Narrative of New Netherland by John Franklin Jameson

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. INTRODUCTION THE established church in the United Netherlands was the Reformed Church. Its polity was that of Geneva or of Presbyterianism.
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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 Preserve.

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 Wesel.<4>

<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 circumstance.

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 allotrioepiskopos.<1>

<1> I Peter iv. 15; a meddler or “busy-body in other men’s matters.”

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 Africans.<1>

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

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 war.

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 Herrman.

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 durable.

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. 194.

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 wounded.

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