Part 4 out of 4
General and Council confirmed.
<1> Brooklyn, Flatlands and Flatbush.
<2> To New Amsterdam.
The four other villages on Long Island, viz., Gravensand,
Middleburgh, Vlissingen, and Heemstede<1> are inhabited by
Englishmen. The people of Gravensand are considered Mennonites.
The majority of them reject the baptism of infants, the
observance of the Sabbath, the office of preacher, and any
teachers of God's word. They say that thereby all sorts of
contentions have come into the world. Whenever they meet,
one or the other reads something to them. At Vlissingen, they
formerly had a Presbyterian minister<2> who was in agreement
with our own church. But at present, many of them have become
imbued with divers opinions and it is with them quot homines
tot sententiae.<3> They began to absent themselves from the
sermon and would not pay the preacher the salary promised to
him. He was therefore obliged to leave the place and go to
the English Virginias. They have now been without a preacher
for several years. Last year a troublesome fellow, a cobbler
from Rhode Island in New England,<4> came there saying, he
had a commission from Christ. He began to preach at Vlissingen
and then went with the people into the river and baptized them.
When this became known here, the fiscaal went there, brought
Him to this place, and he was banished from the province.
<1> Gravesend, Newtown, Flushing and Hempstead.
<2> Reverend Francis Doughty.
<3> As many opinions as men.
<4> William Wickenden. The schout of the village was fined
fifty pounds for allowing him to preach in his house.
At Middleburgh, alias Newtown, they are mostly Independents
and have a man called Johannes Moor,<1> of the same way of
thinking, who preaches there, but does not serve the sacraments.
He says he was licensed in New England to preach, but not
authorized to administer the sacraments. He has thus continued
for some years. Some of the inhabitants of this village are
Presbyterians, but they cannot be supplied by a Presbyterian
preacher. Indeed, we do not know that there are any preachers
of this denomination to be found among any of the English of
<1> John Moore, formerly minister at Hempstead; died this year,
At Heemstede, about seven leagues from here, there live some
Independents. There are also many of our own church, and
some Presbyterians. They have a Presbyterian preacher, Richard
Denton,<1> a pious, godly and learned man, who is in agreement
with our church in everything. The Independents of the place
listen attentively to his sermons; but when he began to baptize
the children of parents who are no members of the church, they
rushed out of the church.
<1> Reverend Richard Denton (1586-1662), one of the pioneers
of Presbyterianism in America, was a Cambridge man, who came
over with Winthrop in 1630, and was settled successively at
Watertown, Wethersfield and Stamford. His differences with the
Congregational clergy of New England had led to his withdrawal,
and since 1644 he had been at Hempstead.
On the west shore of the East River, about one miles beyond
Hellgate, as we call it, and opposite Flushing, is another
English village, called Oostdorp, which was begun two years
ago. The inhabitants of this place are also Puritans or
Independents. Neither have they a preacher, but they hold
meetings on Sunday, and read a sermon of some English writer,
and have a prayer.<1>
<1> Oost-dorp ("East Village") is the present Westchester.
"After dinner [Sunday, December 31, 1656] Cornelis van Ruyven
went to the house where they assemble on Sundays, to observe
their mode of worship, as they have not as yet any clergyman.
There I found a gathering of about fifteen men and ten or
twelve women. Mr. Baly made a prayer, which being concluded,
one Robert Basset read a sermon from a printed book composed
and published by an English minister in England. After the
reading Mr. Baly made another prayer and they sang a psalm
and separated." (Journal of Brian Newton et als., to Oostdorp,
_Doc. Hist. N.Y._, octavo, III. 923)
Such is the condition of the church in our province. To this
we must add that, as far as we know, not one of all these
places, Dutch or English, has a schoolmaster, except the
Manhattans, Beverwyck, and now also Fort Casimir on the South
River.<1> And although some parents try to give their children
some instruction, the success if far from satisfactory, and we
can expect nothing else than young men of foolish and
undisciplined minds. We see at present no way of improving
this state of affairs; first, because some of the villages are
just starting, and have no means, the people having come half
naked and poor from Holland, to pay a preacher and schoolmaster;
secondly, because there are few qualified persons here who can
or will teach.
<1> Harmanus van Hoboken at New Amsterdam, Adriaen Jansz at
Beverwyck (Albany), and since April of this year Evert Pietersen
at Fort Casimir. Two years later (1659) the company sent over
Alexander Carolus Curtius, "late professor in Lithuania," to be
master of a Latin school in New Amsterdam.
We can say but little of the conversion of the heathens or
Indians here, and see no way to accomplish it, until they are
subdued by the numbers and power of our people, and reduced to
some sort of civilization; and also unless our people set them
a better example, than they have done theretofore.
We have had an Indian here with us for about two years. He can
read and write Dutch very well. We have instructed him in the
fundamental principles of our religion, and he answers publicly
in church, and can repeat the Commandments. We have given him
a Bible, hoping he might do some good among the Indians, but it
all resulted in nothing. He took to drinking brandy, he pawned
the Bible, and turned into a regular beast, doing more harm than
good among the Indians.
Closing we commend your Reverences to the gracious protection of
the Almighty, whom we pray to bless you in the Sacred Ministry.
Vestri et officio et effectu,<1>
<1> Yours both officially and actually.
Amsterdam, in New Netherland,
the 5th of August, 1657.
Revs. Megapolensis and Drisius to the Classis of Amsterdam
(October 25, 1657).
Brethren in Christ:
Since our last letter, which we hope you are receiving about
this time, we have sent in a petition in relation to the Lutheran
minister, Joannes Ernestus Gutwasser. Having marked this on its
margin, we have sent it to the Rev. Brethren of the Classis. We
hope that the Classis will take care that, if possible, no other
be sent over, as it is easier to send out an enemy than afterward
to thrust him out. We have the promise that the magistrates here
will compel him to leave with the ship De Wage. It is said that
there has been collected for him at Fort Orange a hundred beaver
skins, which are valued here at eight hundred guilders, and which
is the surest pay in this country. What has been collected here,
we cannot tell. Our magistrates have forbidden him to preach,
as he has received no authority from the Directors at Amsterdam
for that purpose. Yet we hear that the Hon. Directors at
Amsterdam gave him permission to come over. We have stated in a
previous letter the injurious tendency of this with reference to
the prosperity of our church.
Lately we have been troubled by others. Some time since, a
shoemaker,<1> leaving his wife and children, came here and
preached in conventicles. He was fined, and not being able to
pay, was sent away. Again a little while ago there arrived here
a ship with Quakers, as they are called. They went away to New
England, or more particularly, to Rhode Island, a place of
errorists and enthusiasts. It is called by the English themselves
the latrina<2> of New England. They left several behind them
here, who labored to create excitement and tumult among the
people--particularly two women, the one about twenty, and the
other about twenty-eight.<3> These were quite outrageous. After
being examined and placed in prison, they were sent away.
Subsequently a young man at Hempstead, an English town under the
government, aged about twenty-three or twenty-four years,<4> was
arrested, and brought thence, seven leagues. He had pursued a
similar course and brought several under his influence. The
magistrate, in order to repress the evil in the beginning, after
he had kept him in confinement for several days, adjudged that
he should either pay one hundred guilders or work at the
wheelbarrow two years with the negroes. This he obstinately
refused to do, though whipped on his back. After two or three
days he was whipped in private on his bare back, with threats
that the whipping would be repeated again after two or three
days, if he should refuse to labor. Upon this a letter was
brought by an unknown messenger from a person unknown to the
Director-General. The import of this, (written in English),
was, Think, my Lord-Director, whether it be not best to send
him to Rhode Island, as his labor is hardly worth the cost.
<1> William Wickenden, of Rhode Island.
<3> Dorothy Waugh, afterward whipped at Boston, and Mary
<4> Robert Hodgson, who had come on the same ship with the
preceding. A contemporary Quaker writer attributes his release
to the intercession of Stuyvesant's sister, Mrs. Anna Bayard.
Persecution of Quakers and other sectaries in New Netherland
was continued by Stuyvesant, and finally culminated in the
case of John Bowne, of Flushing, a Quaker, who has left us an
interesting account of his suffering, printed in the _American
Historical Record_ I. 4-8. Banished from the province and
transported to Holland, Bowne laid his case before the directors
of the West India Company, who reproved Stuyvesant by a letter
in which they said (April 16, 1663): "The consciences of men
ought to remain free and unshackled, . . . This maxim of
moderation has always been the guide of the magistrates in
this city; and the consequence has been that people have flocked
from every land to this asylum. Tread thus in their steps, and
we doubt not you will be blessed."
Since the arrival of De Wage from the South River [the Director?]
has again written to Joannes Ernestus Gutwasser to go away. On
this he presented a petition, a copy of which herewith transmitted,
as also a copy signed by several of the Lutheran denomination.
We observe that it is signed by the least respectable of that
body, and that the most influential among them were unwilling to
trouble themselves with it. Some assert that he has brought with
him authority from the West India Company to act as minister.
Whether dismission and return will take place without trouble
remains to be seen.
We are at this time in great want of English ministers. It is
more than two years since Mr. Doughty, of Flushing which is a
town here, went to Virginia, where he is now a preacher. He
left because he was not well supported. On October 13, Mr.
Moore, of Middelburg, which is another town here, died of a
pestilential disease, which prevailed in several of our English
towns and in New England. He left a widow with seven or eight
children. A year before, being dissatisfied with the meagre and
irregular payments from his hearers, he went to Barbadoes, to
seek another place. Mr. Richard Denton, who is sound in faith,
of a friendly disposition, and beloved by all, cannot be induced
by us to remain, although we have earnestly tried to do this in
various ways. He first went to Virginia to seek a situation,
complaining of lack of salary, and that he was getting in debt,
but he has returned thence. He is now fully resolved to go to
old England, because his wife, who is sickly, will not go
without him, and there is need of their going there, on account
of a legacy of four hundred pounds sterling, lately left by a
deceased friend, and which they cannot obtain except by their
personal presence. At Gravesend there never has been a minister.
Other settlements, yet in their infancy, as Aernem,<1> have no
minister. It is therefore to be feared that errorists and
fanatics may find opportunity to gain strength. We therefore
request you, Rev. Brethren, to solicit the Hon. Directors of
the West India Company, to send over one or two English preachers,
and that directions may be given to the magistracy that the
money paid by the English be paid to the magistrate, and not to
the preacher, which gives rise to dissatisfaction, and that at
the proper time any existing deficiency may be supplied by the
Hon. Directors. Otherwise we do not see how the towns will be
able to obtain ministers, or if they obtain them, how they will
be able to retain them. Complaints continually reach us about
the payment of ministers. Nevertheless in New England there are
few places without a preacher, although there are many towns,
stretching for more than one hundred leagues along the coast.
Hoping that by God's blessing and your care something may be
effected in this matter, we remain,
<1> Arnhem was a village begun on Smith's Island in Newton Creek.
Your friends and fellow laborers,
Oct. 22, 1657.
Since the writing of the above letter, and before sealing it,
we have learned from the Hon. Directors and the fiscaal, that
Joannes Ernestus Gutwasser is not to be found, that his bedding
and books were two days ago removed, and that he has left our
jurisdiction. Still it is our opinion that he remains concealed
here, in order to write home, and make his appearance as if out
of the Fatherland; and to persevere with the Lutherans in his
efforts. We therefore hope and pray that you may, if possible,
take measures to prevent this.
Oct. 25, 1657.
To the Rev. Learned, etc.
the Deputies ad res Indicas
of the Classis of Amsterdam.
Rev. J. Megapolensis to the Classis of Amsterdam
(September 28, 1658).
Rdi. Patres et Fratres in Christo:<1>
In a preceding letter of September 24, 1658,<2> mention was
made of a Jesuit who came to this place, Manhattans, overland,
from Canada. I shall now explain the matter more fully, for
your better understanding of it. It happened in the year
1642, when I was minister in the colony of Rensselaerswyck,
that our Indians in the neighborhood, who are generally called
Maquaas, but who call themselves Kajingehaga, were at war with
the Canadian or French Indians, who are called by our Indians
Adyranthaka. Among the prisoners whom our Indians had taken
from the French, was this Jesuit,<3> whom they according to
their custom had handled severely. When he was brought to us,
his left thumb and several fingers on both hands had been cut
off, either wholly or in part, and the nails of the remaining
fingers had been chewed off. As this Jesuit had been held in
captivity by them for some time, they consented that he should
go among the Dutch, but only when accompanied by some of them.
At last the Indians resolved to burn him. Concerning this he
came to me with grievous complaint. We advised him that next
time the Indians were asleep, he should run away and come to
us, and we would protect and secure him, and send him by ship
to France. This was done. After concealing him and entertaining
him for six weeks, we sent him to the Manhattans and thence to
England and France, as he was a Frenchman, born at Paris.<4>
<1> Reverend Fathers and Brothers in Christ.
<2> _Ecclesiastical Records, State of New York_, I. 432-434.
<3> Father Jogues; see earlier entries.
<4> Father Jogues was born in Orleans.
Afterward this same Jesuit came again from France to Canada.
As our Indians had made peace with the French, he against left
Canada, and took up his residence among the Mohawks. He indulged
in the largest expectations of converting them to popery, but
the Mohawks with their hatchets put him to a violent death.
They then brought and presented to me his missal and breviary
together with his underclothing, shirts and coat. When I said
to them that I would not have thought that they would have
killed this Frenchman, they answered, that the Jesuits did not
consider the fact, that their people (the French) were always
planning to kill the Dutch.
In the year 1644 our Indians again took captive a Jesuit,<1>
who had been treated in the same manner as to his hands and
fingers as the above mentioned. The Jesuit was brought to us
naked, with his maimed and bloody fingers. We clothed him,
placed him under the care of our surgeon, and he almost daily
fed at my table. This Jesuit, a native of Rouen,<2> was
ransomed by us from the Indians, and we sent him by ship to
France. He also returned again from France to Canada. He
wrote me a letter, as the previously mentioned one had done,
thanking me for the benefits I had conferred on him. He
stated also that he had not argued, when with me, on the
subject of religion, yet he had felt deeply interested in me
on account of my soul, and admonished me to come again into
the Papal Church from which I had separated myself. In each
case I returned such a reply that a second letter was never
<1> Father Giuseppe Bressani (1612-1672).
<2> Of Rome, in fact.
The French have now for some time been at peace with our
Indians. In consequence thereof, it has happened that several
Jesuits have again gone among our Indians, who are located
about four or five days' journey from Fort Orange. But they
did not permanently locate themselves there. All returned to
Canada except one, named Simon Le Moyne. He has several times
accompanied the Indians out of their own country, and visited
Fort Orange. At length he came here to the Manhattans,
doubtless at the invitation of Papists living here, especially
for the sake of the French privateers, who are Papists, and
have arrived here with a good prize.
He represented that he had heard the other Jesuits speak much
of me, who had also highly praised me for the favors and
benefits I had shown them; that he therefore could not, while
present here, neglect personally to pay his respects to me,
and thank me for the kindness extended to their Society. 1.
He told me that during his residence among our Indians he had
discovered a salt spring, situated fully one hundred leagues
from the sea; and the water was so salt that he had himself
boiled excellent salt from it.<1> 2. There was also another
spring which furnished oil. Oleaginous matter floated on its
surface, with which the Indians anointed their heads. 3. There
was another spring of hot sulphurous water. If paper and dry
materials were thrown into it, they became ignited. Whether
all this is true, or a mere Jesuit lie, I will not decide. I
mention the whole on the responsibility and authority of the
<1> Father Le Moyne made this discovery while sojourning among
the Onondagas in 1654.
He told me that he had lived about twenty years among the
Indians. When he was asked what fruit had resulted from his
labors, and whether he had taught the Indians anything more
than to make the sign of the cross, and such like superstitions,
he answered that he was not inclined to debate with me, but
wanted only to chat. He spent eight days here, and examined
everything in our midst. He then liberally dispensed his
indulgences, for he said to the Papists (in the hearing of one
of our people who understood French), that they need not go to
Rome; that he had as full power from the Pope to forgive their
sins, as if they were to go to Rome. He then returned and
resided in the country of the Mohawks the whole winter. In
the spring, however, troubles began to arise again between our
Indians and the Canadians. He then packed up his baggage, and
returned to Canada. On his journey, when at Fort Orange, he
did not forget me, but sent me three documents: the first,
on the succession of the Popes; the second, on the Councils;
and the third was about heresies, all written out by himself.
He sent with them also, a letter to me, in which he exhorted
me to peruse carefully these documents, and meditate on them,
and that Christ hanging on the Cross was still ready to receive
me, if penitent. I answered him by the letter herewith
forwarded, which was sent by a yacht going from here to the
river St. Lawrence in New France.<1> I know not whether I
shall receive an answer.
Valete, Domini Fratres, Vester ex officio,<2>
1658, Sept. 28.
<1> One of the fruits of Father Le Moyne's visit to New Netherland
was that the Dutch obtained from the governor of Canada permission
to carry on trade, except the fur trade, on the St. Lawrence.
<2> Farewell, brethren; yours officially.
Rev. Henricus Selyns to the Classis of Amsterdam
(October 4, 1660)
Reverend, Wise and Pious Teachers:
We cannot be so forgetful as to omit to inform you concerning
our churches and services. While at sea, we did not neglect
religious worship, but every morning and evening we besought
God's guidance and protection, with prayer and the singing of
a psalm. On Sundays and feast-days the Holy Gospel was read,
when possible. The sacrament was not administered on shipboard,
and we had no sick people during the voyage. God's favor brought
us all here in safety and health. Arrived in New Netherland, we
were first heard at the Manhattans; but the peace-negotiations at
the Esopus,<1> where we also went, and the general business of
the government necessarily delayed our installation until now.
We have preached here at the Esopus, also at Fort Orange; during
This time of waiting we were well provided with food and lodging.
Esopus needs more people, but Breuckelen more money; wherefore I
serve on Sundays, in the evenings only, at the General's bouwery,<2>
at his expense. The installation at Brooklyn was made by the
Honorable Nicasius de Sille, fiscaal,<3> and Martin Kriegers,
burgomaster,<4> with an open commission from his Honor the
Director-General.<5> I was cordially received by the magistrates
and consistory, and greeted by Domine Polhemius. We do not preach
in a church, but in a barn; next winter we shall by God's favor
and the general assistance of the people erect a church.
<1> The Indians of Esopus had broken out in hostilities in the
autumn of 1659. The next summer Stuyvesant went there, after
some defeats of the tribe, and made peace formally, July 15,
1660. A congregation had lately been formed there, which called
Domine Harmanus Blom to be its pastor.
<2> Stuyvesant's Bowery, or farm, acquired by him in 1651, lay in
the present region of Third Avenue and Tenth Street. Near the
present site of St. Mark's Church he built a chapel for his
family, his negro slaves, some forty in number, and the other
inhabitants of the neighborhood.
<3> Of New Netherland.
<4> Of New Amsterdam.
<5> For this letter of induction, see _Ecclesiastical Records_,
The audience is passably large, coming from Middelwout, New
Amersfort, and often Gravesande increases it; but most come
from the Manhattans. The Ferry, the Walebacht, and Guyanes,<1>
all belong to Breuckelen. The Ferry is about two thousand
paces across the river, or to the Manhattans, from the Breuckelen
Ferry. I found at Breuckelen one elder, two deacons, twenty
four members, thirty one householders, and one hundred and
thirty-four people. The consistory will remain for the present
as it is. In due time we will have more material and we will
know the congregation better. Cathechizing will not be held
here before the winter; but we will begin it at the preaching
service there. It will be most suitable to administer the
Lord's Supper on Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and in September.
On the day following these festivals-days a thanksgiving sermon
will be preached. I might have taken up my residence at the
Manhattans, because of its convenience; but my people, all of
them evincing their love and affection for me, have provided
me a dwelling of which I cannot complain. I preach at Breuckelen
in the morning; but at the Bouwery at the end of the catechetical
sermon. The Bouwery is a place of relaxation and pleasure,
whither people go from the Manhattans, for the evening service.
There are there forty negroes, from the region of the Negro
Coast, besides the household families. There is here as yet no
consistory, but the deacons from New Amsterdam provisionally
receive the alms; and at least one deacon, if not an elder,
ought to be chosen there. Besides myself, there are in New
Netherland the Domines Joannes Megapolensis and Samuel Drisius
at New Amsterdam; Domine Gideon Schaats at Fort Orange; Domine
Joannes Polhemius at Middelwout and New Amersfort; and Domine
Hermanus Blom at the Esopus. I have nothing more to add, except
to express my sincere gratitude and to make my respectful
acknowledgements. I commend your Reverences, wise and pious
teachers, to God's protection, and am,
HENRICUS SELYNS, Minister of the Holy Gospel at Breuckelen.
>From Amsterdam on the Manhattans,
Oct. 4, 1660.
<1> Wallabout and Gowanus.
Rev. Henricus Selyns to the Classis of Amsterdam
(June 9, 1664).
Very Reverend, Pious and Learned Brethren in Christ:
With Christian salutations of grace and peace, this is to
inform you, that with proper submission, we take the liberty
of reporting to the Very Rev. Classis the condition and welfare
of the Church of Jesus Christ, to which your Reverences called
me, as well as my request and friendly prayer for an honorable
As for me, your Rev. Assembly sent me to the congregation at
Breuckelen to preach the Gospel there, and administer the
sacraments. This we have done to the best of our ability; and
according to the size of the place with a considerable increase
of members. There were only a few members there on my arrival;
but these have with God's help and grace increased fourfold.
Trusting that it would not displease your Reverences, and would
also be very profitable to the Church of Christ, we found it
easy to do what might seem troublesome; for we have also taken
charge of the congregation at the General's Bouwery in the
evening, as we have told you before. An exception to this
arrangement is made in regard to the administration of the Lord's
Supper. As it is not customary with your Reverences to administer
it in the evening, we thought, after conference with our Reverend
Brethren of the New Amsterdam congregation, and mature
deliberation, that it would be more edifying to preach at the
Bouwery, on such occasions, in the morning, and then have the
Communion, after the Christian custom of our Fatherland.
As to baptisms, the negroes occasionally request that we should
baptize their children, but we have refused to do so, partly on
account of their lack of knowledge and of faith, and partly
because of the worldly and perverse aims on the part of said
negroes. They wanted nothing else than to deliver their
children from bodily slavery, without striving for piety and
Christian virtues. Nevertheless when it was seemly to do so,
we have, to the best of our ability, taken much trouble in
private and public catechizing. This has borne but little
fruit among the elder people who have no faculty of comprehension;
but there is some hope for the youth who have improved reasonably
well. Not to administer baptism among them for the reasons
given, is also the custom among our colleagues.<1> But the most
important thing is, that the Father of Grace and God of Peace
has blessed our two congregations with quietness and harmony,
out of the treasury of his graciousness; so that we have had no
reason to complain to the Rev. Classis, which takes such things,
however, in good part; or to trouble you, as we might have
<1> The enslaving of Africans having at first been justified on
the ground of their heathenism, the nation that to baptize them
would make it unlawful to hold them in bondage was frequent
among owners in the seventeenth century, and operated to deter
them from permitting the Christianizing of their slaves. "I
may not forget a resolution which his Maty [James II.] made,
and had a little before enter'd upon it at the Council Board,
at Windsor or Whitehall, that the Negroes in the Plantations
should all be baptiz'd, exceedingly declaiming against that
impiety of their masters prohibiting it, out of a mistaken
opinion that they would be ipso facto free; but his Maty persists
in his resolution to have them chisten'd, wch piety the Bishop
[Ken] blessed him for." Evelyn, _Diary_, II. 479 (1685).
Meanwhile, the stipulated number of years, pledged to the West
India Company, is diminishing; although the obligation we owe
to them who recommend us<1> naturally continues. Also, on
account of their old age, we would love to see again our
parents, and therefore we desire to return home. On revolving
the matter in my mind, and not to be lacking in filial duty, I
felt it to be proper to refer the subject to God and my greatly
beloved parents who call for me, whether I should remain or
return home at the expiration of my contract.
<1> The classis.
As we understand, they are, next to myself, most anxious for
my return, and have received my discharge from the Hon. Directors,
and have notified the Deputies ad Causas Indicas thereof, which
has pleased us. We trust that we shall receive also from your
Reverences a favorable reply, relying upon your usual kindness.
Yet it is far from us to seem to pass by your Reverences, and
give the least cause for dissatisfaction. I have endeavored to
deserve the favor of the Rev. Classis by the most arduous services
for the welfare of Christ's church, and am always ready to serve
It is my purpose when I return home, when my stipulated time is
fulfilled, to give a verbal account of my ministry here, and the
state of the church, that you may be assured that any omissions
in duty have been through ignorance.
Domine Samuel Megapolensis<1> has safely arrived, but Domine
Warnerus Hadson,<2> whom you had sent as preacher to the South
River, died on the passage over. It is very necessary to supply
his place, partly on account of the children who have not been
baptized since the death of Domine Wely,<3> and partly on
account of the abominable sentiments of various persons there,
who speak very disrespectfully of the Holy Scriptures.
<1> Reverend Samuel Megapolensis, born in 1634, studied three
years at Harvard College and three at the University of Utrecht.
In 1662 he was called by the classis of Amsterdam to the
ministry in New Netherland, and ordained by them. In 1664,
having meanwhile studied medicine at Leyden, he went out to New
Netherland, and was minsiter of Breukelen from that time to
1669, when he returned to Holland. He died in 1700 as pastor
emeritus of the Scottish church at Dordrecht.
<2> Elsewhere called Hassingh.
<3> Reverend Everardus Welius, minister of New Amstel from
1657 to 1659, died in the latter year, leaving without pastor
a church of sixty members.
In addition there is among the Swedes a certain Lutheran preacher,
who does not lead a Christian life.<1> There is also another
person, who has exchanged the Lutheran pulpit for a schoolmaster's
place. This undoubtedly has done great damage among the sheep,
who have so long wandered about without a shepherd except the
forementioned pastor, who leads such an unchristian life. God
grant that no damage be done to Christ's church, and that your
Reverences may provide a blessed instrument for good.
<1> Lokenius's wife ran away from him, and he too hastily married
another before obtaining his divorce. The person next alluded to
is probably Abelius Selskoorn, a student, who for a time had
conducted divine service at Sandhook (Fort Casimir).
In view of the deplorable condition of New Netherland, for the
savages have killed, wounded and captured some of our people,
and have burnt several houses at the Esopus, and the English,
with flying banners, have declared our village and the whole of
Long Island to belong to the King:<1> therefore the first
Wednesday of each month since last July has been observed as a
day of fasting and prayer, in order to ask God for his fatherly
compassion and pity. The good God, praise be to him, has
brought about everything for the best, by the arrival of the
last ships. The English are quiet, the savages peaceful; our
lamentations have been turned into songs of praise, and the
monthly day of fasting into a day of thanksgiving. Thus we
spent last Wednesday, the last of the days of prayer. Blessed
be God who causes wars to cease to the ends of the earth, and
breaks the bow and spear asunder. Herewith, Very Reverend,
Pious, and Learned Brethren in Christ, be commend to God for
the perfecting of the saints and the edification of the body
of Christ. Vale.
Your Reverences' humble servant in Christ Jesus,
Breuckelen, in New Netherland,
June 9, 1664.
<1> The boundaries between New England and New Netherland had
always been in dispute. The English population on Long Island
grew, an encroached upon the Dutch towns at the west end; and
the towns in that region which were partly English, partly
Dutch in population were of doubtful allegiance. The graceless
Major John Scott, coming to the island with some royal authority,
formed a combination of Hempstead, Gravesend, Flushing, Newtown,
Jamaica and Oyster Bay, with himself as president, and then
proceeded (January, 1664), at the head of 170 men, to reduce
the neighboring Dutch villages. Some account of the affair, in
the shape in which it reached the Dutch public, may be seen in
the extract printed at the end of this letter.
[The following account of the English encroachments upon Long
Island has not been previously translated. It may serve as a
summary of the events, or at least of the version of them which
came before the Dutch public soon after. It is derived from
the _Hollantze Mercurius_ of 1664 (Haerlem, 1665), being part 15
of the _Mercurius_, which was an annual of the type of the modern
_Annual Register_ or of Wassenaer's _Historisch Verhael_, whch
preceded it. The passage is at page 10.
In New Netherland the English made bold to come out of New
England upon various villages and places belonging under the
protection of Their High Mightinesses and the Dutch West India
Company even upon Long Island, setting up the banner of Britain
and proclaiming that they knew of no New Netherland but that
that land belonged solely to the English nation. Finally their
wisest conceded, since thus many troubles had arisen about the
boundary, that representatives of both nations should come
together upon that subject. This was carried out in November
last. The Dutch commissioners went to Boston, where they were
received by four companies of citizens and a hundred cavalrymen.
There they were told that the commissioners on the English side
could not arrive to treat of the matter for eight days.<1>
Meanwhile the English incited three or four villages to revolt
against their government. But all those that were of divided
population, like those of Heemstede and Gravesande, refused to
accept the English king but said that they had thus far been
well ruled by Their High Mightinesses and would so remain,
though they were English born. Afterward Heemstede was also
subdued but Vlissingen held itself faithful, and some places
remained neutral, while the commissioners were detained and
finally came again to Amsterdam without having accomplished
anything. Meanwhile also the savages of Esopus played their
part, having made bold at a place on the river to attack two
Dutchmen and cut off their heads.<2>]
<1> The journalist here confounds Stuyvesant's visit to Boston
in September, 1663, to meet the Commissioners of the United
Colonies of New England, with that which his envoys, Van Ruyven,
Van Cortlandt and Lawrence, made to Hartford in October, to
confer with the General Assembly of Connecticut. His date of
November is wrong for both. The attempt to revolutionize the
English villages on Long Island had taken place in September;
their internal revolt occurred in November. Stuyvesant was
obliged to acquiesce. The "Combination" of the English towns
under the presidency of Major John Scott and his attempt to
win the Dutch towns from their allegiance, took place in
January and February, 1664. Stuyvesant was again unable to
make effectual resistance, but made a truce with Scott for
<2> After three years of peace at Esopus, the Indians again
broke out in hostilities in June, 1663, resulting in the
slaughter of twenty-one settlers and the captivity of forty-
five others. Three successive expeditions, under Burgomaster
Martin Kregier, in July, September and October, destroyed the
forts of the Indians, broke down their resistance, and released
most of the captives. Captain Kregier's journal of these
expeditions is printed in O'Callaghan's _Documentary History_,
Rev. Samuel Drisius to the Classis of Amsterdam
(August 5, 1664).
The Peace of Christ.
Reverend, Learned and Beloved Brethren in Christ Jesus:
I find a letter from the Rev. Classis, which I have not yet
answered; and a good opportunity now offering itself by the
departure of our colleague, Domine Henricus Selyns, I cannot
omit to write a letter to your Reverences. We could have
wished, that Domine Selyns had longer continued with us, both
on account of his diligence and success in preaching and
catechizing, and of his humble and edifying life. By this he
has attracted a great many people, and even some of the negroes,
so that many are sorry for his departure. But considering the
fact that he owes filial obedience to his aged parents, it is
God's will that he should leave us. We must be resigned,
therefore, while we commit him to God and the word of His grace.
Concerning the places in which he has preached, especially the
village called Breuckelen, and the Bouwerie, nothing has been
decided yet; but I think that the son of Domine Megapolensis,
who has recently come over, will take charge of them, as he
has not been sent by the Directors to any particular place.
The French on Staten Island would also like to have a preacher,
but as they number only a few families, are very poor, and
cannot contribute much to a preacher's salary, and as our
support here is slow and small, there is not much hope, that
they will receive the light. In the meantime, that they may
not be wholly destitute, Director Stuyvesant has, at their
request, allowed me to go over there every two months, to
preach and administer the Lord's Supper. This I have now
done for about a year. In the winter this is very difficult,
for it is a long stretch of water, and it is sometimes windy,
with a heavy sea. We have, according to the decision of the
Classis, admitted the Mennonist, who is quite unknown to us,
to the communion, without rebaptism;<1> but last week he and
his wife removed to Curacao in the West Indies, to live there.
The preacher, sent to New Amstel on the South River, died on
the way, as we are told. Ziperius left for Virginia long ago.<2>
He behaved most shamefully here, drinking, cheating and forging
other people's writings, so that he was forbidden not only to
preach, but even to keep school. Closing herewith I commend
the Rev. Brethren to God's protection and blessing in their
work. This is the prayer of
Your Reverences' dutiful friend in Christ,
August 5, Anno 1664.
<1> In a letter of October 4, 1660, Drisius had consulted the
classis on the question whether a well-behaved young man
residing in New Amsterdam, formerly one of the Mennonites and
baptized by them, might be admitted to the Lord's Supper without
rebaptism. The classis, by letter of December 16, 1661, ruled
that according to the practice of the Dutch churches, his
Mennonite baptism was to be regarded as sufficient.
<2> Michael Ziperius and his wife came from Curacao in 1659,
hoping to receive a call in New Netherland. The classis warned
Drisius against him.
The Rev. Samuel Drisius to the Classis of Amsterdam
(September 15, 1664).<1>
To the Reverend, Learned and Pious Brethren of the Rev. Classis
I cannot refrain from informing you of our present situation,
namely, that we have been brought under the government of the
King of England. On the 26th of August there arrived in the
Bay of the North River, near Staten Island, four great men-of-
war, or frigates, well manned with sailors and soldiers. They
were provided with a patent or commission from the King of Great
Britain to demand and take possession of this province, in the
name of His Majesty. If this could not be done in an amicable
way, they were to attack the place, and everything was to be
thrown open for the English soldiers to plunder, rob and pillage.
We were not a little troubled by the arrival of these frigates.
<1> There is another translation of this letter in _N.Y. Col.
Doc._, XIII. 393-394.
Our Director-General and Council, with the municipal authorities
of the city, took the matter much to heart and zealously sought,
by messages between them and General Richard Nicolls, to delay
the decision. They asked that the whole business should be
referred to His Majesty of England, and the Lords States General
of the Netherlands; but every effort was fruitless. They landed
their soldiers about two leagues from here, at Gravezandt, and
marched them over Long Island to the Ferry opposite this place.
The frigates came up under full sail on the 4th of September
with guns trained to one side. They had orders, and intended,
if any resistance was shown to them, to give a full broadside on
this open place, then take it by assault, and make it a scene of
pillage and bloodshed.
Our Hon. Rulers of the Company, and the municipal authorities of
the city, were inclined to defend the place, but found that it
was impossible, for the city was not in a defensible condition.<1>
And even if fortified, it could not have been defended, because
every man posted on the circuit of it would have been four rods
distant from his neighbor. Besides, the store of powder in the
fort, as well as in the city, was small. No relief or assistance
could be expected, while daily great numbers on foot and on
horseback, from New England, joined the English, hotly bent upon
plundering the place. Savages and privateers also offered their
services against us. Six hundred Northern Indians with one
hundred and fifty French privateers, had even an English commission.
Therefore upon the earnest request of our citizens and other
inhabitants, our authorities found themselves compelled to come
to terms, for the sake of avoiding bloodshed and pillage. The
negotiations were concluded on the 6th of September.<2> The
English moved in on the 8th, according to agreement.
<1> See the remonstrance which the inhabitants addressed to
Stuyvesant, _N.Y. Col. Doc._, II. 248.
<2> Articles of capitulation, ibid., 250-253, and Brodhead,
_History of New York_, I. 762-763.
After the surrender of the place several Englishmen, who had
lived here a long time and were our friends, came to us, and
said that God had signally overruled matters, that the affair
had been arranged by negotiations; else nothing but pillage,
bloodshed ad general ruin would have followed. This was
confirmed by several soldiers who said that they had come here
from England hoping for booty; but that now, since the matter
turned out so differently, they desired to return to England.
The Articles of Surrender stipulate that our religious services
and doctrines, together with the preachers, shall remain and
continue unchanged. Therefore we could not separate ourselves
from our congregation and hearers, but consider it our duty to
remain with them for some time yet, that they may not scatter
and run wild.
The Hon. Company still owes me a considerable sum, which I hope
and wish they would pay. Closing herewith, I recommend your
Honors' persons and work to God's blessing and remain,
Your willing colleague,
Manhattan, September 15, 1664.