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Narrative of New Netherland by J. F. Jameson, Editor

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Reference material and source.

Michaelius, Reverend Jonas. "Letter of Reverend Jonas
Michaelius, 1628." In J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Narratives
of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original Narratives of Early
American History). NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909.


THE established church in the United Netherlands was the
Reformed Church. Its polity was that of Geneva or of
Presbyterianism. The minister and ruling or lay elders of
the local church formed its consistory, corresponding to the
Scottish or American kirk session. The next higher power,
administrative or judicial, resided in the classis, consisting
of all the ministers in a given district and one elder from
each parish therein, and corresponding to the presbytery. It
had power to license and ordain, install and remove ministers.
Above this body stood the provincial synod, and above that
the (occasional)national synods. In 1624 the synod of North
Holland decreed that supervision over the churches in the
East Indies should belong to the churches and classes within
whose bounds were located the various "chambers" of the East
India Company. The same rule was applied in the case of the
West India Company's settlements. Under this rule the first
minister sent out to New Netherland was placed under the
jurisdiction of the Classis of Amsterdam, since the colony
was under the charge of the Amsterdam Chamber. Many extracts
from the minutes of that classis, and what remains of its
correspondence with the ministers in New Netherland, are
printed in the volumes published by the State of New York
under the title _Ecclesiastical Records, State of New York_
(six volumes, Albany, 1901-1905). From 1639, if not earlier,
a committee of the classis, called "Deputati ad Res Exteras,"
was given charge of most of the details of correspondence
with the Dutch Reformed churches in America, Africa, the East
and foreign European countries.

As mentioned by Wassenaer, "comforters of the sick," who were
Ecclesiastical officers but not ministers, were first sent
Out to New Netherland. The first minister was Reverence
Jonas Jansen Michielse, or, to employ the Latinized form of
his name which he, according to clerical habit, was accustomed
to use, Jonas Johannis Michaelius. Michaelius was born in
North Holland in 1577, entered the University of Leyden as a
student of divinity in 1600, became minister at Nieuwbokswoude
in 1612 and at Hem, near Enkhuizen, in 1614. At some time
between April, 1624, and August, 1625, he went out to San
Salvador (Bahia, Brazil), recently conquered by the West
India Company's fleet, and after brief service there to one
Of their posts on the West African coast. Returning thence,
He was, early in 1628, sent out to Manhattan, where he arrived
April 7. It is not known just when he returned to Holland,
but he appears to have been under engagement for three years.
In 1637-1638 we find the classis vainly endeavoring to send
him again to New Netherland, but prevented by the Company,
which had a veto upon all such appointments in its dominions.

About half a century ago the following precious letter of
Michaelius, describing New Netherland as it appeared in its
earliest days to the eyes of an educated clergyman of the
Dutch Church, was discovered in Amsterdam, and printed by
Mr. J.J.Bodel Nijenhuis in the _Kerk-historisch Archief_,
part I. An English translation of it, with an introduction,
was then privately printed in a pamphlet by Mr. Henry C.
Murphy, an excellent scholar in New Netherland history, who
was at that time minister of the United States to the
Netherlands. This pamphlet, entitled _The First Minister of
the Dutch Reformed Church in the United States_ (The Hague,
1858), was reprinted in 1858 in _Documents relative to the
Colonial History of the State of New York_, II. 757-770, in
1881 in the _Collections of the New York Historical Society_,
XIII, and in 1883, at Amsterdam, by Frederik Muller and Co.,
who added a photographic fac-simile of full size and a
transcript of the Dutch text. In 1896 a reduced fac-simile
of the original letter, with an amended translation by
Reverence John G. Fagg, appeared in the _Year Book_ of the
(Collegiate) Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of New York
City, and also separately for private circulation, and in
1901 the Dutch text with Reverend Mr. Fagg's translation
was printed in _Ecclesiastical Records_, I. 49-68, which
also contains a photographic fac-simile of the concluding
portion of the manuscript. Another is in _Memorial History_,
I. 166. The original is in the New York Public Library
(Lenox Building). Reverend Adrianus Smoutius, to whom the
letter was addressed, was an ultra-Calvinist clergyman, who
led a stormy life, but from 1620 to 1630 was a minister of
the collegiate churches of Amsterdam, and as such a member
of the classis under whose charge Michaelius served.

For many years this letter of August 11, 1628, was supposed
to be the earliest extant letter or paper written at
Manhattan. But a letter of three days earlier was recently
discovered, which Michaelius wrote on August 8 to Jan Foreest,
a magistrate of Hoorn and secretary to the Executive Council
(Gecommitteerde Raden) of the States of the Province of
Holland. This letter mentions epistles also sent to two
clergymen in Holland and to the writer's brother. It was
printed by Mr. Dingman Versteeg in _Manhattan in 1628_ (New
York, 1904). All these letters were presumably prepared to
be sent home on the same ship. The two which are extant
parallel each other to a large extent. That which follows,
though second in order of time, is intrinsically a little
more interesting than the other. Mr. Fagg's translation
has in the main been followed.


The Reverend, Learned and Pious Mr. Adrianus Smoutius,
Faithful Minister of the Holy Gospel of Christ in his
Church, dwelling upon the Heerengracht, not far from the
West India House at Amsterdam. By a friend, whom God

The Peace of Christ to You.

Reverend Sir, Well Beloved Brother in Christ, Kind Friend!

THE favorable opportunity which now presents itself of
writing to your Reverence I cannot let pass, without
embracing it, according to my promise. And, first to
unburden myself in this communication of a sorrowful
circumstance, it pleased the Lord, seven weeks after we
arrived in this country, to take from me my good partner,
who had been to me, for more than sixteen years, a virtuous,
faithful, and altogether amiable yoke-fellow; and I now find
myself alone with three children,<1> very much discommoded,
without her society and assistance. But what have I to say?
The Lord himself has done this, against whom no one can
oppose himself. And why should I even wish to, knowing that
all things must work together for good to them that love
God? I hope therefore to bear my cross patiently, and by
the grace and help of the Lord, not to let the courage fail
me which in my duties here I so especially need.

<1> Two daughters and a son, Jan, whom he had placed in the
house and custody of skipper Jan Jansen Brouwer.

The voyage was long, namely, from the 24th of January till
the 7th of April, when we first set foot upon land here. Of
storm and tempest which fell hard upon the good wife and
children, though they bore it better as regards sea-sickness
and fear than I had expected, we had no lack, particularly
in the vicinity of the Bermudas and the rough coasts of this
country. Our fare in the ship was very poor and scanty, so
that my blessed wife and children, not eating with us in the
cabin, on account of the little room in it, had a worse lot
than the sailors themselves; and that by reason of a wicked
cook who annoyed them in every way; but especially by reason
of the captain himself,<1> who, although I frequently
complained of it in the most courteous manner, did not concern
himself in the least about correcting the rascal; nor did he,
even when they were all sick ,given them anything which could
do them any good, although there was enough in the ship: as
he himself knew very well where to find it in order, out of
meal times, to fill his own stomach. All the relief which
he gave us, consisted merely in liberal promises, with a
drunken head; upon which nothing followed when he was sober
but a sour face; and he raged at the officers and kept himself
constantly to the wine, both at sea and especially here while
lying in the river; so that he daily walked the deck drunk
and with an empty head, seldom coming ashore to the Council
and never to Divine service. We bore all with silence on
board the ship; but it grieves me, when I think of it, on
account of my wife; the more, because she was so situated
as she was--believing that she was with child--and the time
so short which she had yet to live. On my first voyage I
roamed about with him a great deal, even lodged in the same
hut, but never knew that he was such a brute and drunkard.
But he was then under the direction of Mr. Lam,<2> and now
he had the chief command himself. I have also written to
Mr. Godyn<3> about it, considering it necessary that it
should be known.

<1> "Evert Croeger, with whom, prior to this, I had made
long voyages, but never before did I know him well."--Letter
of August 8 to Jan Foreest.
<2> Admiral Jan Dirckszoon Lam, who in 1625 and 1626 was in
command of a Dutch squadron on the west coast of Africa.
<3> Probably Samuel Godyn, a prominent director of the company.

Our coming here was agreeable to all, and I hope, by the grace
of the Lord, that my service will not be unfruitful. The
people, for the most part, are rather rough and unrestrained,
but I find in almost all of them both love and respect towards
me; two things with which hitherto the Lord has everywhere
graciously blessed my labors, and which in our calling, as
your Reverence well knows and finds, are especially desirable,
in order to make our ministry fruitful.

>From the beginning we established the form of a church; and
as Brother Bastiaen Crol<1> very seldom comes down from Fort
Orange, because the directorship of that fort and the trade
there is committed to him, it has been thought best to choose
two elders for my assistance and for the proper consideration
of all such ecclesiastical matters as might occur, intending
the coming year, if the Lord permit, to let one of them
retire, and to choose another in his place from a double
number first lawfully proposed to the congregation. One of
those whom we have now chosen is the Honorable Director<2>
himself, and the other is the storekeeper of the Company, Jan
Huygen,<3> his brother-in-law, persons of very good character,
as far as I have been able to learn, having both been formerly
in office in the Church, the one as deacon, and the other as
elder in the Dutch and French churches, respectively, at

<1> Sebastian Janszoon Krol came out to New Netherland in 1626
as a "comforter of the sick" at Manhattan, but before long
went up to Fort Orange, where he was chief agent for the
company most of the time to March, 1632. Then, on Minuit's
recall, he was director-general till Wouter van Twiller's
arrival in April, 1633.
<2> Peter Minuit, born of Huguenot parentage in 1550 in Wesel,
west Germany, was made director general of New Netherland in
December, 1625, arrived in May, 1626, bought Manhattan Island
of the Indians that summer, and remained in office till
recalled early in 1632. In 1636-1637 he made arrangements
with Blommaert and the Swedish government, in consequence of
which he conducted the first Swedish colony to Delaware Bay,
landing there in the spring of 1638, and establishing New
Sweden on territory claimed by the Dutch. During the ensuing
summer he perished in a hurricane at St. Christopher, in the
West Indies.
<3> Probably the ame as Jan Huych, comforter of the sick.
<4> Jan Huyghens was deacon of the Dutch Reformed church at
Wesel in 1612; and probably Minuit was elder in the French
church there.

At the first administration of the Lord's Supper which was
observed, not without great joy and comfort to many, we had
fully fifty communicants--Walloons and Dutch; of whom, a
portion made their first confession of faith before us, and
others exhibited their church certificates. Others had
forgotten to bring their certificates with them, not thinking
that a church would be formed and established here; and some
who brought them, had lost them unfortunately in a general
conflagration, but they were admitted upon the satisfactory
testimony of others to whom they were known, and also upon
their daily good deportment, since one cannot observe strictly
all the usual formalities in making a beginning under such

We administer the Holy Supper of the Lord once in four months,
provisionally, until a larger number of people shall otherwise
require. The Walloons and French have no service on Sundays,
otherwise than in the Dutch language, for those who understand
no Dutch are very few. A portion of the Walloons are going
back to the Fatherland, either because their years here are
expired, or else because some are not very serviceable to the
Company. Some of them live far away and could not well come
in time of heavy rain and storm, so that they themselves
cannot think it advisable to appoint any special service in
French for so small a number, and that upon an uncertainty.
Nevertheless, the Lord's Supper is administered to them in
the French language, and according to the French mode, with a
sermon preceding, which I have before me in writing, so long
as I can not trust myself extemporaneously.<1> If in this and
in other matters your Reverence and the Reverend Brethren of
the Consistory, who have special superintendence over us here,
deem it necessary to administer to us any correction, instruction
or good advice, it will be agreeable to us and we shall thank
your Reverence therefor; since we must all have no other object
than the glory of God in the building up of his kingdom and the
salvation of many souls. I keep myself as far as practicable
within the pale of my calling, wherein I find myself sufficiently
occupied. And although our small consistory embraces at the
most--when Brother Crol is down here--not more than four persons,
all of whom, myself alone excepted, have also public business to
attend to, I still hope to separate carefully the ecclesiastical
from the civil matters which occur, so that each one will be
occupied with his own subject.

<1> That is, to preach extempore in French.

And though many things are mixti generis, and political and
ecclesiastical persons can greatly assist each other, nevertheless
the matters and officers proceeding together must not be mixed
but kept separate, in order to prevent all confusion and
disorder. As the Council of this place consists of good people,
who are, however, for the most part simple and have little
experience in public affairs, I should have little objection
to serve them in any difficult or dubious affair with good
advice, provided I considered myself capable and my advice
should be asked; in which case I suppose that I should not do
amiss nor be suspected by any one of being a polupragmov or

<1> I Peter iv. 15; a meddler or "busy-body in other men's

In my opinion it would be well that the Honorable Directors
should furnish this place with plainer and more precise
instructions to the rulers, that they may distinctly know
how to conduct themselves in all possible public difficulties
and events; and also that I should some time have here all
such _Acta Synolalia_, as have been adopted in the synods of
Holland; both the special ones of our quarter,<1> and those
which are provincial and national, in relation to ecclesiastical
difficulties; or at least such of them as in the judgment of
the Honorable Brethren at Amsterdam would be most likely to
be of service to us here. In the meantime, I hope matters
will go well here, if only on our part we do our best in all
sincerity and honest zeal; whereunto I have from the first
entirely devoted myself, and wherein I have also hitherto, by
the grace of God, had no just cause to complain of any one.
And if any dubious matters of importance come before me, and
especially if they will admit of any delay, I shall refer
myself to the good and prudent advice of the Honorable Brethren,
to whom I have already wholly commended myself.

<1> I.e., acts of the synod of North Holland. North Holland
was not at this time a province, but merely a part of the
province of Holland, the chief of the seven United Provinces.
The national _Acta_ would probably be those of the six
fundamental synodical conventions of 1568-1586 and the Synod
of Dort.

As to the natives of this country, I find them entirely savage
and wild, strangers to all decency, yea, uncivil and stupid as
garden poles, proficient in all wickedness and godlessness;
devilish men, who serve nobody but the Devil, that is, the
spirit which in their language they call Menetto; under which
title they comprehend everything that is subtle and crafty and
beyond human skill and power. They have so much witchcraft,
divination, sorcery and wicked arts, that they can hardly be
held in by any bands or locks. They are as thievish and
treacherous as they are tall; and in cruelty they are
altogether inhuman, more than barbarous, far exceeding the

<1> He had served on the west coast of Africa; see the

I have written concerning this matter to several persons
elsewhere, not doubting that Brother Crol will have written
sufficient to your Reverence, or to the Honorable Directors;
as also of the base treachery and the murders which the
Mohicans, at the upper part of this river, had planned against
Fort Orange, but which failed through the gracious interposition
of our Lord, for our good--who, when it pleases Him, knows how
to pour, unexpectedly, natural impulses into these unnatural
men, in order to prevent them. How these people can best be
led to the true knowledge of God and of the Mediator Christ,
is hard to say. I cannot myself wonder enough who it is that
has imposed so much upon your Reverence and many others in the
Fatherland, concerning the docility of these people and their
good nature, the proper principia religionis and vestigia legis
naturae which are said to be among them; in whom I have as yet
been able to discover hardly a single good point, except that
they do not speak so jeeringly and so scoffingly of the godlike
and glorious majesty of their Creator as the Africans dare to
do. But it may be because they have no certain knowledge of
Him, or scarcely any. If we speak to them of God, it appears
to them like a dream; and we are compelled to speak of him,
not under the name of Menetto, whom they know and serve--for
that would be blasphemy--but of one great, yea, most high,
Sackiema, by which name they--living without a king--call him
who has the command over several hundred among them, and who
by our people are called Sackemakers; and as the people listen,
some will begin to mutter and shake their heads as if it were
a silly fable; and others, in order to express regard and
friendship for such a proposition, will say Orith (That is good).
Now, by what means are we to lead this people to salvation, or
to make a salutary breach among them? I take the liberty on
this point of enlarging somewhat to your Reverence.

Their language, which is the first thing to be employed with
them, methinks is entirely peculiar. Many of our common
people call it an easy language, which is soon learned, but
I am of a contrary opinion. For those who can understand
their words to some extent and repeat them, fail greatly
in the pronunciation, and speak a broken language, like the
language of Ashdod.<1> For these people have difficult
aspirates and many guttural letters, which are formed more
in the throat than by the mouth, teeth and lips, to which
our people not being accustomed, make a bold stroke at the
thing and imagine that they have accomplished something
wonderful. It is true one can easily learn as much as is
sufficient for the purposes of trading, but this is done
almost as much by signs with the thumb and fingers as by
speaking; and this cannot be done in religious matters.
It also seems to us that they rather design to conceal
their language from us than to properly communicate it,
except in things which happen in daily trade; saying that
it is sufficient for us to understand them in that; and
then they speak only half sentences, shortened words, and
frequently call out a dozen things and even more; and all
things which have only a rude resemblance to each other,
they frequently call by the same name. In truth it is a
made-up, childish language; so that even those who can best
of all speak with the savages, and get along well in trade,
are nevertheless wholly in the dark and bewildered when
they hear the savages talking among themselves.

<1> An allusion to Nehemiah xiii. 24.

It would be well then to leave the parents as they are, and
begin with the children who are still young. So be it. But
they ought in youth to be separated from their parents; yea,
from their whole nation. For, without this, they would
forthwith be as much accustomed as their parents to the
heathenish tricks and deviltries, which are kneaded naturally
in their hearts by themselves through a just judgment of God;
so that having once, by habit, obtained deep root, they would
with great difficulty be emancipated therefrom. But this
separation is hard to effect. For the parents have a strong
affection for their children, and are very loth to part with
them; and when they are separated from them, as we have
already had proof, the parents are never contented, but take
them away stealthily, or induce them to run away. Nevertheless,
although it would be attended with some expense, we ought, by
means of presents and promises, to obtain the children, with
the gratitude and consent of the parents, in order to place
them under the instruction of some experienced and godly
schoolmaster, where they may be instructed not only to speak,
read, and write in our language, but also especially in the
fundamentals of our Christian religion; and where, besides,
they will see nothing but good examples of virtuous living;
but they must sometimes speak their native tongue among
themselves in order not to forget it, as being evidently a
principal means of spreading the knowledge of religion through
the whole nation. In the meantime we should not forget to
beseech the Lord, with ardent and continual prayers, for His
blessing; who can make things which are unseen suddenly and
opportunely to appear; who gives life to the dead; calls that
which is not as though it were; and being rich in mercy has
pity on whom He will; as He has compassionated us to be His
people; and has washed us clean, sanctified us and justified
us, when we were covered with all manner of corruption, calling
us to the blessed knowledge of His Son, and out of the power
of darkness to His marvellous light. And this I regard so
much the more necessary, as the wrath and curse of God, resting
upon this miserable people, is found to be the heavier.
Perchance God may at last have mercy upon them, that the
fulness of the heathen may be gradually brought in and the
salvation of our God may be here also seen among these wild
savage men. I hope to keep a watchful eye over these people,
and to learn as much as possible of their language, and to
seek better opportunities for their instruction than hitherto
it has been possible to find.

As to what concerns myself and my household affairs: I find
myself by the loss of my good and helpful partner very much
hindered and distressed--for my two little daughters are yet
small; maid servants are not here to be had, at least none
whom they can advise me to take; and the Angola slave women<1>
are thievish, lazy, and useless trash. The young man whom I
took with me, I discharged after Whitsuntide, for the reason
that I could not employ him out-of-doors at any working of
the land, and in-doors he was a burden to me instead of an
assistance. He is now elsewhere at service among the farmers.

<1> Slavery was introduced into New Netherland two or three
years before this, a number of negroes, some of them from
Angola, having been imported in 1625 or 1626.

The promise which the Honorable Directors of the Company had
made me of some morgens or acres of land for me to sustain
myself, instead of a free table which otherwise belonged to
me, is void and useless. For their Honors well knew that
there are no horses, cows, or laborers to be obtained here
for money. Every one is short in these particulars and
wants more. I should not mind the expense if the opportunity
only offered, for the sake of our own comfort, although there
were no profit in it (the Honorable Directors nevertheless
remaining indebted to me for as much as the value of a free
table), for refreshment of butter, milk, etc., cannot be
here obtained; though some is indeed sold at a very high
price, for those who bring it in or bespeak it are jealous
of each other. So I shall be compelled to pass through the
winter without butter and other necessities, which the ships
do not bring with them to be sold here. The rations, which
are given out here, and charged for high enough, are all hard
stale food, such as men are used to on board ship, and
frequently not very good, and even so one cannot obtain as
much as he desires. I began to get considerable strength,
by the grace of the Lord, but in consequence of this hard
fare of beans and gray peas, which are hard enough, barley,
stockfish, etc., without much change, I cannot fully recuperate
as I otherwise would. The summer yields something, but what
is that for any one who does not feel well? The savages also
bring some things, but one who has no wares, such as knives,
beads, and the like, or seewan, cannot come to any terms with
them. Though the people trade such things for proper wares,
I know not whether it is permitted by the laws of the Company.
I have now ordered from Holland almost all necessaries; and I
hope to pass through the winter, with hard and scanty food.

The country yields many good things for the support of life,
but they are all too unfit and wild to be gathered. Better
regulations should be established, and people brought here
who have the knowledge and implements for seeking out all
kinds of things in their season and for securing and gathering
them. No doubt this will gradually be done. In the meanwhile,
I wish the Honorable Directors to be courteously enquired of,
how I can best have the opportunity to possess a portion of
land, and (even at my own expense) to support myself upon it.
For as long as there is no more accommodation to be obtained
here from the country people, and I shall be compelled to
order everything from the Fatherland at great expense and
with much risk and trouble, or else live here upon these poor
and hard rations alone, it will badly suit me and my children.
We want ten or twelve more farmers with horses, cows and
laborers in proportion, to furnish us with bread, milk products,
and suitable fruits. For there are convenient places which
can be easily protected and are very suitable, which can be
bought from the savages for trifling toys, or could be occupied
without risk, because we have more than enough shares which
have never been abandoned but have been always reserved for
that purpose.

The business of furs is dull on account of the new war of the
Maechibaeys<1> against the Mohicans at the upper end of this
river. There have occurred cruel murders on both sides. The
Mohicans have fled and their lands are unoccupied and are very
fertile and pleasant. It grieves us that there are no people,
and that there is no order from the Honorable Directors to
occupy the same. Much timber is cut here to carry to the
Fatherland, but the vessels are too few to take much of it.
They are making a windmill to saw lumber and we also have a
gristmill. They bake brick here, but it is very poor. There
is good material for burning lime, namely, oyster shells, in
large quantities. The burning of potash has not succeeded;
the master and his laborers are all greatly disappointed.

<1> Mohawks.

We are busy now in building a fort of good quarry stone, which
is to be found not far from here in abundance. May the Lord
only build and watch over our walls. There is good opportunity
for making salt, for there are convenient places, the water
is salt enough, and there is no want of heat in summer. Besides,
what the waters yield, both of the sea and rivers, in all kinds
of fish; and what the land possesses in all kinds of birds,
game, and woods, with vegetables, fruits, roots, herbs and
plants, both for eating and medicinal purposes, and with which
wonderful cures can be effected, it would take too long to tell,
nor could I yet tell accurately. Your Reverence has already
obtained some knowledge thereof and will be able to obtain from
others further information. The country is good and pleasant,
the climate is healthy, notwithstanding the sudden changes of
cold and heat. The sun is very warm, the winter is fierce and
severe and continues fully as long as in our country. The
best remedy is not to spare the wood, of which there is enough,
and to cover one's self with rough skins, which can also easily
be obtained.

The harvest, God be praised, is in the barns, and is larger
than ever before. There ha been more work put on it than
before. The ground is fertile enough to reward labor, but they
must clear it well, and till it, just as our lands require.
Until now there has been distress because many people were not
very industrious, and also did not obtain proper sustenance
for want of bread and other necessaries. But affairs are
beginning to go better and to put on a different appearance,
if only the Directors will send out good laborers and exercise
all care that they be maintained as well as possible with what
this country produces.

I had intended and promised [to write] to the Honorable
Brethren, Rudolphus Petri, Joannes Sylvius and Domine
Cloppenburg, who, with your Reverence, were charged with the
superintendence of these regions;<1> but as this would take
long and the time is short, and my occupations at the present
time many, your Reverence will please to give my friendly and
kind regards to their Reverences, and to excuse me, on condition
that I remain their debtor to fulfill my promise--God willing--
the next time. Be pleased also to give my sincere respects to
the Reverend Domine Triglandius, and to all the Brethren of
the Consistory<2> besides, to all of whom I have not thought
it necessary to write particularly at this time, as they are
made by me participants in these tidings, and are content to
be fed from the hand of your Reverence. If it shall be
convenient for your Reverence or any of the Reverence Brethren
to write to me a letter concerning matters which might be
important in any degree to me, it would be very interesting
to me, living here in a wild country without any society of
our order, and would be a spur to write more assiduously to
the Reverend Brethren concerning what may happen here. And
especially do not forget my hearty salutations to the beloved
wife and brother-in-law of your Reverence, who have shown me
nothing but friendship and kindness above my deserts. If
there were anything in which I could in return serve or gratify
your Reverence, I should be glad to do so, and should not be
delinquent in anything.

<1> This duty had been committed to them by the synod of North
Holland. The preachers named in the text were all at this
time active in Amsterdam; Sylvius and Triglandius since 1610,
and Johannes Cloppenburg since 1621.
<2> Of Amsterdam.

Concluding then herewith, and commending myself to your
Reverence's favor and to your holy prayers to the Lord,

Reverence and Learned Sir, Beloved Brother in Christ, and
Kind Friend:

Heartily commending your Reverence and all of you to Almighty
God, to continued health and prosperity, and to eternal
Salvation, by His Grace.

>From the island of Manhatas in New Netherland, this 11th of
August, Anno 1628, by me, your Reverence's very obedient
servant in Christ,




Reference material and source.

Jogues, Father Isaac. "Novum Belgium, 1646." In J. Franklin
Jameson, ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original
Narratives of Early American History). NY: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1909.


At some time before his death in 1800, Father Jean Joseph
Casot, the last of the old race of Jesuits in Canada, seeing
his order about to expire under the restrictions then imposed
by the British government, and determined that all the materials
for its history should not perish by reason of his death, made
a selection from among its papers, and placed the portion thus
preserved in the custody of the Augustinian nuns of the Hotel
Dieu of Quebec. There they remained safe till in 1843 they
were restored to the Society, then revived and under the charge
of Father Martin, as superior of the Jesuits in Canada. Among
these papers was the following, in which Father Jogues, at the
time of his last sojourn in New France, described New Netherland
as he had seen it three years before.

Father Martin presented a transcript of the document, accompanied
with an English translation, to the regents of the University of
the State of New York. The translation was then published, in
1851, in volume IV. of O'Callaghan's _Documentary History of
the State of New York_ (pp. 21-24 of the octavo edition, pp.
15-17 of the edition in quarto). The French original was
printed for the first time in 1852 in an appendix to Father
Martin's translation of Bressani's _Breve Relatione_. In 1857,
Dr. John Gilmary Shea printed in the _Collections of the New
York Historical Society_, second series, III. 215-219, a
translation which, after revision by the present editor, is
printed in the following pages. Dr. Shea made separate
publication of the French text in his Cramoisy series in
1862, and in the same year published another edition of original
and translation. Both likewise appear in Thwaites's _Jesuit
Relations_, XXVIII. 105-115. Dr. Thwaites also gives a
facsimile of the first page of the original manuscript which
Father Jogues wrote at Three Rivers, with hands crippled by
the cruel usage of the Mohawks.


NEW HOLLAND, which the Dutch call in Latin Novum Belgium,--in
their own language, Nieuw Nederland, that is to say, New Low
Countries--is situated between Virginia and New England. The
mouth of the river, which some people call Nassau, or the Great
North River, to distinguish it from another which they call the
South River, and which I think is called Maurice River on some
maps that I have recently seen, is at 40 deg. 30 min. The
channel is deep, fit for the largest ships, which ascend to
Manhattes Island, which is seven leagues in circuit, and on
which there is a fort to serve as the commencement of a town
to be built here, and to be called New Amsterdam.

This fort, which is at the point of the island, about five
or six leagues from the [river's] mouth, is called Fort
Amsterdam; it has four regular bastions, mounted with several
pieces or artillery. All these bastions and the curtains were,
in 1643, but mounds, most of which had crumbled away, so that
one entered the fort on all sides. There were no ditches. For
the garrison of the said fort, and another which they had built
still further up against the incursions of the savages, their
enemies, there were sixty soldiers. They were beginning to
face the gates and bastions with stone. Within the fort there
was a pretty large stone church,<1> the house of the Governor,
whom they called Director General, quite neatly built of brick,
the storehouses and barracks.

<1> See De Vries, p. 212, supra, and the _Representation of
New Netherland_.

On the island of Manhate, and in its environs, there may well
be four or five hundred men of different sects and nations:
the Director General told me that there were men of eighteen
different languages; they are scattered here and there on the
river, above and below, as the beauty and convenience of the
spot invited each to settle: some mechanics however, who ply
their trade, are ranged under the fort; all the others were
exposed to the incursions of the natives, who in the year 1643,
while I was there, actually killed some two score Hollanders,
and burnt many houses and barns full of wheat.

The river, which is very straight, and runs due north and south,
is at least a league broad before the fort. Ships lie at anchor
in a bay which forms the other side of the island, and can be
defended by the fort.

Shortly before I arrived there, three large ships of 300 tons
each had come to load wheat; two found cargoes, the third
could not be loaded, because the savages had burnt a part of
the grain. These ships had come from the West Indies, where
the West India Company usually keeps up seventeen ships of

No religion is publicly exercised but the Calvinist, and orders
are to admit none but Calvinists, but this is not observed; for
besides the Calvinists there are in the colony Catholics, English
Puritans, Lutherans, Anabaptists, here called Mnistes,<1> etc.

<1> Mennonistes, Mennonites.

When any one comes to settle in the country, they lend him
horses, cows, etc.; they give him provisions, all which he
returns as soon as he is at ease; and as to the land, after
ten years he pays in to the West India Company the tenth of
the produce which he reaps.

This country is bounded on the New England side by a river
they call the Fresche River,<1> which serves as a boundary
between them and the English. The English, however, come very
near to them, choosing to hold lands under the Hollanders,
who ask nothing, rather than depend on the English Milords,
who exact rents, and would fain be absolute. On the other side,
southward, towards Virginia, its limits are the river which
they call the South River, on which there is also a Dutch
settlement,<2> but the Swedes have one at its mouth extremely
well supplied with cannons and men.<3> It is believed that
these Swedes are maintained by some Amsterdam merchants , who
are not satisfied that the West India Company should alone
enjoy all the commerce of these parts.<4> It is near this river
that a gold mine is reported to have been found.

<1> Connecticut.
<2> Fort Nassau, at the mouth of Timber Creek.
<3> He probably means Fort Nya Elfsborg, on the Jersey side
of Delaware Bay, below Salem.
<4> The reference is to aid rendered by Samuel Blommaert, an
Amsterdam merchant, formerly a director of the Dutch West India
Company, in fitting out the first Swedish expedition in 1637,
and in engaging Peter Minuit to command it. Blommaert's letters
to the Swedish chancellor, Count Axel Oxenstjerna, thirty-eight
in number, 1635-1641, letters of great importance to the history
of New Sweden, have just been published in the _Bijdragen en
Mededeelingen_ of the Utrecht Historical Society, vol. XXIX.

See in the work of the Sieur de Laet of Antwerp, the table
and chapter on New Belgium, as he sometimes calls it, or the
map "Nova Anglia, Novu Belgium et Virginia."<1>

<1> De Laet, _Histoire du Nouveau Monde, table of contents,
bk. III. ch. XII., and map.

It is about fifty years since the Hollanders came to these
parts.<1> The fort was begun in the year 1615; they began to
settle about twenty years ago, and there is already some
little commerce with Virginia and New England.

<1> An exaggeration. There is no evidence of Dutch visits
before Hudson's.

The first comers found lands fit for use, deserted by the
savages, who formerly had fields here. Those who came later
have cleared the woods, which are mostly oak. The soil is
good. Deer hunting is abundant in the fall. There are some
houses built of stone; lime they make of oyster shells, great
heaps of which are found here, made formerly by the savages,
who subsist in part by that fishery.

The climate is very mild. Lying at 40 2/3 degrees there are
many European fruits, as apples, pears, cherries. I reached
there in October, and found even then a considerable quantity
of peaches.

Ascending the river to the 43d degree, you meet the second
[Dutch] settlement, which the tide reaches but does not pass.
Ships of a hundred and a hundred and twenty tons can come up
to it.

There are two things in this settlement (which is called
Renselaerswick, as if to say, settlement of Renselaers, who
is a rich Amsterdam merchant)--first, a miserable little fort
called Fort Orenge, built of logs, with four or five pieces
of Breteuil cannon, and as many pedereros. This has been
reserved and is maintained by the West India Company. This
fort was formerly on an island in the river; it is now on the
mainland, towards the Hiroquois, a little above the said island.

Secondly, a colony sent here by this Renselaers, who is the
patron. This colony is composed of about a hundred persons,
who reside in some twenty-five or thirty houses built along
the river, as each found most convenient. In the principal
house resides the patron's agent; the minister has his apart,
in which service is performed. There is also a kind of bailiff
here, whom they call the seneschal,<1> who administers justice.
All their houses are merely of boards and thatched, with no
mason work except the chimneys. The forest furnishing many
large pines, they make boards by means of their mills, which
they have here for the purpose.

<1> The schout.

They found some pieces of ground all ready, which the savages
had formerly cleared, and in which they sow wheat and oats for
beer, and for their horses, of which they have great numbers.
There is little land fit for tillage, being hemmed in by hills,
which are poor soil. This obliges them to separate, and they
already occupy two or three leagues of country.

Trade is free to all; this gives the Indians all things cheap,
each of the Hollanders outbidding his neighbor, and being
satisfied provided he can gain some little profit.

This settlement is not more than twenty leagues from the
Agniehronons,<1> who can be reached by land or water, as the
river on which the Iroquois lie,<2> falls into that which
passes by the Dutch; but there are many low rapids, and a fall
of a short half league, where the canoe must be carried.

<1> The Mohawks.
<2> Mohawk River.

There are many nations between the two Dutch settlements,
which are about thirty German leagues apart, that is, about
fifty or sixty French leagues.<1> The Wolves, whom the Iroquois
call Agotsaganens,<2> are the nearest to the settlement of
Renselaerswick and to Fort Orange. War breaking out some years
ago between the Iroquois and the Wolves, the Dutch joined the
latter against the former; but four men having been taken and
burnt, they made peace. Since then some nations near the sea
having killed some Hollanders of the most distant settlement,
the Hollanders killed one hundred and fifty Indians, men, women
and children, they having, at divers times, killed forty
Hollanders, burnt many houses, and committed ravages, estimated
at the time that I was there at 200,000 l. (two hundred thousand
livres).<3> Troops were raised in New England. Accordingly,
in the beginning of winter, the grass being trampled down and
some snow on the ground, they gave them chase with six hundred
men, keeping two hundred always on the move and constantly
relieving one another; so that the Indians, shut up in a large
island, and unable to flee easily, on account of their women
and children, were cut to pieces to the number of sixteen
hundred, including women and children. This obliged the rest
of the Indians to make peace, which still continues. This
occurred in 1643 and 1644.<4>

<1> One hundred and fifty English miles.
<2> The Mohicans.
<3> Livres tournois or francs, worth two or three times as
much as francs at the time.
<4> See _The Journal of New Netherland_.

>From Three Rivers in New France, August 3, 1646.



Reference material and source.

"Journal of New Netherland, 1647." In J. Franklin Jameson,
ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original
Narratives of Early American History). NY: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1909.


AN account of the great Indian war which so desolated the
province of New Netherland, and of some other actions of
Kieft's administration, written from his point of view or
that of his supporters, must be regarded as an important
piece of evidence. It is the more to be welcomed because
on the whole our evidences for New Netherland history come
mainly from opponents of the provincial administration and
of the West India Company. The archives of the company
disappeared almost completely many years ago, the bulk of
them having apparently been sold as waste paper not many
years before Brodhead went to Holland upon his memorable
search. Of Kieft's papers, we may suppose that the greater
part were lost when the Princess was shipwrecked on the Welsh
coast in September, 1647, and the deposed director and all
his possessions were lost.

The document which follows was found by Broadhead in the
Royal Library of the Hague. It is still there and is
designated No. 78 H 32. I has an outside cover forming a
title-page, with ornamental lettering, but it is not the
"book ornamented with water-color drawings" which Kieft is
known to have sent home. A photograph of the first page,
which the editor has procured, does nothing to show the
authorship, for it is written in the hand of a professional
scrivener. Mr. Van Laer, archivist of the State of New York,
assures the editor that it is not the hand of Keift or that
of Cornelis van Tienhoven, the provincial secretary.<1> But
that it was either inspired by Kieft, or emanated from one
of his supporters, is plain not only from its general tone
but from its citations of documents. Of the documents to
which its marginal notes refer, some of those that we can
still trace are noted in the archives of the Netherlands as
"from a copy-book of Director Kieft's." The rest, or the
original copy-book, may have perished with him.

<1> Mr. J.H. Innes tells me that it resembles that of Augustin

The piece was first printed in 1851, in the _Documentary
History of the State of New York_, IV. 1-17. It was printed
for the second time in 1856, in _Documents relating to the
Colonial History of New York_, I. 179-188. For the present
issue this early and imperfect translation has been revised
with great care by Dr. Johannes de Hullu of the National
Archives of the Netherlands, who has used for this purpose
the original manuscript in the Royal Library.


Journal of New Netherland, 1647, described in the Years 1641,
1642, 1643, 1644, 1645 and 1646.

Brief Description of New Netherland.

NEW NETHERLAND (so called because it was first frequented and
peopled by the free Netherlanders) is a province in the most
northern part of America lying between New England (which
bounds it on the northeast side) and Virginia lying to the
southwest of it. The ocean washes its whole length along a
clean sandy coast, very similar to that of Flanders or Holland,
having except the rivers few bays or harbors for ships; the
air is very temperate, inclining to dryness, healthy, little
subject to sickness. The four seasons of the year are about
as in France, or the Netherlands. The difference is, the
spring is shorter because it begins later, the summer is
warmer because it comes on more suddenly, the autumn is long
and very pleasant, the winter cold and liable to much snow.
Two winds ordinarily prevail: the N.W. in winter and the
S.W. in summer; the other winds are not common; the N.W.
corresponds with our N.E. because it blows across the
country from the cold point as our N.E. does. The S.W. is
dry and hot like our S.E. because it comes from the warm
countries; the N.E. is cold and wet like our S.W. for similar
reasons. The character of the country is very like that of
France; the land is fairly high and level, especially broken
along the coast by small rocky hills unfit for agriculture;
farther in the interior are pretty high mountains (generally
exhibiting great appearance of minerals) between which flow
a great number of small rivers. In some places there are even
some lofty ones of extraordinary height, but not many. Its
fertility falls behind no province in Europe in excellence of
fruits and seeds. There are three principal rivers, to wit:
the Fresh, the Mauritius and the South River,<1> all three
reasonably wide and deep, adapted for the navigation of
large ships twenty-five leagues up and of common barks even
to the falls. From the River Mauritius off to beyond the
Fresh River stretches a channel that forms an island, forty
leagues long, called Long Island, which is the ordinary
passage from New England to Virginia, having on both sides
many harbors to anchor in, so that people make no difficulty
about navigating it in winter. The country is generally
covered with trees, except a few valleys and some large
flats of seven or eight leagues and less; the trees are as
in Europe, viz. Oak, hickory, chestnut, vines. The animals
are also of the same species as ours, except lions and some
other strange beasts, many bears, abundance of wolves which
harm nobody but the small cattle, elks and deer in abundance,
foxes, beavers, otters, minks and such like. The birds which
are natural to the country are turkeys like ours, swans,
geese of three sorts, ducks, teals, cranes, herons, bitterns,
two sorts of partridges, four sorts of heath fowls, grouse or
pheasants. The river fish is like that of Europe, viz., carp,
sturgeon, salmon, pike, perch, roach, eel, etc. In the salt
waters are found codfish, haddock, herring and so forth, also
abundance of oysters and clams.

<1> Connecticut, Hudson and Delaware.

The Indians are of ordinary stature, strong and broad shouldered;
olive color, light and nimble of foot, subtle of mind, of few
words which they previously well consider, hypocritical,
treacherous, vindictive; brave and obstinate in self-defence,
in time of need right resolute to die. They seem to despise
all the torments that can be inflicted on them without once
uttering a sigh--go almost naked except a lap which hangs
before their private parts, and on the shoulders a deer skin
or a mantle, a fathom square, of woven Turkey feathers or
peltries sewed together. They now make great use of duffel
cloths, blue or red, in consequence of the frequent visits of
the Christians. In winter they make shoes of deer skins,
manufactured after their fashion. Except their chiefs, they
have generally but one wife whom they frequently change
according to caprice; she must do all the work, as well corn-
planting as wood-cutting and whatever else is to be done.
They are divided into various nations. They differ even in
language, which would be altogether too long to be narrated
in this short space. They dwell together in tribes, mostly
of one consanguinity, over which commands a chief who is
general and is generally called Sackema, possessing not much
authority and little advantage, unless in their dances and
other ceremonies. They have no knowledge at all of God, no
divine worship, no law, no justice; the strongest does what
he pleases and the youths are master. Their weapons are the
bow and arrow, in the use of which they are wonderful adepts.
They live by hunting and fishing in addition to maize which
the women plant.

By Whom and How New Netherland was peopled.

The subjects of the Lords States General had for a considerable
time frequented this country solely for the purpose of the fur
trade. Then, in the year 1623, the Chartered West India Company
caused four forts to be erected in that country--two on the
River Mauritius and one on each of the other [rivers]; the biggest
stands on the point where the Mauritius River begins, and the
other one,<1> mentioned heretofore, which their Honors named New
Amsterdam; and six and thirty leagues upwards another called
Orange. That on the South River is called Nassauw and that on
Fresh River, the Good Hope. The Company has since continually
maintained garrisons there. In the beginning their Honors had
sent a certain number of settlers thither, and at great expense
had three sawmills erected, which never realised any profit of
consequence, on account of their great heaviness, and a great
deal of money was expended for the advancement of the country,
but it never began to be settled until every one had liberty
to trade with the Indians, inasmuch as up to this time no one
calculated to remain there longer than the expiration of his
bounden time, and therefore they did not apply themselves to
agriculture. Yea, even the colony of Renselaerwyck was of
little consequence; but as soon as it was permitted, many
servants, who had some money coming to them from the Company,
applied for their discharge, built houses and formed plantations,
spread themselves far and wide, each seeking the best land, and
to be nearest the Indians in order thus to trade with them
easily, others bought barks with which to trade goods at the
North and at the South, and as the Lords Directors gave free
passage from Holland thither, that also caused some to come.
On the other hand, the English came also from both Virginia and
New England. Firstly, many servants, whose time with their
masters had expired, on account of the good opportunity to plant
tobacco here, afterwards families and finally entire colonies,
forced to quit that place both to enjoy freedom of conscience
and to escape from the insupportable government of New England
and because many more commodities were easier to be obtained
here than there, so that in place of seven farms and two or
three plantations which were here, one saw thirty farms, as
well cultivated and stocked with cattle as in Europe, and a
hundred plantations which in two or three [years] would have
become well arranged farms. For after the tobacco was out of
the ground, corn was thrown in there without ploughing. In
winter men were busy preparing new lands. Five English colonies
which by contract had [settled] under us on equal terms as the
others. Each of these was in appearance not less than a
hundred families strong, exclusive of the colony of Rensselaers
Wyck which is prospering, with that of Myndert Meyndertsz<2>
and Cornelis Melyn,<3> who began first, also the village New
Amsterdam around the fort, a hundred families, so that there
was appearance of producing supplies in a year for fourteen
thousand souls, without straining the country, and had there
been no want of laborers or farm servants twice as much could
have been raised, considering that fifty lasts of rye and fifty
lasts of peas still remained over around the fort after a large
quantity had been burnt and destroyed by the Indians, who in a
short time nearly brought this country to nought and had well
nigh destroyed this good hope, in manner following--

<1> East River, apparently.
<2> The colony of Hackensack, belonging to Meyndert Meyndertsen
van Keren and others.
<3> Cornelis Melyn's colony embraced all Staten Island except
De Vries's plantation.

The Causes of the New Netherland War and the Sequel thereof.

We have already stated that the cause of the population of
New Netherland was the liberty to trade with the Indians.
We shall now prove that it also is the cause of its ruin,
producing two contrary effects, and that not without reason
as shall appear from the following.

This liberty then which in every respect should have been
most gratefully received, of which use should have been made
as of a precious gift, was very soon perverted to a great
abuse. For every one thought that now the time had come to
make his fortune, withdrew himself from his comrade, as if
holding him suspect and the enemy of his gains, and sought
communication with the Indians from whom it appeared his
profit was to be derived. That created first a division of
power of dangerous consequence, in opposition to Their High
Mightinesses' motto<1>--produced altogether too much
familiarity with the Indians which in a short time brought
forth contempt, usually the father of hate--not being
satisfied with merely taking them into their houses in the
customary manner, but attracting them by extraordinary
attention, such as admitting them to the table, laying
napkins before them, presenting wine to them and more of
that kind of thing, which they did not receive like Esop's
man, but as their due and desert, insomuch that they were
not content but began to hate when such civilities were not
shewn them. To this familiarity and freedom succeeded
another evil. As the cattle usually roamed through the
woods without a herdsman, they frequently came into the
corn of the Indians which was unfenced on all sides,
committing great damage there; this led to frequent complaints
on their part and finally to revenge on the cattle without
sparing even the horses, which were valuable in this country.
Moreover many of ours took the Indians into service, making
use of them in their houses and thus, whilst they were being
employed, laying open before those Indians our entire
circumstances; and sometimes becoming weary of their work,
they took leg-bail and stole much more than the amount of
their wages. This freedom caused still great mischief, for
the inhabitants of Renselaerswyck who were as many traders
as persons, perceiving that the Mohawks were craving for
guns, which some of them had already received from the English,
paying for each as many as twenty beavers and for a pound of
powder as much as ten to twelve guilders, they came down in
greater numbers than was their wont where people were well
supplied with guns, purchasing these at a fair price, thus
realizing great profit; afterwards they obtained some from
their Heer Patroon for their self-defence in time of need, as
we suppose. This extraordinary gain was not kept long a
secret, the traders coming from Holland soon got scent of it,
and from time to time brought over great quantities, so that
the Mohawks in a short time were seen with firelocks, powder
and lead in proportion. Four hundred armed men knew how to
use their advantage, especially against their enemies
dwelling along the river of Canada,<2> against whom they have
now achieved many profitable forays where before they derived
little advantage; this causes them also to be respected by
the surrounding Indians even as far as the sea coast, who
must generally pay them tribute, whereas, on the contrary,
they were formerly obliged to contribute to these. On this
account the Indians endeavored no less to procure guns, and
through the familiarity which existed between them and our
people, they began to solicit them for guns and powder, but
as such was forbidden on pain of death and it could not
remain secret in consequence of the general conversation,
they could not obtain them. This added to the previous
contempt greatly augmented the hatred which stimulated them
to conspire against us, beginning first by insults which they
everywhere indiscreetly uttered railing at us as Materiotty
(that is to say) the cowards--that we might indeed be
something on water, but of no account on land, and that we
had neither a great sachem nor chiefs.

<1> Eendracht maakt macht, union makes strength.
<2> Father Jogues speaks more than once of the ill effects
of the Dutch practice of selling fire-arms to the Indians.

[Here two pages are wanting.]

he of Witqueschreek living northeast of the island Manhatans,
perpetrated another murderous deed in the house of an old
man,<1> a wheelwright, with whom he was acquainted (having
been in his son's service) being well received and supplied
with food, pretending a desire to buy something and whilst
the old man was taking from the chest the cloth the Indian
wanted the latter took up an ax and cut his head off, further
plundering the house, and ran away. This outrage obliged
the Director to demand satisfaction from the sachem, who
refused it, saying that he was sorry that twenty Christians
had not been murdered<2> and that this Indians had only
avenged the death of his uncle who, it was alleged, had been
slain by the Dutch twenty-one years before. Whereupon all
the commonalty were called together by the Director to
consider this affair, who all appeared and presently twelve
men delegated from among them<3> answered the propositions,
and resolved at once on war should the murderer be refused;
that the attack should be made on [the Indians] in the
autumn when they were hunting; meanwhile an effort should
be again made by kindness to obtain justice, which was
accordingly several times sought for but in vain.

<1> Claes Smits Rademaker.
<2> "Note A [in the original]. Capt. Patricx letter 21 August
1641." I do not find this letter in print. Captain Patrick,
formerly a soldier under the Prince of Orange, was one of the
early members of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, but had
left that colony in 1639 and settled with his Dutch wife at
Greenwich. Concerning his death, at the hands of a Dutch
Trooper, see Winthrop, II. 153-154, in this series.
<3> "Note B. Their answer and resolution dated the 29th August,
1641." This document, "from Director Kieft's copy-book," is
in _N.Y. Col. Doc._, I. 415.

The time being come many difficulties were alleged and
operations were postponed until the year 1642, when it was
resolved to avenge the perpetrated outrage. Thereupon spies
looked up the Indians who lay in their dwelling-place
suspecting nothing, and eighty men were detailed under the
command of Ensign Hendrick van Dyck and sent thither. The
guide being come with the troops in the neighborhood of the
Indian wigwams lost his way in consequence of the darkness
of the night. The ensign became impatient, and turned back
without having accomplished anything. The journey, however,
was not without effect, for the Indians who remarked by the
trail made by our people in marching that they had narrowly
escaped discovery, sought for peace which was granted them
on condition that they should either deliver up the murderer
or inflict justice themselves; this they promised, but without
any result.

Some weeks after this Miantonimo, principal sachem of Sloops
Bay,<1> came here with one hundred men, passing through all
the Indian villages<2> soliciting them to a general war
against both the English and the Dutch,<3> whereupon some of
the neighboring Indians attempted to set our powder on fire
and to poison the Director or to inchant him by their devilry,
as their ill will was afterwards made manifest as well in fact
as by report. Those of Hackingsack, otherwise called Achter
Col, had with their neighbors killed an Englishman, a servant
of one David Pietersen, and a few days after shot dead in an
equally treacherous manner a Dutchman, who sat roofing a
house in the colony of Meyndert Meyndertz,<4> which was
established there against he advice of the Director and will
of the Indians, and which by the continual damage which their
cattle committed caused no little dissatisfaction to the Indians,
and contributed greatly to the war. The commonalty began then
to be alarmed, and not without reason, having the Indians daily
in their houses. The murderers were frequently demanded,
either living or dead, even with a promise of reward; they
always returned a scoffing answer laughing at us. Finally,
the commonalty, very much displeased with the Director,
upbraided him for conniving with the Indians, and [declared]
that an attempt was making to sell Christian blood;<5> yea,
that the will of the entire commonalty was surrendered to him,
and in case he would not avenge blood they should do it
themselves, be the consequences what they might. The Director
advised Pacham the sachem,<6> who interested himself in this
matter, warning him that we should wait no longer inasmuch as
no satisfaction had been given.

<1> I.e., of the Narragansetts.
<2> "Note C. The English Manifest, Page 2." This means that
now rare pamphlet, _A Declaration of Former Passages and
Proceedings betwixt the English and the Narrowgansets_ (Cambridge,
1645), published by order of the Commissioners of the United
Colonies. See its text, and the particular passage here referred
To, in _Records of Plymouth Colony_, IX. 50.
<3> "Note D. Capt. Patricx letter dated 2 Jan'y, 1642." I have
nowhere seen this letter.
<4> "Note E. The order in the Director's letter and in the
deposition thereupon." See De Vries, p. 215, supra.
<5> "Note F. Resolve of the 12 delegates dated 21 Jan'y, 1642."
See _N.Y. Col. Doc., I. 414-415.
<6> Of the Haverstraw Indians.

Meanwhile God wreaked vengeance on those of Witquescheck without
our knowledge through the Mahicanders dwelling below Fort Orange,
who slew seventeen of them, and made prisoners of many women and
children. The remainder fled through a deep snow to the
Christians' houses on and around the island Manhatens. They were
most humanely received being half dead of cold and hunger; they
supported them for fourteen days, even corn was sent to them by
the Director. A short time after, another panic seized the
Indians which caused them to fly to divers places in the vicinity
of the Dutch. This opportunity to avenge the innocent blood
induced some of the Twelve Men to represent to the Director that
it was now time, whereupon they received for answer that they
should put their request in writing which was done by three in
the name of them all,<1> by a petition to be allowed to attack
those of Hackingsack in two divisions--on the Manhatens and on
Pavonia. This was granted after a protracted discussion too
long to be reported here, so that the design was executed that
same night; the burghers slew those who lay a small league from
the fort, and the soldiers those at Pavonia, at which two places
about eighty Indians were killed and thirty taken prisoners.
Next morning before the return of the troops a man and a woman
were shot at Pavonia who had come through curiosity either to
look at or plunder the dead; the soldiers had rescued a young
child which the woman had in her arms.

<1> "Note G. Their Petition dated 24th Feb. 1643." _N.Y. Col.
Doc._, I. 193. Its true date was February 22.

The Christians residing on Long Island also requested by
petition<1> to be allowed to attack and slay the Indians
thereabout; which was refused, as these especially had done
us no harm, and shewed us every friendship--(yea, had even
voluntarily killed some of the Raritans, our enemies,
hereinbefore mentioned). Yet notwithstanding<2> some Christians
attempted secretly with two waggons to steal maize from these
Indians, out of their cabins, which they perceiving endeavored
to prevent, thereupon three Indians were shot dead, two houses
standing opposite the fort were in return forthwith set on
fire. The Director knowing nought of this sent at once some
persons to enquire the reason of it. The Indians showing
themselves afar off, called out--"Be ye our friends? ye are
mere corn stealers"--forth with behaving as enemies. This
induced one of the proprietors of the burnt houses to upbraid
therewith one Maryn Adriaenzen, who at his request had led the
freemen in the attack on the Indians, and who being reinforced
by an English troop had afterwards undertaken two bootless
expeditions in the open field. Imagining that the Director
had accused him, he being one of the signers of the petition
he determined to revenge himself.<3> With this resolution he
proceeded to the Director's house armed with a pistol, loaded
and cocked, and a hanger by his side; coming unawares into the
Director's room, he presents his pistol at him, saying, "What
devilish lies art thou reporting of me?" but by the promptness
of one of the bystanders, the shot was prevented, and he
himself immediately confined. A short time after, Marine's
man and another entered the fort, each carrying a loaded gun
and pistol. The first fired at the Director who having had
notice withdrew towards his house, the balls passing into the
wall alongside the door behind him; the sentinel firing
immediately on him who had discharged his gun, brought him
down. Shortly afterwards some of the commonalty collected
before the Director, riotously demanding the prisoner; they
were answered that their request should be presented in order
and in writing, which about 25 men did; they therein asked the
Director to pardon the criminal. The matters were referred to
them to decide conscientiously thereupon, in such wise that
they immediately went forth, without hearing parties or seeing
any complaints or documents. They condemn him in a fine of
five hundred guilders, and to remain three months away from
the Manhatens, but on account of the importance of the affair
and some considerations, it was resolved to send the criminal
with his trial to Holland, which...<4>

<1> "Note H. Their petition and the answer thereto, dated 27
Feb. 1643." Printed in _N.Y. Col. Doc._, I. 416-417.
<2> "Note I. Contains the information thereupon."
<3> "Note K. His trial therefor."
<4> Gap in manuscript.

In this confusion mingled with great terror passed the winter
away; the season came for driving out the cattle; this obliged
many to desire peace. On the other hand the Indians, seeing
also that it was time to plant maize, were not less solicitous
for peace, so that after some negotiation, peace was concluded
in May Ao. 1643 [more] in consequence of the importunity of
some than because it was generally expected that it would be

The Indians kept still after this peace, associating daily
with our people; yea, even the greatest chiefs came to visit
the Director. Meanwhile Pachem, a crafty man, ran through
all the villages urging the Indians to a general massacre. To
this was added moreoever that certain Indians called Wappingers,
dwelling sixteen leagues up the river, with whom we never had
any the least trouble, seized on a boat coming from Fort Orange
wherein were only two men, and full four hundred beavers. This
great booty stimulated<1> others to join them, so that they
seized two boats more, intending to overhaul the fourth also,
from which they were driven off with the loss of six Indians.
Nine Christians including two women were murdered in these
captured barks, one woman and two children remaining prisoners.
The other Indians, so soon as their maize was ripe, were
likewise roused, and through semblance of selling beavers
killed an old man and an old woman, leaving another man with
five wounds, who however fled to the fort in a boat with a
little child on his arm, who in the first outbreak had lost
father and mother, and now grandfather and grandmother, being
thus twice through God's merciful blessing rescued from the
hands of the Indians, before it was two years old. Nothing
was now heard but murders, most of which were committed under
pretence of coming to put the Christians on their guard.

<1> "Note M. Their acknowledgement made before the English
16 January, 1643, English style."

Finally they took the field and attacked the farms at Pavonia.
There were here at the time two ships of war and a privateer
who saved considerable cattle and grain. Nevertheless it was
not possible to prevent the destruction of four farms on
Pavonia, which were burnt, not by open force, but by stealthily
creeping through the brush with fire in hand, thus igniting
the roofs which are all either of reed or straw; one covered
with plan was saved at that time.

The commonalty were called together; they were sore distressed.
They chose eight, in the stead of the previous twelve<1>, persons
to aid in consulting for the best; but the occupation every one
had to take care of his own, prevented anything beneficial being
adopted at that time--nevertheless it was resolved that as many
Englishmen as were to be got in the country should be enlisted,
who were indeed now proposing to depart; the third part of these
were to be paid by the commonalty; this promise was made by the
commonalty but was not followed by the pay.

<1> "Note N. Resolve of 13 Sept'r 1643." _N.Y. Col. Doc._, I.

Terror increasing all over the land the Eight Men assembled,
drew<1> up a proposal in writing wherein they asked that
delegates should be sent to the north, to our English neighbors,
to request an auxiliary force of one hundred and fifty men, for
whose pay a bill of exchange should be given for twenty-five
thousand guilders, and that New Netherland should be so long
mortgaged to the English as security for the payment thereof.
One of the most influential among the Eight Men had by letter<2>
enforced by precedents previously endeavored to persuade the
Director to this course, as they had also a few days before
Resolved<3> that the provisions destined for Curacao should be
unloaded from the vessels and the major portion of the men
belonging to them detained, and to send the ships away thus
empty. This was not yet agreed to nor considered expedient
by the Director.

[Here four pages are wanting.]

[An expedition was despatched consisting of ---- regular
soldiers] under the command of the sergeant,<4> forty burghers
under their Captain Jochem Pietersen,<5> thirty-five Englishmen
under Lieutenant Baxter,<6> but to prevent all confusion,
Councillor La Montagne<7> was appointed general. Coming to
Staten Island, they marched the whole night, finding the houses
empty and abandoned by the Indian; they got five or six hundred
skepels of corn, burning the remainder without accomplishing
anything else.

<1> "Note O. Dated 6th Octob. 1643."
<2> "Note P. Dated 9th March, 1643."
<3> "Note Q. In their resolution 30th September, 1643."
<4> Pieter Cock.
<5> Jochem Pietersen Kuyter, one of the Twelve Men and of the
Eight Men.
<6> George Baxter, an exile from New England, now English
secretary under Kieft. The number of English colonists in New
Netherland, especially on Long Island, was rapidly increasing.
<7> Dr. Johannes la Montagne, a Hugeunot physician, who with
Kieft constituted the council of the province.

Mayane, a sachem, residing eight leagues northeast of us,
between Greenwich (that lies within our jurisdiction) and
Stantfort,<1> which is English,--a bold Indian who alone dared
to attack with bow and arrows three Christians armed with guns,
one of whom he shot dead--whilst engaged with the other, was
killed by the third Christian and his head brought hither. It
was then known and understood for the first time, that he and
his Indians had done as much injury, though we never had any
difference with him. Understanding further that they lay in
their houses very quiet and without suspicion on account of
the neighborhood of the English, it was determined to hunt
them up and attack them, and one hundred and twenty men were
went thither under the preceding command. The people landed
at Greenwich in the evening from three yachts, marched the
entire night but could not find the Indians, either because
the guide brought this about on purpose, as was believed, or
because he had himself gone astray. Retreat was made to the
yachts in order to depart as secretly as possible. Passing
through Stantfort some Englishmen were encountered who
offered to lead ours to the place where some Indians were.
Thereupon four scouts were sent in divers directions to
discover them, who at their return reported that the Indians
had some notice of our people by the salute which the
Englishmen gave us, but without any certainty, whereupon
five and twenty of the bravest men were at once commanded to
proceed thither to the nearest village. With great diligence
they made the journey, killing eighteen or twenty Indians,
capturing an old man, two women and some children, to exchange
for ours. The other troops found the huts empty, and further
came hither with the yachts.

<1> Stamford.

The old Indian captured above having promised to lead us to
Wetquescheck, which consisted of three castles, sixty-five
men were despatched under Baxter and Pieter Cock, who found
them empty, though thirty Indians could have stood against
two hundred soldiers since the castles were constructed of
plank five inches thick, nine feet high, and braced around
with thick balk full of port-holes. Our people burnt two,
reserving the third for a retreat. Marching eight or nine
leagues further, they discovered nothing but some huts, which
they could not surprize as they were discovered. They came
back having killed only one or two Indians, taken some women
and children prisoners and burnt much corn. Meanwhile we
were advised that Pennewitz,<1> one of the oldest and most
experienced Indians in the country, and who in the first
conspiracy had given the most dangerous advice--to wit, that
they should wait and not attack the Dutch until all suspicion
had been lulled, and then divide themselves equally through
the houses of the Christians and slaughter all these in one
night--was secretly waging war against us with his tribe,
who killed some of our people and set fire to the houses. It
was therefore resolved to send thither a troop of one hundred
and twenty men. The burghers under their company, the English
under the Sergeant Major Van der Hyl<2> (who within a few days
had offered his services and was accepted), the veteran
soldiers under Pieter Cock, all under the command of Mr. La
Montagne, proceed hence in three yachts, land in Scouts Bay
on Long Island,<3> and march towards Heemstede<4> (where there
is an English colony dependent on us.) Some sent forward in
advance dexterously killed an Indian who was out as a spy.
Our force was divided into two divisions--Van der Hil with
fourteen English towards the smallest, and eighty men towards
the largest village named Matsepe,<5> both which were very
successful, killing about one hundred and twenty men; of ours
one man remained on the field and three were wounded.

<1> Chief of the Canarsee tribe, in western Long Island.
<2> John Underhill, whose unctuous piety and profligate life
have an important place in Winthrop and other New England
historians. With Captain John Mason he had the leading part
in the crushing of the Pequots in 1637. Banished from
Massachusetts and restored, this amusing reprobate had gone
to the Dutch, "having good offers made him by the Dutch governor
(he speaking the Dutch tongue and his wife a Dutch woman)," but
had now settled at Stamford. Later he lived at Flushing and at
Oyster Bay, where he died in 1672.
<3> Now called Manhasset Bay.
<4> Now Hempstead, Long Island, where early in 1644 Robert
Fordham and other English from Stamford had formed a colony
under New Netherland jurisdiction.
<5> Mespath, now Newtown, Long Island.
<6> Stamford.

Our forces being returned from this expedition, Capt. Van der
Hil was despatched to Stantfort,<1> to get some information
there of the Indians. He reported that the guide who had
formerly served us, and was supposed to have gone astray in
the night, had now been in great danger of his life among the
Indians, of whom there were about five hundred together. He
offered to lead us there, to shew that the former mischance
was not his fault. One hundred and thirty men were accordingly
despatched under the aforesaid Genl Van der Hil and Hendrick
van Dyck, ensign. They embarked in three yachts, and landed at
Greenwich, where they were obliged to pass the night by reason
of the great snow and storm. In the morning they marched
northwest up over stony hills over which some must creep. In
the evening about eight o'clock they came within a league of
the Indians, and inasmuch as they should have arrived too
early and had to cross two rivers, one of two hundred feet
wide and three deep, and that the men could not afterwards there
rest in consequence of the cold, it was determined to remain
there until about ten o'clock. The order was given as to the
mode to be observed in attacking the Indians--they marched
forward towards the houses, the latter being set up in three
rows, street fashion, each row eighty paces long, in a low
recess protected by the hills, affording much shelter from the
northwest wind. The moon was then at the full, and threw a
strong light against the hills so that many winter days were
not brighter than it then was. On arriving there the Indians
were wide awake, and on their guard, so that ours determined
to charge and surround the houses, sword in hand. They demeaned
themselves as soldiers and deployed in small bands, so that we
got in a short time one dead and twelve wounded. They were also
so hard pressed that it was impossible for one to escape. In a
brief space of time there were counted one hundred and eighty
dead outside the houses. Presently none durst come forth,
keeping within the houses, discharging arrows through the holes.
The general perceived that nothing else was to be done, and
resolved with Sergeant Major Van der Hil, to set the huts on
fire, whereupon the Indians tried every means of escape, not
succeeding in which they returned back to the flames preferring
to perish by the fire than to die by our hands. What was most
wonderful is, that among this vast collection of men, women and
children not one was heard to cry or to scream. According to
the report of the Indians themselves the number then destroyed
exceeded five hundred. Some say, full seven hundred, among
whom were also twenty-five Wappingers, our God having collected
together there the greater number of our enemies, to celebrate
one of their festivals in their manner, from which escaped no
more than eight men in all, and three of them were severely

The fight ended, several fires were built in consequence of
the great cold. The wounded, fifteen in number, among whom
was the general, were dressed, and the sentinels being posted
the troops bivouacked there for the remainder of the night. On
the next day, the party set out very early in good order, so
as to arrive at Stantfort in the evening. They marched with
great courage over that wearisome range of hills, God affording
extraordinary strength to the wounded, some of whom were badly
hurt; and came in the afternoon to Stantfort after a march of
two days and one night and little rest. The English received
our people in a very friendly manner, affording them every
comfort. In two days they reached here. A thanksgiving was
proclaimed on their arrival.

[The remainder is wanting.]

<1> Stamford.



Reference material and sources.

Adriaen van der Donck, The Representation of New
Netherland, 1650. In J. Franklin Jameson, ed.,
Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original
Narratives of Early American History). NY: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1909.


The fussy incompetence of Kieft and the disastrous results
of the Indian war he had aroused led at last to his removal,
and in May, 1647, a new director-general arrived, Petrus
Stuyvesant, who had made a good record as governor of Curacao
in the West Indies. Stuyvesant, the last of the Dutch
governors, was a man of character, brave, honest, capable and
energetic; but he was proud, headstrong and tyrannical, and
had such high notions of a governor's prerogative that from
the first he conceived a prejudice against the opponents of
Kieft, and presently Kuyter and Melyn were condemned to severe
punishment for attempting to bring the latter to justice.

The new director-general was bent on pursuing a vigorous policy
toward encroaching English and Swedish neighbors, on repressing
the high claims of the patroon's officers at Rensselaerswyck,
on putting the province in good condition for defence, on
suppressing illegal trading, especially the supplying of fire-
arms to the Indians, and on regulating with a strong hand all
the doings of his small body of subjects. But such a policy
costs money, and to obtain it by taxation he found himself
compelled in August, 1647, like many another arbitrary ruler,
to summon reluctantly the representatives of the people.
Carefully as the functions of the Nine Men were limited, they
constituted a permanent element in the governmental system, as
the Twelve Men and Eight Men had not. It was inevitable that
sooner or later they should become the mouthpiece of popular
discontent, which was rapidly increasing under the unprosperous
condition of the province and the burdensome taxes, customs
and other restrictions imposed upon its economic life.

In December, 1648, the board was partly renewed. One of the
new members, Adriaen van der Donck, a lawyer from Breda, who
from 1641 to 1646 had been schout for the patroon at
Renssellaerwyck, soon became the leading spirit of the new
board. Their sense of popular grievances increasing, they
planned to send a deputation to the mother country to
remonstrate. Stuyvesant opposed, arrested Van der Donck,
seized some of his papers, and expelled him from the board.
Nevertheless, a bold memorial to the States General was
prepared, and was signed on July 26, 1649, "in the name and
on the behalf of the commonalty of New Netherland," by Van
der Donck and ten others, present or former members of the
board of Nine Men. In this memorial, which is printed in
_Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York_, I.
259-261, the representatives request the Dutch government to
enact measures for the encouragement of emigration to the
province, to grant "suitable municipal [or civil] government,
...somewhat resembling the laudable government of the
Fatherland," to accord greater economic freedom, and to
settle with foreign governments those disputes respecting
colonial boundaries and jurisdiction the constant agitation
of which so unsettled the province and impeded its growth.

The following document accompanied the memorial, bearing date
two days later, July 28, 1649, and was signed by the same
eleven men. It is considered probable that Adriaen van der
Donck was its main author. Its first part, descriptive of
the province, reads like a preliminary sketch for his
_Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant_ ("Description of New
Netherland"), a very interesting work published at Amsterdam
six years later (1665, second edition 1656), and of which a
translation appears in the _Collections of the New York
Historical Society_, second series, I. 125-242.

With respect to the remaining, or political portion of its
contents, it is only fair for the reader to remember that
it is a body of ex parte statements, and should be compared
with those made on behalf of the administration by Secretary
van Tienhoven in his _Answer_, the document immediately
following this. Stuyvesant, whatever his faults of temper--
love of autocratic power, lack of sympathy with the life of
a community already far from austere, vindictiveness even--
conceived of his province as a political community, not
solely as a commercial possession, and honestly tried to
govern it with an eye to its own best interest. The directors,
moreover, could truthfully say that many of their narrowest
actions were prescribed by their instructions from the West
India Company. While the States General were often capable
of taking a statesmanlike view of New Netherland, and as it
lost control of the former found itself involved in greater
and greater financial embarrassments, which made it increasingly
difficult to do justice to the latter. We may also set down
on the credit side of the account that though the administration
was slow to concede representative institutions to the province,
it did not a little to organize local self-government, Kieft
granting village rights, with magistrates and local courts of
justice, to Hampstead in 1644, to Flushing in 1645, to Brooklyn
in 1646, while Stuyvesant bestowed such rights on a dozen towns
during his seventeen years' rule and gave New Amsterdam a
somewhat restricted municipal government in 1653.

Of those whose signatures follow Van der Donck's at the end
of the _Representation_, Augustin Herrman was a Bohemian of
Prague, who had served in Wallenstein's army, had come out to
New Netherland in 1633 as agent of a mercantile house of
Amsterdam, and had become an influential merchant. A man of
various accomplishments, he probably made the drawing of New
Amsterdam which is reproduced at the foot of Van der Donck's
map in this volume. Later he made for Lord Baltimore a fine
map of Maryland, and received as his reward the princely estate
of Bohemia Manor. Arnoldus van Hardenberg, another merchant,
had been a victim of judicial oppression by both Kieft and
Stuyvesant. Jacob van Couwenhoven had come out in 1633 and
resided at first at Rensselaerswyck; he was afterward of note
as speculator and brewer in New Amsterdam. Oloff Stevensz
van Cortlant had been store-keeper for the Company and deacon
of the church; later he was burgomaster of New Amsterdam.
Michiel Jansz and Thomas Hall were farmers, the latter, the
first English settler in New York State, having come to
Manhattan as a deserter from George Holmes's abortive expedition
of 1635 against Fort Nassau on South River. Elbert Elertsz
was a weaver, Hendrick Kip a tailor. Govert Loockermans, on
the other hand, brother-in-law to both Couwenhoven and
Cortlandt, was the chief merchant and Indian trader of the
province, often in partnership with Isaac Allerton the former
Pilgrim of Plymouth. Lastly, Jan Everts Bout, a farmer, had
formerly been superintendent for Pauw at Pavonia. Characterizations
of these men, by an unfriendly hand, may be seen at the end
of Van Tienhoven's _Answer_ to this _Representation_.

Three of the signers, Van der Donck, Couwenhoven and Bout,
were deputed to go to the Netherlands and present the
_Representation_ to the States General, while Stuyvesant sent
Secretary van Tienhoven to counteracat their efforts. The
Voluminous papers which both parties presented to their High
Mightinesses were referred to a committee, which in April,
1650, submitted a draft of a reformed and more liberal government
for the province. The delegates caused their _Representation_
to be printed, in a pamphlet of forty-nine pages, now very
rare, under the title, _Vertoogh van Nieu-Neder-Land, Weghens
de Ghelegentheydt, Vruchtbaerheydt, en Soberen Staet desselfs_
(Hague, 1650), i.e., "Representation of New Netherland, concerning
its Location, Productiveness and Poor Condition." Much discussion
was aroused. "The name of New Netherland," wrote the Amsterdam
chamber of the Company to Stuyvesant, "was scarcely ever
mentioned before, and now it would seem as if heaven and earth
were interested in it." So effective an exposition of the
colony's value and of its misgovernment could not fail to awaken
consideration and sympathy. Nevertheless, the company, aided
by the _Answer_ which Van Tienhoven submitted in November, 1650,
were able to ride out the storm, and to temporize until the
outbreak of the war of 1652-1654 with England put a new face on
colonial affairs. A few concessions were made--the export duty
on tobacco was taken off, and a municipal government allowed to
New Amsterdam, now a town of 700 or 800 inhabitants (1653). But
no serious alteration in the provincial government resulted.
"Our Grand Duke of Muscovy," wrote one of Stuyvesant's subordinates
to Van der Donck, "keeps on as of old." Disaffection among the
Dutch settlers never ceased till the English conquest, though on
the other hand the English settlers on Long Island were much
better disposed toward Stuyvesant's government, and were treated
by him with more favor.

Van der Donck's two companions returned to New Netherland before
long. He, however, remained in the old country until the summer
of 1653, occupied with the business of his mission, with legal
studies, taking the degree of doctor of laws at he University of
Leyden, and with the preparation of his _Beschryvinge van Nieus-
Nederlant_. The States General gave him a copyright for it in
May, 1653, but the first edition was not published till 1655. In
that year the author died, leaving to his widow his estate, or
"colonie," which he called Colendonck. The name of Yonkers,
where it was situated, perpetuates his title of gentility
(Jonkheer van der Donck).

The original manuscript of the _Representation_ is still preserved
in the archives of the Netherlands, and a translation of it was
printed in 1856 in _Documents relating to the Colonial History
of New York_, I. 271-318, and reprinted in _Pennsylvania Archives_,
second series, V. 124-170. A translation of the printed tract,
the text of which differs but very slightly from that of the
manuscript, was made by Hon. Henry C. Murphy and printed in
1849 in the _Collections of the New York Historical Society_,
second series, II. 251-329. It exists also in a separate form
as a pamphlet, and, combined with the _Breeden Raedt_, in a
volume privately printed in an edition of 125 copies by Mr.
James Lenox. It is this translation which, revised by Professor
A. Clinton Crowell, is printed in the following pages.


The Representation of New Netherland concerning its
Location, Productiveness, and Poor Condition.

AMONG all the people in the world, industrious in
seeking out foreign lands, navigable waters and trade,
those who bear the name of Netherlanderse, will very
easily hold their place with the first, as is sufficiently
known to all those who have in any wise saluted the
threshold of history, and as will also be confirmed by
the following relation. The country of which we propose
to speak, was first discovered in the year of our Lord
1609, by the ship Half Moon, of which Hendrik Hutson was
master and supercargo--at the expense of the chartered
East India Company, though in search of a different
object. It was subsequently called New Netherland by
our people, and very justly, as it was first discovered
and possessed by Netherlanders, and at their cost; so
that even at the present day, those natives of the
country who are so old as to recollect when the Dutch
ships first came here, declare that when they saw them,
they did not know what to make of them, and could not
comprehend whether they came down from Heaven, or were
of the Devil. Some among them, when the first one
arrived, even imagined it to be a fish, or some monster
of the sea, and accordingly a strange report of it spread
over the whole land. We have also heard the savages
frequently say, that they knew nothing of any other part
of the world, or any other people than their own, before
the arrival of the Netherlanders. For these reasons,
therefore, and on account of the similarity of climate,
situation and fertility, this place is rightly called New
Netherland. It is situated on the northerly coast of
America, in the latitude of 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42 degrees,
or thereabouts, coast-wise. It is bounded on the northeast
by New England, and on the southwest by Virginia. The
coast runs nearly southwest and northeast, and is washed by
the ocean. On the north is the river of Canada, a large
river running far into the interior. The northwest side is
still partially unknown.

The land is naturally fruitful, and capable of supporting
a large population, if it were judiciously allotted according
to location. The air is pleasant here, and more temperate
than in the Netherlands. The winds are changeable, and blow
from all points, but generally from the southwest and
northwest; the former prevailing in summer, and the latter
in winter, at times very sharply, but constituting, nevertheless,
the greatest blessing to the country as regards the health of
the people, for being very strong and pure, it drives far
inland or consumes all damps and superfluous moisture. The
coast is generally clean and sandy, the beach detached and
broken into islands. Eastward from the North River lies Long
Island, about forty leagues in length, forming a fine wide
river, which falls at either end into the ocean, and affording
a very convenient passage between the shores which is protected
from the dangers of the sea by a great number of good bays and
other places of anchorage, so that vessels even in winter can
readily pass east and west. Towards the south approaching
the South River, there are several inlets, but they are muddy
and sandy, though after proper experiments they could be used.
Inside these again there are large streams and meadows, but
the waters are for the most part shallow. Along the seacoast
the land is generally sandy or gravelly, not very high, but
tolerably fertile, so that for the most part it is covered
over with beautiful trees. The country is rolling in many
places, with some high mountains, and very fine flats and
maize lands, together with large meadows, salt and fresh, all
making very fine hay land. It is overgrown with all kinds of
trees, standing without order, as in other wildernesses,
except that the maize lands, plains and meadows have few or
no trees, and these with little pains might be made into good
arable land.

The seasons are the same as in the Netherlands, but the
summer is warmer and begins more suddenly. The winter is
cold, and further inland, or towards the most northerly part,
colder than in the Netherlands. It is also subject to much
snow, which remains long on the ground, and in the interior,
three, four and five months; but near the seacoast it is
quickly dissolved by the southerly winds. Thunder, lightning,
rain, showers, hail, snow, frost, dew and the like, are the
same as in the Netherlands, except that in the summer sudden
gusts of wind are somewhat more frequent.

The land is adapted to the production of all kinds of
winter and summer fruits, and with less trouble and
tilling than in the Netherlands. It produces different
kinds of woods, suitable for building houses and ships,
whether large or small, consisting of oaks of various
kinds, as post-oak, white smooth bark, white rough bark,
gray bark, black bark, and still another kind which they
call, from its softness, butter oak, the poorest of all,
and not very valuable; the others, if cultivated as in
the Netherlands, would be equal to any Flemish or Brabant
oaks. It also yields several species of nut wood, in
great abundance, such as oil-nuts, large and small; walnut
of different sizes, in great abundance, and good for fuel,
for which it is much used, and chestnut, the same as in
the Netherlands, growing in the woods without order.
There are three varieties of beech--water beech, common
Beech, and hedge beech--also axe-handle wood, two species
of canoe wood, ash, birch, pine, fir, juniper or wild
cedar, linden, alder, willow, thorn, elder, and many other
kinds useful for many purposes, but unknown to us by name,
and which we will be glad to submit to the carpenters for
further examination.

The indigenous fruits consist principally of acorns, some
of which are very sweet; nuts of different kinds, chestnuts,
beechnuts, but not many mulberries, plums, medlars, wild
cherries, black currants, gooseberries, hazel nuts in great
quantities, small apples, abundant strawberries throughout
the country, with many other fruits and roots which the
savages use. There is also plenty of bilberries or blueberries,
together with ground-nuts and artichokes, which grow under
ground. Almost the whole land is full of vines, in the wild
woods as well as on the maize lands and flats; but they grow
principally near to and upon the banks of the brooks, streams
and rivers, which are numerous, and run conveniently and
pleasantly everywhere, as if they were planted there. The
grapes comprise many varieties, some white, some very fleshy,
and only fit to make raisins of, others on the contrary juicy;
some are very large and others small. The juice is pleasant,
and some of it as white as French or Rhenish wine; some is
a very deep red, like Tent,<1> and some is paler. The vines
run much on the trees, and are shaded by their leaves, so
that the grapes ripen late and are a little sour; but with
the intelligent assistance of man, as fine wines would
undoubtedly be made here as in any other country. In regard
to other fruits, all those which grow in the Netherlands
also grow very well in New Netherland, without requiring as
much care to be bestowed upon them as is necessary there.
Garden fruits succeed very well, yet are drier, sweeter, and
more agreeable than in the Netherlands; for proof of which
we may easily instance musk-melons, citrons or watermelons,<2>
which in New Netherland grow right in the open fields, if
the briars and weeds are kept from them, while in the
Netherlands they require the close care of amateurs, or
those who cultivate them for profit in gardens, and then
they are neither so perfect by far, nor so palatable, as
they are in New Netherland. In general all kinds of
pumpkins and the like are also much drier, sweeter and more
delicious, which is caused by the temperateness and amenity
of the climate.

The tame cattle are in size and other respects about the
same as in the Netherlands, but the English cattle and swine
thrive and grow best, appearing to be better suited to the
country than those from Holland. They require, too, less
trouble, expense and attention; for it is not necessary in
winter to look after such as are dry, or the swine, except
that in the time of a deep snow they should have some
attention. Milch cows also are much less trouble than they
are in Holland, as most of the time, if any care be requisite,
it is only for the purpose of giving them occasionally a
little hay.

The wild animals are principally lines,<3> but they are few;
bears, of which there are many, elks and deer in great numbers,
some of which are entirely white, and others wholly black.
The savages say that the white deer are of very great
consequence in the estimation of the other deer, and are
exceedingly beloved, regarded and honored by the others, but
that the reverse is true of the black deer. There are various
other large animals in the interior, but they are unknown to
the Christians. There are also wolves, dangerous only to
small cattle, beavers, otters, weasels, wild cats, foxes,
raccoons, minks, hares, musk-rats, about as large as cats,
pole-cats and squirrels, some of which can fly. There are
also ground-hogs and other small animals, but they are for
the most part, as we have said, not known to the Christians.

<1> A deep-red Spanish wine.
<2> The original has water-limoenen, water-citrons, for the
watermelon, little known in Dutch gardens at this time, was

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