever. No suffering was great enough to cause him ever to waver again, although fines were heaped on him and at four different times he was thrown into foul jails to be the companion of criminals.

Penn's family now felt the disgrace very keenly, but his father promised to forgive him if he would take off his hat to the king, to the king's brother, and to his father. One day, the story goes, King Charles, the merry monarch, met William Penn and others. All hats were promptly removed except the king's and Penn's. Presently the king, too, removed his hat. Whereupon, Penn said: "Friend Charles, why dost thou remove thy hat?" The king replied: "Because, wherever I am, it is customary for but one to remain covered."

 p108  Penn's father would not permit such conduct toward his royal friends. He therefore drove his son from his home a second time.

But Penn's mother finally made peace between the father and the son before the admiral died. William Penn, then but twenty-six years old, came into possession of a fortune. Once more he stood "where the roads parted." He could now be a great man and play the part of a fine English gentleman who would always be welcome at court, or he could remain a Quaker.

We do not know that he even thought of forsaking his Quaker comrades. On the contrary, he resolved to devote his fortune and his life to giving them relief. Like Winthrop for the Puritans, and Baltimore for the Catholics, Penn thought of America for his persecuted Friends. With other Quaker leaders, he became an owner of West Jersey, part of New Jersey.

64. The Founding of Pennsylvania. King Charles II owed Penn's father about eighty thousand dollars. William Penn asked him to pay it in American land. Charles was only too glad to grant this request of the son of his old sea captain. The land he gave to Penn is the present great state of Pennsylvania. Penn wanted the colony called Sylvania, meaning woodland, but the king declared it should be called Pennsylvania in memory of Admiral Penn.

 p109  By means of letters and pamphlets Penn sent word to the Quakers throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. He told them of Quaker homes across the sea, where jails would not trouble them.

There was great rejoicing among them over Penn's "Holy Experiment," as his plan was called.

Penn even visited Europe, especially the country along the Rhine, and told the persecuted and oppressed about the new colony where every sort of Christian was to find a hearty welcome, and where no one was to be punished for religion's sake.

Hundreds of settlers hastened to the new colony. When Penn reached Newcastle on the Delaware in the fall of 1862 he met a hearty welcome from scores of happy people who were already enjoying their long-wished‑for religious freedom.

One of Penn's first acts was to call a meeting of the colonists to talk over their government. This pleased the people greatly, for although the land was Penn's he not only gave them land for their houses and farms, but he also gave them the right to choose their own rulers and to make their own laws.

Penn next turned his attention to founding the great Quaker city to which he gave the name Philadelphia, signifying brotherly love — a name truly expressing Penn's feeling toward other men. He marked off the streets right in the midst of a great forest,  p110 and called them Walnut, Mulberry, Chestnut, and so on, after the trees that grew there. Some of the streets are still so named.

But the settlers came faster than houses could be built, and some families had to live in caves dug in the banks along the river. Philadelphia grew faster than the other colonial towns, and soon led them all.

William Penn won the love and the respect of the Indians of Pennsylvania. He visited them in their own towns and ate with them. He even took part in their athletic games and outran them all. Like Roger Williams, he believed that the Indians should be paid for their lands. Accordingly, he made them rich gifts and entered into solemn treaties with the chiefs.

At a treaty under a great elm tree on the banks of the Delaware, Penn said to the Indians: "We are the same as if one man's  p111 body were divided into two parts: We are all one flesh and one blood." In return the Indians said: "We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the moon and the sun shall endure." If the Indians admired a white man they said: "He is like William Penn."

The news of the establishment of free government and free religious worship brought crowds of settlers from Germany. Hundreds of German families in the valleys of the Rhine and the Neckar escaped to "Penn's Woods," and there their children's children are to be found to‑day under the name of the "Pennsylvania Dutch." Without boasting, William Penn could say that no other man, at his own expense, had planted so great a colony in the wilds of America as he had. Few nobler men ever lived than William Penn. He died July 30, 1718.

James Oglethorpe, the Founder of Georgia as a Home for English Debtors, as a Place for Persecuted Protestants, and as a Barrier against the Spaniards

65. A Friend of the Unfortunate. James Oglethorpe was an Englishman. At an early age he went to Oxford to study, but he was drawn away from college by the clash of arms. Oglethorpe was a soldier for many years. Later he became a member of Parliament.

A friend of Oglethorpe's died in a debtors' prison, which aroused his sympathies for the poor. He examined English jails, and found them so dirty and dark and damp that strong-bodied men, to say nothing of women and children, soon sickened and died in them. Besides, he found that the jailers were bad men, who whipped the prisoners on their bare backs and stole their food.

 p112  The prison was a poor place for a man in debt, anyway. How could a man pay his debts while he was shut up in prison?

Oglethorpe, like many other noble men before him, thought of America as a place of refuge for the unfortunate. King George II gave him a charter for the land between the Savannah and the Altamaha, and made his heart glad by declaring that all Protestants should be tolerated there.

When the debtors heard the news that Oglethorpe was to plant a colony for them there was great excitement among them. But he carefully selected his settlers, so that no lazy man might be found among them. Arms and tools with which to work on the farms were given to the settlers.

When the time came, thirty families were ready to sail. Oglethorpe carried them direct to Charleston, South Carolina. When they landed, in 1733, the people of Charleston were only too glad to have a colony south of them as a "buffer" against the Spaniards who occupied Florida, and who had already attacked South Carolina.

Therefore, the people of Charleston, to give the new colony a good start, presented the settlers with one hundred head of cattle, a drove of hogs, and fifteen or twenty barrels of rice. Rejoicing in  p113 their new supplies, the colony sailed to the Savannah River, and not far from its mouth, on a beautiful bluff, Oglethorpe marked out the streets of the new city. The settlers went to work with a will, cutting down trees and making them into cabins. They soon had comfortable homes, although very different from what they had known in England.

Soon other colonists came to Savannah. Among these was a company of Italians who had come to raise the silkworm and to manufacture silk.

In the next year after Oglethorpe planted the settlement a band of sturdy German Protestants arrived. These settlers built their homes above Savannah, and called the colony "Ebenezer," which means "the Lord hath helped us." Between these two settlements a band of pious Moravian immigrants founded a colony. Then followed the settlement of Augusta, far up the Savannah River and well out among the Indians, which served as a sort of outpost.

To these were added a colony on the Altamaha River. This colony was settled by a company of brave Highlanders from Scotland.

In the meantime, Oglethorpe had gone to England, but he soon returned with more than two hundred English and German immigrants, who  p114 came to Georgia to better their condition. With these immigrants came John and Charles Wesley, who were soon to awake all England with a revival of religion.

While in England Oglethorpe was made a colonel. He saw that trouble with Spain must soon come. From the beginning of the settlement of Georgia Oglethorpe had been careful to treat the Indians well. He had made treaties with them and had paid them for their lands. He now went to visit the Creek and the Cherokee Indians.

On an island at the mouth of the Altamaha Oglethorpe planted a town to serve as an outpost against the Spaniards. He fortified it, and made it very strong. This town was called Frederica.

In 1742 a Spanish fleet of fifty-one vessels and five thousand men attacked Frederica. Oglethorpe beat them off, and thereafter Georgia was left in peace. He went back to England and became a general. Oglethorpe lived to a good old age. He died in 1785.

Suggestions Intended to Help the Pupil

The Leading Facts. 1. Henry Hudson, searching for a shorter route to India, discovered the river which now bears his name. 2. Dutch traders built trading posts, made a treaty with the Indians, purchased Manhattan Island, and sent out patroons. 3. Peter Stuyvesant ruled the colony in his own way and gave the people very little power. 4. William and Mary gave New York self-government. 5. George Fox founded the religion of the Friends. 6. William Penn, the greatest of the Quakers, founded a colony in Pennsylvania. 7. He gave a free constitution and made friends with the Indians. 8. James Oglethorpe visited English jails for debtors, obtained a charter from the king, and sent out a colony of these unfortunates to Georgia. 9. Planted Frederica to keep back the Spaniards.

 p115  Study Questions. 1. What other colony began earlier than New Netherland? 2. Tell the story of Henry Hudson and the "Half Moon." 3. What was the fate of Hudson? 4. When was a trading post planted on Manhattan? 5. Make a mental picture of the treaty with the Indians. 6. How does the Dutch treatment of the Indians compare with the Spanish? 7. What three things did Peter Minuit do? 8. Who were the patroons? 9. Why did the people blame and threaten Kieft? 10. Tell the story of Peter Stuyvesant until the time he became governor. 11. What part did the nine men play in the government? 12. What were they called? 13. Why were the people glad when the English fleet came? 14. Prove that Stuyvesant was brave.

14. Where could the Quakers go in America? 15. Tell the story of George Fox. 16. Why should the students at Oxford be surprised to hear that William Penn had turned Quaker? 17. Why did his father drive him from his home? 18. What shows that William Penn did not waste his time in Paris? 19. Who made peace between Penn and his father? 20. What was William Penn's noble resolution? 21. How did Penn come into possession of Pennsylvania? 22. Prove that Penn was a very generous man. 23. Why did William Penn call his town the "city of brotherly love"? 24. In how many ways did Penn resemble Roger Williams? 25. Make a picture of the great treaty under the elm. 26. Where did the settlers in New York and in Pennsylvania come from? 27. Tell the story of Oglethorpe. 28. What did King George II put in Oglethorpe's Charter? 29. Why did Charleston lend a helping hand to Oglethorpe's Colony? 30. Where did the settlers of Georgia come from? 31. What did Oglethorpe build Frederica for?

Suggested Readings. Hudson: Williams, Stories from Early New York History, 1‑4, 32‑36; Wright, Children's Stories in American History, 292‑299; Griffis, Romance of Discovery, 233‑245; Higginson, American Explorers, 281‑307; Irving, Rip van Winkle in The Sketch Book.

Stuyvesant: Williams, Stories from Early New York History, 21‑32; Smith and Dutton, The Colonies, 189‑202; Fiske, Dutch and Quaker Colonies, I, 198‑201.

Penn: Pratt, Early Colonies, 158‑165; Hart, Colonial Children, 144‑148; Hart, Source Book, 67‑69, 80‑82; Dixon, William Penn, 11‑273.

Oglethorpe: Smith and Dutton, The Colonies, 78‑89; Pratt, Early Colonies, 173‑176; Hart, Source Book, 71‑73; Cooper, James Oglethorpe.

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