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Full text of "A history of New-York, from the beginning of the world to the end of the Dutch dynasty; containing, among many surprising and curious matters, the unutterable ponderings of Walter the Doubter, the disastrous projects of William the Testy, and the chivalric achievements of Peter the Headstrong, the three Dutch governors of New-Amsterdam; being the only authentic history of the times that ever hath been published"

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H I S T O B Y 











The Three Dutch Governors of Nero- Amsterdam ; 


J9e foaarjieftr Kit in tmt&er tag, 
lite fcomt met fclaarfwlf aatt trett frag. 



33$ Jvofort iiEIjapman, 





ACCOUNT of the Author, ^~~~~~ ~ xiii 

Preface, , . _ ,~~ xxiii 



CHAP. I. Description of the World, ~~ ~~ 

CHAP. II. Cosmogony, or Creation of the World; with a 
multitude of excellent Theories, by which the Creation 
of a World is shown to be no such difficult matter as 
common Folks would imagine, , ~~ ~ 7 

CHAP. III. How far that famous Navigator, Noah, was 
shamefully nick-named; and how he committed an 
unpardonable oversight in not having Four Sons ; with 
the great trouble of Philosop"hers caused thereby, and 
the Discovery of America, , 1 5 

CHAP. IV. Showing the great difficulty Philosophers have 
had in peopling America and how the Aborigines came 
to be begotten by accident, to the great relief and satis- 
faction of the Author, ~ ~~ 2 1 



CHAP. V. In which the Author puts a mighty Question 
to the rout, by the assistance of the Man in the Moon 
which not only delivers thousands of people from 
great embarrassment, but likewise concludes this intro- 
ductory book,~~~ ------ ~~ ~ ~ - ~~~ --- -~~~^ 28 


CHAP. I. In which are contained divers reasons why a 
man should not write in a hurry. Also of Master Hen- 
drick Hudson, his discovery of a strange country and 
how he was magnificently rewarded by the munificence 
of their High Mightinesses, ~ ------- ~ ----- 43 

CHAP. II. Containing an account of a mighty Ark which 
floated under the protection of St. Nicholas, from Hol- 
land to Gibbet Island the descent of the strange Ani- 
mals therefrom a great victory, and a description of 
the ancient village of Communipaw, ---- ----------- 53 

CHAP. III. In which is set forth the true art of making 
a bargain together with the miraculous Escape of a 
great Metropolis in a Fog and the Biography of cer- 
tain Heroes of Communipaw, ^ ------ ~~~ ------- ~ 5Q 

CHAP. IV. How the Heroes of Communipaw voyaged 
to Hell- Gate, and how they were received there, ~~~~~ 65 

CHAP. V. How the heroes of Communipaw returned 
somewhat wiser than they went and how the sage O- 
loffe dreamed a dream and the dream that he dreamed, 75 

CHAP. VI. Containing an attempt at etymology and of 
the founding of the great city of New- Amsterdam, 79 

CHAP. VII. How the City of New-Amsterdam waxed 
great, under the protection of Oloffe the Dreamer, 86 





CHAP. I. Of the renowned Wouter Van Twiller, his un- 
paralleled virtues as likewise his unutterable wisdom 
in the law case of Wandle Schoonhoven and Barent 
Bleecker and the great admiration of the public 

CHAP. II. Containing some account of the grand Council 
of New- Amsterdam, as also divers especial good philo- 
sophical reasons why an Alderman should be fat with 
other particulars touching the state of the Province, 99 

CHAP. III. How the town of New- Amsterdam arose out 
of mud, and came to be marvellously polished and po- 
lite together with a picture of our great great Grand- 
fathers,- _~~~ , ~ ~~ 1 08 

CHAP. IV. Containing further particulars of the Golden 
age, and what constituted a fine Lady and Gentleman 
in the days of Walter the Doubter,^ ~ ~ 116 

CHAP. V. In which the reader is beguiled into a delec- 
table walk, which ends very differently from what it 
commenced *~^~~*^~~~~~~+^~^~~~~*^^*^~~*^~~~~~~~~*~~ 122 

CHAP. VI. Faithfully describing the ingenious people of 
Connecticut and thereabouts Showing, moreover, the 
true meaning of liberty of conscience, and a curious 
device among these sturdy barbarians, to keep up a 
harmony of intercourse, and promote population, 127 

CHAP. VII. How these simple barbarians turned out to 
be notorious squatters How they built air castles, and 
attempted to initiate the Nederlanders in the mystery 

of bundlin* 

&* *''' 



CHAP. VIII. How the Fort Goed Hoop was fearfully be- 
leagured how the renowned Wouter fell into a pro- 
found doubt, and how he finally evaporated, ^^ 137 



CHAP. I. Showing the nature of History in general ; 
containing furthermore the universal acquirements of 
William the Testy, and how a man may learn so much 
as to render himself good for nothing, 144 

CHAP. II. In which are recorded the sage Projects of a 
Ruler of universal Genius. The art of Fighting by Pro- 
clamation, and how that the valiant Jacobus Van Cur- 
let came to be foully dishonoured at Fort Goed Hoop, 153 

CHAP. III. Containing the fearful wrath of William the 
Testy, and the great dolor of the New-Amsterdammers, 
because of the affair of Fort Goed Hoop. And more- 
over how William the Testy did strongly fortify the 
city. Together with the exploits of Stoffel Brinkerhoff, 1 59 

CHAP. IV. Philosophical reflections on the folly of being 
happy in times of prosperity Sundry troubles on the 
southern frontiers. How William the Testy had well 
nigh ruined the province through a Cabalistic word. 
As also the secret expedition of Jan Jansen Alpendam, 
and his astonishing reward,~~, ~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~ 166 

CHAP. V. How William the Testy enriched the province 
by a multitude of laws, and came to be the Patron of 
Lawyers and Bumbailiffs. And how the people became 
exceedingly enlightened and unhappy under his in- 
structions, wssrssjM^.^,^^.,^^^ ^^M^M-MSftssttrttrsf 174 



CHAP. VI. Of the great pipe plot and of the dolorous 
perplexities into which William the Testy was thrown, 
by reason of his having enlightened the multitude, - 181 

CHAP. VII. Containing divers fearful accounts of Border 
Wars, and the flagrant outrages of the Moss-troopers of 
Connecticut ; with the rise of the great Amphyctionic 
Council of the east, and the decline of William the 
Testy, ________ ~ ------------ 187 


CHAP. I. In which the death of a great man is shown 
to be no very inconsolable matter of sorrow ; and how 
Peter Stuyvesant acquired a great name from the un- 
common strength of his head, ~ ---- ~~~~ --- 197 

CHAP. II. Showing how Peter the Headstrong bestirred 
himself among the rats and cobwebs on entering into 
office, and the perilous mistake he was guilty of, in his 
dealings with the Amphyctions, ~* ~~~~~~~ 203 

CHAP. III. Containing various speculations ori War and 
Negociations showing that a treaty of peace is a great 
national evil, ~~~ ^ 208 

CHAP. IV. How Peter Stuyvesant was greatly belied by 
his adversaries the Moss-troopers and his conduct 
thereupon,. _. ftffff 214 

CHAP. V. How the New-Amsterdammers became great 
in arms, and of the direful catastrophe of a mighty army 
together with Peter Stuyvesant's measures to fortify 
the city and how he was the original founder of the 



CHAP. VI. How the people of the East Country were 
suddenly afflicted with a diabolical evil and their ju- 
dicious measures for the extirpation thereof ~~ _ 228 

CHAP. VII. Which records the rise and renown of a 
valiant Commander ; showing that a man, like a blad- 
der, may be puffed up to greatness and importance by 
mere wind, ____ ~* _ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ___ ~~~~~^~~ _ JJJfJ . f 233 


CHAP. I. In which is exhibited a warlike portrait of the 
great Peter and how General Vpn Poffenburgh dis- 
tinguished himself at Fort Casimir, ____ 242 

CHAP. II. Showing how profound secrets are often 
brought to light ; with the proceedings of Peter the 
Headstrong, when he heard of the misfortune of Gene- 
ral Von Poffenburgh, ~~<^~~~~~~~~~~*^~~~*^~~~~ fM ^ 252 

CHAP. III. Containing Peter Stuyvesant's voyage up 
the Hudson, and the wonders and delights of that re- 
nowned river, ^ w ~~~~~~ ~~~ 259 

CHAP. IV. Describing the powerful Army that assembled 
at the city of New-Amsterdam together with the in- 
terview between Peter the Headstrong, and General 
Von Poffenburgh ; and Peter's sentiments touching un- 
fortunate great men, ~~~ ~ ,^~.~ 266 

CHAP. V. In which the author discourses very ingeni- 
ously of himself. After which is to be found much 
interesting history about Peter the Headstrong and his 
followers, ,, r . , i 272 



CHAP. VI. Showing the great advantage that the author 
has over his reader in time of battle together with 
divers portentous movements; which betoken that 
something terrible is about to happen, ~~ ------ 281 

CHAP. VII. Containing the most horrible battle ever re- 
corded in poetry or prose ; with the admirable exploits 
of Peter the Headstrong, ---------- ~ ~~ -- 287 

CHAP. VIII. In which the author and the reader, while 
reposing after the battle, fall into a very grave discourse 
after which is recorded the conduct of Peter Stuy- 
vesant after his victory, ----- ~~~ -- ~ ---- , -- 298 



CHAP. I. How Peter Stuyvesant relieved the sovereign 
people from the burthen of taking care of the nation 
with sundry particulars of his conduct in time of peace, 307 

CHAP. II. How Peter Stuyvesant was much molested by 
the Moss-troopers of the East, and the giants of Merry. 
land ; and how a dark and horrid conspiracy was car- 
ried on in the British Cabinet against the prosperity of 
the Manhattoes, ~~ ___ '317 

CHAP. III. Of Peter Stuyvesant' s expedition into the 
East Country ; showing that though an old bird, he 
did not understand trap, ____ ~~ 323 

CHAP. IV. How the people of New- Amsterdam were 
thrown into a great panic, by the news of a threatened 
invasion ; and the manner in which they fortified 
themselves,., rrff , f , ffffJ , Jff , J , ff ^ Jf ,^ J ^ JfJ , JJJJWJJJ ^^ f , JJJfJJf , _ f ^^ f 332 



CHAP. V. Showing how the Grand Council of the New 
Netherlands came to be miraculously gifted with long 
tongues. Together with a great triumph of Economy, 335 

CHAP. VI. In which the troubles of New-Amsterdam 
appear to thicken Showing the bravery, in time of 
peril, of a people who defend themselves by resolutions, 340 

CHAP. VII. Containing a doleful disaster of Anthony 
the Trumpeter ; and how Peter Stuyvesant like a se- 
cond Cromwell, suddenly dissolved a Rump Parlia- 
ment, ~~~ ~~~~~~ JJJJJJJJJJJ .- JJJ . JJ>rJJJ - JJJJJJJJJJJJfJJJ - J -xj- J rr J -r fJ - J r fJ -rrx JJJJJJJJ/ x 34$ 

CHAP. VIII. How Peter Stuyvesant defended the city 
of New- Amsterdam for several days, by dint of the 
strength of his head, ~~ ~~~**~~^~ 354 

CHAP. IX. Containing the dignified retirement, and 
mortal surrender of Peter the Headstrong, f 36% 

CHAP. X. The Author's reflections upon what has been 

_ , _, ^ 368 


AT was some time, if I recollect right, in the early part of the 
fall of 1 808, that a stranger applied for lodgings at the Inde- 
pendent Columbian Hotel in Mulberry- street, of which I am 
Landlord. He was a small, brisk-looking old gentleman, 
dressed in a rusty black coat, a pair of olive velvet breeches, 
and a small cocked hat. He had a few gray hairs plaited and 
clubbed behind, and his beard seemed to be of some eight and 
forty hours' growth. The only piece of finery which he bore 
about him, was a bright pair of square silver shoe-buckles : 
and all his baggage was contained in a pair of saddle-bags, 
which he carried under his arm. His whole appearance was 
something out of the common run ; and my wife, who is a 
very shrewd body, at once set him down for some eminent 
country schoolmaster. 

As the Independent Columbian Hotel is a very small house, 
I was a little puzzled at first where to put him ; but my wife, 
who seemed taken with his looks, would needs put him in her 
best chamber, which is genteelly set off with the profiles of the 
whole family, done in black, by those two great painters, Jar- 
vis and Wood ; and commands a very pleasant view of the 
new grounds on the Collect, together with the rear of the 



Poor- House and Bridewell, and the full front of the Hospital ; 
so that it is the cheerfullest room in the whole house. 

During the whole time that he staid with us, we found him 
a very worthy good sort of an old gentleman, though a little 
queer in his ways. He would keep in his room for days to- 
gether, and if any of the children cried, or made a noise about 
his door, he would bounce out in a great passion, with his 
hands full of papers, and say something about " deranging his 
ideas ;" which made my wife believe sometimes that he was 
not altogether compos. Indeed there was more than one rea- 
son to make her think so, for his room was always covered 
with scraps of paper and old mouldy books, lying about at 
sixes and sevens, which he never would let any body touch ; 
for he said he had laid them all away in their proper places, 
so that he might know where to find them ; though for that 
matter, he was half his time worrying about the house in 
search of some book or writing which he had carefully put 
out of the way. I shall never forget what a pother he once 
made, because my wife cleaned out his room when his back 
was turned, and put every thing to rights ; for he swore he 
would never be able to get his papers in order again in a 
twelvemonth. Upon this my wife ventured to ask him, what 
he did with so many books and papers ? and he told her, that 
he was " seeking for immortality ;" which made her think 
more than ever, that the poor old gentleman's head was a little 

He was a very inquisitive body, and when not in his room 
was continually poking about town, hearing all the news, and 
prying into every thing that was going on : this was particu- 
larly the case about election time, when he did nothing but 
bustle about from poll to poll, attending all ward meetings and 
committee rooms; though I could never find that he took part 


with either side of the question. On the contrary, he would 
come home and rail at both parties with great wrath and 
plainly proved one day to the satisfaction of my wife and three 
old ladies who were drinking tea with her, that the two par- 
ties were like two rogues, each tugging at a skirt of the na- 
tion ; and that in the end they would tear the very coat off its 
back, and expose its nakedness. Indeed he was an oracle 
among the neighbours, who would collect around him to hear 
him talk of an afternoon, as he smoked his pipe on the bench 
before the door ; and I really believe he would have brought 
over the whole neighbourhood to his own side of the question, 
if they could ever have found out what it was. 

He was very much given to argue, or, as he called it, phi- 
losophize, about the most trifling matter, and to do him justice, 
I never knew any body that was a match for him, except it 
was a grave looking gentleman who called now and then to 
see him, and often posed him in an argument. But this is 
nothing surprising, as I have since found out this stranger is 
the city librarian ; and, of course, must be a man of great 
learning : and I have my doubts, if he had not some hand in 
the following history. 

As our lodger had been a long time with us, and we had never 
received any pay, my wife began to be somewhat uneasy, and 
curious to find out who and what he was. She accordingly 
made bold to put the question to his friend, the librarian, who 
replied in his dry way, that he was one of the Literati ; which 
she supposed to mean some new party in politics. I scorn to 
push a lodger for his pay, so I let day after day pass on without 
dunning the old gentleman for a farthing : but my wife, who 
always takes these matters on herself, and is, as I said, a 
shrewd kind of a woman, at last got out of patience, and 
hinted, that she thought it high time "some people should 


have a sight of some people's money." To which the old gen- 
tleman replied in a mighty touchy manner, that she need not 
make herself uneasy, for that he had a treasure there, (point- 
ing to his saddle-bags,) worth her whole house put together. 
This was the only answer we could ever get from him ; and as 
my wife, by some of those odd ways in which women find out 
every thing, learnt that he was of very great connexions, be- 
ing related to the Knickerbockers of Scaghtikoke, and cousin- 
german to the Congress-man of that name, she did not like to 
treat him uncivilly. What is more, she even offered, merely 
by way of making things easy, to let him live scot-free, if he 
would teach the children their letters ; and to try her best and 
get the neighbours to send their children also : but the old 
gentleman took it in such dudgeon, and seemed so affronted at 
being taken for a schoolmaster, that she never dared speak on 
the subject again. 

About two months ago, he went out of a morning, with a 
bundle in his hand and has never been heard of since. All 
kinds of inquiries were made after him, but in vain. I wrote 
to his relations at Scaghtikoke, but they sent for answer, that 
he had not been there since the year before last, when he had 
a great dispute with the Congress-man about politics, and left 
the place in a huff, and they had neither heard nor seen any 
thing of him from that time to this. I must own I felt very 
much worried about the poor old gentleman, for I thought 
something bad must have happened to him, that he should be 
missing so long, and never return to pay his bill. I therefore 
advertised him in the newspapers, and though my melancholy 
advertisement was published by several humane printers, yet 
I have never been able to learn any thing satisfactory about 

My wife now said it was high time to take care of ourselves, 


and see if he had left any thing behind in his room, that would 
pay us for his board and lodging. We found nothing, how- 
ever, but some old books and musty writings, and his pair of 
saddle-bags ; which being opened in presence of the librarian, 
contained only a few articles of worn out clothes, and a large 
bundle of blotted paper. On looking over this, the librarian 
told us, he had no doubt it was the treasure which the old 
gentleman had spoke about ; as it proved to be a most excel- 
lent and faithful HISTORY OF NEW-YORK, which he advised us 
by all means to publish : assuring us that it would be so eagerly 
bought up by a discerning public, that he had no doubt it 
would be enough to pay our arrears ten times over. Upon 
this we got a very learned schoolmaster, who teaches our 
children, to prepare it for the press, which he accordingly has 
done ; and has, moreover, added to it a number of notes of 
his own ; and an engraving of the city, as it was at the time 
Mr. Knickerbocker writes about. 

This, therefore, is a true statement of my reasons for having 
this work printed, without waiting for the consent of the au- 
thor : and I here declare, that if he ever returns, (though I 
much fear some unhappy accident has befallen him,) I stand 
ready to account with him like a true and honest man. 
Which is all at present 

From the public's humble servant, 


Independent Columbian Hotel, 
New- York. 

THE foregoing account of the author was prefixed to the first 
edition of this work. Shortly after its publication, a letter was 


received from him, by Mr. Handaside, dated at a small Dutch 
village on the banks of the Hudson, whither he had travelled 
for the purpose of inspecting certain ancient records. As 
this was one of those few and happy villages, into which 
newspapers never find their way, it is not a matter of surprise, 
that Mr. Knickerbocker should never have seen the numerous 
advertisements that were made concerning him ; and that he 
should learn of the publication of his history by mere accident. 

He expressed much concern at its premature appearance, as 
thereby he was prevented from making several important cor- 
rections and alterations : as well as from profiting by many 
curious hints which he had collected during his travels along 
the shores of the Tappan Sea, and his sojourn at Haverstraw 
and Esopus. 

Finding that there was no longer any immediate necessity 
for his return to New- York, he extended his journey up to 
the residence of his relations at Scaghtikoke. On his way 
thither, he stopped for some days at Albany, for which city 
he is known to have entertained a great partiality. He found 
it, however, considerably altered, and was much concerned at 
the inroads and improvements which the Yankees were mak- 
ing, and the consequent decline of the good old Dutch man- 
ners. Indeed he was informed that these intruders were 
making sad innovations in all parts of the state ; where they 
had given great trouble and vexation to the regular Dutch 
settlers, by the introduction of turnpike gates, and country 
school-houses. It is said also, that Mr. Knickerbocker shook 
his head sorrowfully at noticing the gradual decay of the great 
Vander Hey den palace ; but was highly indignant at finding 
that the ancient Dutch church, which stood in the middle of 
the street, had been pulled down, since his last visit. 

The fame of Mr. Knickerbocker's history having reached 


even to Albany, he received much flattering attention from its 
worthy burghers, some of whom, however, pointed out two or 
three very great errors he had fallen into, particularly that of 
suspending a lump of sugar over the Albany tea-tables, which, 
they assured him, had been discontinued for some years past. 
Several families, moreover, were somewhat piqued that their 
ancestors had not been mentioned in his work, and showed 
great jealousy of their neighbours who had been thus dis- 
tinguished; while the latter, it must be confessed, plumed 
themselves vastly thereupon ; considering these recordings in 
the light of letters patent of nobility, establishing their claims 
to ancestry which, in this republican country, is a matter of 
no little solicitude and vainglory. 

It is also said, that he enjoyed high favour and countenance 
from the governor, who once asked him to dinner, and was 
seen two or three times to shake hands with him, when they 
met in the street ; which certainly was going great lengths, 
considering that they differed in politics. Indeed, certain of 
the governor's confidential friends, to whom he could venture 
to speak his mind freely on such matters, have assured us, that 
he privately entertained a considerable goodwill for our author 
nay, he even once went so far as to declare, and that openly 
too, and at his own table, just after dinner, that " Knicker- 
bocker was a very well-meaning sort of an old gentleman, and 
no fool." From all which many have been led to suppose, that, 
had our author been of different politics, and written for the 
newspapers instead of wasting his talents on histories, he might 
have risen to some post of honour and profit : peradventure to 
be a notary public, or even a justice in the ten pound court. 

Besides the honours and civilities already mentioned, he was 
much caressed by the literati of Albany ; particularly Mr. 
John Cook, who entertained him very hospitably at his circu- 


lating library and reading room, where they used to drink Spa 
water, and talk about the ancients. He found Mr. Cook a 
man after his own heart of great literary research, and a 
curious collector of books. At parting, the latter, in testi- 
mony of friendship, made him a present of the two oldest 
works in his collection ; which were, the earliest edition of the 
Hiedel burgh Catechism, and Adrian Vander Donck's famous 
account of the New Netherlands : by the last of which, Mr. 
Knickerbocker profited greatly in this his second edition. 

Having passed some time very agreeably at Albany, our 
author proceeded to Scaghtikoke ; where, it is but justice to 
say, he was received with open arms, and treated with won- ] 
derful loving-kindness. He was much looked up to by the 
family, being the first historian of the name ; and was con- 
sidered almost as great a man as his cousin the Congress-man 
with whom, by the by, he became perfectly reconciled, and 
contracted a strong friendship. 

In spite, however, of the kindness of his relations, and their 
great attention to his comforts, the old gentleman soon became 
restless and discontented. His history being published, he 
had no longer any business to occupy his thoughts, or any 
scheme to excite his hopes and anticipations. This, to a busy 
mind like his, was a truly deplorable situation ; and, had he 
not been a man of inflexible morals and regular habits, there 
would have been great danger of his taking to politics, or 
drinking both which pernicious vices we daily see men 
driven to, by mere spleen and idleness. 

It is true, he sometimes employed himself, in preparing a 
second edition of his history, wherein he endeavoured to cor- 
rect and improve many passages with which he was dissatis- 
fied, and to rectify some mistakes that had crept into it; for 
he was particularly anxious that his work should be noted for 


its authenticity ; which, indeed, is the very life and soul of 
history. But the glow of composition had departed he had 
to leave many places untouched, which he would fain have 
altered ; and even where he did make alterations, he seemed 
always in doubt whether they were for the better or the worse, 
After a residence of some time at Scaghtikoke, he began to 
feel a strong desire to return to New- York, which he ever re^ 
garded with the warmest affection ; not merely because it was 
his native city, but because he really considered it the very best 
eity in the whole world. On his return he entered into the 
full enjoyment of the advantages of a literary reputation. He 
was continually importuned to write advertisements, petitions, 
hand^bills, and productions of similar import; and, although 
he never meddled with the public papers, yet had he, the credit 
of writing innumerable essays, and smart things, that appeared 
on all subjects, and all sides of the question ; in all which he 
was clearly detected " by his style." 

He contracted, moreover, a considerable debt at the posU 
office, in consequence of the numerous letters he received from 
authors and printers soliciting his subscription he was applied 
to by every charitable society for yearly donations, which he 
gave very cheerfully, considering these applications as so many 
compliments. He was once invited to a great corporation din* 
ner; and was even twice summoned to attend as a juryman 
at the court of quarter-sessions. Indeed, so renowned did he 
become, that he could no longer pry about, as formerly, in all 
holes and corners of the city, according to the bent of his humour, 
unnoticed and uninterrupted ; but several times when he has 
been sauntering the streets, on his usual rambles of observation, 
equipped with his cane and cocked hat, the little boys at play 
have been known to cry, " there goes Diedrich!" at which 
the old gentleman seemed not a little pleased, looking upon 
hese salutations in the light of the praises of posterity. 



In a word, if we take into consideration all these various 
honours and distinctions, together with an exuberant eulogium 
passed on him in the Port Folio (with which, we are told, 
the old gentleman was so much overpowered, that he was sick 
for two or three days) it must be confessed, that few authors 
have ever lived to receive such illustrious rewards, or have so 
completely enjoyed in advance their own immortality. 

After his return from Scaghtikoke, Mr. Knickerbocker took 
up his residence at a little rural retreat, which the Stuy vesants 
had granted him on the family domain, in gratitude for his 
honourable mention of their ancestor. It was pleasantly situ- 
ated on the borders of one of the salt marshes beyond Cor- 
lear's Hook: subject, indeed, to be occasionally overflowed, 
and much infested, in the summer time, with musquitoes ; but 
otherwise very agreeable, producing abundant crops of salt- 
grass and bulrushes. 

Here, we are sorry to say, the good old gentleman fell dan- 
gerously ill of a fever, occasioned by the neighbouring marshes. 
When he found his end approaching, he disposed of his worldly 
affairs, leaving the bulk of his fortune to the New- York Histo- 
rical Society : his Hiedelburg Catechism, and Vander Donck's 
work to the City Library ; and his saddle-bags to Mr. Handa- 
side. He forgave all his enemies that is to say, all that bore 
any enmity towards him; for as to himself, he declared he died 
in goodwill to all the world. And, after dictating several kind 
messages to his relations at Scaghtikoke, as well as to certain of 
our most substantial Dutch citizens, he expired in the arms of 
his friend the librarian. 

His remains were interred, according to his own request, in 
St. Mark's Churchyard, close by the bones of his favourite hero, 
Peter Stuy vesaut ; and it is rumoured, that the Historical So- 
ciety have it in mind to erect a wooden monument to his me- 
mory in the Bowling green. 


T rescue from oblivion the memory of former incidents, 
and to render a just tribute of renown to the many great and 
wonderful transactions of our Dutch progenitors, Diedrich 
Knickerbocker, native of the city of New- York, produces this 
historical essay." * Like the great Father of History whose 
words I have just quoted, I treat of times long past, over 
which the twilight of uncertainty had already thrown its sha- 
dows, and the night of forge tfulness was about to descend for 
ever. With great solicitude did I long behold the early his- 
tory of this venerable and ancient city, gradually slipping from 
our grasp, trembling on the lips of narrative old age, and day 
by day dropping piecemeal into the tomb. In a little while, 
thought I, and those reverend Dutch burghers, who serve as 
the tottering monuments of good old times, will be gathered 
to their fathers ; their children, engrossed by the empty plea- 
sures or insignificant transactions of the present age, will ne- 
glect to treasure up the recollections of the past, and posterity 
shall search in vain, for memorials of the days of the Patriarchs. 
The origin of our city will be buried in eternal oblivion, and 
even the names and atchievements of Wouter Van Twiller, 
William Kieft, and Peter Stuyvesant, be enveloped in doubt 

* Beloe's Herodotus. 

xxiv PREFACE. 

and fiction, like those of Romulus and Remus, of Charie- 
magne, King Arthur, Rinaldo, and Godfrey of Bologne. 

Determined, therefore, to avert if possible this threatened 
misfortune, I industriously sat myself to work, to gather toge- 
ther all the fragments of our ancient history which still existed, 
and like my revered prototype, Herodotus, where no written 
records could be found, have endeavoured to continue the 
chain of history by well authenticated traditions. 

In this arduous undertaking, which has been the sole busi- 
ness of a long and solitary life, it is incredible the number of 
learned authors I have consulted ; and all to but little purpose. 
Strange as it may seem, though such multitudes of excellent 
works have been written about this country, there are none 
extant which give any full and satisfactory account of the early 
history of New- York, or of its three first Dutch governors. I 
have, however, gained much valuable and curious matter from an 
elaborate manuscript written in exceeding pure and classic low 
Dutch, excepting a few errors in orthography, which was found 
in the archives of the Stuyvesant family. Many legends, letters, 
and other documents, have I likewise gleaned, in my researches 
among the family chests and lumber garrets of our respectable 
Dutch citizens : and I have gathered a host of well authenti- 
cated traditions from divers excellent old ladies of my acquain- 
tance, who requested that their names might not be mentioned. 
Nor must I neglect to acknowledge how greatly I have been 
assisted by that admirable and praiseworthy institution, the 
NEW- YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY, to which I here publicly 
feturn my sincere acknowledgments* 

In the conduct of this inestimable work I have adopted no 
individual model, but on the contrary have simply contented 
myself with combining and concentrating the excellencies of 
the most approved ancient historians. Like Xenophon, I have 


maintained the utmost impartiality, and the strictest adherence 
to truth throughout my history. I have enriched it, after the 
manner of Sallust, with various characters of ancient worthies, 
drawn at full length and faithfully coloured. I have seasoned 
it with profound political speculations like Thucydides, sweet- 
ened it with the graces of sentiment like Tacitus, and infused 
into the whole, the dignity, the grandeur, and magnificence of 

I am aware that I shall incur the censure of numerous very 
learned and judicious critics, for indulging too frequently in 
the bold excursive manner of my favourite Herodotus. And 
to be candid, I have found it impossible always to resist the 
allurements of those pleasing episodes, which like flowery 
banks and fragrant bowers, beset the dusty road of the histo- 
rian, and entice him to turn aside, and refresh himself from 
his wayfaring. But I trust it will be found, that I have always 
resumed my staff, and addressed myself to my weary journey 
with renovated spirits, so that both my readers and myself 
have been benefited by the relaxation. 

Indeed, though it has been my constant wish and uniform 
endeavour, to rival Polybius himself, in observing the requi- 
site unity of History, yet the loose and unconnected manner 
in which many of the facts herein recorded have come to hand, 
rendered such an attempt extremely difficult. This difficulty 
was likewise increased, by one of the grand objects contem- 
plated in my work, which was to trace the rise of sundry cus- 
toms and institutions in this best of cities, and to compare 
them when in the germ of infancy, with what they are in the 
present old age of knowledge and improvement. 

But the chief merit on which I value myself, and found my 
hopes for future regard, is that faithful veracity with which I 
have compiled this invaluable little work ; carefully winnow- 

xxvi PREFACE. 

ing away the chaff of hypothesis, and discarding the tares of 
fable, which are too apt to spring up and choke the seeds of 
truth and wholesome knowledge. Had I been anxious to cap- 
tivate the superficial throng, who skim like swallows over the 
surface of literature ; or had I been anxious to commend my 
writings to the pampered palates of literary epicures I might 
have availed myself of the obscurity that overshadows the in- 
fant years of our city, to introduce a thousand pleasing fictions. 
But I have scrupulously discarded many a pithy tale and mar- 
vellous adventure, whereby the drowsy air of summer indolence 
might be enthralled ; jealously maintaining that fidelity, gra- 
vity, and dignity, which should ever distinguish the historian. 
" For a writer of this class," observes an elegant critic, " must 
sustain the character of a wise man, writing for the instruction 
of posterity : one who has studied to inform himself well, who 
has pondered his subject with care, and addresses himself to 
our judgment, rather than to our imagination." 

Thrice happy, therefore, is this our renowned city, in hav- 
ing incidents worthy of swelling the theme of history ; and 
doubly thrice happy is it in having such a historian as myself, 
to relate them. For after all, gentle reader, cities of themselves, 
and in fact, empires of themselves, are nothing without an his- 
torian. It is the patient narrator who records their prosperity 
as they rise who blazons forth the splendour of their noontide 
meridian who props their feeble memorials as they totter to 
decay who gathers together their scattered fragments as they 
rot and who piously at length collects their ashes into the 
mausoleum of his work, and rears a triumphal monument to 
transmit their renown to all succeeding ages. 

What has been the fate of many fair cities of antiquity, 
whose nameless ruins encumber the plains of Europe and Asia, 
and awaken the fruitless inquiry of the traveller ?- they have 

PREFACE. xxvii 

sunk into dust and silence they have perished from remem- 
brance for want of a historian ! The philanthropist may weep 
over their desolation the poet may wander among their moul- 
dering arches and broken columns, and indulge the visionary 
flights of his fancy but alas! alas! the modern historian, whose 
pen, like my own, is doomed to confine itself to dull matter of 
fact, seeks in vain among their oblivious remains, for some 
memorial that may tell the instructive tale, of their glory and 
their ruin. 

" Wars, conflagrations, deluges," says Aristotle, " destroy 
nations, and with them ail their monuments, their discoveries, 
and their vanities. The torch of science has more than once 
been extinguished and rekindled a few individuals, who have 
escaped by accident, reunite the thread of generations." 

The same sad misfortune which has happened to so many 
ancient cities, will happen again, and from the same sad cause, 
to nine-tenths of those which now flourish on the face of the 
globe. With most of them the time for recording their history 
is gone by ; their origin, their foundation, together with the 
early stages of their settlement, are forever buried in the rub- 
bish of years ; and the same would have been the case with 
this fair portion of the earth, if I had not snatched it from ob- 
scurity in the very nick of time, at the moment that those 
matters herein recorded, were about entering into the wide- 
spread insatiable maw of oblivion if I had not dragged them 
out, as it were, by the very locks, just as the monster's ada- 
mantine fangs were closing upon them for ever ! And here 
have I, as before observed, carefully collected, collated, and 
arranged them, scrip and scrap, " punt en punt, gat en gal" 
and commenced in this little work, a history to serve as a foun- 
dation, on which other historians may hereafter raise a noble 
superstructure, swelling in process of time, until Knickerbocker's 

xxviii PREFACE. 

Nerv~York may be equally voluminous, with Gibbons Rome, 
or Hume and SmolletCs England ! 

And now indulge me for a moment : while I lay down my 
pen, skip to some little eminence at the distance of two or 
three hundred years a-head ; and, casting a bird's eye glance 
over the waste of years that is to roll between, discover my- 
self little I ! at this moment the progenitor, prototype, and 
precursor of them all, posted at the head of this host of literary 
worthies, with my book under my arm, and New- York on my 
hack, pressing forward like a gallant commander, to honour 
and immortality ! 

Such are the vain glorious imaginings that will now and 
then enter into the brain of the author that irradiate, as with 
celestial light, his solitary chamber, cheering his weary spirits, 
and animating him to persevere in his labours. And I have 
freely given utterance to these rhapsodies whenever they have 
occurred; not, I trust, from an unusual spirit of egotism, 
but merely that the reader may for once have an idea, how an 
author thinks and feels while he is writing a kind of know- 
ledge very rare and curious, and much to be desired, 



Description of the World. 

A.CCORDING to the best authorities, the world in which 
we dwell is a huge, opaque, reflecting, inanimate mass, 
floating in the vast ethereal ocean of infinite space. It 
has the form of an orange, being an oblate spheroid, curi- 
ously flattened at opposite parts, for the insertion of two 
imaginary poles, which are supposed to penetrate and 
unite at the centre; thus forming an axis on which the 
mighty orange turns with a regular diurnal revolution. 

The transitions of light and darkness, whence proceed 
the alternations of day and night, are produced by this 
diurnal revolution successively presenting the different 
parts of the earth to the rays of the sun. The latter is, 
according to the best, that is to say, the latest accounts, 
a luminous or fiery body, of a prodigious magnitude, from 
which this world is driven by a centrifugal or repelling 
power, and to which it is drawn by a centripetal or at- 
tractive force ; otherwise called the attraction of gravita- 



tion; the combination, or rather the counteraction of 
these two opposing impulses producing a circular and 
annual revolution. Hence result the different seasons of 
the year, viz. spring, summer, autumn, and winter. 

This I believe to be the most approved modern theory 
on the subject though there be many philosophers who 
have entertained very different opinions ; some too of them, 
entitled to much deference from their great antiquity and 
illustrious characters. Thus it was advanced by some of 
the ancient sages, that the earth was an extended plain, 
supported by vast pillars; and by others, that it rested 
on the head of a snake, or the back of a huge tortoise 
but as they did not provide a resting place for either the 
pillars or the tortoise, the whole theory fell to the ground, 
for want of proper foundation. 

The Brahmins assert, that the heavens rest upon the 
earth, and the sun and moon swim therein like fishes in 
the water, moving from east to west by day, and gliding 
along the edge of the horizon to their original stations 
during the night ; * while, according to the Pauranicas of 
India, it is a vast plain, encircled by seven oceans of milk, 
nectar, and other delicious liquids ; that it is studded with 
seven mountains, and ornamented in the centre by a 
mountainous rock of burnished gold ; and that a great 
dragon occasionally swallows up the moon, which accounts 
for the phenomena of lunar eclipses. { 

Besides these, and many other equally sage opinions, 
we have the profound conjectures of ABOUL-HASSANALY, 
son of Al Khan, son of Aly, son of Abderrahman, son of 
Abdallah, son of Masoud-el-Hadheli, who is commonly 
called MASOUDI, and surnamed Cothbeddin, but who 
takes the humble title of Lahebar-rasoul, which means 

* Faria y Souza. Mick. Lus. note b. 7. 
t Sir W. Jones, Diss. Antiq. Incl. Xod. 


the companion of the ambassador of God. He has writ- 
ten a universal history, entitled " Mouroudge-ed-dhahrab, 
or, the Golden Meadows, and the mines of precious 
Stones." * In this valuable work he has related the his- 
tory of the world, from the creation down to the moment 
of writing; which was under the Khaliphat of Mothi 
Billah, in the month Dgioumadi-el-aoual of the 336th 
year of the Hegira or flight of the Prophet. He informs 
us that the earth is a huge bird, Mecca and Medina con- 
stitute the head, Persia and India the right wing, the land 
of Gog the left wing, and Africa the tail. He informs us> 
moreover, that an earth has existed before the present, 
(which he considers as a mere chicken of 7000 years,) 
that it has undergone divers deluges, and that, according 
to the opinion of some well-informed Brahmins of his ac- 
quaintance, it will be renovated every seventy thousandth 
hazarouam; each hazarouam consisting of 12,000 years. 

These are a few of the many contradictory opinions of 
philosophers concerning the earth, and we find that the 
learned have had equal perplexity as to the nature of the 
sun. Some of the ancient philosophers have affirmed that 
it is a vast wheel of brilliant fire;-f- others, that it is mere- 
ly a mirror or sphere of transparent crystal ; { and a third 
class, at the head of whom stands Anaxagoras, maintained 
that it was nothing but a huge ignited mass of iron or 
stone indeed, he declared the heavens to be merely a 
vault of stone, and that the stars were stones whirled up- 
wards from the earth, and set on fire by the velocity of its 
revolutions. But I give little attention to the doctrines 

* MSS. Bibliot. Hoi. Fr. 

f Plut de Plac. Philos. lib. ii. cap. 20. 

J Achill. Tat. Isag. cap. 19. Ap. Petav. t. iii. p. 81. Stob. Eclog. 
Phjs. lib. i. p, 56. Plut. de. Plac. Philos. 

Diogenes Laertius in Anaxag. 1. ii. sec. 8. Plat. Apol. t. i. p. 26. 
Plut. de Plac. Philos. Xenoph. Mem. 1. iv. p. 815. 


of this philosopher, the people of Athens having fully re* 
futed them, by banishing him from their city ; a concise 
mode of answering unwelcome doctrines much resorted to 
in former days. Another sect of philosophers do declare, 
that certain fiery particles exhale constantly from the earth, 
which concentrating in a single point of the firmament by 
day$ constitute the sun, but being scattered and rambling 
about in the dark at night, collect in various points, and 
form stars. These are regularly burnt out and extinguish- 
ed j not unlike to the lamps in our streets, and require a 
fresh supply of exhalations for the next occasion. * 

It is even recorded, that at certain remote and ob- 
scure periods, in consequence of a great scarcity of fuel, 
the sun has been completely burnt out, and sometimes 
not rekindled for a month at a time. A most melancholy 
circumstance, the very idea of which gave vast concern to 
Heraclitus, that worthy weeping philosopher of antiquity. 
In addition to these various speculations, it was the opi- 
nion of Herschel, that the sun is a magnificent, habitable 
abode ; the light it furnishes arising from certain empy- 
real, luminous or phosphoric clouds, swimming in its tran- 
sparent atmosphere, -j- 

But we will not enter further at present into the na- 
ture of the sun, that being an inquiry not immediately 
necessary to the developement of this history; neither 
will we embroil ourselves in any more of the endless dis- 
putes of philosophers touching the form of this globe, but 
content ourselves with the theory advanced in the be- 
ginning of this chapter, and will proceed to illustrate by 
experiment, the complexity of motion therein ascribed to 
this our rotatory planet. 

Arlstot. Meteor. 1. ii.c. 2. Idem. Probl. see. 15. Stob. Eel. Phys. 
1. i. p. 55. Bruck. Hist. Phil; t. L p. 1154, &c. 

f Philos. Trans. 1795. p. 7?, Idem. 1801. p. 265. Nich. Philos. 
Jbuni. i p. 13i 


Professor Von Poddingcoft (or Puddinghead, as the 
name may be rendered into English) was long celebrated 
in the university of Leyden, for most profound gravity of 
deportment, and his talent at going to sleep in the midst 
of examinations ; to the infinite relief of his hopeful stu- 
dents, who thereby worked their way through college 
with great ease and little study. In the course of one 
of hisjectures, the learned professor, seizing a bucket of 
water* swung it round his head at arm's length ; the im- 
pulse with which he threw the vessel from him being a 
centrifugal force, the retention of his arm operating as a 
centripetal power, and the bucket, which was a substitute 
for the earth, describing a circular orbit round about the 
globular head and ruby visage of Professor Von Podding- 
coft, which formed no bad representation of the sun. All 
of these particulars were duly explained to the class of 
gaping students around him. He apprised them more- 
over, that the same principle of gravitation which retained 
the water in the bucket, restrains the ocean from flying 
from the earth in its rapid revolutions ; and he further 
informed them, that should the motion of the earth be 
suddenly checked, it would incontinently fall into the sun, 
through the centripetal force of gravitation ; a most ruin- 
ous event 'to this planet* and one which would also ob- 
scure, though it most probably would not extinguish the 
solar luminary. An unlucky stripling, one of those va- 
grant geniuses who seem sent into the world merely to 
annoy worthy men of the puddinghead order, desirous of 
ascertaining the correctness of the experiment, suddenly 
arrested the arm of the professor just at the moment that 
the bucket was in its zenith, which immediately descended 
with astonishing precision on the philosophic head of the 
instructor of youth. A hollow sound, and a red-hot hiss 
attended the contact, but the theory was in the amplest 
manner illustrated, for the unfortunate bucket perished in 
the conflict; but the blazing countenance of Professor 


Von Poddingcoft, emerged from amidst the waters, glow- 
in cr fiercer than ever with unutterable indignation where- 
by the students were marvellously edified, and departed 
considerably wiser than before. 

It is a mortifying circumstance, which greatly perplexes 
many a pains-taking philosopher, that nature often refuses 
to second his most profound and elaborate efforts ; so that 
often after having invented one of the most ingenious and 
natural theories imaginable, she will have the perverseness 
to act directly in the teeth of his system, and flatly con- 
tradict his most favourite positions. This is a manifest^ 
and unmerited grievance, since it throws the censure of 
the vulgar and unlearned entirely upon the philosopher; 
whereas the fault is not to be ascribed to his theory, which 
is unquestionably correct, but to the waywardness of dame 
nature, who, with the proverbial fickleness of her sex, is 
continually indulging in coquetries and caprices, and seems 
really to take pleasure in violating all philosophic rules, 
and jilting the most learned and indefatigable of her 
adorers. Thus it happened with respect to the foregoing 
satisfactory explanation of the motion of our planet; it 
appears that the centrifugal force has long since ceased to 
operate, while its antagonist remains in undiminished po- 
tency : the world therefore, according to the theory as it 
originally stood, ought, in strict propriety, to tumble into 
the sun philosophers were convinced that it would do so, 
and awaited, in anxious impatience, the fulfilment of their 
prognostics. But the untoward planet pertinaciously con- 
tinued her course, notwithstanding that she had reason, 
philosophy, and a whole university of learned professors 
opposed to her conduct. The philosophers took this in 
very ill part, and it is thought they would never have par- 
doned the slight and affront which they conceived put 
upon them by the world, had not a goodnatured professor 
kindly officiated as a mediator between the parties, and 
effected a reconciliation. 


Finding the world would not accommodate itself to the 
theory, he wisely determined to accommodate the theory 
to the world : he therefore informed his brother philoso- 
phers, that the circular motion of the earth round the sun 
was no sooner engendered by the conflicting impulses 
above described, than it became a regular revolution, inde- 
pendent of the causes which gave it origin. His learned 
brethren readily joined in the opinion, being heartily glad 
of any explanation that would decently extricate them from 
embarrassment and ever since that memorable era the 
world has been left to take her own course, and to revolve 
around the sun in such orbit as she thinks proper. 


Cosmogony, or Creation of the World; with a multitude of excel- 
lent Theories, by which the Creation of a World is shown to be 
no such difficult matter as common Folks would imagine. 

HAVING thus briefly introduced my reader to the world, 
and given him some idea of its form and situation, he will 
naturally be curious to know from whence it came, and 
how it was created. And indeed the clearing up of these 
points is absolutely essential to my history, inasmuch as if 
this world had not been formed, it is more than probable, 
that this renowned island, on which is situated the city of 
New- York, would never have had an existence. The 
regular course of my history, therefore, requires that I 
should proceed to notice the cosmogony or formation of 
this our globe. 

And now I give my readers fair warning, that I am 
about to plunge for a chapter or two, into as complete a 
labyrinth as ever historian was perplexed withal ; there- 
fore, I advise them to take fast hold of my skirts, and keep 


close at my heels, venturing neither to the right hand nor 
to the left, lest they get bemired in a slough of unintelligi- 
ble learning, or have their brains knocked out by some 
of those hard Greek names which will be flying about in 
all directions. But should any of them be too indolent or 
chicken-hearted to accompany me in this perilous under- 
taking, they had better take a short cut round, and wait 
for me at the beginning of some smoother chapter. 

Of the creation of the world, we have a thousand con-* 
tradictory accounts; and though a very satisfactory one 
is furnished by divine revelation, yet every philosopher 
feels himself in honour bound to furnish us with a better. 
As an impartial historian, I consider it my duty to notice 
their several theories, by which mankind have been so ex- 
ceedingly edified and instructed. 

Thus it was the opinion of certain ancient sages, that 
the earth and the whole system of the universe, was the 
deity himself; * a doctrine most strenuously maintained 
by Zenophanes and the whole tribe of Eleatics, as also by 
Strato and the sect of peripatetic philosophers. Pytha- 
goras likewise inculcated the famous numerical system of 
the monad, dyad, and tryad ; and by means of his sacred 
quaternary elucidated the formation of the world, the 
arcana of nature, and the principles both of music and 
morals. }- Other sages adhered to the mathematical system 
of squares and triangles ; the cube, the pyramid, and the 
sphere ; the tetrahedon, the octahedron, the icosahedron, 
and the dodecahedron. J While others advocated the 
great elementary theory, which refers the construction of 
our globe and all that it contains, to the combinations of 
four material elements, air, earth, fire, and water; with 

* Aristot. ap. Cic, lib. i. cap. 3. 

f- Aristot. Metaph. lib. i. c. 5. Idem de Coelo, 1. iii. c. 1. Rousseau, 
Mem. sur. Musique Ancien. p. 39. Plutarch de Plac.Philos. lib.i. cap. 3, 
Tim. Locr. ap. Plato, t. iii. p. 90. 


the assistance of a fifth, an immaterial and vivifying prin- 

Nor must I omit to mention the great atomic system 
taught by old Moschus before the siege of Troy ; revived 
by Democritus of laughing memory ; improved by Epi- 
curus, that king of good fellows ; and modernised by the 
fanciful Descartes. But I decline inquiring, whether the 
atoms, of which the earth is said to be composed, are 
'eternal or recent ; whether they are animate or inanimate ; 
whether, agreeably to the opinion of Atheists, they were 
fortuitously aggregated ; or, as the Theists maintain, were 
arranged by a supreme intelligence. * Whether, in fact, 
the earth be an insensate clod, or whether it be animated 
by a soul ; -f- which opinion was strenuously maintained by 
a host of philosophers, at the head of whom stands the 
great Plato, that temperate sage, who threw the cold 
water of philosophy on the form of sexual intercourse, and 
inculcated the doctrine of Platonic love an exquisitely 
refined intercourse, but much better adapted to the ideal 
inhabitants of his imaginary island of Atlantis, than to the 
sturdy race, composed of rebellious flesh and blood, which 
populates the little matter of fact island we inhabit. 

Besides these systems, we have, moreover, the poetical 
theogony of old Hesiod, who generated the whole universe 
in the regular mode of procreation, and the plausible opi- 
nion of others, that the earth was hatched from the great 
egg of night, which floated in chaos, and was cracked by 
the horns of the celestial bull. To illustrate this last doc- 
trine, Burnet, in his theory of the earth, J has favoured 
us with an accurate drawing and description, both of the 

* Aristot. Nat. Auscult, 1. ii. cap. 6. Aristoph. Metaph. lib. i. cap. 3. 
ic. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. cap. 10. Justin Mart. Oral, ad Gent, p 20. 

t Mosheim in Cudw. lib. i. cap. 4. Tim de Anim. Mund. ap. 
Plat. lib. iii. Mem. de PAcad. des Belles Lettres, t. xxxii. p. 19 et al. 

J Book i. ch. 5. 


form and texture of this mundane egg ; which is found to 
bear a near resemblance to that of a goose. Such of my 
readers as take a proper interest in the origin of this our 
planet, will be pleased to learn, that the most profound 
sages of antiquity, among the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Per- 
sians, Greeks, and Latins, have alternately assisted at the 
hatching of this strange bird ; and that their cacklings 
have been caught, and continued, in different tones and 
inflections, from philosopher to philosopher, unto the pre- 
sent day. 

But while briefly noticing long celebrated systems of 
ancient sages, let me not pass over, with neglect, those of 
other philosophers ; which, though less universal and re- 
nowned, have equal claims to attention, and equal chance 
for correctness. Thus it is recorded by the Brahmins, in 
the pages of their inspired Shastah, that the angel Bist- 
noo, transformed himself into a great boar, plunged into 
the watery abyss, and brought up the earth on his tusks. 
Then issued from him a mighty tortoise, and a mighty 
snake ; and Bistnoo placed the snake erect upon the back 
of the tortoise, and he placed the earth upon the head of 
the snake. * 

The negro philosophers of Congo affirm, that the world 
was made by the hands of angels, excepting their own 
country, which the Supreme Being constructed himself, 
that it might be supremely excellent. And he took great 
pains with the inhabitants, and made them very black and 
beautiful ; and when he had finished the first man, he was 
well pleased with him, and smoothed him over the face, 
and. hence his nose, and the nose of all his descendants, 
became flat. 

The Mohawk philosophers tell us, that a pregnant 
woman fell down from heaven, and that a tortoise took 

Holwell. Gent. Philosophy. 

NEW-YORK. 1 i 

her upon its back, because every place was covered with 
water; and, that the woman, sitting upon the tortoise, 
paddled with her hands in the water, and raked up the 
earth, whence it finally happened that the earth became 
higher than the water. * 

But I forbear to quote a number more of these ancient 
and outlandish philosophers, whose deplorable ignorance, 
in despite of all their erudition, compelled them to write 
in languages which but few of my readers can understand ; 
and I shall proceed briefly to notice a few more intelligible 
and fashionable theories of their modern successors. 

And first I shall mention the great Buffon, who conjec- 
tures that this globe was originally a globe of liquid fire, 
scintillated from the body of the sun, by the percussion of 
a comet, as a spark is generated by the collision of flint 
and steel. That at first it was surrounded by gross va- 
pours, which cooling and condensing in process of time, 
constituted, according to their densities, earth, water, and 
air; which gradually arranged themselves, according to 
their respective gravities, round the burning or vitrified 
mass, that formed their centre. 

Hutton, on the contrary, supposes that the waters at 
first were universally paramount ; and he terrifies himself 
with the idea that the earth must be eventually washed 
away, by the force of rain, rivers, and mountain torrents, 
until it is confounded with the ocean, or, in other words, 
absolutely dissolves into itself. Sublime idea ! far sur- 
passing that of the tender-hearted damsel of antiquity, 
who wept herself into a fountain ; or the good dame of 
Narbonne in France, who, for a volubility of tongue 
unusual in her sex, was doomed to peel five hundred 
thousand and thirty-nine ropes of onions, and actually ran 

* Johannes Megapolensis, jun. Account of Maquaas or Mohawk 
Indians, 1644. 


out at her eyes, before half the hideous task was accom-* 

Whiston, the sairie ingenious philosopher who rivalled 
Ditton in his researches after the longitude, (for which the 
mischief-loving Swift discharged on their heads a most 
savoury stanza,) has distinguished himself by a very ad- 
mirable theory respecting the earth. He conjectures that 
it was originally a chaotic comet, which, being selected for 
the abode of man, was removed from its eccentric orbit, 
and whirled round the sun in its present regular motion ; 
by which change of direction, order succeeded to confu- 
sion in the arrangement of its component parts. The 
philosopher adds, that the deluge was produced by an 
uncourteous salute from the watery tail of another comet ; 
doubtless through sheer envy of its improved condition : 
thus, furnishing a melancholy proof that jealousy may pre- 
vail, even among the heavenly bodies, and discord inter- 
rupt that celestial harmony of the spheres, so melodiously 
sung by the poets. 

But I pass over a variety of excellent theories, among 
which are those of Burnet, and Woodward, and White*- 
hurst ; regretting extremely that my time will not suffer 
me to give them the notice they deserve And shall con- 
clude with that of the renowned Dr. Darwin. This 
learned Theban, who is as much distinguished for rhyme 
as reason, and for goodnatured credulity as serious research; 
and who has recommended himself wonderfully to the good 
graces of the ladies, by letting them into all the gallantries, 
amours, debaucheries, and other topics of scandal of the 
court of Flora ; has fallen upon a theory worthy of his 
combustible imagination. According to his opinion, the 
huge mass of chaos took a sudden occasion to explode, 
like a barrel of gunpowder, and, in that act, exploded the 
sun which in its flight by a similar convulsion, exploded 
the earth which in like guise exploded the moon and 
thus, by a concatenation of explosions, the whole solar" 

NEW. YORK, /is 

system was produced, and set most systematically in 
motion ! * 

By the great variety of theories here alluded to, every 
one of which, if thoroughly examined, will be found sur- 
prisingly consistent in all its parts ; my unlearned readers 
will perhaps be led to conclude, that the creation of a 
world is not so difficult a task as they at first imagined. 
I have shown at least a score of ingenious methods in 
which a world could be constructed; and, I have no 
doubt, that had any of the philosophers above quoted, the 
use of a good manageable comet, and the philosophical 
warehouse, chaos^ at his command, he would engage to 
manufacture a planet as good, or if you would take his 
word for it, better than this we inhabit. 

And here I cannot help noticing the kindness of provi- 
dence, in creating comets for the great relief of bewildered 
philosophers. By their assistance more sudden evolutions 
and transitions are effected in the system of nature, than 
are wrought in a pantomimic exhibition, by the wonder- 
working sword of harlequin. Should one of our modern 
sages, in his theoretical flights among the stars, ever find 
himself lost in the clouds, and in danger of tumbling into 
the abyss of nonsense and absurdity, he has but to seize a 
comet by the beard, mount astride of its tail, and away he 
gallops in triumph, like an enchanter on his hippogriff, or 
a Connecticut witch on her broomstick, " to sweep the 
cobwebs out of the sky." 

It is an old and vulgar saying, about a " beggar on 
horseback," which I would not for the world have applied 
to these reverend philosophers ; but I must confess, that 
some of them, when they are mounted on one of those 
fiery steeds, are as wild in their curvettings as was Phaeton 

* Darw. Bot. Garden. Part I. Cant. i. 1. 105* 


of yore, when he aspired to manage the chariot of Phoe- 
bus. One drives his comet at full speed against the sun, 
and knocks the world out of him with the mighty concus- 
sion ; another more moderate, makes his comet a kind of 
beast of burden, carrying the sun a regular supply of food 
and fagots; a third, of more combustible disposition, 
threatens to throw his comet, like a bombshell into the 
world, and blow it up like a powder magazine ; while a 
fourth, with no great delicacy to this planet, and its in- 
habitants, insinuates that some day or other* his comet 
my modest pen blushes while I write it shall absolutely turn 
tail upon our world and deluge it with water ! Surely, as 
I have already observed, comets were bountifully provided 
by providence for the benefit of philosophers, to assist 
them in manufacturing theories. 

And now, having adduced several of the most prominent 
theories that occur to my recollection, I leave my judici- 
ous readers at full liberty to choose among them. They 
are all serious speculations of learned men all differ essen- 
tially from each other and all have the same title to be- 
lief. It has ever been the task of one race of philosophers 
to demolish the works of their predecessors, and elevate 
more splendid fantasies in their stead, which, in their turn, 
are demolished and replaced by the air-castles of a suc- 
ceeding generation. Thus, it would seem that knowledge 
and genius, of which we make such great parade, consist 
but in detecting the errors and absurdities of those who 
have gone before, and devising new errors and absurdities, 
to be detected by those who are to come after us. The- 
ories are the mighty soap-bubbles, with which the grown- 
up children of science amuse themselves ; while the honest 
vulgar stand gazing in stupid admiration, and dignify these 
learned vagaries with the name of wisdom ! Surely So- 
crates was right in his opinion, that philosophers are but a 
soberer sort of madmen, busying themselves in things to- 


tally incomprehensible, or which, if they could be com- 
prehended, would be found not worthy the trouble of dis- 

For my own part, until the learned have come to an 
agreement among themselves, I shall content myself with 
the account handed down to us by Moses ; in which I do 
but follow the example of our ingenious neighbours of 
Connecticut; who at their first settlement proclaimed, 
that the colony should be governed by the laws of God - 
until they had time to make better. 

One thing however appears certain from the unani- 
mous authority of the before quoted philosophers, sup- 
ported by the evidence of our own senses, (which, though 
very apt to deceive us, may be cautiously admitted as ad- 
ditional testimony,) it appears, I say, and I make the as- 
sertion deliberately, without fear of contradiction, that this 
globe really was created, and that it is composed of land 
and water. It further appears that it is curiously divided 
and parcelled out into continents and islands, among which 
I boldly declare the renowned ISLAND OF NEW-YORK will 
be found by any one who seeks for it in its proper place. 


How far that famous Navigator, Noah, was shamefully nick- 
named ; and how he committed an unpardonable oversight in 
not having Four Sons: with the great trouble of Philosophers 
caused thereby, and the Discovery of America. 

NOAH, who is the first sea-faring man we read of, begat 
three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet. Authors it is true 
are not wanting, who affirm that the patriarch had a num- 
ber of other children. Thus Berosus makes him father 
of the gigantic Titans, Methodius gives him a son called 


Jonithus, or Jonicus, (who was the first inventor of Johnny 
cakes,) and others have mentioned a son, named Thuiscon, 
from whom descended the Teutons or Teutonic, or in 
other words the Dutch nation. 

I regret exceedingly that the nature of my plan will not 
permit me to gratify the laudable curiosity of my readers, 
by investigating minutely the history of the great Noah. 
Indeed such an undertaking would be attended with more 
trouble than many people would imagine; for the good 
old patriarch seems to have been a great traveller in his 
day, and to have passed under a different name in every 
country that he visited. The Chaldeans for instance give 
us his story, merely altering his name into Xisuthrus 
a trivial alteration, which, to an historian skilled in ety- 
mologies, will appear wholly unimportant. It appears 
likewise, that he had exchanged his tarpawling and qua- 
drant among the Chaldeans, for the gorgeous insignia of 
royalty, and appears as a monarch in their annals. The 
Egyptians celebrate him under the name of Osiris; the 
Indians as Menu; the Greek and Roman writers con- 
found him with Ogyges, and the Theban with Deucalion 
and Saturn. But the Chinese, who deservedly rank a- 
mong the most extensive and authentic historians, inas- 
much as they have known the world much longer than 
any one else, declare that Noah was no other than Fohi ; 
and what gives this assertion some air of credibility is, 
that it i$ a fact, admitted by the most enlightened literati, 
that Noah travelled into China, at the time of the building 
of the tower of Babel, (probably to improve himself in the 
study of languages,) and the learned Dr. Shuckford gives 
us the additional information, that the ark rested on a 
mountain on the frontiers of China. 

From this mass of rational conjectures and sage hypo-*- 
theses, many satisfactory deductions might be drawn ; but 
I shall pontent myself with the simple fact stated in the 
Bible, viz. that Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and 


Japhet. It is astonishing on what remote and obscure 
contingencies the great affairs of this world depend, and 
how events the most distant and to the common observer 
unconnected, are inevitably consequent the one to the 
other. It remains to the philosopher to discover these 
mysterious affinities, and it is the proudest triumph of his 
skill, to detect and drag forth some latent chain of causa- 
tion, which at first sight appears a paradox to the inexpe- 
rienced observer. Thus many of my readers will doubt- 
less wonder, what connexion the family of Noah can pos- 
sibly have with this history and many will stare when 
informed, that the whole history of this quarter of the 
world has taken its character and course, from the simple 
circumstance of the patriarch's having but three sons * 
but to explain. 

Noah, we are told by sundry very credible historians, 
becoming sole surviving heir and proprietor of the earth, 
in fee simple, after the deluge, like a good father portioned 
out his estate among his children. To Shem he gave 
Asia, to Ham, Africa, and to Japhet, Europe. Now it is 
a thousand times to be lamented that he had but three 
sons, for had there been a fourth, he would doubtless have 
inherited America; which of course would have been 
dragged forth from its obscurity on the occasion; and 
thus many a hard working historian and philosopher 
would have been spared a prodigious mass of weary con- 
jecture, respecting the first discovery and population of 
this country. Noah, however, having provided for his 
three sons, looked, in all probability, upon our country as 
mere wild, unsettled land, and said nothing about it, and 
to this unpardonable taciturnity of the patriarch may we 
ascribe the misfortune, that America did not come into 
the world, as early as the other quarters of the globe. 

It is true, some writers have vindicated him from this 
misconduct towards posterity, and asserted that he really 
did discover America. Thus it was the opinion of Mark 



Lescarbot, a French writer, possessed of that ponderosity 
of thought, and profoundness of reflection, so peculiar to 
Jiis nation, that the immediate descendants of Noah peo- 
pled this quarter of the globe, and that the old patriarch 
himself, who still retained a passion for the seafaring life, 
superintended the transmigration. The pious and enlight- 
ened father Charlevoix, a French Jesuit, remarkable for 
his aversion to the marvellous, common to all great travel- 
lers, is conclusively of the same opinion ; nay, he goes still 
further, and decides upon the manner in which the dis- 
covery was effected, which was by sea, and under the im- 
mediate direction of the great Noah. " I have already 
observed," exclaims the good father in a tone of becoming 
indignation, " that it is an arbitrary supposition that the 
grandchildren of Noah were not able to penetrate into 
the new world, or that they never thought of it. In ef- 
fect, I can see no reason that can justify such a notion. 
Who can seriously believe, that Noah and his immediate 
descendants knew less than we do, and that the builder 
and pilot of the greatest ship that ever was, a ship which 
was formed to traverse an unbounded ocean, and had so 
many shoals and quicksands to guard against, should be 
ignorant of, or should not have communicated to his de- 
scendants the art of sailing on the ocean ? Therefore they 
did sail on the ocean therefore they sailed to America 
therefore America was discovered by Noah !" 

Now all this exquisite chain of reasoning, which is so 
strikingly characteristic of the good father, being addressed 
to the faith, rather than the understanding, is flatly op- 
posed by Hans de Laet, who declares it a real and most 
ridiculous paradox, to suppose that Noah ever entertained 
the thought of discovering America; and as Hans is a 
Dutch writer, I am inclined to believe he must have been 
much better acquainted with the worthy crew of the ark 
than his competitors, and of course possessed of more ac- 
curate sources of information. It is astonishing how inti- 


mate historians do daily become with the patriarchs and 
other great men of antiquity. As intimacy improves with 
time, and as the learned are particularly inquisitive and 
familiar in their acquaintance with the ancients, I should 
not be surprised, if some future writers should gravely 
give us a picture of men and manners as they existed be- 
fore the flood, far more copious and accurate than the 
Bible ; and that, in the course of another century, the log- 
book of the good Noah should be as current among his- 
torians, as the voyages of Captain Cook, or the renowned 
history of Robinson Crusoe. 

I shall not occupy my time by discussing the huge mass 
of additional suppositions, conjectures, and probabilities 
respecting the first discovery of this country, with which 
unhappy historians overload themselves, in their endeav- 
ours to satisfy the doubts of an incredulous world. It is 
painful to see these laborious wights panting and toiling, 
and sweating under an enormous burden, at the very out- 
set of their works, which on being opened, turns out to be 
nothing but a mighty bundle of straw. As, however, by 
unwearied assiduity, they seem to have established the fact, 
to the satisfaction of all the world, that this country has 
been discovered, I shall avail myself of their useful labours 
to be extremely brief upon this point. 

I shall not therefore stop to inquire, whether America 
was first discovered by a wandering vessel of that cele- 
brated Phoenician fleet, which, according to Herodotus, 
circumnavigated Africa ; or by that Carthaginian expedi- 
tion, which Pliny, the naturalist, informs us, discovered 
the Canary Islands ; or whether it was settled by a tempo- 
rary colony from Tyre, as hinted by Aristotle and Seneca. 
I shall neither inquire whether it was first discovered by 
the Chinese, as Vossius with great shrewdness advances, 
nor by the Norwegians in 1002, under Biorn; nor by 
Behem, the German navigator, as Mr. Otto has endeav- 


cured to prove to the s^avaiis of the learned city of Phila- 

Nor shall I investigate the more modern claims of the 
Welsh, founded on the voyage of Prince Madoc in the 
eleventh century, who having never returned, it has since 
been wisely concluded that he must have gone to America, 
and that for a plain reason if he did not go there, where 
else could he have gone ? a question which, most Socra- 
tically, shuts out all further dispute. 

Laying aside, therefore, all the conjectures above-men- 
tioned, with a multitude of others, equally satisfactory, I 
shall take for granted the vulgar opinion, that America 
was discovered on the 12th of October, 1492, by Christo- 
vallo Colon, a Genoese, who has been clumsily nick-named 
Golumbus, but for what reason I cannot discern. Of the 
voyages and adventures of this Colon, I shall say nothing, 
seeing that they are already sufficiently known. Nor shall 
I undertake to prove that this country should have been 
called Colonia, after his name, that being notoriously self- 

Having thus happily got my readers on this side of the 
Atlantic, I picture them to myself, all impatience to enter 
upon the enjoyment of the land of promise, and in full ex- 
pectation that I will immediately deliver it into their pos- 
session. But if I do, may I ever forfeit the reputation of 
a regular bred historian. No no most curious and 
thrice learned readers, (for thrice learned ye are if ye have 
read all that has gone before, and nine times learned shall 
ye be, if ye read that comes after,) we have yet a world of 
work before us. Think you the first discoverers of this 
fair quarter of the globe, had nothing to do but go on 
shore and find a country ready laid out and cultivated 
like a garden, wherein they might revel at their ease ? No 
such thing they had forests to cut down, underwood to 
grub up, marshes to drain, and savages to exterminate. 


In like manner, I have sundry doubts to clear away, 
questions to resolve, and paradoxes to explain, before I 
permit you to range at random ; but these difficulties once 
overcome, we shall be enabled to jog on right merrily 
through the rest of our history. Thus my work shall, in 
a manner, echo the nature of the subject, in the same 
manner as the sound of poetry has been found by certain 
shrewd critics, to echo the sense this being an improve- 
ment in history, which I claim the merit of having in- 


Showing the great difficulty Philosophers have had in peopling 
America and horv the Aborigines came to be begotten by acci- 
dent, to the great relief and satisfaction of the Author. 

THE next inquiry at which we arrive in the regular 
course of our history, is to ascertain, if possible, how this 
country was originally peopled ; a point fruitful of incredi- 
ble embarrassments ; for unless we prove that the aborigi- 
nes did absolutely come from somewhere, it will be im- 
mediately asserted in this age of scepticism, that they did 
not come at all ; and if they did not come at all, then was 
this country never populated a conclusion perfectly agree- 
able to the rules of logic, but wholly irreconcileable to 
every feeling of humanity, inasmuch as it must syllogisti- 
cally prove fatal to the innumerable aborigines of this po- 
pulous region. 

To avert so dire a sophism, and to rescue from logical 
annihilation so many millions of fellow-creatures, how 
many wings of geese have been plundered ! what oceans 
of ink have been benevolently drained ! and how many 
capacious heads of learned historians have been addled and 


for ever confounded ! I pause with reverential awe, when 
I contemplate the ponderous tomes in different languages, 
with which they have endeavoured to solve this question, 
so important to the happiness of society, but so invol- 
ved in clouds of impenetrable obscurity. Historian af- 
ter historian has engaged in the endless circle of hypo- 
thetical argument, and after leading us a weary chace 
through octavos, quartos, and folios, has let us out at the 
end of his work, just as wise as we were at the beginning. 
It was doubtless some philosophical wild-goose chase of 
the kind, that made the old poet Macrobius rail in such a 
passion at curiosity, which he anathematizes most heartily, 
as "an irksome, agonizing care, a superstitious industry 
about unprofitable things, an itching humour to see what 
is not to be seen, and to be doing what signifies nothing 
when it is done." But to proceed : 

Of the claims of the children of Noah, to the original 
population of this country, I shall say nothing, as they have 
already been touched upon in my last chapter. The claim- 
ants next in celebrity, are the descendants of Abraham. 
Thus Christoval Colon (vulgarly called Columbus) when 
he first discovered the gold mines of Hispaniola immedi- 
ately concluded, with a shrewdness that would have done 
honour to a philosopher, that he had found the ancient 
Ophir, from whence Solomon procured the gold for em- 
bellishing the temple at Jerusalem : nay, Colon even ima- 
gined that he saw the remains of furnaces of veritable He- 
braic construction, employed in refining the precious ore. 

So golden a conjecture, tinctured with such fascinating 
extravagance, was too tempting not to be immediately 
snapped at by the gudgeons of learning; and accordingly, 
there were divers profound writers, ready to swear to its 
correctness, and to bring in their usual load of authorities, 
and wise surmises, wherewithal to prop it up. Vatablus 
and Robertus Stephens declared nothing could be more 
clear : Arius Montanus, without the least hesitation, asserts 


that Mexico was the true Ophir, and the Jews the early 
settlers of the country ; while Possevin, Becan, and several 
other sagacious writers, lug in a supposed prophecy of the 
fourth book of Esdras, which being inserted in the mighty 
hypothesis, like the key-stone of an arch, gives it in their 
opinion, perpetual durability. 

Scarce, however, have they completed their goodly 
superstructure, than in trudges a phalanx of opposite au- 
thors, with Hans de Laet the great Dutchman at their 
head ; and at one blow, tumbles the whole fabric about 
their ears. Hans, in fact, contradicts outright all the 
Israelitish claims to the first settlements of this country, 
attributing all those equivocal symptoms, and traces of 
Christianity and Judaism, which have been said to be 
found in divers provinces of the New World, to the Devil, 
who has always affected to counterfeit the worship of the 
true Deity. " A remark," says the knowing old Padre 
d'Acosta, " made by all good authors who have spoken 
of the religion of nations newly discovered, and founded 
besides on the authority of the fathers of the church. 9 ' 

Some writers again, among whom it is with great regret 
I am compelled to mention Lopez de Gomara, and Juan 
de Leri, insinuate that the Canaanites, being driven from 
the land of promise by the Jews, were seized with such a 
panic that they fled without looking behind them, until 
stopping to take breath, they found themselves safe in 
America. As they brought neither their national lan- 
guage, manners, nor features, with them, it is supposed 
they left them behind in the hurry of their flight. I can- 
not give my faith to this opinion. 

I pass over the supposition of the learned Grotius, who 
being both an ambassador and a Dutchman to boot, is 
entitled to great respect ; that North America was peopled 
by a strolling company of Norwegians, and that Peru was 
founded by a colony from China Manco, or Mungo Ca- 
pac, the first Incas, being himself a Chinese. Nor shall I 


more than barely mention, that father Kircher ascribes 
the settlement of America to the Egyptians, Budbeck to 
the Scandinavians, Charron to the Gauls, Juffredus Petri 
to a skaiting party from Friesland, Milius to the Celtse, 
Marinocus the Sicilian to the Romans, Le Comte to the 
Phoenicians, Postel to the Moors, Martin d'Angleria to 
the Abyssinians, together with the sage surmise of De 
Laet, that England, Ireland, and the Orcades may con- 
tend for that honour. 

Nor will I bestow any more attention or credit to the 
idea that America is the fairy region of Zipangri, described 
by that dreaming traveller Marco Polo the Venetian ; or 
that it comprises the visionary island of Atlantis, described 
by Plato. Neither will I stop to investigate the heathen- 
ish assertion of Paracelsus, that each hemisphere of the 
globe was originally furnished with an Adam and Eve : or 
the more flattering opinion of Dr. Romayne, supported 
by many nameless authorities, that Adam was of the In- 
dian race : or the startling conjecture of Buffon, Helve tius, 
and Darwin, so highly honourable to mankind, that the 
whole human species is accidentally descended from a re- 
markable family of monkeys ! 

This last conjecture, I must own, came upon me very 
suddenly and very ungraciously. I have often beheld the 
clown in a pantomime, while gazing in stupid wonder at 
the extravagant gambols of a harlequin, all at once elec- 
trified by a sudden stroke of the wooden sword across his 
shoulders. Little did I think at such times, that it would 
ever fall to my lot to be treated with equal discourtesy, 
and that while I was quietly beholding these grave philo- 
sophers emulating the eccentric transformations of the hero 
of pantomime, they would on a sudden turn upon me and 
my readers, and with one hypothetical flourish metamor- 
phose us into beasts ! I determined from that moment 
not to burn my fingers with any more of their theories, 
but content myself with detailing the different methods by 


which they transported the descendants of these ancient 
and respectable monkeys, to this great field of theoretical 

This was done either by migrations by land or trans- 
migrations by water. Thus Padre Joseph d'Acosta enu- 
merates three passages by land, first by the north of Eu- 
rope, secondly by the north of Asia, and thirdly by regions 
southward of the straits of Magellan. The learned Grotius 
marches his Norwegians by a pleasant route across frozen 
rivers and arms of the sea, through Iceland, Greenland, 
Estotiland, and Naremberga. And various writers, among 
whom are Angleria, De Hornn, and Buffon, anxious for 
the accommodation of these travellers, have fastened the 
two continents together by a strong chain of deductions 
by which means they could pass over dryshod. But should 
even this fail, Pinkerton, that industrious old gentleman, 
who compiles books, and manufactures Geographies, has 
constructed a natural bridge of ice, from continent to con- 
tinent, at the distance of four or five miles from Behring's 
straits for which he is entitled to the grateful thanks of 
all the wandering aborigines who ever did or ever will 
pass over it. 

It is an evil much to be lamented, that none of the wor- 
thy writers above quoted, could ever commence his work, 
without immediately declaring hostilities against every 
writer who had treated of the same subject. In this par- 
ticular, authors may be compared to a certain sagacious 
bird, which in building its nest is sure to pull to pieces the 
nests of all the birds in its neighbourhood. This unhappy 
propensity tends grievously to impede the progress of 
sound knowledge. Theories are at best but brittle pro- 
ductions, and when once committed to the stream, they 
should take care that like the notable pots which were fel- 
low-voyagers, they do not crack each other. 

For my part, when I beheld the sages I have quoted 
gravely accounting for unaccountable things, and discourse 



ing thus wisely about matters for ever hidden from their 
eyes, like a blind man describing the glories of light, and 
the beauty and harmony of colours, I fell back in aston- 
ishment at the amazing extent of human ingenuity. 

If, cried I to myself, these learned men can weave whole 
systems out of nothing, what would be their productions 
were they furnished with substantial materials if they can 
argue and dispute thus ingeniously about subjects beyond 
their knowledge, what would be the profundity of their 
observations, did they but know what they were talking 
about ! Should old Rhadamanthus, when he comes to 
decide upon their conduct while on earth, have the least 
idea of the usefulness of their labours, he will undoubtedly 
class them with those notorious wise men of Gotham, who 
milked a bull, twisted a rope of sand, and wove a velvet 
purse from a sow's ear. 

My chief surprise is, that among the many writers I 
have noticed, no one has attempted to prove that this 
country was peopled from the moon or that the first in- 
habitants floated hither on islands of ice, as white bears 
cruize about the northern oceans or that they were con- 
veyed hither by balloons, as modern aeronauts pass from 
Dover to Calais or by witchcraft, as Simon Magus posted 
among the stars or after the manner of the renowned 
Scythian Abaris, who like the New- England witches on 
full-blooded broomsticks, made most unheard-of journeys 
on the back of a golden arrow, given him by the Hyper- 
borean Apollo. 

But there is still one mode left by which this country 
could have been peopled, which I have reserved for the 
last, because I consider it worth all the rest; it is by ac- 
cident ! Speaking of the islands of Solomon, New- Guinea, 
and New-Holland, the profound father Charlevoix ob- 
serves, " in fine, all these countries are peopled, and it is 
possible, some have been so by accident. Now if it could 
have happened in that manner, why might it not have been 


at the same time, and by the same means, with the other parts 
of the globe ?" This ingenious mode of deducing certain 
conclusions from possible premises, is an improvement in 
syllogistic skill, and proves the good father superior even 
to Archimedes, for he can turn the world without any 
thing to rest his lever upon. It is only surpassed by the 
dexterity with which the sturdy old Jesuit, in another 
place, cuts the gordian knot " Nothing," says he, " is 
more easy. The inhabitants of both hemispheres are cer- 
tainly the descendants of the same father. The common 
father of mankind received an express order from Heaven 
to people the world, and accordingly it has been peopled. 
To bring this about, it was necessary to overcome all diffi- 
culties in the way, and they have also been overcome!" Pious 
Logician ! How does he put all the herd of laborious 
theorists to the blush, by explaining in five words, what 
it has cost them volumes to prove they knew nothing 
about ! 

They have long been picking at the lock, and fretting 
at the latch, but the honest father at once unlocks the door 
by bursting it open, and when he has it once a-jar, he is 
at full liberty to pour in as many nations as he pleases. 
This proves to a demonstration that a little piety is better 
than a cart-load of philosophy, and is a practical illustra- 
tion of that scriptural promise By faith ye shall move 

From all the authorities here quoted, and a variety of 
others which I have consulted, but which are omitted 
through fear of fatiguing the unlearned reader I can 
only draw the following conclusions, which, luckily how- 
ever, are sufficient for my purpose First, That this part 
of the world has actually been peopled (Q. E. D.) : to sup- 
port which, we have living proofs in the numerous tribes 
of Indians that inhabit it. Secondly, That it has been 
peopled in five hundred different ways, as proved by a 
cloud of authors, who from the positiveness of their asser- 


tions seem to have been eye-witnesses to the fact Third- 
ly, That the people of this country had a variety of fathers, 
which as it may not be thought much to their credit by 
the common run of readers, the less we say on the subject 
the better. The question therefore, I trust, is for ever at 


In which the Author 'puts a mighty Question to the rout, by the 
assistance of the Man in the Moon which not only delivers 
thousands of People from great embarrassment) but likewise 
concludes this introductory book. 

THE writer of a history may, in some respects, be lik- 
ened unto an adventurous knight, who having undertaken 
a perilous enterprize, by way of establishing his fame, feels 
bound in honour and chivalry, to turn back for no diffi- 
culty nor hardship, and never to shrink or quail, whatever 
enemy he may encounter. Under this impression, I re- 
solutely draw my pen and fall to with might and main, at 
those doughty questions and subtle paradoxes, which, like 
fiery dragons and bloody giants, beset the entrance to my 
history, and would fain repulse me from the very threshold. 
And at this moment a gigantic question has started up, 
which I must needs take by the beard and utterly subdue, 
before I can advance another step in my historic under- 
taking but I trust this will be the last adversary I shall 
have to contend with, and that in the next book I shall be 
enabled to conduct my readers in triumph into the body 
of my work. 

The question which has thus suddenly arisen, is, What 
right had the first discoverers of America to land and take 
possession of a country, without first gaining the consent 

NEW- YORK. 29 

of its inhabitants, or yielding them an adequate compen- 
sation for their territory? a question which has withstood 
many fierce assaults, and has given much distress of mind 
to multitudes of kind-hearted folks. And indeed, until it 
be totally vanquished, and put to rest, the worthy people 
of America can by no means enjoy the soil they inhabit, 
with clear right and title, and quiet, unsullied consciences. 

The first source of right, by which property is acquired 
in a country, is DISCOVERY. For as all mankind have an 
equal right to any thing, which has never before been ap- 
propriated ; so any nation, that discovers an uninhabited 
country, and takes possession thereof, is considered as en- 
joying full property, and absolute, unquestionable empire 
therein. * 

This proposition being admitted, it follows clearly, that 
the Europeans who first visited America, were the real 
discoverers of the same ; nothing being necessary to the 
establishment of this fact, but simply to prove that it was 
totally uninhabited by man. This would at first appear 
to be a point of some difficulty, for it is well known, that 
this quarter of the world abounded with certain animals, 
that walked erect on two feet ; had something of the hu- 
man countenance; uttered certain unintelligible sounds, 
very much like language ; in short, had a marvellous re- 
semblance to human beings. But the zealous and en- 
lightened fathers, who accompanied the discoverers, for 
the purpose of promoting the kingdom of heaven, by es- 
tablishing fat monasteries and bishoprics on earth, soon 
cleared up this point, greatly to the satisfaction of his ho- 
liness the pope, and of all Christian voyagers and dis- 

They plainly proved, and as there were no Indian writ- 
ers arose on the other side, the fact was considered as fully 

Grotius. Puftendorf, b. v. c. 4-. Yattel* b i. e. 18, &c. 


admitted and established, that the two legged race of ani* 
mals before mentioned, were mere cannibals, detestable 
monsters, and many of them giants ; which last description 
of vagrants have, since the times of Gog, Magog, and 
Goliath, been considered as outlaws, and have received no 
quarter in either history, chivalry, or song. Indeed, even 
the philosophic Bacon, declared the Americans to be peo- 
ple proscribed by the laws of nature, inasmuch as they 
had a barbarous custom of sacrificing men, and feeding 
upon man's flesh. 

Nor are these all the proofs of their utter barbarism : 
among many other writers of discernment, Ulloa tells us, 
" their imbecility is so visible, that one can hardly form 
an idea of them different from what one has of the brutes. 
Nothing disturbs the tranquillity of their souls, equally 
insensible to disasters and to prosperity. Though half 
naked, they are as contented as a monarch in his most 
splendid array. Fear makes no impression on them, and 
respect as little." All this is furthermore supported by 
the authority of M. Bouguer. " It is not easy," says he, 
" to describe the degree of their indifference for wealth 
and all its advantages. One does not well know what 
motives to propose to them when one would persuade 
them to any service. It is vain to offer them money, they 
answer that they are not hungry." And Vanegas con- 
firms the whole, assuring us that " ambition they have 
none, and are more desirous of being thought strong than 
valiant* The objects of ambition with us, honour, fame, 
reputation, riches, posts, and distinctions, are unknown 
among them. So that this powerful spring of action, the 
cause of so much seeming good and real evil in the world, 
has no power over them. In a word, these unhappy mor- 
tals may be compared to children, in whom the develope- 
ment of reason is not completed." 

Now all these peculiarities, although in the unenlight- 
ened states of Greece, they would have entitled their pos- 


sessors to immortal honour, as having reduced to practice 
those rigid and abstemious maxims, the mere talking about 
which, acquired certain old Greeks the reputation of sages 
and philosophers; yet were they clearly proved in the 
present instance, to betoken a most abject and brutified 
nature, totally beneath the human character. But the be- 
nevolent fathers, who had undertaken to turn these un- 
happy savages into dumb beasts, by dint of argument, ad- 
vanced still stronger proofs ; for as certain divines of the 
sixteenth century, and among the rest Lullus, affirm, the 
Americans go naked, and have no beards ! " They have 
nothing," says Lullus, " of the reasonable animal, except 
the mask." And even that mask was allowed to avail 
them but little, for it was soon found that they were of a 
hideous copper complexion and being of a copper com- 
plexion, it was all the same as if they were negroes and 
negroes are black, " and black," said the pious fathers, 
devoutly crossing themselves, " is the colour of the devil !" 
Therefore, so far from being able to own property, they 
had no right even to personal freedom, for liberty is too 
radiant a deity, to inhabit such gloomy temples. All which 
circumstances plainly convinced the righteous followers of 
Cortes arid Pizarro, that these miscreants had no title to 
the soil that they infested that they were a perverse, illi- 
terate, dumb, beardless, black-seed mere wild beasts of 
the forests, and like them should either be subdued or ex- 

From the foregoing arguments, therefore, and a vari- 
ety of others equally conclusive, which I forbear to enu- 
merate, it was clearly evident that this fair quarter of the 
globe, when first visited by Europeans, was a howling 
wilderness, inhabited by nothing but wild beasts; and 
that the transatlantic visitors acquired an incontrovertible 
property therein, by the right of discovery. 

This right being fully established, we now come to the 
next, which is the right acquired by cultivation. " The 


cultivation of the soil," we are told, " is an obligation im- 
posed by nature on mankind. The whole world is ap- 
pointed for the nourishment of its inhabitants: but it 
would be incapable of doing it, was it uncultivated. Every 
nation is then obliged by the law of nature to cultivate 
the ground that has fallen to its share. Those people, 
like the ancient Germans and modern Tartars, who, hav- 
ing fertile countries, disdain to cultivate the earth, an,d 
choose to live by rapine, are wanting .to themselves, and 
deserve to be exterminated as savage arid pernicious beasts." * 

Now it is notorious, that the savages knew nothing of 
agriculture, when first discovered by the Europeans, but 
lived a most vagabond, disorderly, unrighteous life, 
rambling from place to place, and prodigally rioting upon 
the spontaneous luxuries of nature, without tasking her 
generosity to yield them any thing more; whereas it has 
been most unquestionably shown, that heaven intended 
the earth should be ploughed and sown, and manured, 
and laid out into cities, and towns, and farms, and coun- 
try seats, and pleasure grounds, and public gardens, all 
which the Indians knew nothing about therefore they 
did not improve the talents providence had bestowed on 
them therefore they were careless stewards therefore 
they had no right to the soil therefore they deserved to 
be exterminated. 

It is true the savages might plead that they drew all 
the benefits from the land which their simple wants re- 
quired they found plenty of game to hunt, which, toge- 
ther with the roots and uncultivated fruits of the earth, 
furnished a sufficient variety for their frugal repasts; 
and that as heaven merely designed the earth to form the 
abode, and satisfy the wants of man ; so long as those pur- 
poses were answered, the will of heaven was accomplished. 

Vattel, !>. i, c. 17. See likewise Grotius, Puffendorf, &c. 


But this otily proves how undeserving they were of the 
blessings around them they were so much the more sa- 
vages for not having more wants; for knowledge is in 
some degree an increase of desires, and it is this superio 
rity^ both in the riiimber and magnitude of his desires, 
that distinguishes the man from the beast, Therefore the 
Indians, in not having more wants, were very unreason- 
able animals; and it was but just that they should make 
way for the Europeans, who had a thousand wanfcs fe) 
their one, and therefore would turn the earth to more 
account, and by cultivating it, more truly fulfil the will of 
heaven. Besides Grotius and Lauterbach, and Puffen- 
4orf, and Titius, and many wise men beside, who have 
considered the matter properly, have determined, that the 
property of a country cannot be acquired by hunting, cut- 
ting wood, or drawing water in it nothing but precise 
demarcation of limits, and the intention of cultivation, can 
establish the possession. Now as the savages (probably 
from never having read the authors above quoted) had 
never complied with any of these necessary forms, it plainly 
followed that they had no right to the soil, but that it was 
completely at the disposal of the first comers, who had 
more knowledge, more wants, and more elegant, that is 
to say, artificial desires, than themselves. 

In entering upon a newly discovered, uncultivated coun- 
try, therefore, the new comers were but taking possession 
of what, according to the aforesaid doctrine, was their own 
property therefore in opposing them, the savages were 
invading their just rights, infringing the immutable laws 
of nature, and counteracting the will of heaven therefore 
they were guilty of impiety, burglary, and trespass on the 
case therefore they were hardened offenders against God 
and man therefore they ought to be exterminated. 

But a more irresistible right than either that I have men-r 
tioned, and one which will be the most readily admitted 
by my reader, provided he be blessed >yith bowels of cha- 



rity and philanthropy, is the right acquired by civilization. 
All the world knows the lamentable state in which these 
poor savages were found. Not only deficient in the com- 
forts of life, but what is still worse, most piteously and 
unfortunately blind to the miseries of their situation. But 
no sooner did the benevolent inhabitants of Europe behold 
their sad condition than they immediately went to work 
to ameliorate and improve it. They introduced among 
them rum, gin, brandy, and the other comforts of life 
and it is astonishing to read how soon the poor savages 
learnt to estimate these blessings they likewise made 
known to them a thousand remedies, by which the most 
inveterate diseases are alleviated and healed, and that 
they might comprehend the benefits and enjoy the com- 
forts of these medicines, they previously introduced among 
them the diseases which they were calculated to cure. By 
these and a variety of other methods was the condition of 
these poor savages wonderfully improved ; they acquired 
a thousand wants of which they had before been ignorant, 
and as he has most sources of happiness, who has most 
wants to be gratified, they were doubtlessly rendered a 
much happier race of beings. 

But the most important branch of civilization, and 
which has most strenuously been extolled, by the zealous 
and pious fathers of the Romish Church, is the introduc- 
tion of the Christian faith. Jt was truly a sight that might 
well inspire horror, to behold these savages, stumbling 
among the dark mountains of paganism, and guilty of the 
most horrible ignorance of religion. It is true, they nei- 
ther stole nor defrauded ; they were sober, frugal, conti- 
nent, and faithful to their word; but though they acted 
right habitually, it was .all in vain, unless they acted so 
from precept. The new comers therefore used every me- 
thod, to induce them to embrace and practise the true re- 
ligion except indeed that of setting them the example. 
But notwithstanding all these complicated labours for 

NEW. YORK. 35 

their good, such was the unparalleled obstinacy of these 
stubborn wretches, that they ungratefully refused to ac- 
knowledge the strangers as their benefactors, and persis- 
ted in disbelieving the doctrines they endeavoured to in- 
culcate ; most insolently alleging, that from their conduct, 
the advocates of Christianity did not seem to believe in it 
themselves. Was not this too much for human patience? 
would not one suppose, that the benign visitants from 
Europe, provoked at their incredulity, and discouraged 
by their stiff-necked obstinacy, would for ever have aban- 
doned their shores, and consigned them to their original 
ignorance and misery? But no so zealous were they to 
effect the temporal comfort and eternal salvation of these 
pagan infidels, that they even proceeded from the milder 
means of persuasion to the more painful and troublesome 
one of persecution Let loose among them whole troops 
of fiery monks and furious bloodhounds purified them 
by fire and sword, by stake and fagot ; in consequence of 
which indefatigable measures, the cause of Christian love 
and charity was so rapidly advanced, that in a very few 
years, not one-fifth of the number of unbelievers existed 
in South America, that were found there at the time of its 

What stronger right need the European settlers advance 
to the country than this ? Have not whole nations of un- 
informed savages been made acquainted with a thousand 
imperious wants and indispensable comforts, of which they 
were before wholly ignorant Have they not been literally 
hunted and smoked out of the dens and lurking places of 
ignorance and infidelity, and absolutely scourged into the 
right path ?- Have not the temporal things, the vain bau- 
bles and filthy lucre of this world, which were too apt to 
engage their worldly and selfish thoughts, been benevolently 
taken from them ; and have they not instead thereof, been 
taught to set their affections on things above ? And final- 
ly, to use the words of a reverend Spanish father, in a let- 


ter to his superior iri Spain " Can any one have the? 
presumption to say, that these savage Pagans, have yield- 
ed any thing more than an inconsiderable recompense to 
their benefactors ; in surrendering to them a little pitiful 
tract of this dirty sublunary planet, in exchange for a glq* 
rioiis inheritance iri the kingdom of Heaven !" 

Here then are three complete and undeniable sources 
of right established, any one of which was more than am- 
ple ito establish a property in the newly discovered regions 
of America. Now, so it has happened in certain parts of 
this delightful quarter of the globe, that the right of dis- 
covery has been so strenuously asserted, the influence of 
cultivation so industriously extended, and the progress of 
salvation and civilization so zealously prosecuted; that$ 
what with their attendant wars, persecutions, oppressions, 
diseases, and other partial evils that often hang on the 
skirts of great benefits, the savage aborigines have, some 
how or another, been utterly annihilated ; and this all at 
once brings me to a fourth right, which is worth all the 
others put together ; for the original claimants to the soil 
being all dead and buried, and no one remaining to inherit 
or dispute the soil, the Spaniards, as the next immediate 
occupants, entered upon the possession as clearly as the 
hangman succeeds to the clothes of the malefactor and 
as they have Blackstdhe, * and all the learned expounders 
of the law on their side, they may set all actions of eject- 
ment at defiance and this last right may be entitled, the 
RIGHT BY EXTERMINATION, or in other words, the RIGHT 


But lest any scruples of conscience should remain on 
this head, and to settle the question of right for ever, his 
holiness Pope Alexander VI. issued a mighty bull, by 
which he generously granted the newly discovered quarter 

1. Com. b. ii. c. 1. 


of the globe to the Spaniards and Portuguese ; who, thus 
having law and gospel on their side, and being inflained 
with great spiritual zeal, showed the pagan savages neither 
favour nor affection, but prosecuted the work of discovery, 
colonization, civilization, and extermination, with ten times 
more fury than -ever. 

Thus were the European worthies who first discovered 
America clearly entitled to the soil ; and not only entitled 
to the soil, but likewise to the eternal thanks of these in- 
fidel savages, for having come so far, endured so many 
perils by sea and land, and taken such unwearied pains, 
for no other purpose but to improve their forlorn, uncivi- 
lized, and heathenish condition for having made them 
acquainted with the comforts of life for having introduced 
among them the light of religion ; and, finally, for having 
hurried them out of the world, to enjoy its reward ! 

But as argument is never so well understood by us sel- 
fish mortals, as when it comes home to ourselves, and as 
I am particularly anxious that this question should be put 
to rest for ever, I will suppose a parallel case, by way of 
arousing the candid attention of my readers. 

Let us suppose then, that the inhabitants of the moon, 
by astonishing advancement in science, and by a profound 
insight itito that ineffable lunar philosophy, the mere flick- 
erings of which have of late years dazzled tjie feeble optics, 
and addled the shallow brains of the good people of our 
globe let us suppose, I say, that the inhabitants of the 
moon, by these means, had arrived at such a command of 
their energies, such an enviable state of perfectibility, as to 
control the elements, and navigate the boundless regions 
of space. Let us suppose a roving crew of these soaring 
philosophers, in the course of an aerial voyage of discovery 
among the stars, should chance to alight upon this outlan- 
dish planet. 

And here I beg my readers will not have the unchari- 
tableness to smile, as is too frequently the fault of volatile 


readers, when perusing the grave speculations of philoso- 
phers. I am far from indulging in any sportive vein at 
present; nor is the supposition I have been making, so 
wild as many may deem it. It has long been a very se- 
rious and anxious question with me, and many a time and 
oft, in the course of my overwhelming cares and contriv- 
ances for the welfare and protection of this my native 
planet, have I lain awake whole nights, debating in my 
riiind, whether it were most probable we should first dis- 
cover and civilize the moon, or the moon discover and 
civilize our globe. Neither would the prodigy of sailing 
in the air and cruising among the stars be a whit more as- 
tonishing and incomprehensible to us, than was the Eu- 
ropean mystery of navigating floating castles through the 
world of waters to the simple savages. We have already 
discovered the art of coasting along the aerial shores of 
our planet, by means of balloons, as the savages had, of 
venturing along their sea coasts in canoes ; and the dis- 
parity between the former, and the aerial vehicles of the 
philosophers from the moon, might not be greater than 
that between the bark canoes of the savages and the 
mighty ships of their discoverers. I might here pursue 
an endless chain of similar speculations ; but as they would 
be unimportant to my subject, I abandon them to my 
reader, particularly if he be a philosopher, as matters 
well worthy his attentive consideration. 

To return then to my supposition let us suppose that 
the aerial visitants I have mentioned, possessed of vastly 
superior knowledge to ourselves ; that is to say, possessed 
of superior knowledge in the art of extermination riding 
on hippogriffs defended with impenetrable armour 
armed with concentrated sunbeams, and provided with 
vast engines to hurl enormous moonstones : in short, let 
us suppose them, if our vanity will permit the supposi- 
tion, as superior to us in knowledge, and consequently in 
power, as the Europeans were to the Indians when they 


first discovered them. All this is very possible, it is only 
our self-sufficiency that makes us think otherwise ; and I 
warrant the poor savages, before they had any knowledge 
of the white men, armed in all the terrors of glittering 
steel and tremendous gunpowder, were as perfectly con- 
vinced that they themselves were the wisest, the most vir- 
tuous, powerful and perfect of created beings, as are, at 
this present moment, the lordly inhabitants of old Eng- 
land, the volatile populace of France, or even the self-sa- 
tisfied citizens of this most enlightened republic. 

Let us suppose, moreover, that the aerial voyagers, 
finding this planet to be nothing but a howling wilderness, 
inhabited by us poor savages and wild beasts, shall take 
formal possession of it, in the name of his most gracious 
and philosophic excellency, the man in the moon. Find- 
ing, however, that their numbers are incompetent to hold 
it in complete subjection, on account of the ferocious bar- 
barity of its inhabitants ; they shall take our worthy Pre- 
sident, the King of England, the Emperor of Hayti, the 
mighty Bonaparte, and the great King of Bantam, and 
returning to their native planet, shall carry them to court, 
as were the Indian chiefs led about as spectacles in the 
courts of Europe. 

Then making such obeisance as the etiquette of the 
court requires, they shall address the puissant man in the 
moon, in, as near as I can conjecture, the following terms : 

" Most serene and mighty Potentate, whose dominions 
extend as far as eye can reach, who rideth on the Great 
Bear, useth the sun as a looking-glass, and maintaineth 
unrivalled control over tides, madmen and see-crabs- 
We, thy liege subjects, have just returned from a voy- 
age of discovery, in the course of which we have landed 
and taken possession of that obscure little dirty planet, 
which thou beholdest rolling at a distance. The five un- 
couth monsters, which we have brought into this august 
presence, were once very important chiefs among their 


fellow-savages, who are a race of beings totally destitute 
of the common attributes of humanity ; and differing in 
every thing from the inhabitants of the moon, inasmuch 
as they carry their heads upon their shoulders, instead of 
under their arms have two eyes instead of one are ut-< 
terly destitute of tails, and of a variety of unseemly com* 
plexions, particularly of a horrible whiteness, instead of 

" We have moreover found these miserable savages 
sunk into a state of the utmost ignorance and depravity, 
every man shamelessly living with his own wife and rear- 
ing his own children, instead of indulging in that com- 
munity of wives enjoined by the law of nature, as expound^ 
ed by the philosophers of the moon. In a word, they 
have scarcely a gleam of true philosophy among them, but 
are, in fact, utter heretics, ignoramuses and barbarians. 
Taking compassion, therefore, on the sad condition of , 
these sublunary wretches, we have endeavoured, while 
we remained on their planet, to introduce among them 
the light of reason and the comforts of the moon. We 
have treated them to mouthfuls of moonshine, and draughts 
of nitrous oxyde, which they swallowed with incredible 
voracity, particularly the females ; and we have likewise 
endeavoured to instil into them the precepts of lunar phi* 
losophy. We have insisted upon their renouncing the 
contemptible shackles of religion and common sense, and 
adoring the profound, omnipotent and all perfect energy, 
and the extatic, immutable, immoveable perfection. But 
such was the unparalleled obstinacy of these wretched sa-r 
vages, that they persisted in cleaving to their wives and 
adhering to their religion, and absolutely set at nought 
the sublime doctrines of the moon nay, among other abo-? 
minable heresies, they even went so far as blasphemous-? 
ly to declare, that this ineffable planet was made of no-^ 
thing more nor less than green cheese !" 

At these words, the great man in the mo&n (being a 


very profound philosopher) diall fall into a terrible pas- 
sion, and possessing equal authority over things that do 
not belong to him, as did whilome his holiness the Pope, 
shall forthwith issue a formidable bull specifying, " That 
whereas a certain crew or lunatics have lately discovered 
and taken possession of a newly discovered planet, called 
the earth; and that whereas it is inhabited by none but a 
race of two-legged animals that carry their heads- on their 
shoulders instead of under their arms cannot talk the lu- 
natic language have two eyes instead of one. are desti-r 
tute of tails, and of a horrible whiteness, instead of pea- 
green ; therefore, and for a variety of other excellent rea-r 
sons, they are considered incapable of possessing any pro-* 
perty in the planet they infest, and the right and title to 
it are confirmed to its original discoverers.- And further- 
more, the colonists who are now about to depart to the 
aforesaid planet, are authorized and commanded to. use 
every means to convert these infidel savages from the dark- 
ness of Christianity, and make them thorough and abso- 
lute lunatics-/' 

In consequence of this benevolent bull, our philosophic 
benefactors go to work with hearty zeal. They seize up- 
on our fertile territories, scourge us from our rightful pos- 
sessions, relieve us from our wives ; and when we are;un-? 
reasonable enough to complain, they will turn upon us 
and say, miserable barbarians ! ungrateful wretches ! 
have we not come thousands of miles to improve your 
worthless planet ? have we not fed you with moon shine ? 
have we not intoxicated you with nitrous oxyde ? does 
not our moon give you light every night ? and have you 
the baseness to murmur, when we claim a pitiful return 
for all these benefits ? But finding that we not only per- 
sist in absolute contempt of their reasoning, and disbelief 
in their philosophy, but even go so far as daringly to de- 
fend our property, their patience shall be exhausted, and 
they shall resort to their superior powers of argument 



hunt us with hippogriffs, timjsfix us with concentrated sun- 
beams, demolish our cities with moon-stones ; until hav- 
ing by main force, converted us to the true faith, they 
shall graciously permit us to exist in the torrid deserts of 
Arabia, or the frozen regions of Lapland, there to enjoy 
the blessings of civilization and the charms of lunar philo- 
sophy in much the same manner as the reformed and en- 
lightened savages of this country, are kindly suffered to 
inhabit the inhospitable forests of the north, or the impe- 
netrable wildernesses of South America. 

Thus, I hope I have clearly proved, and strikingly il- 
lustrated, the right of the early colonists to the possession 
of this country; and thus is this gigantic question com- 
pletely vanquished : so having manfully surmounted all 
obstacles, and subdued all opposition, what remains but 
that I should forthwith conduct my readers into the city 
which we have been so long in a manner besieging ? But 
hold before I proceed another step, I must pause to take 
breath and recover from the excessive fatigue I have un- 
dergone, in preparing to begin this most accurate of his- 
tories. And in this I do but imitate the example of a re- 
nowned Dutch tumbler of antiquity, who took a start of 
three miles for the purpose of jumping over a hill; but 
having run himself out of breath by the time he reached 
the foot, sat himself quietly down for a few moments to 
blow, and then walked over it at his leisure. 




In which are contained divers reasons why a man should not 
write in a hurry. Also of Master Hendrick Hudson, his 
discovery of a strange country and how he was magnificently 
rewarded by the munificence of their High Mightinesses. 

J\XY great grandfather, by the mother's side, Hermanns 
Van Clattercop, when employed to build the large stone 
church at Rotterdam, which stands about three hundred 
yards to your left, after you turn off from the Boomkeys ; 
and which is so conveniently constructed, that all the 
zealous Christians of Rotterdam prefer sleeping through a 
sermon there, to any other church in the city. My great 
grandfather, I say, when employed to build that famous 
church, did in the first place send to Delft for a box of 
long pipes; then having purchased a new spitting-box and 
a hundred-weight of the best Virginia, he sat himself down 
and did nothing for the space of three months, but smoke 
most laboriously. Then did he spend full three months 
more on trudging on foot, and voyaging in the trekschuit, 
from Rotterdam to Amsterdam to Delft to Haerlem 
to Leyden to the Hague, knocking his head and break- 
ing his pipe against every church in his road. Then did 
he advance gradually nearer and nearer to Rotterdam, 
until he came in full sight of the identical spot, whereon 


the church was to be built. Then did he spend three 
months longer in walking round it and round it ; contem- 
plating it, first from one point of view, and then from a- 
nother : now would he be paddled by it on the canal 
iiow would he peep at it through a telescope, from the 
other side of the Meuse; and now would he take a bird's 
eye glance at it, from the top of one of those gigantic- 
windmills, which protect the gates of the city. The 
good folks of the place were on the tiptoe of expectation 
and impatience notwithstanding all the turmoil of my 
great grandfather, not a symptom of the church was yet to 
be seen; they even began to fear it would never be brought 
into the world, but that its great projector would lie down 
and die in labour of the mighty plan he had conceived. 
At length, having occupied twelve good months in puf- 
fing and paddling, and talking and walking having tra- 
velled over all Holland, and even taken a peep into France 
and Germany having smoked five hundred and ninety- 
nine pipes, and three hundred-weight of the best Virgi- 
nia tobacco my great grandfather gathered together all 
that knowing and industrious class of citizens, who prefer 
attending to any body's business sooner than their own, 
and having pulled off his coat and five pair of breeches, 
he advanced sturdily up, and laid the corner-stone of the 
church, in the presence of the whole multitude -just at 
the commencement of the thirteenth month. 

In a similar manner, and with the example of my wor- 
thy ancestor full before my eyes, have I proceeded in 
writing this most authentic history. The honest Rotter- 
dammers no doubt thought my great grandfather was do- 
ing nothing at all to the purpose, while he was making 
such a world of prefatory bustle, about the building of 
his church ; and many of the ingenious inhabitants of this 
fair city, will unquestionably suppose that all the preli- 
minary chapters, with the discovery, population, and fi- 
nal settlement of America, were totally irrelevant and su- 

NEW- YORK. 45 

perfluous; and that the main business, the history of 
New- York, is not a jot more advanced than if I had never 
taken up my pen. Never were wise people more mistak- 
en in their conjectures. In consequence of going to work 
slowly and deliberately, the church came out of my grand- 
father's hands, one of the most sumptuous, goodly, and 
glorious edifices in the known world excepting that, 
like our magnificent capitol at Washington, it was begun 
on so grand a scale, that the good folks could not afford 
to finish more than the wing of it. So likewise, I trust, 
if ever I am enabled to finish this work on the plan I have 
commenced, (of which, in simple truth, I sometimes have 
my doubts,) it will be found, that I have pursued the lat- 
est rules of my art, as exemplified in the writings of all 
the great American Historians, and wrought a very large 
liistory out of a small subject which, now-a-days, is con- 
sidered one of the great triumphs of historic skill. To 
proceed then with the thread of my story. 

In the ever memorable year of our Lord, 1 609, on a 
Saturday morning, the five and twentieth day of March, 
old style, did that " worthy and irrecoverable discoverer, 
(as he has justly been called,) Master Henry Hudson," 
set sail from Holland in a stout vessel called the Half 
Moon, being employed by the Dutch East India Compa- 
ny, to seek a North-west passage to China. 

Henry (or, as the Dutch historians call him, Hendrick) 
Hudson, was a seafaring man of renown, who had learned 
to smoke tobacco under Sir Walter Raleigh, and is said 
to have been the first to introduce it into Holland, which 
gained him much popularity in that country, and caused 
him to find great favour in the eyes of their High Mighti- 
nesses, the lords states-general, and also of the honoura- 
ble West India Company. He was a short, square, braw- 
ny old gentleman, with a double chin, a mastiff mouth, 
and a broad copper nose, which was supposed in those 


days, to have acquired its fiery hue from the constant 
neighbourhood of his tobacco pipe. 

He wore a true Andrea Ferrara, tucked in a leathern 
belt, and a commodore's cocked hat one side of his head, 
He was remarkable for always jerking up his breeches 
when he gave out his orders, and his voice sounded not 
unlike the brattling of a tin trumpet, owing to the number 
of hard north-westers which he had swallowed in the course 
of his sea-faring. 

Such was Hendrick Hudson, of whom we have heard 
so much, and know so little ; and I have been thus parti- 
cular in his description, for the benefit of modern painters 
and statuaries, that they may represent him as he was ; 
and not, according to their common custom, with modern 
heroes, make him look like Caesar, or Marcus Aurelius, 
or the Apollo of Belvidere. 

As chief mate and favourite companion, the commodore 
chose Master Robert Juet, of Limehouse, in England. 
By some his name has been spelled Chewit, and ascribed 
to the circumstance of his having been the first man that 
ever chewed tobacco ; but this I believe to be a mere flip- 
pancy ; more especially as certain of his progeny are living 
at this day, who write their names Juet. He was an old 
comrade and early school-mate of the great Hudson, with 
whom he had often played truant and sailed chip boats in 
a neighbouring pond, when they were little boys from 
whence it is said the commodore first derived his bias to- 
wards a sea-faring life. Certain it is, that the old people 
about Limehouse declared Robert Juet to be an unlucky 
urchin, prone to mischief, that would one day or other 
come to the gallows. 

He grew up as boys of that kind often grow up, a ram- 
bling, heedless varlet, tossed about in all quarters of the 
world meeting with more perils and wonders than did 
Sindbad the sailor, without growing a whit more wise, pru- 


dent or ill-natured. Under every misfortune, he comfort- 
ed himself with a quid of tobacco, and the truly philoso- 
phic maxim, that " it will be all the same thing a hundred 
years hence." He was skilled in the art of carving anchors 
and true lovers' knots on the bulk-heads and quarter-rail- 
ings, and was considered a great wit on board ship, in con- 
sequence of his playing pranks on every body around, and 
now and then even making a wry face at old Hendrick, 
when his back was turned. 

To this universal genius are we indebted for many par- 
ticulars concerning this voyage, of which he wrote a his- 
tory, at the request of the commodore, who had an un- 
conquerable aversion to writing himself, from having re- 
ceived so many floggings about it when at school. To 
supply the deficiences of Master Juet's journal, which is 
written with true log-book brevity, I have availed myself 
of divers family traditions, handed down from my great 
great grandfather, who accompanied the expedition in 
the capacity of cabin boy. 

From all that I can learn, few incidents worthy of re- 
mark happened in the voyage; and it mortifies me exceed- 
ingly, that I have to admit so noted an expedition into my 
work, without making any more of it Oh ! that I had 
the advantages of that most authentic writer of yore, Apol- 
lonius Rhodius, who, in his account of the famous Argo- 
nautic expedition, has the whole mythology at his dispo- 
sal, and elevates Jason and his compeers into heroes and 
demigods; although all the world knows them to have 
been a mere gang of sheep-stealers, on a marauding expe- 
dition ; or that I had the privileges of Dan Homer and 
Dan Virgil, to enliven my narration with giants and Ly- 
strigonians ; to entertain our honest mariners with an oc- 
casional concert of syrens and mermaids, and now and 
then with the raree-show of honest old Neptune and his 
fleet of frolicksome cruisers. But, alas ! the good old 
times have long gone by, when your waggish deities would 


descend upon this terraqueous globe, in their own proper 
persons, and play their pranks upon its wondering inhabi- 

Suffice it then to say, the voyage was prosperous and 
tranquil the crew being a patient people, much given to 
slumber and vacuity, and but little troubled with the dis- 
ease of thinking a malady of the mind, which is the 
sure breeder of discontent. Hudson had laid in abun- 
dance of gin and sour crout, and every man was allowed 
to sleep quietly at his post unless the wind blew. True 
it is, some slight dissatisfaction was shown on two or three 
occasions, at certain unreasonable conduct of Commodore 
Hudson. Thus, for instance, he forbore to shorten sail 
when the wind was light, and the weather serene, which 
was considered among the most experienced Dutch sea- 
men, as certain weather-breeders, or prognostics, that the 
weather would change for the worse. He acted more- 
over, in direct contradiction to that ancient and sage rule 
of the Dutch navigators, who always took in sail at night; 
put the helm a-port, and turned in ; by which precaution 
they had a good night's rest, were sure of knowing where 
they were the next morning, and stood but little chance 
of running down a continent in the dark. He likewise 
prohibited the seamen from wearing more than five jackets, 
and six pair of breeches, under pretence of rendering them 
more alert ; and no man was permitted to go aloft, and 
hand in sails, with a pipe in his mouth, as is the invaria- 
ble Dutch custom at the present day. All these griev- 
ances, though they might ruffle for a moment the consti- 
tutional tranquillity of the honest Dutch tars, made but 
transient impression; they eat hugely, drank profusely, 
and slept immeasurably; and being under the especial 
guidance of providence, the ship was safely conducted to 
the coast of America ; where, after sundry unimportant 
touchings and standings off and on, she at length, on the 
fourth day of September, entered that majestic bay, which 


at this day expands its ample bosom before the city of 
New- York, and which had never before been visited by 
any European. * 

It has been traditionary in our family, that when the 
great navigator was first blessed with a view of this en- 
chanting island, he was observed for the first and only 
time in his life, to exhibit strong symptoms of astonish- 
ment and admiration. He is said to have turned to Mas- 
ter Juet, and uttered these remarkable words, while he 
pointed towards this paradise of the new world See ! 
there !" and thereupon, as was always his way when he 
was uncommonly pleased, he did puff out such clouds of 

* True it is and I am not ignorant of the fact, that in a certain a- 
pocryphal book of voyages, compiled by one Hacluy t, is to be found 
a letter written to Francis the First, by one Giovanne, or John Ve- 
razzani, on which some writers are inclined to found a belief, that this 
delightful bay had been visited nearly a century previous to the voy- 
age of the enterprising Hudson. Now this (albeit it has met with the 
countenance of certain very judicious and learned men) I hold in utter 
disbelief, and that for various good and substantial reasons First, Be- 
cause on strict examination it will be found, that the description giv- 
en by this Verazzani, applies about as well to the bay of New -York, 
as it does to my night- cap Secondly, Because that this John Veraz- 
zani, for whom I already begin to feel a most bitter enmity, is a na- 
tive of Florence; and every body knows the crafty wile of these losel 
Florentines, by which they filched away the laurels from the brows of 
the immortal Colon (vulgarly called Columbus), and bestowed them 
on their officious townsman, Amerigo Vespucci and I make no doubt 
they are equally ready to rob the illustrious Hudson of the credit of 
discovering this beauteous Isknd, adorned by the city of New- York, 
and placing it beside their usurped discovery of South America. And 
thirdly, I award my decision in favour of the pretensions of Hendrick 
Hudson, inasmuch as his expedition sailed from Holland, being truly 
and absolutely a Dutch enterprise ; and though all the proofs in the 
world were introduced on the other side, I would set them at nought, 
as undeserving my attention. If these three reasons be not sufficient 
to satisfy every burgher of this ancient city, all I can say is, they are 
degenerate descendants from their venerable Dutch ancestors, and to- 
tally unworthy the trouble of convincing. Thus, therefore, the title 
of Hendrick Hudson to his renowned discovery is fully vindicated. 



dense tobacco smoke, that in one minute the vessel was 
out of sight of land, and Master Juet was fain to wait un- 
til the winds dispersed this impenetrable fog. 

It was indeed as my great great grandfather used to 
say though in truth I never heard him, for he died, as 
might be expected, before I was born " It was indeed 
a spot on which the eye might have revelled for ever, in 
ever new and never ending beauties." The island of 
Manna-hata spread wide before them, like some sweet 
vision of fancy, or some fair creation of industrious magic. 
Its hills of smiling green swelled gently one above another, 
crowned with lofty trees of luxuriant growth; some point- 
ing their tapering foliage towards the clouds, which were 
gloriously transparent; and others loaded with a verdant 
burthen of clambering vines, bowing their branches to the 
earth, that was covered with flowers. On the gentle de- 
clivities of the hills were scattered in gay profusion, the 
dog-wood, the sumach and the wild brier, whose scarlet 
berries and white blossoms glowed brightly among the 
deep green of the surrounding foliage; and here and there 
a curling column of smoke rising from the little glens that 
opened along the shore, seemed to promise the weary voy- 
agers a welcome at the hands of their fellow-creatures. 
As they stood gazing with entranced attention on the scene 
before them, a red man crowned with feathers, issued from 
one of these glens, and after contemplating in silent won- 
der the gallant ship, as she sat like a stately swan swim- 
ming on a silver lake, sounded the war-whoop, and bound- 
ed into the woods like a wild deer, to the utter astonish- 
ment of the phlegmatic Dutchmen, who had never heard 
such a noise, or witnessed such a caper in their whole lives. 

Of the transactions of our adventurers with the savages, 
and how the latter smoked copper pipes and ate dried cur- 
rants ; how they brought great store of tobacco and oys- 
ters ; how they shot one of the ship's crew, and how he 
was buried, I shall say nothing; being that I consider 

NEW. YORK. 51 

them unimportant to my history. After tarrying a few 
days in -the bay, in order to refresh themselves after their 
sea-faring, our voyagers weighed anchor, to explore a 
mighty river which emptied into the bay. This river, it 
is said, was known among the savages by the name of the 
Shatemuck; though we are assured in an excellent little 
history published in 1674, by John Josselyn, Gent., that 
it was called the Mohegan, * and Master Richard Bloome, 
who wrote some time afterwards, asserts the same so that 
I very much incline in favour of the opinion of these two 
honest gentlemen. Be this as it may, up this river did the 
adventurous Herxdrick proceed, little doubting but it would 
turn out to be the much looked-for passage to China ! 

The journal goes on to make mention of divers inter- 
views between the crew and the natives in the voyage up 
the river ; but as they would be impertinent to my history, 
I shall pass over them in silence, except the following dry 
joke, played off' by the old commodore and his school-fel- 
low Robert Juet ; which does such vast credit to their ex- 
perimental philosophy, that I cannot refrain from insert- 
ing it. " Our master and his mate determined to try some 
of the chiefe men of the countrey, whether they had any 
treacherie in them. So they tooke them downe into the 
cabin, and gave them so much wine and acqua vitae, that 
they were all merrie ; and one of them had his wife with 
him, which sate so modestly, as any of our countrey-wo- 
men would do in a strange place. In the end, one of 
them was drunke, which had been aboarde of our ship all 
the time we had beene there, and that was strange to them, 
for they could not tell how to take it." -f- 

Having satisfied himself by this ingenious experiment, 

* This river is likewise laid down in Ogilvy's map, as Manhattan, 
Noordt, Montaigne, and Mauritius river. 
-f Juet's Journ. Furch. Fil. 


that the natives wfere an honest, social race of jolly roys* 
ters, who had no objection to a drinking bout, and were 
very merry in their cups, the old commodore chuckled 
hugely to himself, and thrusting a double quid of tobacco 
in his cheek, directed Master Juet to have it carefully re- 
corded, for the satisfaction of all the natural philosophers 
of the university of Leyden which done, he proceeded 
on his voyage, with great self-complacency. After sail- 
ing, however, above an hundred miles up the river, he 
found the watery world around him began to grow more 
shallow and confined, the current more rapid, and perfect- 
ly fresh phenomena not uncommon in the ascent of ri- 
vers, but which puzzled the honest Dutchmen prodigious- 
ly. A consultation was therefore called, and having de- 
liberated full six hours, they were brought to a determina- 
tion, by the ship's running aground ; whereupon they 
unanimously concluded, that there was but little chance of 
getting to China in that direction. A boat, however, was 
despatched to explore higher up the river, which oft its re- 
turn, confirmed the opinion: upon this the ship was warp- 
ed off and put about with great difficulty, being like most of 
her sex, exceeding hard to govern ; and the adventurous 
Hudson, according to the account of my great great 
grandfather, returned down the river with a prodigious 
flea in his ear ! 

Being satisfied that there was little likelihood of getting 
to China, unless like the blind man, he returned from 
whence he sat out, and took a fresh start, he forthwith re- 
crossed the sea to Holland, where he was received with 
great welcome by the honourable East-India Company, 
who were very much rejoiced to see him come back safe 
with their ship ; and at a large and respectable meeting 
of the first merchants and burgomasters of Amsterdam, 
it was unanimously determined, that as a munificent re- 
ward for the eminent services he had performed, and the 
important discovery he had made, the great river Mohe- 


gan should be called after his name ! and it continues to 
be called Hudson river unto this very day. 


Containing an account of a mighty Ark rvhich floated under the 
protection of St. Nicholas, from Holland to Gibbet Island-* 
the descent of the strange Animals therefrom a great victory, 
and a description of the ancient village of Communipaw. 

THE delectable accounts given by the great Hudson 
and Master Juet, of the country they had discovered, ex- 
cited not a little talk and speculation among the good peo- 
ple of Holland. Letters patent were granted by govern- 
ment to an association of merchants, called the West-In- 
dia Company, for the exclusive trade on Hudson river, 
on which they erected a trading house called Fort Aura- 
nia, or Orange, from whence did spring the great city of 
Albany. But I forbear to dwell on the various commer- 
cial and colonizing enterprizes which took place ; among 
which was that of Mynheer Adrian Block, who discovered 
and gave a name to Block Island, since famous for its 
cheese and shall barely confine myself to that, which 
gave birth to this renowned city. 

It was some three or four years after the return of the 
immortal Hendrick, that a crew of honest, low Dutch co- 
lonists set sail from the city of Amsterdam, for the shores 
of America. It is an irreparable loss to history, and a 
great proof of the darkness of the age, and the lamenta- 
ble neglect of the noble art of book-making, since so in- 
dustriously cultivated by knowing sea-captains, and learned 
supercargoes, that an expedition so interesting and im- 
portant in its results, should be passed over in utter si- 
lence. To my great great grandfather am I again indebt- 


ed for the few facts, I am enabled to give concerning it ; 
he having once more embarked for this country, with a 
full determination, as he said, of ending his days here ; 
and of begetting a race of Knickerbockers, that should 
rise to be great men in the land. 

The ship in which these illustrious adventurers set sail 
was called the Goede Vrouw, or Good Woman, in compli- 
ment to the wife of the president of the West-India Com- 
pany, who was allowed by every body (except her hus- 
band) to be a sweet tempered lady, when not in liquor. 
It was in truth a most gallant vessel, of the most approved 
Dutch construction, and made by the ablest ship-carpen- 
ters of Amsterdam, who, it is well known, always model 
their ships after the fair forms of their country-women. 
Accordingly it had one hundred feet in the beam, one 
hundred feet in the keel, and one hundred feet from the 
bottom of the stern post to the tafferel. Like the beau- 
teous model, who was declared to be the greatest belle in 
Amsterdam, it was full in the bows, with a pair of enor- 
mous cat-heads, a copper bottom, and withal, a most pro- 
digious poop ! 

The architect, who was somewhat of a religious man, 
far from decorating the ship with pagan idols, such as Ju- 
piter, Neptune or Hercules, (which heathenish abomina- 
tions, I have no doubt, occasion the misfortunes and ship- 
wreck of many a noble vessel,) he, I say, on the contrary, 
did laudably erect for a head, a goodly image of St. Ni- 
cholas, equipped with a low broad brimmed hat, a huge 
pair of Flemish trunk hose, and a pipe that reached to th 
end of the bowsprit. Thus gallantly furnished, the staunch 
ship floated sideways, like a majestic goose, but of the har- 
bour of the great city of Amsterdam, and all the bells, 
that were not otherwise engaged, rung a triple bob-major 
on the joyful occcasion. 

My great great grandfather remarks, that the voyage 
was uncommonly prosperous, for, being under the espe- 

NEW-YORK. 55 - 

cial care of the ever-revered St. Nicholas, the Goede Vrouw 
seemed to be endowed with qualities unknown to com- 
mon vessels.v Thus she made as much lee-way as head- 
way, could get along very nearly as fast with the wind a- 
head, as when it was a-poop and was particularly great 
in a calm ; in consequence of which singular advantages, 
she made out to accomplish her voyage in a very few 
months, and came to anchor at the mouth of the Hudson, 
a little to the east of Gibbet island. * 

Here lifting up their eyes, they beheld, on what is at 
present called the Jersey shore, a small Indian village, 
pleasantly embowered in a grove of spreading elms, and 
the natives all collected on the beach, gazing in stupid ad- 
miration at the Goede Vrouw. A boat was immediately 
despatched to enter into a treaty with them, and approach- 
ing the shore, hailed them through a trumpet in the most 
friendly terms ; but so horribly confounded were these 
poor savages at the tremendous and uncouth sound of the 
low Dutch language, that they one and all took to their 
heels, scampered over the Bergen hills, nor did they stop, 
until they had buried themselves, head and ears, in the 
marshes on the other side, where they all miserably pe- 
rished to a man, and their bones being collected, and 
decently covered by the Tammany Society of that day, 
formed that singular mound called Rattle-snake-hill, which 
rises out of the centre of the salt marshes, a little to the 
east of the Newark Causeway. 

Animated by this unlooked-for victory, our valiant he- 
roes sprang ashore in triumph, took possession of the soil 
as conquerors, in the name of their High Mightinesses the 
lords states-general, and marching fearlessly forward, car- 
ried the village of Communipaw by storm, notwithstand- 
ing that it was vigorously defended by some half a score 

* So called, because one Joseph Andrews, a pirate and murderer, was 
hanged in chains on that island, the 23d May, 1769. 


of old squaws and poppooses. On looking about them 
they were so transported with the excellencies of the place, 
that they had very little doubt the blessed St. Nicholas 
had guided them thither, as the very spot whereon to set- 
tle their colony. The softness of the soil was wonderful- 
ly adapted to the driving of piles; the swamps and marshes 
around them afforded ample opportunities for the con- 
structing of dykes and dams; the shallowness of the shore 
was peculiarly favourable to the building of docks in a 
word, this spot abounded with all the requisites for the 
foundation of a great Dutch city. On making a faithful 
report therefore, to the crew of the Goede Vrouw, they 
one and all determined that this was the destined end of 
their voyage. Accordingly they descended from the 
Goede Vrouw, men, women, and children, in goodly 
groups, as did the animals of yore from the ark, and 
formed themselves into a thriving settlement, which they 
called by the Indian name Communipaw. 

As all the world is doubtless perfectly acquainted with 
Communipaw, it may seem somewhat superfluous to treat 
of it in the present work ; but my readers will please to 
recollect, that notwithstanding it is my chief desire to sa- 
tisfy the present age, yet I write likewise for posterity, 
and have to consult the understanding and curiosity of 
some half a score of centuries yet to come; by which time 
perhaps, were it not for this invaluable history, the great 
Communipaw, like Babylon, Carthage, Nineveh, and 
other great cities, might be perfectly extinct sunk and 
forgotten in its own mud its inhabitants turned into oys- 
ters, * and even its situation, a fertile subject of learned 
controversy and hardheaded investigation among indefa- 
tigable historians. Let me then piously rescue from ob- 
livion, the humble reliques of a place, which was the egg 
from whence was hatched the mighty city of New- York ! 

* * s Men by inaction degenerate into oysters." Kaimes. 


Communipaw is at present but a small village, pleasant- 
ly situated among rural scenery, on that beauteous part 
of the Jersey shore which was known in ancient legends 
by the name of Pavonia, -f- and commands a grand pros- 
pect of the superb bay of New- York. It is within but 
half an hour's sail of the latter place provided you have a 
fair wind, and may be distinctly seen from the city. Nay, 
it is a well known fact, which I can testify from my own 
experience, that on a clear, still summer evening, you 
may hear from the battery of New- York, the opstreperous 
peals of the broad-mouthed laughter of the Dutch negroes 
at Communipaw, who, like most other negroes, are famous 
for their risible powers. This is peculiarly the case on 
Sunday evenings ; when, it is remarked by an ingenious 
and observant philosopher, who has made great discover- 
ies in the neighbourhood of this city, that they always 
laugh loudest; which he attributes to the circumstance 
of their having their holy day clothes on. 

These negroes in fact, like the monks in the dark ages, 
engross all the knowledge of the place, and being infinite- 
ly more adventurous and more knowing than their mas- 
ters, carry on all the foreign trade, making frequent voy- 
ages to town in canoes loaded with oysters, buttermilk, 
and cabbages. They are great astrologers, predicting the 
different changes of weather almost as accurately as an al- 
manac ; they are moreover exquisite performers on three 
stringed fiddles : in whistling, they almost boast the far- 
famed powers of Orpheus his lyre, for not a horse or an 
ox in the place, when at the plough or before the wag- 
gon, will budge a foot until he hears the well known whis- 
tle of his black driver and companion : and from their 
amazing skill at casting up accounts upon their fingers, 
they are regarded with as much veneration as were the 

-I* Payoni, in the ancient maps, is given to a tract of country extend- 
ing from about Hoboken to Amboy. 



disciples of Pythagoras of yore, when initiated into the sa- 
cred quaternary of numbers. 

As to the honest burghers of Communipaw, like wise 
men and sound philosophers, they never look beyond their 
pipes, nor trouble their heads about any affairs out of their 
immediate neighbourhood; so that they live in profound 
and enviable ignorance of all the troubles, anxieties and 
revolutions of this distracted planet. I am even told that 
many among them do verily believe that Holland, of which 
they have heard so much from tradition, is situated some- 
where on Long-Island that Spiking-devil and the Nar- 
rows, are the two ends of the world that the country is 
still under the dominion of their High Mightinesses; and 
that the city of New- York still goes by the name of Nieuw 
Amsterdam. They meet every Saturday afternoon, at 
the only tavern in the place, which bears as a sign, a 
square headed likeness of the prince of Orange ; where 
they smoke a silent pipe by way of promoting social con- 
viviality, and invariably drink a mug of cider to the suc- 
cess of Admiral Von Tromp, who they imagine is still 
sweeping the British channel, with a broom at his mast 

Communipaw, in short, is one of the numerous little 
villages in the vicinity of this most beautiful of cities, which 
are so many strong holds and fastnesses, whither the pri- 
mitive manners of our Dutch forefathers have retreated, 
and where they are cherished with devout and scrupulous 
strictness. The dress of the original settlers is handed 
down inviolate, from father to son the identical broad 
brimmed hat, broad skirted coat, and broad bottomed 
breeches, continue from generation to generation; and 
several gigantic knee-buckles of massy silver, are still in 
wear, that made such gallant display in the days of the 
patriarchs of Communipaw. The language likewise con- 
tinues unadulterated by barbarous innovations ; and so 
critically correct is the village schoolmaster in his dialect, 


that his reading of a law Dutch psalm has much the same 
effect on the serves as the filing of a hand-saw. 


In which is set forth the true art of making a bargain toge- 
ther with the miraculous Escape of a great Metropolis in a Fog 
and the Biography of certain Heroes of Communipaw. 

HAVING, in the trifling digression which concluded the 
last chapter discharged the filial duty which the city of 
New- York owed to Communipaw as being the mother 
settlement; and having given a faithful picture of it as it 
stands at present, I return with a soothing sentiment of 
self-approbation, to dwell upon its early history. The 
crew of the Goede Vrouw being soon reinforced by fresh 
importations from Holland, the settlement went jollily on 
increasing in magnitude and prosperity. The neighbour- 
ing Indians in a short time became accustomed to the un- 
couth sound of the Dutch language, and an intercourse 
gradually took place between them and the new comers. 
The Indians were much given to long talks, and the 
Dutch to long silence in this particular, therefore, they 
accommodated each other completely. The chiefs would 
make long speeches about the big bull, the wabash, and 
the great spirit, to which the others would listen very at- 
tentively, smoke their pipes, and grunt yah myn-her 
whereat the poor savages were wondrously delighted. 
They instructed the new settlers in the best art of curing 
and smoking tobacco, while the latter in return, made 
them drunk with true Hollands and then learned them 
the art of making bargains. 

A brisk trade for furs was soon opened; the Dutch 
traders were scrupulously honest in their dealings, and 


purchased by weight, establishing it as an invariable ta- 
ble of avoirdupoise, that the hand of a Dutchman weighed 
one pound, and his foot two pounds. It is true, the sim- 
ple Indians were often puzzled by the great dispropor- 
tion between bulk and weight, for let them place a bun- 
dle of furs never so large, in one scale, and a Dutchman 
put his hand or foot in the other, the bundle was sure to 
kick the beam never was a package of furs known to 
weigh more than two pounds, in the market of Communi-* 
paw ! 

This is a singular fact but I have it direct from my 

great great grandfather, who had risen to considerable 

importance in the colony, being promoted to the office 

A of weigh-master, on account of the uncommon heaviness 

of his foot. 

The Dutch possessions in this part of the globe began 
now to assume a very thriving appearance, and were com- 
prehended under the general title of Nieuw Nederlandts; 
on account, as the sage Vander Donck observes, of their 
great resemblance to the Dutch Netherlands which in- 
deed was truly remarkable, excepting that the former 
were rugged and mountainous, and the latter level and 
marshy. About this time the tranquillity of the Dutch 
colonists was doomed to suffer a temporary interruption. 
In 1614, Captain Sir Samuel Argal, sailing under a com- 
mission from Dale, governor of Virginia, visited the Dutch 
settlements on Hudson river, and demanded their sub- 
mission to the English crown and Virginian dominion. 
To this arrogant demand, as they were in no condition to 
resist it, they submitted for the time^ like discreet and 
reasonable men* 

It does not appear that the valiant Argal molested the 
settlement of Communipaw ; on the contrary, I am told 
that when his vessel first hove in sight, the worthy 
burghers were seized with such a panic, that they fell to 
smoking their pipes with astonishing vehemence, inso- 


much that they quickly raised a cloud, which, combining 
with the surrounding woods and marshes, completely en- 
veloped and concealed their beloved village; and over- 
hung the fair regions of Pavonia : so that the terrible 
Captain Argal passed on, totally unsuspicious that a stur- 
dy little Dutch settlement lay snugly couched in the mud, . 
under cover of all this pestilent vapour. In commemo- 
ration of this fortunate escape, the worthy inhabitants 
have continued to smoke almost without intermission un- 
to this very day ; which is said to be the cause of the re- 
markable fog that often hangs over Communipaw of a 
clear afternoon. 

Upon the departure of the enemy, our magnanimous 
ancestors took full six months to recover their wind, hav- 
ing been exceedingly discomposed by the consternation 
and hurry of affairs. They then called a council of safe- 
ty to smoke over the state of the province. After six 
months more of mature deliberation, during which nearly 
five hundred words were spoken, and almost as much to- 
bacco was smoked as would have served a certain modern 
general through a whole winter's campaign of hard drink- 
ing, it was determined to fit out an armament of canoes, 
and dispatch them on a voyage of discovery, to search if 
peradventure some more sure and formidable position 
might not be found, where the colony would be less sub- 
ject to vexatious visitations. 

This perilous enterprize was entrusted to the superin- 
tendence of Mynheers Oloffe Van Kortlandt, Abraham 
Hardenbroeck, Jacobus Van Zandt, and Winant Ten 
Broeck four indubitably great men; but of whose his- 
tory, although I have made diligent inquiry, I can learn 
but little previous to their leaving Holland. Nor need 
this occasion much surprise, for adventurers, like pro- 
phets, though they make great noise abroad, have seldom 
much celebrity in their own countries; but this much is 
certain, that the overflowings and offscourings of a coun- 


try are invariably composed of the richest parts of the 
soil. And here I cannot help remarking how convenient 
it would be to many of our great men and great families 
of doubtful origin, could they have the privilege of the 
heroes of yore, who, whenever their origin was involved 
in obscurity, modestly announced themselves descended 
from a god ; and who never visited a foreign country, but 
what they told some cock and bull stories about their be- 
ing kings and princes at home; This venial trespass on 
the truth, though it has occasionally been played off by 
some pseudp marquis, .baronet,- and other illustrious fo- 
reigner, in our land of goodnatured credulity, has been 
completely discountenanced in this sceptical, matter-of- 
fact age. And I even question whether any tender vir- 
gin, who was accidentally and unaccountably enriched 
with a bantling, would save her character at parlour fire- 
sides and evening tea-parties, by ascribing the phenome- 
non to a swan, a shower of gold, or a river god. 

Thus being denied the benefit of mythology and classic 
fable, I should have been completely at a loss as to the 
early biography of my heroes, had not a gleam of light 
been thrown upon their origin from their names. 

By this simple means have I been enabled to gather 
some particulars concerning the adventurers in question. 
Van Kortlandt for instance, was one of those peripatetic 
philosophers, who tax providence for a livelihood, and 
like Diogenes enjoy a free and unincumbered estate in 
sunshine. He was usually arrayed in garments suitable 
to his fortune, being curiously fringed and fangled by the 
hand of time; and was helmeted with an old fragment of 
a hat which had acquired the shape of a sugar loaf; and 
so far did he carry his contempt for the adventitious dis- 
tinction of dress, that it is said, the remnant of a shirt, 
which covered his back, and dangled like a pocket hand- 
kerchief out of a hole in his breeches, was never washed, 
except by the bountiful showers of heaven. In this garb 


was he usually to be seen, sunning himself at noon-day, 
with a herd of philosophers of the same sect, on the side 
of the great canal of Amsterdam. Like your nobility of 
Europe, he took his name of Kortlandt (or Lack-land ) from 
his landed estate, which lay somewhere in Terra incognita. 

Of the next of our worthies, might I have had the be- 
nefit of mythological assistance, the want of which I have 
just lamented, I should have made honourable mention, 
as boasting equally illustrious pedigree with the proudest 
hero of antiquity. His name was Van Zandt, which be- 
ing freely translated, signifies from the dirt, meaning, be- 
yond a doubt, that like Triptolemus, Themis the Cy- 
clops and the Titans, he sprung from dame Terra, or the 
earth ! This supposition is strongly corroborated by his 
size, for it is well known that all the progeny of mother 
earth were of a gigantic stature ; and Van Zandt, we are 
told, was a tall raw-boned man, above six feet high with 
an astonishingly hard head. Nor is this origin of the illus- 
trious Van Zandt a whit more improbable or repugnant 
to belief, than what is. related and universally admitted of 
certain of our greatest, or rather richest men; who, we 
are told with the utmost gravity, did originally spring 
from a dunghill ! 

Of the third hero, but a faint description has reached 
to this time, which mentions, that he was a sturdy, obsti- 
nate, burly, bustling little man ; and from being usually 
equipped with an old pair of buckskins, was familiarly 
dubbed Harden Broeck, or Tough Breeches. 

Ten Broeck completed this junto of adventurers. It is 
a singular but ludicrous fact, which, were I not scrupu- 
lous in recording the whole truth, I should almost be 
tempted to pass over in silence, as incompatible with the 
gravity and dignity of history, that this worthy gentleman 
should likewise have been nicknamed from the most whim- 
sical part of his dress. In fact the small clothes seems 
to have been a very important garment in the eyes of our 


venerated ancestors, owing in all probability to its really 
being the largest article of raiment among them. The 
name of Ten Broeck or Tin Broeck is indifferently trans- 
lated into Ten Breeches and Tin Breeches the high 
Dutch commentators incline to the former opinion ; and 
ascribe it to his being the first who introduced into the 
settlement the ancient Dutch fashion of wearing ten pair 
of breeches. But the most elegant and ingenious writers 
on the subject declare in favour of Tin, or rather Thin 
Breeches ; from whence they infer, that he he was a poor 
but merry rogue, whose galligaskins were none of the 
soundest, and who was the identical author of that truly 
philosophical stanza : 

" Then why should we quarrel for riches, 

Or any such glittering toys ; 
A light heart and thin pair of breeches, 

Will go through the world, my brave boys !" 

Such was the gallant junto chosen to conduct this voy- 
age into unknown realms, and the whole was put under 
the superintending care and direction of Oloffe Van Kort- 
landt; who was held in great reverence among the sages 
of Communipaw, for the variety and darkness of his 
knowledge. Having, as I before observed, passed a great 
part of his life in the open air, among the peripatetic phi- 
losophers of Amsterdam, he had become amazingly well 
acquainted with the aspect of the heavens, and could as 
accurately determine when a storm was brewing or a 
squall rising, as a dutiful husband can foresee, from the 
brow of his spouse, when a tempest is gathering about his 
ears. He was moreover a great seer of ghosts and gob- 
lins, and a firm believer in omens; but what especially 
recommended him to public confidence, was his marvel- 
lous talent at dreaming, for there never was any thing of 
consequence happened at Communipaw, but what he de- 
clared he had previously dreamt it ; being one of those 


infallible prophets, that always predict a thing, after it 
has come to pass. 

This supernatural gift was as highly valued among the 
burghers of Pavonia, as it was among the enlightened na^ 
tions of antiquity. The wise Ulysses was more indebted 
to his sleeping than his waking moments, for all his sub-* 
tie achievements, and seldom undertook any great exploit, 
without first soundly sleeping upon it ; and the same may 
truly be said of the good Van Kortlandt, who was thence 
aptly denominated, Oloffe the Dreamer. 

This cautious commander having chosen the crews that 
should accompany him in the proposed expedition, ex* 
horted them to repair to their homes, take a good night's 
rest, settle all family affairs, and make their wills, before 
departing on this voyage into unknown realms. And in- 
deed this last was a precaution always taken by our fore- 
fathers, even in after times, when they became more ad- 
venturous, and voyaged to Haverstraw or Kaatskill, or 
Groodt Esopus, or any other far country that lay beyond 
the great waters of the Tappaan Zee. 


How the Heroes of Communipaw voyaged to Hell-Gate, and 
how they were received there. 

AND now the rosy blush of morn began to mantle in 
the east, and soon the rising sun, emerging from amidst 
golden and purple clouds, shed his blithsome rays on the 
tin weathercocks of Communipaw. It was that delicious 
season of the year, when nature, breaking from the chil- 
ling thraldom of old winter, like a blooming damsel from 
the tyranny of a sordid old father, threw herself, blushing 
with ten thousand charms, into the arms of youthful spring. 



Every tufted copse and blooming grove, resounded with 
the notes of hymeneal love. The very insects, as they 
sipped the dew that gemmed the tender grass of the mea- 
dows, joined in the joyous epithalamium the virgin bud 
timidly put forth its blushes, " the voice of the turtle was 
heard in the land," and the heart of man dissolved away 
in tenderness. Oh ! sweet Theocritus ! had I thine oat- 
en reed, wherewith thou erst did charm the gay Sicilian 
plains Or Oh ! gentle Bion ! thy pastoral pipe, wherein 
the happy swains of the Lesbian isle so much delighted; 
then might I attempt to sing in soft Bucolic or negli- 
gent Idyllium, the rural beauties of the scene- but hav- 
ing nothing, save this jaded goose quill, wherewith to wing 
my flight, I must fain resign all poetic disportings of the 
fancy, and pursue my narrative in humble prose ; com- 
forting myself with the hope, that though it may not steal 
so sweetly upon the imagination of my reader, yet may it 
commend itself, with virgin modesty, to his better judg- 
ment, clothed in the chaste and simple garb of truth. 

No sooner did the first rays of cheerful Phcebus dart 
into the windows of Communipaw, than the little settle- 
ment was all in motion. Forth issued from his castle the 
sage Van Kortlandt, and seizing a conch-shell, blew a far 
resounding blast, that soon summoned all his lusty follow- 
ers. Then did they trudge resolutely down to the water 
side, escorted by a multitude of relatives and friends, who 
all went down, as the common phrase expresses it, " to 
see them off." And this shows the antiquity of those long 
family processions, often seen in our city ; composed of all 
ages, sizes and sexes, laden with bundles and bandboxes, 
escorting some bevy of country cousins, about to depart 
for home in a market boat. 

The good Oloffe bestowed his forces in a squadron of 
three canoes, and hoisted his flag on board a little round 
Dutch boat, shaped not unlike a tub, which had formerly 
been the jolly-boat of the Goede Vrouw. And now, all 


being embarked, they bid farewell to the gazing throng 
upon the beach, who continued shouting after them, even 
when out of hearing, wishing them a happy voyage, advis- 
ing them to take good care of themselves, not to get 
drowned with an abundance other of those sage and in- 
valuable cautions, generally given by landsmen to such as 
go down to the sea in ships, and adventure upon the deep 
waters. In the mean while the voyagers cheerily urged 
their course across the crystal bosom of the bay, and soon 
left behind them the green shores of ancient Pavonia. 

And first they touched at two small islands which lie 
nearly opposite Communipaw, and which are said to have 
been brought into existence about the time of the great ir- 
ruption of the Hudson, when it broke through the High- 
lands and made its way to the ocean. * For in this tre- 
mendous uproar of the waters, we are told that many huge 
fragments of rock and land were rent from the mountains 
and swept down by this runaway river for sixty or seven- 
ty miles ; where some of them ran aground on the shoals 
just opposite Communipaw, and formed the identical isl- 
ands in question, while others drifted out to sea, and were 
never heard of more ! A sufficient proof of the fact is, 
that the rock which forms the basis of these islands, is ex- 
actly similar to that of the Highlands, and moreover one 
of our philosophers, who has diligently compared the a- 

* It is a matter long since established by certain of our philosophers, 
that is to say, having been often advanced, and never contradicted, it 
has grown to be pretty nigh equal to a settled fact, that the Hudson 
was originally a lake, dammed up by the mountains of the Highlands. 
In process of time, however, becoming very mighty and obstreperous, 
and the mountains waxing pursy, dropsical, and weak in the back, by 
reason of their extreme old age, it suddenly rose upon them, and af- 
ter a violent struggle, effected its escape. This is said to have come to 
pass in very remote time, probably before that rivers had lost the art of 
running up hill. The foregoing is a theory in which I do not pretend 
to be skilled, notwithstanding that I do fully give it my belief. 


greement of their respective surfaces, has even gone so far 1 
as to assure me, in confidence, that Gibbet Island was 
originally nothing more nor less than a wart on Anthony's 
nose. * 

Leaving these wonderful little isles, they next coasted 
by Governor's Island, since terrible from its frowning for- 
tress and grinning batteries. They would by no means, 
however, land upon this island, since they doubted much 
it might be the abode of demons and spirits, which in those 
days did greatly abound throughout this savage and pa- 
gan country. 

Just at this time a shoal of jolly porpoises came rolling 
and tumbling by, turning up their sleek sides to the sun, 
and spouting up the briny element in sparkling showers. 
No sooner 1 did the sage OlofFe mark this than he was great- 
ly rejoiced. " This," exclaimed he, " if I mistake not, 
augurs well the porpoise is a fat, well conditioned fish 
a burgomaster among fishes his looks betoken ease$ plen- 
ty and prosperity I greatly admire this round fat fishj 
and doubt not, but this is a happy omen of the success of 
our undertaking." So saying, he directed his squadron to 
steer in the tract of these aldermen fishes. 

Turning, therefore, directly to the left, they swept up 
the strait, vulgarly called the East River. And here 
the rapid tide which courses through this strait, seizing 
on the gallant tub in which Commodore Van Kortlandt 
had embarked, hurried it forward with a velocity unpa- 
ralleled in a Dutch boat, navigated by Dutchmen ; inso- 
much that the good commodore, who had all his life long 
been accustomed only to the drowsy navigation of canals, 
was more than ever convinced that they were in the hands 
of some supernatural power, and that the jolly porpoises 
were towing them to some fair haven that was to fulfil all 
their wishes and expectations. 

* A promontory in the Highlands. 


Thus borne away by the resistless current, they doubled 
that boisterous point of land, since called Corlear's Hook,* 
and leaving to the right the rich winding cove of the Wai- 
labout, where our infant navy is now-a-days put out to 
nurse, they drifted into a magnificent expanse of water^ 
surrounded by pleasant shores, whose verdure was exceed* 
ingly refreshing to the eye. While the voyagers were look- 
ing around them, on what they conceived to be a serene 
and sunny lake, they beheld at a distance, a crew of painted 
savages, busily employed in fishing, who seemed more like 
the genii of this romantic region their slender canoe 
lightly balanced like a feather on the undulating surface 
of the bay. 

At sight of these, the hearts of the heroes of Communi- 
paw were not a little troubled. But as good fortune would 
have it, at the bow of the commodore's boat was stationed 
a very valiant man, named Hendrick Kip, (which being 
interpreted, means chicken, a name given him in token of 
his courage). No sooner did he behold these varlet hea- 
thens than he trembled with excessive valour, and although 
a good half mile distant, he seized a musquetoon that lay 
at hand, and turning away his head, fired it most intre- 
pidly in the face of the blessed sun. The blundering wea- 
pon recoiled and gave the valiant Kip an ignominious kick, 
that laid him prostrate with uplifted heels in the bottom 
of the boat. But such was the effect of this tremendous 
fire, that the wild men of the woods, struck with conster- 
nation, seized hastily upon their paddles, and shot away 
into one of the deep inlets of the Long-Island shore. 

This signal .victory gave new spirits to the hardy voy- 
agers, and in honour of the achievement they gave the 
name of the valiant Kip to the surrounding bay, and it has 
continued to be called KIP'S BAY, from that time to the 
present. The heart of the good Van Kortlandt who, 

* Properly spelt Uocck (i. e.) a point of land. 


having no land of his own, was a great admirer of other 
people's expanded at the sumptuous prospect of rich un- 
settled country around him, and faUing into a delicious 
reverie, he straightway began to riot in the possession of 
vast meadows of salt marsh and interminable patches of 
cabbages. From this delectable vision he was all at once 
awakened by the sudden turning of the tide, which would 
soon have hurried him from this land of promise, had not 
the discreet navigator given signal to steer for shore; where 
they accordingly landed hard by the rocky heights of Bel- 
le vue that happy retreat, where our jolly aldermen eat 
for the good of the city, arid fatten the turtle that are sa- 
crificed on civic solemnities. 

Here, seated on the green sw^ard, by the side of a small 
stream that ran sparkling among the grass, they refreshed 
themselves after the toils of the seas, by feasting lustily on 
the ample stores which they had provided for this perilous 
voyage. Thus having well fortified their deliberative 
powers, they fell into an earnest consultation, what was 
further to be done. This was the first council dinner ever 
eaten at Bellevue by Christian burghers ; and here, as tra- 
dition relates, did originate the great family feud between 
the Hardenbroecks and the Tenbroecks, which afterwards 
had a singular influence on the building of the city. The 
sturdy Hardenbroeck, whose eyes had been wondrously 
delighted with the salt marshes that spread their reeking 
bosoms along the coast, at the bottom of Kip's Bay, coun- 
selled by all means to return thither, and found the intend- 
ed city. This was strenuously opposed by the unbending 
Ten Broeck, and many testy arguments passed between 
them. The particulars of this controversy have not reached 
us, which is ever to be lamented; this much is certain, 
that the sage Oloflfe put an end to the dispute, by deter- 
mining to explore still further in the route which the mys- 
terious porpoises had so clearly pointed out : whereupon 
the sturdy Tough Breeches abandoned the expedition, took 

NEW. YORK. 71 

possession ot'a neighbouring hill, and in a fit of great wrath 
peopled all that tract of country, which has continued to 
be inhabited by the Hardenbroecks unto this very day. 

By this time the jolly Phoebus, like some wanton urchin, 
sporting on the side of a green hill, began to roll down 
the declivity of the heavens ; and now, the tide having once 
more turned in their favour, the resolute Pavonians again 
committed themselves to its discretion, and coasting along 
the western shores were borne towards the straits of Black- 
well's Island. 

And here the capricious wanderings of the current, oc- 
casioned not a little marvel and perplexity to these illus- 
trious mariners. Now would they be caught by the wan- 
ton eddies, and, sweeping round a jutting point, would 
wind deep into some romantic little cove, that indented 
the fair island of Manna-hatta, now were they hurried nar- 
rowly by the very bases of impending rocks, mantled with 
the flaunting grape vine, and crowned with groves that 
threw a broad shade on the waves beneath ; and anon they 
were borne away into the mid-channel, and wafted along 
with a rapidity that very much discomposed the sage Van 
Kortlandt, who, as he saw the land swiftly receding on ei- 
ther side, began exceedingly to doubt that terra firma was 
giving them the slip. 

Wherever the voyagers turned their eyes, a new crea- 
tion seemed to bloom around. No signs of human thrift 
appeared to check the delicious wildness of nature, who 
here revelled in all her luxuriant variety. Those hills now 
bristled, like the fretful porcupine, with rows of poplars, 
(vain, upstart plants ! minions of wealth and fashion ! ) 
were then adorned with the vigorous natives of the soil. 
The lordly oak, the generous chesnut, the graceful elm 
while here and there the tulip-tree reared his majestic head, 
the giant of the forest where now are seen the gay retreats 
of luxury villas half buried in twilight-bowers, whence 
the amorous flute oft breathes the sighings of some city 


swain there the fish-hawk built his solitary nest, on some 
dry tree that overlooked his watery domain. The timid 
deer fed undisturbed along those shores now hallowed by 
the lover's moon-light walk, and printed by the slender 
foot of beauty ; and a savage solitude extended over those 
happy regions, where now are reared the stately towers of 
the Joneses, the Schermerhornes and the Rhinelanders. 

Thus gliding in silent wonder through these new and 
unknown scenes, the gallant squadron of Pavonia swept 
by the foot of a promontory, that strutted forth boldly into 
the waves, and seemed to frown upon them as they brawled 
against its base. This is the bluff well known to modern 
mariners by the name of Grade's point, from the fair cas- 
tle, which, like an elephant, it carries upon its back. And 
here broke upon their view a wild and varied prospect, 
where land and water were beauteously intermingled, as 
though they had combined to heighten and set off each 
other's charms. To their right lay the sedgy point of 
Blackwell's Island, drest in the fresh garniture of living 
green : beyond it stretched the pleasant coast of Sunds- 
wick, and the small harbour well known by the name of 
Hallet's cove a place infamous, in latter days, by reason 
of its being the haunt of pirates who infest these seas, rob- 
bing orchards and water-melon patches, and insulting gen- 
tlemen navigators, when voyaging in their pleasure boats. 
To the left a deep bay, or rather creek, gracefully receded 
between shores fringed with forests, and forming a kind of 
vista, through which were beheld the sylvan regions of 
Haerlem, Morrissania, and East Chester. Here the eye 
reposed with delight on a richly wooded country, diversi- 
fied by tufted knolls, shadowy intervals, and waving lines 
of upland, swelling above each other; while over the whole, 
the purple mists of spring diffused a hue of soft voluptu- 

Just before them the grand course of the stream making 
a sudden bend, wound among embowered promontories 


and shores of emerald verdure, that seemed to melt into, 
the wave. A character of gentleness and mild fertility pre- 
vailed around. The sun had just descended, and the thin 
haze of twilight, like a transparent veil, drawn over the bo- 
som of virgin beauty, heightened the charms, which it half 

Ah ! witching scenes of foul delusion ! Ah ! hapless 
voyagers, gazing with simple wonder on these Circean 
shores ! Such, alas ! are they, poor easy souls, who listen 
to the seductions of a wicked world treacherous are its 
smiles ! fatal its caresses. He who yields to its entice- 
ments launches upon a whelming tide, and trusts his fee- 
ble bark among the dimpling eddies of a whirlpool ! And 
thus it fared with the worthies of Pavonia, who, little mis- 
trusting the guileful scene before them, drifted quietly on, 
until they were aroused by an uncommon tossing and agi- 
tation of their vessels. For now the late dimpling current 
began to brawl around them, and the waves to boil and 
foam with horrific fury. Awakened as if from a dream, 
the astonished Oloffe bawled aloud to put about, but his 
words were lost amid the roaring of the waters. And now 
ensued a scene of direful consternation : at one time they 
were borne with dreadful velocity, among tumultuous 
breakers, at another hurried down boisterous rapids. Now 
they were nearly dashed upon the Hen and Chickens, (in- 
famous rocks! more voracious than Scylla and her 
whelps;) and anon they seemed sinking into yawning 
gulphs, that threatened to entomb them beneath the waves. 
All the elements combined to produce a hideous confusion. 
The waters raged the winds howled and as they were 
hurried along, several of the astonished mariners beheld 
the rocks and trees of the neighbouring shores, driving 
through the air ! 

At length the mighty tub of Commodore Van Kort- 
landt was drawn into the vortex of that tremendous whiriU 



pool called the Pot, where it was whirled about in giddy 
mazes, until the senses of the good commander and his 
crew were overpowered by the horror of the scene, and the 
strangeness of the revolution. 

How the gallant squadron of Pavonia was snatched from 
the jaws of this modern Charybdis, has never been truly 
made known; for so many survived to tell the tale, and, 
what is still more wonderful, told it in so many different 
ways, that there has ever prevailed a great variety of opi- 
nions on the subject. 

As to the commodore and his crew, when they came to 
their senses they found themselves stranded on the Long- 
island shore. The worthy commodore indeed, used to re- 
late many and wonderful stories of his adventures in this 
time of peril, which by his account, did far exceed those 
of the sage Ulysses, in the straits of Charybdis. For he 
saw spectres flying in the air, and heard the yelling of 
hobgoblins, and put his hand into the Pot when they were 
whirled around, and found the water scalding hot, and be- 
held several uncouth looking beings seated on rocks, and 
skimming it with huge ladles ; but particularly he declared 
with great exultation, that he saw the losel porpoises, 
which had betrayed them into this peril, some broiling on 
the gridiron, and others hissing in the frying-pan. 

These, however, were considered by many as mere phan- 
tasies of the commodore's imagination, while he lay in a 
trance ; especially as he was known to be given to dream- 
ing ; and the truth of them has never been clearly ascer- 
tained. It is certain, however, that to the accounts of O- 
loffe and his followers may be traced the various traditions 
handed down of this marvellous strait, as how the devil 
has been seen there, sitting astride of the hog's back and 
playing on the fiddle how he broils fish there before a 
storm ; and many other stories, in which we must be cau- 
tious of putting too much faith. In consequence of all 


these terrific circumstances, the Pavonian commander gave 
this pass the name ofHelle-gat, or as it has been interpreted, 
Hell-gate ; * which it continues to bear at the present day. 


How the heroes of Communipaw returned somewhat wiser than 
they went and how the sage Oloffe dreamed, a dream and the 
dream tit at he dreamed. 

THE darkness of night had closed upon this disastrous 
day, and doleful night was it to the shipwrecked Pavo- 
nians, whose ears were incessantly assailed with the raging 
of the elements, and the howling of the hobgoblins that in- 
fested this perfidious strait. But when the morning dawned, 
the horrors of the preceding evening had passed away ; ra- 
pids, breakers and whirlpools had disappeared ; the Stream 
again ran smooth and dimpling, and having changed its 
tide, rolled gently back, towards the quarter where lay 
their much regretted home. 

The woe-begone heroes of Communipaw eyed each other 

* This is a narrow strait in the sound, at the distance of six miles a- 
bove New-York. It is dangerous to shipping, unless under the care 
of skilful pilots, by reason of numerous rocks, shelves, and whirlpools. 
These have received sundry appellations, such as the gridiron, frying- 
pan, hog's back, pot, &c. ; and are very violent and turbulent at certain 
times of tide. Certain wise men who instruct these modern days have 
softened the above characteristic name into Hurl-gate* which means 
nothing. I leave them to give their own etymology. The name as 
given by our author is supported by the map in Vander Donck's his- 
tory, published in 1656, by Ogilvie's history of America, 1671, as also 
by a journal still extant, written in the 16th century, and to be found 
in Hazard's State Papers. And an old MS. written in French, speak- 
ing of various alterations in names about this city, observes, " De 
Hell-gate, trou d'Enfer, ils ont fait Hell-gate, porte d'Enfer." 


with rueful countenances; their squadron had, been total* 
ly dispersed by the late disaster- Some were, cast upon 
the western shore, where, headed by one Ruleff Hopper, 
they took possession of all the country lying about the six 
mile stone ; which is held by the Hoppers at this present 

The Waldrons were driven by stress of weather to a 
distant coast, where, having with them a jug of genuine 
Hollands, they were enabled to conciliate the savages, set- 
ting up a kind of tavern ; from whence, it is said, did 
spring the fair town of Haerlem,. in which their descen- 
dants have ever since continued to be reputable publicans. 
As to the Suydams, they were thrown upon the Long- 
island coast, and may still be found in those parts. But 
the most singular luck attended the great Ten Broeck, 
who, falling overboard, was miraculously preserved from 
sinking by the multitude of his nether garments. Thus 
buoyed up, he floated on the waves, like a merman, until 
he landed safely on a rock, where he was found the next 
morning, busily drying his many breeches in the sunshine. 

I forbear to treat of the long consultation of our adven- 
turers how they determined that it would not do to found 
a city in this diabolical neighbourhood, and how at length, 
with fear and trembling, they ventured once more upon 
the briny element, and steered their course back for Com- 
munipaw. Suffice it, in simple brevity, to say, that after 
toiling back through the scenes of their yesterday's voyage, 
they at length opened the southern point of Manna-hata, 
and gained a distant view of their beloved Communipaw. 

And here they were opposed by an obstinate eddy, that 
resisted all the efforts of the exhausted mariners. Weary 
and dispirited, they could no longer make head against 
the power of the tide, or rather, as some will have it, of 
old Neptune, who, anxious to guide them to a spot, where- 
on should be founded his strong-hold in this western world, 
sent half a score of potent billows, that rolled the tub of 


Commodore Van Kortlandt high and dry on the shores 
of Manna-hata. 

Having thus in a manner been guided by supernatural 
power to this delightsome island, their first care was to 
light a fire at the foot of a large tree, that stood upon the 
point at present called the battery. Then gathering toge- 
ther great store of oysters which abounded on the shore, 
and emptying the contents of their wallets, they prepared 
and made a sumptuous council repast. The worthy Van 
Kortlandt was observed to be particularly zealous in his 
devotions to the trencher ; for having the cares of the ex- 
pedition especially committed to his care, he deemed it in- 
cumbent on him to eat profoundly for the public good. 
In proportion as he filled himself to the very brim with the 
dainty viands before him, did the heart of this excellent 
Burgher seem to rise up towards his throat, until he seemed 
crammed and almost choked with good eating and good 
nature. And at such times it is, when a man's heart is in 
his throat, that he may more truly be said to speak from 
it, and his speeches abound with kindness and good fel- 
lowship. Thus the worthy Oloffe having swallowed the 
last possible morsel, and washed it down with a fervent 
potation, felt his heart yearning, and his whole frame in a 
manner dilating with unbounded benevolence. Every 
thing around him seemed excellent and delightful; and, 
laying his hands on each side of his capacious periphery, 
and rolling his half closed eyes around on the beautiful 
diversity of land and water before him, he exclaimed, 
in a fat half smothered voice, " What a charming pros- 
pect !" The words died away in his throat he seemed to 
ponder on the fair scene for a moment his eyelids heavi- 
ly closed over their orbs his head drooped upon his bo- 
som -he slowly sunk upon the green turf, and a deep sleep 
stole gradually upon him. 

And the sage Oloffe dreamed a dream and lo, the good 
St. Nicholas came riding over the tops of the trees, in that 


self-same waggon wherein he brings his yearly presents to 
children ; and he came and descended hard by where the 
heroes of Communipaw had made their late repast. And 
the shrewd Van Kortlandt knew him by his broad hat, his 
long pipe, and the resemblance which he bore to the fi- 
gure on the bow of the Goede Vrouw. And he lit his pipe 
by the fire, and he sat himself down and smoked ; and as 
he smoked, the smoke from his pipe ascended into the air 
and spread like a cloud over head. And the sage Oloffe 
bethought him, and he hastened and climbed up to the top 
of one of the tallest trees, and saw that the smoke spread 
over a great extent of country ; and as he considered it 
more attentively, he fancied that the great volume of smoke 
assumed a variety of marvellous forms, where in dun ob- 
scurity he saw shadowed out palaces and domes, and lof- 
ty spires, all which lasted but a moment, and then faded 
away, until the whole rolled off, and nothing but the green 
woods were left. And when St. Nicholas had smoked his 
pipe, he twisted it in his hat-band, and laying his finger 
beside his nose gave the astonished Van Kortlandt a very 
significant look ; then mounting his waggon, he returned 
over the tree tops and disappeared. 

And Van Kortlandt awoke from his sleep greatly in- 
structed, and he aroused his companions and related to 
them his dream : and interpreted it, that it was the will of 
St. Nicholas that they should settle down and build the 
city here. And that the smoke of the pipe was a type 
how vast should be the extent of the city ; inasmuch as 
the volumes of its smoke should spread over a vast extent 
of country. And they all with one voice assented to this 
interpretation excepting Mynheer Ten Broeck, who de- 
clared the meaning to be that it should be a city wherein 
a little fire should occasion a great smoke, or, in other 
words, a very vapouring little city both which interpre- 
tations have strangely come to pass ! 

The great object of their perilous expedition, therefore, 


being thus happily accomplished, the voyagers returned 
merrily to Communipaw, where they were received with 
great rejoicings. And here calling a general meeting of 
all the wise men and the dignitaries of Pavonia, they re- 
lated the whole history of their voyage and of the dream 
of Oloffe Van Kortlandt. And the people lifted up their 
voices and blessed the good St. Nicholas, and from that 
time forth the sage Van Kortlandt was held in more ho- 
nour than ever, for his great talent at dreaming, and was 
pronounced a most useful citizen and a right good man 
when he was asleep. 


Containing an attempt at etymology and of the founding of 
the great city of New- Amsterdam. 

THE original name of the island wherein the squadron 
of Communipaw was thus propitiously thrown, is a matter 
of some dispute, and has already undergone considerable 
vitiation a melancholy proof of the instability of all sub- 
lunary things, and the vanity of all our hopes of lasting 
fame; for who can expect his name will live to posterity, 
when even the names of mighty islands are thus soon lost 
in contradiction and uncertainty ! 

The name most current at the present day, and which 
is likewise countenanced by the great historian Vander 
Donck, is Manhattan ; which is said to have originated in 
a custom among the squaws, in the early settlement, of 
wearing men's hats, as is still done among many tribes. 
" Hence," as we are told by an old governor who was 
somewhat of a wag, and flourished almost a century since, 
and had paid a visit to the wits of Philadelphia " Hence 
arose the appellation of man-hat-on, first given to the In- 


dians, and afterwards to the island:" a stupid joke ! but 
well enough for a governor. 

Among the more venerable sources of information on 
this subject, is that valuable history of the American pos- 
sessions, written by Master Richard Blome in 1 687, * 
wherein it is called Manhadaes and Maiiahanent; nor 
must I forget the excellent little book, full of precious 
matter, of that authentic historian, John Josselyn, Gent. }- 
who expressly calls it Manadaes. 

Another etymology still more ancient, and sanctioned 
by the countenance of our ever to be lamented Dutch an- 
cestors, is that found in certain letters still extant ;J which 
passed between the early governors and their neighbour- 
ing powers, wherein it is called indifferently Monhattoes, 
Munhatos, and Manhattoes, which are evidently unim- 
portant variations of the same name ; for our wise fore- 
fathers set little store by those niceties either in orthogra- 
phy or orthoepy, which form the sole study and ambition 
of many learned men and women of this hypercritical age. 
This last name is said to be derived from the great Indian 
spirit Manetho; who was supposed to make this island 
his favourite abode on account of its uncommon delights. 
For the Indian traditions affirm, that the bay was once a 
translucid lake, filled with silver and golden fish, in the 
midst of which lay this beautiful island, covered with every 
variety of fruits and flowers ; but that the sudden irruption 
of the Hudson laid waste these blissful scenes, and Ma- 
netho took his flight beyond the great waters of Ontario. 

These, however, are fabulous legends, to which very 
cautious credence must be given ; and although I am wil- 
ling to admit the last quoted orthography of the name, as 

* This history is to be found in the library of the New-York His* 
torical Society, 
f Idem. 
$ Vide Hazard's Col. Stat. Pap. 

NEW. YORK. 81 

very suitable for prose, yet is there another one founded 
on still more ancient and indisputable authority, which I 
particularly delight in, seeing that it is at once poetical, 
melodious, and significant; and this is recorded in the 
before-mentioned voyage of the great Hudson, written by 
Master Juet; who clearly and correctly calls it MANNA- 
HATA : that is to say, the island of Manna, or in other 
words, " a land flowing with milk and honey !" 

It having been solemnly resolved that the seat of em- 
pire should be transferred from the green shores of Pa- 
vonia to this delectable island, a vast multitude embarked, 
and migrated across the mouth of the Hudson, under the 
guidance of Oloffe the Dreamer, who was appointed pro- 
tector or patron to the new settlement. 

And here let me bear testimony to the matchless ho- 
nesty and magnanimity of our worthy forefathers, who 
purchased the soil of the native Indians, before erecting a 
single roof; a circumstance singular and almost incredible 
in the annals of discovery and colonization. 

The first settlement was made on the southwest point 
of the island, on the very spot where the good St. Nicholas 
had appeared in the dream. Here they built a mighty 
and impregnable fort and trading house, called Fort Am- 
sterdam, which stood on that eminence at present occupied 
by the custom-house, with the open space now called the 
bowling-green, in front. 

Around this potent fortress was soon seen a numerous 
progeny of little Dutch houses, with tiled roofs, all which 
seemed most lovingly to nestle under its walls, like a broo<J 
of half fledged chickens sheltered under the wings of the 
mother hen. The whole was surrounded by an enclosure 
of strong palisadoes, to guard against any sudden irrup- 
tion of the savages who wandered in hordes about the 
swamps and forests, that extended over those tracts of 
country at present called Broadway, Wall-street, WiL- 
Ham-street, and Pearl-street. 


No sooner was the colony once planted than it took 
root and throve amazingly, for it would seem that this 
thrice favoured island is like a munificent dunghill, where 
every foreign weed finds kindly nourishment, and soon 
shoots up, and expands to greatness. 

And now the infant settlement having advanced in age 
and stature, it was thought high time it should receive an 
honest Christian name, and it was accordingly called New- 
Amsterdam. It is true there were some advocates for the 
original Indian name, and many of the best writers of the 
province did long continue to call it by the title of " The 
Manhattoes," but this was discountenanced by the autho- 
rities, as being heathenish and savage. Besides, it was 
considered an excellent and praiseworthy measure to name 
it after a great city of the old world ; as by that means it 
was induced to emulate the greatness and renown of its 
namesake in the manner that little snivelling urchins are 
called after great statesmen, saints, and worthies, and re- 
nowned generals of yore, upon which they all industri- 
ously copy their examples, and come to be very mighty 
men in their day and generation. 

The thriving state of the settlement, and the rapid in- 
crease of houses, gradually awakened the good Oloffe from 
a deep lethargy, into which he had fallen after the building 
of the fort. He now began to think it was time some plan 
should be devised, on which the increasing town should 
be built. Summoning, therefore, his counsellors and co- 
adjutors together, they took pipe in mouth, and forthwith 
sunk into a very stiund deliberation on the subject. 

At the very outset of the business an unexpected diffe- 
rence of .opinion arose, and I mention it with much sor- 
rowing, .as being the first altercation on record in the 
councils of New- Amsterdam. It was a breaking forth of 
the grudge and heartburning, that had existed between 
those two eminent burghers, Mynheers Tenbroeck and 
Hardenbroeck, ever since their unhappy .altercation on 


the coast of Bellevue. The great Hardenbroeck had 
waxed very wealthy and powerful from his domains, 
which embraced the whole chain of Apulean mountains 
that stretch along the gulf of Kip's Bay, and from part of 
which his descendants have been expelled in latter ages 
by the powerful clans of the Joneses and the Shermer- 

An ingenious plan for the city was offered by Mynheer 
Tenbroeck, who proposed that it should be cut up and 
intersected by canals, after the manner of the most ad- 
mired cities in Holland. To this Mynheer Hardenbroeck 
was diametrically opposed, suggesting in place thereof, 
that they should run out docks and wharfs, by means of 
piles, driven into the bottom of the river, on which the 
town should be built. " By these means," said he tri- 
umphantly, " shall we rescue a considerable space of 
territory from these immense rivers, and build a city 
that shall rival Amsterdam, Venice, or any amphibious 
city in Europe." To this proposition, Ten Broeck (or 
Ten Breeches) replied, with a look of as much scorn as 
he could possibly assume. He cast the utmost censure 
upon the plan of his antagonist, as being preposterous, 
and against the very order of things, as he would leave to 
every true Hollander. " For what," said he, " is a town 
without canals? It is like a body without veins and ar- 
teries, and must perish for want of a free circulation of the 
vital fluid." Tough Breeches, on the contrary, retorted 
with a sarcasm upon his antagonist, who was somewhat of 
an arid, dry boned habit ; he remarked, that as to the cir- 
culation of the blood being necessary to existence, Myn- 
heer Ten Breeches was a living contradiction to his own 
assertion; for every body knew there had not a drop of 
blood circulated through his wind-dried carcase for good 
ten years, and yet there was not a greater busybody in the 
whole colony. Personalities have seldom much effect in 
making converts in argument; nor have I ever seen a man 


convinced of error, by being convicted of deformity. At 
least such was not the case at present. Ten Breeches was 
very acrimonious in reply, and Tough Breeches, who was 
a sturdy little man, and never gave up the last word, re- 
joined with increasing spirit Ten Breeches had the ad- 
vantage of the greatest volubility, but Tough Breeches 
had that invaluable coat of mail in argument called obsti- 
nacy^ Ten Breeches had, therefore, the most mettle, but 
Tough Breeches the best bottom so that though Ten 
Breeches made a dreadful clattering about his ears, and 
battered and belaboured him with hard words and sound 
arguments ; yet Tough Breeches hung on most resolutely 
to the last. They parted, therefore, as is usual in all ar- 
guments where both parties are in the right, without com- 
ing to any conclusion ; but they hated each other most 
heartily for ever after, and a similar breach with that be- 
tween the houses of Capulet and Montague, did ensue be- 
tween the families of Ten Breeches and Tough Breeches. 

I would not fatigue my reader with these dull matters 
of fact, but that my duty as a faithful historian, requires 
that I should be particular; and in truth, as I am now 
treating of the critical period, when our city, like a young 
twig, first received the twists and turns, that have since 
contributed to give it the present picturesque irregularity 
for which it is celebrated, I cannot be too minute in de- 
tailing their first causes. 

After the unhappy altercation I have just mentioned, I 
do not find that any thing further was said on the subject 
worthy of being recorded. The council, consisting of the 
largest and oldest heads in the community, met regularly 
once a week, to ponder on this momentous subject; but 
either they were deterred by the war of words they had 
witnessed, or they were naturally averse to the exercise of 
the tongue, and the consequent exercise of the brains 
certain it is, the most profound silence was maintained- 
the question as usual lay on the table the members qui- 


etly smoked their pipes, making but few laws, without 
ever enforcing any, and in the mean time the affairs of the 
settlement went on as it pleased God; 

As most of the council were but little skilled in the 
mystery of combining pot-hooks and hangers, they deter- 
mined, most judiciously, not to puzzle either themselves or 
posterity with voluminous records. The secretary, how- 
ever, kept the minutes of the council with tolerable preci- 
sion, in a large vellum folio, fastened with massy brass 
clasps ; the journal of each meeting consisted but of two 
lines, stating in Dutch, that, " the council sat this day, 
and smoked twelve pipes on the affairs of the colony." 
By which it appears that the first settlers did not regulate 
their time by hours, but pipes, in the same manner as they 
measure distances in x Holland at this very time; an admi- 
rably exact measurement, as a pipe in the mouth of a true 
born Dutchman, is never liable to those accidents and ir- 
regularities that are continually putting our clocks out of 

In this manner did the profound council of NEW- AM- 
STERDAM smoke, and doze, and ponder, from week to 
week, month to month, and year to year, in what manner 
they should construct their infant settlement : mean while, 
the town took care of itself and like a sturdy brat which 
is suffered to run about wild, unshackled by clouts and 
bandages, and other abominations, by which your notable 
nurses and sage old women cripple and disfigure the chil- 
dren of men, increased so rapidly in strength and magni- 
tude, that before the honest burgomasters had determined 
upon a plan, it was too late to put it in execution where- 
upon they wisely abandoned the subject altogether. 



tiorv the City of New- Amsterdam waxed great, under the 
protection of Oloffe the Dreamer. 

THERE is something exceedingly delusive in thus look- 
ing back, through the long vista of departed years, and 
catching a glimpse of the fairy realms of antiquity that lie 
beyond. Like some goodly landscape melted into dis- 
tance, they receive a thousand charms from their very 
obscurity, and the fancy delights to fill up their outlines 
with graces and excellencies of its own creation. Thus 
beam on my imagination those happier days of our city, 
when as yet New- Amsterdam was a mere pastoral town, 
shrouded in groves of sycamore and willows, and sur- 
rounded by trackless forests and wide spreading waters, 
that seemed to shut out all the cares and vanities of a 
wicked world. 

In those days did this embryo city present the rare and 
noble spectacle of a community governed without laws ; 
and thus being left to its own course, and the fostering 
care of providence, increased as rapidly as though it had 
been burthened with a dozen panniers full of those sage 
laws that are usually heaped on the backs of young cities 
in order to make them grow. And in this particular 
I greatly admire the wisdom and sound knowledge of hu- 
man nature, displayed by the sage Oloffe the Dreamer, 
and his fellow legislators. For my part I have not so bad 
an opinion of mankind as many of my brother philoso- 
phers. I do not think poor human nature so sorry a piece 
of workmanship as they would make it out to be ; and as 
far as I have observed, I am fully satisfied that man, if left 
to himself, would about as readily go right as wrong. It 
is only this eternally sounding in his ears that it is his duty 


to go right, that makes him go the very reverse. The no* 
ble independence of his nature revolts at this intolerable 
tyranny of law, and the perpetual interference of officious 
morality, which is ever besetting his path with finger-posts 
and directions to " keep to the right, as the law directs ;" 
and like a spirited urchin, he turns directly contrary, and 
gallops through mud and mire, over hedges and ditches, 
merely to show that he is a lad of spirit, and out of his 
leading strings. And these opinions are amply substan- 
tiated by what I have above said of our worthy ancestors; 
who never being be-preached and be-lectured, and guided 
and governed by statutes and laws and bye-laws, as are 
their more enlightened descendants, did one and all de- 
mean themselves honestly and peaceably, out of pure ig- 
norance, or in other words because they knew no better. 

Nor must I omit to record, one of the earliest measures 
of this infant settlement, inasmuch as it shows the piety of 
our forefathers, and that, like good Christians, they were 
always ready to serve God, after they had first served 
themselves. Thus, having quietly settled themselves down, 
and provided for their own comfort, they bethought them* 
selves of testifying their gratitude to the great and good 
St, Nicholas, for his protecting care, in guiding them to 
this delectable abode. To this end they built a fair and 
goodly chapel within the fort, which they consecrated to 
his name; whereupon he immediately took the town of 
New- Amsterdam under his peculiar patronage, and he has 
ever since been, and I devoutly hope will ever be, the tu- 
telar saint of this excellent city. 

I am moreover told that there is a little legendary book, 
somewhere extant, written in low Dutch, which says, that 
the image of this renowned saint, which whilome graced 
the bowsprit of the Goede Vrouw, was elevated in front of 
this chapel, in the very centre of what, in modern days, 
is called the Bowling Green. And the legend further 
treats of divers miracles wrought by the mighty pipe which 


the saint held in his mouth ; a whiff of whieh was a sove- 
reign cure for an indigestion an invaluable relique in this 
colony of brave trenchermen. As, however, in spite of 
the most diligent search, I cannot lay my hands upon this 
little book, I must confess that I entertain considerable 
doubt on the subject. 

Thus benignly fostered by the good St. Nicholas, the 
burghers of New-Amsterdam beheld their settlement in- 
crease in magnitude and population, and sopn become the 
metropolis of divers settlements, and an extensive terri- 
tory. Already had the disastrous pride of colonies and 
dependencies, those banes of a sound-hearted empire, en- 
tered into their imaginations; and Fort Aurania on the 
Hudson, Fort Nassau on the Delaware, and Fort Goede 
Hoep on the Connecticut river, seemed to be the darling 
offspring of the venerable council. * Thus prosperously, 
to all appearance, did the province of New Netherlands 
advance in power ; and the early history of its metropolis 
presents a fair page, unsullied by crime or calamity. 

Hordes of painted savages still lurked about the tangled 
forests and rich bottoms of the unsettled part of the Island 
the hunter pitched his rude bower of skins and bark be- 
side the rills that ran through the cool and shady glens, 
while here and there might be seen on some sunny knoll, 
a group of Indian wigwams, whose smoke arose above the 

* The province about this time, extended on the north to Fort Au- 
rania or Orange (now the city of Albany) situated about 1 60 miles up 
the Hudson river. Indeed the province claimed quite to the river St, 
Lawrence ; but this claim was not much insisted on at the time, as the 
country beyond Fort Aurania was a perfect wilderness. On the south 
the province reached to Fort Nassau, on the south river, since called 
the Delaware ; and on the east it extended to the Varshe (or fresh) ri- 
ver, now the Connecticut. On this last frontier was likewise erected a 
fort and trading house, much about the spot where at present is situa- 
ted the pleasant town of Hartford. This was called Fort Goede Hoep, 
(or Good Hope) and was intended as well for the purpose of trade, as 
of defence. 

NEW- YORK. 89 

neighbouring trees, and floated in the transparent atmos- 
phere. By degrees a mutual goodwill had grown up be- 
tween these wandering beings and the burghers of New- 
Amsterdam. Our benevolent forefathers endeavoured as 
much as possible to ameliorate their situation, by giving 
them gin, rum, and glass beads, in exchange for their pel- 
tries, for it seems the kind-hearted Dutchmen had con- 
ceived a great friendship for their savage neighbours, on 
account of their being pleasant men to trade with, and lit- 
tle skilled in the art of making a bargain. 

Now and then a crew of these half-human sons of the 
forest would make their appearance in the streets of New* 
Amsterdam, fantastically painted and decorated with beads 
and flaunting feathers, sauntering about with an air of list- 
less indifference sometimes in the market-place, instruct- 
ing the little Dutch boys in the use of the bow and arrow 
at other times, inflamed with liquor, swaggering and 
whooping and yelling about the town like so many fiends, 
to the great dismay of all the good wives, who would hur- 
ry their children into the house, fasten the doors, and throw 
water upon the enemy from the garret windows. Jt is 
worthy of mention here, that our forefathers were very par~ 
ticular in holding up these wild men as excellent domes*- 
tic examples ; and for reasons that may be gathered from 
the history of Master Ogilvie, who tells us, that " for the 
least offence the bridegroom soundly beats his wife and 
turns her out of doors, and marries another, insomuch that 
some of them have every year a new wife." Whether 
this awful example had any influence or not, history does 
not mention ; but it is certain that our grandmothers were 
miracles of fidelity and obedience. 

True it is, that the good understanding between our an- 
cestors and their savage neighbours, was liable to occa- 
sional interruptions, and I have heard my grandmother, 
who was a very wise old woman, and well versed in the 
history of these parts, tell a long story, of a winter's even- 



ing, about a battle between the New- Amsterdammers and 
the Indians, which was known by the name of the peach- 
war ; and which took place near a peach orchard, in a 
dark glen, which for a long while went by the name of 
Murderer's Valley. 

The legend of this sylvan war was long current among 
the nurses, old wives, and other ancient chroniclers of the 
place ; but time and improvement have almost obliterated 
both the tradition and the scene of battle ; for what was 
once the blood stained valley is now in the centre of this 
populous city, and known by the name of Dey-street. 

The accumulating wealth and consequence of New- Am- 
sterdam and its dependencies, at length awakened the ten- 
der solicitude of the mother country; who finding it a 
thriving and opulent colony, and that it promised to yield 
great profit, and no trouble, all at once became wonder- 
fully anxious about its safety, and began to load it with 
tokens of regard, in the same manner that your knowing 
people are sure to overwhelm rich relations with their af- 
fection and loving-kindness. 

The usual marks of protection shown by mother coun- 
tries to wealthy colonies, were forthwith manifested ; the 
first care always being to send rulers to the new settle- 
ment, with orders to squeeze as much revenue from it as 
it will yield. Accordingly in the year of our Lord, 1 629, 
Mynheer WOUTER VAN TWILLER, was appointed gover- 
nor of the province of Nieuw Nederlandts, under the com- 
mission and control of their High Mightinesses, the Lords 
States-General of the United Netherlands, and the privi- 
leged West-India Company. 

This renowned old gentleman arrived at New- Amster- 
dam in the merry month of June, the sweetest month in 
ail the year; when Dan Apollo seems to dance up the 
transparent firmament when the robin, the thrush, and 
a thousand other wanton songsters make the woods to re- 
sound with amorous ditties, and the luxurious little bob- 


lincon revels among the clover blossoms of the meadows ; 
all which happy coincidences persuaded the old dames of 
New- Amsterdam, who were skilled in the art of foretel- 
ling events, that this was to be a happy and prosperous ad- 

But as it would be derogatory to the consequence of the 
first Dutch governor of the great province of Nieuw Ne- 
derlandts, to be thus scurvily introduced at the end of a 
chapter, I will put an end to this second book of my his- 
tory, that I may usher him in with more dignity in the be- 
ginning of my next. 





Of the renowned Wouter Van Twitter, his unparalleled virtues-** 
as likewise his unutterable wisdom in the law case of Wandle 
Schoonhoven and Barent Bleecker and the great admiration 
of the public thereat. 

(JTRIEVOUS and very much to be commiserated is the task 
of the feeling historian, who writes the history of his na- 
tive land. If it fall to his lot to be the sad recorder of 
calamity or crime, the mournful page is watered with his 
tears i nor can he recall the most prosperous and 'blissful 
era, without a melancholy sigh at the reflection, that it has 
passed away for ever ! I know not whether it be owing 
to an immoderate love for the simplicity of former times, 
or to that certain tenderness of heart incident to all senti- 
mental historians; but I candidly confess that I cannot 
look back on the happier days of our city, which I now 
describe, without a sad dejection of the spirits. With a 
faultering hand do I withdraw the curtain of oblivion, that 
veils the modest merit of our venerable ancestors ; and as 
their figures rise to my mental vision, humble myself be- 
fore the mighty shades. 

Such are my feelings when I revisit the family mansion 
of the Knickerbockers, and spend a lonely hour in the 
chamber where hang the portraits of my forefathers) 


shrouded in dust, like the forms they represent. With 
pious reverence do I gaze on the countenances of those 
renowned burghers, who have preceded me in the steady 
march of existence : whose sober and temperate blood 
now meanders through my veins, flowing slower and 
slower in its feeble conduits, until its current shall soon 
be stopped for ever ! 

These, say I to myself, are but frail memorials of the 
mighty men who flourished in the days of the patriarchs ; 
but who, alas, have long since mouldered in that tomb, 
towards which my steps are insensibly and irresistibly 
hastening ! As I pace the darkened chamber and lose 
myself in melancholy musings, the shadowy images around 
me almost seem to steal once more into existence : their 
countenances to assume the animation of life their eyes 
to pursue me in every movement ! Carried away by the 
delusions of fancy, I almost imagine myself surrounded 
by the shades of the departed, and holding sweet converse 
with the worthies of antiquity ! Ah, hapless Diedrich ! 
born in a degenerate age, abandoned to the buiFettings of 
fortune a stranger and a weary pilgrim in thy native 
land ; blest with no weeping wife, nor family of helpless 
children ; but doomed to wander neglected through those 
crowded streets, and elbowed by foreign upstarts from 
those fair abodes where once thine ancestors held sove- 
reign empire ! 

Let me not, however, lose the historian in the man, nor 
suffer the doating recollections of age to overcome me, 
while dwelling with fond garrulity on the virtuous days of 
the patriarchs on those sweet days of simplicity and ease, 
which never more will dawn on the lovely island of Man- 
na-hata ! 

The renowned Wouter (or Walter) Van Twiller, was 
descended from a long line of Dutch burgomasters, who 
had successively dozed away their lives, and grown fat 
upon the bench of magistracy in Rotterdam ; and who 


had comported themselves with such singular wisdom and 
propriety, that they were never either heard or talked of 
which, next to being universally applauded, should be 
the object of ambition to all sage magistrates and rulers. 

His surname of Twiller, is said to be a corruption of 
the original Twijjler 9 which in English means doubter ; a 
name admirably descriptive of his deliberative habits. For 
though he was a man, shut up within himself like an 
oyster, and of such a profoundly reflective turn, that he 
scarcely ever spoke except in monosyllables ; yet did he 
never make up his mind on any doubtful point. This 
was clearly accounted for by his adherents, who affirmed 
that he always conceived every subject on so comprehen- 
sive a scale, that he had not room in his head to turn it 
over and examine both sides of it ; so that he always re- 
mained in doubt, merely in consequence of the astonish- 
ing magnitude of his ideas ! 

There are two opposite ways by which some men get 
into notice one by talking a vast deal and thinking a lit- 
tle, and the other by holding their tongues and not think- 
ing at all. By the first, many a vapouring superficial 
pretender acquires the reputation of a man of quick parts 
by the other, many a vacant dunderpate, like the owl, 
the stupidest of birds, comes to be complimented, by a dis- 
cerning world, with all the attributes of wisdom. This, 
by the way, is a mere casual remark, which I would not 
for the universe have it thought I apply to Governor Van 
Twiller. On the contrary, he was a very wise Dutchman, 
for he never said a foolish thing ; and of such invincible 
gravity, that he was never known to laugh, or even to 
smile, through the course of a long and prosperous life. 
Certain, however, it is, there never was a matter proposed, 
however simple, and on which your common narrow 
minded mortals would rashly determine at the first glance, 
but what the renowned Wouter put on a mighty myste- 
rious, vacant kind of look, shook his capacious head, and 


having smoked for five minutes with redoubled earnest- 
ness, sagely observed, that " he had his doubts about the 
matter:" which, in process of time, gained him the cha- 
racter of a man slow of belief, and not easily imposed on. 
The person of this illustrious old gentleman was a sregu- 
larly formed, and nobly proportioned, as though it had 
been moulded by the hands of some cunning Dutch sta- 
tuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur. He 
was exactly five feet six inches in height, and six feet five 
inches in circumference. His head was a perfect sphere, 
far excelling in magnitude that of the great Pericles (who 
was thence waggishly called Schenocephalus, or onion 
head) indeed, of such stupendous dimensions was it, that 
dame Nature herself, with all her sex's ingenuity, would 
have been puzzled to construct a neck capable of support- 
ing it; wherefore she wisely declined the attempt, and 
settled it firmly on the top of his back-bone, just between 
the shoulders ; where it remained, as snugly bedded as a 
ship pf war in the mud of the Potowmac. His body was 
of an oblong form, particularly capacious at bottom; 
which was wisely ordered by providence, seeing that he 
was a man of sedentary habits, and very averse to the 
idle labour of walking. His legs, though exceeding short, 
were sturdy in proportion to the weight they had to sus- 
tain ; so that when erect he had not a little the appear- 
ance of a robustious beer barrel, standing on skids. His 
face, that infallible index of the mind, presented a vast 
expanse perfectly unfurrowed or deformed by any of those 
lines and angles, which disfigure the human countenance 
with what is termed expression. Two small grey eyes 
twinkled feebly in the midst, like two stars of lesser mag- 
nitude, in a hazy firmament ; and his full fed cheeks, which 
seemed to have taken toll of every thing that went into his 
mouth, were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky 
red, like a Spitzenberg apple. 

His habits were as regular as his person. He daily 


took his four stated meals, appropriating exactly an hour 
to each ; he smoked and doubted eight hours, and he slept 
the remaining twelve of the four-and-twenty. Such was 
the renowned Wouter Van Twiller a true philosopher, 
for his mind was either elevated above, or tranquilly set- 
tled below, the cares and perplexities of this world, He 
had lived in it for years, without feeling the least curiosity 
to know whether the sun revolved round it, or it round 
the sun ; and he had even watched for at least half a cen- 
tury, the smoke curling from his pipe to the ceiling, with* 
out once troubling his head with any of those numerous 
theories, by which a philosopher would have perplexed 
his brain, in accounting for its rising above the surround- 
ing atmosphere. 

In his council he presided with great state and solemnity. 
He sat in a huge chair of solid oak hewn in the celebrated 
forest of the Hague, fabricated by an experienced Tim- 
merman of Amsterdam, and curiously carved about the 
arms and feet, into exact imitations of gigantic eagles' claws. 
Instead of a sceptre, he swayed a long Turkish pipe, 
wrought with jasmin and amber, which had been presented 
to a stadtholder of Holland, at the conclusion of a treaty 
with one of the petty Barbary powers. In this stately 
chair would he sit, and this magnificent pipe would he 
smoke, shaking his right knee with a constant motion, 
and fixing his eye for hours together upon a little print of 
Amsterdam, which hung in a black frame against the op- 1 
posite wall of the council chamber. Nay, it has even 
been said, that when any deliberation of extraordinary 
length and intricacy was on the carpet, the renowned 
Wouter would absolutely shut his eyes for full two hours 
at a time, that he might not be disturbed by external ob- 
jects; and at such times the internal commotion of his 
mind, was evinced by certain regular guttural sounds, 
which his admirers declared were merely the noise of 
conflict made by his contending doubts and opinions. 


It is with infinite difficulty I have been enabled to col- 
lect these biographical anecdotes of the great man under 
consideration. The facts respecting him were so scattered 
and vague, and divers of them so questionable in point of 
authenticity, that I have had to give up the search after 
many, and decline the admission of still more, which would 
have tended to heighten the colouring of his portrait. 

I have been the more anxious to delineate fully the per- 
son and habits of the renowned Van Twiller, from the con- 
sideration that he was not only the first, but also the besi 
governor that ever presided over this ancient and respec- 
table province; and so tranquil and benevolent was his 
reign, that I do not find throughout the whole of it, a sin- 
gle instance of any offender being brought to punishment; 
a most indubitable sign of a mercifol governor, and a 
case unparalleled, excepting in the reign of the illustrious 
King Log, from whom, it is hinted, the renowned Van 
Twiller was a lineal descendant. 

The very outset of the career of this excellent magis- 
trate, like that of Solomon, or to speak more appropriate^ 
ly, like that of the illustrious governor of Barataria, was 
distinguished by an example of legal acumen, that gave 
flattering presage of a wise and equitable administration. 
The very morning after he had been solemnly installed in 
office, and at the moment that he was making his break- 
fast from a prodigious earthen dish, filled with milk and 
Indian pudding, he was suddenly interrupted by the ap- 
pearance of one Wandle Schoonhoven, a very important 
old burgher of New?- Amsterdam, who complained bitterly 
of one Barent Bleecker, inasmuch as he fraudulently re- 
fused to come to a settlement of accounts, seeing that there 
was a heavy balance in favour of the said Wandle. Go- 
vernor Van Twiller, as I have already observed, was a 
man of few words ; he was likewise a mortal enemy to 
multiplying writings, or being disturbed at his breakfast. 
Having listened attentively to the statement of 



Schoonhoven, giving an occasional grunt, as he shovelled 
a mighty spoonful of Indian pudding into his mouth ei- 
ther as a sign that he relished the dish, or comprehended 
the story : he called unto him his constable, and pulling 
out of his breeches pocket a huge jack-knife, despatched 
it after the defendant as a summons, accompanied by his 
tobacco box as a warrant. 

This summary process was as effectual in those simple 
days, as was the seal ring of the great Haroun Alraschid, 
among the true believers. The two parties, being con- 
fronted before him, each produced a book of accounts, 
written in a language and character that would have puz- 
zled any but a high Dutch commentator, or a learned de- 
cypherer of Egyptian obelisks, to understand. The sage 
Wouter took them one after the other, and having poised 
them in his hands, and attentively counted over the num- 
ber of leaves, fell straightway into a very great doubt, and 
smoked for half an hour without saying a word ; at length, 
laying his finger beside his nose, and shutting his eyes for 
a moment, with the air of a man who has just caught a 
subtle idea by the tail, he slowly took his pipe from his 
mouth, puffed forth a column of tobacco smoke, and with 
marvellous gravity and solemnity pronounced that ha- 
ving carefully counted over the leaves and weighed the 
books, it was found, that one was justas thick and as heavy 
as the other therefore tt was the final opinion of the court, 
that the accounts were equally balanced therefore Wan- 
die should give Barent a receipt, and Barent should give 
Wandle a receipt and the constable should pay the costs. 

This decision being straightway made known, diffused 
general joy throughout New- Amsterdam ; for the people 
immediately perceived, that they had a very wise and equi- 
table magistrate to rule over them. But its happiest effect 
was, that not another law-suit took place throughout the 
whole of his administration ; and the office of constable 
fell into such decay, that there was not one of those losel 


scouts known in the province for many years. I am the 
more particular in dwelling on this transaction, not only 
because I deem it one of the most sage and righteous judg- 
ments on record, and well worthy the attention of modern 
magistrates, but because it was a miraculous event in the 
history of the renowned Wouter being the only time he 
was ever known to come to a decision, in the whole course 
of his life. 


Containing some account of the grand Council of New- Amster- 
dam, as also divers especial good philosophical reasons why an 
Alderman should be fat with other particulars touching the 
state of the Province. 

IN treating of the early governors of the province, I 
must caution my readers against confounding them, in 
point of dignity and power, with those worthy gentlemen, 
who are whimsically denominated governors in this en- 
lightened republic a set of unhappy victims of populari- 
ty, who are in fact the most dependent, hen-pecked beings 
in the community doomed to bear the secret goadings 
and corrections of their own party, and the sneers and re- 
vilings of the whole world beside set up, like geese at 
Christmas holidays, to be pelted and shot at by every 
whipster and vagabond in the land. On the contrary, the 
Dutch governors enjoyed that uncontrolled authority ves- 
ted in all commanders of distant colonies or territories. 
They were in a manner absolute despots in their little do- 
mains, lording it, if so disposed, over both law and gos- 
pel, and accountable to none but the mother country; 
which, it is well known, is astonishingly deaf to all com- 
plaints against its governors, provided they discharge the 


main duty of their station squeezing out a good revenue. 
This hint will be of importance, to prevent my readers 
from being seized with doubt and incredulity, whenever, 
in the course of this authentic history, they encounter the 
uncommon circumstance, of a governor acting with inde- 
pendence, and in opposition to the opinions of the multi- 

To assist the 'doubtful Wouter in the arduous business 
of legislation, a board of magistrates was appointed, which 
presided immediately over the police. This potent body 
consisted of a schout or bailiff, with powers between those 
of the present mayor and sheriff; five burgermeesters, who 
were equivalent to aldermen ; and five schepens, who offi- 
ciated as scrubs, sub-devils, or bottle-holders to the bur- 
germeesters, in the same manner as do assistant aldermen 
to their principals at the present day it being their duty 
to fill the pipes of the lordly burgermeesters, hunt the mar- 
kets for delicacies for corporation dinners^ and to discharge 
such other little offices of kindness, as were occasionally 
required. It was, moreover, tacitly understood, though 
not specifically enjoined, that they should consider them- 
selves as butts for the blunt wits of the burgermeestersj 
and should laugh most heartily at all their jokes ; but this 
last was a duty as rarely called in action in those days as 
it is at present, and was shortly remitted, in consequence 
of the tragical death of a fat little schepen, who actually 
died of suffocation in an unsuccessful effort to force a laugh 
at one of burgermeester Van Zandt's best jokes. 

In return for these humble services, they were permit- 
ted to say yes and no at the council board, and to have that 
enviable privilege, the run of the public kitchen ; being 
graciously permitted to eat, and drink, and smoke, at all 
those snug junketings and public gormandizings, for which 
the ancient magistrates were equally famous with their more 
modern successors. The post of schepen, therefore, like 
that of assistant alderman, was eagerly coveted by all your 

NEW-YORK. 101 

burghers of a Certain description, who have a huge relish 
for good feeding, and an humble ambition to be great men, 
in a small way who thirst after a little brief authority, 
that shall render them the terror of the almshouse and the 
bridewell that shall enable them to lord it. over obsequi- 
ous poverty, vagrant vice, outcast prostitution, and huli- 
ger-driven dishonesty that shall place in their hands the 
lesser, but galling scourge of the law, and give to their 
beck a hound-like pack of catchpoles and bum-bailiffs- 
tenfold greater rogues than the culprits they hunt down ! 
My readers will excuse this sudden warmth, which I 
confess is unbecoming of a grave historian ; but I have a 
mortal antipathy to catchpoles, bum-bailiffs, and little great 

The ancient magistrates of this city corresponded with 
those of the present time no less in form, magnitude, and 
intellect, than in prerogative and privilege. The burgo- 
masters* like our aldermen, were generally chosen by 
weight; and not only the weight of the body, but likewise 
the weight of the head. It is a maxim practically observed 
in all honest, plain thinking, regular cities, that an alder- 
man should be fat and the wisdom of this can be proved 
to a certainty. That the body is in some measure an 
image of the mind, or rather that the mind is moulded to 
the body, like melted lead to the clay in which it is cast, 
has been insisted on by many men of science, who have 
made human nature their peculiar study. For as a learned 
gentleman of our own city observes, " there is a constant 
relation between the moral character of all intelligent crea- 
tures, and their physical constitution between their habits 
and the structure of their bodies." Thus we see, that a 
lean, spare, diminutive body, is generally accompanied by 
a petulant, restless, meddling mind. Either the mind 
wears down the body by its continual motion ; or else the 
body, not affording the mind sufficient house-room, keeps 
it continually in a state of fretfulness, tossing and worry- 


ing about, from the uneasiness of its situation. Whereas 
your round, sleek, fat* unwieldy periphery is ever attend- 
ed by a mind like itself, tranquil, torpid, and at ease ; and 
we may always observe, that your well fed, robustious 
burghers are in general very tenacious of their ease and 
comfort ; being great enemies to noise, discord, and dis- 
turbance : and surely none are more likely to study the 
public tranquillity than those who are so careful of their 
own. Who ever hears of fat men heading a riot, or herd- 
ing together in turbulent mobs? No no it is your lean, 
hungry men, who are continually worrying society, and 
setting the whole community by the ears. 

The divine Plato, whose doctrines are not sufficiently 
attended to by philosophers of the present age, allows to 
every man three souls : one immortal and rational, seated 
in the brain, that it may overlook and regulate the body 
a second consisting of the surly and irascible passions, 
which, like belligerent powers, lie encamped around the 
heart a third mortal and sensual, destitute of reason, 
gross and brutal in its propensities, and enchained in the 
belly, that it may not disturb the divine soul, by its rave- 
nous bowlings. Now, according to this excellent theory, 
what can be more clear, than that your fat alderman is 
most likely to have the most regular and well conditioned 
mind. His head is like a huge, spherical chamber, con- 
taining a prodigious mass of soft brains, whereon the ra- 
tional soul lies softly and snugly couched, as on a feather 
bed ; and the eyes, which are the windows of the bed- 
chamber, are usually half closed, that its slumberings may 
not be disturbed by external objects. A mind thus com- 
fortably lodged, and protected from disturbance, is mani- 
festly most likely to perform its functions with regularity 
and ease. By dint of good feeding, moreover, the mor- 
tal and malignant soul, which is confined in the belly ; and 
which, by its raging and roaring, puts the irritable soul in 
the neighbourhood of the heart in an intolerable passion, 

NEW-YORK, 103 

and thus renders men crusty and quarrelsome when hungry 
is completely pacified, silenced, an/l put to rest : where- 
upon a host of honest good-fellow qualities, and kind- 
hearted affections, which had lain perdue, slyly peeping 
out of the loop-holes of the heart, finding this Cerberus 
asleep, do pluck up their spirits, turn out one and all in 
their holyday suits, and gambol up and down the dia- 
phragm disposing their possessor to laughter, good- 
humour, and a thousand friendly offices towards his fellow 

As a board of magistrates, formed on this model, think 
but very little, they are the less likely to differ and wrangle 
about favourite opinions; and as they generally transact 
business upon a hearty dinner, they are naturally disposed 
to be lenient and indulgent in the administration of their 
duties. Charlemagne was conscious of this, and therefore 
(a pitiful measure, for which I can never forgive him) 
ordered in his cartularies, that no judge should hold a 
court of justice, except in the morning, on an empty sto- 
mach. A rule which, I warrant, bore hard upon all the 
poor culprits in his kingdom. The more enlightened and 
humane generation of the present day, have taken an op- 
posite course, and have so managed, that the aldermen 
are the best fed men in the community; feasting lustily 
on the fat things of the land, and gorging so heartily oys- 
ters and turtles, that in process of time they acquire the 
activity of the one, and the form, the waddle, and the 
green fat of the other. The consequence is, as I have 
just said ; these luxurious feastings do produce such a dul- 
cet equanimity and repose of the soul, rational and irra- 
tional, that their transactions are proverbial for unvarying 
monotony; and the profound laws, which they enact in their 
dozing moments, amid the labours of digestion, are quietly 
suffered to remain as dead letters, and never enforced, when 
awake. In a word, your fair round-bellied burgomaster, 
like a full fed mastiff dozes quietly at the house-door, al- 


ways at home, and always at hand to watch over its safety : 
but as to electing a lean, meddling candidate to the office, 
as has now and then been done, I would as lief put a grey- 
hound to watch the house, or a race-horse to drag an ox- 

The burgomasters then, as I have already mentioned, 
were wisely chosen by weight, and the schepens, or assist- 
ant aldermen, were appointed to attend upon them, and 
help them to eat ; but the latter, in the course of time, when 
they had been fed and fattened into sufficient bulk of body 
and drowsiness of brain, became very eligible candidates 
for the burgomasters' chair ; have fairly eaten themselves 
into office, as a mouse eats his way into a comfortable 
lodgement in a goodly blue-nosed, skimm'd milk, New~ 
England cheese. 

Nothing could equal the profound deliberations that 
took place between the renowned Wouter, and these his 
worthy compeers, unless it be the sage divans of some of 
our modern corporations. They would sit for hours smok- 
ing and dozing over public affairs, without speaking a word 
to interrupt that perfect stillness, so necessary to deep re- 
flection. Under the sober sway of Wouter Van Twiller 
and these his worthy coadjutors, the infant settlement 
waxed vigorous apace, gradually emerging from the 
swamps and forests, and exhibiting that mingled appear*- 
ance of town and country, customary in new cities, and 
which at this day may be witnessed in the city of Wash- 
ington ; that immense metropolis, which makes so glori- 
ous ail appearance on paper. 

It was a pleasing sight in those times, to behold the 
honest burgher, like a patriarch of yore, seated on the 
bench at- the door of his white-washed house, under the 
shade of some gigantic sycamore, or overhanging willow. 
Here would he smoke his pipe of a sultry afternoon, en- 
joying the soft southern breeze, and listening with silent 
gratulation to the clucking of his hens, the cackling of his 

NEW-YORK. 105 

geese, and the sonorous grunting of his swine ; that com- 
bination of farm-yard melody, which may truly be said to 
have a silver sound, inasmuch as it conveys a certain as- 
surance of profitable marketing. 

The modern spectator, who wanders through the streets 
of this populous city, can scarcely form an idea of the dif- 
ferent appearance they presented in the primitive days of 
the Doubter. The busy hum of multitudes, the shouts of 
revelry, the rumbling equipages of fashion, the rattling of 
accursed carts, and all the spirit-grieving sounds of brawl- 
ing commerce, were unknown in the settlement of New- 
Amsterdam. The grass grew quietly in the highways; 
the bleating sheep and frolicksome calves sported about 
the verdant ridge where now the Broadway loungers take 
their morning stroll; the cunning fox or ravenous wolf 
skulked in the woods where now are to be seen the dens 
of Gomez and his righteous fraternity of money-brokers ; 
and flocks of vociferous geese cackled about the fields 
where now the great Tammany wigwam and the patriotic 
tavern of Martling echo with the wranglings of the mob. 

In these good times did a true and enviable equality of 
rank and property prevail, equally removed from the ar- 
rogance of wealth, and the servility and heart-burnings of 
repining poverty ; and what in my mind is still more con- 
ducive to tranquillity and harmony among friends, a happy 
equality of intellect was likewise to be seen. The minds 
of the good burghers of New Amsterdam seemed all to 
have been cast in one mould, and to be those honest, blunt 
sort of minds, which, like certain manufactures, are made 
by the gross, and considered as exceedingly good for com- 
mon use. 

Thus it happens that your true dull minds are generally 
preferred for public employ, and especially promoted to 
city honours ; your keen intellects, like razors, being con- 
sidered too sharp for common service. I know that it is 
common to rail at the unequal .distribution .of riches .as the 



great source of jealousies, broils, and heart-breakings ; 
whereas for my part, 1 verily believe it is the sad inequa- 
lity of intellect that prevails, that embroils communities 
more than any thing else ; and I have remarked that your 
knowing people, who are so much wiser than any body 
else, are eternally keeping society in a ferment. Happily 
for New- Amsterdam nothing of the kind was known within 
its walls the very words of learning, education, taste, and 
talents, were unheard of a bright genius was an animal 
unknown, a blue-stocking lady would have been regarded 
with as much wonder as a horned frog or a fiery dragon. 
No man in fact seemed to know more than his neighbour, 
nor any man to know much more than an honest man 
ought to know, who has nobody's business to mind but his 
own ; the parson and the council clerk were the only men 
that could read in the community, and the sage Van Twil- 
ler always signed his name with a cross. 

Thrice happy and ever to be envied little Burgh ! exist- 
ing in all the security of harmless insignificance unnoticed 
and unenvied by the world, without ambition, without vain- 
glory, without riches, without learning, and all their train of 
carking cares ; and as of yore, in the better days of man, 
the deities were wont to visit him on earth, and bless his 
rural habitations ; so we are told, in the sylvan days of 
New- Amsterdam, the good St. Nicholas would often make 
his appearance, in his beloved city, of a holyday afternoon, 
riding jollily among the tree-tops, or over the roofs of the 
houses, now and then drawing forth magnificent presents 
from his breeches pockets, and dropping them down the 
chimneys of his favourites. Whereas in these degenerate 
days of iron and brass he never shows us the light of his 
countenance, nor ever visits us, save one night in the year; 
when he rattles down the chimneys of the descendants of 
the patriarchs, confining his presents merely to the chil- 
dren, in token of the degeneracy of the parents. 

Such are the comfortable and thriving effects of a fat 

NEW-YORK. 107 

government The province of the New Netherlands, des- 
titute of wealth, possessed a sweet tranquillity, that wealth 
could never purchase. It seemed indeed as if old Saturn 
had again commenced his reign, and renewed the days of 
primeval simplicity. For the golden age, says Ovid, was 
totally destitute of gold, and for that very reason was called 
the golden age ; that is, the happy and fortunate age 
because the evils produced by the precious metals, such as 
avarice, covetousness, theft, rapine, usury, banking, note- 
shaving, lottery-insuring, and the whole catalogue of 
crimes and grievances, were then unknown. In the iron 
age there was abundance of gold ; on that very account it 
was called the iron age, because of the hardships, the la- 
bours, the dissensions, and the wars, occasioned by the 
thirst of gold. 

The genial days of Wouter Van Twiller, therefore, 
may truly be termed the golden age of our city. There 
were neither public commotions, nor private quarrels; 
neither parties, nor sects, nor schisms; neither prosecu- 
tions, nor trials, nor punishments ; nor were there coun- 
sellors, attorneys, catchpoles, or hangmen. Every man 
attended to what little business he was lucky enough to 
have, or neglected it if he pleased, without asking the opi- 
nion of his neighbour. In those days nobody meddled 
with concerns above his comprehension, nor thrust his 
nose into other people's affairs ; nor neglected to correct 
his own conduct, and reform his own character, in his 
zeal to pull-to pieces the characters of others; but in a 
word, every respectable citizen eat when he was not 
hungry, drank when he was not thirsty, and went regu- 
larly to bed when the sun set and the fowls went to roost, 
whether he were sleepy or not; all which tended so re- 
markably to the population of the settlement, that I am 
told every dutiful wife throughout New- Amsterdam, made 
a point of always enriching her husband with at least one 
child a year, and very often a brace : this superabundance 


of good things clearly constituting the true luxury of life, 
according to the favourite Dutch maxim, that " more than 
enough constitutes a feast." Every thing therefore went 
on exactly as it should do, and in the usual words em*- 
ployed by historians to express the welfare of a country, 
" the profoundest tranquillity and repose reigned through- 
out the province." 


the town of New -Amsterdam arose out of mud, and came to 
be marvellously polished and polite-*-together with a picture of 
our great great Grandfathers* 

MANIFOLD are the tastes and dispositions of the 
ened literati, who turn over the pages of history. Some 
there be whose hearts are brimful of the yeast of courage, 
and whose bosoms do work, and swell, and foam, with 
untried valour, like a barrel of new cider, or a train*band 
captain, fresh from under the hands of his tailor. This 
doughty class of readers can be satisfied with nothing but 
bloody battles, and horrible encounters; they must be 
continually storming forts, sacking cities, springing mines* 
marching up to the muzzles of cannon, charging bayonet 
through every page, and revelling in gunpowder and car- 
nage. Others, who are of a less martial, but equally ar- 
dent imagination, and who, withal, are a little given to the 
marvellous, will dwell with wondrous satisfaction on de- 
scriptions of prodigies, unheard of events, hair-breadth 
escapes, hardy adventures, and all those astonishing nar- 
rations, that just amble along the boundary line of possi- 
bility. A third class, who, not to speak slightly of them, 
are of a lighter turn, and skim over the records of past 
times, as they do over the edifying pages of a novel* 

NEW. YORK. 109 

merely for relaxation and innocent amusement ; do singu* 
larly delight in treasons, executions, Sabine rapes, Tarquin 
outrages, conflagrations, murders, and all the other cata- 
logue of hideous crimes, that like Cayenne in cookery, do 
give a pungency and flavour to the dull detail of history ; 
while a fourth class, of more philosophic habits, do dili- 
gently pore over the musty chronicles of time, to investi- 
gate the operations of the human mind, and watch the 
gradual changes in men and manners, effected by the 
progress of knowledge, the vicissitudes of events, or the 
influence of situation* 

If the three first classes find but little wherewithal to 
solace themselves in the tranquil reign of Wouter Van 
Twiller, I entreat them to exert their patience for awhile, 
and bear with the tedious picture of happiness, prosperity > 
and peace, which my duty as a faithful historian obliges 
me to draw; and I promise them, that as soon as I can 
possibly light upon any thing horrible, uncommon, or im- 
possible, it shall go hard, but I will make it afford them 
entertainment. This being premised, I turn with great 
complacency to the fourth class of my readers, who are 
men, or, if possible, women after my own heart ; grave, 
philosophical, and investigating ; fond of analyzing cha- 
racters, of taking a start from first causes, and so hunting 
a nation down, through all the mazes of innovation and 
improvement. Such will naturally be anxious to witness 
the first developement of the newly hatched colony, and 
the primitive manners and customs, prevalent among its 
inhabitants, during the halcyon reign of Van Twiller or 
the Doubter. 

I will not grieve their patience, however, by describing 
minutely the increase and improvement of New- Amster- 
dam. Their own imaginations will doubtless present to 
them the good burghers, like so many pains-taking and 
persevering beavers, slowly and surely pursuing their la- 
bours ; they will behold the prosperous transformation 


from the rude log hut to the stately Dutch mansion, with 
brick front, glazed windows, and tiled roof; from the 
tangled thicket to the luxuriant cabbage-garden ; and from 
the skulking Indian to the ponderous burgomaster. In a 
word, they will picture to themselves the steady, silent, 
and undeviating march to prosperity, incident to a city 
destitute of pride or ambition, cherished by a fat govern- 
ment, and whose citizens do nothing in a hurry. 

The sage council, as has been mentioned in a preceding 
chapter, not being able to determine upon any plan for 
the building of their city ; the cows, in a laudable fit of 
patriotism, took it under their particular charge, and as 
they went to and from pasture, established paths through 
the bushes, on each side of which the good folks built 
their houses ; which is one cause of the rambling and pic- 
turesque turns and labyrinths, which distinguish certain 
streets of New- York at this very day. 

Some, it must be noted, who were strenuous partizans 
of Mynheer Ten Breeches, (or Ten Broeck,) vexed that 
his plan of digging canals was not adopted, made a com- 
promise with their inclinations, by establishing themselves 
on the margins of those creeks and inlets, which mean- 
dered through various parts of the ground laid put for im- 
provement. To these may be particularly ascribed the 
first settlement of Broad-street ; which originally was built 
along a creek, that ran up, to what at present is called 
Wall-rstreet. The lower part soon became very busy and 
populous; and a ferry-house * was in process of time 
established at the head of it; being at that day called 
" the head of inland navigation." 

The disciples of Mynheer Tough Breeches, on the 

* This house has been several times repaired, and at present is a 
small yellow brick house, No. 23, Broad-street, with the gable-end to 
the street > surmounted with an iron rod, on which, until within three 
or four years, a little iron ferry-boat officiated as weather-cock* 


other hand, no less enterprising, and more industrious 
than their rivals, stationed themselves along the shore of 
the river, and laboured, with unexampled perseverance, 
in making little docks and dykes, from which originated 
that multitude of mud traps with which this city is fringed. 
To these docks would the old burghers repair, just at those 
hours when the falling tide had left the beach uncovered, 
that they might snuff up the fragrant effluvia of mud and 
mire ; which they observed had a truly wholesome smell, 
and reminded them of the canals of Holland. To the in- 
defatigable labours, and praiseworthy example of this lat- 
ter class of projectors, are we indebted for the acres of 
artificial ground, on which several of our streets in the vi- 
cinity of the rivers are built; and which, if we may credit 
the assertions of several learned physicians of this city, 
have been very efficacious in producing the yellow fever. 

The houses of the higher class were generally construc- 
ted of wood, excepting the gable-end, which was of small 
black and yellow Dutch bricks, and always faced on the 
street ; as our ancestors, like their descendants, were very 
much given to outward show, and were noted for putting 
the best leg foremost. The house was always furnished 
with abundance of large doors and small windows on every 
floor ; the date of its erection was curiously designated by 
iron figures on the front; and on the top of the roof was 
perched a fierce little weather-cock, to let the family into 
the important secreit, which way the wind blew. These, 
like the weather-cocks on the tops of our steeples, pointed 
so many different ways, that every man could have a wind 
to his mind; and you would have thought old ./Bolus had 
set all his bags of wind adrift, pell-mell, to gambol about 
this windy metropolis ; the most staunch and loyal citizens, 
however, always went according to the weather-cock on 
the top of the governor's house, which was certainly the 
most correct, as he had a trusty servant employed every 


morning to climb up and point it whichever way the wind 

In those good days of simplicity and sunshine, a passion 
for cleanliness was the leading principle in domestic eco- 
nomy, and the universal test of an able housewife: a 
character which formed the utmost ambition of our unen- 
lightened grandmothers. The front door was never opened 
except on marriages, funerals, new-year's-days, the festival 
of St. Nicholas, or some such great occasion. It was 
ornamented ttith a gorgeous brass knocker, curiously 
wrought, sometimes into the device of a dog, and some- 
times of a lion's head ; and was daily burnished with such 
religious zeal, that it was oft times worn out by the very 
precautions taken for its preservation. The whole house 
was constantly in a state of inundation, under the discip- 
line of mops and brooms, and scrubbing-brushes; and the 
good housewives of those days were a kind of amphibious 
animal, delighting exceedingly to be dabbling in water 
insomuch, that an historian of the day gravely tells us, that 
many of his townswomen grew to have webbed fingers 
like unto a duck ; and some of them, he had little doubt, 
could the matter be examined into, would be found to 
have the tails of mermaids ; but this I look upon to be a 
mere sport of fancy, or what is worse, a wilful misrepre- 

The grand parlour was the sanctum sanctorum, where 
the passion for cleaning was indulged without control. In 
this sacred apartment no one was permitted to enter, ex- 
cepting the mistress and her confidential maid, who visited 
it once a week ; for the purpose of giving it a thorough 
cleaning, and putting things to rights ; always taking the 
precaution of leaving their shoes at the door, and entering 
devoutly on their stocking feet. After scrubbing the floor, 
sprinkling it with fine white sand, which was curiously 
stroked into angles and curves, and rhomboids, with a 

NE W.YORK. us 

broom after washing the windows, rubbing and polish- 
ing the furniture, and putting a new bunch of evergreens 
in the fire-place ; the window-shutters were again closed 
to keep out the flies, and the room carefully locked up 
until the revolution of time brought round the weekly 
cleaning day. 

As to the family, they always entered in at the gate* 
and most generally lived in the kitchen. To have seen q, 
numerous household assembled around the fire, one would 
have imagined that he was transported back to those hap<- 
py days of primeval simplicity, which float before our ima- 
ginations like golden visions. The fire-places were of a 
truly patriarchal magnitude, where the whole family, old 
and young, master and servant, black and white, nay, even 
the very cat and dog enjoyed a community of privilege, 
and had each a prescriptive right to a corner. Here the 
old burgher would sit in perfect silence, puffing his pipe, 
looking in the fire with half shut eyes, and thinking of no- 
thing for hours together ; the goede vrouw on the oppo- 
site side would employ herself diligently in spinning her 
yarn, or knitting stockings. The young folks would crowd 
around the hearth, listening with breathless attention to 
some old crone of a negro, who was the oracle of the fa- 
mily ; and who, perched like a raven in a corner of the 
chimney, would croak forth for a long winter afternoon 
a string of incredible stories about New-England witches; 
grisly ghosts ; horses without heads ; and hairbreadth es- 
capes, and bloody encounters among the Indians. 

In those happy days a well regulated family always rose 
with the dawn, dined at eleven, and went to bed at sun 
down. Dinner was invariably a private meal, and the fat 
,old burghers showed incontestable symptoms pf disappro- 
bation and uneasiness, at being surprised by a visit from 
a neighbour on such occasions. But though our worthy 
Ancestors were thus singularly averse to giving dimmers, 



yet they kept up the social bands of intimacy by occasion- 
al banquettings, called tea parties. 

As this is the first introduction of those delectable or- 
gies, which have since become so fashionable in this city, 
I am conscious my fair readers will be very curious to re- 
ceive information on the subject. Sorry am I, that there 
will be but little in my description calculated to excite their 
admiration. I can neither delight them with accounts of 
suffocating crowds, no*- brilliant drawing-rooms, nor tower- 
ing feathers, nor sparkling diamonds, nor immeasurable 
trains. I can detail no choice anecdotes of scandal, for 
in those primitive times the simple folk wtere either too stu- 
pid, or too good natured to pull each other's characters to 
pieces: nor can I furnish any whimsical anecdotes of brag; 
how one lady cheated, or another bounced into a passion; 
for as yet there was no junto of dulcet old dowagers, who 
met to win each other's money, and lose their own tempers 
at a card-table. 

These fashionable parties were generally consigned to 
the higher classes, or noblesse, that is to say, such as kept 
their own cows, and drove their own waggons. The com- 
pany commonly assembled at three o'clock, and went a- 
way about six, unless it was in winter time, when the fa- 
shionable hours were a little earlier, that the ladies might 
get home before dark. I do not find that they ever treat- 
ed their company to iced creams, jellies, or syllabubs : or 
regaled them with musty almonds, mouldy raisins, or sour 
oranges, as is often done in the present age of refinement. 
Our ancestors were fottd of more sturdy, substantial fere. 
The tea-table was crowned with a huge earthen dish, well 
stored with slices of fat pork, fried brown, cut up into mor- 
sels, and swimming in gravy. The company being seated 
around the genial board, and each furnished with a fork, 
evinced their dexterity in launching at the fattest pieces 
in this mighty dish : in much the same manner as sailors 

NEW- YORK. 115 

harpoon porpoises at sea 3 or our Indians spear salmon in 
the lakes. Sometimes the table was graced with immense 
apple-pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; 
but it was always sure to boast an enormous dish of balls 
of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat, and called dough 
nuts, or oly koeks : a delicious kind of cake, at present 
scarce known in this city, excepting in genuine Dutch fa- 

The tea was served out of a majestic delf tearpot, orna- 
mented with paintings of fat little Dutch shepherds and 
shepherdesses, tending pigs with boats sailing in the air, 
and houses built in the clouds, and sundry other ingeni- 
ous Dutch fantasies, The beaux distinguished themselves 
by their adroitness in replenishing this pot, from a huge 
copper tea-kettle, which would have made the pigmy ma- 
caronies of these degenerate days sweat, merely to look at 
it. To sweeten the beverage, a lump of sugar was laid 
beside each cup and the company alternately nibbled and 
sipped with great decorum, until an improvement was in- 
troduced by a shrewd and economic old lady, which was, 
to suspend a large lump directly over the tea-table, by a 
string from the ceiling, so that it could be swung from 
mouth to mouth an ingenious expedient, which is still 
kept up by some families in Albany ; but which prevails 
without exception in Communipaw, Bergen, Flat-Bush, 
and all our uncontaminated Dutch villages. 

At these primitive tea-parties the utmost propriety and 
dignity of deportment prevailed. No flirting nor coquet- 
tingno gambling of old ladies, nor hoyden chattering 
and romping of young ones no self-satisfied struttings of 
wealthy gentlemen, with their brains in their pockets; nor 
amusing conceits, and monkey divertisements of smart 
young gentlemen, with no brains at all. On the contrary, 
the young ladies seated themselves demurely in their rush- 
bottomed chairs, and knit their own woollen stockings; 
nor ever opened their lips, excepting to say yah Mynheer, 


or yah ya Vrouw, to any question that was asked thetn } 
behaving, in all things, like decent, well-educated dam- 
sels. As to the gentlemen, each of them tranquilly smoked 
his pipe, and seemed lost in contemplation of the blue and 
white tiles, with which the fire places were decorated $ 
wherein sundry passages of scripture were piously pour- 
tray ed : Tobit and his dog figured to great advantage ; 
Haman swung conspicuously on his gibbet; and Jonah 
appeared :inost manfully bouncing out of the whale, like 
Harlequin through a barrel of fire. 

The parties broke up without noise and without confu- 
sion. They were carried home by their own carriages, 
that is to say, by the vehicles nature had provided them, 
excepting such of the wealthy, as could afford to keep a 
waggon. The gentlemen gallantly attended their fair ones 
to their respective abodes, and took leave of them with a 
hearty smack at the door : which, as it was an established 
piece of etiquette, done in perfect simplicity and honesty 
of heart, occasioned no scandal at that time, nor should it 
at the present if our great grandfathers approved of the 
custom, it would argue a great want of reverence in their 
descendants to say a word against it* 


Containing further particulars of the Golden Age, and what con* 
stituted a Jlne Lady and Gentleman in the days of Walter the 

IN this dulcet period of my history, when the beaute- 
ous island of Manna-hata presented a scene, the very coun- 
terpart of those glowing pictures drawn of the golden reign 
of Saturn, there was, as I have before observed, a happy 
ignorance, an honest simplicity prevalent among its inha* 


bitaiits, which, were I even able to depict, would be but 
little understood by the degenerate age for which I am 
doomed to write. Even the female sex, those arch inno- 
vators upon the tranquillity, the honesty, and grey-beard 
customs of society, seemed for a while to conduct them- 
selves with incredible sobriety and comeliness, and indeed 
behaved almost as if they had not been sent into the world 
to bother mankind, baffle philosophy, and confound the 

Their hair untortured by the abominations of art, was 
scrupulously pomatumed back from their foreheads with 
a candle, and covered with a little cap of quilted calico, 
which fitted exactly to their heads. Their petticoats of 
linsey woolsey w r ere striped with a variety of gorgeous dyes, 
rivalling the many coloured robes of Iris though I must 
confess these gallant garments were rather short, scarce 
reaching below the knee; but then they made up in the 
number, which generally equalled that of the gentlemen's 
small-clothes ; and what is still more praise-worthy, they 
were all of their own manufacture of which circumstance, 
as may well be supposed, they were not a little vain. 

These were the honest days, in which every woman 
staid at home, read the Bible, and wore pockets aye, and 
that too of a goodly size, fashioned with patch-work into 
many curious devices, and ostentatiously worn on the out- 
side. These, in fact, were convenient receptacles, where 
all good housewives carefiilly stored away such things as 
they wished to have at hand ; by which means they often 
came to be incredibly crammed and I remember there 
Was a story current when I was a boy, that the lady of 
Wouter Van Twiller once had occasion to empty her right 
pocket in search of a wooden ladle, and the utensil was 
discovered lying among some rubbish in one corner ; but 
we must not give too much faith to all these stories, the 
anecdotes of these remote periods being very subject to 


Besides these notable pockets, they likewise wore scis- 
sors and pincushions suspended from their girdles by red 
ribbands, or among the more opulent and showy classes, 
by brass, and even silver chains indubitable tokens of 
thrifty housewives and industrious spinsters I cannot say 
much in vindication of the shortness of the petticoats ; it 
doubtless was introduced for the purpose of giving the 
stockings a chance to be seen, which were generally of 
blue worsted with magnificent red clocks or perhaps to 
display a well-turned ankle, and a neat though serviceable 
foot, set off' by a high-heeled leathern shoe, with a large 
and splendid silver buckle. Thus we find that the gentle 
sex in all ages, have shown the same disposition to infringe 
a little upon the laws of decorum, in order to betray a 
lurking beauty, or gratify an innocent love of finery. 

From the sketch here given, it will be seen, that our 
good grandmothers differed considerably in their ideas of 
a fine figure, from their scantily dressed descendants of 
the present day. A fine lady, in those times, waddled un- 
der more clothes, even on a fair summer's day, than would 
have clad the whole bevy of a modern ball room. Nor 
were they the less admired by the gentlemen in conse- 
quence thereof. On the contrary, the greatness of a lover's 
passion seemed to increase in proportion to the magnitude 
of its object and a voluminous damsel, arrayed in a dozen 
of petticoats, was declared by a low Dutch sonnetteer of 
the province, to be radiant as a sunflower, and luxuriant 
as a full-blown cabbage. Certain it is, that in those days, 
the heart of a lover could not contain more than one lady 
at a time ; whereas the heart of a modern gallant has often 
room enough to accommodate half a dozen ; the reason of 
which 1 conclude to be, that either the hearts of the gen- 
tlemen have grown larger, or the persons of the ladies 
smaller; this however is a question for physiologists to 

But there was a secret charm in these petticoats, which 

NEW. YORK. 119 

no doubt entered into the consideration of the prudent 
gallants. The wardrobe of a lady was in those days her 
only fortune ; and she who had a good stock of petticoats 
and stockings, was as absolutely an heiress as is a Kamts- 
chatka damsel with a store of bear-skins, or a Lapland 
belle with a plenty of rein-deer. The ladies, therefore, 
were very anxious to display these powerful attractions to 
the greatest advantage ; and the best rooms in the house, 
instead of being adorned with caricatures of dame nature* 
in water colours and needle-work, were always hung round 
with abundance of homespun garments, the manufacture 
and the property of the females a piece of laudable os- 
tentation that still prevails among the heiresses of our 
Dutch villages. Such were the beauteous belles of the 
ancient city of New- Amsterdam, rivalling in primeval 
simplicity of manners the renowned and courtly dames, so 
loftily sung by Dan Homer who tells us that the prin- 
cess Nausicaa washed the family linen, and the fair Pene- 
lope wove her own petticoats. 

The gentlemen, in fact, who figured in the circles of 
the gay world in these ancient times, corresponded, in 
most particulars, with the beauteous damsels whose smiles 
they were ambitious to deserve. True it is, their merits 
would make but a very inconsiderable impression upon the 
heart of a modern fair ; they neither drove their curricles 
nor sported their tandems, for as yet those gaudy vehicles 
were not even dreamt of; neither did they distinguish 
themselves by their brilliancy at the table, and their con*- 
sequent rencontres with watchmen; for our forefathers 
were of too pacific a disposition to need those guardians of 
the night, every soul throughout the town being in full 
snore before nine o'clock. Neither did they establish their 
claims to gentility at the expense of their tailors, for as yet 
those offenders against the pockets of society, and the tran- 
quillity of all aspiring young gentlemen, were unknown in 
New- Amsterdam ; every good housewife made the clothes 


of her husband and family, and even the goede vrouw of 
Van Twiller himself, thought it no disparagement to cut 
out her husband's linsey woolsey galligaskins. 

Not but what there were some two or three youngsters 
who manifested the first dawnings of what is called fire 
and spirit. Who held all labour in contempt; skulked 
about docks and market-places ; loitered in the sunshine ; 
squandered what little money they could procure, at hustle*- 
cap and chuck-farthing ; swore, boxed, fought cocks, and 
raced their neighbours' horses in short, who promised to 
be the wonder, the talk, and abomination of the town, had 
not their stylish career been unfortunately cut short, by an 
affair of honour with a whipping-post. 

Far other, however, was the truly fashionable gentleman 
of those days his dress, which served for both morning 
and evening, street and drawing room, was a linsey wool* 
sey coat, made, perhaps, by the fair hands of the mistress 
of his affections, and gallantly bedecked with abundance 
of large brass buttons. Half a score of breeches height- 
ened the proportions of his figure his shoes were deco- 
rated by enormous copper buckles a low crowned broad 
brimmed hat overshadowed his burley visage, and his hair 
dangled down his back in a prodigious queue of eel skin. 

Thus equipped, he would manfully sally forth with pipe 
in mouth to besiege some fair damsel's obdurate heart 
not such a pipe, good reader, as that which Acis did sweetly 
tune in praise of his Galatea, but one of true delft manu- 
facture, and furnished with a charge of fragrant Cow-pen 
tobacco. With this would he resolutely set himself down 
before the fortress, and rarely failed, in the process of time, 
to smoke the fair enemy into a surrender, upon honour*- 
able terms. 

Such was the happy reign of Wouter Van Twiller, ce- 
lebrated in many a long-forgotten song as the real golden 
age, the rest being nothing but counterfeit copper-washed 
xx>in. In that delightful period, a sweet and holy calm 

NEW-YORK. 1^21 

reigned over the whole province. The burgomaster 
smoked his pipe in peace the substantial solace of his 
domestic cares, after her daily toils were done, sat soberly 
at the door, with her arms crossed over her apron of snowy 
white, without being insulted by ribald street-walkers or 
vagabond boys those unlucky urchins who do so infest 
our streets, displaying under the roses of youth, the thorns 
and briers of iniquity. Then it was that the lover with ten 
breeches, and the damsel with petticoats of half a score, 
indulged in all the innocent endearments of virtuous love, 
without fear and without reproach, for what had that vir- 
tue to fear, which was defended by a shield of good linsey 
woolseys, equal at least to the seven bull-hides of the in* 
vincible Ajax ? 

Ah blissful, and never to be forgotten age ! when every 
thing was better than it has ever been since, or ever will be 
again when Buttermilk channel was quite dry at low water 
when the shad in the Hudson were all salmon: and when 
the moon shone with a pure and resplendent whiteness, 
instead of that melancholy yellow light, which is the con- 
sequence of her sickening at the abominations she every 
night witnesses in this degenerate city 1 

Happy would it have been for New- Amsterdam could 
it always have existed in this state of blissful ignorance and 
lowly simplicity; but, alas ! the days of childhood are too 
sweet to last ! Cities, like men, grow out of them in time, 
and are doomed alike to grow into the bustle, the cares, 
and miseries of the world. Let no man congratulate him- 
self, when he beholds the child of his bosom, or the city of 
his birth, increasing in magnitude and importance let the 
history of his own life teach him the dangers of the one, 
and this history of Manna-hata convince him of the cala? 
jnities of the other. 




In which the reader is beguiled into a delectable walk, which ends 
very differently from what it commenced. 

IN the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred 
and four, on a fine afternoon, in the glowing month of 
September, I took my customary walk upon the battery, 
which is at once the pride and bulwark of this ancient and 
impregnable city of New- York. I remember well the sea- 
son, for it immediately preceded that remarkably cold 
winter, in which our sagacious corporation, in a freak of 
economical philanthropy, pulled to pieces, at an expense 
of several hundred dollars, the wooden ramparts, which 
had cost them several thousand ; and distributed the rotten 
fragments, which were worth considerably less than nothing, 
among the shivering poor of the city. Never, since the fall 
of the walls of Jericho, or the heaven-built battlements of 
Troy, had there been known such a demolition nor did it 
go unpunished ; multitudes were blinded, in vain attempts 
to smoke themselves warm, with this charitable substitute 
for fire-wood ; and an epidemic complaint of sore eyes was 
moreover produced, which has since recurred every win- 
ter, particularly among those who undertake to burn rot- 
ten logs who warm themselves with the charity of others 
or who use patent chimneys. 

On the year and month just designated, did I take my 
accustomed walk of meditation, on that same battery, 
which, though at present no battery, furnishes the most 
delightful walk, and commands the noblest prospect in 
the whole known world. The ground on which I trod 
was hallowed by recollections of the past, and as I slowly 
wandered through the long alley of poplars, which, like so 
many birch brooms standing on end, diffused a melancholy 

NEW-YORK. 123 

and lugubrious shade, my imagination drew a contrast 
between the surrounding scenery, and what it was in the 
classic Says of our forefathers. Where the government 
house by name, but the custom-house by occupation, 
proudly reared its brick walls and wooden pillars, there 
whilome stood the low but substantial red-tiled mansion 
of the renowned Wouter Van Twiller. Around it the 
mighty bulwarks of fort Amsterdam frowned defiance to 
every absent foe ; but, like many a whiskered warrior and 
gallant militia captain, confined their martial deeds to 
frowns alone ; alas ! those threatening bulwarks had long 
since been sapped by time, and like the walls of Carthage, 
presented no traces to the inquiring eye of the antiquarian. 
The mud breast-works had long been levelled with the 
earth, and their site converted into the green lawns and 
leafy alleys of the battery ; where the gay apprentice sport- 
ed his Sunday coat, and the laborious mechanic, relieved 
from the dirt and drudgery of the week, poured his weekly 
tale of love into the half-averted ear of the sentimental 
chambermaid. The capacious bay still presented the same 
expansive sheet of water, studded with islands, sprinkled 
with fishing boats, and bounded by shores of picturesque 
beauty. But the dark forests which once clothed these 
shores had been violated by the savage hand of cultivation, 
and their tangled mazes, and impenetrable thickets, had 
degenerated into teeming orchards and waving fields of 
grain. Even Governor's Island, once a smiling garden, 
appertaining to the sovereigns of the province, was now 
covered with fortifications, inclosing a tremendous block- 
house so that this once peaceful island resembled a fierce 
little warrior in a big cocked hat, breathing gunpowder 
and defiance to the world ! 

For some time did I indulge in this pensive train of 
thought ; contrasting in sober sadness, the present day 
with the hallowed years behind the mountains ; lamenting 
the melancholy progress of improvement, and praising the 


zeal, with which our worthy burghers endeavour to pre-* 
serve the wrecks of venerable customs, prejudices, and 
errors, from the overwhelming tide of modern innovation < 
when by degrees my ideas took a different turn, and I in- 
sensibly awaked to an enjoyment of the beauties around me. 
It was one of those rich autumnal days which heaven 
particularly bestows upon the beauteous island of Manna- 
hata and its vicinity not a floating cloud obscured the 
azure firmament the sun, rolling in glorious splendour 
through his ethereal course, seemed to expand his honest 
Dutch countenance into an unusual expression of bene- 
volence, as he smiled his evening salutation upon a city, 
which he Helights to visit with his most bounteous beams : 
the very winds seemed to hold in their breaths in mute at- 
tention, lest they should ruffle the tranquillity of the hour 
and the waveless bosom of the bay presented a polished 
mirror, in which Nature beheld herself and smiled. The 
standard of our city, which, like a choice handkerchief, is 
reserved for days of gala, hung motionless on the flag-staff, 
which forms the handle to a gigantic churn ; and even the 
tremulous leaves of the poplar and the aspen, which, like 
the tongues of the immortal sex, are seldom still, now 
ceased to vibrate to the breath of heaven. Every thing 
seemed to acquiesce in the profound repose of nature. 
The formidable eighteen pounders slept in the embrazures 
of the wooden batteries, seemingly gathering fresh strength 
to fight the battles of their country on the next 4th of July 
the solitary drum on Governor's Island forgot to call 
the garrison to their shovels the evening gun had not yet 
sounded its signal, for all the regular, well meaning poul- 
try throughout the country, to go to roost ; and the fleet 
of canoes, at anchor between Gibbet-Island arid Commu- 
nipaw, slumbered on their rakes, and suffered the innocent 
oysters to lie for a while unmolested, in the soft mud of 
their native banks ! My own feelings sympathized with 
the contagious tranquillity, and I should infallibly have 


dozed upon one of those fragments of benches, which our 
benevolent magistrates have provided for the benefit of 
convalescent loungers, had not the extraordinary inconve- 
nience of the couch set all repose at defiance. 

In the midst of this soothing slumber of the soul, my 
attention was attracted to a black speck, peering above the 
western horizon, just in the rear of Bergen steeple gra- 
dually it augments and overhangs the would-be cities of 
Jersey, Harsimus, and Hoboken, which, like three jock- 
eys, are starting on the course of existence, and jostling 
each other at the commencement of the race. Now it 
skirts the long shore of ancient Pavonia, spreading its 
wide shadows from the high settlements of Weehawk quite 
to the lazaretto and quarantine, erected by the sagacity of 
our police, for the embarrassment of commercement now 
it climbs the serene vault of heaven, cloud rolling over 
cloud, like successive billows, shrouding the orb of day, 
darkening the vast expanse, and bearing thunder and hail, 
and tempest in its bosom. The earth seems agitated at 
the confusion of the heavens the late waveless mirror is 
lashed into furious waves, that roll their broken surges in 
hollow murmurs to the shore the oyster-boats, that erst 
sported in the placid vicinity of Gibbet-Island, now hurry 
affrighted to the shore the late dignified, unbending pop- 
lar, writhes and twists before the merciless blast descend- 
ing torrents of drenching rain and sounding hail deluge the 
battery-walk, the gates are thronged by 'prentices, servant 
maids, and little Frenchmen, with their pocket handker- 
chiefs over their hats, scampering from the storm the 
late beauteous prospect presents one scene of anarchy and 
wild uproar, as though old Chaos had resumed his reign, 
and was hurling back, into one vast turmoil, the conflict- 
ing elements of nature. Fancy to yourself, oh reader ! the 
awful combat sung by old Hesiod, of Jupiter 'and the Ti- 
tans fancy to yourself the long rebellowing artillery of 
heaven, streaming at the heads of the gigantic sons of 


earth. In short, fancy to yourself all that has ever been 
said or sung, of tempest, storm, and hurricane, and you 
will save me the trouble of describing it. 

Whether I fled from the fury of the storm, or remained 
boldly at my post, as our gallant train band captains, who 
march their soldiers through the rain without flinching 
are points which I leave to the conjecture of the reader. 
It is possible he may be a little perplexed also to know the 
reason why I introduced this most tremendous and unheard 
of tempest, to disturb the serenity of my work. On this 
latter point I will gratuitously instruct his ignorance. The 
panorama view of the battery was given, merely to gratify 
the reader with a correct description of that celebrated 
place, and the parts adjacent: secondly, the storm was 
played off, partly to give a little bustle and life to this 
tranquil part of my work, and to keep my drowsy readers 
from falling asleep ; and partly to serve as a preparation, 
or rather an overture, to the tempestuous times, that are 
about to assail the pacific province of Nieuw Nederlandts, 
and that overhang the slumbrous administration of the 
renowned Wouter Van Twiller. It is thus the experienced 
play-wright puts all the fiddles, the French horns, the 
kettle-drums and trumpets of his orchestra in requisition, 
to usher in one of those horrible and brimstone uproars, 
called melo-drames : and it is thus he discharges his thun- 
der, his lightning, his rosin and saltpetre, preparatory to 
the raising of a ghost, or the murdering of a hero. We 
will now proceed with our history. 

Whatever may be advanced by philosophers to the 
contrary, I am of opinion, that, as to nations, the old max- 
im, that " honesty is the best policy," is a sheer and ruin- 
ous mistake. It might have answered well enough in the 
honest times when it was made ; but in these degenerate 
days, if a nation pretends to rely merely upon the justice 
of its dealings, it will fare something like an honest man 
among thieves, who, unless he have something more than 

NEW-YORK. 127 

his honesty to depend upon, stands but a poor chance of 
profiting by his company. Such at least was the case with 
the guileless government of the New Netherlands ; which, 
like a worthy unsuspicious old burgher, quietly settled it- 
self down into the city of New- Amsterdam, as into a snug 
elbow chair, and fell into a comfortable nap ; while in the 
meantime its cunning neighbours stepped in and picked its 
pockets. Thus may we ascribe the commencement of all 
the woes of this great province, and its magnificent metro- 
polis, to the tranquil security, or to speak more accurate- 
ly, to the unfortunate honesty of its government. But 
as I dislike to begin an important part of my history to- 
wards the end of a chapter ; and as my readers, like my- 
self, must doubtless be exceedingly fatigued with the long 
walk we have taken, and the tempest we have sustained, 
I hold it meet we shut up the book, smoke a pipe, and 
having thus refreshed our spirits, take a fair start in the 
next chapter. 


Faithfully describing the ingenious people of Connecticut and 
thereabouts Showing, moreover, the true meaning of liberty of 
conscience, and a curious device among these sturdy barbarians, 
to keep up a harmony of intercourse, and promote population. 

THAT my readers may the more fully comprehend the 
extent of the calamity, at this very moment impending 
over the honest, unsuspecting province of Nieuw Neder- 
landts, and its dubious governor, it is necessary that I 
should give some account of a horde of strange barbarians, 
bordering upon the eastern frontier. 

Now so it came to pass, that many years previous to the 
time of which we are treating, the sage cabinet of England 


had adopted a certain national creed, a kind of public 
walk of faith, or rather a religious turnpike, in which every 
loyal subject was directed to travel to Zion taking care 
to pay the toll-gatherers by the way. 

Albeit a certain shrewd race of men, being very much 
given to indulge their own opinions, on all manner of sub- 
jects, (a propensity exceedingly obnoxious to your free go- 
vernments of Europe,) did most presumptuously dare to 
think for themselves in matters of religion, exercising what 
they considered a natural and unextinguishable right the 
liberty of conscience. 

As, however, they possessed that ingenuous habit of 
mind which always thinks aloud ; which in a manner rides 
cock-a-hoop on the tongue, and is for ever galloping into 
other people's ears ; it naturally followed that their liber- 
ty of conscience likewise implied liberty of speech^ which 
being freely indulged, soon put the country in a hubbub, 
and aroused the pious indignation of the vigilant fathers 
of the church. 

The usual methods were adopted to reclaim them, that 
in those days were considered so efficacious in bringing 
back stray sheep to the fold; that is to say, they were 
coaxed, they were admonished, they were menaced, they 
were buffeted line upon line, precept upon precept, lash 
upon lash, here a little and there a great deal, were ex- 
hausted without mercy, and without success ; until at 
length the worthy pastors of the church, wearied out by 
their unparalleled stubbornness, were driven in the excess 
of their tender mercy, to adopt the scripture text, and li- 
terally " heaped live embers on their heads." 

Nothing, however, could subdue that invincible spirit of 
independence which has ever distinguished this singular 
race of people ; so that rather than submit to such horri^ 
ble tyranny, they one and all embarked for the wilderness 
of America, where they might enjoy unmolested, the ines- 
timable luxury of talking. No sooner did they land on 

NEW-YORK. 129 

this loquacious soil, than as if they had caught the disease 
from the climate, they all lifted up their voices at once, 
and for the space of one whole year did keep up such a 
joyful clamour, that we are told they frightened every bird 
and beast out of the neighbourhood, and so completely 
dumb-founded certain fish, which abound on their coast, 
that they have been called dumb-Jish ever since. 

From this simple circumstance, unimportant as it may 
seem, did first originate that renowned privilege so loudly 
boasted of throughout this country which is so eloquent- 
ly exercised in newspapers, pamphlets, ward-meetings, pot- 
house committees, and congressional deliberations which 
establishes the right of talking without ideas and without 
information of misrepresenting public affairs of decry- 
ing public measures of aspersing great characters, and 
destroying little ones ; in short, that grand palladium of 
our country, the liberty of speech. 

The simple aborigines of the land for a while contem- 
plated these strange folk in utter astonishment ; but disco~ 
vering that they wielded harmless though noisy weapons, 
and were a lively, ingenious, good-humoured race of men, 
they became very friendly and sociable, and gave them the 
name of FanoHes, which in the Mais-Tchusaeg 5 (or Mas- 
sachusett) language signifies silent men & waggish appel- 
lation, since shortened into the familiar epithet of YAN- 
KEES, which they retain unto the present day. 

True it is, and my fidelity as an historian will not allow 
me to pass it over in silence, that the zeal of these good 
people, to maintain their rights and privileges unimpaired, 
did for a while betray them into errors, which it is easier 
to pardon than defend. Having served a regular appren- 
ticeship in the school of persecution, it behoved them to 
show that they had become proficients in the art. They 
accordingly employed their leisure hours in banishing, 
scourging, or hanging divers heretical papists, quakers ? 



and anabaptists, for daring to abuse the liberty of con- 
science ; which they now clearly proved to imply nothing 
more, than that every man should think as he pleased in 
matters of religion provided he thought right ; for other- 
wise it would be giving a latitude to damnable heresies. 
Now as they (the majority) were perfectly convinced, that 
they alone thought right, it consequently followed, that 
whoever thought different from them thought wrong ; and 
whoever thought wrong, and obstinately persisted in not 
being convinced and converted, was a flagrant violator of 
the inestimable liberty of conscience, and a corrupt and 
infectious member of the body politic, and deserved to be 
lopped off and cast into the fire. 

Now I'll warrant there are hosts of my readers ready at 
once to lift up their hands and eyes, with that virtuous in- 
dignation with which we always contemplate the faults and 
errors of our neighbours, and to exclaim at these well- 
meaning but mistaken people, for inflicting on others the 
injuries they had suffered themselves for indulging the 
preposterous idea of convincing the mind by tormenting 
the body, and establishing the doctrine of charity and for- 
bearance by intolerant persecution. But, in simple truth, 
what are we doing at this very day, and in this very en- 
lightened nation, but acting upon this very same principle, 
in our political controversies ? Have we not within but a 
few years released ourselves from the shackles of a govern- 
ment, which cruelly denied us the privilege of governing 
ourselves, and using in full latitude that invaluable mem- 
ber, the tongue ? And are we not at this very moment 
striving our best to tyrannize over the opinions, tie up the 
tongues, or ruin the fortunes of one another ? What are 
our great political societies, but mere political inquisitions? 
Our pot-house committees, but little tribunals of denun- 
ciation ? Our newspapers, but mere whipping-posts and 
pillories, where the unfortunate individuals are pelted with 

NEW-YORK. 131 

rotten eggs ? And our council of appointment, but a grand 
auto dafe, where culprits are annually sacrificed for their 
political heresies ? 

Where then is the difference in principle between our 
measures and those you are so ready to condemn among 
the people I am treating ? There is none ; the difference 
is merely circumstantial. Thus we denounce, instead of 
banishing we libel, instead of scourging we turn out of 
office, instead of hanging; and where they burnt an offen- 
der in proprid persona, we either tar and feather or burn 
him in effigy this political persecution being, some how 
or other, the grand palladium of our liberties, and an in- 
trovertible proof that this is a free country ! 

But notwithstanding the fervent zeal with which this 
holy war was prosecuted against the whole race of unbe- 
lievers, we do not find that the population of this new co- 
lony was in any ways hindered thereby ; on the contrary, 
they multiplied to a degree which would be incredible 
to any man unacquainted with the marvellous fecundity of 
this growing country. 

This amazing increase may indeed be partly ascribed to 
a singular custom prevalent among them, and which was 
probably borrowed from the ancient republic of Sparta ;* 
where we are told the young ladies, either from being 
great romps and hoydens, or else, like many modern he- 
roines, very fond of meddling with matters that did not 
appertain to their sex, used frequently to engage with the 
men, in wrestling, and other athletic exercises of the gym- 
nasium. The custom to which I allude was vulgarly known 
by the name of bundling a superstitious rite observed by 
the young people of both sexes, with which they usually 
terminated their festivities ; and which was kept up with 
religious strictness, by the more bigotted and vulgar part 
of the community. This ceremony was likewise, in those 
primitive times, considered as an indispensable prelimi- 
nary to matrimony; their courtships commencing where 


ours usually finish. By which means they acquired thai 
intimate acquaintance with each other's good qualities be- 
fore marriage, which has been pronounced by philosophers 
the sure basis of a happy union* Thus early did this 
cunning and ingenious people display a shrewdness at 
making a bargain, which has ever since distinguished them 
^ and a strict adherence to the good old vulgar maxim 
about " buying a pig in a poke." 

To this sagacious custom, therefore, do 1 chiefly attri- 
bute the unparalleled increase of the Yanokie or Yankee 
tribe ; for it is a certain fact, well authenticated by court 
records and parish registers, that wherever the practice of 
bundling prevailed, there was an amazing number of stur- 
dy brats annually born unto the state, without the license 
of the law, or the benefit of clergy ; and it is truly asto- 
nishing that the learned Malthus, in his treatise on popu- 
lation, has entirely overlooked this singular fact. Neither 
did the irregularity of their birth operate in the least to 
their disparagement. On the contrary, they grow up a 
long sided, raw boned, hardy race of whoreson whalers, 
wood-cutters, fishermen, and pedlars, and strapping corn- 
fed wenches ; who, by their united efforts, tended marvel- 
lously towards populating those notable tracts of country, 
called Nantucket, Piscataway, and Cape Cod. 


How these simple Barbarians turned out to be notorious squaiterg. 
How they built air-castles, and attempted to initiate the 
Nederlanders in the mystery of bundling. 

IN the last chapter I have given a faithful and unpreju- 
diced account of the origin of that singular race of people, 
inhabiting the country eastward of the Nieuw Nederlandts; 

NEW- YORK. 133 

but I have yet to mention certain peculiar habits which 
rendered them exceedingly obnoxious to our ever honoured 
Dutch ancestors. 

The most prominent of these was a certain rambling 
propensity, with which, like the sons of Ishmael, they 
seem to have been gifted by heaven, and which continually 
goads them on, to shift their residence from place to place, 
so that a Yankee farmer is iii a constant state of migra- 
tion ; tarrying occasionally here and there ; clearing lands 
for other people to enjoy 5 building houses for others to 
inhabit, and in a manner may be considered the wander- 
ing Arab of America. 

His first thought, on coming to the years of manhood, 
is to settle himself in the world which means nothing more 
nor less than to begin his rambles. To this end he takes 
unto himself for a wife some dashing country heiress; 
that is to say, a buxom rosy-cheeked wench, passing rich 
in red ribands, glass beads, and mock tortoise-shell combs, 
with a white gown and morocco shoes for Sunday; and 
deeply skilled in the mystery of making apple sweetmeats, 
long sauce, and pumpkin pie* 

Having thus provided himself, like a true pedlar with a 
heavy knapsack, wherewith to regale his shoulders through 
the journey of life, he literally sets out on the peregrina- 
tion. His whole family, household furniture, and farming 
utensils, are hoisted into a covered cart ; his own and his 
wife's wardrobe packed up in a firkin : which done, he 
shoulders his axe, takes staff' in hand, whistles " yankee 
doodle," and trudges off to the woods, as confident of the 
protection of providence, and relying as cheerfully upon 
his own resources, as did ever a patriarch of yore, when 
he journeyed into a strange country of the Gentiles. Hav- 
ing buried himself in the wilderness, he builds himself a 
log-hut, clears away a corn-field and potato patch, and, 
Providence smiling upon his labours, is soon surrounded 


by a snug farm and some half a score of flaxen-headed 
urchins, who, by their size, seem to have sprung all at once 
out of the earth, like a crop of toad-stools* 

But it is not the nature of this most indefatigable of spe- 
culators to rest contented with any state of sublunary en- 
joyment improvement is his darling passion, and having 
thus improved his lands, his next care is to provide a man- 
sion worthy the residence of a landholder. A huge palace 
of pine boards immediately springs up in the midst of the 
wilderness, large enough for a parish church, and furnished 
with windows of all dimensions, but so ricketty and flimsy 
withal, that every blast gives it a fit of the ague. 

By the time the outside of this mighty air-castle is com- 
pleted, either the funds or the zeal of our adventurer are 
exhausted, so that he barely manages to half finish one 
room within, where the whole family burrow together; 
while the rest of the house is devoted to the curing of 
pumpkins, or storing of carrots and potatoes, and is deco- 
rated with fanciful festoons of wilted peaches and dried 
apples. The outside remaining unpainted, grows vene- 
rably black with time ; the family wardrobe is laid under 
contribution for old hats, petticoats, and breeches, to stuff 
into the broken windows ; while the four winds of heaven 
keep up a whistling and howling about this aerial palace, 
and play as many unruly gambols, as they did of yore, in 
the cave of old JEolus. 

The humble log-hut, which whilome nestled this improv- 
ing family snugly within its narrow but comfortable walls, 
stands hard by in ignominious contrast, degraded into a 
cow-house or pig-stye ; and the whole scene reminds one 
forcibly of a fable, which I am surprised has never been 
recorded, of an aspiring snail, who quits his humble habi- 
tation, which he filled with great respectability, to crawl 
into the empty shell of a lobster where he would no doubt 
have resided with great style and splendour, the envy and 

NEW-YORK. 135 

hate of all the pains-taking snails of his neighbourhood, 
had he not accidentally perished with cold in one corner 
of his stupendous mansion. 

Being thus completely settled, and to use his own words, 
" to rights," one would imagine that he would begin to 
enjoy the comforts of his situation, to read newspapers, 
talk politics, neglect his own business, and attend to the 
affairs of the nation, like a useful and patriotic citizen ; 
but now it is that his wayward disposition begins again to 
operate. He soon grows tired of a spot where there is no 
longer any room for improvement, sells his farm, air-castle, 
petticoat windows and all, reloads his cart, shoulders his 
axe, puts himself at the head of his family, and wanders 
away in search of new lands again to fell trees again to 
clear cornfields again to build a shingle palace, and again 
to sell off, and wander. 

Such were the people of Connecticut, who bordered 
upon the eastern frontier of Nieuw Nederlandts, and my 
readers may easily imagine what obnoxious neighbours this 
light hearted but restless tribe must have been to our tran- 
quil progenitors. If they cannot, I would ask them, if they 
have ever known one of our regular, well organized Dutch 
families, whom it hath pleased heaven to afflict with the 
neighbourhood of a French boarding-house. The honest 
old burgher cannot take his afternoon's pipe, on the bench 
before his door, but he is persecuted with the scraping of 
fiddles, the chattering of women, and the squalling of chil- 
drenhe cannot sleep at night for the horrible melodies of 
some amateur, who chooses to serenade the moon, and 
display his terrible proficiency in execution, by playing de- 
misemiquavers in alt on the clarionet, the hautboy, or some 
other soft-toned instrument nor can he leave the street- 
door open, but his house is defiled by the unsavoury visits 
of a troop of pug-dogs, who even sometimes carry their 
loathsome ravages into the sanctum sanctorum, the parlour. 

If my readers have ever witnessed the sufferings of such 


a family, so situated, they may form some idea how our 
worthy ancestors were distressed by their mercurial neigh* 
hours of Connecticut. 

Gangs of these marauders, we are told, penetrated into 
the New Netherland settlements, and threw whole villages 
into consternation by their unparalleled volubility, and 
their intolerable inquisitiveness two evil habits hitherto 
unknown in those parts, or only known to be abhorred ; 
for our ancestors were noted, as being men of truly Spar- 
tan taciturnity, and who neither knew nor cared aught 
about any body's concerns but their own. Many enormi- 
ties were committed on the highways, where several un- 
offending burghers were brought to a stand, and tortured 
with questions and guesses ; which outrages occasioned as 
much vexation and heart-burning as does the modern 
right of search on the high seas. 

Great jealousy did they likewise stir up, by their inter-* 
meddling and successes among the divine sex ; for being 
a race of brisk, lively, pleasant-tongued varlets, they soon 
seduced the light affections of the simple damsels from 
their ponderous Dutch gallants, Among other hideous 
customs, they attempted to introduce among them that of 
bundling, which the Dutch lasses of the Nederlandts, with 
that eager passion for novelty and foreign fashions natu- 
ral to their sex, seemed very well inclined to follow ; but 
that their mothers, being more experienced in the world, 
and better acquainted with men and things, strenuously 
discountenanced all such outlandish innovations. 

But what chiefly operated to embroil our ancestors with 
these strange folk, was an unwarrantable liberty which 
they occasionally took, of entering in hordes into the ter- 
ritories of the New Netherlands, and settling themselves 
down, without leave or license, to improve the land, in the 
manner I have before noticed. This unceremonious mode 
of taking possession of new land was technically termed 
squatting, and hence is derived the appellation of squatters , f 

NEW-YORK. 137 

a name odious in the ears of all great landholders, and 
which is given to those enterprising worthies, who seize 
upon land first, and take their chance to make good their 
title to it afterwards. 

All these grievances, and many others which were con* 
stantly accumulating, tended to form that dark and por- 
tentous cloud, which, as I observed in a former chapter, 
was slowly gathering over the tranquil province of New 
Netherlands. The pacific cabinet of Van Twiller, how* 
ever, as will be perceived in the sequel, bore them all with 
a magnanimity that redounds to their immortal credit 
becoming by passive endurance inured to this increasing 
mass of wrongs ; like the sage old woman of Ephesus, who 
by dint of carrying about a calf from the time it was born, 
continued to carry it without difficulty when it had grown 
to be an ox, 


How the Fort Goed Hoop w as fearfully beleagured how the 
renowned W outer fell into a profound doubt, .and how he 
finally evaporated.. 

BY this time my readers must fully perceive what an ar- 
duous task I have undertaken collecting and collating 
with painful minuteness the chronicles of past times, whose 
events almost defy the powers of research exploring a 
little kind of Herculaneum of history, which had lain near- 
ly for ages, buried under the rubbish of years, and almost 
totally forgotten raking up the limbs and fragments of 
disjointed facts; and endeavouring to put them scrupu- 
lously together, so as to restore them to their original form 
and connexion now lugging forth the character of an al- 
raost forgotten hero, like a mutilated statue now decy-, 



phering a half defaced inscription ; and now lighting upon 
a mouldering manuscript, which, after painful study, scarce 
repays the trouble of perusal. 

In such case how much has the reader to depend upon 
the honour and probity of his author, lest, like a cunning 
antiquarian, he either impose upon him some spurious fa- 
brication of his own, for a precious relique from antiquity, 
or else dress up the dismembered fragment, with such false 
trappings, that it is scarcely possible to distinguish the truth 
from the fiction with which it is enveloped. This is a 
grievance which I have more than once had to lament, in 
the course of my wearisome researches among the works 
of my fellow historians ; who have strangely disguised and 
distorted the facts respecting this country ; and particular- 
ly respecting the great province of New Netherlands ; as 
will be perceived by any who will take the trouble to com- 
pare their romantic effusions, tricked out in the meretri- 
cious gauds of fable, with this authentic history. 

I have had more vexations of the kind to encounter, in 
those parts of my history which treat of the transactions 
on the eastern border, than in any other, in consequence 
of the troops of historians who have infested those quar- 
ters, and have shown the honest people of Nieuw Neder- 
landts no mercy in their works. Among the rest, Mr. 
Benjamin Trumbull arrogantly declares, that " the Dutch 
were always mere intruders." Now to this I shall make 
no other reply, than to proceed in the steady narration of 
niy history, which will contain not only proofs that the 
Dutch had clear title and possession in the fair valleys of 
the Connecticut, and that they were wrongfully dispos- 
sessed thereof; but likewise that they have been scanda- 
lously maltreated ever since, by the misrepresentations of 
the crafty historians of New England. And in this I shall 
be guided by a spirit of truth and impartiality, and a re- 
gard to immortal fame; for I would not wittingly disho- 
nour my work by a single falsehood, misrepresentation or 

NEW- YORK. 139 

prejudice, though it should gain our forefathers the whole 
country of New England. 

It was at an early period of the province, and previous 
to the arrival of the renowned Wouter, that the cabinet 
of Nieuw Nederlandts purchased the lands about the Con- 
necticut, and established, for their superintendence and 
protection, a fortified post on the banks of the river, which 
was called Fort Goed Hoop, and was situated hard by the 
present fair city of Hartford. The command of this im- 
portant post, together with the rank, title, and appoint- 
ments of commissary, were given in charge to the gallant 
Jacobus Van Curlet, or, as some historians will have it, 
Van Curlis ; a most doughty soldier, of that stomachful 
class, of which we have such numbers on parade days; 
who are famous for eating all they kill. He was of a very 
soldierlike appearance, and would have been an exceeding 
tall man, had his legs been in proportion to his body ; but 
the latter being long, and the former uncommonly short, 
it gave him the uncouth appearance of a tall man's body, 
mounted upon a little man's legs. He made up for this 
turnspit construction of body by throwing his legs to such 
an extent when he marched, that you would have sworn 
he had on the identical seven-league boots of the farfamed 
Jack the giant-killer; and so astonishingly high did he 
tread on any great military occasion, that his soldiers 
were oft times alarmed, lest he should trample himself un- 
der foot. 

But notwithstanding the erection of this fort, and the 
appointment of this ugly little man of war as a commander, 
the intrepid Yankees continued those daring interlopings 
which I have hinted at in my last chapter ; and, taking 
advantage of the character which the cabinet of Wouter 
Van Twiller soon acquired, for profound and phlegmatic 
tranquillity did audaciously invade the territories of the 
Nieuw Nederlandts, and squat themselves down within the 
very jurisdiction of Fort Goed Hoop. 


On beholding this outrage, the long bodied Van Curlet 
proceeded as became a prompt and valiant officer. He 
immediately protested against these unwarrantable en- 
croachmeiits, in low Dutch, by way of inspiring more ter^ 
ror, and forthwith despatched a copy of the protest to the 
governor at New- Amsterdam, together with a long and 
bitter account of the aggressions of the enemy. This done* 
he ordered his men, one and all, to be of good cheer-- 
shut the gate of the fort, smoked three pipes 2 went to bed* 
and awaited the result with a resolute and intrepid tran- 
quillity, that greatly animated his adherents, and no doubt 
struck sore dismay and affright into the hearts of the ene- 

Now it came to pass^ that about this time, the renowned 
Wouter Van Twiller* full of years and honours, and coun- 
cil dinners, had reached that period of life and faculty^ 
which, according to the great Gulliver, entitles a man to 
admission into the ancient order of Struldbruggs* He 
employed his time in smoking his Turkish pipe, amid an 
assemblage of sages, equally enlightened, and nearly as 
venerable as himself, and who, for their silence, their gra- 
vity, their wisdom, and their cautious averseness to com* 
ing to any conclusion in business, are only to be equalled 
by certain profound corporations which I have known in 
my time. Upon reading the protest of the gallant Jaco* 
bus Van Curlet, therefore, his excellency fell straightway 
into one of the deepest doubts that ever he was known to 
encounter; his capacious head gradually drooped on his 
chest, * he closed his eyes, and inclined his ear to one side, 
as if listening with great attention to the discussion that 
was going on in his belly ; which all who knew him de- 
clared to be the huge court-house, or council chamber of 

" Perplexed with vast affairs of state and town, 
** His great head being overset, hangs down." 

TELECLIDES, in Pericles* 

NEW- YORK. 141 

his thoughts; forming to his head what the house of Re- 
presentatives do to the senate. An inarticulate sound, 
very much resembling a snore, occasionally escaped him ; 
but the nature of this internal cogitation was never known, 
as he never opened his lips on the subject to man, woman, 
or child. In the meantime, the protest of Van Curlet 
laid quietly on the table, where it served to light the pipes 
of the venerable sages assembled in council ; and in the 
great smoke which they raised, the gallant Jacobus, his 
protest, and his mighty Fort Goed Hoop, were soon as 
completely beclouded and forgotten, as is a question of 
emergency swallowed up in the speeches and resolutions 
of a modern session of congress. 

There are certain emergencies when your profound le- 
gislators and sage deliberative councils, are mightily in the 
Way of a nation ; and when an ounce of hair-brained de- 
cision is worth a pound of sage doubt, and cautious dis- 
cussion. Such at least was the case at present ; for while 
the renowned Wouter Van Twiller was daily battling with 
his doubts, and his resolution growing weaker and weaker 
in the contest, the enemy pushed further and further into 
his territories, and assumed a most formidable appearance 
in the neighbourhood of Fort Goed Hoop. Here they 
founded the mighty town of Pyquag$ or, as it has since 
been called, Weathersfield ; a place which, if we may cre- 
dit the assertions of that worthy historian John Josselyn, 
Gent. " hath been infamous by reason of the witches there- 
in." And so daring did these men of Pyquag become, 
that they extended those plantations of onions, for which 
their town is illustrious, under the very noses of the gar- 
rison of Fort Goed Hoop insomuch that the honest 
Dutchmen could not look toward that quarter without tears 
in their eyes. 

This crying injustice was regarded with proper indig- 
nation by the gallant Jacobus Van Curlet. He absolute- 
ly trembled with the amazing violence of his choler, and 


the exacerbations of his valour ; which seemed to be the 
more turbulent in their workings, from the length of the 
body in which they were agitated. He forthwith proceed- 
ed to strengthen his redoubts, heighten his breast-works, 
deepen his fosse, and fortify his position with a double row 
of abbatis ; after which valiant precautions, he with unex- 
ampled intrepidity, despatched a fresh courier with tremen- 
dous accounts of his perilous situation. Never did the 
modern hero, who immortalized himself at the second Sa- 
bine war, show greater valour in the art of letter- writing, 
or distinguish himself more gloriously upon paper, than 
the heroic Van Curlet. 

The courier chosen to bear these alarming despatches, 
was a fat, oily little man, as being least liable to be worn 
out, or to lose leather on the journey ; and to insure his 
speed, he was mounted on the fleetest waggon-horse in the 
garrison, remarkable for his length of limb, largeness of 
bone, and hardness of trot ; and so tall, that the little mes- 
senger was obliged to climb on his back by means of his 
tail and crupper. Such extraordinary speed did he make, 
that he arrived at Fort Amsterdam in little less than a 
month, though the distance was full two hundred pipes, 
or about 120 miles. 

The extraordinary appearance of this portentous stran- 
ger would have thrown the whole town of New- Amster- 
dam into a quandary, had the good people troubled them- 
selves about any thing more than their domestic affairs. 
With an appearance of great hurry and business, and 
smoking a short travelling pipe, he proceeded on a long 
swing trot through the muddy lanes of the metropolis, de- 
molishing whole batches of dirt pies, which the little Dutch 
children were making in the road ; and for which kind of 
pastry the children of this city have ever been famous. 
On arriving at the governor's house, he climbed down 
from his steed in great trepidation roused the gray-head- 
ed doorkeeper, old Skaats, who, like his lineal descendant 

NEW. YORK. 143 

and faithful representative, the venerable crier of our court, 
was nodding at his post rattled at the door of the coun- 
cil chamber, and startled the members as they were do- 
zing over a plan for establishing a public market. 

At that very moment a gentle grunt, or rather a deep- 
drawn snore was heard from the chair of the governor, a 
whiff of smoke was at the same instant observed to escape 
from his lips, and a light cloud to ascend from the bowl of 
his pipe. The council of course supposed him engaged 
in deep sleep for the good of the community, and accord- 
ing to custom in all such cases established, every man 
bawled out Silence, in order to maintain tranquillity; 
when of a sudden, the door flew open, and the little cou- 
rier straddled into the apartment, cased to the middle in 
a pair of Hessian boots, which he had got into for the sake 
of expedition. In his right hand he held forth the omi- 
nous despatches, and with his left he grasped firmly the 
waist-band of his galligaskins, which had unfortunately 
given way in the exertion of descending from his horse. 
He stumped resolutely up to the governor, and with more 
hurry than perspicuity delivered his message. But fortu- 
nately his ill tidings came too late to ruffle the tranquillity 
of this most tranquil of rulers. His venerable excellency 
had just breathed and smoked his last his lungs and his 
pipe having been exhausted together, and his peaceful soul 
having escaped in the last whiff that curled from his tobac- 
co-pipe. In a word, the renowned Walter the Doubter, 
wjho had so often slumbered with his contemporaries, now 
slept with his fathers, and Wilhelmus Kieft governed in 
his stead. 




Showing the nature of History in general ; containing further- 
more the universal acquirements of William the Testy, and how 
a man may learn so much as to render himself good for nothing. 

W HEN the lofty Thucydides is about to enter on his de- 
scription of the plague that desolated Athens, one of his 
modern commentators * assures the reader, that his histo- 
ry " is now going to be exceeding solemn, serious, and 
pathetic ;" and hints, with that air of chuckling gratulation, 
with which a good dame draws forth a choice morsel from 
a cupboard to regale a favourite, that this plague will give- 
his history a most agreeable variety. 

In like manner did my heart leap within me, when I 
came to the dolorous dilemma of Fort Good Hope, which 
I at once perceived to be the forerunner of a series of great 
events and entertaining disasters. Such are the true sub- 
jects for the historic pen. For what is history, in fact, but 
a kind of Newgate kalendar, a register of the crimes and 
miseries that man has inflicted on his fellow man. It is 
a huge libel on human nature, to which we industriously 
.add page after page, volume after volume, as if we were 

Smith's Thucyd Vol. I. 


building up a monument to the honour rather than the in- 
famy of our species. If we turn over the pages of these 
chronicles that man has written of himself, what are the 
characters dignified by the appellation of great, and held 
up to the admiration of posterity? Tyrants, robbers, con- 
querors, renowned only for the magnitude of their mis- 
deeds, and the stupendous wrongs and miseries they have 
inflicted on mankind warriors, who have hired themselves 
to the trade of blood, not from motives of virtuous patriot- 
ism, or to protect the injured and defenceless, but merely 
to gain the vaunted glory of being adroit and successful in 
massacring their fellow beings ! What are the great events 
that constitute a glorious era ? The fall of empires the 
desolation of happy countries splendid cities smoking in 
their ruins the proudest works of art tumbled in the dust 
the shrieks and groans of whole nations ascending unto 
heaven ! 

It is thus the historians may be said to thrive on the 
miseries of mankind they are like the birds of prey that 
hover over the field of battle, to fatten on the mighty dead. 
It was observed by a great projector of inland lock navi- 
gation, that rivers, lakes, and oceans, were only formed to 
feed canals. In like manner I am tempted to believe, that 
plots, conspiracies, wars, victories, and massacres, are or- 
dained by providence only as food for the historian. 

It is a source of great delight to the philosopher, in 
studying the wonderful economy of nature, to trace the 
mutual dependencies of things, how they are created reci- 
procally for each other, and how the most noxious and ap- 
parently unnecessary animal has its uses. Thus those 
swarms of flies, which are so often execrated as useless ver- 
min, are created for the sustenance of spiders; and spiders, 
on the other hand, are evidently made to devour flies. So 
those heroes who have been such pests in the world, were 
bounteously provided as themes for the poet and the his- 



tqrian, while the poet and historian were destined to re- 
cord the achievements of heroes ! 

These, and many similar reflections, naturally arose in 
my mind, as I took up my pen to commence the reign of 
William Kieft ; for now the stream of our history, which 
hitherto has rolled in a tranquil current, is about to de- 
part for ever from its peaceful haunts, and brawl through 
many a turbulent and rugged scene. Like some sleek ox, 
which, having fed and fattened in a rich clover field, lies 
sunk in luxurious repose, and will bear repeated taunts 
and blows, before it heaves its unwieldy limbs, and clum- 
sily arouses from its slumbers ; so the province of the 
Nieuw Nederlandts, having long thriven and grown cor- 
pulent under the prosperous reign of the Doubter, was re- 
luctantly awakened to a melancholy conviction, that, by 
patient sufferance, its grievances had become so numerous 
and aggravating, that it was preferable to repel than en- 
dure them. The reader will now witness the manner in 
which a peaceful community advances towards a state of 
war ; which it is too apt to approach, as a horse does a 
drum, with much prancing and parade, but with little pro- 
gress, and too often with the wrong end foremost. 

WILHELMUS KIEFT, who in 1634 ascended the Guber- 
natorial chair, (to borrow a favourite though clumsy appel- 
lation of modern phraseologists,) was in form, feature and 
character, the very reverse of Wouter Van Twiller, his 
renowned predecessor. He was of very respectable de- 
scent, his father being Inspector of Windmills in the an- 
cient town of Saardam ; and our hero, we are told, made 
very curious investigations into the nature and operations 
of those machines when a boy, which is one reason why 
he afterwards came to be so ingenious a governor. His 
name, according to the most ingenious etymologists, was 
a corruption of Kyver, that is to say, a wrangler or scolder, 
and expressed the hereditary disposition of his family, 

NEW- YORK. 147 

which, for nearly two centuries, had kept the windy town 
of Saardam in hot water, and produced more tartars and 
brimstones than any ten families in the place ; and so truly 
did Wilhelmus Kieft inherit this family endowment, that 
he had scarcely been a year in the discharge of his govern- 
ment, before he was universally known by the appellation 

He was a brisk, waspish, little old gentleman, who had 
dried and withered away, partly through the natural pro- 
cess of years, and partly from being parched and burnt up 
by his fiery soul, which blazed like a vehement rushlight 
in his bosom, constantly inciting him to most valorous 
broils, altercations, and misadventures. I have heard it 
observed by a profound and philosophical judge of human 
nature, that if a woman waxes fat as she grows old, the te- 
nure of her life is very precarious ; but if haply she wi- 
thers, she lives for ever : such likewise was the case with 
William the Testy^ who grew tougher in proportion as he 
dried. He was some such a little Dutchman as we may 
now arid theri see, stumping briskly about the streets of 
our city, in a broad-skirted coat, with buttons nearly as 
large as the shield of Ajax, an old-fashioned cocked hat 
stuck on the back of his head, and a cane as high as his 
chin. His visage was broad, but his features sharp ; his 
nose turfted up with a most petulant curl ; his cheeks, like 
the regions of Terra del Fuego, were scorched into a dusky 
red doubtless, ift consequence of the neighbourhood of 
two fierce little grey eyes, through which his torrid soul 
beamed as fervently, as a tropical sun blazing through a 
pair of burning glasses. The corners of his mouth were 
curiously modelled into a kind of fret- work, not a little re- 
sembling the wrinkled proboscis of an irritable pug dog; 
in a word, he was one of the most positive, restless, ugly, 
little men, that ever put himself in a passion about nothing. 

Such were the personal endowments of William the 
Testy ; but it was the sterling riches of his mind that raised 


him to dignity and power. In his youth he had passed 
with great credit through a celebrated academy at the 
Hague, noted for producing finished scholars with a des- 
patch unequalled, except by certain of our American col- 
leges, which seem to manufacture bachelors of arts by some 
patent machine. Here he skirmished very smartly on the 
frontiers of several of the sciences, and made so gallant an 
inroad in the dead languages, as to bring off captive a host 
of Greek nouns and Latin verbs, together with divers pithy 
saws and apophthegms ; all which he constantly paraded 
in conversation and writing, with as much vainglory as 
would a triumphant general of yore display the spoils of 
the countries he had ravished. He had moreover puzzled 
himself considerably with logic, in which he had advanced 
so far as to attain a very familiar acquaintance, by name at 
least, with the whole family of syllogisms and dilemmas ; 
but what he chiefly valued himself on, was his knowledge 
of metaphysics, in which having once upon a time ventured 
too deeply, he came well nigh being smothered in a slough 
of unintelligible learning a fearful peril, from the effects 
of which he never perfectly recovered. In plain words, 
like many other profound intermeddlers in this abstruse, 
bewildering science, he so confused his brain with abstract 
speculations which he could not comprehend, and artificial 
distinctions which he could not realize, that he could never 
think clearly on any subject, however simple, through the 
whole course of his life afterwards. This, I must confess, 
was in some measure a misfortune, for he never engaged in 
argument, of which he was exceeding fond, but what, be- 
tween logical deductions and metaphysical jargon, he soon 
involved himself and his subject in a fog of contradictions 
and perplexities, and then would get into a mighty passion 
with his adversary, for not being convinced gratis. 

It is in knowledge as in swimming, he who osten- 
tatiously sports and flounders on the surface, makes more 
noise and splashing, and attracts more attention than the 

NEW-YORK. 149 

industrious pearl-diver, who plunges in search of treasures 
to the bottom. The " universal acquirements" of William 
Kieft were the subject of great marvel and admiration 
among his countrymen ; he figured about at the Hague 
with as much vainglory, as does a profound Bonze at 
Pekin, who has mastered half the letters of the Chinese 
alphabet; and, in a word, was unanimously pronounced 
a universal genius ! I have known many universal geni- 
uses in my time, though, to speak my mind freely, I never 
knew one, who, for the ordinary purposes of life, was 
worth his weight in straw ; but for the purposes of govern- 
ment, a little sound judgment, and plain common sense, is 
worth all the sparkling genius that ever wrote poetry, or 
invented theories. 

Strange as it may sound, therefore, the universal acquire- 
ments of the illustrious Wilhelmus, were very much in his 
way ; and had he been a less learned man, it is possible he 
would have been a much greater governor. He was ex- 
ceedingly fond of trying philosophical and political expe- 
riments : and having stuffed his head full of scraps and 
remnants of ancient republics, and oligarchies, and aris- 
tocracies, and monarchies, and the laws of Solon, and 
Lycurgus, and Charondas, and the imaginary common- 
wealth of Plato, and the Pandects of Justinian, and a 
thousand other fragments of venerable antiquity, he was 
for ever bent upon introducing some one or other of them 
into use ; so that between one contradictory measure and 
another, he entangled the government of the little province 
of Nieuw Nederlandts in more knots during his admini- 
stration, than half a dozen successors could have untied. 

No sooner had this bustling little man been blown by a 
whiff of fortune in the seat of government, than he called 
together his council, and delivered a very animated speech 
on the affairs of the province. As every body knows what 
a glorious opportunity a governor, a president, or even an 
emperor has, of drubbing his enemies in his speeches, mes- 


sages, and bulletins, where he has the talk all on his own 
side, they may be sure the high-mettled William Kieft 
did not suffer so favourable an occasion to escape him, of 
evincing that gallantry of tongue common to all able le- 
gislators. Before he commenced, it is recorded that he 
took out his pocket handkerchief, and gave a very sonorous 
blast of the nose, according to the usual custom of great 
orators. This, in general, I believe, is intended as a sig- 
nal trumpet, to call the attention of the auditors ; but with 
William the Testy it boasted a more classic cause, for he 
had read of the singular expedient of that famous dema- 
gogue Caius Gracchus, who, when he harangued the Ro- 
man populace, modulated his tones by an oratorical flute 
or pitch-pipe. 

This preparatory symphony being performed, he com- 
menced by expressing a humble sense of his own want of 
talents, his utter unworthiness of the honour conferred 
upon him, arid his humiliating incapacity to discharge the 
important duties of his new station : in short, he expressed 
so contemptible an opinion of himself, that many simple 
country members present, ignorant that these were mere 
words of course, always used on such occasions, were very 
uneasy, and even felt wroth that he should accept an office, 
for which he was consciously so inadequate. 

He then proceeded in a manner highly classic, pro- 
foundly erudite, and nothing at all to the purpose ; being 
nothing more than a pompous account of all the govern- 
ments of ancient Greece, and the wars of Rome and Car- 
thage, together with the rise and fall of sundry outlandish 
empires, about which the assembly knew no more than 
their great grandchildren who were yet unborn. Thus 
having, after the manner of your learned orators, convinced 
the audience that he was a man of many words and great 
erudition, he at length came to the less important part of 
his speech, the situation of the province ; and here he soon 
worked himself into a fearful rage against the Yankees, 

NEW-YORK. 151 

whom he compared to the Gauls who desolated Rome, 
and the Goths and Vandals who overran the fairest plains 
of Europe nor did he forget to mention, in terms of ade- 
quate opprobrium, the insolence with which they had en- 
croached upon the territories of New Netherlands, and 
the unparalleled audacity with which they had commenced 
the town of New- Plymouth, and planted the onion patches 
of Weathersfield under the very walls of Fort Goed Hoop. 

Having thus artfully wrought up his tale of terror to a 
climax, he assumed a self-satisfied look, and declared, with 
a nod of knowing import, that he had taken measures to 
put a final stop to these encroachments that he had been 
obliged to have recourse to a dreadful engine of warfare, 
lately invented, awful in its effects, but authorized by dire- 
ful necessity. In a word, he was resolved to conquer the 
Yankees by proclamation. 

For this purpose he had prepared a tremendous instru- 
ment of the kind ordering, commanding, and enjoining 
the intruders aforesaid forthwith to remove, depart, and 
withdraw from the districts, regions, and territories afore- 
said, under pain of suffering all the penalties, forfeitures, 
and punishments in such case made and provided, &c. 
This proclamation, he assured them, would at once exter- 
minate the enemy from the face of the country ; and he 
pledged his valour as a governor, that within two months 
after it was published, not one stone should remain on 
another in any of the towns which they had built. 

The council remained for some time silent after he had 
finished; whether struck dumb with admiration at the 
brilliancy of his project, or put to sleep by the length of 
his harangue, the history of the times doth not mention. 
Suffice it to say, they at length gave a general grunt of 
acquiescence ; the proclamation was immediately des- 
patched with due ceremony, having the great seal of the 
province, which was about the size of a buckwheat pancake, 
attached to it by a broad red riband. Governor Kieft, 


having thus vented his indignation, felt greatly relieved 
adjourned the council sine die put on his cocked hat and 
corduroy small-clothes, and mounting a tall raw boned 
charger, trotted out to his country seat, which was situated 
in a sweet, sequestered swamp, now called Dutch Street, 
but more commonly known by the name of Dog's Misery. 

Here, like the good Numa, he reposed from the toils of 
legislation, taking lessons in government, not from the 
Nymph Egeria, but from the honoured wife of his bosom ; 
who was one of that peculiar kind of females, sent upon 
earth a little before the flood, as a punishment for the sins 
of mankind, and commonly known by the appellation of 
knowing women. In fact, my duty as an historian obliges 
me to make known a circumstance which was a great se- 
cret at the time, and consequently was riot a subject of 
scandal at more than half the tea-tables of New- Amster- 
dam, but which, like many other great secrets, has leaked 
out in the lapse of years ; and this was, that the great Wil- 
helmus the Testy, though one of the most potent little 
men that ever breathed, yet submitted at home to a species 
of government, neither laid down in Aristotle nor Plato ; 
in short, it partook of the nature of a pure, unmixed ty- 
ranny, and is familiarly denominated petticoat government. 
An absolute sway, which, though exceedingly common in 
these modern days, was very rare among the ancients, if 
we may judge from the rout made about the domestic eco- 
nomy of honest Socrates, which is the only ancient case on 

The great Kieft, however, warded off all the sneers and 
sarcasms of his particular friends, who are ever ready to 
joke with a man on sore points of the kind, by alleging 
that it was a government of his own election, to which he 
submitted through choice ; adding at the same time a pro- 
found maxim which he had found in an ancient author, 
that " he who would aspire to govern, should first learn 
to obey." 

NEW-YORK. 153 


In which are recorded the sage Projects of a Ruler of universal 
Genius. The art of Fighting by Proclamation, and how 
that the valiant Jacobus Van Curlet came to be foully di$~ 
honoured at Fort Goed Hoop. 

NEVER was a more comprehensive, a more expeditious, 
or, what is still better, a more economical measure devised, 
than this, of defeating the Yankees by proclamation; an 
expedient, likewise, so humane, so gentle, and pacific, 
there were ten chances to one in favour of its succeeding, 
but then there was one chance to ten that it would not 
succeed ; as the illnatured fates would have it, that single 
chance carried the day ! The proclamation was perfect 
in all its parts, well constructed, well written, well sealed, 
and well published all that was wanting to insure its effect 
was, that the Yankees should stand in awe of it ; but, pro- 
voking to relate, they treated it with the most absolute 
contempt, applied it to an unseemly purpose, and thus did 
the first warlike proclamation come to a shameful end 
a fate which I am credibly informed, has befallen but too 
many of its successors. 

It was a long time before Wilhelmus Kieft could be 
persuaded, by the united efforts of all his counsellors, that 
his war measures had failed in producing any effect. On 
the contrary, he flew in a passion whenever any one dared 
to question its efficacy .; and swore, that though it was slow 
in operating, yet when once it began to work, it would 
soon purge the land of these rapacious intruders. Time, 
however, that test of all experiments both in philosophy 
and politics, at length convinced the great Kieft, that his 
proclamation was abortive ; and that, notwithstanding he 
had waited four years in a state of constant irritation, yet 



he was still further off than ever from the object of his 
wishes. His implacable adversaries in the east became 
more and more troublesome in their encroachments, and 
founded the thriving colony of Hartford close upon the 
skirts of Fort Goed Hoop. They moreover commenced 
the fair settlement of Newhaven (alias the Red Hills) 
within the domains of their high mightinesses while the 
onion patches of Pyquag were a continual eyesore to the 
garrison of Van Curlet. Upon beholding, therefore, the 
inefficacy of his measure, the sage Kieft, like many a 
worthy practitioner of physic, laid the blame, not to the 
medicine, but the quantity administered; and resolutely 
resolved to double the dose. 

In the year 1638, therefore, that being the fourth year 
of his reign, he fulminated against them a second procla- 
mation, of heavier metal than the former ; written in thun- 
dering long sentences, not one word of which was under 
five syllables. This, in fact, was a kind of non-intercourse 
bill, forbidding and prohibiting all commerce and connex- 
ion, between any and every of the said Yankee intruders,, 
and the said fortified post of Fort Goed Hoop ; and order- 
ing, commanding, and advising all his trusty, loyal, and 
well-beloved subjects, to furnish them with no supplies of 
gin, gingerbread, or sour crout; to buy none of their 
pacing horses, meazly pork, apple brandy, Yankee rum, 
cider water, apple sweetmeats, Weathersfield onions, or 
wooden bowls ; but to starve and exterminate them from 
the face of the land. 

Another pause of a twelvemonth ensued, during which 
the last proclamation received the same attention, and 
experienced the same fate as the first; at the end of which 
term, the gallant Jacobus Van Curlet despatched his an- 
nual messenger, with his customary budget of complaints 
and entreaties. Whether the regular interval of a year, 
intervening between the arrival of Van Curlet' s couriers, 
was occasioned by the systematic regularity of his move- 

NEW-YORK. 155 

ments, or by the immense distance at which he was sta- 
tioned from the seat of government, is a matter of uncer- 
tainty. Some have ascribed it to the slowness of his mes- 
sengers, who, as I have before noticed, were chosen from 
the shortest and fattest of his garrison, as least likely to 
be worn out on the road ; and who, being pursy, short- 
winded little men, generally travelled fifteen miles a-day, 
and then laid by a whole week to rest. All these, how- 
ever, are matters of conjecture ; and I rather think it may 
be ascribed to the immemorial maxim of this worthy coun- 
try, and which has ever influenced all its public transac- 
tions not to do things in a hurry. 

The gallant Jacobus Van Curlet in his despatches re- 
spectfully represented, that several years had now elapsed, 
since his first application to his late excellency, the re- 
nowned Wouter Van Twiller; during which interval, his 
garrison had been reduced nearly one-eighth, by the death 
of two of his most valiant and corpulent soldiers, who had 
accidentally over-eaten themselves on some fat salmon, 
caught in the Varsche river. He further stated, that the 
enemy persisted in their inroads, taking no notice of the 
fort or its inhabitants, but squatting themselves down, and 
forming settlements all around it ; so that, in a little while, 
he should find himself enclosed and blockaded by the 
enemy, and totally at their mercy. 

But among the most atrocious of his grievances, I find 
the following still on record, which may serve to show the 
bloody-minded outrages of these savage intruders. " In 
the meane time, they of Hartford have not onely usurped 
and taken in the lands of Connecticott, although unright- 
eously and against the lawes of nations, but have hindered 
our nation in sowing theire owne purchased broken up 
lands, but have also sowed them with corne in the night, 
which the Netherlanders had broken up and intended to 
sowe : aud have beaten the servants of the high and mighty 
the honored companie, which were labouring upon theire 


master's lands, from theire lands, with sticks and plott j 
staves in hostile manner laming, and amongst the rest* 
struck Ever Duckings * a hole in his head, with a stick, 
soe that the blood ran downe very strongly downe upon 
his body." 

But what is still more atrocious 

" Those of Hartford sold a hogg, that belonged to the 
honored companie, under pretence that it had eaten of 
theire grounde grass, when they had not any foot of inher- 
itance. They proffered the hogg for 5s. if the commis- 
sioners would have given 5s. for damage ; which the com*- 
missioners denied, because noe man's owne hogg (as men 
use to say) can trespass uponhis owne master's grounde."-f- 

The receipt of this melancholy intelligence incensed the 
whole community there was something in it that spoke 
to the dull comprehension, and touched the obtuse feelings 
even of the puissant vulgar, who generally require a kick 
in the rear, to awaken their. slumbering dignity. I have 
known my profound fellow-citizens bear without murmur, 
a thousand essential infringements of their rights, merely 
because they were not immediately obvious to their senses; 
but the moment the unlucky Pearce was shot upon our 
coasts, the whole body politic was in a ferment : so the en- 
lightened Nederlanders, though they had treated the en- 
croachments of their eastern neighbours with but little re- 
gard, and left their quill-valiant governor to bear the whole 
brunt of the war, with his single pen ; yet now every in- 
dividual felt his head broken in the broken head of Duck- 
ings and the unhappy fate of their fellow-citizen the hog, 
being impressed, carried and sold into captivity, awakened 
a grunt of sympathy from every bosom. 

* This name is no doubt misspelt. In some old Dutch MSS. of the 
time, we find the name of Evert Duyckingh, who is unquestionably 
the unfortunate hero above alluded to. 

f Haz. Col. Stat. Pass. 

NEW-YORK, 157 

The goveinor and council, goaded by the clamours of 
the multitude, now sat themselves earnestly to deliberate 
Upon what was to be done. Proclamations had at length 
fallen into temporary disrepute; some were for sending 
the Yankees a tribute, as we make peace-offerings to the 
petty Barbary powers, or as the Indians sacrifice to the 
devil. Others were for buying them out ; but this was op- 
posed, as it would be acknowledging their title to the land 
they had seized. A variety of measures were, as usual in 
such cases, proposed, discussed, and abandoned ; and the 
council had at last, to adopt the means, which being the 
most common and obvious, had been knowingly overlook- 
ed; for your amazing acute politicians are forever looking 
through telescopes, which only enable them to see such 
objects as are far off, and unattainable ; but which inca- 
pacitate them to see such things as are in their reach, and 
obvious to all simple folks, who are content to look with 
the naked eyes heaven has given them. The profound 
council, as I have said, in their pursuit after Jack-o'-lan- 
terns, accidentally stumbled on the very measure they were 
in need of; which was to raise a body of troops, and des- 
patch them to the relief and reinforcement of the garrison. 
This measure was carried into such prompt operation, that 
in less than twelve months, the whole expedition, consist- 
ing of a serjeant and twelve men, was ready to march ; and 
was reviewed for that purpose, in the public square, now 
known by the name of the Bowling Green. Just at this 
juncture the whole community was thrown into conster- 
nation, by the sudden arrival of the gallant Jacobus Van 
Curlet ; who came straggling into town at the head of his 
crew of tatterdemalions, and bringing the melancholy ti- 
dings of his own defeat, and the capture of the redoubta- 
ble post of Fort Goed Hoop by the ferocious Yankees. 

The fate of this important fortress, is an impressive warn- 
ing to all military commanders. It was neither carried by 
storm, nor famine ; no practicable breach was effected by 


cannon or mines ; no magazines were blown up by red-hot 
shot ; nor were the barracks demolished, or the garrison 
destroyed, by the bursting of bombshells. In fact, the 
place was taken by a stratagem no less singular than effec- 
tual; and one that can never fail of success, whenever an 
opportunity occurs of putting it in practice. Happy am 
I to add, for the credit of our illustrious ancestors, that it 
was a stratagem, which though it impeached the vigilance, 
yet left the bravery of the intrepid Van Curlet and his gar- 
rison perfectly free from reproach. 

It appears that the crafty Yankees, having heard of the 
regular habits of the garrison, watched a favourable op- 
portunity, and silently introduced themselves into the fort, 
about the middle of a sultry day; when its vigilant defend- 
ers, having gorged themselves with a hearty dinner, and 
smoked out their pipes, were one and all snoring most ob- 
streperously at their posts, little dreaming of so disastrous 
an occurrence. The enemy most inhumanly seized Jaco- 
bus Van Curlet and his sturdy myrmidons by the nape of 
the neck, gallanted them to the gate of the fort, and dis- 
missed them severally, with a kick on the crupper, as 
Charles the Twelfth dismissed the heavy bottomed Rus- 
sians, after the battle of Narva only taking care to give 
two kicks to Van Curlet, as a signal mark of distinction. 

A strong garrison was immediately established in the 
fort, consisting of twenty long sided, hard fisted Yankees, 
with Weathersfield onions stuck in their hats, by way of 
cockades and feathers long rusty fowling pieces for mus- 
kets hasty pudding, dumb fish, pork, and molasses for 
stores ; and a huge pumpkin was hoisted on the end of a 
pole, as a standard liberty caps not having as yet come 
into fashion. 

NEW-YORK. 159 


Containing the fearful wrath of William the Testy, and the great 
dolor of the Ncrv-Amsterdammers, because of the affair of Fort 
Goed Hoop. And moreover how William the Testy did strong- 
ly fortify the city. Together with the exploits of Stoffel Brin- 

LANGUAGE cannot express the prodigious fury, into 
which the testy Wilhelmus Kieft was thrown by this pro- 
voking intelligence. For three good hours the rage of the 
little man was too great for words, or rather the words 
were too great for him ; and he was nearly choked by some 
dozen huge, misshapen, nine cornered Dutch oaths, that 
crowded all at once into his gullet. Having blazed off the 
first broadside, he kept up a constant firing for three whole 
days anathematizing the Yankees, man, woman, and child, 
body and soul, for a set of dieven, schobbejaken, deuge- 
nieten, twist-zoekeren, loozen-schalken, blaes-kaken, kak- 
ken-bedden, and a thousand other names of which, unfor- 
tunately for posterity, history does not make particular 
mention. Finally he swore that he would have nothing 
more to do with such a squatting, bundling, guessing, ques- 
tioning, swapping, pumpkin-eating, molasses-daubing, 
shingle-splitting, cider- watering, horse-jockeying, notion- 
peddling crew that they might stay at Fort Goed Hoop 
and rot, before he would dirty his hands by attempting to 
drive them away ; in proof of which he ordered the new 
raised troops to be marched forthwith into winter-quar- 
ters^ although it was not as yet quite midsummer. Go- 
vernor Kieft faithfully kept his word, and his adversaries 
as faithfully kept their post ; and thus the glorious river 
Connecticut, and all the gay valleys through which it rolls, 
together with the salmon, shad, and other fish within its 


waters, fell into the hands of the victorious Yankees, by 
whom they are held at this very day. 

Great despondency seized upon the city of New- Am- 
sterdam, in consequence of these melancholy events. The 
name of Yankee became as terrible among our good an- 
cestors, as was that of Gaul among the ancient Romans : 
and all the sage old women of the province used it as a 
bugbear, wherewith to frighten their unruly children into 

The eyes of all the province were now turned upon 
their governor, to know what he would do for the protec- 
tion of the common weal, in these days of darkness and 
peril. Great apprehensions prevailed among the reflect- 
ing part of the community, especially the old women, that 
these terrible warriors of Connecticut, not content with 
the conquest of Fort Goed Hoop, would incontinently 
march on to New- Amsterdam and take it by storm and 
as these old ladies, through means of the governor's spouse, 
who, as has been already hinted, was " the better horse," 
had obtained considerable influence in public affairs, keep- 
ing the province under a kind of petticoat government, it 
was determined that measures should be taken for the 
effective fortification of the city. 

Now it happened that at this time there sojourned in 
New- Amsterdam one Anthony Van Corlear, * a jolly fat 
Dutch trumpeter, of a pleasant burley visage, famous for 
his long wind and his huge whiskers; and who, as the 
story goes, could twang so potently upon his instrument, 
as to produce an effect upon all within hearing, as though 
ten thousand bagpipes were singing most lustily i' the 

* David Pietrez De Vries in his " Reyze naer Nieuw-Nederlandt 
onder bet year 1640," makes mention of one Corlear , a trumpeter in 
Fort Amsterdam, who gave name to Corlear's Hook, and who was 
doubtless this same champion, described by Mr. Knickerbocker.; 

NEW-YORK. 161 

nose. Him did the illustrious Kieft pick out as the man 
of all the world, and most fitted to be the champion of 
New- Amsterdam, and to garrison its fort; making little 
doubt but that his instrument would be as effectual and 
offensive in war as was that of the Paladin Astolpho, or 
the more classic horn of Alecto. It would have done one's 
heart good to have seen the governor snapping his fingers 
and fidgetting with delight, while his sturdy trumpeter 
strutted up and down the ramparts, fearlessly twanging 
his trumpet in the face of the whole world, like a thrice 
valorous editor, daringly insulting all the principalities and 
powers on the other side of the Atlantic. 

Nor was he content with thus strongly garrisoning the 
fort, but he likewise added exceedingly to its strength, by 
furnishing it with a formidable battery of quaker-guns-r- 
rearing a stupendous flag-staff in the centre, which over- 
topped the whole city and moreover by building a great 
windmill on one of the bastions. * This last, to be sure, 
was somewhat of a novelty in the art of fortification, but 
as I have already observed, William Kieft was notorious 
for innovations and experiments, and traditions do affirm 
that he was much given to mechanical inventions con*. 
structing patent smoke-jacks carts that went before the 
horses and especially erecting windmills, for which ma- 
chines he had acquired a singular predilection in Jus n^ 
tive town of Saardam. 

All these scientific vagaries of the little governor were 
cried up with ecstacy by his adherents, as proofs of his 
universal genius ; but there were not wanting ill-natured 
grumblers, who railed at him as employing his mind in 
frivolous pursuits, and devoting that time to sjnokerjacks 

* De Vries mentions that this windmill stood on the south-east 
bastion, and it is likewise to be seen, together with the flag-staff, in 
Justus Banker's View of New- Amsterdam, prefixed to this history, 



and windmills, which should have been occupied in the 
more important concerns of the province. Nay, they even 
went so far as to hint once or twice, that his head was 
turned by his experiments, and that he really thought to 
manage his government, as he did his mills by mere 
wind ! Such is the illiberality and slander to which en- 
lightened rulers are ever subject. 

Notwithstanding all the measures, therefore, of William 
the Testy to place the city in a posture of defence, the in- 
habitants continued in great alarm and despondency. But 
Fortune, who seems always careful, in the very nick of 
time, to throw a bone for Hope to feed upon, that the 
starveling elf may be kept alive, did about this time crown 
the arms of the province with success in another quarter, 
and thus cheered the drooping hearts of the forlorn Ned- 
erlanders ; otherwise there is no knowing to what lengths 
they might have gone in the excess of their sorrowing 
" for grief," says the profound historian of the seven 
champions of Christendom, " is companion with despair, 
and despair a procurer of infamous death !" 

Among the numerous inroads of the Moss-troopers of 
Connecticut, which, for some time past, had occasioned 
such great tribulation, I should particularly have men- 
tioned a settlement made on the eastern part of Long- 
Island, at a place which, from the peculiar excellence of 
its shell-fish, was called Oyster Bay. This was attacking 
the province in a most sensible part, and occasioned great 
agitation at New- Amsterdam. 

It is an incontrovertible fact, well known to skilful phy- 
siologists, that the high road to the affections is through 
the throat; and this may be accounted for on the same 
principles which I have already quoted in my strictures on 
fat aldermen. Nor is the fact unknown to the world at 
large; and hence do we observe, that the surest way to 
gain the hearts of the million, is to feed them well and 
that a man is never so disposed to flatter, to please and 

NEW-YORK. 163 

serve another, as when he is feeding at his expense; 
which is one reason why your rich men, who give frequent 
dinners, have such abundance of sincere and faithful 
friends. It is on this principle that our knowing leaders 
of parties secure the affections of their partizans, by re- 
warding them bountifully with loaves and fishes; and 
entrap the suffrages of the greasy mob, by treating them 
with bull feasts and roasted oxen. I have known many a 
man, in this same city, acquire considerable importance in 
society, and usurp a large share of the good-will of his 
fellow citizens, when the only thing that could be said in 
his eulogium was, " that he gave a good dinner, and kept 
excellent wine.'* 

Since then the heart and the stomach are so nearly al- 
lied, it follows conclusively that what affects the one must 
sympathetically affect the other. Now it is an equally in- 
controvertible fact, that of all offerings to the stomach, 
there is none more grateful than the testaceous marine 
animal, known commonly by the vulgar name of Oyster. 
And in such great reverence has it ever been held by 
my gormandizing fellow citizens, that temples have been 
dedicated to it, time out of mind, in every street, lane, and 
alley, throughout this well-fed city. It is not to be ex- 
pected, therefore, that the seizing of Oyster Bay, a place 
abounding with their favourite delicacy, would be tolerated 
by the inhabitants of New- Amsterdam. An attack upon 
their honour they might have pardoned ; even the massacre 
of a few citizens might have been passed over in silence ; 
but an outrage that affected the larders of the great city of 
New- Amsterdam, and threatened the stomachs of its cor- 
pulent burgomasters, was too serious to pass unrevenged. 
The whole council was unanimous in opinion; that the in- 
truders should be immediately driven by force of arms 
from Oyster Bay and its vicinity, and a detachment was 
accordingly despatched for the purpose, under command 
of one Stoffel Brinkerhoff, or Brinkerhoofd (i. e. Stoffel, 


the head-breaker) ; so called because he was a man of* 
mighty deeds, famous throughout the whole extent of 
Nieuw Nederlandts for his skill at quarterstaff ; and for 
size, he would have been a match for Colbrand, the Dan- 
ish champion, slain by Guy of Warwick. 

Stoffel Brinkerhoffwas A man of few words, but prompt 
actions -one of your straight-going officers, who march 
directly forward, and do their orders without making any 
parade about it. He used no extraordinary speed in his 
movements, but trudged steadily on, through Nineveh and 
Babylon, and Jericho and Patchog, and the mighty town 
of Quag, and various other renowned cities of yore, which, 
by some unaccountable witchcraft of the Yankees, have 
been strangely transplanted to Long-Island, until he ar- 
rived in the neighbourhood of Oyster Bay. 

Here was he encountered by a tumultuous host of valiant 
warriors, headed by Preserved Fish* and Habakkuk Nut- 
ter, and Return Strong* and Zerubbabel Fisk, and Jona- 
than Doolittle, and Determined Cock ! At the sound of 
whose names the courageous Stoffel verily believed that 
the whole parliament of Praise God Barebones had been 
let loose to discomfit him. Finding, however, that this 
formidable body was composed merely of the " select 
men " of the settlement, armed with no other weapon but 
their tongues, and that they had issued forth with no other 
intent, than to meet him on the field of argument he 
succeeded in putting them to the rout with little difficulty, 
and completely broke up their settlement. Without wait- 
ing to write an account of his victory on the spot, and thus 
letting the enemy slip through his fingers, while he was 
securing his own laurels, as a more experienced general 
would have done, the brave Stoffel thought of nothing 
but completing his enterprize, and utterly driving the Yan- 
kees from the Island. This hardy enterprize he performed 
in much the same manner as he had been accustomed to 
drive his oxen ; for as the Yankees fled before him, he 

NEW- YORK. 165 

pulled up his breeches and trudged steadily after them, 
and would infallibly have driven them into the sea, had 
they not begged for quarter, and agreed to pay tribute. 

The news of this achievement was a seasonable restora- 
tive to the spirits of the citizens of New- Amsterdam. To 
gratify them still more, the governor resolved to astonish 
them with one of those gorgeous spectacles, known in the 
days of classic antiquity, a full account of which had been 
flogged into his memory, when a school-boy at the Hague. 
A grand triumph, therefore, was decreed to StoiFel Brink- 
erhoff, who made his triumphant entrance into town rid- 
ing on a Naraganset pacer; five pumpkins, which, like 
Roman eagles, had served the enemy for standards, were 
carried before hitti fifty cart-loads of oysters, five hun- 
dred bushels of Weathersfield onions, a hundred quintals 
of codfish, two hogsheads of molasses, and various other 
treasures, were exhibited as the spoils and tribute of the 
Yankees; while three notorious counterfeiters of Man- 
hattan notes * were led captive to grace the hero's triumph. 
The procession was enlivened by martial music, from the 
trumpet of Anthony Van Corlear, the champion, accom- 
panied by a select band of boys and negroes, performing 
on the national instruments of rattle-bones and clam-shells. 
The citizens devoured the spoils in sheer gladness of heart 
every man did honour to the conqueror, by getting de- 
voutly drunk on New England rum; and the learned Wil- 
helmus Kieft, calling to mind, in a momentary fit of en- 
thusiasm and generosity, that it was customary among the 
ancients to honour their victorious generals with public 
statues, passed a gracious decree, by which every tavern- 

* This is one of those trivial anachronisms, that now and then occur 
in the course of this otherwise authentic history. How could Man- 
hattan notes be counterfeited, when as yet Banks were unknown in 
this country and our simple progenitors had not even dreamt of 
those inexhaustible mines of paper opulence? Print. Dev. 


keeper was permitted to paint the head of the intrepid 
Stoffel on his sign ! 


Philosophical reflections on the folly of being happy in times of 
prosperity* Sundry troubles on the southern frontiers. *-How 
William the Testy had well nigh ruined the province through a 
Cabalistic word. As also the secret expedition of Jan Jansen 
Alpendam, and his astonishing reward. 

IF we could but get a peep at the tally of Dame For- 
tune, where, like a notable landlady, she regularly chalks 
up the debtor and creditor accounts of mankind, we should 
find that, upon the whole, good and evil are pretty nearly 
balanced in this world : and that though we may for a long 
while revel in the very lap of prosperity, the time will at 
length come, when we must ruefully pay off the reckoning. 
Fortune, in fact, is a pestilent shrew, and withal a most 
inexorable creditor ; for though she may indulge her fa- 
vourites in long credits, and overwhelm them with her 
favours, yet sooner or later she brings up her arrears, 
with the rigour of an experienced publican, and washes 
out her scores with their tears. " Since," says good old 
Boetius in his Consolations of Philosophy, " since no man 
can retain her at his pleasure, and since her flight is so 
deeply lamented, what are her favours but sure prognosti- 
cations of approaching trouble and calamity !" 

There is nothing that more moves my contempt at the 
stupidity and want of reflection of my fellow men, than 
to behold them rejoicing, and indulging in security and 
self-confidence, in times of prosperity. To a wise man, 
who is blessed with the light of reason, those are the very 
moments of anxiety and apprehension ; well knowing that 

NEW-YORK. 167 

according to the system of things, happiness is at best but 
transient ; and that the higher he is elevated by the capri- 
cious breath of fortune, the lower must be his proportion- 
ate depression. Whereas, he who is overwhelmed by cala- 
mity, has the less chance of encountering fresh disasters, 
as a man at the bottom of a ladder, runs very little risk 
of breaking his neck by tumbling to the top. 

This is the very essence of true wisdom, which consists 
in knowing when we ought to be miserable ; and was dis- 
covered much about the same time with that invaluable 
secret, " that every thing is vanity and vexation of spirit;" 
in consequence of which maxim your wise men have ever 
been the unhappiest of the human race ; esteeming it as 
an infallible mark of genius to be distressed without rea- 
son ; since any man may be miserable in time of misfor- 
tune, but it is the philosopher alone who can discover 
cause for grief in the very hour of prosperity. 

According to the principle I have just advanced, we 
find that the colony of New Netherlands, which, under 
the reign of the renowned Van Twiller, had flourished in 
such alarming and fatal serenity, is now paying for its for- 
mer welfare, and discharging the enormous debt of comfort 
which it contracted. Foes harass it from different quar- 
ters ; the city of New- Amsterdam, while yet in its infancy, 
is kept in constant alarm; and its valiant commander, 
William the Testy, answers the vulgar, but expressive 
idea of " a man in a peck of troubles." 

While busily engaged repelling his bitter enemies 
the Yankees, on one side, we find him suddenly molested 
in another quarter, and by other assailants. A vagrant 
colony of Swedes, under the conduct of Peter Minnewits, 
and professing allegiance to that redoubtable virago, Chris- 
tina, queen of Sweden, had settled themselves and erected 
a fort on south (or Delaware) river ; within the boundaries 
claimed by the government of the New Netherlands. His- 
tory is mute as to the particulars of their first landing, and 


their real pretensions to the soil ; and this is the more to 
be lamented, as this same colony of Swedes will hereafter 
be found most materially to affect, not only the interests 
of the Nederlanders, but of the world at large ! 

In whatever manner, therefore, this vagabond colony of 
Swedes first took possession of the country, it is certain 
that in 1638 they established a fort, and Minnewits, ac- 
cording to the off-hand usage of his contemporaries, de- 
clared himself governor of all the adjacent country, under 
the name of the province of NEW SWEDEN. No sooner 
did this reach the ears of the choleric Wilhelmus, than, 
like a true spirited chieftain, he immediately broke into a 
violent rage, and calling together his council, belaboured 
the Swedes most lustily in the longest speech that had ever 
been heard in the colony, since the memorable dispute of 
Ten Breeches and Tough Breeches. Having thus given 
vent to the first ebullitions of his indignation, he had resort 
to his favourite measure of proclamation, and despatched 
one piping hot, in the first year of his reign, informing 
Peter Minnewits that the whole territory, bordering on the 
south river, had, time out of mind, been in possession of 
the Dutch colonists, having been " beset with forts, and 
sealed with their blood." 

The latter sanguinary sentence would convey an idea of 
direful war and bloodshed, were we not relieved by the 
information, that it merely related to a fray, in which some 
half a dozen Dutchmen had been killed by the Indians, in 
their benevolent attempts to establish a colony and promote 
civilization. By this it will be seen that William Kieft, 
though a very small man, delighted in big expressions, 
and was much given to a praiseworthy figure in rhetoric, 
generally cultivated by your little great men, called hyper- 
bole. A figure which has been found of infinite service 
among many of his class, and which has helped to swell 
the grandeur of many a mighty, self-important, but windy 
chief magistrate. Nor can 1 resist in this place, froni 

NEW. YORK. 169 

observing how much my beloved country is indebted to 
this same figure of hyperbole, for supporting certain of 
her greatest characters statesmen, orators, civilians, and 
divines ; who, by dint of big words, inflated periods, and 
windy doctrines, are kept afloat on the surface of society, 
: as ignorant swimmers are buoyed up by blown bladders. 

The proclamation against Minnewits concluded by or- 
dering the self-dubbed governor, and his gang of Swedish 
adventurers, immediately to leave the country, under pen- 
alty of the high displeasure, and inevitable vengeance of 
the puissant government of the Nieuw Nederlandts. This 
^ strong measure," however, does not seem to have had a 
whit more effect than its predecessors, which had beer? 
thundered against the Yankees the Swedes resolutely 
held on to the territory they had taken possession of; 
whereupon matters for the present remained in statu quo. 

That Wilhelmus Kieft should put up with this insolent 
obstinacy in the Swedes would appear incompatible with 
his valorous temperament;; but we find that about this 
time the little man had his hands full, and with one an? 
jioyance and another, was kept continually on the bounce. 

There is a certain description of active legislators, who, 
by shrewd management, contrive always to have a hundred 
irons on the anvil, every one of which must be immedi- 
ately attended to ; who consequently are ever full of tem- 
porary shifts and expedients, patching up the public wel- 
fare, and cobbling the national affairs, so as to make nine 
holes where they mend one stopping chinks and flaws 
with whatever comes first to hand, like the Yankees J 
have mentioned stuffing old clothes in broken windows. 
Of this class of statesmen was William the Testy; and 
had he only been blessed with powers equal to his zeal, or 
his zeal been disciplined by a little discretion, there is very 
little doubt but he would have made the greatest governor 
of his size on record ; the renowned governor of the island 
,of Barataria alone excepted. 



The great defect of Wilhelmus Kieft's policy was, that 
though no man could be more ready to stand forth in an 
hour of emergency, yet he was so intent upon guarding 
the national pocket, that he suffered the enemy to break 
its head : in other words, whatever precaution for public 
safety he adopted, he was so intent upon rendering it 
cheap, that he invariably rendered it ineffectual. All this 
was a remote consequence of his profound education at 
the Hague ; where, having acquired a smattering of know- 
ledge, he was ever after a great Conner of indexes, con- 
tinually dipping into books, without ever studying to the 
bottom of any subject; so that he had the scum of all 
kinds of authors fermenting in his pericranium. In some 
of these titlepage researches, he unluckily stumbled over 
a grand political cabalistic word, which, with his customary 
facility, he immediately incorporated into his great scheme 
of government, to the irretrievable injury and delusion of 
the honest province of Nieuw Nederlandts, and the eter- 
nal misleading of all experimental rulers. 

In vain have I pored over the Theurgia of the Chal- 
deans, the Cabala of the Jews, the Necromancy of the A- 
rabians, the Magic of the Persians, the Hocus Pocus of 
the English, the Witchcraft of the Yankees, or the Pow- 
wowing of the Indians, to discover where the little man 
first laid his eyes on this terrible word. Neither the Se- 
phir Jezirah, that famous cabalistic volume, ascribed to the 
Patriarch Abraham; nor the pages of the Zoheir, contain- 
ing the mysteries of the cabala, recorded by the learned 
Rabbi Simeon Jochaides, yield any light to my inquiries : 
nor am I in the least benefited by my painful researches 
in the Shem-hamphorah of Benjamin, the wandering Jew, 
though it enabled Davidus Elm to make a ten days' jour- 
ney in twenty-four hours. Neither can I perceive the 
slightest affinity in the Tetragrammaton, or sacred name 
of four letters, the profoundest word of the Hebrew Ca- 
bala ; a mystery, sublime, ineffable, and incommunicable. 

NEW-YORK. 171 

and the letters of which, Jod-He-Vau-He, having been 
stolen by the Pagans, constituted their great name Jao, or 
Jove. In short, in all my cabalistic, theurgic, necromantic, 
magical, and astrological researches, from the Tetractys 
of Pythagoras, to the recondite works of Breslaw and Mo- 
ther Bunch, I have not discovered the least vestige of an 
origin of this word, nor have I discovered any word of suf- 
ficient potency to counteract it. 

Not to keep my reader in any suspense, the word which 
had so wonderfully arrested the attention of William the 
Testy, and which in German characters had a particular- 
ly black and ominous aspect, on being fairly translated in- 
to the English, is no other than ECONOMY a talismanic 
term, which, by constant use and frequent mention, has 
ceased to be formidable in our eyes, but which has as ter- 
rible potency as any in the arcana of necromancy. 

When pronounced in a national assembly it has an im- 
mediate effect in closing the hearts, beclouding the intel- 
lects, drawing the purse-strings, and buttoning the breech- 
es-pockets, of all philosophic legislators. Nor are its effects 
on the eyes less wonderful. It produces a contraction of 
the retina, an obscurity of the chrystalline lens, a viscidity 
of the vitreous, and an inspissation of the aqueous humours, 
an induration of the tunica sclerotica, and a convexity of 
the cornea; insomuch that the organ of vision loses its 
strength and perspicuity, and the unfortunate patient be- 
comes myopes, or, in plain English, purblind ; perceiving 
only the amount of immediate expense, without being able 
to look farther, and regard it in connexion with the ulti- 
mate object to be effected; " so that," to quote the words 
of the eloquent Burke, " a briar at his nose is of greater 
magnitude than an oak at five hundred yards distance." 
Such are its instantaneous operations, and the results are 
still more astonishing. By its magic influence seventy- 
fours shrink into frigates, frigates into sloops, and sloops 
into gun-boats As the defenceless ships of Eneas, at the 


command of the protecting Venus, changed into sea- 
nymphs, and protected themselves by diving; so the mighty 
navy of America, by the cabalistic word of economy, dwin- 
dles into small craft, and shelters itself in a mill-pond ! 

This all-potent word, which served as his touchstone in 
politics, at once explains the whole system of proclama- 
tions, protests, empty threats, windmills, trumpeters, and 
paper war, carried on by Wilhelmus the Testy; and we 
may trace its operations in an armament which he fitted 
out in 164-2, in a moment of great wrath, consisting of two 
sloops and thirty men, under the command of Mynheer 
Jan Jansen Alpendam, as admiral of the fleet, and com- 
mander-in-chief of the forces. This formidable expedition, 
Which can only be paralleled by some of the daring cruizes 
of our infant navy about the bay and up the sound, was 
intended to drive the Marylanders from the Schuylkill, of 
which they had recently taken possession, and which was 
claimed as part of the province of Nieuw Nederlandts; for 
it appears that at this time our infant colony was in that 
enviable state so much coveted by ambitious nations ; that 
is to say, the government had a vast extent of territory, 
part of which it enjoyed, and the greater part of which it 
had continually to quarrel about. 

Admiral Jan Jansen Alpendam was a man of great met- 
tle and prowess, and no way displayed at the character of 
the enemy, who were represented as a gigantic, gunpow- 
der race of men, who lived oh hoe-cakes and bacon, drank 
mint-juleps and apple-toddy ; and were exceedingly expert 
at boxing, biting, gouging, tar and feathering, and a va- 
riety of other athletic accomplishments, which they had 
borrowed from their cousins-german and prototypes the 
Virginians, to whom they have ever borne considerable re- 
semblance. Notwithstanding all these alarming represen- 
tations, the admiral entered the Schuylkill most undaunt- 
edly with his fleet, and arrived without disaster or oppo- 
sition at the place of destination^ 

NEW-YORK. 173 

Here he attacked the enemy in a vigorous speech in low 
Jt)utch, which the wary Kieft had previously put in his 
pocket; wherein he courteously commenced by calling 
them a pack of lazy, louting, dram-drinking, cock-fight- 
ing, horse-racing, slave-driving, tavern4iaunting, sabbath- 
breaking, mulatto-breeding upstarts; and concluded by 
ordering them to evacuate the country immediately; to 
which they most laconically replied in plain English, 
"they'd see him d d first." 

Now this was a reply for which neither Jan Jansen Al- 
pendam, nor Wilhelmus Kieft, had made any calculation; 
and finding himself totally unprepared to answer so terri- 
ble a rebuff with suitable hostility, he concluded that his 
wisest course was to return home and report progress. 
He accordingly sailed back to New- Amsterdam, where he 
was received with great honours, and considered as a pat- 
tern for all commanders ; having achieved a most hazard- 
ous enterprize, at a trifling expense of treasure, and with- 
out losing a single man to the state ! He was unanimous- 
ly called the deliverer of his country (an appellation libe- 
rally bestowed on all great men) ; his two sloops having 
done their duty, were laid up (or dry-docked) in a cove 
now called the Albany Basin^ where they quietly rotted in 
the mud ; and to immortalize his name, they erected by 
subscription, a magnificent shingle monument on the top 
of Flatten-barrack * Hill, which lasted three whole years, 
when it fell to pieces, and was burnt for fire-wood. 

* A corruption of Varleth's bergh, or Varieties hill, so called from 
one Varleth, who lived upon that hill in the early days of the settle- 



How William the Testy enriched the province by a multitude of 
lam, and came to be the Patron of Lawyers and Bumbailiffs. 
And how the people became exceedingly enlightened and un- 
happy under his instructions. 

AMONG the many wrecks and fragments of exalted wis- 
dom which have floated down the stream of time from ve- 
nerable antiquity, and have been carefully picked up by 
those humble but industrious wights, who ply along the 
shores of literature, we find the following sage ordinance 
of Charondas, the Locrian legislator: Anxious to pre- 
serve the ancient laws of the state from the additions and 
improvements of profound " country members," or offi- 
cious candidates for popularity, he ordained, that whoever 
proposed a new law, should do it with a halter about his 
neck, so that in case his proposition was rejected, they just 
hung him up, and there the matter ended. 

This salutary institution had such an effect, that for 
more than two hundred years there was only one trifling 
alteration in the criminal code; and the whole race of 
lawyers starved to death for want of employment. The 
consequence of this was, that the Locrians being unpro- 
tected by an overwhelming load of excellent laws, and un- 
defended by a standing army of pettifoggers and sheriff's 
officers, lived very lovingly together, and were such a 
happy people, that they scarce make any figure through- 
out the whole Grecian history ; for it is well known that 
none but your unlucky, quarrelsome, rantipole nations 
make any noise in the world. 

Well would it have been for William the Testy, had he 
haply in the course of his "universal acquirements,'' stum- 
bled upon this precaution of the good Charondas. On the 

NEW- YORK. 175 

contrary, he conceived that the true policy of a legislator 
was to multiply laws, and thus secure the property, the 
persons, and the morals of the people, by surrounding 
them in a manner with men-traps and spring-guns, and 
besetting even the sweet sequestered walks of private life, 
with quickset-hedges, so that a man could scarcely turn 
without the risk of encountering some of these pestiferous 
protectors. Thus was he continually coining petty laws 
for every petty offence that occurred, until in time they be- 
came too numerous to be remembered, and remained, like 
those of certain modern legislators, mere dead letters, re- 
vived occasionally for the purpose of individual oppression, 
or to entrap ignorant offenders. 

Petty courts consequently began to appear, where the 
law was administered with nearly as much wisdom and 
impartiality as in those august tribunals, the aldermen's 
and justices' courts of the present day. The plaintiff was 
generally favoured, as being a customer, and bringing 
business to the shop ; the offences of the rich were dis- 
creetly winked at, for fear of hurting the feelings of their 
friends ; but it could never be laid to the charge of the 
vigilant burgomasters, that they suffered vice to sculk un- 
punished, under the disgraceful rags of poverty. 

About this time may we date the first introduction of 
capital punishments : a goodly gallows being erected on 
the waterside, about where Whitehall stairs are at pre- 
sent, a little to the east of the battery. Hard by also 
was erected another gibbet, of a very strange, uncouth, 
and unmatchable description, but on which the ingenious 
William Kieft valued himself not a little, being a punish- 
ment entirely of his own invention. * 

It was for loftiness of altitude not a whit inferior to 
that of Haman, so renowned in bible history ; but the 

* Both the gibbets may be seen in the sketch of Justus Danker, 
prefixed to the work. 


marvel of the contrivance was, that the culprit, instead of 
being suspended by the neck, according to venerable cus- 
tom, was hoisted by the waistband, and was kept for an 
hour together, dangling and sprawling between heaven 
and earth, to the infinite entertainment, and doubtless 
great edification of the multitude of respectable citizens, 
who usually attend upon exhibitions of the kind. 

It is incredible how the little governor chuckled at be- 
holding caitiff vagrants and sturdy beggars thus swinging 
by the crupper, and cutting antic gambols in the air. He 
had a thousand pleasantries., and mirthful conceits to utter 
upon these occasions. He called them his dandle-lions 
his wild-fowl his high-fliers his spread-eagles his 
goshawks his scarecrows and finally, his gallows-birds ; 
which ingenious appellation, though originally confined 
to worthies who had taken the air in this strange manner, 
has since grown to be a cant-name given to all candidates 
for legal elevation. This punishment, moreover, if we 
may credit the assertions of certain grave etymologists, 
gave the first hint for a kind of harnessing, or strapping, 
by which our forefathers braced up their multifarious 
breeches, and which has of late years been revived, and 
.continues to be worn at the present day, 

Such were the admirable improvements of Williain 
Kieft in criminal law ; nor was his civil code less a mat- 
ter of wonderment : and much does it grieve me* that the 
limits of my work will not suffer me to expatiate on both 
with the prolixity they deserve. Let it suffice then to 
say, that in a little while the blessings of innumerable 
Jaws became notoriously apparent. It was soon found 
necessary to have a certain class of men to expound and 
confound them; divers pettifoggers accordingly made 
their appearance, under whose protecting care the com- 
munity was soon set together by the ears. 

I would not here be thought to insinuate any thing de- 
rogatory to the profession of the law, or to its dignified 

NEW. YORK. 177 

members, Well am I aware that we have in this ancient 
eity innumerable worthy gentlemen, who have embraced 
that honourable order, not for the sordid love of filthy 
lucre, nor the selfish cravings of renown, but through no 
other motives than a fervent zeal for the correct adminis- 
tration of justice, and a generous and disinterested devo- 
tion to the interests of their fellow-citizens ! Sooner 
would I throw this trusty pen into the flames, and cork 
up my inkbottle for ever, than infringe, even for a naiFs- 
breadth, upon the dignity of this truly benevolent class 
of citizens ; on the contrary, I .allude solely to that crew 
of caitiff scouts, who, in these latter days of evil, h,ave j>e? 
come so numerous who infest the skirts of the profes- 
sion, as did the recreant Cornish knights the honourable 
order of chivalry who, under its auspices, .commit their 
depredations on society who thrive by quibbles, quirks, 
and chicanery ; and, like vermin, swarm most where their 
is most corruption. 

Nothing so soon awakens the malevolent passions as 
the facility of gratification. The courts of law would 
never be so constantly crowded with petty, vexatious, 
and disgraceful suits, were it not for the herds pf petti- 
fogging lawyers that infest them. These tamper with 
the passions of the lower and more ignorant classes ; who, 
as if poverty were not a sufficient misery in itself, are al- 
ways ready to heighten it, by the bitterness of litigation. 
They are in law what quacks are in medicine exciting 
the malady for the purpose of profiting by the cure ; apd 
retarding the cure for the purpose of augmenting the fees, 
Where one destroys the constitution, the other impo- 
verishes the purse; and it may likewise be observed, that 
a patient, who has once been under the hands of a quack, 
is ever after dabbling in drugs, and poisoning himself 
with infallible remedies ; and an ignorant man, who has 
once meddled with the law, under the auspices of one of 
ihese empirics, is for ever after embroiling himself witfe 



his neighbours, and impoverishing himself with success- 
ful lawsuits. My readers will excuse this digression, 
into which I have been unwarily betrayed ; but I could 
not avoid giving a cool, unprejudiced account of an a- 
bomination too prevalent in this excellent city, and with 
the effects of which I am unluckily acquainted to my 
cost ; having been nearly ruined by a lawsuit, which was 
unjustly decided against me, and my ruin having been 
completed by another, which was decided in my favour. 

It has been remarked by the observant writer of the 
Stuyvesant manuscript, that under the administration of 
Wilhelmus Kieft, the disposition of the inhabitants of 
New-Amsterdam experienced an essential change, so that 
they became very meddlesome and factious. The con- 
stant exacerbations of temper into which the little gover- 
nor was thrown, by the maraudings on his frontiers, and 
unfortunate propensity to experiment and innovation, oc- 
casioned him to keep his council in a continual worry 
and the council being to the people at large, what yeast 
or leaven is to a batch, they threw the whole community 
into a ferment and the people at large being to the city 
what the mind is to the body, the unhappy commotions 
they underwent operated most disastrously upon New- 
Amsterdam insomuch, that in certain of their parox- 
ysms of consternation and perplexity, they begat several 
of the most crooked, distorted, and abominable streets, 
lanes, aud alleys, with which this metropolis is disfigured. 
But the worst of the matter was, that just about this 
time, the mob, since called the sovereign people, like Bal- 
aam's ass, began to grow more enlightened than its rider, 
and exhibited a strange desire of governing itself. This 
was another effect of the "universal acquirements" of Wil- 
liam the Testy. In some of his pestilent researches 
among the rubbish of antiquity, he was struck with admi- 
ration at the institution of public tables among the Lace- 
daemonians, where they discussed topics of a general and 

NEW-YORK. 179 

interesting nature at the schools of the philosophers, 
where they engaged in profound disputes upon politics 
and morals where grey beards were taught the rudiments 
of wisdom, and youths learned to become little men, be- 
fore they were boys. " There is nothing," said the inge- 
nious Kieft, shutting up the book " there is nothing more 
essential to the well management of a country, than edu- 
cation among the people ; the basis of a good government 
should be laid in the public mind." Now this was true 
enough, but it was ever the wayward fate of William the 
Testy, that when he thought right, he was sure to go to 
work wrong. In the present instance, he could scarcely 
eat or sleep, until he had set on foot brawling debating 
societies, among the simple citizens of New- Amsterdam. 
This was the one thing wanting to complete his confusion. 
The honest Dutch burghers, though in truth but little 
given to argument or wordy altercation, yet by dint of 
meeting often together, fuddling themselves with strong 
drink, beclouding their brains with tobacco smoke, and 
listening to the harangues of some half a dozen oracles, 
soon became exceedingly wise, and, as is always the case 
where the mob is politically enlightened, exceedingly dis- 
contented. They found out, with wonderful quickness of 
discernment, the fearful error in which they had indulged, 
in fancying themselves the happiest people in creation ; and 
were fortunately convinced, that, all circumstances to the 
contrary notwithstanding, they were a very unhappy, de- 
luded, and consequently, ruined people ! 

In a short time the quidnuncs of New- Amsterdam formed 
themselves into sage juntos of political croakers, who dai- 
ly met together to groan over political affairs, and make 
themselves miserable ; thronging to these unhappy assem- 
blages with the same eagerness, that zealots have in all 
ages abandoned the milder and more peaceful paths of re- 
ligion, to crowd to the howling convocations of fanaticism. 
We are naturally prone to discontent, and avaricious af- 


ter imaginary causes of lamentation: like lubberly monks, 
we belabour our own shoulders, and seem to take a vast 
satisfaction in the music of our own groans. Nor is this 
said for the sake of paradox ; daily experience shows the 
truth of these observations. It is next to a farce to offer 
consolation, or to think of elevating the spirits of a man 
groaning under ideal calamities ; but nothing is more easy 
than to render him wretched, though on the pinnacle of 
felicity ; as it is an Herculean task to hoist a man to the 
top of a steeple, though the merest child can topple him 
off thence. 

In the sage assemblages I have noticed, the philosophic 
reader will at once perceive the faint germs of those sapi- 
ent convocations called popular meetings, prevalent in our 
day. Thither resort all those idlers and " squires of low 
degree," who, like rags, hang loose upon the back of so- 
ciety $ and are ready to be blown away by every wind of 
doctrine. Cobblers abandoned their stalls, and hastened 
thither to give lessons on political economy blacksiniths 
left their handicraft and suffered their own fires to go out, 
while they blew the bellows and stirred up the fire of fac- 
tion ; and even tailors, though but the shreds and patches, 
the ninth parts of humanity, neglected their own measures, 
to attend to the measures of government. Nothing was 
wanting but half a dozen newspapers and patriotic editors, 
to have completed this public illumination, and to have 
throwii the whole province in an uproar ! 

I should not forget to mention, that these popular meet- 
ings were always held at a noted tavern ; for houses of that 
description have always been found the most congenial 
nurseries of politics ; abounding with those genial streams 
which give strength and sustenance to faction. We are 
told that the ancient Germans had an admirable mode of 
treating any question of importance ; they first deliberated 
upon it when drunk, and afterwards reconsidered it when 
sober. The shrewder mobs of America, who dislike hav- 

NEW-YORK. 181 

ing two minds upon a subject, both determine and act up- 
on it drunk ; by which means a world of cold and tedious 
speculations is dispensed with and as it is universally al- 
lowed, that when a man is drunk he sees double; it follows 
most conclusively that he sees twice as well as his sober 


Of the great pipe plot and of the dolorous perplexities into whidh 
William the Testy was thrown, by reason of his having enlight- 
ened the multitude. 

WILHELMUS KIEFT, as has already been made mani- 
fest, was a great legislator upon a small scale. He was of 
an active, or rather a busy mind ; that is to say, his was 
one of those small, but brisk minds, that make up by bus- 
tle and constant motion, for the want of great scope and 
power. He had, when quite a youngling, been impressed 
with the advice of Solomon, " Go to the ant, thou slug- 
gard, consider her ways and be wise :" in conformity to 
which, he had ever been of a restless, ant-like turn, worry- 
ing hither and thither, busying himself about little matters, 
with an air of great importance and anxiety laying up 
wisdom by the morsel, and often toiling and puffing at a 
grain of mustard-seed, under the full conviction that he 
was moving a mountain. 

Thus we are told, that once upon a time, in one of his 
fits of mental bustle, which he termed deliberation, he 
framed an unlucky law, to prohibit the universal practice 
of smoking. This he proved, by mathematical demonstra- 
tion, to be not merely a heavy tax on the public pocket, 
but an incredible consumer of time, a hideous encourager 
of idleness, and, of course^ a deadly bane to the prosperi- 
ty and morals of the people. Ill fated Kieft ! had he 


lived in this enlightened and libel-loving age, and attempt- 
ed to subvert the inestimable liberty of the press, he could 
not have struck more closely on the sensibilities of the mil- 

The populace were in as violent a turmoil as the consti- 
tutional gravity of their deportment would permit : a mob 
of factious citizens had even the hardihood to assemble be- 
fore the governor's house, where, setting themselves reso- 
lutely down, like a besieging army before a fortress, they 
one and all fell to smoking with a determined persever- 
ance, that seemed as though it were their intention to smoke 
him into terms. The Testy William issued out of his 
mansion like unto a wrathful spider, and demanded to 
know the cause of this seditious assemblage, and this law- 
less fumigation; to which these sturdy rioters made no 
other reply, than to loll back most phlegmatically in their 
seats, and puff' away with redoubled fiiry ; whereby they 
raised such a murky cloud, that the governor was fain to 
take refuge in the interior of his castle. 

The governor immediately perceived the object of this 
unusual tumult, and that it would be impossible to sup- 
press a practice, which, by long indulgence had become a 
second nature. And here I would observe, partly to ex- 
plain why I have so often made mention of this practice 
in my history, that it was inseparably connected with all 
the affairs, both public and private, of our revered ances- 
tors. The pipe, in fact, was never from the mouth of the 
true-born Nederlander. It was his companion in solitude, 
the relaxation of his gayer hours his counsellor, his con- 
soler, his joy, his pride ; in a word, he seemed to think 
and breathe through his pipe. 

When William the Testy bethought himself of all these 
matters, which he certainly did ; although a little too late, 
he came to a compromise with the besieging multitude. 
The result was, that though he continued to permit the 
custom of smoking, yet did he abolish the fair long pipes 

NE W-YORK. 133 

which were used in the days of Wouter Van Twiller, de- 
noting ease, tranquillity, and sobriety of deportment ; and 
in place thereof, did introduce little captious short pipes, 
two inches in length ; which, he observed, could be stuck 
in one corner of the mouth, or twisted in the hat-band, 
and would not be in the way of business. By this the 
multitude seemed somewhat appeased, and dispersed to 
their habitations. Thus ended this alarming insurrection, 
which was long known by the name of the pipe plot, and 
which, it has been somewhat quaintly observed, did end, 
like most other plots, seditions, and conspiracies, in mere 

But mark, Oh reader ! the deplorable consequences 
that did afterwards result. The smoke of these villainous 
little pipes, continually ascending in a cloud about the 
nose., penetrated into and befogged the cerebellum, dried 
up all the kindly moisture of the brain, and rendered the 
people that used them as vapourish and testy as their re- 
nowned little governor nay, what is more, from a good 
burly race of folk, they became, like our worthy Dutch 
farmers, who smoke short pipes, a lantern-jawed, smoke*- 
rdried, leathern-hided race of men. 

Nor was this all, for from hence may we date the rise 
of parties in this province. Certain of the more wealthy 
and important burghers adhering to the ancient fashion, 
formed a kind of aristocracy, which went by the appella- 
tion of the Long Pipes, while the lower orders, submitting 
to the innovation, which they found to be more conveni-r 
,ent in their handicraft employments, and to leave them 
more liberty of action, were branded with the plebeian 
name of Short Pipes. A third party likewise sprang up, 
differing from both the others, headed by the descendants 
of the famous Robert Chewit, the companion of the great 
Hudson. These entirely discarded the use of pipes, and 
took to chewing tobacco, and hence they were called Quids. 
It is worthy of notice, that this last appellation has since 


eome to be invariably applied to those mongrel or third 
parties, that will sometimes spring up between two great 
contending parties, as a mule is produced between a horse 
and an ass. 

And here I would remark the great benefit of these par- 
ty distinctions, by which the people at large are saved the 
vast trouble of thinking. Hesiod divides mankind into 
three classes, those who think for themselves, those who 
let others think for them, and those who will neither do 
one nor the other. The second class, however, comprises, 
the great mass of society, and hence is the origin of party, 
by which is meant a large body of people, some few of 
whom think, and all the rest talk. The former, who are 
called the leaders, marshal out and discipline the latter, 
teaching them what they must approve what they must 
hoot at what they must say whom they must support ; 
but, above all, whom they must hate ; for no man can be 
a right good partizan, unless he be a determined and 
thorough-going hater. 

But when the sovereign people are thus properly bro- 
ken to the harness, yoked, curbed, and reined, it is delec- 
table to see with what docility and harmony they jog on-* 
ward, through mud and mire, at the will of their drivers, 
dragging the dirt-carts of faction at their heels. How many 
a patriotic member of congress have I seen, who would never 
have known how to make up his mind on any question, 
and might have run a great risk of voting right by mere 
accident, had he not had others to think for him, and a 
file leader to vote after. 

Thus then the enlightened inhabitants of the Manhat- 
toes, being divided into parties, were enabled to organize 
dissension, and to oppose and hate one another more ac- 
curately. And now the great business of politics went 
bravely on; the parties assembling in separate beer- 
bouses, and smoking at each other with implacable anir 
niosity, to the great support of the state, and emolument 

NBW-YORK. 185 

of the tavern-keepers. Some, indeed, who were more sea* 
lous than the rest, went further, and began to bespatter 
one another with numerous very hard names ai)d scanda- 
lous little words, to be found in the Duteh language; 
every partizan believing religiously that he was serving his 
country, when he traduced the character, or impoverished 
the pocket of a political adversary. But, however, they 
might differ between themselves, all parties agreed ori 
one point to cavil at and condemn every measure of go^- 
vernment whether right or wrong; for as the governor 
was by his station independent of their power, and was 
not elected by their choice, and as he had not decided in 
favour of either faction, neither of them was interested in 
his success, nor in the prosperity of the country while unr 
der his administration. 

" Unhappy William Kieft J" explaijns the sage writer 
of the Stuyvesant manuscript, "doomed to contend with 
enemies too knowing to be entrapped, and to reign over a 
people too wise to be governed !" All his expeditions $- 
gainst his enemies were baffled and set at naught, an(J all 
his measures for the public safety were cavilled at by the 
people. Did he propose levying an efficient body of troops 
for internal defence the mob, that is to say, those vaga- 
bond members of the community who have nothing to lose, 
immediately took the alarm, vociferated that their interests 
were in danger; that a standing army was a legion of 
moths, preying on ithe pockets of society ; a rod of iron in 
the hands of government ; and that a government with a 
military force at its c,ommand, would inevitably swell into 
a despotism. Did he, as was but too commonly the case, 
defer preparation until the moment of emergency, and then 
hastily collect a handful of undisciplined vagrants the 
irjeasure was hooted at, as feeble and inadequate ; as trif- 
Jing with the public dignity and safety ; and as lavishing 
the public funds on impotent enterprises. Did he resort 
o the economic measure of proclamation he was laughed 

2 A 


at by the Yankees. Did he back it by non-intercourse 
it was evaded and counteracted by his own subjects. 
Whichever way he turned himself he was beleaguered 
and distracted by petitions of " numerous and respectable 
meetings," consisting of some half a dozen brawling pot- 
house politicians ; all of which he read, and what is worse, 
all of which he attended to. The consequence was, that 
by incessantly changing his measures, he gave none of 
them a fair trial ; and by listening to the clamours of the 
mob, and endeavouring to do every thing, he, in sober 
truth, did nothing. 

I would not have it supposed, however, that he took all 
these memorials and interferences good naturedly, for such 
an idea would do an injustice to his valiant spirit ; on the 
contrary, he never received a piece of advice in the whole 
course of his life, without first getting into a passion with 
the giver. But I have ever observed that your passionate 
little men, like small boats with large sails, are the easiest 
upset or blown out of their course ; and this is demonstrated 
by Governor Kieft, who, though in temperament as hot 
as an old radish, and with a mind, the territory of which 
was subjected to perpetual whirlwinds and tornadoes, yet 
never failed to be carried away by the last piece of advice 
that was blown into his ear. Lucky was it for him that 
his power was not dependant on the greasy multitude, and 
that as yet the populace did not possess the important pri 
vilege of nominating their chief magistrate. They, how- 
ever, like a true mob, did their best to help along public 
affairs ; pestering their governor incessantly, by goading 
him on with harangues and petitions ; and then thwarting 
his fiery spirit with reproaches and memorials, like a knot 
of Sunday-jockeys, managing an unlucky devil of a hack- 
horse : so that Wilhelmus Kieft may be said to have been 
kept either on a worry or a hand-gallop, throughout the 
whole of his administration. 

NEW- YORK. 187 


Containing divers fearful accounts of Border Wars, and the fla- 
grant outrages of the Moss-troopers of Connecticut ; with the rise 
of the great Amphyctiontc Council of the east, and the decline 
of William the Testy. 

IT was asserted by the wise men of ancient times, who 
were intimately acquainted with these matters, that at the 
gate of Jupiter's palace lay two huge tuns, the one filled 
with blessings, the other with misfortunes ; and it verily 
seems as if the latter had been completely overturned, and 
left to deluge the unlucky province of Nieuw Nederlandts. 
Among the many internal and external causes of irrita- 
tion, the incessant irruptions of the Yankees upon his fron- 
tiers were continually adding fuel to the inflammable tem- 
per of William the Testy. Numerous accounts of these 
molestations may still be found among the records of the 
times ; for the commanders on the frontiers were especially 
careful to evince their vigilance and zeal, by striving who 
should send home the most frequent and voluminous bud- 
gets of complaints, as your faithful servant is eternally 
running with complaints to the parlour, of all the petty 
squabbles and misdemeanours of the kitchen. All these 
valiant tale-bearings were listened to with great wrath by 
the passionate Kieft and his subjects, who were to the full 
as eager to hear, and credulous to believe these frontier 
fables, as are my fellow-citizens to swallow those amusing 
stories with which our papers are daily filled, about Bri- 
tish aggressions at sea, French sequestrations on shore, 
Spanish infringements in the promised land of Louisiana, 
and, above all, internal plots and conspiracies. 

We are told by the good Plutarch, in his life of Nicias, 
that the terrible defeat of the Athenians in Sicily was first 


mentioned in the shop of a gossiping barber at the Piraeus* 
Whereupon, with the customary officiousness of his tribe* 
he ran up into Athens to have the first telling of the sto- 
iy, and threw the whole forum into consternation. Not 
being able, however, to substantiate his tale, the unlucky 
shaver was put upon the wheel and whirled about, as a re- 
ward for his trouble, until he was exculpated by the arriv- 
al of other evidence. 

Such was the manner in which busy alarmists, and ma- 
nufacturers of fearful news were treated in Athens, whereas 
in our more enlightened country we support whole herds 
of editors for no other purpose, than to gratify a public 
appetite for direful news, and any man who can foist up 
a full-sounding, hobgoblin story of a plot or conspiracy, 
may command his own price for it* I have known two 
or three of these tales of terror td be bought up by go- 
vernment, for the sovereign people to amuse themselves 
withal ; which goes further to prove, What I have before 
asserted, that your enlightened people Idve to be miserable. 

Fai* be it from me to insinuate, however, that our wor- 
thy ancestors indulged in groundless alarms ; on the 
contrary, they were daily suffering a repetition of cruel 
wrongs, * not one of which but was a sufficient reason, 
according to the maxims of national dignity and honour* 
for throwing the whole universe into hostility and confu- 

Oh ye powers ! into what indignation did every one of 

* From among a multitude of bitter grievances still on record* I 
select a few of the most atrocious, and leave my readers to judge, if 
our ancestors were not justifiable in getting into a very valiant passion 
on the occasion. 

24 June, 1641. Some of Hartford haVe taken a hogg out of the 
vlact, or common, and shut it up out of meer hate or other prejudice* 
causing it to starve for hunger in the stye ! 

26 July. The foremencioned English did againe drive the Com- 
paiiie's hoggs out of the vlact of Sicojoke into Hartford ; contending 

NEW-YORK, 189 

these outrages throw the philosophic William ! Letter 
after letter, protest after protest, proclamation after pro- 
clamation, bad Latin) worse English, and hideous low 
Dutch, were exhausted in vain upon the inexorable Yan- 
kees; and the four-and-twenty letters of the alphabet^ 
which, excepting his champion the sturdy trumpeter Van 
Corlear, composed the only standing army he had at his 
command, were never off duty throughout the whole of his 
administration. Nor did Anthony, the trumpeter* remain 
a whit behind his patron the gallant Kieft, in his fiery 
zeal 5 but like a faithful champion and preserver of the 
public safety, on the arrival of every fresh article of news, 
he was sure to sound his trumpet from the ramparts, with 
most disastrous notes, throwing the people into violent 
alarms, and disturbing their rest at all times and seasons; 
Which caused him to be held in very great regard, the 
public pampering and rewarding him, .as we do brawling 
editors* for reasons that have just beeil mentioned. 

I am well aware of the perils that environ me in this 
part of my history. While raking with curious hands but 
pious heart, among the mouldering remains of former days* 
anxious to draw therefrom the honey of wisdom, I may 
fare somewhat like that valiant worthy Sampson, who in 
meddling with the carcase of a dead lion, drew a swarm 
of bees about his ears. Thus while narrating the many 

daily with reproaches, blows, beating the people with all disgrace that 
they could imagine. 

May 20, 1642. The English of Hartford have violently cut loose 
a horse of the honored Companie's, that stood bound upon the com- 
mon or vlact. 

May 9, 1643. The Companie's horses pastured upon the Compa- 
nie's ground, were driven away by them of Connecticott or Hartford, 
and the herdsman lustily beaten with hatchets and sticks. 

16. Again they sold a young hogg belonging to the Companies 
which piggs had pastured on the Companie*s land. 

7/tfz. Col. State Pap. 


misdeeds of the Yanokie, or. Yankee tribe, it is ten chances 
to one but I offend the morbid sensibilities of certain of 
their unreasonable descendants, who may fly out and raise 
such a buzzing about this unlucky head of mine, that I 
shall need the tough hide of an Achilles, or an Orlando 
Furioso, to protect me from their stings. 

Should such be the case, I should deeply and sincerely 
lament not my misfortune in giving offence, but the 
wrong-headed perverseness of an ill-natured generation, 
in taking offence at any thing I say. That their ancestors 
did use my ancestors ill, is true, and I am very sorry for 
it. I would with all my heart the fact were otherwise ; 
but as I am recording the sacred events of history, I'd not 
bate one nail's breadth of the honest truth, though I were 
sure the whole edition of my work should be bought up 
and burnt by the common hangman of Connecticut. And 
in sooth, now that these testy gentlemen have drawn me 
out, I will make bold to go further, and observe, that this 
is one of the grand purposes for which we impartial his- 
torians are sent into the world to redress wrongs and ren- 
der justice on the heads of the guilty. So that though a 
powerful nation may wrong its neighbours with temporary 
impunity, yet sooner or later an historian springs up, who 
wreaks ample chastisement on it in return. 

Thus these moss-troopers of the east, little thought, I'll 
warrant it, while they were harassing the inoffensive pro- 
vince of Nieuw Nederlandts, and driving its unhappy go- 
vernor to his wits' end, that an historian should ever arise, 
and give them their own, with interest. Since then I am 
but performing my bounden duty as an historian, in aveng- 
ing the wrongs of our revered ancestors, I shall make no 
further apology ; and indeed, when it is considered that I 
have all these ancient borderers of the east in my power, 
and at the mercy of my pen, I trust that it will be admit- 
ted I conduct myself with great humanity and moderation. 

To resume then the course of my history. Appearances 

NEW. YORK. 191 

to the eastward began now to assume a more formidable 
aspect than ever; for I would have you note that hitherto 
the province had been chiefly molested by its immediate 
neighbours, the people of Connecticut, particularly of 
Hartford ; which, if we may judge from ancient chronicles, 
was the strong hold of these sturdy moss-troopers, from 
whence they sallied forth, on their daring incursions, car- 
rying terror and devastation into the barns, the hen-roosts, 
and pig-styes of our revered ancestors. 

Albeit about the year i 643, the people of the east coun- 
try, inhabiting the colonies of Massachusets, Connecticut, 
New- Plymouth, and New- Haven, gathered together into 
a mighty conclave, and after buzzing and debating for 
many days, like a political hive of bees in swarming time, 
at length settled themselves into a formidable confedera- 
tion, under the title of the United Colonies of New- Eng- 
land. By this union they pledged themselves to stand by 
one another in all perils and assaults, and to co-operate in 
all measures, offensive and defensive, against the surround- 
ing savages, among which were doubtlessly included Our 
honoured ancestors of the Manhattoes; and to give more 
strength and system to this confederation, a general assem- 
bly or grand council was to be annually held, composed 
of representatives from each of the provinces. 

On receiving accounts of this puissant combination, the 
fiery Wilhelmus was struck with vast consternation, and, 
for the first time in his whole life, forgot to bounce, at 
hearing an unwelcome piece of intelligence ; which a ve- 
nerable historian of the times observes, was especially no- 
ticed among the sage politicians of New- Amsterdam. The 
truth was, on turning over in his mind all that he had read 
at the Hague, about leagues and combinations, he found 
that this was an exact imitation of the famous Amphycti- 
onic council, by which the states of Greece were enabled 
to attain such power and supremacy, and the very idea 


made his heart to quake for the safety of his empire at the 

He strenuously insisted, that the whole object of this 
confederation was to drive the Nederlanders out of their 
fair domains ; and always flew into a great rage if any one 
presumed to doubt the probability of his conjecture. Nor 
was he wholly unwarranted in such a suspicion ; for at the 
very first annual meeting of the grand council, held at 
Boston, (which governor Kieft denominated the Delphos 
of this truly classic league,) strong representations were 
made against the Nederlanders, for as much as that in 
their dealing with the Indians they carried on a traffic in 
" guns, powther, and shott a trade damnable and injuri- 
ous to the colonists."* Not but what certain of the Con- 
necticut traders did likewise dabble a little in this " dam- 
nable traffic," but then they always sold the Indians such 
scurvy guns, that they burst at the first discharge and 
consequently hurt no one but these pagan savages. 

The rise of this potent confederacy was a death blow to 
the glory of William the Testy, for from that day forward, 
it was remarked by many, he never held up his head, but 
appeared quite crest-fallen. His subsequent reign, there- 
fore, affords but scanty food for the historic pen we find 
the grand council continually augmenting in power, and 
threatening to overwhelm the mighty but defenceless pro- 
vince of Nieuw Nederlandts ; while Wilhelmus Kieft kept 
constantly firing off his proclamations and protests, like a 
shrewd sea-captain firing off so many carronades and swi- 
vels, in order to break and disperse a water-spoutbut, 
alas ! they had no more effect than if they had been SQ 
many blank cartridges. 

* Haz. Col. S. Tapers. 

NEW-YORK. 193 

The last document on record of this learned, philosophic, 
jbut unfortunate little man, is a long letter to the council 
of the Amphyctions ; wherein, in the bitterness of his 
heart, he rails at the people of New- Haven, or Red Hills, 
for their uncourteous contempt of his protest, levelled at 
them for squatting within the province of their high mighti* 
nesses. From this letter, which is a model of epistolary 
writing, abounding with pithy apophthegms and classic 
figures, my limits will barely allow me to extract the fol- 
lowing recondite passage:* "Certainly when we heare 
the Inhabitants of New- Hartford compteyninge of us, we 
seein to he^re IJsop's wolfe coijiplayruDge of the l$mb, or 
the .admonition of the younge man, who crye4 opt to his 
mother, chideing with her neighboures, < Oh Mother, re^ 
yile her, lest she first take up that practice against you,' 
But being taught by precedent passages, we received sucji 
an answer to our protest from the inhabitants of New- 
Hay en as we expected : the flagle always despiseth the 
Beetle-fly ; yet notwithstanding we doe undauntedly con- 
tinue on our purpose of pursuing our own right, by just 
arms and righteous means, and doe hope without scruple 
to execute the express commands of our superiours." TO 
show that this last sentence was not a mere empty njenace, 
he concluded his letter, by intrepidly protesting against 
the whole council, as a horde of squatters and interlopers; 
inasmuch as they held their meeting at New-Haven, or 
the Red Hills, whiph he claimed as being within the Prp- 
vince of the New Netherlands. 

Thus end tfce authenticated chronicles of the reign of 
William the Testy ; for henceforth, in the troubles, the 
perplexities, and the confusion of the times, he seems to 
have been totally overlooked, and to have slipped for evor 
through the fingers of scrupulous history. Indeed, for 

* Vide 11*2. Col. State Papers, 



some cause or other which I Cannot divine, there appears 
to have been a combination among historians to sink his 
very name into oblivion ; in consequence of which they 
have one and all forborne even to speak of his exploits. 
This shows how important it is for great men to cultivate 
the favoui* of the teamed, if they are ambitious of honour 
and renown. " Insult not the dervise," said a wise Caliph 
to his son, " lest thou offend thine historian ;" and many 
a mighty man of the olden time, had he observed so ob- 
vious a maxim, might have escaped divers cruel wipes of 
the pen, which have been drawn across his character. 

It has been a matter of deep concern to me, that such 
darkness and obscurity should hang over the latter days 
of the illustrious Kieft ; for he was a mighty and great lit- 
tle man, worthy of being utterly renowned, seeing that he 
was the first potentate that introduced into this land the 
art of fighting by proclamation, and defending a country 
by trumpeters and windmills ; an economic and humane 
mode of warfare, since revived with great applause, and 
which promises, if it can ever be carried into full effect, 
to save great trouble and treasure, and spare infinitely 
more bloodshed than either the discovery of gunpowder, 
or the invention of torpedoes. 

It is true that certain of the early provincial poets, of 
whom there were great numbers in the Nieuw Nederlandts, 
taking the advantage of the mysterious exit of William the 
Testy, have fabled, that like Romulus, he was* translated 
to the skies, and forms a very fiery little star, somewhere 
on the left claw of the crab; while others equally fanciful, 
declare that he had experienced a fate similar to that of 
the good king Arthur; who, we are assured by ancient 
bards, was carried away to the delicious abodes of fairy 
land, where he still exists, in pristine worth and vigour, 
and will one day or another return to rescue poor old 
England from the hands of paltry, flippant, pettifogging 
cabinets, and restore the gallantry, the honour, and the 

NEW-YORK. 195 

immaculate probity, which prevailed in the glorious days 
of the Round Table,* 

All these, however, are but pleasing fantasies, the cob- 
web visions of those dreaming varlets, the poets, to which 
I would not have my judicious reader attach any credibi- 
lity. Neither am I disposed to yield any credit to the as- 
sertion of an ancient and rather apocryphal historian, who 
alledges that the ingenious Wilhelmus was annihilated by 
the blowing down of one of his windmills; nor to that of 
a writer of later times, who affirms that he fell a victim to 
a philosophical experiment, which he had for many years 
been vainly striving to accomplish ; having the misfortune 
to break his neck from the garret window of the Stadt- 
house, in an ineffectual attempt to catch swallows, by 
sprinkling fresh salt upon their tails. 

The most probable account, and to which I am inclined 
to give my implicit faith, is contained in a very obscure 
tradition, which declares, that what with the constant 
troubles on his frontiers, the incessant schemings, and pro- 
jects going on in his own pericranium the memorials, 
petitions, remonstrances, and sage pieces of advice from 
divers respectable meetings of the sovereign people, toge- 
ther with the refractory disposition of his council, who 
were sure to differ from him on every point, and uniformly 
to be in the wrong : all these, I say, did eternally operate 
to keep his mind in a kind of furnace heat, until he at 
length became as completely burnt out as a Dutch family 

*The old Welsh bards believed that King Arthur wasnot[dead, but 
carried awaie by the faries into some pleasent place, where he shold 
remaine for a time, and then returne againe and reigne in as great 
authority as ever. HOLLINGSHED. 

The Britons suppose that he shall come yet and conquere all Bri- 
taigne, for certes this is the prophicye of Merlyn, He say'd that his 
deth shall be doubteous ; and said soth, for men thereof yet have 
double and shullen for ever more for men \vyt not whether that he 
lyveth or is dede. DE I EEW. OH RON. 


pipe which has passed through three generations of hard 
smokers. In this manner did the choleric but magnani- 
mous William the Testy undergo a kind of animal com- 
bustion, consuming away like a farthing rush-light ; so that 
when grim death finally snuffed him out, there was scarce 
left enough of him to bury ! 





Ib which the death of a great man is shown to be no very incon* 
salable matte?' of sorrow ; and how Peter Stuyvesant ac- 
quired a great name from the uncommon strength of his head. 

J. o a profound philosopher, like myself, who am apt to 
see clear through a subject, whei*e the penetration of or- 
dinary people extends but half way, there is no fact more 
simple and manifest, than that the death of a great man is 
a matter of very little importance. Much as we may 
think of ourselves, and much as we may excite the empty 
plaudits of the million, it is certain that the greatest among 
us do actually fill but an exceeding small space hi the 
world ; and it is equally certain, that even that small space 
is quickly supplied, when we leave it vacant. " Of what 
consequence is it," said the elegant Pliny, " that indivi- 
duals appear, or make their exit ? the world is a theatre 
whose scenes and actors are continually changing." Ne- 
ver did philosopher speak more correctly, and I only won- 
der, that so wise a remark could have existed so many 
ages, and mankind not have laid it more to heart. Sage 
follows on in the footsteps of sage ; one hero just steps out 
of his triumphal car, to make way for the hero who comes 
after him ; and of the proudest monarch it is merely said, 


that" he slept with his fathers, and his successor reigned 
in his stead," 

The world, to tell the private truth, cares but little for 
their loss, and if left to itself would soon forget to grieve ; 
and though a nation has often been figuratively drowned 
in tears on the death of a great man, yet it is ten chances 
to one if an individual tear has been shed on the occasion, 
excepting from the forlorn pen of some hungry author. 
It is the historian, the biographer, and the poet, who have 
the whole burden of grief to sustain who, kind souls ! like 
undertakers in England, act the part of chief mourners 
who inflate a nation with sighs it never heaved, and deluge 
it with tears, it never dreamt of shedding. Thus, while 
the patriotic author is weeping and howling, in prose, in 
blank verse, and in rhyme, and collecting the drops of 
public sorrow into his volume, as into a lachrymal vase, it 
is more than probable his fellow-citizens are eating and 
drinking, fiddling and dancing, as utterly ignorant of the 
bitter lamentations made in their name, as are those men 
of straw, John Doe and Richard Roe, of the plaintiffs for 
whom they are generously pleased on divers occasions to 
become sureties. 

The most glorious and praise-worthy hero that ever de- 
solated nations, might have mouldered junto oblivion among 
the rubbish of his own monument, did not some historian 
take him into favour, and benevolently transmit his name 
to posterity : and much as the valiant William Kieft wor- 
ried, and bustled, and turmoiled, while he had the desti- 
nies of a whole colony in his hand, I question seriously, 
whether he will not be obliged to this authentic history, 
for all his future celebrity. 

His exit occasioned no convulsion in the city of New- 
Amsterdam or its vicinity: the earth trembled not, neither 
did any stars shoot from their spheres the heavens were 
not shrouded in black, as poets would fain persuade us 
they have been, on the unfortunate death of a hero the 

NEW-YORK. 199 

rocks (hard hearted varlets ! ) melted not into tears, nor 
did the trees hang their heads in silent sorrow ; and as to 
the sun, he laid a-bed the next night, just as long, and 
showed as jolly a face when he arose, as he ever did on 
the same day of the month in any year, either before or 
since. The good people of New- Amsterdam, one and all, 
declared that he had been a very busy, active, bustling lit- 
tle governor that he was " the father of his country," 
that he was " the noblest work of God" that " he was a 
man, take him for all in all, they never should look upon 
his like again" together with sundry other civil and affec- 
tionate speeches, that are regularly said on the death of all 
great men ; after which they smoked their pipes, thought 
no more about him, and Peter Stuyvesant succeeded to his 

Peter Stuyvesant was the last, and, like the renowned 
Wouter Van Twiller, he was also the best of our ancient 
Dutch governors. Wouter having surpassed all who pre- 
ceded him, and Pieter or Piet, as he was sociably called 
by the old Dutch burghers, who were ever prone to fami- 
liarize names, having never been equalled by any succes- 
sor. He was in fact the very man fitted by nature to re- 
trieve the desperate fortunes of her beloved province, had 
not the fates, those most potent, immaculate, and unrelent- 
ing of all ancient and immortal spinsters, destined them to 
inextricable confusion. 

To say merely that he was a hero would be doing him 
great injustice he was in truth a combination of heroes; 
for he was of a sturdy, raw-boned make, like Ajax Tela- 
mon, so famous for his prowess in belabouring the little 
Trojans-'-with a pair of round shoulders, that Hercules 
would have given his hide for, (meaning his lion's hide,) 
when he undertook to ease old Atlas of his load. He was, 
moreover, as Plutarch describes Coriolanus, not only ter- 
rible for the force of his arm, but likewise of his voice, 
which sounded as though it came out of a barrel ; and like 


the self-same warrior, he possessed a sovereign contempt 
for the sovereign people, and an iron aspect, which was 
enough of itself to make the very bowels of his adversaries 
quake with terror and dismay. All this martial excellency 
of appearance was inexpressibly heightened by an accident-* 
al advantage, with which I am surprised that neither Ho^ 
mer nor Virgil have graced any of their heroes ; for it is 
worth all the scars and wounds in the Iliad and Eneid, or 
Lucan's Pharsalia into the bargain. This was nothing 
less than a redoubtable wooden leg, which was the only 
prize he had gained, in bravely fighting the battles of his 
country ; but of which he was so proud., that he was often 
heard to declare he valued it more than all his other limbs 
put together ; indeed so highly did he esteem it, that he 
had it gallantly enchased and relieved with silver devices, 
which caused it to be related in divers histories and legends 
that he wore a silver leg. * 

Like that choleric warrior Achilles, he was somewhat 
subject to extempore bursts of passion, which were oft- 
times rather unpleasant to his favourites and attendants, 
whose perceptions he was apt to quick<en, after the manner 
of his illustrious imitator, Peter the Great, by anointing 
their shoulders with his walking staff. 

But the resemblance for which 1 most value him >vas 
that which he bore in many particulars to the renowned 
Charlemagne. Though I cannot find that he had read 
Plato, or Aristotle, pr Hobbes, or Bacon, or Algernon 
Sydney, or Tom Paine ; yet did he sometimes manifest a 
shrewdness and sagacity in his measures, that one wou!4 
hardly .expect from a man, who did not know Greek, and 
had never studied the ancients. True it is, and I confess 
it with sorrow, that he had an unreasonable aversion to ex- 
periments, and was fond of governing his province aft^j? 

See the Histories of Masters Josselyn and Blome. 

NEW-YORK, 201 

the simplest manner ; but then he contrived to keep it in 
better order than did the erudite Kieft, though he had all 
the philosophers, ancient and modern, to assist and per- 
plex him. I must likewise own that he made but very 
few laws, but then again he took care that those few were 
rigidly and impartially enforced ; and I do not know but 
justice on the whole, was as well administered as if there 
had been volumes of sage acts and statutes yearly m^de, 
and daily neglected and forgotten. 

He was, in fact, the very reverse of his predecessors, be- 
ing neither tranquil and inert, like Walter the Doubter, 
nor restless and fidgetting, like William the Testy ; but a 
man, or rather a governor, of such uncommon activity and 
decision of mind, that he never sought or accepted the ad- 
yice of others; depending confidently upon his single head, 
as did the heroes of yore upon their single arms, to work 
his way through all difficulties and dangers. To tell the 
simple truth, he wanted no other requisite for a perfect 
statesman, than to think always right, for no one can deny 
that he always acted as he thought ; and if he wanted in 
correctness, he made up for it in perseverance An excelr 
lent quality ! since it is surely more dignified for a rule* 
to be persevering and consistent in error, than wavering 
and contradictory in endeavouring to do what is right ; 
this much is certain, and it is a maxim worthy the atten- 
tion of all legislators, both great and small, who stand 
shaking in the wind, without knowing which way to steer. 
A ruler who acts according to his own will, is sure of pleas- 
ing himself; while he who seeks to satisfy the wishes and 
whims of others, runs a great risk of pleasing nobody. 
The clock that stands still, and points stedfastly in one dir 
rection, is certain of being right twice in the four and twen- 
ty hours ; while others may keep going continually, amj 
continually be going wrong. 

Nor did this magnanimous virtue escape the disceri*- 
ment of the good people of Nieuw Nederlandts ; on the 



contrary, so high an opinion had they of the independent 
mind and vigorous intellects of their new governor, that 
they universally called him Hard-koppig Piet, or PETER 
THE HEADSTRONG a great compliment to his under- 
standing ! 

If from all that I have said thou dost not gather, wor- 
thy reader, that Peter Stuyvesant was a tough, sturdy, va- 
liant, weather-beaten, mettlesome, obstinate, leathern-sid- 
ed, lion-hearted, generous-spirited old governor, either I 
have written to but little purpose, or thou art very dull 
at drawing conclusions. 

This most excellent governor, whose character I have 
thus attempted feebly to delineate, commenced his admi- 
nistration on the 29th of May, 1 647 ; a remarkably stormy 
day, distinguished in all the almanacks of the time which 
have come down to us, by the name of Windy Friday. 
As he was very jealous of his personal and official dignity, 
he was inaugurated into office with great ceremony ; the 
goodly oaken chair of the renowned Wouter Van Twiller 
being carefully preserved for such occasions, in like man- 
ner as the chair and stone were reverentially preserved at 
Scone in Scotland, for the coronation of the Caledonian 

I must not omit to mention, that the tempestuous state 
of the elements, together with its being that unlucky day 
of the week, termed "hanging day," did not fail to excite 
much grave speculation, and divers very reasonable appre- 
hensions among the more ancient and enlightened inhabi- 
tants ; and several of the sager sex, who were reputed to 
be not a little skilled in the mysteries of astrology and for- 
tune-telling, did declare outright, that they were omens of 
a disastrous administration an event that came to be la- 
mentably verified, and which proves, beyond dispute, the 
wisdom of attending to those preternatural intimations, 
furnished by dreams and visions, the flying of birds, fal- 
ling of stones, -and cackling of geese.; on which the sages 


and rulers of ancient times placed such reliance; or to 
those shootings of stars, eclipses of the moon, bowlings of 
dogs, and flarings of candles, carefully noted and inter- 
preted by the oracular sybils of our day; who, in my 
humble opinion, are the legitimate inheritors and preserv- 
ers of the ancient science of divination. This much is cer- 
tain, that Governor Stuyvesant succeeded to the chair of 
state at a turbulent period ; when foes thronged and threat- 
ened from without ; when anarchy and stiff-necked oppo- 
sition reigned rampant within ; when the authority of their 
high mightinesses the lords states general, though founded 
on the broad Dutch bottom of unoffending imbecility; 
though supported by economy, and defended by speeches, 
protests, proclamations, yet tottered to its very centre ; and 
when the great city of New- Amsterdam, though fortified 
by flag-staffs, trumpeters, and windmills, seemed like some 
fair lady of easy virtue, to lay open to attack, and ready 
to yield to the first invader. 


Showing how Peter the Headstrong bestirred himself among the 
rats and cobwebs on entering into office ; and the perilous mis- 
take he was guilty of, in his dealings with the Amphyctions. 

THE very first movements of the great Peter, on taking 
the reins of government, displayed the magnanimity of his 
mind, though they occasioned not a little marvel and un- 
easiness among the people of the Manhattoes. Finding 
himself constantly interrupted by the opposition, and an- 
noyed by the sage advice of his privy council, the members 
of which had acquired the unreasonable habit of thinking 
and speaking for themselves during the preceding reign ; 
he determined at once to put a stop to such grievous abo- 
minations. Scarcely, therefore, had he entered upon his 

2104 HISTORY Of 

authority, than he turned out of office all those meddle- 
some spirits that composed the factious cabinet of William 
the Testy, in place of whom he chose unto himself coun- 
sellors from those fat, somniferous, respectable families, 
that had flourished and slumbered under the easy reign of 
Walter the Doubter^ All these he caused to be furnished 
with abundance of fair long pipes, and to be regaled with 
frequent corporation dinners, admonishing them to smoke 
and eat and sleep for the good of the nation, while he took 
all the burden of government upon his own shoulders 
&ri arrangement to which they all gave hearty acquies- 

Nor did he stop here, but made a hideous rout among 
the inventions and expedients of his learned predecessor 
demolishing his flag-staffs and windmills j which, like 
mighty giants, guarded the ramparts of New-Amsterdam 
pitching to the duyvel whole batteries of quaker-guns 
footing up his patent gallows, where caitiff* vagabonds 
were suspended by the waistband ; and in a word, turning 
topsy-turvy the whole philosophic, economic, and wind- 
mill system of the immortal sage of Saardam. 

The honest folk of New- Amsterdam began to quake now 
for the fate of their matchless champion Anthony the trum-* 
peter, who had acquired prodigious favour in the eyes of 
the women, by means of his whiskers and his trumpet* 
Him did Peter the Headstrong cause to be brought into 
his presence, and eyeing him for a moment from head to 
footj with a countenance that would have appalled any 
thing else than a sounder of brass : " Prythee, who and 
what art thou?" said he. " Sire," replied the other, in 
no wise dismayed; "for my name, it is Anthony Van 
Coiiear for my parentage, I am the son of my mother 
for my profession, I am champion and garrison of this 
great city of New-Amsterdam." " I doubt me much," 
said Peter Stuyvesant, " that thou art some scurvy costarcL- 
monger knave how didst thou acquire this paramount 

NEW-YORK. 205 

honour and dignity ?" " Marry, Sir," replied the other, 
like many a great man before me, simply by sounding my 
own trumpet" " Aye, is it so?" quoth the governor, 
" why then let us have a relish of thy art." Whereupon 
he put his instrument to his lips, and sounded a charge, 
with such a tremendous outset, such a delectable quaver, 
and such a triumphant cadence, that it was enough to 
tnake your heart leap out of your mouth only to be within 
a mile of it* Like as a war-worn charger, while sporting 
in peaceful plains, if by chance he hear the strains of 
martial music, pricks up his ears, and snorts and paws and 
kindles at the noise : so did the heroic soul of the mighty 
Peter joy to hear the clangour of the trumpet; for of him 
might truly be said what was recorded of the renowned 
St* George of England " there was nothing in all the 
World that more rejoiced his heart, than to hear the plea- 
sant sound of war, and see the soldiers brandish forth their 
steeled weapons." Casting his eyes more kindly, there- 
fore, upon the sturdy Van Corlear, and finding him to 
be a jolly, fat little man, shrew r d in his discourse, yet o( 
great discretion and immeasurable wind, he straightway 
conceived a vast kindness for him, and discharging him 
from the troublesome duty of garrisoning, defending, and 
alarming the city, ever after retained him about his per- 
son, as his chief favourite, confidential envoy, and trusty 
squire. Instead of disturbing the city with disastrous 
notes, he was instructed to play so as to delight the gover- 
nor while at his repasts, as did the minstrels of yore in the 
days of glorious chivalry and on all public occasions to 
rejoice the ears of the people with warlike melody; there- 
by keeping alive a noble and martial spirit. 

Many other alterations and reformations, both for the 
better and for the worse, did the governor make, of which 
my time will not serve me to record the particulars ; suf- 
fice it to say, he soon contrived to make the province feel 
that he was its master^ and treated the sovereign people 


with such tyrannical rigour, that they were all fain to hold 
their tongues* stay at home* and attend to their business ; 
insomuch that party feuds and distinctions were almost 
forgotten, and many thriving keepers of taverns and dram- 
shops were utterly ruined for want of business. 

Indeed the critical state of public affairs at this titne 
demanded the utmost vigilance and promptitude. The 
formidable council of the Amphyctions, which had caused 
so much tribulation to the unfortunate Kieft, still continued 
augmenting its forces, and threatened to link within its 
union all the mighty principalities and powers of the east. 
In the very year following the inauguration of Governor 
Stuyvesant a grand deputation departed from the city of 
Providence, (famous for its dusty streets and beauteous 
women,) in behalf of the puissant plantation of Rhode Is- 
land, praying to be admitted into the league. 

The following mention is made of this application in 
certain records of that assemblage of worthies, which are 
still extant.* 

" Mr. Will Cottington and Captain Partridg of Rhoode 
Hand presented this insewing request to the commissioners 
in wrighting 

" Our request and motion is in behalfe of Rhoode Hand, 
that wee the Ilanders of Rhoode Hand may be rescauied 
into combination with all the united colonyes of New- 
England in a firme and perpetuall league of friendship 
and amity of ofence and defence, mutuall advice and succor 
upon all just occasions for our mutuall safety and well- 
faire, &c. 

Will Cottington, 

Alicxsander Patridg." 

* Haz, Col Stat. Pap. 

NEW-YORK. 207 

There is certainly something in the very physiognomy 
of this document, that might well inspire apprehension. 
The name of Alexander, however misspelt, has been war- 
like in every age; and though its fierceness is in some mea- 
sure softened by being coupled with the gentle cognomen 
of Partridge ; still, like the colour of scarlet, it bears an 
exceeding great resemblance to the sound of a trumpet. 
From the style of the letter, moreover, and the soldier-like 
ignorance of orthography displayed by the noble captain, 
Alicxsander Partridg, in spelling his own name, we may 
picture to ourselves this mighty man of Rhodes, like a se- 
cond Ajax, strong in arms, potent in the field, and as great a 
scholar as though he had been educated among that learned 
people of Thrace, who, Aristotle assures us, could not 
count beyond the number four. 

But whatever might be the threatening aspect of this 
famous confederation, Peter Stuyvesant was not a man to 
be kept in a state of incertitude and vague apprehension ; 
he liked nothing so much as to meet danger face to face, 
and take it by the beard. Determined, therefore, to put 
an end to all these petty maraudings on the borders, he 
wrote two or three categorical letters to the grand council ; 
which, though neither couched in bad Latin, nor yet graced 
by rhetorical tropes about wolves and lambs, and beetle- 
flies, yet had more effect than all the elaborate epistles, 
protests, and proclamations of his learned predecessor put 
together. In consequence of his urgent propositions, the 
great confederacy of the east agreed to enter into a final 
adjustment of grievances and settlement of boundaries, to 
the end that a perpetual and happy peace might take place 
between the two powers. For this purpose Governor 
Stuyvesant deputed two ambassadors to negotiate with 
commissiojiers from the grand council of the league, and 
a treaty was solemnly concluded at Hartford. On recerw 
ing the intelligence of this event, the whole community was 
in an uproar of excitation. The trumpet of the sturdy 


Van Coiiear sounded all day with joyful clangour from the 
ramparts of Fort Amsterdam, and at night the city was 
magnificently illuminated with two hundred and fifty tallow 
candles ; besides a barrel of tar, which was burnt before 
the governor's house, on the cheering aspect of public afc 

And now my worthy reader is, doubtless, like the great 
and good Peter, congratulating himself with the idea, that 
his feelings will no longer be molested by afflicting details 
of stolen horses, broken heads, impounded hogs, and all 
the other catalogue of heart-rending cruelties, that dis- 
graced these border wars. But if he should indulge in 
such expectations, it is a proof that he is but little versed 
in the paradoxical ways of cabinets ; to convince him of 
which, I solicit his serious attention to my next chapter, 
wherein I will show that Peter Stuyvesant has already 
committed a great error in politics $ and by effecting a 
peace, has materially jeopardized the tranquillity of the 


Containing various speculations on War and Negotiations 
showing that a treaty of peace is a great national evil. 

IT was the opinion of that poetical philosopher, Lucre- 
tius, that war was the original state of man ; whom he de- 
scribed as being primitively a savage beast of prey, engaged 
in a constant state of hostility with his own species, and 
that this ferocious spirit was tamed and ameliorated by 
society. The same opinion has been advocated by the 
learned Hobbes, * nor have there been wanting many 
other philosophers to admit and defend it. 

* Hobbes' Leviathajj, part i. chap. 13. 

NEW-YORK, 209 

For my part, though prodigiously fond of these valua- 
ble speculations, so complimentary to human nature, yet, 
in this instance, I am inclined to take the proposition by 
halves, believing with Horace,* that though war may 
have been originally the favourite amusement anci indus- 
trious employment of our progenitors; yet, like many 
other excellent habits, so far from being ameliorated, it 
has been cultivated and confirmed by refinement and civir 
lization, and increases in exact proportion as we approach 
towards that state of perfection, which is the ne plus ultra 
of modern philosophy. 

The first conflict between man and man was the mere 
exertion of physical force, unaided by auxiliary weapon s-^- 
his arm was his buckler, his fist was his mace, and a brpr 
ken head the catastrophe of his encounters. The battle 
of unassisted strength was succeeded by the more rugged 
one of stones and clubs, and war assumed a sanguinary 
aspect. As man advanced in refinement, as his faculties 
expanded, and his sensibilities b.ecarne more exquisite, he 
grew rapidly more ingenious and experienced in the art 
of murdering his fellow beings. He invented a thousand 
devices to defend and to assault the helmet, the cuirass, 
and the buckler, the sword, the dart, and the javelin, prer 
pared him to elude the wound, as well as to launch the 
blow. Still urging on, in the brilliant and philanthropic 
.career of invention, he enlarges and heightens his powers 
of defence and injury. The aries, the scorpio, the balista, 
and the catapulta, give a horror and sublimity tp war; 
and magnify its glory, by increasing its desolation. Still 
insatiable, though armed with machinery that seemed to 

* Cum prorepserunt primis animalia terris, 
Mutum ac turpe pec us, glandem atque cubilia propter, 
Unguibus et pugnis, dein fustibus, atque ita porro 
Pugnabant armis, quse post fabricaverat usus. 

Hor. Sat. L. i. 

2 D 


reach the limits of destructive invention, and to yield a 
power of injury, commensurate even with the desires of 
revenge still deeper researches must be made in the dia- 
bolical arcana. With furious zeal he dives into the bow- 
els of the earth ; he toils midst poisonous minerals and 
deadly salts the sublime discovery of gunpowder blazes 
upon the world and, finally, the dreadful art of fighting 
by proclamation, seems to endow the demon of war with 
ubiquity and omnipotence ! 

This, indeed, is grand ! this, indeed, marks the powers 
of mind, and bespeaks that divine endowment of reason, 
which distinguishes us from the animals, our inferiors. 
The unenlightened brutes content themselves with the 
native force which providence has assigned them. The 
angry bull butts with his horns, as did his progenitors be- 
fore him the lion, the leopard, and the tyger, seek only 
with their talons and their fangs to gratify their sanguinary 
fury ; and even the subtle serpent darts the same venom, 
and uses the same wiles, as did his sire before the flood. 
Man alone, blessed with the inventive mind, goes on from 
discovery to discovery- enlarges and multiplies his powers 
of destruction ; arrogates the tremendous weapons of Dei- 
ty itself, and tasks creation to assist him in murdering his 
brother worm ! 

In proportion as the art of war has increased in im- 
provement, has the art of preserving peace advanced in 
equal ratio ; and as we have discovered in this age of won- 
ders and inventions, that proclamation is the most formi- 
dable engine in war, so have we discovered the no less 
ingenious mode of maintaining peace by perpetual nego- 

A treaty, or to speak more correctly, a negociation, 
therefore, according to the acceptation of experienced 
statesmen, learned in these matters, is no longer an at- 
tempt to accommodate differences, to ascertain rights, and 
to establish an equitable exchange of kind offices ; but a 

NEW-YORK. 211 

contest of skill between two powers, which shall overreach, 
and take in the other. It is a cunning endeavour to ob- 
tain by peaceful manoeuvre, and the chicanery of cabinets, 
those advantages, which a nation would otherwise have 
wrested by force of arms. In the same manner that a con- 
scientious highwayman reforms and becomes an excellent 
and praise- worthy citizen, contenting himself with cheat- 
ing his neighbour out of that property he would former- 
ly have seized with open violence. 

In fact, the only time when two nations can be said to be 
in a state of perfect amity, is when a negociation is open, 
and a treaty pending. Then, as there are no stipulations 
entered into, no bonds to restrain the will, no specific li- 
mits to awaken that captious jealousy of right implanted 
in our nature, as each party has some advantage to hope 
and expect from the other then it is that the two nations 
are so gracious and friendly to each other ; their ministers 
professing the highest mutual regard, exchanging billets- 
doux, making fine speeches, and indulging in all those lit- 
tle diplomatic flirtations, coquetries, and fondlings, that do 
so marvellously tickle the good humour of the respective 
nations. Thus it may paradoxically be said, that there is 
never so good an understanding between two nations, as 
when there is a little misunderstanding ; and that so long 
as they are on no terms, they are on the best terms in the 

I do not by any means pretend to claim the merit of 
having made the above political discovery, It has in fact 
long been secretly acted upon by certain enlightened cabi- 
nets, and is, together with divers other notable theories, 
privately copied out of the common-place book of an illus- 
trious gentleman, who has been member of congress, and 
enjoyed the unlimited confidence of heads of department. 
To this principle may be ascribed the wonderful ingenuity 
that has been shown of late years in protracting and inter- 
rupting negociations. Hence the cunning measure of ap- 


pbiiiting as ambassador some political pettifogger skilled 
in delays, sophisms, and misapprehensions, and dexterous 
in the art of baffling argument; or some blundering states- 
man j whose errors and misconstructions may be a plea for 
refusing to ratify his engagements. And hence, too, that 
most notable expedient^ so popular with our government, 
of sending out a brace of ambassadors ; who having each 
an individual will to consult, character to establish, and 
interest to promote, you may as well look for unanimity 
and concord between two lovers with one mistress, two 
dogs with one bone, or two naked rogues with one pair of 
breeches. This disagreement, therefore, is continually 
breeding delays and impediments, in consequence of which 
the negociation goes on swimmingly, inasmuch as there is 
no prospect of its ever coming to a close. Nothing is lost 
by these delays and obstacles but time, and in a negocia- 
tion, according to the theory I have exposed, all time lost 
is in reality so much time gained : with what delightful 
paradoxes does modern political economy abound ! 

Now all that I have here advanced is so notoriously 
true, that I almost blush to take up the time of my read- 
ers$ with treating of matters which must many a time have 
stared them in the face. But the proposition to which I 
would most earnestly call their attention is this, that 
though a negociation be the most harmonizing of ah 1 na- 
tional transactions, yet a treaty of peace is a great political 
evil and one of the most fruitful sources of war. 

I have rarely seen an instance of any special contract 
between individuals, that did not produce jealousies, bick- 
erings, and often downright ruptures between them ; nor 
did I ever know of a treaty between two nations that did 
not occasion continual misunderstandings. How many 
worthy country neighbours have I known, who after liv- 
ing in peace and good fellowship for years, have been 
thrown into a state of distrust, cavilling, and animosity, 
by some ill-starred agreement about fences, runs of water, 

NEW- YORK. 213 

&nd stray cattle. And how many well-meaning nations, 
who would otherwise have remained in the most amicable 
disposition towards each other, have been brought to 
swords' points about the infringement or misconstruction 
of some treaty, which in an evil hour they had concluded 
by way of making their amity more sure. 

Treaties at best are but complied with so long as inte- 
rest requires their fulfilment; consequently, they are vir- 
tually binding on the weaker party only* or in plain truth, 
they are not binding at all. No nation will wantonly go 
to war with another, if it has nothing to gain thereby, and 
therefore needs no treaty to restrain it from violence ; and 
if it have any thing to gain, I much question, from what 
I have witnessed of the righteous conduct of nations, 
whether any treaty could be made so strong that it could 
not thrust the sword through ; nay, I would hold ten to 
one, the treaty itself would be the very source to which 
resort would be had to find a pretext for hostilities* 

Thus, therefore, I conclude, that though it is the best 
of all policies for a nation to keep up a constant negoeia- 
tioii with its neighbours, yet it is the summit of folly, for 
it ever to be beguiled into a treaty ; for then comes on the 
non-fulfilment and infraction then remonstrance, theft 
altercation, then retaliation, then recrimination, and final- 
ly> open war. In a word, negociation is like courtship, a 
time of sweet words, gallant speeches, soft looks, and en- 
dearing caresses, but the marriage-ceremony is the signal 
for hostilities. 



How Peter Stuyvesant was greatly belied by his adversaries ike 
Moss-troopers and his conduct thereupon. 

IF my pains-taking reader be not somewhat perplexed, 
in the course of the ratiocination of my last chapter, he 
will doubtless at one glance perceive, that the great Peter, 
in concluding a treaty with his eastern neighbours, was 
guilty of a lamentable error and heterodoxy in politics. 
To this unlucky agreement may justly be ascribed a world 
of little infringements, altercations, negociations, and bick- 
erings, which afterwards took place between the irreproach- 
able Stuyvesant, and the evil-disposed council of Amphyc- 
tions. All these did not a little disturb the constitutional 
serenity of the good burghers of Mannahata ; but in sooth 
they were so very pitiful in their nature and effects, that a 
grave historian, who grudges the time spent in any thing 
less than recording the fall of empires, and the revolution 
of worlds, would think them unworthy to be inscribed on 
his sacred page. 

The reader is therefore to take it for granted, though I 
scorn to waste in the detail that time which my furrowed 
brow and trembling hand inform me is invaluable, that all 
the while the great Peter was occupied in those tremen- 
dous and bloody contests, that I shall shortly rehearse, 
there was a continued series of little, dirty, snivelling, 
skirmishes, scourings, broils, and maraudings, made on 
the eastern frontiers, by the moss-troopers of Connecticut. 
But like that mirror of chivalry, the sage and valorous 
Don Quixote, I leave these petty contests for some future 
Sancho Panza of a historian, while I reserve my prowess 
and my pen for achievements of higher dignity. 

Now did the great Peter conclude, that his labours had 

NEW-YORK. 215 

come to a close in the east, and that he had nothing to do 
but apply himself to the internal prosperity of his beloved 
Manhattoes. Though a man of great modesty, he could 
not help boasting that he had at length shut the temple of 
Janus ; and that, were all rulers like a certain person who 
should be nameless, it would never be opened again. But 
the exultation of the worthy governor was put to a speedy 
check, for scarce was the treaty concluded, and hardly 
was the ink dried on the paper, before the crafty and dis- 
courteous council of the league sought a new pretence for 
re-illuming the flames of discord. 

It seems to be the nature of confederacies, republics, 
and such-like powers, that want the true masculine cha- 
racter, to indulge exceedingly in certain feminine panics 
and suspicions. Like some good lady of delicate and 
sickly virtue, who is in constant dread of having her ves- 
tal purity contaminated or seduced ; and who if a man do 
but take her by the hand, or look her in the face, is ready 
to cry out, rape ! and ruin ! so these squeamish govern- 
ments are perpetually on the alarm for the virtue of the 
country every manly measure is a violation of the consti- 
tution every monarchy or other masculine government 
around them is laying snares for their seduction ; and they 
are for ever detecting infernal plots, by which they were 
to be betrayed, dishonoured, and brought upon the 

If any proof were wanting of the truth of these opinions, 
I would instance the conduct of a certain republic of our 
day, who, good dame, has already withstood so many plots 
and conspiracies against her virtue, and has so often come 
near being made " no better than she should be." I 
would notice her constant jealousies of poor old England, 
who, by her own account, has been incessantly trying to 
sap her honour, though, from my soul, I never could be- 
lieve the honest old gentleman meant her any rudeness. 
Whereas, on the contrary, I think I have several times 


eaught her squeezing hands, and indulging in certain amo- 
rous oglings with that sad fellow Bonaparte, who all the 
world knows to be a great despoiler of national virtue, to 
have ruined all the empires in his neighbourhood, and to 
have debauched every republic that came in his way; but 
so it is, these rakes seem always to gain singular favour 
with the ladies. 

But I crave pardon of my reader for thus wandering, 
and will endeavour, in some measure, to apply the forego-? 
ing remarks; for in the year 165J, we are told, that the 
great confederacy of the east accused the immaculate Pe- 
ter, (the soul of honour and heart of steel,) that, by divers 
gifts and promises, he had been secretly endeavouring to 
instigate the Narrohigansett, (or Narraganset,) Mohaque, > 
and Pequot Indians, to surprize and massacre the Yan- 
kee settlements. " For," as the council slanderously ob- 
served, " the Indians round about for divers hundred miles 
cercute, seeme to have drunke deep of an intoxicating 
cupp, att or from the Manhatoes against the English, whoe 
have sought their good both in bodily and spirituall re- 

History does not make mention how the great council 
of the Amphyctions came by this precious plot ; whether 
it were honestly bought at a fair market price, or discovered 
by sheer good fortune. It is certain, however, that they 
examined divers Indians, who all swore to the fact, as stmv 
dily as though they had been so many Christian troopers: 
and to be more sure of their veracity, the sage council pre- 
viously made every mother's son of them devoutly drunk, 
remembering an old and trite proverb, which it is not ne- 
cessary for me to repeat. 

Though descended from a family which suffered much 
injury from the losel Yankees of those times, my great 
grandfather having had a yoke of oxen and his best pacer 
stolen, and having received a pair of black eyes and a bloody 
nose in one of these border wars ; and my grandfather, 

NEW-YORK. 217 

when a very little boy tending pigs, having been kidnapped 
and severely flogged by a long-sided Connecticut school- 
master; yet I should have passed over all these wrongs 
with forgiveness and oblivion : I could even have suffered 
them to have broken Evert Ducking's head, to have kicked 
the doughty Jacobus Van Curlet and his ragged regiment 
out of doors, carried every hog into captivity, and depo- 
pulated every hen-roost on the face of the earth with per- 
fect impunity; but this wanton attack upon one of the most 
gallant and irreproachable heroes of modern times, is too 
much even for me to digest, and has overset, with a single 
puff, the patience of the historian, and the forbearance of 
the Dutchman. 

Oh reader, it was false I swear to thee, it was false ! 
If thou hast any respect for my word, if the undeviat- 
ing character for veracity which I have endeavoured to 
maintain throughout this work, has its due weight with 
thee, thou wilt not give thy faith to this tale of slander ; 
for I pledge my honour and my immortal fame to thee, 
that the gallant Peter Stuyvesant was not only innocent 
of this foul conspiracy, but would have suffered his right 
arm, or even his wooden leg, to consume with slow and 
everlasting flames, rather than attempt to destroy his ene- 
mies in any other way than open, generous warfare. Be- 
shrew those caitiff scouts, that conspired to sully his honest 
name by such an imputation ! 

Peter Stuyvesant, though he perhaps had never heard 
of a Knight Errant, yet had he as true a heart of chivalry 
as ever beat at the round table of King Arthur. There 
was a spirit of native gallantry, a noble and generous har- 
dihood diffused through his rugged manners, which alto- 
gether gave unquestionable tokens of a heroic mind. He 
was, in truth, a hero of chivalry struck off by the hand of 
nature at a single heat ; and though she had taken no fur- 
ther care to polish and refine her workmanship, he stood 
forth a miracle of her skill. 

2 E 


But not to be figurative, (a fault in historic writing 
which I particularly eschew,) the great Peter possessed, 
in an eminent degree, the seven renowned and noble vir- 
tues of knighthood, which, as he had never consulted 
authors, in the disciplining and cultivating of his mind, I 
verily believe must have been implanted in a corner of his 
heart by dame Nature herself where they flourished a- 
mong his hardy qualities, like so many sweet wild flowers, 
shooting forth and thriving with redundant luxuriance 
among stubborn rocks. Such was the mind of Peter the 
Headstrong, and if my admiration for it has, on this oeca*- 
sion, transported my style beyond the sober gravity which 
becomes the laborious scribe of historic events, I can plead 
as an apology, that though a little, gray headed Dutch- 
man, arrived almost at the bottom of the down-hill of life, 
I still retain some portion of that celestial fire, which 
sparkles in the eye of youth, when contemplating the vir- 
tues and achievements of ancient worthies. Blessed, thrice 
and nine times blessed be the good St. Nicholas that I 
have escaped the influence of that chilling apathy, which 
too often freezes the sympathies of age ; which, like a 
churlish spirit, sits at the portals of the heart, repulsing 
every genial sentiment, and paralyzing every spontaneous 
glow of enthusiasm. 

No sooner then, did this scoundrel imputation on his 
honour reach the ear of Peter Stuyvesant, than he pro- 
ceeded in a manner which would have redounded to his 
credit, even though he had studied fbr years in the libra- 
ry of Don Quixote himself. He immediately despatched 
his valiant trumpeter and squire, Anthony Van Corlear, 
with orders to ride night and day, as herald, to the Am- 
phyctionic council, reproaching them in terms of noble in- 
dignation, for giving ear to the slanders of heathen infi- 
dels, against the character of a Christian, a gentleman, and 
a soldier and declaring, that as to the treacherous and 
bloody plot alleged against him, whoever affirmed it to be 

NEW- YORK. 219 

true, lied in his teeth ! to prove which, he defied the pre- 
sident of the council and all of his compeers, or if they 
pleased, their puissant champion, Captain Alicxsander 
Partridg, that mighty man of Rhodes, to meet him in a 
single combat, where he would trust the vindication of his 
innocence to the prowess of his arm. 

This challenge being delivered with due ceremony, 
Anthony Van Corlear sounded a trumpet of defiance be- 
fore the whole council, ending with a most horrific and 
nasal twang, full in the face of Captain Partridg, who al- 
most jumped out of his skin in an ecstacy of astonishment 
at the noise. This done he mounted a tall Flanders mare, 
which he always rode, and trotted merrily towards the 
Manhattoes passing through Hartford, and Pyquag, and 
Middletown, and all the other border towns twanging 
his trumpet like a very devil, so that the sweet valleys and 
banks of the Connecticut resounded with the warlike me- 
lody and stopping occasionally to eat pumpkin pies, dance 
at country frolics, and bundle with the beauteous lasses of 
those parts, whom he rejoiced exceedingly with his soul- 
stirring instrument. 

But the grand council being composed of considerate 
men, had no idea of running a tilting with such a fiery 
hero as the hardy Peter^on the contrary they sent him 
an answer, couched in the meekest, the most mild and pro- 
voking terms ; in which they assured him that his guilt 
was proved to their perfect satisfaction, by the testimony 
of divers sober and respectable Indians, and concluding 
with this truly amiable paragraph. " For youre confi- 
dant denialls of the Barbarous plott charged will waigh 
little in balance against such evidence, soe that we must 
still require and seeke due satisfaction and cecuritie; soe 
we rest, 

" Sir, 
" Youres in wayes of Righteousness, &c." 


I am aware that the above transaction has been differ- 
ently recorded by certain historians of the east, and else- 
where ; who seem to have inherited the bitter enmity of 
their ancestors to the brave Peter and much good may 
their inheritance do them. These declare, that Peter 
Stuyvesant requested to have the charges against him in- 
quired into, by commissioners to be appointed for the pur- 
pose ; and yet that when such commissioners were appoint- 
ed, he refused to submit to their examination. In this 
artful account there is but the semblance of truth ; he did 
indeed, most gallantly offer, when that he found a deaf ear 
was turned to his challenge, to submit his conduct to the 
rigorous inspection of a court of honour but then he ex- 
pected to find it an august tribunal, composed of courteous 
gentlemen, the governors and nobility of the confederate 
plantations, and of the province of New-Netherlands; 
where he might be tried by his peers, in a manner worthy 
of his rank and dignity whereas, let me perish, if they 
did not send to the Manhattoes two lean sided hungry 
pettifoggers, mounted on Narraganset pacers, with saddle- 
bags under their bottoms, and green satchels under their 
arms, as though they were about to beat the hoof from one 
county-court to another in search of a law-suit. 

The chivalric Peter, as might be expected, took no no- 
tice of these cunning varlets ; who, with professional in- 
dustry fell to prying and sifting about, in quest of ex parte 
evidence ; perplexing divers simple Indians and old wo- 
men, with their cross-questioning, until they had contra- 
dicted and forswore themselves most horribly, as is too 
often done in our courts of justice. Thus having fulfilled 
their errand to their own satisfaction, they returned to the 
grand council with their satchels and saddle-bags stuffed 
full of villanous rumours, apocryphal stories, and outra- 
geous calumnies for all which the great Peter did not 
care a tobacco-stopper ; but, I warrant me, had they at- 

NEW-YORK. 221 

tempted to play off the same trick upon William the Tes- 
ty* he would have treated them both to an aerial gambol 
on his patent gallows. 

The grand council of the east held a very solemn meet- 
ing on the return of their envoys, and after they had pon- 
dered a long time on the situation of affairs, were upon 
the point of adjourning without being able to agree upon 
any thing. At this critical moment one of those meddle- 
some, indefatigable spirits, who endeavour to establish a 
character for patriotism by blowing the bellows of party, 
until the whole furnace of politics is red-hot with sparks 
and cinders ; and who have just cunning enough to know, 
that there is no time so favourable for getting on the 
people's backs, as when they are in a state of turmoil, 
and attending to every body's business but their own. 
This aspiring imp of faction, who was called a great po- 
litician, because he had secured a seat in council by 
calumniating all his opponents : he, I say, conceived this 
a fit opportunity to strike a blow that should secure his 
popularity among his constituents, who lived on the bor- 
ders of Nieuw-Nederlandts, and were the greatest poachers 
in Christendom, excepting the Scotch border nobles. 
Like a second Peter the Hermit, therefore, he stood 
forth and preached up a crusade against Peter Stuyve- 
sant, and his devoted city. 

He made a speech which lasted six hours, according 
to the ancient custom in these parts ; in which he repre- 
sented the Dutch as a race of impious heretics, who nei- 
ther believed in witchcraft, nor the sovereign virtues of 
horse-shoes who left their country for the lucre of gain ; 
not like themselves, for the enjoyment of liberty of con- 
science who, in short, were a race of mere cannibals and 
anthropophagi, inasmuch as they never eat cod-fish on 
Saturdays, devoured swine's flesh without molasses, and 
held pumpkins in utter contempt. 

This speech had the desired effect ; for the council, be- 


ing awakened by the serjeant-at-arms, rubbed their eyes, 
and declared that it was just and politic to declare instant 
war against these unchristian anti-pumpkinites. But it was 
necessary that the people at large should first be prepared 
for this measure, and for this purpose the arguments of 
the orator were preached from the pulpit for several Sun- 
days subsequent, and earnestly recommended to the con- 
sideration of every good Christian, who professed, as well 
as practised, the doctrine of meekness, charity, and the 
forgiveness of injuries. This is the first time we hear of 
the " Drum Ecclesiastic " beating up for political recruits 
in our country ; and it proved of such signal efficacy, that 
it has since been called into frequent service throughout 
our union. A cunning politician is often found skulking 
under the clerical robe, with an outside all religion, and 
an inside all political rancour. Things spiritual and 
things temporal are strangely jumbled together, like poi- 
sons and antidotes on an apothecary's shelf; and instead 
of a devout sermon, the simple church-going folk have 
often a political pamphlet thrust down their throats, la- 
belled with a pious text from Scripture. 


How the New-Amsterdammers became great in arms, and of the 
direful catastrophe of a mighty army- together with Peter 
Stuyvesant's measures to fortify the city and how he was the 
original founder of the Battery. 

BUT notwithstanding that the grand council, as I have 
already shown, were amazingly discreet in their proceed- 
ings respecting the New-Netherlands, and conducted the 
whole with almost as much silence and mystery, as does 
the sage British cabinet one of its ill-starr'd secret expcdi- 

NEW-YORK. 223 

tibjw - yet did the ever watchful Peter receive as full and 
accurate information of every movement, as does the court 
of France of all the notable enterprises I have mentioned. 
He accordingly sat himself to work, to render the ma- 
chinations of his bitter adversaries abortive. 

I know that many will censure the precipitation of this 
stout-hearted old governor, in that he hurried into the 
expenses of fortification, without ascertaining whether 
they were necessary, by prudently waiting until the ene- 
my was at the door. But they should recollect that Peter 
Stuyvesant had not the benefit of an insight into the mo- 
dern arcana of politics, and was strangely bigotted to cer- 
tain obsolete maxims of the old school; among which he 
firmly believed, that, to render a country respected abroad, 
it was necessary to make it formidable at home ; and that 
a nation should place its reliance for peace and security, 
more upon its own strength than on the justice or good- 
will of its neighbours. He proceeded, therefore, with all 
diligence, to put the province and metropolis in a strong 
posture of defence. 

Among the few remnants of ingenious inventions which 
remained from the days of William the Testy, were those 
impregnable bulwarks of public safety, militia laws ; by 
which the inhabitants were obliged to turn out twice a- 
year, with such military equipments. as it pleased God ; 
an<J were put under the command of very valiant tailors 
and man-milliners, who, though on ordinary occasions 
the meekest, pippin-hearted little men in the world, were 
very devils at parades and court-martials, when they had 
cocked hats on their heads, and swords by their sides. 
Under the instructions of these periodical warriors, the 
gallant train-bands made marvellous proficiency in the 
mystery of gunpowder. They were taught to face to the 
right, to wheel to the left, to snap off empty firelocks 
Without winking, to turn a corner without any great up- 
roar or irregularity, and to march through sun and rain 

224- H1STUKY OF 

from one end of the town to the other without flinching : 
until in the end they became so valorous that they fired 
off blank-cartridges, without so much as turning away 
their heads could hear the largest field-piece discharged, 
without stopping their ears, or falling into much confu- 
sion; and would even go through all the fatigues and 
perils of a summer day's parade, without having their 
ranks much thinned by desertion ! 

True it is, the genius of this truly pacific people was 
so little given to war, that during the intervals which oc- 
curred between field-days, they generally contrived to 
forget all the military tuition they had received ; so that 
when they re-appeared on parade, they scarcely knew the 
butt-end of the musket from the muzzle, and invariably 
mistook the right shoulder for the left a mistake which, 
however, was soon obviated, by chalking their left arms, 
But whatever might be their blunders and awkwardness, 
the sagacious Kieft declared them to be of but little im- 
portance since, as he judiciously observed, one campaign 
would be of more instruction to them than a hundred pa- 
rades ; for though two-thirds of them might be food for 
powder, yet such of the other third as did not run away, 
would become most experienced veterans. 

The great Stuyvesant had no particular veneration for 
the ingenious experiments and institutions of his shrewd 
predecessor, and among other things, held the militia sys- 
tem in very considerable contempt, which he was often 
heard to call in joke for he was sometimes fond of a 
joke Governor Kieft's broken reed. As, however, the 
present emergency was pressing, he was obliged to avail 
himself of such means of defence as were next at hand, 
and accordingly appointed a general inspection and parade 
of the train-bands. But oh ! Mars and Bellona, and all 
ye other powers of war, both great and small, what a 
turning out was here ! Here came men without officers, 
and officers without men long fowling-pieces, and short 

NEW-YORK. 225 

blunderbusses muskets of all sorts and sizes, some with- 
out bayonets, others without locks, others without stocks, 
and many without lock, stock, or barrel. Cartridge-boxes, 
shot-belts, powder-horns, swords, hatchets, snicker-snees, 
crow-bars, and broomsticks, all mingled higgledy piggledy 
like one of our continental armies at the breaking out 
of the revolution. 

This sudden transformation of a pacific community into 
a band of warriors, is, doubtless, what is meant in modern 
days, by "putting a nation in armour," and "fixing it in 
an attitude." In which armour and attitude it makes as 
martial a figure, and is likely to acquit itself with as much 
prowess, as the renowned Sancho Panza, when suddenly 
equipped to defend his Island of Barataria. 

The sturdy Peter eyed this ragged regiment with some 
such rueful aspect as a man would eye the devil ; but 
knowing, like a wise man, that all he had to do was to 
make the best out of a bad bargain, he determined to give 
his heroes a seasoning. Having, therefore, drilled them 
through the manual exercise over and over again, he or- 
dered the fifes to strike up a quick march, and trudged 
his sturdy boots backwards and forwards, about the streets 
of New- Amsterdam, and the fields adjacent, until their 
short legs ached, and their fat sides sweated again. But 
this was not all: the martial spirit of 'the old governor 
caught fire from the sprightly music of the fife, ai^d he re- 
solved to try the mettle of his troops, and give them a 
taste of the hardships of iron war. To this end he en- 
camped them as the shades of evening fell, upon a hill 
formerly called Bunker's hill, at some distance from the 
town, with a full intention of initiating them into the dis- 
cipline of camps, and of renewing the next day, the toils 
and perils of the field. But so it came to pass, that, in 
the night, there fell a great and heavy rain, which descend- 
ed in torrents upon the camp, and the mighty army 
strangely melted away before it; so that when Gaffer 

g F 


Phoebus came to shed his morning-beams upon the place, 
saving Peter Stuy vesant and his trumpeter. Van Corlear, 
scarce one was to be found of all the multitude that had 
encamped there the night before. 

This awful dissolution of his army would have appalled 
a commander of less nerve than Peter Stuyvesant; but 
he considered it as a matter of but small importance, 
though he thenceforward regarded the militia system with 
ten times greater contempt than ever, and took care to 
provide himself with a good garrison of chosen men, whom 
he kept in pay ; of whom he boasted, that they at least 
possessed the quality, indispensable in soldiers, of being 

The next care of the vigilant Stuy vesant was to strengthen 
and fortify New- Amsterdam. For this purpose he caused 
to be built a strong picket-fence, that reached across the 
island, from river to river, being intended to protect the 
city, not merely from the sudden invasions of foreign ene- 
mies, but likewise from the incursions of the neighbouring 

Some traditions, it is true, have ascribed the building 
of this wall to a later period, but they are wholly incorrect ; 
for a memorandum in the Stuyvesant manuscript, dated 
towards the middle of the governor's reign, mentions this 
wall particularly, -as a very strong and curious piece of 
workmanship, and the admiration of all the savages in the 
neighbourhood. And it mentions, moreover, the alarm- 

* In an antique view of New-Amsterdam, taken some years after 
the above period, is a representation of this wall, which stretched along 
the course of Wall-street, so called in commemoration of this great bul- 
wark. One gate, called the Land-Poort, opened upon Broad- way, hard 
by where at present stands the Trinity Church ; and another called the 
Water-Poort stood about where the Tontine Coffee-house is at present, 
opening upon Smits Vleye, or as it is commonly called Smith Fly, 
then a marshy valley, with a creek or inlet extending up what we call 

NEW-YORK. 227 

ing circumstance of a drove of stray cows breaking through 
the grand wall of a dark night ; by which the whole com- 
munity of New- Amsterdam was thrown into a terrible 

In addition to this great wall, he cast up several out- 
works to Fort Amsterdam, to protect the sea-board at the 
point of the island. These consisted of formidable mud- 
batteries, solidly faced, after the manner of the Dutch 
ovens, common in those days, with clam shells. 

These frowning bulwarks, in process of time, came to 
be pleasantly overrun by a verdant carpet of grass and 
clover, and their high embankments overshadowed by 
wide-spreading sycamores, among whose foliage the little 
birds sported about, rejoicing the ear with their melodious 
notes. The old burghers would repair of an afternoon to 
smoke their pipes under the shade of their branches, con- 
templating the golden sun as he gradually sunk into the 
west, an emblem of that tranquil end toward which them- 
selves were hastening ; while the young men and the dam- 
sels of the town would take many a moonlight stroll among 
these favourite haunts, watching the silver beams of chaste 
Cynthia tremble along the calm bosom of the bay, or light 
up the white sail of some gliding bark, and interchange 
the honest vows of constant affection. Such was the ori- 
gin of that renowned walk, The Battery, which, though 
ostensibly devoted to the purposes of war, has ever been 
consecrated to the sweet delights of peace the favourite 
walk of declining age the healthful resort of the feeble 
invalid the Sunday refreshment of the dusty tradesman 
the scene of many a boyish gambol the rendezvous of 
many a tender assignation the comfort of the citizen 
the ornament of New- York and the pride of the lovely 
island of Mannahata. 



tfofv the people of the East country rvert suddenly afflicted with 
a diabolical evil and their judicious measures for the extirpa* 
lion thereof, 

HAVING thus provided for the temporary security of 
New- Amsterdam, and guarded it against any sudden sur- 
prise, the gallant Peter took a hearty pinch of snuff, and 
snapping his fingers, set the great council of Amphyctions, 
and their champion the doughty Alicxsander Partridg, at 
defiance. It is impossible to say, notwithstanding, what 
might have been the issue of this affair, had not the coun- 
cil been all at once involved in sad perplexity, and as 
much dissension sown among its members, as of yore was 
stirred up in the camp of the brawling warriors of Greece. 

The council of the league, as I have shown in my last 
chapter, had already announced its hostile determinations* 
and already was the mighty colony of New-Haven and the 
puissant town of Pyquag, otherwise called Weathefsfield 
famous for its onions and witches and the great trad- 
ing house of Hartford, and all the other redoubtable bor- 
der towns, in a prodigious turmoil* furbishing up their 
rusty fowling-pieces, and shouting aloud for war; by which 
they anticipated easy conquests, and gorgeous spoils, from 
the little fat Dutch villages. But this joyous brawling was 
soon silenced by the conduct of the colony of Massachu- 
setts. Struck with the gallant spirit of the brave old Pe- 
ter, and convinced by the chivalric frankness and heroic 
warmth of his vindication, they refused to believe him 
guilty of the infamous plot most wrongfully laid at his 
door. With a generosity for which I would yield them 
immortal honour, they declared, that no determination of 
the grand council of the league, should bind the general 


court of Massachusetts to join in an offensive war, which 
should appear to such general court to be unjust.* 

This refusal immediately involved the colony of Massa- 
chusetts, and the other combined colonies, in very serious 
difficulties and disputes ; and would no doubt have pro- 
duced a dissolution of the confederacy, but that the coun- 
cil of Amphyctions, finding that they could not stand a- 
lone, if mutilated by the loss of so important a member as 
Massachusetts, were fain to abandon for the present their 
hostile machinations against the Manhattoes. Such is the 
marvellous energy and the puissance of those confedera- 
cies, composed of a number of sturdy, self-willed, discor- 
dant parts, loosely banded together by a puny general 
government. As it was, however, the warlike towns of 
Connecticut had no cause to deplore this disappointment 
of their martial ardour ; for by my faith though the 
combined powers of the league might have been too po- 
tent in the end, for the robustious warriors of the Man- 
hattoes : yet, in the interim, would the lion-hearted Peter 
and his myrmidons have choaked the stomachful heroes 
of Pyquag with their own onions, and have given the other 
little border-towns such a scouring, that I warrant they 
would have> had no stomach to squat on the land, or in- 
vade the hen-roost of a New Nederlander for a century to 

Indeed there was more than one cause to divert the at- 
tention of the good people of the east, froih their hostile 
purposes; for just about this time were they horribly be- 
leaguered and harassed by the inroads of the prince of 
darkness, divers of whose liege subjects they detected, 
lurking within their camp, all of whom they incontinently 
roasted as so many spies and dangerous enemies. Not to 
speak in parables, we are informed, that at this juncture, 
the New- England provinces were exceedingly troubled by 

* Huz. Col. & Pap. 


multitudes of losel witches, who wrought strange devices 
to beguile and distress the multitude ; and notwithstand- 
ing numerous judicious and bloody laws had been enacted 
against all solem conversing or compacting with the divil, 
by way of conjuracion or the like," * yet did the dark crime 
of witchcraft continue to increase to an alarming degree, 
that would almost transcend belief, were not the fact too 
well authenticated to be even doubted for an instant. 

What is particularly worthy of admiration is, that this 
terrible art, which so long has baffled the painful research- 
es, and abstruse studies of philosophers, astrologers, alchy- 
mists, theurgists, and other sages, was chiefly confined to 
the most ignorant, decrepid, and ugly old women in the 
community, who had scarcely more brains than the broom- 
sticks they rode upon. Where they first acquired their 
infernal education whether from the works of the ancient 
theurgists the demonology of the Egyptians the belo- 
mancy, or divination by arrows of the Scythians the spec- 
trology of the Germans the magic of the Persians the 
enchantment of the Laplanders or from the archives of 
the dark and mysterious caverns of the Dom Daniel is a 
question pregnant with many learned and ingenious doubts; 
particularly as most of them were totally unversed in the 
occult mysteries of the alphabet. 

When once an alarm is sounded, the public, who love 
dearly to be in a panic, are not long in want of proofs to 
support it. Raise but the cry of yellow fever, and imme- 
diately every head-ache, and indigestion, and overflowing 
of the bile, is pronounced the terrible epidemic. In like 
manner in the present instance, whoever was troubled 
with a colic or lumbago, was sure to be bewitched, and 
wo to any unlucky old woman that lived in his neigh- 
bourhood. Such a howling abomination could not be 
suffered to remain long unnoticed, and it accordingly soon 

* New Plymouth Record. 

NEW-YORK. 231 

attracted the fiery indignation of the sober and reflective 
part of the community more especially of those, who, 
whilome, had evinced so much active benevolence in the 
conversion of quakers and anabaptists. The grand coun- 
cil of the Amphyctions publicly set their faces against so 
deadly and dangerous a sin, and a severe scrutiny took 
place after those nefarious witches, who were easily de- 
tected by devil's pinches, black cats, broomsticks, and the 
circumstance of their only being able to weep three tears, 
and those out of the left eye. 

It is incredible the number of offences that were de- 
tected, " for every one of which," says the profound and 
reverend Cotton Mather, in that excellent work, the his- 
tory of New England " we have such a sufficient evi- 
dence, that no reasonable man in this whole country ever 
did question them ; and it will be unreasonable to do it in 
any other. 99 * 

Indeed, that authentic and judicious historian, John 
Josselyn, Gent., furnishes us with unquestionable facts on 
this subject. " There are none," observes he, " that beg 
in this country, but there be witches too many bottle- 
bellied witches, and others, that produce many strange 
apparitions, if you will believe report of a shallop at sea 
manned with women, and of a ship and great red horse 
standing by the mainmast ; the ship being in a small cove 
to the eastward vanished of a sudden," &c. 

The number of delinquents, however, and their magi- 
cal devices, were not more remarkable than their diaboli- 
cal obstinacy. Though exhorted in the most solemn, 
persuasive, and affectionate manner, to confess themselves 
guilty, and be burnt for the good of religion and the en- 
tertainment of the public, yet did they most pertinaciously 
persist in asserting their innocence. Such incredible ob- 
stinacy was in itself deserving of immediate punishment, 

* Mather's Hist. New-Eng. b. vi. ch. 7. 


and was sufficient proof, if proof were necessary, that they 
were in league with the devil, who is perverseness itself. 
But their judges were just and merciful, and were deter- 
mined to punish none that were not convicted on the best 
of testimony; not that they needed any evidence to satisfy 
their own minds, for, like true and experienced judges, 
their minds were perfectly made up, and they were tho- 
roughly satisfied of the guilt of the prisoners, before they 
proceeded to try them ; but still something was necessary 
to convince the community at large to quiet those pry- 
ing quidnuncs who should come after them ; in short, the 
world must be satisfied. Oh the world, the world ! all 
the world knows the world of trouble the world is eternal- 
ly occasioning ! The worthy judges, therefore, were driv- 
en to the necessity of sifting, detecting, and making evident 
as noon-day, matters which were at the commencement all 
clearly understood and firmly decided upon in their own 
pericraniums; so that it may truly be said, that the witch- 
es were burnt to gratify the* populace of the day, but were 
tried for the satisfaction of the whole world that should 
come after them ! 

Finding, therefore, that neither exhortation, sound rea- 
son, nor friendly entreaty had any avail on these hardened 
offenders, they resorted to the more urgent arguments of 
the torture ; and having thus absolutely wrung the truth 
from their stubborn lips, they condemned them to undergo 
the roasting due unto the heinous crimes they had con- 
fessed. Some even carried their perverseness so far, as 
to expire under the torture, protesting their innocence to 
the last; but these were looked upon as thoroughly and 
absolutely possessed by the devil, arid the pious bye-stand- 
ers only lamented that they had not lived a little longer to 
have perished in the flames. 

in the city of Ephesus, we are told, that the plague was 
expelled by stoning a ragged old beggar to death, whom 
Apollonius pointed out as being the evil spirit that caused 

NEW-YORK. , 233 

it, and who actually showed himself to be a demon, by 
changing into a shaggy dog. In like manner, and by 
measures equally sagacious, a salutary check was given to 
this growing evil. The witches were all burnt, banished, 
or panic-struck, and in a little while there was not an ugly 
old woman to be found throughout New England, which 
is doubtless one reason why all the young women there 
are so handsome. Those honest folk who had suffered 
from their incantations gradually recovered, excepting such 
as had been afflicted with twitches and aches, which, how- 
ever, assumed the less alarming aspects of rheumatisms, 
sciatics. andlumbagos; and the good people of New Eng- 
land, abandoning the study of the occult sciences, turned 
their attention to the more profitable hocus pocus of trade, 
and soon became expert in the legerdemain art of turning 
a penny. Still, however, a tinge of the old leaven is dis- 
cernible, even unto this day, in their characters ; witches 
occasionally start up among them in different disguises, as 
physicians, civilians, and divines. The people at large 
show a keenness, a cleverness, and a profundity of wis- 
dom, that savours strongly of witchcraft ; and it has been 
remarked, that whenever any stones fall from the moon, 
the greater part of them are sure to tumble into New Eng- 
land ! 


Which records the rise and renown of a valiant Commander ; 
showing that a man, like a bladder, may be puffed up to great- 
ness and importance by mere wind. 

WHEN treating of those tempestuous times, the unknown 
writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript, breaks out into a ve- 



hement apostrophe, in praise of the good St. Nicholas; 
to whose protecting care he entirely ascribes the strange 
dissensions that broke out in the council of the Amphyc- 
tions, and the direful witchcraft that prevailed in the east 
country ; whereby the hostile machinations against the Ne- 
derlanders were for a time frustrated, and his favourite 
city of New- Amsterdam preserved from imminent peril 
and deadly warfare. Darkness and lowering superstition 
hung over the fair valleys of the east the pleasant banks 
of the Connecticut no longer echoed with the sounds of 
rustic gaiety direful phantoms and portentous apparitions 
were seen in the air gliding spectrums haunted every 
wild brook and dreary glen strange voices, made by view- 
less forms, were heard in desert solitudes and the border- 
towns were so occupied in detecting and punishing the 
knowing old women that had produced these alarming ap- 
pearances, that for a while the province of Nieuw Neder- 
landt and its inhabitants were totally forgotten. 

The great Peter, therefore, finding that nothing was to 
be immediately apprehended from his eastern neighbours, 
turned himself about, with a praise- worthy vigilance that 
ever distinguished him, to put a stop to the insults of the 
Swedes. These freebooters, my attentive reader will re- 
collect, had begun to be very troublesome towards the lat- 
ter part of the reign of William the Testy, having set the 
proclamations of that doughty little governor at naught, 
and put the intrepid Jan Jansen Alpendam to a perfect 
non plus ! 

Peter Stuyvesant, however, as has already been shown, 
was a governor of different habits and turn of mind. With- 
out more ado, he immediately issued orders for raising a 
corps of troops to be stationed on the southern frontier, 
under the command of brigadier-general Jacobus Von Pof- 
fenburgh. This illustrious warrior had risen to great im- 
portance during the reign of Wilhelmus Kieft ; and if his- 

NEW-YORK. 235 

tories speak true, was second in command to the hapless 
Van Curlet, when he and his ragged regiment were inhu- 
manly kicked out of Fort Good Hope by the Yankees. 
In consequence of having been in such a " memorable af- 
fair," and of having received more wounds on a certain 
honourable part that shall be nameless, than any of his 
comrades, he was ever after considered as a hero, who had 
" seen some service." Certain it is, he enjoyed the unli- 
mited confidence and friendship of William the Testy; 
who would sit for hours, and listen with wonder to his gun- 
powder narratives of surprising victories he had never 
gained ; and dreadful battles from which he had run a- 
way; and the governor was once heard to declare, that had 
he lived in ancient times, he might unquestionably have 
claimed the armour of Achilles being not merely like A- 
jax, a mighty blustering man of battle ; but in the cabinet 
a second Ulysses, that is to say, very valiant of speech, 
and long winded all which, as nobody in New- Amster- 
dam knew aught of the ancient heroes in question, passed 
totally uncontradicted. 

It was tropically observed by honest old Socrates, that 
heaven had infused into some men at their birth a portion 
of intellectual gold; into others, of intellectual silver; while 
others were bounteously furnished out with abundance of 
brass and iron. Now, of this last class was undoubtedly 
the great General Von Poffenburgh, and from the display 
he continually made thereof, I am inclined to think that 
dame Nature, who will sometimes be partial, had blessed 
him with enough of those valuable materials to have fitted 
up a dozen ordinary braziers. But what is most to be ad- 
mired is, that he contrived to pass off all his brass and 
copper upon Wilhelmus Kieft, who was no great judge of 
base coin, as pure and genuine gold. The consequence 
was, that upon the resignation of Jacobus Van Curlet, 
who, after the loss of Fort Goed Hoop, retired like a ve- 


teran general, to live under the shade of his laurels, the 
mighty " copper captain " was promoted to his station. 
This he filled with great importance, always styling him- 
self " commander-m- chief of the armies of the New Ne- 
therlands j" though, to tell the truth, the armies, or rather 
army, consisted of a handful of hen-stealing, bottle- bruis- 
ing raggamuffins. 

Such was the character of the warrior appointed by Pe- 
ter Stuyvesant to defend his southern frontier, nor may it 
be uninteresting to my reader to have a glimpse of his per- 
son. He was not very tall, but notwithstanding, a huge, 
full bodied man, whose bulk did not so much arise from 
his being fat, as windy ; being so completely inflated with 
his own importance, that he resembled one of those bags 
of wind, which Eolus, in an incredible fit of generosity, 
gave to that wandering warrior Ulysses. 

His dress comported with his character, for he had al- 
most as much brass and copper without, as nature had 
stored away within. His coat was crossed and slashed, and 
carbonadoed with stripes of copper lace, and swathed round 
the body with a crimsoii sash, of the size and texture of a 
fishing net, doubtless to keep his valiant heart from burst- 
ing through his ribs. His head and whiskers were pro- 
fusely powdered, from the midst of which his full blooded 
face glowed like a fiery furnace ; and his magnanimous 
soul seemed ready to bounce out at a pair of large glassy 
blinking eyes, which projected like those of a lobster. 

I swear to thee, worthy reader, if report belie not this 
warrior, I would give all the money in my pocket to 
have seen him accoutred cap-a-pie, in martial array 
booted to the middle sashed to the chin collared to the 
ears whiskered to the teeth crowned with an overshad- 
owing cocked hat, and girded with a leathern belt ten inch- 
es broad, from which trailed a faulchion, of a length that 
I dare not mention. Thus equipped, he strutted about, 

NEW-YORK. 237 

as bitter looking a man of war as the far-famed More of 
More Hall, when he sallied forth, armed at all points, to 
slay the dragon of Wantley. * 

Notwithstanding all the great endowments and tran- 
scendant qualities of this renowned general, I must con- 
fess he was not exactly the kind of man that the gallant 
Peter would have chosen to command his troops but 
the truth is, that in those days the province did not a- 
bound, as at present, in great military characters ; who, 
like so many Cincinnatuses, people every little village 
marshalling out cabbages, instead of soldiers, and signa- 
lizing themselves in the corn-field, instead of the field of 
battle : who have surrendered the toils of war, for the 
more useful but inglorious arts of peace ! and so blended 
the laurel with the olive, that you may have a general for 
a landlord, a colonel for a stage-driver, and your horse 
shod by a valiant " captain of volunteers." Neither had 
Peter Stuyvesant an opportunity of choosing, like modern 
rulers, from a loyal band of editors of newspapers no 
mention being made in the histories of the times of any 
such class of mercenaries being retained in pay by govern- 
ment, either as trumpeters, champions, or body guards. 
The redoubtable General Von Poffenburgh, therefore, 
was appointed to the command of the new levied troops, 
chiefly because there were no competitors for the station, 
and partly because it would have been a breach of military 

* Had you but seen him in this dress 

How fierce he look'd and how big; 
You would have thought him for to be 

Some Egyptian Porcupig. 

He frighted all, cats, dogs, and all, 

Each cow, each horse, and each hog ; 
For fear they did flee, for they took him to be 

Some strange outlandish hedge-hog." 

Ballad of Drag, of Want. 


etiquette, to have appointed a younger officer over his 
head an injustice, which the great Peter would have ra- 
ther died than have committed. 

No sooner did this thrice valiant copper captain receive 
marching orders, than he conducted his army undaunted- 
ly to the southern frontier ; through wild lands and sa- 
vage deserts ; over insurmountable mountains, across im- 
passable floods, and through impenetrable forests; en- 
countering more perils, according to his own account, 
than did ever the great Xenophon in his far famed re- 
treat with his ten thousand Grecians. All this accom- 
plished, he established on the South (or Delaware) river, 
a redoubtable redoubt, named FORT CASIMER, in honour 
of a favourite pair of brimstone-coloured trunk breeches 
of the governor. As this fort will be found to give rise 
to very important and interesting events, it may be worth 
while to notice that it was afterwards called Nieuw-Am- 
stel, and was the original germ of the present flourishing 
town of NEW-CASTLE, an appellation erroneously substi- 
tuted for No Castle, there neither being, nor ever having 
been, a castle, or any thing of the kind upon the premises. 

The Swedes did not suffer tamely this menacing move- 
ment of the Nederlanders ; on the contrary, Jan Printz, 
at that time governor of New Sweden, issued a protest 
against what he termed an encroachment upon his juris- 
diction. *But the valiant Von Poffenburgh had become 
too well versed in the nature of proclamations and pro- 
tests, while he served under William the Testy, to be in 
any wise daunted by such paper warfare. His fortress 
being finished, it would have done any man's heart good 
to behold into what a magnitude he immediately swelled. 
He would stride in and out a dozen times a-day, survey- 
ing it in front and in rear; on this side and on that. 
Then would he dress himself in full regimentals, and strut 
backwards and forwards, for hours together, on the top 
of his little rampart like a vainglorious cock-pigeon va- 

NEW-YORK. 239 

pouring on the top of his coop. In a word, unless my 
readers have noticed, with curious eye, the petty com- 
mander of one of our little, snivelling, military posts, swel- 
ling with all the vanity of new regimentals, and the pom- 
posity derived from commanding a handful of tatterde- 
malions, I despair of giving them any adequate idea of 
the prodigious dignity of General Von Poffenburgh. 

It is recorded in the delectable romance of Pierce Fo- 
rest, that a young knight being dubbed by king Alexan- 
der, did incontinently gallop into an adjoining forest, and 
belaboured the trees with such might and main, that the 
whole court was convinced that he was the most potent 
and courageous gentleman on the face of the earth. In 
like manner the great Von Poffenburgh would ease off 
that valorous spleen, which like wind is so apt to grow 
unruly in the stomachs of new made soldiers, impelling 
them to box-lobby brawls, and broken headed quarrels. 
For at such times, when he found his martial spirit 
waxing hot within him, he would prudently sally forth 
into the fields, and lugging out his trusty sabre, would 
lay about him most lustily, decapitating cabbages by pla- 
toons ; hewing down whole phalanxes of sunflowers, which 
he termed gigantic Swedes ; and if, peradventure, he es- 
pied a colony of honest big-bellied pumpkins quietly bask- 
ing themselves in the sun, " Ah, caitiff Yankees," would 
he roar, " have I caught ye at last !" so saying, with 
one sweep of his sword, he would cleave the unhappy ve- 
getables from their chins to their waistbands : by which 
warlike havoc, his choler being in some sort allayed, he 
would return to his garrison with a full conviction, that 
he was a very miracle of military prowess. 

The next ambition of General Von Poffenburgh was 
to be thought a strict disciplinarian. Well knowing that 
discipline is the soul of all military enterprise, he enforced 
it with the most rigorous precision ; obliging every man 
to turn out his toes, and hold up his head on parade ; 


and prescribing the breadth of their ruffles to all such as 
had any shirts to their backs. 

Having one day, in the course of his devout researches 
in the Bible, (for the pious Eneas himself could not ex- 
ceed him in outward religion,) encountered the history of 
Absalom and his melancholy end, the general, in an evil 
hour, issued orders for cropping the hair of both officers 
and men throughout the garrison. Now it came to pass, 
that among his officers was one Kildermeester ; a sturdy 
veteran, who had cherished through the course of a long 
life, a rugged mop of hair, not a little resembling the shag 
of a Newfoundland dog ; terminating with an immoderate 
queue, like the handle of a frying-pan ; and queued so 
tightly to his head, that his eyes and mouth generally 
stood ajar, and his eyebrows were drawn up to the top 
of his forehead. It may naturally be supposed that the 
possessor of so goodly an appendage would resist with 
abhorrence an order condemning it to the shears Samp- 
son himself could not have held his locks more sacred 
and on hearing the general orders, he discharged a tem- 
pest of veteran, soldier-like oaths, and dunder and blixums 
swore he would break any man's head who attempted 
to meddle with his tail queued it stiffer than ever, and 
whisked it about the garrison, as fiercely as the tail of a 

The eel-skin queue of old Kildermeester became in- 
stantly an affair of the utmost importance. The com- 
mander-in-chief was too enlightened an officer not to per- 
ceive that the discipline of the garrison, the subordination 
and good order of the armies of the Nieuw Nederlandts, 
the consequent safety of the whole province, and ultimate- 
ly the dignity and prosperity of their high mightinesses, 
the lords states general, but, above all, the dignity of the 
great General Von Poffenburgh all imperiously deman- 
ded the docking of that stubborn queue. He therefore 
determined that old Kildermeester should be publicly 

NEW-YORK. 241 

shorn of his glories in presence of the whole garrison 
the old man as resolutely stood on the defensive where- 
upon the general, as became a great man, was highly ex- 
asperated, and the offender was arrested and tried by a 
court martial for mutiny, desertion, and all the other list 
of offences noticed in the articles of war, ending with a 
" videlicet, in wearing an eel-skin queue, three feet long, 
contrary to orders." Then came on arraignments, and 
trials, and pleadings, and the whole country was in a fer- 
ment about this unfortunate queue. As it is well known 
that the commander of a distant frontier post has the 
power of acting pretty much after his own will, there is 
little doubt but that the veteran would have been hanged 
or shot at least, had he not luckily fallen ill of a fever, 
through mere chagrin and mortification and most flagi- 
tiously deserted from earthly command, with his beloved 
locks un violated. His obstinacy remained unshaken to 
the very last moment, when he directed that he should 
be carried to his grave with his eel-skin queue sticking 
out of a hole in his coffin. 

This magnanimous affair obtained the general great 
credit as an excellent disciplinarian, but it is hinted that 
he was ever after subject to bad dreams, and fearful visi- 
tations in the night when the grisly spectrum of old Kil- 
dermeester would stand centinel by the bedside, erect as 
a pump, his enormous queue strutting out like the handle. 





In which is exhibited a warlike portrait of the great Peter and 
how General Von Poffenburgh distinguished himself at Fort 

HITHERTO, most venerable and courteous reader, have 
I shown thee the administration of the valorous Stuyve- 
sant, under the mild moonshine of peace, or rather the 
grim tranquillity of awful expectation ; but now the war- 
drum rumbles from afar, the brazen trumpet brays its 
thrilling note, and the rude clash of hostile arms speaks 
fearful prophecies of coming troubles. The gallant war- 
rior starts from soft repose, from golden visions, and vo- 
luptuous ease ; where, in the dulcet, " piping time of 
peace," he sought sweet solace after all his toils. No 
more in beauty's syren lap reclined, he weaves fair gar- 
lands for his lady's brows ; no more entwines with flowers 
his shining sword ; nor through the live-long lazy sum- 
mer's day chaunts forth his lovesick soul in madrigals. 
To manhood roused, he spurns the amorous flute; doffs 
from his brawny back the robe of peace, and clothes his 
pampered limbs in panoply of steel. O'er his dark brow, 
where late the myrtle waved where wanton roses breathed 
enervate love he rears the beaming casque and nodding 


plume; grasps the bright shield, and shakes the ponder- 
ous lance ; or mounts with eager pride his fiery steed, 
and burns for deeds of glorious chivalry ! 

But soft, worthy reader ! I would not have you ima- 
gine, that any preux chevalier, thus hideously begirt with 
iron, existed in the city of New-Amsterdam. This is but 
a lofty and gigantic mode in which heroic writers always 
talk of war, thereby to give it a noble and imposing as- 
pect; equipping our warriors with bucklers, helms, and 
lances, and such like outlandish and obsolete weapons, 
the like which perchance they had never seen or heard 
of; in the same manner that a cunning statuary arrays a 
modern general, or an admiral, in the accoutrements of a 
Caesar or an Alexander. The simple truth then of all 
this oratorical flourish is this that the valiant Peter Stuy- 
vesant, all of a sudden found it necessary to scour his 
trusty blade, which too long had rusted in its scabbard, 
and prepare himself to undergo those hardy toils of war, 
in which his mighty soul so much delighted. 

Methinks I at this moment behold him in my imagina- 
tionor rather, I behold his goodly portrait, which still 
hangs up in the family mansion of the Stuy vesants, ar- 
rayed in all the terrors of a true Dutch general. His 
regimental coat of German blue, gorgeously decorated 
with a goodly show of large brass buttons, reaching from 
his waistband to his chin. The voluminous skirts turned 
up at the corners, and separating gallantly behind, so as 
to display the seat of a sumptuous pair of brimstone-co- 
loured trunk breeches a graceful style still prevalent 
among the warriors of our day, and which is in conformi- 
ty to the custom of ancient heroes, who scorned to defend 
themselves in rear. His face rendered exceeding terrible 
and warlike by a pair of black mustachios ; his hair strut- 
ting out on each side in stiffly pomatumed ear-locks, and 
descending in a rat-tail queue below his waist ; a shining 
stock of black leather supporting his chin, and a little, 


but fierce cocked-hat stuck with a gallant and fiery air 
over his left eye. Such was the chivalric port of Peter 
the Headstrong ; and when he made a sudden halt, plant- 
ed himself firmly on his solid supporter, with his wooden 
leg inlaid with silver, a little in advance, in order to 
strengthen his position, his right hand grasping a gold- 
headed cane, his left resting upon the pummel of his 
sword ; his head dressing spiritedly to the right, with a 
most appalling and hard-favoured frown upon his brow- 
he presented altogether one of the most commanding bit- 
ter looking, and soldier-like figures that ever strutted up- 
on canvas. Proceed we now to inquire the cause of this 
warlike preparation. 

The encroaching disposition of the Swedes, on the 
south, or Delaware river, has been duly recorded in the 
chronicles of the reign of William the Testy. These en- 
croachments having been endured with that heroic mag- 
nanimity, which is the corner-stone, or, according to Aris- 
totle, the left hand neighbour of true courage, had been 
repeated and wickedly aggravated. 

The Swedes who were of that class of cunning preten- 
ders to Christianity, who read the Bible upside down, 
whenever it interferes with their interests, inverted the 
golden maxim ; and when their neighbour suffered them 
to smite him on the one cheek, they generally smote him 
on the other also, whether turned to them or not. Their 
repeated aggressions had been among the numerous 
sources of vexation, that conspired to keep the irritable 
sensibilities of Wilhelmus Kieft in a constant fever ; and 
it was only owing to the unfortunate circumstance, that 
he had always a hundred things to do at once, that he 
did not take such unrelenting vengeance as their offences 
merited. But they had now a chieftain of a different 
character to deal with ; and they were soon guilty of a 
piece of treachery, that threw his honest blood in a fer- 
ment, and precluded all further sufferance. 

NEW-YORK. 245 

Printz, the governor of the province of New-Sweden, 
being either deceased or removed, for of this fact some un- 
certainty exists, was succeeded by Jan Risingh, a gigantic 
Swede, and who, had he not been rather knock-kneed and 
splay-footed, might have served for the model of a Samp- 
son, or a Hercules. He was no less rapacious than 
mighty, and withal as crafty as he was rapacious ; so that, 
in fact, there is very little doubt, had he lived some four or 
five centuries before, he would have been one of those 
wicked giants, who took such a cruel pleasure in pocket- 
ing distressed damsels, when gadding about the world ; 
and locking them up in enchanted castles, without a toilet, 
a change of linen, or any other convenience. In conse- 
quence of which enormities, they fell under the high dis- 
pleasure of chivalry, and all true, loyal, and gallant 
knights were instructed to attack and slay outright any 
miscreant they might happen to find, above six feet high ; 
which is doubtless one reason that the race of large men 
is nearly extinct, and the generations of latter ages so ex- 
ceeding small. 

No sooner did Governor Risingh enter upon his office, 
than he immediately cast his eyes upon the important 
post of Fort Casimir, and formed the righteous resolu- 
tion of taking it into his possession. The only thing that 
remained to consider, was the mode of carrying his reso- 
lution into effect ; and here I must do him the justice to 
say, that he exhibited a humanity rarely to be met with 
among leaders, and which I have never seen equalled in 
modern times, excepting among the English, in their glo- 
rious affair at Copenhagen. Willing to spare the effu- 
sion of blood, and the miseries of open warfare, he be- 
nevolently shunned every thing like avowed hostility or 
regular siege, and resorted to the less glorious, but more 
merciful expedient of treachery. 

Under pretence therefore, of paying a neighbourly vi- 
sit to General Von Poffenburgh, at his new post of Fort 


Casimir, he made requisite preparation, sailed in great 
state up the Delaware, displayed his flag with the most 
ceremonious punctilio, and honoured the fortress with a 
royal salute, previous to dropping anchor. The unusual 
noise awakened a veteran Dutch centinel, who was nap- 
ping faithfully at his post, and who having suffered his 
match to go out, contrived to return the compliment, by 
discharging his rusty musket with the spark of a pipe, 
which he borrowed from one of his comrades. The sa- 
lute indeed would have been answered by the guns of the 
fort, had they not unfortunately been out of order, and 
the magazine deficient in ammunition accidents to which 
forts have in all ages been liable, and which were the 
more excusable in the present instance, as Fort Casimir 
had only been erected about two years, and General Von 
Poffenburgh, its mighty commander, had been fully oc- 
cupied with matters of much greater importance. 

Risingh, highly satisfied with this courteous reply to 
his salute, treated the fort to a second, for he well knew 
its commander was marvellously delighted with these little 
ceremonials, which he considered as so many acts of hom- 
age paid unto his greatness. He then landed in great 
state, attended by a suite of thirty men a prodigious and 
vainglorious retinue, for a petty governor of a petty settle- 
ment, in those days of primitive simplicity ; and to the 
full as great an army as generally swells the pomp and 
marches in the rear of our frontier commanders at the 
present day. 

The number in fact might have awakened suspicion, 
had not the mind of the great Von Poffenburgh been so 
completely engrossed with an all-pervading idea of him- 
self, that he had not room to admit a thought besides. 
In fact he considered the concourse of Risingh's followers 
as a compliment to himself so apt are great men to stand 
between themselves and the sun, and completely eclipse 
the truth by their own shadow. 

NEW-YORK. 247 

It may readily be imagined how much General Von 
Poffenburgh was flattered by a visit from so august a per- 
sonage ; his only embarrassment was, how he should re- 
ceive him in such a manner as to appear to the greatest 
advantage, and make the most advantageous impression. 
The main guard was ordered immediately to turn out, 
and the arms and regimentals (of which the garrison pos- 
sessed full half-a-dozen suits) were equally distributed a- 
mong the soldiers. One tall lank fellow appeared in a 
coat intended for a small man, the skirts of which reached 
a little below his waist, the buttons were between his 
shoulders, and the sleeves half-way to his wrists, so that 
his hands looked like a couple of huge spades ; and the 
coat not being large enough to meet in front, was linked 
together by loops, made of a pair of red worsted garters. 
Another had an old cocked-hat, stuck on the back of his 
head and decorated with a bunch of cock's tails a third 
had a pair of rusty gaiters hanging about his heels while 
a fourth, who was a short duck-legged little Trojan, was 
equipped in a huge pair of the general's cast-off breeches, 
which he held up with one hand, while he grasped his 
firelock with the other. The rest were accoutred in simi- 
lar style, excepting three graceless ragamuffins, who had 
no shirts, and but a pair and half of breeches between 
them, wherefore they were sent to the black-hole, to keep 
them out of view. There is nothing in which the talents 
of a prudent commander are more completely testified, 
than in thus setting matters off to the greatest advantage ; 
and it is for this reason that our frontier posts at the pre- 
sent day (that of Niagara for example) display their best 
suit of regimentals on the back of the centinel who stands 
in sight of travellers. 

His men being thus gallantly arrayed those who lack- 
ed muskets shouldering spades and pickaxes, and every 
man being ordered to tuck in his shirt-tail and pull up his 
brogues, General Von Poffenburgh first took a sturdy 


draught of foaming ale, iVhich, like the magnanimous More 
of Morehall,* was his invariable practice on all great oc- 
casions ; which done, he put himself at their head, ordered 
the pine planks, which served as a drawbridge, to be laid 
down, and issued forth from his castle, like a mighty giant, 
just refreshed with wine. But when the two heroes met, 
then began a scene of warlike parade and chivalric courtesy, 
that beggars all description. Risingh, who, as I before 
hinted, was a shrewd, cunning politician, and had grown 
grey much before his time, in consequence of his craftiness, 
saw at one glance the ruling passion of the great Von Pof- 
fenburgh, and humoured him in all his valorous fantasies. 
Their detachments were accordingly drawn up in front 
of each other; they carried arms, and they presented 
arms ; they gave the standing salute and the passing sa- 
lute : they rolled their drums, they flourished their fifes, 
and they waved their colours they faced to the left, and 
they faced to the right, and they faced to the right about : 
they wheeled forward, and they wheeled backward, and 
they wheeled into echelon: they marched and they coun- 
ter-marched, by grand divisions, by single divisions, and 
by sub-divisions by platoons, by sections, and by files 
in quick time, in slow time, and in no time at all : for, 
having gone through all the evolutions of two great armies, 
including the eighteen manoeuvres of Dundas ; having ex- 
hausted all that they could recollect or imagine of military 
tactics, including sundry strange and irregular evolutions, 
the like of which were never seen before or since, except- 
ing among certain of our newly raised militia the two 
great commanders and their respective troops came at 
length to a dead halt, completely exhausted by the toils of 

" as soon as he rose, 

To make him strong and mighty, 

lie drank by the tale, six pots of ale, 
And a quart of Aqua Vitae." 

NEW-YORK, 249 

war. Never did two valiant train band captains, or two 
buskined theatric heroes, in the renowned tragedies of 
Pizarro, Tom Thumb, or any other heroical and fighting 
tragedy, marshal their gallows-looking, duck-legged, hea- 
vy-heeled myrmidons, with more glory and self-admiration. 

These military compliments being finished, General 
Von Poffenburgh escorted his illustrious visitor, with 
great ceremony, into the fort ; attended him throughout 
the fortifications; showed him the horn- works, crown- 
works, half-moons, and various other out- works ; or rather 
the places where they ought to be erected; and where 
they might be erected if he pleased ; plainly demonstra- 
ting, that it was a place of "great capability," and though 
at present but a little redoubt, yet that it evidently was a 
formidable fortress, in embryo. This survey over, he 
next had the whole garrison put under arms, exercised 
and reviewed, and concluded by ordering the three bride- 
well birds to be hauled out of the black hole, brought up 
to the halberts, and soundly flogged for the amusement of 
his visitor, and to convince him that he was a great disci- 

There is no error more dangerous than for a commander 
to make known the strength, or, as in the present case, 
the weakness of his garrison ;' this will be exemplified be- 
fore I have arrived to an end of my present story, which 
thus carries its moral, like a roasted goose his pudding, in 
the very middle. The cunning Risingh, while he pre- 
tended to be struck dumb outright, with the puissance 
of the great Von Poffenburgh, took silent note of the in- 
competency of his garrison, of which he gave a hint to his 
trusty followers, who tipped each other the wink, and 
laughed most obstreperously in their sleeves. 

The inspection, review, and flogging being concluded, 
the party adjourned to the table ; for among his other 
great qualities, the general was remarkably addicted to huge 
entertainments, or rather carousals ; and in one afternoon's 

2 I 


campaign would leave more dead men on the field, than 
he ever did in the whole course of his military career. 
Many bulletins of these bloodless victories do still remain 
on record; and the whole province was once thrown in 
amaze, by the return of one of his campaigns ; wherein it 
was stated, that though, like Captain Bobadil, he had only 
twenty men to back him, yet, in the short space of six 
months, he had conquered and utterly annihilated sixty 
oxen, ninety hogs, one hundred sheep, ten thousand cab- 
bages, one thousand bushels of potatoes, one hundred and 
fifty kilderkins of small beer, two thousand seven hun- 
dred and thirty-five pipesj seventy-eight pounds of sugar- 
plums, and forty bars of iron, besides sundry small meats, 
game, poultry, and garden-stuff. An achievement unpar- 
alleled since the days of Pantagruel, and his all-devouring 
army ; and which showed that it was only necessary to let 
bellipotent Von Poffenburgh and his garrison loose in an 
enemy's country, and in a little while they would breed a 
famine, and starve all the inhabitants. 

No sooner, therefore, had the general received the first 
intimation of the visit of Governor Risingh, than he or- 
dered a great dinner to be prepared ; and privately sent 
out a detachment of his most experienced veterans, to rob 
all the hen-roosts in the neighbourhood, and lay the pig- 
styes under contribution a service to which they had 
been long inured, and which they discharged with such 
incredible zeal and promptitude, that the garrison-table 
groaned under the weight of their spoils. 

I wish, with all my heart, my readers could see the val- 
iant Von Poffenburgh, as he presided at the head of the 
banquet. It was a sight worth beholding : there he sat, 
in his greatest glory, surrounded by his soldiers, like that 
famous wine-bibber, Alexander, whose thirsty virtues he 
did most ably imitate ; telling astounding stories of his 
hair-breadth adventures and heroic exploits, at which, 
though all his auditors knew them to be most incontinent 

NEW-YORK. 251 

and outrageous gasconadoes, yet did they cast up their 
eyes in admiration, and utter many interjections of aston- 
ishment. Nor could the general pronounce any thing that 
bore the remotest semblance to a joke, but the stout Ri- 
singh would strike his brawny fist upon the table, till every 
glass rattled again, throwing himself back in his chair, 
and uttering gigantic peals of laughter, swearing most 
horribly it was the best joke he ever heard in his life. 
Thus all was rout and revelry and hideous carousal within 
Fort Casimir ; and so lustily did Von Poffenburgh ply the 
bottle, that in less than four short hours he made himself 
and his whole garrison, who all sedulously emulated the 
deeds of their chieftain, dead drunk, in singing songs, 
quaffing bumpers, and drinking patriotic toasts, none of 
which but was as long as a Welsh pedigree, or a plea in 

No sooner did things come to this pass, than the crafty 
Risingh and his Swedes, who had cunningly kept them- 
selves sober, rose on their entertainers, tied them neck and 
heels, and took formal possession of the fort, and all its 
dependencies, in the name of Queen Christina of Sweden ; 
administering, at the same time, an oath of allegiance to 
all the Dutch soldiers who could be made sober enough 
to swallow it. Risingh then put the fortifications in or- 
der, appointed his discreet and vigilant friend Suen Scutz, 
a tall, wind-dried, water-drinking Swede, to the command ; 
and departed, bearing with him this truly amiable garri- 
son and their puissant commander, who, when brought 
to himself by a sound drubbing, bore no little resemblance 
to a " deboshed fish," or bloated sea-monster, caught upon 
dry land. 

The transportation of the garrison was done to prevent 
the transmission of intelligence to New- Amsterdam ; for 
much as the cunning Risingh exulted in his stratagem, he 
dreaded the vengeance of the sturdy Peter Stuyvesant, 
whose name spread as much terror in the neighbourhood, 


as did whilome that of the unconquerable Scanderbeg a- 
mong his scurvy enemies the Turks. 


Showing how profound secrets are often brought to light ; with 
the proceedings of Peter the Headstrong, rvhen he heard of the 
misfortune of General Von Pojfenburgh. 

WHOEVER first described common fame, or rumour, as 
belonging to the sager sex, was a very owl for shrewdness. 
She has in truth certain feminine qualities to an astonish- 
ing degree; particularly that benevolent anxiety to take 
care of the affairs of others, which keeps her continually 
hunting after secrets, and gadding about proclaiming them. 
Whatever is done openly, and in the face of the world, 
she takes but transient notice of; but whenever a transac- 
tion is done in a corner, and attempted to be shrouded in 
mystery, then her goddesship is at her wit's end to find it 
out, and takes a most mischievous and lady-like pleasure 
in publishing it to the world. It is this truly feminine 
propensity that induces her continually to be prying into 
cabinets of princes, listening at the key-holes of senate- 
chambers, and peering through chinks and crannies, when 
our worthy congress are sitting with closed doors, delibe- 
rating between a dozen excellent modes of ruining the na- 
tion. It is this which makes her so obnoxious to all wary 
statesmen and intriguing commanders such a stumbling- 
block to private negociations and secret expeditions, which 
she often betrays by means and instruments which never 
would have been thought of by any but a female head. 

Thus it was in the case of the affair of Fort Casimir. 
No doubt the cunning Risingh imagined that, by securing 
the garrison, he should for a long time prevent the history 
of its fate from reaching the ears of the gallant Stuyvesant ; 

NEW-YORK. 253 

but his exploit was blown to the world when he least ex- 
pected it, and by one of the last beings he would ever 
have suspected of enlisting as trumpeter to the wide- 
mouthed deity. 

This was one Dirk Schuiler (or Skulker), a kind of 
hanger-on to the garrison, who seemed to belong to no- 
body, and in a manner to be self-outlawed. He was one 
of those vagabond cosmopolites, who shark about the 
world, as if they had no right or business in it ; and who 
infest the skirts of society, like poachers and interlopers. 
Every garrison and country village has one or more scape- 
goats of this kind, whose life is a kind of enigma, whose 
existence is without motive, who comes from the Lord 
knows where, who lives the Lord knows how, and seems 
to be made for no other earthly purpose but to keep up 
the ancient and honourable order of idleness. This va- 
grant philosopher was supposed to have some Indian blood 
in his veins, which was manifested by a certain Indian 
complexion and cast of countenance ; but more especially 
by his propensities and habits. He was a tall, lank fellow, 
swift of foot, and long-winded. He was generally equip- 
ped in a half Indian dress, with belt, leggings, and moc- 
casons. His hair hung in strait gallows-locks about his 
ears, and added not a little to his sharking demeanour. It 
is an old remark, that persons of Indian mixture are half 
civilized, half savage, and half devil ; a third half being 
expressly provided for their particular convenience. It 
is for similar reasons, and probably with equal truth, 
that the back-wood men of Kentucky are styled half man, 
half horse, and half alligator, by the settlers on the Mis- 
sissippi, and held accordingly in great respect and abhor- 

The above character may have presented itself to the 
garrison as applicable to Dirk Schuiler, whom they fami- 
liarly dubbed Gallows Dirk. Certain it is, he acknow- 
ledged allegiance to no one- was an utter enemy to work, 


holding it in no manner of estimation but lounged about 
the fort, depending upon chance for a subsistence, getting 
drunk whenever he could get liquor, and stealing what- 
ever he could lay his hands on. Every day or two he 
was sure to get a sound rib-roasting for some of his mis- 
demeanours, which, however, as it broke no bones, he 
made very light of, and scrupled not to repeat the offence 
whenever another opportunity presented. Sometimes, in 
consequence of some flagrant villany, he would abscond 
from the garrison, and be absent for a month at a time ; 
skulking about the woods and swamps, with a long fowl- 
ing-piece on his shoulder, laying in ambush for game, or 
squatting himself down on the edge of a pond catching 
fish for hours together, and bearing no little resemblance 
to that notable bird ycleped the Mud-poke. When he 
thought his crimes had been forgotten or forgiven, he 
he would sneak back to the fort with a bundle of skins, 
or a bunch of poultry, which perchance he had stolen, 
and would exchange them for liquor, with which, having 
well soaked his carcass, he would lay in the sun and en- 
joy all the luxurious indolence of that swinish .philosopher 
Diogenes. He was the terror of all the farm-yards in the 
country, into which he made fearful inroads ; and some- 
times he would make his sudden appearance at the garri- 
son at daybreak, with the whole neighbourhood at his 
heels, like a scoundrel thief of a fox, detected in his ma- 
raudings, and hunted to his hole. Such was this Dirk 
Schuiler ; and from the total indifference he showed to 
the world or its concerns, and from his truly Indian stoi- 
cism and taciturnity, no one would ever have dreamt that 
he would have been the publisher of the treachery of Ri- 

When the carousal was going on, which proved so fa- 
tal to the brave Von Poffenburgh and his watchful garri- 
son, Dirk skulked about from room to room, being a kind 
of privileged vagrant or useless hound, whom nobody no- 

NEW-YORK. 255 

ticed. But though a fellow of few words, yet like your 
taciturn people, his eyes and ears were always open, and 
in the course of his prowlings he overheard the whole plot 
of the Swedes. Dirk immediately settled in his own mind 
how he should turn the matter to his own advantage. He 
played the perfect jack-of-both-sides ; that is to say, he 
made a prize of every thing that came in his reach, rob- 
bed both parties, stuck the copper-bound cocked-hat of 
the puissant Von Poffenburgh on his head, whipped a 
huge pair of Risingh's jackboots under his arm, and took 
to his heels, just before the catastrophe and confusion at 
the garrison. 

Finding himself completely dislodged from his haunt 
in this quarter, he directed his flight towards his native 
place, New- Amsterdam, from whence he had formerly 
been obliged to abscond precipitately, in consequence of 
misfortune in business, that is to say, having been detec- 
ted in the act of sheep-stealing. After wandering many 
days in the woods, toiling through swamps, fording 
brooks, swimming various rivers, and encountering a 
world of hardships, that would have killed any other be- 
ing but an Indian, a back-wood man, or the devil ; he at 
length arrived, half-famished, and lank as a starved wea- 
sel, at Communipaw, where he stole a carioe, and pad- 
dled over to New- Amsterdam. Immediately on landing, 
he repaired to Governor Stuyvesant, and in more words 
than he had ever spoken before in the whole course of his 
life^ gave an account of the disastrous affair. 

On receiving these direful tidings, the valiant Peter 
started from his seat, as did the stout King Arthur when 
at " merry Carleile," the news was brought him of the 
uncourteous misdeeds of the " grim barone" without ut- 
tering a word, he dashed the pipe he was smoking against 
the back of the chimney, thrust a prodigious quid of ne- 
gro-head tobacco into his left cheek, pulled up his galli- 
gaskins, and strode up and down the room, humming, as 


was customary with him when in a passion, a hideous 
north-west ditty. But, as I have before shown, he was 
not a man to vent his spleen in idle vapouring. His first 
measure after the paroxysm of wrath had subsided, was 
to stump up stairs, to a huge wooden chest, which served 
as his armoury, from whence he drew forth that identical 
suit of regimentals described in the preceding chapter. 
In these portentous habiliments he arrayed himself, like 
Achilles in the armour of Vulcan, maintaining all the 
while a most appalling silence, knitting his brows, and 
drawing his breath through his clinched teeth. Being 
hastily equipped, he strode down into the parlour, jerked 
down his trusty sword from over the fireplace, where it 
was usually suspended ; but before he girded it on his 
thigh he drew it from its scabbard, and as his eye cours- 
ed along the rusty blade, a grim smile stole over his iron 
visage. It was the first smile that had visited his coun- 
tenance for five long weeks ; but every one who beheld 
it, prophesied that there would soon be warm work in the 
province ! 

Thus armed at all points, with grisly war depicted in 
each feature, his very cocked-hat assuming an air of un- 
common defiance, he instantly put himself on the alert, 
and despatched Anthony Van Corlear hither and thither, 
this way and that way, through all the muddy streets and 
crooked lanes of the city, summoning by sound of trum- 
pet his trusty peers to assemble in instant council. This 
done, by way of expediting matters, according to the cus- 
tom of people in a hurry, he kept in continual bustle, 
shifting from chair to chair, popping his head out of every 
window, and stumping up and down stairs with his wood- 
en leg in such brisk and incessant motion, that, as we are 
informed by an authentic historian of the times, the con- 
tinual clatter bore no small resemblance to the music of a 
cooper hooping a flour barrel. 

A summons so peremptory, and from a man of the go- 

NEW-YORK. 257 

yernorY mettle, was not to be trifled with; the sages 
forthwith repaired to the council chamber, where the gal- 
lant Stuyvesant entered in martial style, and took his 
chair, like another Charlemagne among his Paladins. 
The counsellors seated themselves with the utmost tran?. 
quillity, and lighting their long pipes, gazed with unruf- 
fled composure on his excellency and his regimentals; 
being, as all counsellors should be, not easily flustered, 
or taken by surprise. The governor, looking around for 
a moment with a lofty and soldierlike air, and resting one 
hand on the pummel of his sword, and flinging the other 
forth, in a free and spirited manner, addressed them in a 
short, but soul-stirring harangue. 

I am extremely sorry that I have not the advantages of 
Livy, Thucydides, Plutarch, and others of my predeces-* 
sors, who were furnished, as I am told, with the speeches 
of all their great emperors, generals, and orators, taken 
down in short-hand, by the most accurate stenographers 
of the time ; whereby they were enabled wonderfully to 
enrich their histories, and delight their readers with su- 
blime strains of eloquence. Not having such important 
auxiliaries, I cannot possibly pronounce what was the 
tenor of Governor Stuyvesant's speech. Whether he 
with maiden coyness hinted to his hearers, that " there 
was a speck of war in the horizon ;" that it would be ne- 
cessary tp resort to the " unprofitable trial of which could 
do each other the most harm," or any other delicate 
contraction of language, whereby the odious subject of 
war is handled so fastidiously by modern statesmen ; as a 
gentleman volunteer handles his filthy saltpetre weapons 
with gloves, lest he should soil his dainty fingers. 

I am bold, however, to say, from the tenor of Peter 
Stuyvesant's character, that he did not wrap his rugged 
subject in silks and ermines, and other sickly trickeries 
of phrase; but spoke forth, like a man of nerve and vi-r 
$cmr, who scorned to shrink in words, from those dan? 

9 K 


gers which he stood ready to encounter in very deed. 
This much is certain, that he concluded by announcing 
his determination bf leading on his troops in person, and 
routing these costardmonger Swedes, from their usurped 
quarters at Fort Casimir. To this hardy resolution, such 
of his council as were awake gave their usual signal of 
concurrence, and as to the rest, who had fallen asleep a- 
bout the middle of the harangue (their " usual custom in 
the afternoon") they made not the least objection. 

And now was seen in the fair city of New.- Amsterdam, 
a prodigious bustle and preparation for iron war. Re- 
cruiting parties marched hither and thither, calling lustily 
upon all the scrubs, the runagates, and tatterdemalions of 
the Manhattoes and its vicinity, who had any ambition of 
sixpence a-day, and immortal fame into the bargain, to 
enlist in the cause of glory. For I would have you note, 
that your warlike heroes who trudge in the rear of con- 
querors, are generally of that illustrious class of gentle- 
men, who are equal candidates for the army or the bride- 
well the halberts or the whipping-post: for whom dame 
fortune has cast an even die, whether they shall make 
their exit by the sword or the halter ; and whose deaths 
shall, at all events, be a lofty example to their country- 

But notwithstanding all this martial rout and invita- 
tion, the ranks of honour were but scantily supplied ; so 
averse were the peaceful burghers of New- Amsterdam 
from enlisting in foreign broils, or stirring beyond that 
home, which rounded all their earthly ideas. Upon be- 
holding this, the great Peter, whose noble heart was all 
on fire with war and sweet revenge, determined to wait 
no longer for the tardy assistance of these oily citizens, 
but to muster up his merry men of the Hudson ; who, 
brought up among woods and wilds and savage beasts, 
like our yeomen of Kentucky, delighted in nothing so 
much as desperate adventures and perilous expeditions 

NEW-YORK. 259 

through the wilderness. Thus resolving, he ordered his 
trusty squire, Anthony Van Corlear, to have his state 
galley prepared and duly victualled; which being per- 
formed, he attended public service at the great church of 
St. Nicholas, like a true and pious governor, and then 
leaving peremptory orders with his council to have the 
chivalry of the Manhattoes marshalled out and appointed 
against his return, departed upon his recruiting voyage 
up the waters of the Hudson. 


Containing Peter Stuyvesant's voyage up the Hudson, and the 
wonders and delights of that renowned river. 

Now did the soft breezes of the south steal sweetly over 
the beauteous face of nature, tempering the panting heats 
of summer into genial and prolific warmth : when that 
miracle of hardihood and chivalric virtue, the dauntless 
Peter Stuyvesant, spread his canvas to the wind, and de- 
parted from the fair island of Mannahata. The galley in 
which he embarked was sumptuously adorned with pen- 
dants and streamers of gorgeous dyes, which fluttered 
gaily in the wind, or drooped their ends in the bosom of 
the stream. The bow and poop of this majestic vessel 
were gallantly bedight, after the rarest Dutch fashion, 
with figures of little pursy cupids with periwigs on their 
heads, and bearing in their hands garlands of flowers, 
the like of which are not to be found in any book of bo- 
tany ; being the matchless flowers which flourished in the 
golden age, and exist no longer, unless it be in the ima- 
ginations of ingenious carvers of wood and discolourers 
of canvas. 

Thus rarely decorated, in style befitting the state of the 


puissant potentate of the Manhattoes$ did the galley of 
Peter Stuyvesarit launch forth upon the bosom of the 
lordly Hudson ; which, as it rolled its broad waves to the 
Ocean, seemed to pause for a while and swell with pride, 
as if conscious of the illustrious burthen it sustained. 

But trust me, gentlefolk, far other was the scene pre- 
sented to the contemplation of the crew, from that which 
may be witnessed at this degenerate day. Wildness and 
savage majesty reigned on the borders of this mighty 
river the hand of cultivation had not as yet laid low the 
dark forests, and tamed the features of the landscape; 
nor had the frequent sail of commerce yet broken in up- 
on the profound and awful solitude of ages. Here and 
there might be seen a rude wigwam perched among the 
cliffs of the mountains, with its curling column of smoke 
mounting iri the transparent atmosphere ; but so loftily 
situated, that the whoopings of the savage children, gam- 
bolling on the margin of the dizzy heights, fell almost as 
faintly on the ear, as do the notes of the lark, when lost 
in the azure vault of heaven. Now and then from the 
beetling brow of some rocky precipice, the wild deer 
would look timidly down upon the splendid pageant as it 
passed below ; and then, tossing his branching antlers in 
the air, would bound away into the thickest of the forest. 

Through such scenes did the stately vessel of Peter 
Stuyvesant pass. Now did they skirt the bases of the 
rocky heights of Jersey, which spring up like everlasting 
walls, reaching from the waves unto the heavens ; and 
were fashioned, if tradition may be believed, in times long 
past, by the mighty spirit Manetho, to protect his favour- 
ite abodes from the unhallowed eyes of mortals. Now did 
they career it gaily across the vast expanse of Tappan 
Bay, whose wide extended shores present a vast variety 
of delectable scenery here the bold promontory, crown- 
ed with embowering trees, advancing into the bay there 
the long woodland slope, sweeping up from the shore in 

NEW. YORK. 261 

rich luxuriance, and terminating in the upland precipice 
. while at a distance a long waving line of rocky heights^ 
threw their gigantic shades across the water. Now would 
thety pass where some modest little interval, opening a- 
mong these stupendous scenes, yet retreating as it were! 
for protection into the embraces of the neighbouring 
mountains, displayed a rural paradise, fraught with sweet 
and pastoral beauties ; the velvet tufted lawn, the bushy 
copse$ the tinkling rivulet^ stealing through the fresh and 
vivid verdure* on whose banks was situated some little 
Indian village, Or peradventure, the rude cabin of some 
solitary hunter. 

The different periods of the revolving day seemed each 
with cunning magic, to diffuse a different charm over the 
scene. Now would the jovial sun break gloriously from 
the east, blazing from the summits of the eastern hills, 
and sparkling the landscape with a thousand dewy gems ; 
while along the borders of the river were seen heavy 
masses of mist, which like midnight caitiffs, disturbed at 
his approach, made a sluggish retreat, rolling in sullen 
reluctance up the mountains. At such times all was 
brightness^ and life, and gaiety; the atmosphere seemed 
of an indescribable pureness and transparency the birds 
broke forth in wanton madrigals, and the freshening 
breezes wafted the vessel merrily on her course. But 
when the sun sunk amid a flood of glory in the west, 
mantling the heavens and the earth with a thousand gor- 
geous dyes ; then all was calm, and silent, and magnifi- 
cent. The late swelling sail hung lifelessly against the 
mast the simple seaman with folded arms leaned against 
the shrouds, lost in that involuntary musing which the so- 
ber grandeur of nature commands in the rudest of her chil- 
dren. The vast bosom of the Hudson was like an un- 
ruffled mirror, reflecting the golden splendour of the 
heavens, excepting that now and then a bark canoe would 
steal across its surface, filled with painted savages, whose 


gay feathers glared brightly, as perchance a lingering ray 
of the setting sun gleamed upon them from the western 

But when the hour of twilight spread its magic mists 
around, then did the face of nature assume a thousand 
fugitive charms, which to the worthy heart that seeks en- 
joyment in the glorious works of its Maker, are inexpres- 
sibly captivating. The mellow dubious light that pre- 
vailed, just served to tinge with illusive colours the sof- 
tened features of the scenery. The deceived but delight- 
ed eye sought vainly to discern in the broad masses of 
shade, the separating line between the land and water; 
or to distinguish the fading objects that seemed sinking 
into chaos. Now did the busy fancy supply the feeble- 
ness of vision, producing with industrious craft a fairy 
creation of her own. Under her plastic wand the barren 
rocks frowned upon the watery waste, in the semblance of 
lofty towers and high embattled castles trees assumed 
the direful forms of mighty giants, and the inaccessible 
summits of the mountains seemed peopled with a thou- 
sand shadowy beings. 

Now broke forth from the shores the notes of an innu- 
merable variety of insects, who filled the air with a strange 
but not inharmonious concert ; while ever and anon was 
heard the melancholy plaint of the Whip-poor-will, who, 
perched on some lone tree, wearied the ear of night with 
his incessant moanings. The mind, soothed into a hal- 
lowed melancholy by the solemn mystery of the scene, 
listened with pensive stillness to catch and distinguish 
each sound, that vaguely echoed from the shore now 
and then startled perchance by the whoop of some strag- 
gling savage, or the dreary howl of some caitiff wolf, steal- 
ing forth upon his nightly prowlings. 

Thus happily did they pursue their course, until they 
entered upon those awful defiles denominated THE HIGH- 
LANDS, where it would seem that the gigantic Titans had 

NEW-YORK. 263 

erst waged their impious war with heaven, piling up cliffs 
on cliffs, and hurling vast masses of rock in wild confu- 
sion. But in sooth very different is the history of these 
cloud-capt mountains. These in ancient days, before the 
Hudson poured his waters from the lakes, formed one 
vast prison, within whose rocky bosom the omnipotent 
Manetho confined the rebellious spirits who repined at 
his control. Here, bound in adamantine chains, or 
jammed in rifted pines, or crushed by ponderous rocks, 
they groaned for many an age. At length the conquer- 
ing Hudson, in his irresistible career towards the ocean, 
burst open their prison-house, rolling his tide triumphant- 
ly through its stupendous ruins. 

Still, however, do many of them lurk about their old 
abodes ; and these it is, according to venerable legends, 
that cause the echoes which resound throughout these 
awful solitudes ; which are nothing but their angry cla- 
mours when any noise disturbs the profoundness of their 
repose. For when the elements are agitated by tempest, 
when the winds are up and the thunder rolls, then horri- 
ble is the yelling and howling of these troubled spirits, 
making the mountains to rebellow with their hideous up- 
roar ; for at such times it is said, that they think the great 
Manetho is returning once more to plunge them in gloomy 
caverns, and renew their intolerable captivity. 

But all these fair and glorious scenes were lost upon 
the gallant Stuyvesant; nought occupied his mind but 
thoughts of iron war, and proud anticipations of hardy 
deeds of arms. Neither did his honest crew trouble their 
vacant heads with any romantic speculations of the kind. 
The pilot at the helm quietly smoked his pipe, thinking 
of nothing either past, present, or to come those of his 
comrades who were not industriously snoring under the 
hatches, were listening with open mouths to Anthony 
Van Corlear ; who, seated on the windlass, was relating 


to them the marvellous history of those myriads of fire- 
flies, that sparkled like gems and spangles upon the dusky 
robe of night. These, according to tradition, were origi- 
nally a race of pestilent sempiternous beldames, who peo-r 
pled these parts long before the memory of man; being. of 
that abominated race emphatically .called brimstones : and 
who for their innumerable sins against the children of men, 
and to furnish an awful warning to the beauteous sex 9 
were doomed to infest the earth in the shape of these threat- 
ening and terrible little bugs ; enduring the internal tor- 
ments of that fire, which they formerly carried in their 
hearts and breathed forth in their words; but now are 
sentenced to bear about for ever in their tails ! 

And now I am going to tell a fact, which I doubt much 
my readers will hesitate to believe ; but if they do, they are 
welcome not to believe a word in this whole history, for 
nothing which it contains is more true. It must be known 
then that the nose of Anthony the trumpeter was of a very 
lusty size, strutting boldly from his countenance like 
mountain of Golconda : being sumptuously bedecked with 
rubies and other precious stones the true regalia of a king 
of good fellows, which jolly Bacchus grants to all who 
bouse it heartily at the flagon. Now thus it happened, 
that bright and early in the morning, the good Anthony 
having washed his burly visage, was leaning over the quar- 
ter railing of the galley, contemplating it in the glassy wave 
below. Just at this moment the illustrious sun, breaking 
in all his splendour from behind one of the high bluffs of 
the Highlands, did dart one of his most potent beams full 
upon the refulgent nose of the sounder of brass the re- 
flection of which shot straightway down, hissing hot, into 
the water, and killed a mighty sturgeon that was sporting 
beside the vessel ! This huge monster being with infinite 
labour hoisted on board, furnished a luxurious repast to 
all the crew, being accounted of excellent flavour, except* 

NEW-YORK. 265 

ing about the wound, where it smacked a little of brim- 
stone ; and this, on my veracity, was the first time that ever 
sturgeon was eaten in these parts by Christian people.* 

When this astonishing miracle came to be made known 
to Peter Stuyvesant, and that he tasted of the unknown 
fish, he, as may well be supposed, marvelled exceedingly; 
and as a monument thereof, he gave the name of Anthony's 
Nose to a stout promontory in the neighbourhood and it 
has continued to be called Anthony's Nose ever since that 

But hold Whither am I wandering ? By the Mass, 
if I attempt to accompany the good Peter Stuyvesant on 
this voyage, I shall never make an end, for never was there 
a voyage so fraught with marvellous incidents, nor a river 
so abounding with transcendant beauties, worthy of being 
severally recorded. Even now I have it on the point of 
my pen to relate, how his crew were most horribly fright- 
ened, on going on shore above the Highlands, by a gang 
of jnerry roistering devils, frisking and curvetting on a 
huge flat rock, which projected into the river and which 
is called the DuyveVs Dans-Kamer to this very day. But 
no ! Diedrich Knickerbocker it becomes thee not to idle 
thus in thy historic wayfaring. 

Recollect that while dwelling with the fond garrulity of 
age over these fairy scenes, endeared to thee by the recol- 
lections of thy youth, and the charms of a thousand legend- 
ary tales which beguiled the simple ear of thy childhood ; 
recollect that thou are trifling with those fleeting moments 
which should be devoted to loftier themes.- Is not time- 
relentless time ! shaking, with palsied hand, his almost 

1 The learned Hans Megapolensis, treating of the country about 
Albany, in a letter which was written some time after the settlement 
thereof, says, * There is in the river great plenty of Sturgeon, which 
we Christians do not make use of; but the Indians eatethem greedilie." 

2 L 


exhausted hour-glass before thee ? hasten then to pursue 
thy weary task, lest the last sands be run ere thou hast fi- 
nished thy history of the Manhattoes. 

Let us then commit the dauntless Peter, his brave gal- 
ley, and his loyal crew, to the protection of the blessed 
St. Nicholas ; who I have no doubt will prosper him in his 
voyage, while we await his return at the great city of New- 


Describing the powerful Army that assembled at the city of New- 
Amsterdam together with the interview between Peter the 
Headstrong, and General Von Pojfenburgh ; and Peter's sen- 
timents touching unfortunate great men. 

WHILE thus the enterprising Peter was coasting, with 
flowing sail, up the shores of the lordly Hudson, and arous- 
ing all the phlegmatic little Dutch settlements upon its bor- 
ders, a great and puissant concourse of warriors was as- 
sembling at the city of New- Amsterdam. And here that 
invaluable fragment of antiquity, the Stuyvesant manu- 
script, is more than commonly particular; by which means 
I am enabled to record the illustrious host that encamped 
itself in the public square, in front of the fort, at present 
denominated the Bowling Green. 

In the centre then, was pitched the tent of the men of 
battle of the Manhattoes, who being the inmates of the 
metropolis, composed the life-guards of the governor. 
These were commanded by the valiant Stoffel Brinker- 
hoof, who whilome had acquired such immortal fame at 
Oyster Bay they displayed as a standard, a beaver ram- 

NEW-YORK. 267 

pant on a field of orange ; being the arms of the province, 
and denoting the persevering industry, and the amphibi- 
ous origin of the Nederlanders. * 

On their right hand might be seen the vassals of that 
renowned Mynheer Michael Paw, -j- who lorded it over 
the fair regions of ancient Pavonia, and the lands away 
south, even unto the Navesink mountains, j and was more- 
over patroon of Gibbet-Island. His standard was borne 
by his trusty squire, Cornelius Van Vorst; consisting of a 
huge oyster recumbent upon a sea-green field ; being the 
armorial bearings of his favourite metropolis, Communi- 
paw. He brought to the camp a stout force of warriors, 
heavily armed, being each clad in ten pair of linsey wool- 
sey breeches, and overshadowed by broad brimmed bea- 
vers, with short pipes twisted in their hat-bands. These 
were the men who vegetated in the mud along the shores 
of Pavonia ; being of the race of genuine copperheads, and 
were fabled to have sprung from oysters. 

At a little distance was encamped the tribe of warriors 
who came from the neighbourhood of Hell-Gate. These 
were commanded by the Suy Dams, and the Van Dams, 
incontinent hard swearers, as their names betoken they 
were terrible looking fellows, clad in broad-skirted gaber- 

* This was likewise the great seal of the New Netherlands, as may 
still be seen in ancient records. 

j- Besides what is related in the Stuyvesant MS. I have found men- 
tion ina<de of this illustrious Patroon in another manuscript, which says: 
*' De Heer (or the Squire) Michael Paw, a Dutch subject, about lOlh 
Aug; 1630, by deed purchased Staten-Island. N. B. The same Mi- 
chael Paw had what the Dutch called a colonie at Pavonia, on the Jer- 
sey shore, opposite New- York, and his overseer in 1636, was named 
Corns. Van Vorst a person of the same name in 1769, owned Pawles 
Hook, and a large farm at Favonia, and is a lineal descendant from Van 

$ So called from the Navesink tribe of Indians that inhabited these 
parts at present they are erroneously denominated the Neversink, or 
Neversunk mountains. 


dines, of that curious coloured cloth called thunder and 
lightning ; and bore as a standard three Devil's-darning- 
needles, volant, in a flame-coloured field. 

Hard by was the tent of the men of battle from the 
marshy borders of the WaeW>ogtig,* and the country 
thereabouts^ these were of a sour aspect, by reason that 
they lived on crabs, which abound in these parts : they 
were the first institutors of that honourable order of knight- 
hood, called Fly market shirks ; and if tradition speak true, 
did likewise introduce the far-famed step in dancing, called 
" double trouble." They were commanded by the fear- 
less Jacobus Varra Vanger, and had moreover, a jolly 
band of Breukelen -f- ferry-men, who performed a brave 
concerto on conch-shells. 

But I refrain from pursuing this minute description,, 
which goes on to describe the warriors of Bloemen-dael^ 
and Wee-hawk, and Hoboken, and sundry other places, 
well known in history and song for now does the sound 
of martial music alarm the people of New- Amsterdam, 
sounding afar from beyond the walls of the city. But this 
alarm was in a little time relieved, for lo, from the midst 
of a vast cloud of dust, they recognized the brimstone- 
coloured breeches, and splendid silver leg of Peter Stuy- 
vesant, glaring in the sun-beams; and beheld him ap- 
proaching at the head of a formidable army, which he 
had mustered along the banks of the Hudson. And here 
the excellent but anonymous writer of the Stuyvesant 
manuscript breaks out into a brave and glorious descrip- 
tion of the forces, as they defiled through the principal 
gate of the city, that stood by the head of Wall-street. 

First of all came the Van Bummels, who inhabit the 

* I. E. The Winding Bay, named from the winding of its shores. 
This has since been corrupted by the vulgar into the Wallabout, and is 
the basin which shelters our infant navy. 

f Now spelt Brooklyn. 

NEW-YORK. 269 

pleasant borders of the Bronx. These were short fat men, 
wearing exceeding large trunk breeches, and are renowned 
for feats of the trencher: they were the first inventors of 
suppawn or mush and milk. Close in their rear marched 
the Van Vlotens, of Kaats Kill, most horrible quarters of 
new cyder, and arrant braggarts in their liquor. After 
them came the Van Pelts of Groodt Esopus, dexterous 
horsemen, mounted upon goodly switch-tailed steeds of 
the Esopus breed : these were mighty hunters of minks 
and musk-rats, whence came the word Peltry. Then the 
Van Nests of Kinderhoeck, valiant robbers of birds' nests, 
as their name denotes : to these, if report may be believed, 
are we indebted for the invention of slap-jacks, or buck- 
wheat cakes. Then the Van Higginbottoms, of Wap- 
ping's Creek: these came armed with ferules and birchen 
rods, being a race of schoolmasters, who first discovered 
the marvellous sympathy between the seat of honour and 
the seat of intellect, and that the shortest way to get know- 
ledge into the head was to hammer it into the bottom. 
Then the Van Grolls, of Anthony's Nose, who carried 
their liquor in fair, round little pottles, by reason they 
could not bouse it out of their canteens, having such rare 
long noses. Then the Gardeniers, of Hudson and there- 
abouts, distinguished by many triumphant feats, such as 
robbing water-melon patches, smoking rabbits out of their 
holes, and the like, and by being great lovers of roasted 
pigs'-tails : these were the ancestors of the renowned con- 
gress-man of that name. Then the Van Hoesens, of 
Sing- Sing, great choristers and players upon the Jew's- 
harp : these marched two and two, singing the great song 
of St. Nicholas. Then the Couenhovens, of Sleepy Hol- 
low : these gave birth to a jolly race of publicans, who 
first discovered the magic artifice of conjuring a quart of 
wine into a pint bottle. Then the Van Kortlands, who 
lived on the wild banks of the Croton, and were great kil- 
lers of wild ducks, being much spoken of for their skill in 


shooting with the long bow. Then the Van Bunschotens, 
of Nyack and Kakiat, who were the first that did ever 
kick with the left foot : they were gallant bush-whackers, 
and hunters of racoons by moonlight. Then the Van 
Winkles, of Haerlem, potent suckers of eggs, and noted 
for running of horses, and running up of scores at taverns : 
they were the first that ever winked with both eyes at 
once. Lastly came the KNICKERBOCKERS, of the great 
town of Schahtikoke, where the folk lay stones upon the 
houses in windy weather, lest they should be blown away. 
These derive their name, as some say, from Knicker, to 
shake, and Beker, a goblet, indicating thereby that they 
were sturdy tosspots of yore ; but, in truth!, it was derived 
from Knicker^ to nod, and Boeken> books, plainly meaning 
that they were great nodders or dozers over books : from 
them did descend the writer of this history. 

Such was the legion of sturdy bush-beaters that poured 
in at the grand gate of New- Amsterdam. The Stuyvesant 
manuscript, indeed, speaks of many more, whose names I 
omit to mention, seeing that it behoves me to hasten to 
matters of greater moment. Nothing could surpass the 
joy and martial pride of the lion-hearted Peter, as he 
reviewed this mighty host of warriors; and he deter- 
mined no longer to defer the gratification of his much- 
wished-for revenge, upon the scoundrel Swedes at Fort 

But before I hasten to record those unmatchable events 
which will be found in the sequel of this faithful history, 
let me pause to notice the fate of Jacobus Von Poffenburgh, 
the discomfited commander-in-chief of the armies of the 
New Netherlands. Such is the inherent uncharitableness 
of human nature, that scarcely did the news become pub- 
lic of his deplorable discomfiture at Fort Casimir, than a 
thousand scurvy rumours were set afloat in New- Amster- 
dam ; wherein it was insinuated, that he had in reality a 
treacherous understanding with the Swedish commander; 

NEW. YORK. 271 

that he had long been in the practice of privately com- 
municating with the Swedes ; together with divers hints 
about "secret-service money," to all which deadly charges 
I do not give a jot more credit than I think they deserve. 

Certain it is, that the general vindicated his character 
by the most vehement oaths and protestations, and put 
every man out of the ranks of honour who dared to doubt 
his integrity. Moreover, on returning to New- Amster- 
dam, he paraded up and down the streets with a crew of 
hard swearers at his heels, sturdy bottle-companions, 
whom he gorged and fattened, and who were ready to 
bolster him through all the courts of justice, heroes of 
his own kidney, fierce-whiskered, broad-shouldered, col- 
brand-looking swaggerers, not one of whom but looked as 
though he could eat up an ox, and pick his teeth with the 
horns. These life-guard men quarrelled all his quarrels, 
were ready to fight all his battles, and scowled at every 
man that turned up his nose at the general, as though they 
would devour him alive. Their conversation was inter- 
spersed with oaths like minute-guns, and every bombastic 
rhodomontado was rounded off by a thundering execra- 
tion, like a patriotic toast honoured with a discharge of 

All these valorous vapourings had a considerable effect 
in convincing certain profound sages, many of whom be- 
gan to think the general a hero of unutterable loftiness 
and magnanimity of soul, particularly as he was continu- 
ally protesting on the honour of a soldier, a marvellously 
high-sounding asseveration. Nay, one of the members of 
the council went so far as to propose they should immor- 
talize him by an imperishable statue of plaster of Paris. 

But the vigilant Peter the Headstrong was not thus to 
be deceived. Sending privately for the commander-in- 
chief of all the armies, and having heard all his story, gar- 
nished with the customary pious oaths, protestations, and 
ejaculations " Harkee, comrade," cried he, " though by 


your own account you are the most brave, upright, and 
honourable man in the whole province, yet do you lie un- 
der the misfortune of being damnably traduced, and im- 
measurably despised. Now though it is certainly hard to 
punish a man for his misfortunes, and though it is very 
possible you are totally innocent of the crimes laid to your 
charge ; yet as heaven, at present, doubtless for some wise 
purpose, sees fit to withhold all proofs of your innocence, 
far be it from me to counteract its sovereign will. Be- 
side, I cannot consent to venture my armies with a com- 
mander whom they despise, or to trust the welfare of my 
people to a champion whom they distrust. Retire there- 
fore, my friend, from the irksome toils and cares of public 
life, with this comforting reflection that if you be guilty, 
you are but enjoying your just reward and if innocent, 
that you are not the first great and good man, who has 
most wrongfully been slandered and maltreated in this 
wicked world doubtless to be better treated in a better 
world, where there shall neither be error, calumny, nor 
persecution. In the mean time let me never see your face 
again, for I have a horrid antipathy to the countenances 
of unfortunate great men like yourself." 


In which the Author discourses very ingenuously of himself. 
After which is to be found much interesting history about Peter 
the Headstrong and his followers. 

As my readers and myself are about entering on as 
many perils, as ever a confederacy of meddlesome knights- 
errant wilfully ran their heads into ; it is meet that like 
those hardy adventurers, we should join hands, bury all 
differences, and swear to stand by one another, in weal or 


wo, to the end of the enterprize. My readers must doubt- 
less perceive, how completely I have altered my tone and 
deportment, since we first set out together. I warrant 
they then thought me a crabbed, cynical, impertinent little 
son of a Dutchman; for I scarcely ever gave them a civil 
word, nor so much as touched my beaver, when I had oc- 
casiou to address them. But as we jogged along together, 
in the high-road -of my history, I gradually began to relax, 
to grow more courteous, and occasionally to enter into 
familiar discourse; until at length J came to conceive '4 
most social, companionable kind of regard for them. This 
is just my way I am always a little cold and reserved at 
first, particularly to people, whom I neither knpw nor 
care for ; and am only to be completely won by long in-? 

Besides, why should I have been sociable to the crowd 
of how-d'ye-do acquaintances, that flocked around me at 
my first appearance ? Many were merely attracted by a 
new face; and ha,ving stared me full in the titiepage, 
walked off without saying a word ; while others lingered 
yawningly through the preface, and having gratified their 
shortlived curiosity, soon dropped off one by one. But 
more especially to try their mettle, J had recourse to an 
expedient, similar to one, which we are told was used, by 
that peerless flower of chivalry, king Arthur ; who, before 
he admitted any knight to his intimacy, first required that 
he should show himself superior to danger or hardships^ 
by encountering unheard of mishaps, slaying some dozen 
giants, vanquishing wicked enchanters, not to say a word 
of dwarfs, hippogriffs and fiery dragons. On a similar 
principle, I cunningly led my readers, at the first sally, 
into two or three knotty .chapters, where they were .most 
wofully belaboured and buffeted by a host pf pagan philo- 
sophers, and infidel writers. Though naturally a very 
grave njan, yet could I scarce refrain from smiling out- 
right at seeing the utter confusion and dismay of my va 

2 M 


liant cavaliers some dropped down dead (asleep) on the 
field ; others threw down my book in the middle of the 
first chapter, took to their heels, and never ceased scam- 
pering until they had fairly run it out of sight ; when they 
stopped to take breath, to tell their friends what troubles 
they had undergone, and to warn all others from venturing 
on so thankless an expedition. Every page thinned my 
ranks more and more ; and of the vast multitude that first 
set out, but a comparatively few made shift to survive, in 
exceedingly battered condition, through the five introduc- 
tory chapters. 

What then ! would you have had me take such sun- 
shine, faint-hearted recreants to my bosom, at our first 
acquaintance? No, no; I reserved my friendship for 
those who deserved it; for those who undauntedly bore 
me company, in despite of difficulties, dangers, and fa- 
tigues. And now, as to those who adhere to me at pre- 
sent, I take them affectionately by the hand. Worthy 
and thrice beloved readers ! brave and well-tried com- 
rades ! who have faithfully followed my footsteps through 
all my wanderings I salute you from my heart I pledge 
myself to stand by you to the last ; and to conduct you (so 
heaven speed this trusty weapon which I now hold between 
my fingers) triumphantly to the end of this our stupendous 

But, hark ! while we are thus talking, the city of New- 
Amsterdam is in a bustle. The gallant host of warriors 
encamped in the Bowling Green are striking their tents ; 
the brazen trumpet of Anthony Van Corlear makes the 
welkin to resound with portentous clangour the drums 
beat the standards of the Manhattoes, of Hell-gate, and 
of Michael Paw, wave proudly in the air. And now be- 
hold where the mariners are busily employed, hoisting the 
sails of yon top-sail schooner, and those two clump built 
Albany sloops, which are to waft the army of the Neder- 
landers to gather immortal honours 011 the Delaware ! 

NEW-YORK. 275 

The entire population of the city, man, woman, and 
child, turned out to behold the chivalry of New- Amster- 
dam, as it paraded the streets previous to embarcation. 
Many a handkerchief was waved out of the windows ; 
many a fair nose was blown in melodious sorrow, on the 
mournful occasion. The grief of the fair dames and beau- 
teous damsels of Grenada could not have been more voci- 
ferous on the banishment of the gallant tribe of Abencer- 
rages, than was that of the kind-hearted fair ones of New- 
Amsterdam, on the departure of their intrepid warriors. 
Every love-sidk maiden fondly crammed the pockets of 
her hero with gingerbread and dough-nuts many a cop- 
per ring was exchanged, and crooked sixpence broken, in 
pledge of eternal constancy and there remain extant to 
this day some love verses written on that occasion, suffi- 
ciently crabbed and incomprehensible to confound the 
whole universe. 

But it was a moving sight to see the buxom lasses, how 
they hung about the doughty Anthony Van Corlear; for 
he was a jolly, rosy faced, lusty bachelor, fond of his joke, 
and withal a desperate rogue among the women. Fain 
would they have kept him to comfort them while the army 
was away ; for besides what I have said of him, it is no 
more than justice to add, that he was a kind hearted soul, 
noted for his benevolent attentions in comforting discon- 
solate wives during the absence of their husbands; and 
this made him to be very much regarded by the honest 
burghers of the city. But nothing could keep the valiant 
Anthony from following the heels of the old governor, 
whom he loved as he did his very soul so embracing all 
the young vrouws, and giving every one of them that had 
good teeth and rosy lips, a dozen hearty smacks ; he de- 
parted loaded with their kind wishes. 

Nor was the departure of the gallant Peter among the 
least causes of public distress. Though the old governor 
was by no means indulgent to the follies and wayward- 


ness of* his subjects, yet somehow or other he had become 
strangely popular among the people. There is something 
so captivating in personal bravery, that, with the common 
mass of mankind, it takes the lead of most other merits. 
The simple folk of New- Amsterdam looked upon "Peter 
Stuyvesant as a prodigy of valour. His wooden leg, that 
trophy of his martial encounters, was regarded with rever- 
ence and admiration. Every old burgher had a budget of 
miraculous stories to tell about the exploits of Hard-koppig 
. Piet, wherewith he regaled his children, of a long winter 
hight ; and on which he dwelt with as much delight and 
Exaggeration, as do our honest country yeomen on the 
hardy adventures of old General Putnam (or as he is fa- 
miliarly termed, Old Put) during our glorious revolution. 
Not an individual but verily believed the old governor was 
a match for Beelzebub himself; and there was even a story 
told, with great mystery, and under the rose, of his having 
shot the devil with a silver bullet one dark stormy night, 
iis he was sailing in a canoe through Hell-gate. But this 
I do not record as an absolute fact perish the man who 
would let fall a drop to discolour the pure stream of his- 
tory ! 

Certain it is, not an old woman in New- Amsterdam but 
considered Peter Stuyvesant as a tower of strength, and 
rested satisfied, that the public welfare was secure sti long 
as he was in the city. It is not surprising then that they 
looked upon his departure as a sore affliction. With 
heavy hearts they draggled at the heels of his troop, as 
they marched down to the river side to embark. The 
governor from the stern of his schooner, gave a short, but 
truly patriarchal address to his citizens; wherein he re- 
commended them to comport like loyal and peaceful sub- 
jects to go to church regularly on Sundays, and to mind 
their business all the week besides. That the women 
should be dutiful and affectionate to their husbands 
looking after nobody's concerns but their own : eschewing 

NEW-YORK. 2177 

all gossippings, and morning gaddings; and carrying short 
tongues and long petticoats. That the men should abstain 
from intermeddling in public concerns, entrusting the cares 
of government to the officers appointed to support them 
^staying at home, like good citizens, making money for 
themselves, and getting children for the benefit of their 
country That the burgomasters should look well to the 
public interest not oppressing the poor, or indulging the 
rich not tasking their security to devise new laws, but 
faithfully enforcing those which were already made rather 
bending their attention to prevent evil than to punish it; 
ever recollecting that civil magistrates should consider 
themselves more as guardians of public morals, than rat- 
catchers employed to entrap public delinquents. Finally, 
he exhorted them, one and all, high and low, rich and 
poor, to conduct themselves as well as they could; assuring 
them that if they faithfully and conscientiously complied 
with this golden rule, there was no danger but that they 
would all conduct themselves well enough. This done, 
he gave them a paternal benediction j the sturdy Anthony 
sounded a most loving farewell with his trumpet, the jolly 
crews put up a lusty shout of triumph, and the invincible 
armada swept off proudly down the bay. 

The good people of New- Amsterdam crowded down 
to the Battery that blest resort, from whence so ma- 
ny a tender prayer has been wafted so many a fair 
hand waved so many a tearful look been cast by love- 
sick damsel, after the lessening bark, which bore her 
adventurous swain to distant climes ! Here the populace 
watched with straining eyes the gallant squadron, as it 
slowly floated down the bay; and when the intervening 
land at the Narrows shut it from their sight, gradually 
dispersed with silent tongues and downcast countenances. 

A heavy gloom hung over the late bustling city the 
honest burghers smoked their pipes in profound thought- 
fulness, casting many a wistful look to the weather-cock, 


on the church of St. Nicholas; and all the old women, 
having no longer the presence of Peter Stuyvesant to 
hearten them, gathered their children home, and barrica- 
doed the doors and windows every evening at sun-down. 

In the mean while the armada of the sturdy Peter pro- 
ceeded prosperously on its voyage, and after encountering 
about as many storms and water-spouts and whales, and 
other horrors and phenomena, as generally befall adventu- 
rous landsmen, in perilous voyages of the kind ; and after 
undergoing a severe scouring from that deplorable and 
unpitied malady called sea-sickness ; the whole squadron 
arrived safely in the Delaware. 

Without so much as dropping anchor and giving his 
wearied ships time to breathe after labouring so long in 
the ocean, the intrepid Peter pursued his course up the 
Delaware, and made a sudden appearance before Fort 
Casimir. Having summoned the astonished garrison by 
a terrific blast from the trumpet of the long-winded Van 
Corlear, he demanded, in a tone of thunder, an instant 
surrender of the fort. To this demand, Suen Scutz, the 
wind-dried commandant, replied in a shrill, whiffling voice, 
which, by reason of his extreme spareness, sounded like 
the wind whistling through a broken bellows " that he 
had no very strong reasons for refusing, except that the 
demand was particularly disagreeable, as he had been or- 
dered to maintain his post to the last extremity." He 
requested time therefore to consult with Governor Risingh, 
and proposed a truce for that purpose. 

The choleric Peter, indignant at having his rightful fort 
so treacherously taken from him, and thus pertinaciously 
withheld, refused the proffered armistice, and swore by 
the pipe of St. Nicholas, which like the sacred fire was 
never extinguished, that unless the fort were surrendered 
in ten minutes, he would incontinently storm the works, 
make all the garrison run the gauntlet, and split their 
scoundrel of a commander, like a pickled shad. To give 

NEW-YORK. 279 

this menace the greater effect, he drew forth his trusty 
sword, and shook it at them with such a fierce and vigo- 
rous motion, that doubtless, if it had not been exceeding- 
rusty, it would have lightened terror into the eyes and 
hearts of the enemy. He then ordered his men to bring 
a broadside to bear upon the fort, consisting of two swi- 
vels, three muskets, a long duck fowling-piece, and two 
brace of horse-pistols. 

In the mean time the sturdy Van Corlear marshalled 
all his forces, and commenced his warlike operations. 
Distending his cheeks like a very Boreas, he kept up a 
most horrific twanging of his trumpet the lusty choristers 
of Sing- Sing broke forth into a hideous song of battle 
the warriors of Breukelen and the Wael-bogtig blew a 
potent and astounding blast on their conch-shells : all 
together forming as outrageous a concerto, as though five 
thousand French orchestras were displaying their skill in 
a modern overture. 

Whether the formidable front of war, thus suddenly 
presented, smote the garrison with sore dismay, or whe- 
ther the concluding terms of the summons, which men- 
tioned that he should surrender " at discretion," were 
mistaken by Suen Scutz, who though a Swede, was a very 
considerate, easy-tempered man, as a compliment to his 
discretion, I will not take upon me to say ; certain it is, 
he found it impossible to resist so courteous a demand. 
Accordingly, in the very nick of time, just as the cabin-boy 
had gone after a coal of fire, to discharge the swivel, a 
chamade was beat on the rampart by the only drum in 
the garrison, to the no small satisfaction of both parties ; 
who, notwithstanding their great stomach for fighting, had 
full as good an inclination to eat a quiet dinner, as to ex- 
change black eyes and bloody noses. 

Thus did this impregnable fortress once more return to 
the domination of their high mightinesses ; Scutz and his 
garrison of twenty men were allowed to inarch out with 


the honours of war ; and the victorious Peter, who was as 
generous as brave, permitted them to keep possession of 
all their arms and ammunition, the same on inspection 
being found totally unfit for service, having long rusted in 
the magazine of the fortress, even before it was wrested by 
the Swedes from the magnanimous, but windy Von Poi- 
fenburgh. But I must not omit to mention, that the go- 
vernor was so well pleased with the services of his faithful 
squire, Van Corlear, in the reduction of this great fortress, 
that he made him on the spot lord of a goodly domain in 
the vicinity of New- Amsterdam, which goes by the name 
of Corlear's Hook unto this very day. * 

The unexampled liberality of the valiant Stuyvesant 
towards the Swedes, occasioned great surprise in the city 
of New- Amsterdam ; nay, certain of those factious indivi^ 
duals, who had been enlightened by the political meetings 
that prevailed during the days of William the Testy, but 
who had not dared to indulge their meddlesome habits 
under the eye of their present ruler, now emboldened by 
his absence, dared even to give vent to their censures in 
the streets murmurs were heard in the very council 
chamber of New- Amsterdam ; and there is no knowing 
whether they would not have broken out into downright 
speeches and invectives, had not Peter Stuyvesant pri- 
vately sent home his walking-staff, to be laid as a mace on 
the table of the council chamber, in the midst of his coun~ 
sellors ; who, like wise men, took the hint, and forever af- 
ter held their peace. 

* De Vriez makes mention, in one of bis voyages, of Corlear's Hocck, 
: and Ccrlear*s Plitntagie, or Bouy>ery f 

NEW-YORK. 281 


Showing the great advantage that the author has over his reader 
in time of battle together with divers portentous movements ; 
which betoken that something terrible is about to happen. 

LIKE as a mighty alderman, when at a corporation feast 
the first spoonful of turtle soup salutes his palate, feels his 
impatient appetite but tenfold quickened, and redoubles 
his vigorous attacks upon the tureen, while his voracious 
eyes, projecting from his head, roll greedily round, de- 
vouring every thing at table so did the mettlesome Peter 
Stuyvesant feel that intolerable hunger for martial glory, 
which raged within his very bowels, inflamed by the cap- 
ture of Fort Casimer, and nothing could allay it but the 
conquest of all New Sweden. No sooner therefore had he 
secured his conquest, than he stumped resolutely on, 
flushed with success, to gather fresh laurels at Fort Chris- 
tina. * 

This was the grand Swedish post, established on a small 
river (or as it is more improperly termed, creek) of the 
same name ; and here that crafty governor, Jan Risingh, 
lay grimly drawn up, like a gray-bearded spider in the 
citadel of his web. 

But before we hurry into the direful scenes that must 
attend the meeting of two such powerful chieftains, it is 
advisable that we pause for a moment, and hold a kind of 
warlike council. Battles should not be- rushed into precipi- 
tately by the historian and his readers, any more than by the 
general and his soldiers. The great commanders of anti- 
quity never engaged the enemy, without previously prepar- 

This is at present a flourishing town called Christiana, or Chris- 
teen, about thirty- seven miles from Philadelphia, on the post-road to 

2 N 


ing the minds of their followers by animating harangues ; 
spiriting them up to heroic feelings, assuring them of the 
protection of the gods, and inspiring them with a confi- 
dence in the prowess of their leaders. So the historian 
should awaken the attention and enlist the passions of his 
readers, and having set them all on fire with the importance 
of his subject, he should put himself at their head, flourish 
his pen, and lead them on to the thickest of the fight. 

An illustrious example of this rule may be seen in that 
mirror of historians, the immortal Thucydides. Having 
arrived at the breaking out of the Peloponnesian war, one 
of his commentators observes, that " he sounds the charge 
in all the disposition and spirit of Homer. He catalogues 
the allies on both sides. He awakens our expectations, 
and fast engages our attention. All mankind are concerned 
in the important point now going to be decided. Endea- 
vours are made to disclose futurity. Heaven itself is inte- 
rested in the dispute. The earth totters, and nature 
seems to labour with the great event. This is his solemn, 
sublime manner of setting out. Thus he magnifies a war 
between two, as Rapin calls them, petty states ; and thus 
artfully he supports a little subject by treating it in a great 
and noble method." * 

In like manner, having conducted my readers into the 
very teeth of peril having followed the adventurous Peter 
and his band into foreign regions surrounded by foes, 
and stunned by the horrid din of arms at this important 
moment, while darkness and doubt hang o'er each coming 
chapter, I hold it meet to harangue them, and prepare 
them for the events that are to follow. 

And here I would premise one great advantage which, 
as the historian, I possess over my reader; and this it is 
that though I cannot save the life of my favourite hero, 

* Smith's Thucyd. Vol. I. p. Ixx. 


nor absolutely contradict the event of a battle, (both which 
liberties, though often taken by the French writers of the 
present reign, I hold to be utterly unworthy of a scrupu- 
lous historian,) yet I can now and then make him bestow 
on his enemy a sturdy back-stroke, sufficient to fell a 
giant; though in honest truth, he may never have done 
any thing of the kind or I can drive his antagonist clear 
round and round the field, as did Homer make that fine 
fellow Hector scamper like a poltroon round the walls of 
Troy; for which, if ever they have encountered one 
another in the Elysian fields, I'll warrant the prince of 
poets has had to make the most humble apology. 

I am aware that many conscientious readers will be 
ready to cry out " foul play !" whenever I render a little 
assistance to my hero but I consider it one of those 
privileges exercised by historians of all ages and one 
which has never been disputed. In fact, an historian is, 
as it were, bound in honour to stand by his hero the 
fame of the latter is entrusted to his hands, and it is his 
duty to do the best by it he can. Never was there a 
general, an admiral, or any other commander, who, in 
giving an account of any battle that he had fought, did 
not sorely belabour the enemy; and I have no doubt 
that, had my heroes written the history of their own 
achievements, they would have dealt much harder blows 
than any that I shall recount. Standing forth, therefore, 
as the guardian of their fame, it behoves me to do them 
the same justice they would have done themselves; and 
if 1 happen to be a little hard upon the Swedes, I give 
free leave to any of their descendants, who may write a 
history of the State of Delaware, to take fair retaliation, 
and belabour Peter Stuyvesant as hard as they please. 

Therefore stand by for broken heads and bloody noses ! 
my pen has long itched for a battle siege after siege 
have I carried on, without blows or bloodshed ; but now 
I have at length got a chance, and I vow to heaven and 


St. Nicholas, that, let the chronicles of the times say what 
they please, neither Sallust, Livy, Tacitus, Polybius, nor 
any other battlemonger of them all, did ever record a 
fiercer fight, than that in which my valiant chieftains are 
now about to engage. 

And you, oh most excellent readers, whom, for your 
faithful adherence, I could cherish in the warmest corner 
of my heart be not uneasy trust the fate of our favourite 
Stuyvesant to me for by the rood, come what may, I'll 
stick by Hard-koppig Piet to the last; I'll make him 
drive about these losels vile, as did the renowned Laun- 
celot of the Lake, a herd of recreant Cornish knights; and 
if he does fall, let me never draw my pen to fight another 
battle, in behalf of a brave man, if I don't make these lub- 
berly Swedes pay for it ! 

No sooner had Peter Stuyvesant arrived before fort 
Christina than he proceeded without delay to entrench 
himself, and immediately on running his first parallel, 
despatched Anthony Van Corlear to summon the fortress 
to surrender. Van Corlear was received with all due for- 
mality, hoodwinked at the portal, and conducted through 
a pestiferous smell of salt-fish and onions, to the citadel, 
a substantial hut built of pine logs. His eyes were here 
uncovered, and he found himself in the august presence of 
Governor Risingh. This chieftain, as I have before noted, 
was a very giantly man: and was clad in a coarse blue 
coat, strapped round the waist with a leathern belt, which 
caused the enormous skirts and pockets to set off* with a 
very warlike sweep. His ponderous legs were cased in a 
pair of foxy-coloured jack-boots, and he was straddling in 
the attitude of the Colossus of Rhodes, before a bit of 
broken looking-glass, shaving himself with a villanously 
dull razor. This afflicting operation caused him to make 
a series of horrible grimaces, that heightened exceedingly 
the grisly terrors of his visage. On Anthony Van Cor- 
1 ear's being announced, the grim commander paused for a 

NEW-YORK. 285 

moment, in the midst of one of his most hard-favoured 
contortions, and after eyeing him askance over the shoul- 
der, with a kind of snarling grin on his countenance, re- 
sumed his labours at the glass. 

This iron harvest being reaped, he turned once more to 
the trumpeter, and demanded the purport of his errand. 
Anthony Van Corlear delivered in a few words, being a 
kind of short-hand speaker, a long message from his ex- 
cellency, recounting the whole history of the province, 
with a recapitulation of grievances, and enumeration of 
claims, and concluded with a peremptory demand of in- 
stant surrender ; which done, he turned aside, took his 
nose between his thumb and finger, and blew a tremen- 
dous blast, not unlike the flourish of a trumpet of defiance; 
which it had doubtless learned from a long and intimate 
neighbourhood with that melodious instrument. 

Governor Risingh heard him through, trumpet and all, 
but with infinite impatience ; leaning at times, as was his 
usual custom, on the pommel of his sword, and at times 
twirling a huge steel watch chain, or snapping his fingers. 
Van Corlear having finished, he bluntly replied, that Pe- 
ter Stuyvesant and his summons might go to the d 1, 

whither he hoped to send him and his crew of ragamuffins 
before supper time. Then unsheathing his brass hilted 
sword, and throwing away the scabbard " Fore gad," 
quod he, " but I will not sheathe thee again, until I make 
a scabbard of the smoke-dried, leathern hide of this runa- 
gate Dutchman." Then having flung a fierce defiance in 
the teeth of his adversary, by the lips of his messenger, 
the latter was reconducted to the portal, with all the cere- 
monious civility due to the trumpeter, squire, and ambas- 
sador of so great a commander ; and being again unblirid- 
ed, was courteously dismissed with a tweak of the nose, to 
assist him in recollecting his message. 

No sooner did the gallant Peter receive this insolent re- 
ply, than he let fly a tremendous volley of red-hot execra- 
tions, that would infallibly have battered down the fortifi- 


cations, and blown up the powder magazine, about the 
ears of the fiery Swede, had not the ramparts been re- 
markably strong, and the magazine bomb-proof. Per- 
ceiving that the works withstood this terrific blast, and 
that it was utterly impossible (as it really was in those un- 
philosophic days) to carry on a war with words, he ordered 
his merry men all, to prepare for an immediate assault. 
But here a strange murmur broke out among his troops, 
beginning with the tribe of the Van Bummels, those va- 
liant trencher-men of the Bronx, and spreading from man 
to man, accompanied with certain mutinous looks and dis- 
contented murmurs. For once in his life, and only for 
once, did the great Peter turn pale ; for he verily thought 
his warriors were going to faulter in this hour of perilous 
trial, and thus tarnish for ever the fame of the province of 
New Nederlands. 

But soon did he discover, to his great joy, that in this 
suspicion he deeply wronged this most undaunted army ; 
for the cause of this agitation and uneasiness simply was, 
that the hour of dinner was at hand, and it would have 
almost broken the hearts of these regular Dutch warriors 
to have broken in upon the invariable routine of their ha- 
bits. Beside, it was an established rule among our valiant 
ancestors, always to fight upon a full stomach ; and to this 
may be doubtless attributed the circumstance that they 
came to be so renowned in arms. 

And now are the hearty men of the Manhattoes, and 
their no less hearty comrades, all lustily engaged under 
the trees, buffeting stoutly with the contents of their wal- 
lets, and taking such affectionate embraces of their can- 
teens and pottles, as though they verily believed they were 
to be the last. And as I foresee we shall have hot work 
in a page or two, I advise my readers to do the same ; for 
which purpose I will bring this chapter to a close ; giving 
them my word of honour, that no advantage shall be taken 
of this armistice, to surprise, or in any way molest, the 
honest Nederlanders, while at their vigorous repast. 

NEW-YORK; 587 


Containing the most horrible battle ever recorded in poetry or 
prose; with the admirable exploits of Peter the Headstrong. 

" Now had the Dutchmen snatch'd a huge repast," and 
finding themselves wonderfully encouraged and animated 
thereby, prepared to take the field. Expectation, says the 
writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript Expectation now 
stood on stilts. The world forgot to turn round, or rather 
stood still, that it might witness the affray; like a fat, 
round bellied alderman, watching the combat of two chi- 
valric flies upon his jerkin. The eyes of all mankind, as 
usual in such cases, were turned upon Fort Christina. 
The sun, like a little man in a crowd, at a puppet-shew, 
scampered about the heavens, popping his head here and 
there, and endeavouring to get a peep between the unman- 
nerly clouds, that obtruded themselves in his way. The 
historians filled their inkhorns the poets went without 
their dinners, either that they might buy paper and goose- 
quills, or because they could not get any thing to eat 
antiquity scowled sulkily out of its grave^ to see itself out- 
done while even posterity stood mute, gazing in gaping 
ecstacy of retrospection, on the eventful field. 

The immortal deities, who, whilom, had seen service at 
the " affair " of Troy now mounted their feather-bed 
clouds, and sailed over the plain, or mingled among the 
combatants in different disguises, all itching to have a fin- 
ger in the pie. Jupiter sent off* his thunderbolt to a noted 
coppersmith, to have it furbished up for the direful occa- 
sion. Venus swore by her chastity she'd patronize the 
Swedes ; and in semblance of a blear-eyed trull, paraded 
the battlements of Fort Christina, accompanied by Diana, 
as a Serjeant's widow, of cracked reputation. The noted 


bully. Mars, stuck two horse-pistols into his belt, shoul- 
dering a rusty firelock, and gallantly swaggered at their 
elbow, as a drunken corporal while Apollo trudged in 
their rear, as a bandy-legged fifer, playing most villanously 
out of tune. 

On the other side, the ox-eyed Juno, who had gained a 
pair of black eyes overnight, in one of her curtain lectures 
with old Jupiter, displayed her haughty beauties on a bag- 
gage-waggon Minerva, as a brawny gin-suttler, tucked 
up her skirts, brandished her fists, and swore most hero- 
ically, in exceeding bad Dutch, (having but lately studied 
the language,) by way of keeping up the spirits of the sol- 
diers; while Vulcan halted as a club-footed blacksmith, 
lately promoted to be a captain of militia. All was silent 
horror, or bustling preparation; war reared his horrid 
front, gnashed loud his iron fangs, and shook his direful 
crest of bristling bayonets. 

And now the mighty chieftains marshalled out their 
hosts. Here stood stout Risingh, firm as a thousand 
rocks encrusted with stockades, and entrenched to the 
chin in mud batteries. His artillery consisting of two 
swivels and a carronade, loaded to the muzzle, the touch- 
holes primed, and a whiskered bombardier stationed at 
each, with lighted match in hand, waiting the word. His 
valiant infantry lined the breast-work in grim array, each 
having his mustachios fiercely greased, and his hair poma- 
tomed back, and queued so stiffly that he grinned above 
the ramparts like a grisly death's head. 

There came on the intrepid Hard-koppig Piet, a second 
Bayard, without fear or reproach his brows knit, his teeth 
clenched, his breath held hard, rushing on like ten thou- 
sand bellowing bulls of Bashan. His faithful squire, Van 
Corlear, trudged valiantly at his heels, with his trumpet 
gorgeously bedecked with red and yellow ribands, the re- 
membrances of his fair mistresses at the Manhattoes. Then 
came waddling on his sturdy comrades, swarming like the 

NEW-YORK. 289 

myrmidons of Achilles. There were the Van Wycks and 
the Van Dycks and the Ten Eycks the Van Nesses, the 
Van Tassels, the Van Grolls, the Van Hcesens, the Van 
Giesons, and the Van Blarcoms. The Van Warts, the 
Van Winkles, the Van Dams, the Van Pelts, the Van 
Rippers, and the Van Brunts. There were the Van 
Homes, the Van Hooks, the Van Bunschotens, the Van 
Gelders, the Van Arsdales, and the Van Bummels. The 
Vander Belts, the Vander Hoofs, the Vander Voorts, the 
Vander Lyns, the Vander Pools, and the Vander Spie- 
gels; there came the Hoffmans, the Hooghlands, the 
Hoppers, the Cloppers, the Ryckmans, the Dyckmans, 
the Hogebooms, the Rosebooms, the Oothouts, the Quack- 
enbosses, the Roerbacks, the Garrebrantzs, the Bensons, 
the Brouwers, the Waldrons, the Onderdonks, the Varra 
Vangers, the Schermerhorns, the Stoutenburghs, the 
Brinkerhoffs, the Bontecous, the Knickerbockers, the 
Hockstrassers, t:he Ten Breecheses, and the Tough Bree^ 
cheses, with a host more of valiant worthies, whose names 
are too crabbed to be written, or if they could be written, 
it would be impossible for man to utter all fortified with 
a mighty dinner, and to use the words of a great Dutch 

" Brimful of wrath and cabbage !" 

For an instant the mighty Peter paused in the midst of 
his career, and mounting on a stump, addressed his troops 
iu eloquent low Dutch, exhorting them to fight like duy- 
vds, and assuring them, that if they conquered they should 
get plenty of booty ; if they fell, they should be allowed 
the unparalleled satisfaction, while dying, of reflecting that 
it was in the service of their country ; and after they were 
dead, of seeing their names inscribed in the temple of re- 
nown, and handed down, in company with all the other 
great men of the year, for the admiration of posterity. 
Finally, he swore to them, on the word of a governor, 

2 O 


(and they knew him too well to doubt it for a moment,) 
that if he caught any mother's son of them looking pale, 
or playing craven, he'd curry his hide till he made him 
run out of it like a snake in spring-time. Then lugging 
out his trusty sabre, he brandished it three times over his 
head, ordered Van Corlear to sound a tremendous charge, 
and shouting the word " St. Nicholas and the Manhat- 
toes !" courageously dashed forwards. His warlike fol- 
lowers, who had employed the interval in lighting their 
pipes, instantly stuck them in their mouths, gave a furious 
puff, and charged gallantly under cover of the smoke. 

The Swedish garrison, ordered by the cunning Risingh 
not to fire until they could distinguish the whites of their 
assailants' eyes, stood in horrid silence on the covert-way, 
until the eager Dutchmen had ascended the glacis. Then 
did they pour into them such a tremendous volley, that 
the very hills quaked around, and were terrified even unto 
an incontinence of water, insomuch that certain springs 
burst forth from their sides, which continue to run unto 
the present day. Not a Dutchman but would have bitten 
the dust beneath that dreadful fire, had not the protecting 
Minerva kindly taken care that the Swedes should, one 
and all, observe their usual custom of shutting their eyes 
and turning away their heads, at the moment of dis- 

The Swedes followed up their fire, by leaping the coun- 
terscarp, and falling tooth and nail upon the foe, with fu- 
rious outcries. And now might be seen prodigies of va- 
lour, of which neither history nor song have ever recorded 
a parallel. Here was beheld the sturdy Stoffel Brinker- 
hoff brandishing his lusty quarter-staff, like the terrible 
giant Blanderon his oak-tree, (for he scorned to carry any 
other weapon,) and drumming a horrific tune upon the 
heads of whole squadrons of Swedes. There were the 
crafty Van Kortlandts, posted at a distance, like the Lo- 
crian archers of yore, and plying it most potently with the 

NEW-YORK. 291 

long-bow, for which they were so justly renowned. At 
another place were collected on a rising knoll the valiant 
men of Sing-Sing, who assisted marvellously in the fight* 
by chaunting forth the great song of St, Nicholas ; but as 
to the Gardeniers of Hudson, they were absent from the 
battle, having been sent out on a marauding party, to lay 
waste the neighbouring water-melon patches. In a diffe- 
rent part of the field might be seen the Van Grolls of An- 
thony's nose ; but they were horribly perplexed in a defile 
betwseen two little hills, by reason of the length of their 
noses. There were the Van Bunschotens of Nyack and 
Kakiat, so renowned for kicking with the left foot; but 
their skill availed them little at present, being short of 
wind, in consequence of the hearty dinner they had eaten : 
and they would irretrievably have been put to rout, had 
they not been reinforced by a gallant corps of Voltigeurs, 
composed of the Hoppers, who advanced to their assis- 
tance nimbly on one foot. Nor must I omit to mention 
the incomparable achievements of Anthony Van Corlear, 
who, for a good quarter of an hour, Waged stubborn fight 
with a little pursy Swedish drummer, whose hide he drum- 
med most magnificently ; and had he not come into the 
battle with no other weapon but his trumpet, would infal- 
libly have put him to an untimely end. 

But now the combat thickened: on came the mighty 
Jacobus Varra Vanger, and the fighting men of the Wall- 
about ; after them thundered the Van Pelts of Esopus, 
together with the Van Rippers and the Van Brunts, bear- 
' ing down all before them ; then the Suy Dams and the 
Van Dams, pressing forward with many a blustering oath, 
at the head of the warriors of Hell-gate, clad in their 
thunder and lightning gaberdines; and lastly, the stan- 
dard-bearers and body-guards of Peter Stuyvesant, bear- 
ing the great beaver of the Manhattoes. 

And now commenced the horrid din, the desperate 
struggle, the maddening ferocity, the frantic desperation, 


the confusion, and self-abandonment of war. Dutehmaft 
and Swede commingled, tugged, panted, and blowed. The 
heavens were darkened with a tempest of missives. Bang ! 
went the guns whack ! struck the broad swords thump ! 
went the cudgels crash ! went the musket-stocksblows 
kicks cuffs scratches black eyes and bloody noses 
swelling the horrors of the scene ! Thwick-thwack, cut and 
hack, helter-skelter, higgledy-piggledy, hurley-burley, 
head over heels, rough and tumble ! Dunder and blixum ! 

swore the Dutchmen splitter and splutter! cried the 

Swedes. Storm the works! shouted Hard-koppig Peter. 
Fire the mine! roared stout Risingh. Tantara-ra-ra ! 
twang' d the trumpet of Anthony Van Corlear until all 
voice and sound became unintelligible ; grunts of pain, 
yells of fury, and shouts of triumph commingled in one 
hideous clamour* The earth shook as if struck with a 
paralytic stroke trees shrunk aghast, and withered at the 
sight rocks burrowed in the ground like rabbits, and 
even Christina-creek turned from its course, and ran up a 
mountain in breathless terror. 

Long hung the contest doubtful ; for though a heavy 
shower of rain, sent by the " cloud-compelling Jove," in 
some measure cooled their ardour, as doth a bucket of 
water thrown on a group of fighting mastiffs, yet did they 
but pause for a moment, to return with tenfold fury to 
the charge, belabouring each other with black and bloody 
bruises. Just at this juncture was seen a vast and dense 
column of smoke, slowly rolling towards the scene of 
battle, which for a while made even the furious combatants 
to stay their arms in mute astonishment ; but the wind for 
a moment dispersing the murky cloud, from the midst 
thereof emerged the flaunting banner of the immortal 
Michael Paw. This noble chieftain came fearlessly on, 
leading a solid phalanx of oyster-fed Pavonians, who had 
remained behind, partly as a corps de reserve, and partly 
to digest the enormous dinner they had eaten. These 


sturdy yeomen, nothing daunted, did trudge manfully 
forward, smoking their pipes with outrageous vigour, so 
as to raise the awful cloud that has been mentioned ; but 
marching exceedingly slow, being short of leg, and of 
great rotundity in the belt. 

And now the protecting deities of the army of New* 
Amsterdam, having unthinkingly left the field, and stept 
into a neighbouring tavern to refresh themselves with a 
pot of beer, a direful catastrophe had well nigh chanced 
to befal the Nederlanders. Scarcely had the myrmidons 
of the puissant Paw attained the front of battle, before 
the Swedes, instructed by the cunning Risingh, levelled a 
shower of blows full at their tobacco-pipes. Astounded at 
this unexpected assault, and totally discomfited at seeing 
their pipes broken, the valiant Dutchmen fell into vast 
confusion. Already they begin to fly; like a frightened 
drove of unwieldy elephants, they throw their own army in 
an uproar, bearing down a whole legion of little Hoppers; 
the sacred banner, on which is emblazoned the gigantic 
oyster of Communipaw, is trampled in the dirt; the Swedes 
pluck up new spirits, and pressing on their rear, apply 
their feet, a parte poste, with a vigour that prodigiously 
accelerates their motions ; nor doth the renowned Paw 
himself fail to receive divers grievous and dishonourable 
visitations of shoe-leather ! 

But what, oh Muse ! was the rage of the gallant Peter, 
when from afar he saw his army yield ? With a voice of 
thunder did he roar after his recreant warriors, putting 
up such a war-whoop as did the stern Achilles, when the 
Trojan troops were on the point of burning all his galleys. 
The men of the Manhattoes plucked up new courage, when 
they heard their leader; or rather, they dreaded his fierce 
displeasure, of which they stood in more awe than of all 
the Swedes in Christendom; but the daring Peter, not 
waiting for their aid, plunged, sword in hand, into the 
thickest of the foe. Then did he display some such 


incredible achievements as have never been known since 
the miraculous days of the giants. Wherever he went, 
the enemy shrunk before 'him : with fierce impetuosity he 
pushed forward, driving the Swedes, like dogs, into their 
own ditch; but as he fearlessly advanced, the foe, like 
rushing waves which close upon the scudding bark, 
thronged upon his rear, and hung upon his flank with 
fearful peril. One crafty Swede, advancing warily on one 
side, drove his dastard sword full at the hero's heart; but 
the protecting power that watches over the safety of all 
great and good men, turned aside the hostile blade, and 
directed it to a side-pocket, where reposed an enormous 
iron tobacco-box, endowed, like the shield of Achilles, with 
supernatural powers, no doubt in consequence of its being 
piously decorated with a portrait of the blessed St. Nicholas. 
Thus was the dreadful blow repelled, but not without 
occasioning to the great Peter a fearful loss of wind. 

Like as a furious bear, when gored by worrying curs, 
turns fiercely round, gnashes his teeth, and springs upon 
the foe, so did our hero turn upon the treacherous Swede. 
The miserable varlet sought in flight for safety ; but the 
active Peter, seizing him by an immeasurable queue, that 
dangled from his head, Ah, whoreson caterpillar !" 
roared he, "here is what shall make dog's meat of thee !" 
So saying, he whirled his trusty sword, and made a blow 
that would have decapitated him, had he, like Briareus, 
half a hundred heads, but that the pitying steel struck 
short, and shaved the queue for ever from his crown. 
At that very moment, a cunning arquebusier, perched 
on the summit of a neighbouring mound, levelled his 
deadly instrument, and would have sent the gallant Stuy- 
vesant a wailing ghost to haunt the Stygian shore, had 
not the watchful Minerva, who had just stopped to tie up 
her garters, saw the great peril of her favourite chief, and 
despatched old Boreas with his bellows, who, in the very 
nick of time, just as the direful match descended to the 

NEW-YORK. 295 

pan, gave such a lucky blast as blew all the priming from 
the touch-hole ! 

Thus waged the horrid fight, when the stout Risingh, 
surveying the battle from the top of a little ravelin, 
perceived his faithful troops banged, beaten, and kicked 
by the invincible Peter. Language cannot describe the 
choler with which he was seized at the sight. He only 
stopped for a moment, to disburthen himself of five 
thousand anathemas ; and then drawing his immeasurable 
faulchion, straddled down to the field of combat, with 
some such thundering strides as Jupiter is said by Hesiod 
to have taken, when he strode down the spheres, to hurl 
his thunderbolts at the Titans. 

No sooner did these two rival heroes come face to face, 
than they each made a prodigious start, such as is made 
by your most experienced stage-champions. Then did 
they regard each other for a moment with bitter aspect, like 
two furious ram-cats on the very point of a clapper-clawing. 
Then did they throw themselves in one attitude, then in 
another, striking their swords on the ground, first on the 
right side, then on the left ; at last, at it they went, like 
five hundred houses on fire ! Words cannot tell the 
prodigies of strength and valour displayed on this direful 
encounter an encounter, compared to which the far-famed 
battles of Ajax with Hector, of Eneas withTurnus, Orlando 
with Rodomont, Guy of Warwick with Colbrand the 
Dane, or of that renowned Welsh knight, Sir Owen of the 
Mountains with the giant Guylon, were all gentle sports 
and holiday recreations. At length the valiant Peter, 
watching his opportunity, aimed a fearful blow, with the 
full intention of cleaving his adversary to the very chine ; 
but Risingh, nimbly raising his sword, warded it off so 
narrowly, that glancing on one side, it shaved away a 
huge canteen that he always carried swung on one side; 
thence pursuing its trenchant course, it severed off a deep 
coat-pocket, stored with bread and cheese; all which 


dainties, rolling among the armies, occasioned a fearful 
scrambling between the Swedes and Dutchmen, and made 
the general battle to wax ten times more furious than ever. 

Enraged to see his military stores thus wofully laid 
waste, the stout Risingh, collecting all his forces, aimed a 
mighty blow full at the hero's crest. In vain did his fierce 
little cocked-hat oppose its course; the biting steel clove 
through the stubborn ram beaver, and would infallibly 
have cracked his crown, but that the skull was of such 
adamantine hardness, that the brittle weapon shivered into 
pieces, shedding a thousand sparks, like beams of glory, 
round his grisly visage. 

Stunned with the blow, the valiant Peter reeled, turned 
up his eyes and beheld fifty thousand suns, besides moons 
and stars, dancing about the firmament : at length, missing 
his footing, by reason of his wooden leg, down he came, on 
his seat of honour, with a crash that shook the surrounding 
hills, and would infallibly have wracked his anatomical 
system, had he not been received into a cushion softer than 
velvet, which providence, or Minerva, or St. Nicholas, 
or some kindly cow, had benevolently prepared for his 

The furious Risingh, in despite of that noble maxim, 
cherished by all true knights, that " fair play is a jewel," 
hastened to take advantage of the hero's fall ; but just as 
he was stooping to give the fatal blow, the ever vigilant 
Peter bestowed him a sturdy thwack over the sconce, with 
his wooden leg, that set some dozen chimes of bells ringing 
triple bobmajors in his cerebellum. The bewildered 
Swede staggered with the blow, and in the mean time the 
wary Peter, espying a pocket pistol lying hard by, (which 
had dropped from the wallet of his faithful squire and 
trumpeter, Van Corlear, during his furious encounter 
with the drummer,) discharged it full at the head of the 
reeling Risingh. Let not my reader mistake it was not 
a murderous weapon loaded with powder and ball, but a 

NEW-YORK. 297 

little sturdy stone pottle, charged to the muzzle with a 
double dram of true Dutch courage, which the knowing 
Van Corlear always carried about him by way of replenish-* 
ing his valour. The hideous missive sung through the air, 
and true to its course, as was the mighty fragment of a 
rock, discharged at Hector by bully Ajax, encountered the 
huge head of the gigantic Swede with matchless violence, 

This heaven^ directed blow decided the eventful battle. 
The ponderous pericranium of General Jan Risingh sunk 
upon his breast; his knees tottered under him; a deathlike 
torpor seized upon his Titan frame, and he tumbled to 
the earth with such tremendous violence, th^t pld Pluto 
started with affright, lest he should have broken through 
the roof of his infernal palace. 

His fall was the signal of defeat and victory. The 
Swedes gave way the Dutch pressed forward the former 
took to their heels the latter hotly pursued, Some entered 
with them, pell mell, through the sallyport others stormed 
the bastion, and others scrambled over the curtain. Thus 
in a little while the impregnable fortress of Fort Christina, 
which, like another Troy, had stood a siege of full ten 
hours, was finally carried by assault, without the loss of SL 
single man on either side. Victory, in the likeness of a 
gigantic ox^fly, sat perched upon the cocked-hat of the 
gallant Stuyvesant; and it was universally declared, by 
all the writers whom he hired to write the history of 
his expedition, that on this memorable day he gained a 
sufficient quantity of glory to immortalize a dozen of the 
greatest herpes in Christendom ! 

2 P 



In which the author and the reader, while reposing after the 
battle, fall into a very grave discourse after which is recorded 
the conduct of Peter Stuyvesant after his victory. 

THANKS to St. Nicholas, we have safely finished this 
tremendous battle : let us sit down, my worthy reader, and 
cool ourselves, for I am in a prodigious sweat and agitation. 
Truly this fighting of battles is hot work ! and if your great 
commanders did but know what trouble they give their 
historians, they would not have the conscience to achieve 
so many horrible victories. But methinks I hear my read- 
er complain, that throughout this boasted battle, there is 
not the least slaughter, nor a single individual maimed, if 
we except the unhappy Swede, who was shorn of his queue 
by the trenchant blade of Peter Stuyvesant ; all which, he 
observes, is a great outrage on probability, and highly in- 
jurious to the interest of the narration. 

This is certainly an objection of no little moment; but 
it arises entirely from the obscurity that envelopes the re- 
mote periods of time, about which I have undertaken to 
write. Thus, though doubtless, from the importance of 
the object, and the prowess of the parties concerned, there 
must have been terrible carnage, and prodigies of valour 
displayed before the walls of Christina; yet, notwithstand- 
ing that I have consulted every history, manuscript, and 
tradition, touching this memorable, though long forgotten 
battle, 1 cannot find mention made of a single man killed 
or wounded in the whole affair. 

This is, without doubt, owing to the extreme modesty 
of our forefathers, who, like their descendants, were never 
prone to vaunt of their achievements; but it is a virtue that 
places their historian in a most embarrassing predicament; 
for, having promised my readers a hideous and unparalleled 

NEW- YORK. 299 

battle, and having worked them up into a warlike and blood- 
thirsty state of mind, to put them off without any havoc and 
slaughter, was as bitter a disappointment, as to summons 
a multitude of good people to attend an execution, and then 
cruelly baulk them by a reprieve. 

Had the inexorable fates only allowed me some half a 
score dead men I had been content; for I would have made 
them such heroes as abounded in the olden time, but whose 
race is now unfortunately extinct. Any one of whom, if 
we may believe those authentic writers, the poets, could 
drive great armies like sheep before him, and conquer 
and desolate whole cities by his single arm. 

But seeing that I had not a single life at my disposal, 
all that was left me was to make the most I could of my 
battle, by means of kicks and cuffs and bruises, and such 
like ignoble wounds. And here I cannot but compare my 
dilemma, in some sort, to that of the divine Milton, who, 
having arrayed with sublime preparation his immortal 
hosts against each other, is sadly put to it, how to manage 
them, and how he shall make the end of his battle answer 
to the beginning; inasmuch as, being mere spirits, he 
cannot deal a mortal blow, nor even give a flesh-wound to 
any of his combatants. For my part, the greatest diffi- 
culty I found, was, when I had once put my warriors in a 
passion, and let them loose into the midst of the enemy, 
to keep them from doing mischief. Many a time had I 
to restrain the sturdy Peter, from cleaving a gigantic 
Swede to the very waistband, or spitting half a dozen lit- 
tle fellows on his sword, like so many sparrows. And 
when 1 had set some hundreds of missives flying in the 
air, I did not dare to suffer one of them to reach the 
ground, lest it should have put an end to some unlucky 

The reader cannot conceive how mortifying it is to a 
writer, thus in a manner to have his hands tied, and how 
many tempting opportunities I had to wink at, where I 


might have made as fine a death-blow, as any recorded itt 
history or song. 

From my owil experience* I begin to doubt most po- 
tently of the authenticity of many of Homer's stories. I 
verily believe, that when he had once launched one of his 
favourite heroes among a crowd of the enemy, he cut 
down many an honest fellow, without any authority for so 
doing, excepting that he presented a fair mark and that 
often a poor devil was sent to grim Pluto's domains, mere- 
ly because he had a name that would give a sounding turn 
to a period. But I disclaim all such unprincipled liber- 
ties let me but have truth and the law on my side, and 
no man would fight harder than myself i but since the va- 
rious records I consulted did not warrant it, I had too 
much conscience to kill a single soldier. By St. Nicholas, 
but it would have been a pretty piece of business. My 
enemies, the critics, who I foresee will be ready enough 
to lay any crime they can discover at my door, might have 
charged me with murder outright; and I should have 
esteemed myself lucky to escape with no harsher verdict 
than manslaughter. 

And now, gentle reader, that we are tranquilly sitting 
down here, smoking our pipes, permit me to indulge in a 
melancholy reflection which at this moment passes across 
my mind. How vain, how fleeting, how uncertain, are 
all those gaudy bubbles after which we are panting and 
toiling in this world of fair delusions* The wealth which 
the miser has amassed with so many weary days, so many 
sleepless nights, a spendthrift heir may squander away in 
joyless prodigality. The noblest monuments which pride 
has ever reared to perpetuate a frame* the hand of time 
will shortly tumble into ruins ; and even the brightest lau- 
rels, gained by feats of arms, may wither and be for ever 
blighted by the chilling neglect of mankind. " How many 
illustrious heroes," says the good Boetius, " who were 
once the pride and glory of the age, hath the silence of 

NEW-YORK. 301 

historians buried in eternal oblivion!" And this it was 
that induced the Spartans when they went to battle, so- 
lemnly to sacrifice to the muses, supplicating that their 
achievements should be worthily recorded. Had not Ho- 
mer tuned his lofty lyre, observes the elegant Cicero* the 
valour of Achilles had remained unsung* And such too, 
after all the toils and perils he had braved, after all the 
gallant actions he had achieved, such too had nearly been 
the fate of the chivalric Peter Stuy vesant, but that I for- 
tunately stepped in and engraved his name on the indeli- 
ble tablet of history, just as the caitiff Time was silently 
brushing it away for ever ! 

The more I reflect, the more am I astonished at the 
important character of the historian. He is the sovereign 
censor $ to decide upon the renown Or infamy of his fellow- 
men. He is the patron of kings and conquerors, on whom 
it depends whether they shall live in after ages, or be for- 
gotten as were their ancestors before them. The tyrant 
may oppress while the object of his tyranny exists ; but 
the historian possesses superior might, for his power ex- 
tends even beyond the grave. The shades of departed 
and long forgotten heroes anxiously bend down from 
above, while he writes, watching each movement of his 
pen, whether it shall pass by their names with neglect, or 
inscribe them on the deathless pages of renown. Even 
the drop of ink that hangs trembling on his pen, which 
he may either dash upon the floor, or waste in idle scrawl- 
ings that very drop, which to him is not worth the twen- 
tieth part of a farthing, may be of incalculable value to 
some departed worthy may elevate half a score, in one 
moment, to immortality, who would have given worlds, 
had they possessed them, to insure the glorious meed. 

Let not my readers imagine, however, that I am in- 
dulging in vainglorious boastings, or am anxious to blazon 
forth the importance of my tribe. On the contrary, I 
shrink when I reflect on the awful responsibility we his- 


torians assume I shudder to think what direful commo- 
tions and calamities we occasion in the world I swear to 
thee, honest reader, as I am a man, I weep at the very 
idea! -Why, let me ask, are so many illustrious men 
daily tearing themselves away from the embraces of their 
families slighting the smiles of beauty despising the 
allurements of fortune, and exposing themselves to the 
miseries of war? Why are kings desolating empires, and 
depopulating whole countries ? In short, what induces 
all great men, of all ages and countries, to commit so 
many victories and misdeeds, and inflict so many miseries 
upon mankind and on themselves, but the mere hope that 
some historian will kindly take them into notice, and ad- 
mit them into a corner of his volume. For, in short, the 
mighty object of all their toils, their hardships, and pri- 
vations, is nothing but immortal fame and what is im- 
mortal fame ! why, half a page of dirty paper ! 

Alas ! alas ! how humiliating the idea that the renown 
of so great a man as Peter Stuyvesant should depend up- 
on the pen of so little a man as Diedrich Knickerbocker ! 
And now, having refreshed ourselves after the fatigues 
and perils of the field, it behoves us to return once more 
to the scene of conflict, and inquire what were the results 
of this renowned conquest. The fortress of Christina 
being the fair metropolis, and in a manner the key to New 
Sweden, its capture was speedily followed by the entire 
subjugation of the province. This was not a little pro- 
moted by the gallant and courteous deportment of the 
chivalric Peter. Though a man terrible in battle, yet in 
the hour of victory was he endued with a spirit generous, 
merciful, and humane. He vaunted not over his enemies, 
nor did he make defeat more galling by unmanly insults ; 
for like that mirror of knightly virtue, the renowned Pa- 
ladin Orlando, he was more anxious to do great actions, 
than to talk of them after they were done. He put no man 
to death ; ordered no houses to be burnt down ; permitted 

NEW-YORK. 303 

no ravages to be perpetrated on the property of the van- 
quished ; and even gave one of his bravest officers a severe 
admonition with his walking-staff, for having been detected 
in the act of sacking a hen-roost. 

He moreover issued a proclamation, inviting the inha- 
bitants to submit to the authority of their high mighti- 
nesses; but declaring 3 with unexampled clemency, that 
whoever refused should be lodged at the public expense, 
in a goodly castle provided for the purpose, and have an 
armed retinue to wait on them in the bargain. In conse- 
quence of these beneficent terms, about thirty Swedes 
stepped manfully forward and took the oath of allegiance; 
in reward for which they were graciously permitted to re- 
main on the banks of the Delaware, where their descend- 
ants reside at this very day. But I am told by divers 
observant travellers, that they have never been able to get 
over the chap-fallen looks of their ancestors, and do still 
unaccountably transmit from father to son, manifest marks 
of the sound drubbing given them by the sturdy Amster- 

The whole country of New Sweden having thus yielded 
to the arms of the triumphant Peter, was reduced to a 
colony called South River, and placed under the superin- 
tendence of a lieutenant governor; subject to the control 
of the supreme government at New- Amsterdam. This 
great dignitary was called Mynheer William Beekman, or 
rather .Becfc-man, who derived his surname, as did Ovidius 
Naso of yore, from the lordly dimensions of his nose, which 
projected from the centre of his countenance, like the beak 
of a parrot. He was the great progenitor of the tribe of 
the Beekmans, one of the most ancient and honourable 
families of the province, the members of which do grate- 
fully commemorate the origin of their dignity, not as your 
noble families in England would do, by having a glowing 
proboscis emblazoned in their escutcheon, but by one 


and all, wearing a right goodly nose, stuck in the very 

middle of their faces. 


Thus was this perilous en terprize gloriously terminated, 
with the loss of only two men : Wolfert Van Home, a 
tall spare man, who was knocked overboard by the boom 
of a sloop, in a flaw of wind ; and fat Brom Van Bummel, 
who was suddenly carried off by an indigestion: both, 
however, were immortalized, as having bravely fallen in 
the service of their country. True it is, Peter Stuyvesant 
had one of his limbs terribly fractured, being shattered to 
pieces in the act of storming the fortress; but as it was 
fortunately his wooden leg, the wound was promptly and 
effectually healed. 

And now nothing remains to this branch of my history, 
but to mention, that this immaculate hero, and his victori- 
ous army, returned joyously to the Manhattoes, marching 
under the shade of their laurels, as did the followers of 
young Malcolm, under the moving forest of Dunsinane, 
Thus did they make a solemn and triumphant entry into 
New- Amsterdam, bearing with them the conquered Ri^ 
singh, and the remnant of his battered crew, who had re- 
fused allegiance. For it appears that the gigantic Swede 
had only fallen into a swound, at the end of the battle, 
from whence he was speedily restored by a wholesome 
tweak of the nose. 

These captive heroes were lodged, according to the 
promise of the governor, at the public expense, in a fair 
and spacious castle ; being the prison of state, of which 
Stoffel Brinkerhoff, the immortal conqueror of Oyster 
Bay, was appointed governor ; and which has ever since 
remained in the possession of his descendants,* 

* This castle, though very much altered and modernized, is still in 
being, and stands at the corner of PearUstreet, facing Coentie's slip. 


It was a pleasant and goodly sight to witness the joy of 
the people of New- Amsterdam, at beholding their warri- 
ors once more returned from this war in the wilderness. 
The old women thronged round Anthony Van Corlear, 
who gave the whole history of the campaign with match- 
less accuracy ; saving that he took the credit of fighting 
the whole battle himself, and especially of vanquishing the 
stout Risingh, which he considered himself as clearly 
entitled to, seeing that it was effected by his own stone 

The schoolmasters throughout the town gave holiday 
to their little urchins, who followed in droves after the 
drums, with paper caps on their heads, and sticks in their 
breeches, thus taking the first lesson in the art of war. 
As to the sturdy rabble, they thronged at the heels of Pe- 
ter Stuyvesant wherever he went, waving their greasy 
hats in the air, and shouting " Hard-koppig Piet for 
ever !" 

It was, indeed, a day of roaring rout and jubilee. A 
huge dinner was prepared at the Stadthouse in honour of 
the conquerors, where were assembled in one glorious con- 
stellation, the great and the little luminaries of New- Am- 
sterdam. There were the lordly schout and his obsequi- 
ous deputy the burgomasters with their officious schepens 
at their elbows the subaltern officers at the elbows of the 
schepens ; and so on, to the lowest grade of illustrious 
hangers-on of police ; every tag having his rag at his side, 
to finish his pipe, drink off his heel-taps, and laugh at his 
flights of immortal dulness. In short, for a city feast is a 
city feast all the world over, and has been a city feast ever 
since the creation ; the dinner went off much the same as 
do our great corporation jimkettings, and fourth of July 
banquets. Loads offish, flesh, and fowl, were devoured, 
oceans of liquor drank, thousands of pipes smoked, and 
many a dull joke honoured with much obstreperous fat- 
sided laughter. 

2 Q 


I must not omit to mention, that to this far-famed vic- 
tory Peter Stuyvesant was indebted for another of his 
many titles; for so hugely delighted were the honest burgh- 
ers with his achievements, that they unanimously ho- 
noured him with the name of Pieter de Groodt, that is to 
say, Peter the Great, or as it was translated by the people 
of New- Amsterdam, Pitt de Pig an appellation which 
he maintained even unto the day of his death. 




How Peter Stuyvesani relieved the sovereign people from the bur- 
then of taking care of the nation with sundry particulars of 
his conduct in time of peace. 

JT HE history of the reign of Peter Stuyvesant furnishes a 
melancholy picture of the incessant cares and vexations in- 
separable from government ; and may serve as a solemn 
warning, to all who are ambitious of attaining the seat of 
power. Though crowned with victory, enriched by con- 
quest, and returning in triumph to his metropolis, his ex- 
ultation was checked by beholding the sad abuses that had 
taken place during the short interval of his absence. 

The populace, unfortunately for their own comfort, had 
taken a deep draught of the intoxicating cup of power, 
during the reign of William the Testy; and though, upon 
the accession of Peter Stuyvesant, they felt, with a certain 
instinctive perception, which mobs as well as cattle pos- 
sess, that the reigns of government had passed into strong- 
er hands ; yet could they not help fretting, and chafing, 
and champing upon the bit, in restive silence. 

It seems by some strange and inscrutable fatality, to be 
the destiny of most countries, (and more especially of your 


enlightened republics), always to be governed by the most 
incompetent man in the nation ; so that you will scarcely 
find an individual throughout the whole community, but 
who will detect to you innumerable errors in administra- 
tion, and convince you in the end, that had he been at the 
head of affairs, matters would have gone on a thousand 
times more prosperously. Strange ! that government, 
which seems to be so generally understood, should inva- 
riably be so erroneously administered strange, that the 
talent of legislation, so prodigally bestowed, should be de- 
nied to the only man in the nation to whose station it is 
requisite ! 

Thus it was in the present instance, not a man of all the 
herd of pseudo-politicians in New- Amsterdam, but was an 
oracle on topics of state, and could have directed public 
affairs incomparably better than Peter Stuyvesant. But 
so severe was the old governor in his disposition, that he 
would never suffer one of the multitude of able counsel- 
lors by whom he was surrounded, to intrude his advice, 
and save the country from destruction. 

Scarcely, therefore, had he departed on his expedition 
against the Swedes, than the old factions of William Kieft's 
reign began to thrust their heads above water, and to ga- 
ther together in political meetings, to discuss " the state 
of the nation." At these assemblages the busy burgomas- 
ters and their officious schepens made a very considerable 
figure. These worthy dignitaries were no longer the fat, 
well fed, tranquil magistrates, that presided in the peace- 
ful days of Wouter Van Twiller. On the contrary, be- 
ing elected by the people, they formed in a manner a stur- 
dy bulwark, between the mob and the administration. 
They were great candidates for popularity, and strenuous 
advocates for the rights of the rabble ; resembling in dis- 
interested zeal the wide-mouthed tribunes of ancient Rome, 
or those virtuous patriots of modern days, emphatically 
denominated " the friends of the people." 

NEW-YORK. 309 

Under the tuition of these profound politicians, it is as- 
tonishing how suddenly enlightened the swinish multitude 
became, in matters above their comprehensions. Cob- 
blers, tinkers, and tailors all at once felt themselves in- 
spired, like those religious idiots, in the glorious times of 
monkish illumination ; and without any previous study or 
experience, became instantly capable of directing all the 
movements of government. Nor must I neglect to men- 
tion a number of superannuated, wrong-headed old burgh- 
ers, who had come over when boys, in the crew of the Goede 
Vrouw, and were held up as infallible oracles by the en- 
lightened mob. To suppose that a man who had helped 
to discover a country did not know how it ought to be go- 
verned, was preposterous in the extreme. It would have 
been deemed as much a heresy, as at the present day to 
question the political talents, and universal infallibility, of 
our old " heroes of '76" and to doubt that he who had 
fought for a government, however stupid he might natu- 
rally be, was not competent to fill any station under it. 

But as Peter Stuyvesant had a singular inclination to 
govern his province without the assistance of his subjects, 
he felt highly incensed on his return to find the factious 
appearance they had assumed during his absence. His 
first measure, therefore, was to restore perfect order, by 
prostrating the dignity of the sovereign people. 

He accordingly watched his opportunity, and one even- 
ing, when the enlightened mob was gathered together, lis- 
tening to a patriotic speech from an inspired cobbler, the 
intrepid Peter, like his great namesake of all the Russias, 
all at once appeared among them, with a countenance suf- 
ficient to petrify a millstone. The whole meeting was 
thrown into consternation the orator seemed to have re- 
ceived a paralytic stroke in the very middle of a sublime 
sentence, and stood aghast with open mouth and trembling 
knees, whilst the words horror ! tyranny ! liberty ! rights ! 
taxes ! death ! destruction ! and a deluge of other patriotic 


phrases came roaring from his throat, before he had 
power to close his lips. The shrewd Peter took no notice 
of the skulking throng around him, but advancing to the 
brawling bully-ruffian, and drawing out a huge silver watch, 
which might have served in times of yore as a town-clock, 
and which is still retained by his descendants as a family 
curiosity, requested the orator to mend it, and set it going. 
The orator humbly confessed it was utterly out of his power, 
as he was unacquainted with the nature of its construction. 
" Nay, but," said Peter, " try your ingenuity, man : you 
see all the springs and wheels, and how easily the clumsi- 
est hand may stop it, and pull it to pieces ; and why should 
it not be equally easy to regulate as to stop it?" The 
orator declared that his trade was wholly different, he was 
a poor cobbler, and had never meddled with a watch in 
his life. That there were men skilled in the art, whose 
business it was to attend to those matters ; but for his part, 
he should only mar the workmanship, and put the whole 
in confusion " Why, harkee, master of mine," cried Pe- 
ter, turning suddenly upon him, with a countenance that 
almost petrified the patcher of shoes into a perfect lapstone 
dost thou pretend to meddle with the movements of 
government to regulate and correct and patch and cob- 
ble a complicated machine, the principles of which are 
above thy comprehension, and its simplest operations too 
subtle for thy understanding, when thou canst not correct 
a trifling error in a common piece of mechanism, the whole 
mystery of which is open to thy inspection ? Hence with 
thee to the leather and stone, which are emblems of thy 
head ; cobble thy shoes, and confine thyself to the vocation 
for which heaven has fitted thee But," elevating his voice 
until it made the welkin ring, " if ever I catch thee, or any 
of thy tribe, meddling again with the affairs of government 
by St. Nicholas, but I'll have every mother's bastard of ye 
flea'd alive, and your hides stretched for drum-heads, that 
ye may thenceforth make a noise to some purpose !" 

NEW-YORK. 311 

This threat, and the trer endous voice in which it was 
uttered, caused the whole multitude to quake with fear. 
The hair of the orator rose on his head like his own 
swine's bristles, and not a knight of the thimble present 
but his heart died within him, and he felt as though he 
could have verily escaped through the eye of a needle. 

But though this measure produced the desired effect in 
reducing the community to order, yet it tended to injure 
the popularity of the great Peter among the enlightened 
vulgar. Many accused him of entertaining highly aristo- 
cratic sentiments, and of leaning too much in favour of 
the patricians. Indeed there appeared to be some grounds 
for such an accusation, as he always carried himself with 
a very lofty, soldier-like port, and was somewhat particu- 
lar in his dress ; dressing himself, when not in uniform, in 
simple but rich apparel ; and was especially noted for hav- 
ing his sound leg (which was a very comely one) always 
arrayed in a red stocking, and high-heeled shoe. Though 
a man of great simplicity of manners, yet there was some- 
thing about him that repelled rude familiarity, while it 
encouraged frank, and even social intercourse. 

He likewise observed some appearance of court cere- 
mony and etiquette. He received the common class of 
visitors on the stoop * before his door, according to the 
custom of our Dutch ancestors. But when visitors were 
formally received in his parlour, it was expected they 
would appear in clean linen; by no means to be bare 
footed, and always to take their hats off. On public oc- 
casions he appeared with great pomp of equipage, (for in 
truth, his station required a little show and dignity,) and 
always rode to church in a yellow waggon, with flaming 
red wheels. 

These symptoms of state and ceremony occasioned con- 

Properly spelled start: the porch commonly built in front of 
Dutch houses, with benches on each side. 


siderable discontent among the vulgar. They had been 
accustomed to find easy access to their former governors, 
and in particular had lived on terms of extreme familiar- 
ity with William the Testy. They therefore were very 
impatient of these dignified precautions, which discourag- 
ed intrusion. But Peter Stuyvesant had his own way of 
thinking in these matters, and was a staunch upholder of 
the dignity of office. 

He always maintained that government to be the least 
popular, which is most open to popular access and con- 
trol ; and that the very brawlers against court ceremony, 
and the reserve of men in power, would soon despise 
rulers among whom they found even themselves to be of 
consequence. Such, at least, had been the case with the 
administration of William the Testy; who, bent on mak- 
ing himself popular, had listened to every man's advice, 
suffered every body to have admittance to his person at 
all hours; and, in a word, treated every one as his tho- 
rough equal. By this means every scrub politician, and 
public busybody, was enabled to measure wits with him, 
and to find out the true dimensions, not only of his per- 
son, but his mind. And what great man can stand such 
scrutiny ? 

It is the mystery that envelopes great men, that gives 
them half their greatness. We are always inclined to 
think highly of those who hold themselves aloof from our 
examination. There is likewise a kind of superstitious 
reverence for office, which leads us to exaggerate the me- 
rits and abilities of men in power, and to suppose that 
they must be constituted different from other men. And, 
indeed, faith is as necessary in politics as in religion. It 
certainly is of the first importance, that a country should 
be governed by wise men ; but then it is almost equally 
important, that the people should believe them to be wise; 
for this belief alone can produce willing subordination. 

To keep up, therefore, this desirable confidence in 

NEW- YORK. 313 

rulers, the people should be allowed to see as little of 
them as possible. He who gains access to cabinets soon 
finds out by what foolishness the world is governed. He 
discovers that there is quackery in legislation, as well as 
in every thing else ; that many a measure, which is sup- 
posed by the million to be the result of great wisdom and 
deep deliberation, is the effect of mere chance, or perhaps 
of hair-brained experiment. That rulers have their whims 
and errors as well as other men, and after all are not SQ 
wonderfully superior to their fellow-creatures as he at first 
imagined ; since he finds that even his own opinions have 
had some weight with them. Thus awe subsides into con- 
fidence, confidence inspires familiarity, and familiarity pro- 
duces contempt. Peter Stuyvesant, on the contrary, by 
conducting himself with dignity and loftiness, was Ipoked 
up to with great reverence. As he never gave his r/easpns 
for any thing he did, the public always gave him credit 
for very profound ones. Every movement, however in- 
trinsically unimportant, was a matter of speculation ; and 
his very red stocking excited some respect, as being t dif- 
ferent from the stockings of other men. 

To these times may we refer the rise of family pride and 
aristocratic distinctions ; * and indeed 1 cannot but look 
back with reverence to the early planting of jtljose mighty 
Dutch families, which have taken such vigorous root, and 
branched out so luxuriantly in our state. The blood 
which has flowed down uncontaminated through a succes- 
sion of steady, virtuous generations, since the times of tfye 
patriarchs of Communipaw, must certainly be pure and 
worthy. And if so, then are the Van Rensellaers, the 

* In a work published many years after the time here treate4 
(in 1701 by C. W. A. M.) it is mentioned that Frederick Philipse was 
counted the richest Mynheer in New- York, and was said to have whole 
hogsheads of Indian money or wampum; and had a son and daughter, 
according to the Dutch custom, should divide it equally. 

2 R 


Van Zandts, the Van Homes, the Rutgers, the Bensons, 
the Brinkerhoffs, the Schermerhorns, and all the true de- 
scendants of the ancient Pavonians, the only legitimate 
nobility and real lords of the soil. 

I have been led to mention thus particularly, the well 
authenticated claims of our genuine Dutch families, be- 
cause I have noticed with great sorrow and vexation, that 
they have been somewhat elbowed aside in latter days, by 
foreign intruders. , It is really astonishing to behold how 
many great families have sprung up of late years, who 
pride themselves excessively on the score of ancestry. 
Thus he who can look up to his father without humilia- 
tion assumes not a little importance he who can safely 
talk of his grandfather, is still more vainglorious but he 
who can look back to his great grandfather, without blush- 
ing, is absolutely intolerable in his pretensions to family. 
Bless us ! what a piece of work is here, between these 
mushrooms of an hour, and these mushrooms of a day ! 

But from what I have recounted in the former part of 
this chapter, I would not have my reader imagine that 
the great Peter was a tyrannical governor, ruling his sub- 
jects with a rod of iron on the contrary, where the dig- 
nity of authority was not implicated, he abounded with 
generosity and courteous condescension. In fact he really 
believed, though I fear my more enlightened republican 
readers will consider it a proof of his ignorance and illi- 
berality, that in preventing the cup of social life from be- 
ing dashed with the intoxicating ingredient of politics, he 
promoted the tranquillity and happiness of the people- 
and by detaching their minds from subjects which they 
could not understand, and which only tended to inflame 
their passions, he enabled them to attend more faithfully 
and industriously to their proper callings ; becoming more 
useful citizens and more attentive to their families and for- 

So far from having any unreasonable austerity, he de- 

NEW-YORK. 315 

lighted to see the poor and the labouring man rejoice, and 
for this purpose was a great promoter of holidays and 
public amusements. Under his reign was first introduced 
the custom of cracking eggs at Paas or Easter. New 
year's day was also observed with extravagant festivity 
and ushered in by the ringing of bells and firing of guns. 
Every house was a temple to the jolly god. Oceans of 
cherry brandy, true Hollands, and mulled cyder, were set 
afloat on the occasion ; and not a poor man in town, but 
made it a point to get drunk, out of a principle of pure 
economy taking in liquor enough to serve him for half a 
year afterwards. 

It would have done one's heart good also. to have seen 
the valiant Peter, seated among the old burghers and their 
wives of a Saturday afternoon, under the great trees that 
spread their shade over the Battery, watching the young 
men and women as they danced on the green. Here he 
would smoke his pipe, crack his joke, and forget the rug- 
ged toils of war, in the sweet oblivious festivities of peace. 
He would occasionally give a nod of approbation to those 
of the young men who shuffled and kicked most vigorous- 
ly, and now and then give a hearty smack, in all honesty 
of soul, to the buxom lass that held out longest, and tired 
down all her competitors, which he considered as infallible 
proofs of her being the best dancer. Once it is true the 
harmony of the meeting \yas rather interrupted. A young 
vrouw, of great figure in the gay world, and who, having 
lately come from Holland, of course led the fashions in 
the city, made her appearance in not more than half a 
dozen petticoats, and these too of most alarming short- 
ness. An universal whisper ran through the assembly, 
the old ladies all felt shocked in the extreme, the young 
ladies blushed, and felt excessively for the " poor thing," 
and even the governor himself was observed to be a little 
troubled in mind. To complete the astonishment of the 
good folks, she undertook in the course of a jig, to de- 


scribe sbriie astonishing figures in algebra, which she had 
learned from a dancing master in Rotterdam. Whether 
she was too animated in flourishing her feet, or whether 
softie vagabond Zephyr took the liberty of obtruding his 
services, certain it is, that in the course of a grand evolu- 
tion, which would not have disgraced a modern ball-room, 
she made a most unexpected display whereat the whole 
assembly was thrown into great admiration, several grave 
country members were not a little moved, and the good 
Peter himself, who wzis a man of unparalleled modesty* 
felt himself grievously scandalized; 

The shortness of the female dresses, which had conti- 
nued in fashion ever since the days of William Kieft, had 
long offended his eye ; and though extremely averse to 
riieddlirig with the petticoats of the ladies, yet he immedi- 
ately recoiutnended, that every one should be furnished 
Ivith a flounce to the bottbrh. He likewise ordered that 
the ladies, and indeed the gentlemen* should use no other 
step in dancing, than shuffle and turn* and double trouble ; 
and forbade, under pain of his high displeasure, any young 
lady thenceforth to attempt what was termed, " exhibit- 
ing the graces." 

These were the tinly restrictions he ever imposed upon 
the sefc, arid these were cohsidered by them as tyrannical 
oppressions, arid resisted with that becoming spirit always 
manifested by the gentle sex, whenever their privileges are 

invaded In fact, Peter Stuyvesant plainly perceived, that 

if he attempted to push the matter any further, there was 
danger of their leaving-off petticoats altogether; so like a 
wise man, experienced in the ways of women, he held his 
peace, and suffered them ever after to wear their petticoats 
and cut their capers, as high as they pleased. 

NEW-YORK; 317 


How Peter Stuyvesant was much molested by the Moss-troopers 
of the East, and the Giants of Merryland ; and how a dark 
and horrid conspiracy was carried on in the British Cabinet 
against the prosperity of the Manhattoes. 

WE are now approaching towards the crisis of our 
\tork, and if I be not mistaken in my forebodings* we 
shall have a world of business to despatch in the ensuing 

It is with some communities as it is with certain med- 
dlesome individuals, they have a wonderful facility at get- 
ting into scrapes; and I have always remarked, that those 
are most liable to get in who have the least talent at get- 
ting out again. This is, doubtless, owing to the excessive 
valour of those states ; for I have likewise noticed, that 
this rampant and ungovernable quality is always most un- 
ruly where most confined, which accounts for its vapour- 
ing so amazingly in little states, little men, and ugly little 
women more especially. 

Thus, when one reflects that the province of the Man- 
hattoes, though of prodigious importance in the eyes of its 
inhabitants and its historianj was really of no very great 
consequence in the eyes of the rest of the world ; that it 
had but little wealth or other spoils to reward the trouble 
of assailing it, and that it had nothing to expect from run- 
ning wantonly into war, save an exceeding good beating; 
on pondering these things, I say, one would utterly de- 
spair of finding in its history either battle or bloodshed, 
or any other of those calamities which give importance to 
a nation, and entertainment to the reader. But> on the 
contrary, we find, so valiant is this province, that it has 
already drawn upon itself a host of enemies; has had as 


many bufferings as would gratify the ambition of the most 
warlike nation ; and is, in sober sadness, a very forlorn, 
distressed, and wo-begone little province ! all which was, 
no doubt, kindly ordered by providence, to give interest 
and sublimity to this pathetic history. 

But I forbear to enter into a detail of the pitiful maraud- 
ings and harassments that for a long while after the vic- 
tory on the Delaware, continued to insult the dignity, and 
disturb the repose of the Nederlanders. Suffice it in 
brevity to say, that the implacable hostility of the people 
of the east, which had so miraculously been prevented 
from breaking out, as my readers must remember, by the 
sudden prevalence of witchcraft, and the dissensions in the 
council of Amphyctions, now again displayed itself in a 
thousand grievous and bitter scourings upon the borders. 

Scarcely a month passed but what the Dutch settle- 
ments on the frontiers were alarmed by the sudden appear- 
ance of an invading army from Connecticut. This would 
advance resolutely through the country, like a puissant 
caravan of the deserts, the women and children mounted 
in carts loaded with pots and kettles, as though they meant 
to boil the honest Dutchmen alive, and devour them like 
so many lobsters. At the tail of these carts would stalk a 
crew of long-limbed, lank-sided varlets, with axes on their 
shoulders, and packs on their backs, resolutely bent upon 
improving the country in despite of its proprietors. These 
settling themselves down, would in a short time completely 
dislodge the unfortunate Nederlanders, elbowing them out 
of those rich bottoms and fertile valleys, in which our 
Dutch yeomanry are so famous for nestling themselves ; 
for it is notorious, that wherever these shrewd men of the 
east get a footing, the honest Dutchmen do gradually dis- 
appear, retiring slowly, like the Indians before the Whites, 
being totally discomfited by the talking, chaffering, swap- 
ping, bargaining disposition of their new neighbours. 

All these audacious infringements on the territories of 

NEW- YORK. 319 

their high mightinesses were accompanied, as has before 
been hinted, by a world of rascally brawls, rib-roastings, 
and bundlings, which would doubtless have incensed the 
valiant Peter to wreak immediate chastisement, had he not 
at the very same time been perplexed by distressing ac- 
counts from Mynheer Beckman, who commanded the 
territories at South river. 

The restless Swedes, who had so graciously been suf- 
fered to remain about the Delaware, already began to 
show signs of mutiny and disaffection. But what was 
worse, a peremptory claim was laid to the whole territory, 
as the rightful property of Lord Baltimore, by Fendal, a 
chieftain who lived over the colony of Maryland, or Mer- 
ry-land, as it was anciently called, because the inhabit- 
ants, not having the fear of the Lord before their eyes, 
were notoriously prone to get fuddled and make merry 
with mint-julep and apple-toddy. Nay, so hostile was 
this bully Fendal, that he threatened, unless his claim were 
instantly complied with, to march incontinently at the head 
of a potent force of the roaring boys of Merry-land, toge- 
ther with a great and mighty train of giants, who infested 
the banks of the Susquehannah ; * and to lay waste and 
depopulate the whole country of South river. 

By this it is manifest, that this boasted colony, like all 
great acquisitions of territory, soon became a greater evil 

* We find very curious and wonderful accounts of these strange 
people (who were doubtless the ancestors of the present Mary- 
landers) made by Master Hariot, in his interesting history. " The 
Susquesahanocks," observes he, " are a giantly people, strange in 
proportion, behaviour, and attire; their voice sounding from them 
as if out a cave. Their tobacco-pipes were three quarters of a yard 
long, carved at the great end with a bird, beare, or other device, suf- 
ficient to beat out the braines of a horse, (and how many asses' braines 
are beaten out, or rather men's braines smoked out, and asses' brains 
haled in, by our lesser pipes at home). The calfe of one of their legges 
was measured three quarters of a yard about, the rest of his limbs 

Master Harlots Journ. Purch. PIL 


to the conqueror, than the loss of it was to the conquered ; 
and caused greater uneasiness and trouble, than all the 
territory of the New Netherlands besides. Thus provir- 
dence wisely orders, that one evil shall balance another. 
The conqueror who wrests the property of his neighbour, 
who wrongs a nation and desolates a country, though he 
may acquire increase of empire, and immortal fame, yet 
insures his own inevitable punishment. He takes to him- 
self a cause of endless anxiety he incorporates with his 
late sound domain, a loose part a rotten, disaffected 
member 5 which is an exhaustless source of internal trea- 
son and disunion, and external altercation and hostility. 
Happy is that nation, which, compact, united, loyal in all 
its parts, and concentrated in its strength, seeks no idle 
acquisition of unprofitable and ungovernable territory 
which, content to be prosperous and happy, has no ambir- 
tion to be great. It is like a man well organized in all 
his system, sound in health, and full of vigour ; unincum- 
bered by useless trappings, and fixed in an unshaken at- 
titude. But the nation, insatiable of territory, whose do- 
mains are scattered, feebly united, and weakly organized, 
is like a senseless miser sprawling among golden stores, 
open to every attack, and unable to defend the riches he 
vainly endeavours to overshadow. 

At the time of receiving the alarming dispatches from 
South river, the great Peter was busily employed in quell- 
ing certain Indian troubles that had broken out about Eso- 
pus, and was moreover meditating how to relieve his east- 
ern borders on the Connecticut. He, however, sent word 
to Mynheer Beckman to be of good heart, to maintain 
incessant vigilance, and to let him know, if matters wore 
a more threatening appearance ; in which case he would 
incontinently repair with his warriors of the Hudson, to 
spoil the merriment of these Merryrlanders ; for he cor 
veted exceedingly to have a bout, hand to hand, with some 
half a score of these giants having never encountered a 

NEW-YORK. 321 

giant in his whole life, unless we may so call the stout 
Risingh, and he was but a Uttle one. 

Nothing further, however, occurred to molest the tran* 
quillity of Mynheer Beckman and his colony. Feudal 
and his myrmidons remained at home, carousing it soundly 
upon hoe-cakes, bacon, and mint-julep, and running horses, 
and fighting cocks, for which they were greatly renowned. 
At hearing of this, Peter Stuy vesant was very well pleased ; 
for, notwithstanding his inclination to measure weapons 
with these monstrous men of the Susquehannafr, yet he 
had already as much employment nearer home, ^s he 
could turn his hands to. Little did he think, worthy soul, 
that this southern calm was but the deceitful prelude to a 
most terrible and fatal storm, then brewing, which was 
soon to burst forth and overwhelm the unsuspecting city 
of New Amsterdam ! 

Now so it was, that while this excellent governor was 
giving his little senate laws, and not only giving them, 
but enforcing them too while he was incessantly travel-? 
ling the rounds of his beloved province posting frorn 
place to place to redress grievances, and while busy at one 
corner ,of his dominions, all the rest getting into an uproar. 
At this very time, I say, a dark and direful plot was hatch- 
ing against hirn, in that nursery of monstrous projects, the 
British cabinet, The news of his achievements on the 
Delaware, according to a sage old historian of New- Am- 
sterdam, had occasioned not a little talk and marvel in 
the courts of Europe. And the same profound writer as- 
sures us that the cabinet of England began to entertain 
great jealousy and uneasiness at the increasing power of 
the Manhattoes, and the valour of its sturdy yeomanry. 

Agents, the historian observes, were sent by the Am- 
phyctionic council of the east, to entreat the assistance of 
the British cabinet in subjugating this mighty province. 
Lord Sterling also asserted his right to Long-Island ; and, 
$t the same time, Lord Baltimore, whose agent, as has 

2 S 


before been mentioned, had so alarmed Mynheer Beck- 
man, laid his claim before the cabinet, to the lands of 
South river, which he complained were unjustly and for- 
cibly detained from him, by these daring usurpers of the 
Nieuw Nederlandts. 

Thus did the unlucky empire of the Manhattoes stand 
in imminent danger of experiencing the fate of Poland, 
and being torn limb from limb to be shared among its 
savage neighbours. But while these rapacious powers 
were whetting their fangs, and waiting for the signal to fall 
tooth and nail upon this delicious little fat Dutch empire ; 
the lordly lion, who sat as umpire, all at once laid his 
mighty paw upon the spoil, and settled the claims of all 
parties, by granting none of them. For we are told, that 
his majesty, Charles the Second, not to be perplexed by 
adjusting these several pretensions, made a present of a 
large tract of North America, including the province of 
New Netherlands, to his brother, the Duke of York a 
donation truly royal, since none but great monarchs have 
a right to give away what does not belong to them. 

That this munificent gift might not be merely nominal, 
his majesty, on the 12th of March, 1664, ordered that an 
armament should be forthwith prepared, to invade the 
city of New- Amsterdam by land and water, and put his 
brother in complete possession of the premises. 

Thus critically are situated the affairs of the New 
Netherlanders. The honest burghers, so far from think- 
ing of the jeopardy in which their interests are placed, 
are soberly smoking their pipes, and thinking of nothing 
at all the privy counsellors of the province are at this 
moment snoring in full quorum, like the drones of five 
hundred bagpipes ; while the active Peter, who takes all 
the labour of thinking and acting upon himself is busily 
devising some method of bringing the grand council of 
Amphyctions to terms. In the meanwhile an angry cloud 
is darkly scowling on the horizon soon shall it rattle about 

NE W-YORK. 323 

the ears of these dozing Nederlanders, and put the mettle 
of their stout-hearted governor completely to the trial. 

But come what may, I here pledge my veracity that in 
all warlike conflicts and subtle perplexities, he shall still 
acquit himself with the gallant bearing and spotless honour 
of a noble-minded obstinate old cavalier. Forward, then, 
to the charge ! shine out propitious stars on the renowned 
city of the Manhattoes ; and may the blessings of St. Ni- 
cholas go with thee honest Peter Stuyvesant ! 


Of Peter Stuyvesant's expedition into the East Country ; showing 
that though an old bird, he did not understand trap. 

GREAT nations resemble great men in this particular, 
that their greatness is seldom known until they get in 
trouble ; adversity, therefore, has been wisely denominated 
the ordeal of true greatness, which, like gold, can never 
receive its real estimation, until it has passed through the 
furnace. In proportion therefore as a nation, a community, 
or an individual (possessing the inherent quality of great- 
ness) is involved in perils and misfortunes, in proportion 
does it rise in grandeur and even when sinking under 
calamity, makes, like a house on fire, a more glorious dis- 
play, than ever it did, in the fairest period of its pros- 

The vast empire of China, though teeming with popu- 
lation, and imbibing and concentrating the wealth of 
nations, has vegetated through a succession of drowsy 
ages ; and were it not for its internal revolution, and the 
subversion of its* ancient government by the Tartars, 
might have presented nothing but an uninteresting detail 
of dull, monotonous prosperity. Pompeii and Herculan- 


inight have' passed into oblivion, with a herd of their 
contemporaries, had they not been fortunately overwhelm- 
ed by a volcano. The renowned city of Troy has acquired 
celebrity only from its ten years' distress, and final confla- 
gration ; Paris rises in importance by the plots and mas- 
sacres, which have ended in the exaltation of the illustri- 
ous Napoleon ; and even the mighty London itself has 
skulked through the records of time, celebrated for nothing 
of moment, excepting the plague, the great fire, and Guy 
Faux's gunpowder plot ! Thus cities and empires seem 
to creep along, enlarging in silent obscurity under the pen 
of the historian, until at length they burst forth in some 
tremendous calamity, and snatch, as it were, immortality 
from the explosion ! 

The above principle being admitted, my reader will 
plainly perceive that the city of New- Amsterdam and its 
dependent province are on the high road to greatness. 
Dangers and hostilities threaten from every side, and it is 
really a matter of astonishment to me, how so small a state 
has been able in so short a time to entangle itself in so 
many difficulties. Ever since the province was first taken 
by the nose, at the Fort of Good Hope, in the tranquil 
days of Wouter Van Twiller, has it been gradually in- 
creasing in historic importance ; and never could it have 
had a more appropriate chieftain to conduct it to the pin- 
nacle of grandeur than Peter Stuy vesant. 

In the fiery heart of this iron-headed old warrior sat 
enthroned all those five kinds of courage described by 
Aristotle ; and had the philosopher mentioned five hundred 
more to the back of them j I verily believe, he would have 
been found master of them all. The only misfortune was, 
that he was deficient in the better part of valour called dis- 
cretion, a cold-blooded virtue which could not exist in the 
tropical climate of his mighty soul. Hence it was, he was 
continually hurrying into those unheard-of enterprises that 


give *tn air of chivalric romance to all his history; and 
hence it was, that he now conceived a project worthy of 
the hero of La Mancha himself. 

This was no other than to repair in person to the great 
council of the Amphyctions, bearing the sword in one 
hand, and the olive branch in the other ; to require imme- 
diate reparation for the innumerable violations of that 
treaty, which, in an evil hour, he had formed ; to put a 
stop to those repeated maraudings on the eastern borders; 
or else to throw his gauntlet, and appeal to arms foi 4 sa- 

On declaring this resolution in his privy council, the 
venerable members were seized with vast astonishment: 
for once in their lives they ventured to remonstrate, set- 
ting forth the rashness of exposing his sacred person in 
the midst of a strange and barbarous people, with sundry 
other weighty remonstrances all which had about as much 
influence upon the determination of the headstrong Peter, 
as though you were to endeavour to turn a rusty weather- 
cock with a broken-winded bellows* 

Summoning, therefore, to his presence his trusty follow- 
er, Anthony Van Corlear, he commanded him to hold 
himself in readiness to accompany him the following morn- 
ing on this his hazardous enterprise. Now Anthony, the 
trumpeter, was a little stricken in years, yet by dint of 
keeping up a good heart, and having never known cal*e 
or sorrow (having never been married) he was still a hear- 
ty, jocund, rubicond, gamesome wag, and of great capa- 
city in the doublet. This last was ascribed to his living a 
jolly life on those domains at the Hook, which Peter Stuy- 
vesant had granted to him for his gallantry at Fort Casi- 

Be this as it may, there was nothing that more delighted 
Anthony than this command of the great Peter ; for he 
could have followed the stout-hearted old governor to the 
world's end, with love and loyalty: and he moreover still 


remembered the frolicking, and dancing, and bundling, 
and other disports of the east country ; and entertained 
dainty recollection of numerous kind and buxom lasses, 
whom he longed exceedingly again to encounter. 

Thus, then, did this mirror of hardihood set forth, with 
no other attendant but his trumpeter, upon one of the most 
perilous enterprises ever recorded in the annals of knight- 
errantry. For a single warrior to venture openly among 
a whole nation of foes; but, above all, for a plain, down- 
right Dutchman to think of negociating with the whole 
council of New- England never was there known a more 
desperate undertaking ! Ever since J have entered upon 
the chronicles of this peerless, but hitherto uncelebrated 
chieftain, has he kept me in a state of incessant action and 
anxiety with the toils and dangers he is constantly encoun- 
tering. Oh ! for a chapter of the tranquil reign of W ou- 
ter Van T wilier, that I might repose on it as on a feather- 
bed ! 

Is it not enough, Peter Stuyvesant, that I have once 
already rescued thee from the machinations of these terri- 
ble Amphyctions, by bringing the whole powers of witch- 
craft to thine aid ? Is it not enough, that I have followed 
thee undaunted, like a guardian spirit, into the midst of 
the horrid battle of Fort Christina ? That I have been 
put incessantly to my trumps to keep thee safe and sound 
now warding off with my single pen the shower of das- 
tard blows that fell upon thy rear now narrowly shield- 
ing thee from a deadly thrust, by a mere tobacco-box 
now casing thy dauntless skull with adamant, when even 
thy stubborn ram-beaver failed to resist the sword of the 
stout Risingh and now, not merely bringing thee off 
alive, but triumphant, from the clutches of the gigantic 
Swede, by the desperate means of a paltry stone pottle ? 
Is not all this enough, but must thou still be plunging 
into new difficulties, and jeopardizing in headlong enter- 
prises thyself, thy trumpeter, and thy historian ? 

NEW-YORK. 327 

And now the ruddy faced Aurora, like a buxom cham- 
ber-maid, draws aside the sable curtains of the night, and 
out bounces from his bed the jolly red-haired Phoebus, 
startled at being caught so late in the embraces of Dame 
Thetis. With many a stable oath, he harnessed his bra- 
zen-footed steeds, and whips and lashes, and splashes up 
the firmament, like a loitering post-boy, half an hour be- 
hind his time. And now behold that imp of fame and 
prowess, the headstrong Peter, bestriding a raw-boned, 
switch-tailed charger, gallantly arrayed in full regimentals, 
and bracing on his thigh that trusty brass-hilted sword, 
which had wrought such fearful deeds on the banks of 
the Delaware. 

Behold, hard after him, his doughty trumpeter, Van 
Corlear, mounted on a broken- winded, wall-eyed, calico 
mare; his stone pottle, which had laid low the mighty 
Risingh, slung under his arm, and his trumpet displayed 
vauntingly in his right hand, decorated with a gorgeous 
banner, on which is emblazoned the great beaver of the 
Manhattoes. See them proudly issuing out of the city 
gate, like an iron-clad hero of yore, with his faithful squire 
at his heels, the populace following them with their eyes, 
and shouting many a parting wish, and hearty cheering. 
Farewell, Hard-koppig Piet ! Farewell, honest An- 
thony ! Pleasant be your way-faring prosperous your 
return ! The stoutest hero that ever drew a sword, and 
the worthiest trumpeter that ever trod shoe leather. 

Legends are lamentably silent about the events that be- 
fel our adventurers, in this their adventurous travel, ex- 
cepting the Stuyvesant manuscript, which gives the sub- 
stance of a pleasant little heroic poem, written on the 
occasion by Domini JEgidius Luyck, * who appears to 

This Luyck was, moreover, rector of the Latin school in Nieuw- 
Nederlandt, 1663. There are two pieces of jEgidius Luyck in D. Se- 
lyn's MSS. of poesies, upon his marriage with Judith Isendoorn, 
Old. MS. 


have been the poet-laureat of New- Amsterdam. This in- 
estimable manuscript assures us, that it was a rare spectacle 
to behold the great Peter and his loyal follower, hailing 
the morning sun, and rejoicing in the clear countenance 
of nature, as they pranced it through the pastoral scenes 
of Bloemen Dael ; * which, in those days, was a sweet and 
rural valley, beautified with many a bright wild flower, 
refreshed by many a pure streamlet, and enlivened here 
and there by a delectable little Dutch cottage, sheltered 
under some sloping hill, and almost buried in embower- 
ing trees. 

Now did they enter upon the confines of Connecticut, 
where they encountered many grievous difficulties and pe- 
rils. At one place they were assailed by a troop of coun- 
try squires and militia colonels, who, mounted on goodly 
steeds, hung upon their rear for several miles, harassing 
them exceedingly with guesses and questions, more espe- 
cially the worthy Peter, whose silver-chas'd leg excited 
not a little marvel. At another place, hard by the re- 
nowned town of Stamford, they were set upon by a great 
and mighty legion of church deacons, who imperiously 
demanded of them five shillings for travelling on Sunday, 
and threatened to carry them captive to a neighbouring 
church, whose steeple peer'd above the trees ; but these 
the valiant Peter put to rout with little difficulty, insomuch 
that they bestrode their canes and gallopped off in horri- 
ble confusion, leaving their cocked hats behind in the hur- 
ry of their flight. But not so easily did he escape from 
the hands of a crafty man of Pyquag; who, with undaunted 
perseverance, and repeated onsets, fairly bargained him 
out of his goodly switch-tailed charger, leaving him in 
place thereof a villanous, spavined, foundered Narraganset 

But, maugre all these hardships, they pursued their 

* Now called Blooming Dale, about four miles from New-York. 

NEW-YORK. 329 

journey cheerily along the course of the soft flowing Con- 
necticut, whose gentle waves, says the song, roll through 
many a fertile vale, and sunny plain ; now reflecting the 
lofty spires of the bustling city, and now the rural beauties 
of the humble hamlet; now echoing with the busy hum of 
commerce, and now with the cheerful song of the peasant. 

At every town would Peter Stuy vesant, who was noted 
for warlike punctilio, order the sturdy Anthony to sound 
a courteous salutation ; though the manuscript observes, 
that the inhabitants were thrown into great dismay when 
they heard of his approach. For the fame of his incompa- 
rable achievements on the Delaware, had spread through- 
out the east country, and they dreaded lest he had come 
to take vengeance on their manifold transgressions. 

But the good Peter rode through these towns with a 
smiling aspect; waving his hand with inexpressible majesty 
and condescension; for he verily believed that the old 
clothes which these ingenious people had thrust into their 
broken windows, and the festoons of dried apples and 
peaches which ornamented the fronts of their houses, 
were so many decorations in honour of his approach ; as 
it was the custom in the days of chivalry, to compliment 
renowned heroes, by sumptuous displays of tapestry and 
gorgeous furniture. The women crowded to the doors to 
gaze upon him as he passed, so* much does prowess in 
arms delight the gentle sex. The little children too, ran 
after him in troops, staring with wonder at his regimentals, 
his brimstone breeches, and the silver garniture of his 
wooden leg. Nor must I omit to mention the joy which 
many strapping wenches betrayed, at beholding the jovial 
Van Corlear, who had whilome delighted them so much 
with his trumpet, when he bore the great Peter's challenge 
to the Amphyctions. The kind-hearted Anthony alighted 
from his calico mare, and kissed them all with infinite 
loving-kindness and was right pleased to see a crew of 
little trumpeters crowding around him for his blessing j 



each of whom he patted on the head, bade him be a good 
boy, and gave him a penny to buy molasses candy. 

The Stuyvesant manuscript makes but little further 
mention of the governor's adventures upon this expedition, 
excepting that he was received with extravagant courtesy 
and respect by the great council of the Amphyctions, who 
almost talked him to death with complimentary and con- 
gratulatory harangues. I will not detain my readers by 
dwelling on his negociations with the grand council. 
Suffice it to mention, it was like all other negociations 
a great deal was said, and very little done : one conversa- 
tion led to another one conference begat misunderstan- 
dings which it took a dozen conferences to explain ; at the 
end of which the parties found themselves just where they 
were at first; excepting that they had entangled themselves 
in a host of questions of etiquette, and conceived a cordial 
distrust of each other, that rendered their future negocia- 
tions ten times more difficult than ever. * 

In the midst of all these perplexities, which bewildered 
the brain and incensed the ire of the sturdy Peter, who 
was perhaps, of all men in the world, least fitted for di- 
plomatic wiles, he privately received the first intimation 
of the dark conspiracy which had been matured in the 
Cabinet of England. To this was added the astounding 
intelligence that a hostile squadron had already sailed 
from England, destined to reduce the province of New 
Netherlands, and that the grand council of Amphyctions 
lhad (engaged to co-operate, by sending a great army to 
invade New- Amsterdam by land. 

^Unfortunate Peter ! did I not enter with sad forebod- 
ings upon this ill-starred expedition ? Did I not tremble 
when I saw thee, with no other counsellor but thine own 

* For certain of the particulars of this ancient negociation, see Haz. 
Col. State i*ap. It is singular that Smith is entirely silent with respect 
to this memorable expedition of Peter Stuyvesant. 

NEW. YORK. 331 

heacU with no other armour but an honest tongue, a 
spotless conscience, and a rusty sword with no other 
protector but St. Nicholas and no other attendant but a 
trumpeter ? Did I not tremble when I beheld thee thus 
sally forth to contend with all the knowing powers of New 
England ? 

Oh how did the sturdy old warrior rage and roar, when 
he found himself thus entrapped, like a lion in the hunter's 
toil ! Now did he determine to draw his trusty sword, 
and manfully to fight his way through all the countries of 
the east. Now did he resolve to break in upon the coun- 
cil of the Amphyctions, and put every mother's son of 
them to death. At length, as his direful wrath subsided, 
he resorted to safer though less glorious expedients. 

Concealing from the council his knowledge of their 
machinations, he privately despatched a trusty messenger 
with missives to his counsellors at New- Amsterdam, ap- 
prizing them of the impending danger, commanding them 
immediately to put the city in a posture of defence, while 
in the mean time he would endeavour to elude his enemies 
and come to their assistance. This done, he felt himself 
marvellously relieved, rose slowly, shook himself like a 
rhinoceros, and issued forth from his den, in much the 
same manner as Giant Despair is described to have issued 
from Doubting Castle, in the chivalric history of the Pil- 
grim's Progress. 

And now much does it grieve me that I must leave the 
gallant Peter in this imminent jeopardy : but it behoves 
us to hurry back and see what is going on at New- Am- 
sterdam, for greatly do I fear that city is already in a tur- 
moil. Such was ever the fate of Peter Stuy vesant ; while 
doing one thing with heart and soul, he was too apt to 
leave every thing else at sixes and sevens. While, like 
a potentate of yore, he was absent attending to those things 
in person, which in modern days are trusted to generals 
and ambassadors, his little territory at home was sure te> 


get in an uproar all which was owing to that uncommon 
strength of intellect, which induced him to trust to nobody 
but himself, and which had acquired him the renowned 
appellation of Peter the Headstrong. 


How the people of New -Amsterdam were thrown into a great pa- 
nic, by the news of a threatened invasion ; and the manner in 
which they fortified themselves. 

THERE is no sight more truly interesting to a philoso*- 
pher, than to contemplate a Community where every indi- 
vidual has a voice in public affairs* where every individual 
thinks himself the Atlas of the nation, and where every 
individual thinks it his duty to bestir himself for the good 
of his country, I say, there is nothing more interesting 
to a philosopher, than to see such a community in a sud- 
den bustle of war. Such a clamour of tongues, such a 
bawling of patriotism, such running hither and thither, 
every body in a hurry, every body up to the ears in trouble, 
every body in the way, and every body interrupting his 
industrious neighbour, who is busily employed in doing 
nothing ! It is like witnessing a great fire, where every 
man is at work like a hero ; some dragging about empty 
engines ; others scampering with full buckets, and spilling 
the contents into the boots of their neighbours ; and others 
ringing the church-bells all night, by way of putting out 
the fire. Little firemen, like sturdy little knights storm- 
ing a breach, clambering up and down scaling-ladders, 
and bawling through tin trumpets, by way of directing the 
attack. Here one busy fellow, in his great zeal to save 
the property of the unfortunate, catches up an anonymous 
chamber-utensil, and gallants it off with an air of as much 

NEW-YORK. 333 

self-importance, as if he had rescued a pot of money ; 
another throws looking-glasses and china out of the win- 
dow, to save them from the flames ; while those, who can 
do nothing else to assist the great calamity, run up and 
down the streets with open throats, keeping up an inces- 
sant cry of Fire ! Fire I Fire ! 

" When the news arrived at Sinope," says the grave 
and profound Lucian, though I own the story is rather 
trite, " that Philip was about to attack them, the inhabi- 
tants were thrown into violent alarm. Some ran to fur- 
bish up their arms ; others rolled stones to build up the 
walls ; every body, in short, was employed, and every 
body was in the way of his neighbour. Diogenes alone 
was the only man who could find nothing to do ; where- 
upon, determining not to be idle when the welfare of his 
country was at stake, he tucked up his robe, and fell to 
rolling his tub with might and main, up and down the 
Gymnasium." In like manner did every mother's son, 
in the patriotic community of New- Amsterdam, on re- 
ceiving the missives of Peter Stuyvesant, busy himself 
most mightily in putting things in confusion, and assist- 
ing the general uproar. " Every man," saith the Stuy- 
vesant manuscript, " flew to arms !" By which is meant, 
that not one of our honest Dutch citizens would venture 
to church or to market, without an old-fashioned spit of 
a sword dangling at his side, and a long Dutch fowling- 
piece on his shoulder ; nor would he go out of a night 
without a lanthorn ; nor turn a corner without first peep- 
ing cautiously round, lest he should come unawares upon 
a British army; and we are informed, that Stoffel Brin- 
kerhoff, who was considered by the old women almost as 
brave a man as the governor himself, actually had two 
one-pound swivels mounted in his entry, one pointing out 
at the front door, and the other at the back. 

But the most strenuous measure resorted to on this 
awful occasion, and one which has since been found of 


wonderful efficacy, was to assemble popular meetings. 
These brawling convocations, I have already shown, were 
extremely offensive to Peter Stuyvesant ; but as this was 
a moment of unusual agitation, and as the old governor 
was not present to repress them, they broke out with in-*- 
tolerable violence. Hither, therefore, the orators and 
politicians repaired, and there seemed to be a competi- 
tion among them who should bawl the loudest, and ex- 
ceed the others in hyperbolical bursts of patriotism, and 
in resolutions to uphold and defend the government. In 
these sage and all-powerful meetings it was determined, 
nem. con., that they were the most enlightened, the most 
dignified, the most formidable, and the most ancient com- 
munity upon the face of the earth. Finding that this re- 
solution was so universally and readily carried, another 
was immediately proposed,- Whether it were not possir 
ble and politic to exterminate Great Britain? Upon 
which sixty-nine members spoke most eloquently in the 
affirmative, and only one arose to suggest some doubts, 
who, as a punishment for his treasonable presumption, was 
immediately seized by the mob, and tarred and feathered ; 
which punishment being equivalent to the Tarpeian Rock, 
he was afterwards considered as an outcast from society, 
and his opinion went for nothing, The question, there- 
fore, being unanimously carried in the affirmative, it was 
recommended to the grand council to pass it into a law, 
which was accordingly done ; by this measure the hearts 
of the people at large were wonderfully encouraged, and 
they waxed exceeding choleric and valorous. Indeed, 
the first paroxysm of alarm having in some measure sub- 
sided, the old women having buried all the money they 
could lay their hands on, and their husbands daily getting 
fuddled with what was left the community began even 
to stand on the offensive. Songs were manufactured in 
low Dutch, and sung about the streets, wherein the Eng- 
lish were most wofUlly beaten, and shown no quarter; 

NEW-YORK. 335 

and popular addresses were made, wherein it was proved 
to a certainty, that the fate of Old England depended up- 
on the will of the New- Amsterdammers. 

Finally, to strike a violent blow at the very vitals of 
Great Britain, a multitude of the wiser inhabitants assem- 
bled, and having purchased all the British manufactures 
they could find, they made thereof a huge bonfire ; and, 
in the patriotic glow of the moment, every man present, 
who had a hat or breeches of English workmanship, pul- 
led it off, and threw it most undauntedly into the flames 
to the irreparable detriment, loss, and ruin of the Eng- 
lish manufacturers. In commemoration of this great ex- 
ploit, they erected a pole on the spot, with a device on 
the top intended to represent the province of Nieuw Ne- 
derlandts destroying Great Britain, under the similitude 
of an Eagle picking the little Island of Old England out 
of the globe ; but either through the unskilfulness of the 
sculptor, or his ill-timed waggery, it bore a striking re- 
semblance to a goose vainly striving to get hold of a 


Shoeing how the Grand Council of the New Netherlands came 
to be miraculously gifted with long tongues. Together with a 
great triumph of Economy. 

IT will need but very little penetration in any one ac- 
quainted with the character and habits of that most po- 
tent and blustering monarch the sovereign people to 
discover, that, notwithstanding all the bustle and talk of 
war that stunned him in the last chapter, the renowned 
city of New- Amsterdam is, in sad reality, not a whit bet- 
ter prepared for defence than before. Now, though the 


people, having gotten over the first alarm, and finding no 
enemy immediately at hand, had, with that valour of 
tongue, for which your illustrious rabble is so famous, 
run into the opposite extreme, and by dint of gallant va- 
pouring and rhodomontado, had actually talked them- 
selves into the opinion, that they were the bravest and 
most powerful people under the sun ; yet were the privy 
counsellors of Peter Stuyvesant somewhat dubious on 
that point. They dreaded, moreover, lest that stern hero 
should return and find, that, instead of obeying his pe- 
remptory orders, they had wasted their time in listening 
to the hectorings of the mob, than which, they well knew 
there was nothing he held in more exalted contempt. 

To make up therefore as speedily as possible for lost 
time, a grand divan of the counsellors and burgomasters 
was convened, to talk over the critical state of the pro- 
vince, and devise measures for its safety. Two things 
were unanimously agreed upon in this venerable assem- 
bly : first, that the city required to be put in a state of 
defence and secondly, that as the danger was imminent, 
there should be no time lost which points being settled, 
they immediately fell to making long speeches, and bela- 
bouring one another in endless and intemperate disputes. 
For about this time was this unhappy city first visited by 
that talking endemic, so universally prevalent in this 
country, and which so invariably evinces itself, wherever 
a number of wise men assemble together ; breaking out 
in long windy speeches, caused, as physicians suppose, by 
the foul air which is ever generated in a crowd. Now it 
was, moreover, that they first introduced the ingenious 
method of measuring the merits of an harangue by the 
hour-glass; he being considered the ablest orator who 
spoke longest on a question for which excellent inven- 
tion, it is recorded, we are indebted to the same profound 
Dutch critic who judged of books by their size. 

This sudden passion for endless harangues, so little 


consonant with the customary gravity and taciturnity of 
our sage forefathers, was supposed by certain learned phi- 
losophers, to have been imbibed, together with divers 
other barbarous propensities, from their savage neigh- 
bours ; who were peculiarly noted for their long talks and 
council fires ; who would never undertake any affair of the 
least importance, without previous debates and harangues 
among their chiefs and old men. But the real cause was, 
that the people, in electing their representatives to the 
grand council, were particular in choosing them for their 
talents at talking, without inquiring whether they posses- 
sed the more rare, difficult, and oft times important 
talent, of holding their tongues. The consequence was, 
that this deliberative body was composed of the most lo- 
quacious men in the community. As they considered 
themselves placed there to talk, every man concluded that 
his duty to his constituents, and, what is more, his popu- 
larity with them, required that he should harangue on 
every subject, whether he understood it or not. There 
was an ancient mode of burying a chieftain, by every 
soldier throwing his shield full of earth on the corpse, 
until a mighty mound was formed ; so whenever a ques- 
tion was brought forward in this assembly, every member 
pressing forward to throw on his quantum of wisdom, the 
subject was quickly buried under a huge mass of words. 

We are told in the Attic nights of Aulus Gellius, that 
when disciples were admitted into the school of Pythago- 
ras, they were for two years enjoined silence, and were 
neither permitted to ask questions nor make remarks. 
After they had thus acquired the inestimable art of hold- 
ing their tongues, they were gradually permitted to make 
inquiries, and finally to communicate their own opinions. 

What a pity is it, that while superstitiously hoarding 
up the rubbish and rags of antiquity, we should suffer 
these precious gems to lie unnoticed. What a beneficial 
effect would this wise regulation of Pythagoras have, if 



introduced in legislative bodies -rand how wonderfully 
would it have tended to expedite business in the grand 
council of the Manhattoes. 

Thus however, did dame Wisdom, (whom the wags of 
antiquity have humorously personified as a woman,) seem 
to take mischievous pleasure in jilting the venerable coun- 
sellors of New- Amsterdam. The old factions of long 
pipes and short pipes, which had been almost strangled 
by the Herculean grasp of Peter Stuyvesant, now sprung 
up with tenfold violence. Not that the original cause of 
difference still existed, but it has ever been the fate of 
party names and party rancour to remain, long after the 
principles that gave rise to them have been forgotten. 
To complete the public confusion and bewilderment, the 
fatal word Economy, which one would have thought was 
dead and buried with William the Testy, was once more 
set afloat, like the apple of discord, in the grand council 
of Nieuw Nederlandts according to which sound princi- 
ple of policy, it was deemed more expedient to throw away 
twenty thousand guilders upon an inefficient plan of de- 
fence, than thirty thousand on a good and substantial one, 
the province thus making a clear saving of ten thousand 

But when they came to discuss the mode of defence, 
then began a war of words that baffles all description. 
The members being, as I observed, enlisted in opposite 
parties, were enabled to proceed with amazing system and 
regularity in the discussion of the questions before them. 
Whatever was proposed by a long pipe, was opposed by 
the whole tribe of short pipes, who, like true politicians, 
considered it their first duty, to effect the downfal of the 
long pipes their second, to elevate themselves; and 
their third, to consult the welfare of the country. This 
at least was the creed of the most upright among the par- 
ty ; for as to the great mass, they left the third considera- 
tion out of the question altogether. 

NEW- YORK. 339 

In thi& gfeat collision of hard heads, it is astonishing 
the number of projects for defence, that were struck out ; 
not one of which had ever been heard of before, nor Ms 
been heard of since, unless it be in very modern days 
^projects that threw the windmill system of the ingenious 
Kieft completely in the back ground. Still; however, 
nothing could be decided on; for so soon as a formidable 
host of air castles were reared by one party, they were de- 
molished by the other ; the simple populace stood gazing 
in anxious expectation of the mighty egg that was to be 
hatched with all this cackling, but they gazed in vain, for 
it appeared that the grand council was determined to pro- 
tect the province, as did the'noble and gigantic Pantagruel 
his army, by covering it with his tongue. 

Indeed there was a portion of the members consisting 
of fat, self-important old burghers, who smoked their pipes 
and said nothing, excepting to negative every plan of de- 
fence that was.offered. These were of that class of wealthy 
old citizens who having amassed a fortune, button up their 
pockets, shut their mouths, look rich, and are good for 
nothing all the rest of their lives. Like some phlegmatic 
oyster, which having swallowed a pearl, closes its shell, 
settles down in the mud, and parts with its life sooner 
than its treasure. Every plan of defence seemed to these 
worthy old gentlemen pregnant with ruin. An armed 
force was a legion of locusts, preying upon the public pro- 
perty ; to fit out a naval armament was to throw their money 
into the sea ; to build fortifications was to bury it in the 
dirt. In short, they settled it as a sovereign maxim, so 
long as their pockets were full r no matter how much they 
were drubbed. A kick left no scar; a broken head cured 
itself; but an empty purse was of all maladies the slowest 
to heal, and one in which nature did nothing to the pa- 

Thus did this venerable assembly of sages lavish away 
that time which the urgency of affairs rendered invaluable, 


in empty brawls and long-winded speeches, without ever 
agreeing, except on the point with which they started, 
namely, that there was no time to be lost, and delay was 
ruinous. At length St. Nicholas, taking compassion on 
their distracted situation, and anxious to preserve them 
from anarchy, so ordered, that in the midst of o*ie of their 
most noisy debates on the subject of fortification and de- 
fence, when they had nearly fallen to loggerheads in con- 
sequence of not being able to convince each other, the 
question was happily settled by a messenger, who bounced 
into the chamber and informed them, that the hostile fleet 
had arrived, and was actually advancing up the boy \ 

Thus was all further necessity of either fortifying or 
disputing completely obviated; and thus was the grand 
council saved a world of words, and the province a world 
of expense a most absolute and glorious triumph of eco- 


In which the troubles of New- Amsterdam appear to thicken 
Showing the bravery, in time of peril, of a people who defend 
themselves by resolutions. 

LIKE as an assemblage of politic cats, engaged in clamo- 
rous gibberings and catterwaulings, eyeing one another 
with hideous grimaces, spitting in each other's faces, and 
on the point of breaking forth into a general clapper-claw- 
ing, are suddenly put to scampering, rout, and confusion, 
by the startling appearance of a house-dog so was the 
no less vociferous council of New- Amsterdam amazed, as- 
tounded, and totally dispersed, by the sudden arrival of 
the enemy. Every member made the best of his way 
home, waddling along as fast as his short legs could fag 

NEW-YORK. 341 

under their heavy burthen, and wheezing as he went with 
corpulenfcy and terror. When he arrived at his castle, he 
barricadoed the street-door, and buried himself in the ci- 
der cellar, without daring to peep out, lest he should have 
his head carried off by a cannon ball. 

The sovereign people all crowded into the market place, 
herding together with the instinct of sheep, who seek for 
safety in each other's company, when the shepherd and 
his dog are absent, and the wolf is prowling round the 
fold. Far from finding relief, however, they only increased 
each other's terrors. Each man looked ruefully in his 
neighbour's face, in search of encouragement, but only 
found in its wo-begone lineaments, a confirmation of his 
own dismay. Not a word now was to be heard of con- 
quering Great Britain, not a whisper about the sovereign 
virtues of economy while the old women heightened the 
general gloom, by clamorously bewailing their fate, and 
incessantly calling for protection on St. Nicholas and Pe- 
ter Stuyvesant. 

Oh, how did they bewail the absence of the lion-hearted 
Peter ! and how did they long for the comforting pre- 
sence of Anthony Van Corlear ! Indeed, a gloomy un- 
certainty hung over the fate of these adventurous heroes. 
Day after day had elapsed since the alarming message 
from the governor, without bringing any further tidings 
of his safety. Many a fearful conjecture was hazarded as 
to what had befallen him and his loyal squire. Had 
they not been devoured alive by the cannibals of Marble- 
head and Cape Cod ? Were they not put to the question 
by the great council of Amphyctions ? Were they not 
smothered in onions by the terrible men of Pyquag ? In 
the midst of this consternation and perplexity, when hor- 
ror, like a mighty night-mare, sat brooding upon the little, 
fat, plethoric city of New- Amsterdam, the ears of the mul- 
titude were suddenly startled by a strange and distant 
sound it approached it grew louder and louder and 


now it resounded at the city gate. The public could not 
be mistaken in the well-known sound. A shout of joy 
burst from their lips, as the gallant Peter, covered with 
dust, and followed by his faithful trumpeter, came gallop- 
ping into the market-place. 

The first transports of the populace having subsided, 
they gathered round the honest Anthony, as he dismounted 
from his horse, overwhelming him with greetings and 
congratulations. In breathless accents he related to 
them the marvellous adventures through which the old 
governor and himself had gone, in making their escape 
from the clutches of the terrible Amphyctions. But 
though the Stuyvesant manuscript, with its customary 
minuteness where any thing touching the great Peter is 
concerned, is very particular as to the incidents of this 
masterly retreat, yet the particular state of the public af- 
fairs will not allow me to indulge in a full recital thereof. 
Let it suffice to say, that, while Peter Stuyvesant was 
anxiously revolving in his mind, how he could make 
good his escape with honour and dignity, certain of the 
ships sent out for the conquest of the Manhattoes touched 
at the eastern ports, to obtain needful supplies, and to call 
on the grand council of the league for its promised co- 
operation. Upon hearing of this, the vigilant Peter per- 
ceiving that a moment's delay were fatal, made a secret 
and precipitate decampment ; though much did it grieve 
his lofty soul, to be obliged to turn his back even upon a 
nation of foes. Many hair-breadth 'scapes and divers 
perilous mishaps did they sustain, as they scoured, with- 
out sound of trumpet, through the fair regions of the east* 
Already was the country in an uproar with hostile prepara- 
tion, and they were obliged to take a large circuit in their 
flight, lurking along, through the woody mountains of the 
Devil's Backbone ; from whence the valiant Peter sallied 
forth one day, like a lion, and put to route a whole legion 
of squatters, consisting of three generations of a prolific 

NEW-YORK. 34,3 

family, who were already on their way to take possession 
of some corner of the New- Netherlands. Nay, the faith- 
ful Anthony had great difficulty at sundry times, to pre- 
vent him, in the excess of his wrath, from descending 
down from the mountains, and falling sword in hand, 
upon certain of the border-towns, who were marshalling 
forth their draggle-tailed militia. 

The first movements of the governor on reaching his 
dwelling, was to mount the roof, from whence he contem- 
plated with rueful aspect the hostile squadron. This had 
already come to an anchor in the bay, and consisted of 
two stout frigates, having on board, as John Josselyn, 
Gent., informs us, " three hundred valiant red coats." 
Having taken this survey, he sat himself down, and wrote 
an epistle to the commander, demanding his reason of an- 
choring in the harbour without obtaining previous per- 
mission so to do. This letter was couched in the most 
dignified and courteous terms, though I have it from un- 
doubted authority, that his teeth were clinched, and he 
had a bitter sardonic grin upon his visage, all the while 
he wrote. Having despatched his letter, the grim Peter 
stumped to and fro about the town, with a most war-be- 
tokening countenance, his hands thrust into his breeches 
pockets, and whistling a low Dutch Psalm tune, which 
bore no small resemblance to the music of a north-east wind, 
when a storm is brewing. The very dogs, as they eyed 
him, skulked away in dismay while all the old and ugly 
women of New- Amsterdam ran howling at his heels, im- 
ploring him to save them from murder, robbery, and pi- 
tiless ravishment ! 

The reply of Col. Nichols, who commanded the inva- 
ders, was couched in terms of equal courtesy with the let- 
ter of the governor declaring the right and title of his 
British majesty to the province ; where he affirmed the 
Dutch to be mere interlopers; and demanding that the 
town, forts, &c. should be forthwith rendered into his 


majesty's obedience and protection promising at the 
same time, life, liberty, estate, and free trade, to every 
Dutch denizen, who should readily submit to his majesty's 

Peter Stuyvesant read over this friendly epistle with 
some such harmony of aspect as we may suppose a crusty 
farmer, who has long been fattening upon his neighbour's 
soil, reads the loving letter of John Stiles, that warns him 
of an action of ejectment. The old governor, however, 
was not to be taken by surprise, but thrusting the sum- 
mons into his breeches pocket, he stalked three times 
across the room, took a pinch of snuff with great vehe- 
mence, and then loftily waving his hand, promised to 
send an answer the next morning. In the mean time he 
called a general council of war of his privy counsellors 
and burgomasters, not for the purpose of asking their ad- 
vice, for that, as has been already shown, he valued not 
a rush ; but to make known unto them his sovereign de- 
termination, and require their prompt adherence. 

Before, however, he convened his council, he resolved 
upon three important points ; first, never to give up the 
city, without a little hard fighting, for he deemed it highly 
derogatory to the dignity of so renowned a city, to suffer 
itself to be captured and stripped, without receiving a few 
kicks into the bargain. Secondly, that the majority of his 
grand council was composed of arrant poltroons, utterly 
destitute of true bottom ; and, thirdly , that he would not 
therefore suffer them to see the summons of Col. Nichols, 
lest the easy terms it held out might induce them to cla- 
mour for a surrender. 

His orders being duly promulgated, it was a piteous 
sight to behold the late valiant burgomasters, who had 
demolished the whole British empire in their harangues; 
peeping ruefully out of their hiding places, and then crawl- 
ing cautiously forth, dodging through narrow lanes and 
alleys ; starting at every little dog that barked, as though 

NEW-YORK, 545 

it had been a discharge of artillery -mistaking lamp-posts 
for British grenadiers, and in the excess of their panic, 
metamorphosing pumps into formidable soldiers, levelling 
blunderbusses at their bosoms ! Having, however, in 
despite of numerous perils and difficulties of the kind, ar- 
rived safe, without the loss of a single man, at the hall of 
assembly, they took their seats and awaited in fearful si- 
lence the arrival of the governor. In a few moments the 
wooden leg of the intrepid Peter was heard in regular 
and stout-hearted thumps upon the staircase. He enter- 
ed the chamber, arrayed in full suit of regimentals, and car- 
rying his trusty toledo, not girded on his thigh, but tucked 
under his arm. As the governor never equipped himself 
in this portentous manner, unless something of martial na- 
ture were working within his fearless pericranium, his 
council regarded him ruefully, as a very Janus, bearing- 
fire and sword in his iron countenance, and forgot to light 
their pipes in breathless suspense. 

The great Peter was as eloquent as he was valorous; 
indeed, these two rare qualities seemed to go hand in 
hand in his composition ; and, unlike most great states- 
men, whose victories are only confined to the bloodless 
field of argument, he was always ready to enforce his har- 
dy words by no less hardy deeds. His speeches were ge- 
nerally marked by a simplicity, approaching to bluntness, 
and by truly categorical decision. Addressing the grand 
council, he touched briefly upon the perils and hardships 
he had sustained, in escaping from his crafty foes. He 
next reproached the council, for wasting in idle debate, 
and party feuds, that time which should have been devoted 
to their country. He was particularly indignant at those 
brawlers, who, conscious of individual security, had dis- 
graced the councils of the province, by impotent hectorings 
and scurrilous invectives, against a noble and a powerful 
enemy those cowardly curs, who were incessant in their 
barkings and yelpings at the lion, while distant or asleep, 



but the moment he approached, were the first to skulk a- 
way. He now called on those who had been so valiant 
in their threats against Great Britain, to stand forth and 
support their vauntings by their actions for it was deeds, 
not words, that bespoke the spirit of a nation. He pro- 
ceeded to recal the golden days of former prosperity, 
which were only to be gained by manfully withstanding 
their enemies ; for the peace, he observed, which is affected 
by force of arms, is always more sure and durable, than 
that which is patched up by temporary accommodations. 
He endeavoured, moreover, to arouse their martial fire, 
by reminding them of the time, when, before the frowning 
walls of fort Christina, he had led them on to victory. 
He strove likewise to awaken their confidence, by assur- 
ing them of the protection of St. Nicholas, who had hi- 
therto maintained them in safety, amid all the savages of 
the wilderness, the witches and squatters of the east, and 
the giants of Merry-land. Finally, he informed them of 
the insolent summons he had received, to surrender ; but 
concluded by swearing to defend the province as long as 
heaven was on his side, and he had a wooden leg to stand 
upon. Which noble sentence he emphasized by a tremen- 
dous thwack with the broad side of his sword upon the 
table, that totally electrified his auditors. 

The privy counsellors, who had long been accustomed 
to the governor's way, and in fact had been brought into 
as perfect discipline, as were ever the soldiers of the great 
Frederick, saw that there was no use in saying a word 
so lighted their pipes and smoked away in silence like fat 
and discreet counsellors. But the burgomasters being less 
under the governor's control, considering themselves as 
representatives of the sovereign people, and being more- 
over inflated with considerable importance and self-suffici- 
ency, which they had acquired at those notable schools of 
wisdom and morality, the popular meetings were not so 
easily satisfied. Mustering up fresh spirit, when they 

NEW-YORK. 34? 

found there was some chanee of escaping from their pre- 
sent jeopardy, without the disagreeable alternative of fight- 
ing, they requested a copy of the summons to surrender, 
that they might show it to a general meeting of the people. 

So insolent and mutinous a request would have been 
enough to have roused the gorge of the tranquil Van 
Twiller himself- what then must have been its effect upon 
the great Stuyvesant, who was not only a Dutchman, a 
governor, and a valiant wooden-legged soldier to boot, but 
withal a man of the most stomachful and gunpowder dis- 
position. He burst forth into a blaze of noble indignation, 
to which the famous rage of Achilles was a mere pouting 
fit swore not a mother's son of them should see a sylla- 
ble of it that they deserved, every one of them, to be 
hanged, drawn, and quartered, for traitorously daring to 
question the infallibility of government; that as to their 
advice or concurrence, he did not care a whiff of tobacco 
for either ; that he "had long been harassed and thwarted 
by their cowardly councils; but that they might thence- 
forth go home, and go to bed like old women, for he was 
determined to defend the colony himself, without the as- 
sistance of them or their adherents ! So saying he tucked 
his sword under his arm, cocked his hat upon his head, 
and girding up his loins, stumped indignantly out of the 
council-chamber, every body making room for him as he 

No sooner had he gone than the busy burgomasters 
called a public meeting in front of the Stadt-house, where 
they appointed as chairman one Dofue Roerback, a mighty 
gingerbread-baker in the land, and formerly of the cabinet 
of William the Testy. He was looked up to with great 
reverence by the populace, who considered him a man of 
dark knowledge, seeing he was the first that imprinted 
new-year cakes with the mysterious hieroglyphics of the 
cock and breeches, and such like magical devices. 

This great burgomaster, who still chewed the cud of ill- 


will against the valiant Stuyvesant* in consequence of 
having been ignominiously kicked out of his cabinet at 
the time of his taking the reins of government, addressed 
the greasy multitude in what is called a patriotic speech ; 
in which he informed them of the courteous summons to 
surrender of the governor's refusal to comply therewith 
of his denying the public a sight of the summons, which, 
he had no doubt, contained conditions highly to the ho- 
nour and advantage of the province. 

He then proceeded to speak of his excellency in high 
sounding terms, suitable to the dignity and grandeur of 
his station, comparing him to Nero, Caligula, and those 
other great men of yore, who are generally quoted by 
popular orators on similar occasions. Assuring the peo*- 
pie that the history of the world did not contain a despo- 
tic outrage to equal the present for atrocity, cruelty, ty- 
ranny, and blood-thirstiness ; that it would be recorded 
in letters of fire on the blood-stained tablet of history ! 
that ages would roll back with sudden horror, when they 
came to view it ! That the womb of time (by the way 
your orators and writers take strange liberties with the 
womb of time, though some would fain have us believe 
that time is an old gentleman) that the womb of time, 
pregnant as it was with direful horrors, would never pro- 
duce a parallel enormity ! with a variety of other heart- 
rending, soul-stirring tropes and figures, which I cannot 
enumerate. Neither, indeed, need I, for they were ex- 
actly the same that are used in all popular harangues and 
patriotic orations at the present day, and may be classed 
in rhetoric under the general title of RIGMAROLE. 

The speech of this inspired burgomaster being finished, 
the meeting fell into a kind of popular fermentation, which 
produced not only a string of right wise resolutions, but 
likewise a most resolute memorial, addressed to the go- 
vernor, remonstrating at his conduct ; which was no sooner 
handed to him, than he handed it into the fire ; and thus 

NEW* YORK. 349 

deprived posterity of an invaluable document, that might 
have served as a precedent to the enlightened cobblers 
and tailors of the present day, in their sage intermeddlings 
with politics. 


Containing a doleful disaster of Anthony the Trumpeter ; and 
how Peter Stuyvesant, like a second Cromivell, suddenly dis- 
solved a Rump Parliament. 

Now did the high-minded Pieter de Groodt shower 
down a pannier-load of benedictions upon his burgomas- 
ters, for a set of self-willed, obstinate, headstrong varlets, 
who would neither be convinced nor persuaded ; and de- 
termined thenceforth to have nothing more to do with 
them, but to consult merely the opinion of his privy 
counsellors, w^hich he knew from experience to be the 
best in the world, inasmuch as it never differed from his 
own. Nor did he omit, now that his hand was in, to be- 
stow some thousand left-handed compliments upon the 
sovereign people, whom he railed at for a herd of pol- 
troons, who had no relish for the glorious hardships and 
illustrious misadventures of battle but would rather stay 
at home, and eat and sleep in ignoble ease, than gain im- 
mortality and a broken head, by valiantly fighting in a 

Resolutely bent, however, upon defending his beloved 
city, in despite even of itself, he called unto him his trusty 
Van Corlear, who was his right-hand man in all times of 
emergency. Him did he adjure to take his war-denoun- 
cing trumpet, and mounting his horse, to beat up the 
country, night and day sounding the alarm along the 


pastoral borders of the Bronx startling the wild soli-^ 
tudes of Croton- arousing the rugged yeomanry of Wee-^ 
hawk and Hoboeken the mighty men of battle of Tap- 
pan Bay * and the brave boys of Tarry town and Sleepy 
hollow together with all the other warriors of the coun- 
try round about; charging them one and all, to sling 
their powder-horns, shoulder their fowling-pieces, and 
march merrily down to the Manhattoes. 

Now there was nothing in all the world, the divine sex 
excepted, that Anthony Van Corlear loved better than 
errands of this kind. So, just stopping to take a lusty 
dinner, and bracing to his side his junk- bottle, well 
charged with heart-inspiring Hollands, he issued jollily 
from the city gate, that looked out upon what is at pre- 
sent called Broad-way; sounding as usual a farewell 
strain, that rung in sprightly echoes through the winding 
streets of New- Amsterdam Alas ! never more were they 
to be gladdened by the melody of their favourite trum- 
peter ! 

It was a dark and stormy night when the good Anthony 
arrived at the famous creek (sagely denominated Haer- 
lem river) which separates the island of Manna-hata from 
the main land. The wind was high, the elements were 
in an uproar, and no Charon could be found to ferry the 
adventurous sounder of brass across the water. For a 
short time he vapoured like an impatient ghost upon the 
brink, and then, bethinking himself of the urgency of his 
errand, took a hearty embrace of his stone bottle, swore 
most valorously that he would swim across, en spij't den 
duyvel (in spite of the devil !) and daringly plunged into 
the stream. Luckless Anthony ! scarce had he buffeted 
half-way over, when he was observed to struggle violently, 

* A corruption of Top-paun ; so called from a tribe of Indians 
which boasted 150 fighting men. See Ogilvie's History. 

NEW-YORK. 351 

as if battling with the spirit of the waters instinctively 
he put his trumpet to his mouth, and, giving a vehement 
blast, sunk for ever to the bottom ! 

The potent clangour of his trumpet, like the ivory 
horn of the renowned Paladin Orlando, when expiring in 
the glorious field of Roncesvalles, rung far and wide 
through the country, alarming the neighbours round, 
who hurried in amazement to the spot. Here an old 
Dutch burgher, famed for his veracity, and who had been 
a witness of the fact, related to them the melancholy af- 
fair ; with the fearful addition (to which I am slow of 
giving belief), that he saw the duyvel, in the shape of a 
huge moss-bonker, seize the sturdy Anthony by the leg, 
and drag him beneath the waves. Certain it is, the place, 
with the adjoining promontory, which projects into the 
Hudson, has been called Spijt den duyvel, or Spiking 
duyvd) ever since the restless ghost of the unfortunate 
Anthony still haunts the surrounding solitudes, and his 
trumpet has often been heard by the neighbours, of a 
stormy night, mingling with the howling of the blast. 
Nobody ever attempts to swim over the creek after dark ; 
on the contrary, a bridge has been built to guard against 
such melancholy accidents in future and as to moss- 
bonkers, they are held in such abhorrence, that no true 
Dutchman will admit them to his table, who loves good 
fish, and hates the devil. 

Such was the end of Anthony Van Corlear a man 
deserving of a better fate. He lived roundly and sound- 
ly, like a true and jolly bachelor, until the day of his 
death ; but though he was never married, yet did he leave 
behind some two or three dozen children, in different 
parts of the country fine chubby, brawling, flatulent 
little urchins, from whom, if legends speak true (and they 
are not apt to lie), did descend the innumerable race of 
editors, who people and defend this country, and who are 
bountifully paid by the people for keeping up a constant 


alarm and making them miserable. Would that they 
inherited the worth, as they do the wind, of their re- 
nowned progenitor ! 

The tidings of this lamentable catastrophe imparted a 
severer pang to the bosom of Peter Stuyvesant, than did 
even the invasion of his beloved Amsterdam. It came 
ruthlessly home to those sweet affections, that grow close 
around the heart, and are nourished by its warmest cur- 
rent. As some lone pilgrim wandering in trackless 
wastes, while the tempest whistles through his locks, and 
dreary night is gathering around, sees stretched, cold and 
lifeless, his faithful dog the sole companion of his jour- 
neying who had shared his solitary meal, and so often 
licked his hand in humble gratitude ; so did the gene- 
rous-hearted hero of the Manhattoes contemplate the un- 
timely end of his faithful Anthony. He had been the 
humble attendant of his footsteps he had cheered him 
in many a heavy hour, by his honest gaiety ; and had 
followed him in loyalty and affection, through many a 
scene of direful peril and mishap. He was gone for ever 
and that too at a moment when every mongrel cur 
seemed skulking from his side. This, Peter Stuyvesant 
this was the moment to try thy fortitude ; and this 
was the moment, when thou didst indeed shine forth 
Peter the Headstrong. 

The glare of day had long dispelled the horrors of the 
last stormy night, still all was dull and gloomy. The 
late jovial Apollo hid his face behind lugubrious clouds, 
peeping out now and then for an instant, as if anxious, 
yet fearful, to see what was going on in his favourite city. 
This was the eventful morning, when the great Peter was 
to give his reply to the summons of the invaders. Al- 
ready was he closeted with his privy council, sitting in 
grim state brooding over the fate of his favourite trumpe- 
ter, and anon boiling with indignation as the insolence of 
his recreant burgomasters flashed upon his mind. While 


in this state of irritation, a courier arrived in all haste 
from Winthrop, the subtle governor of Connecticut, coun- 
selling him in the most affectionate and disinterested man-*- 
ner to surrender the province, and magnifying the dan- 
gers and calamities to which a refusal would subject him. 
What a moment was this to intrude officious advice upon 
a man who never took advice in his whole life! The 
fiery old governor strode up and down the chamber, with 
a vehemence that made the bosoms of his counsellors to 
quake with awe, railing at his unlucky fate, that thus 
made him the constant butt of factious subjects and Je- 
suitical advisers. 

Just at this ill-chosen juncture, the officious burgo- 
masters, who were now completely on the watch, and had 
heard of the arrival of mysterious dispatches, came march- 
ing in a resolute body into the room, with a legion of sche- 
pens and toad-eaters at their heels, and abruptly demanded 
a perusal of the letter. Thus to be broken in upon by 
what he esteemed a " rascal rabble," and that too at the 
very moment he was grinding under an irritation from 
abroad, was too much for the spleen of the choleric Pe- 
ter. He tore the letter in a thousand pieces,* threw it 
in the face of the nearest burgomaster, broke his pipe 
over the head of the next, hurled his spitting-box at an 
unlucky s.chepen, who was just fnaking a masterly retreat 
out at the door, axicj finally prorogued the whole meeting 
sine die, by kicking them down stairs with his wooden 

As soon as the burgomasters could recover from the con- 
fusiou into which their sudden exit had thrown them, and 
had taken a little time to breathe, they protested against 
the conduct of the governor, which they did not hesitate 
to pronounce tyrannical, unconstitutional, highly indecent, 
#nd somewhat disrespectful. They then called a public 

* Smith's History of N. y, 
2 Y* 


meeting, where they read the protest, and addressing the 
assembly in a set speech, related at full length, and with 
appropriate colouring and exaggeration, the despotic and 
vindictive deportment of the governor ; declaring that, for 
their own parts, they did not value a straw the being 
kicked, cuffed, and mauled by the timber toe of his ex- 
cellency, but they felt for the dignity of the sovereign 
people, thus rudely insulted by the outrage committed on 
the seats of honour of their representatives. The latter 
part of the harangue had a violent effect upon the sensi- 
bility of the people, as it came home at once to that deli- 
cacy of feeling and jealous pride of character vested in all 
true mobs ; who, though they may bear injuries without 
a murmur, yet are marvellously jealous of their sovereign 
dignity; and there is no knowing to what act of resent- 
ment they might have been provoked against the re- 
doubtable Peter, had not the greasy rogues been some- 
what more afraid of their sturdy old governor, than they 
were of St. Nicholas, the English, or the D 1 himself. 


How Peter Stuyvesant defended the city of New- Amsterdam for 
several days, by dint of the strength of his head. 

THERE is something exceedingly sublime and melan- 
choly in the spectacle which the present crisis of our his- 
tory presents. An illustrious and venerable little city, 
the metropolis of an immense extent of uninhabited coun- 
try, garrisoned by a doughty host of orators, chairmen, 
committeemen, burgomasters, schepens, and old women, 
governed by a determined and strong-headed warrior, 
and fortified by mud-batteries, palisadoes, and resolu- 
tions, blockaded by sea, beleagured by land, and threat- 

NEW-YORK. 355 

ened with direful desolation from without, while its very 
vitals are torn with internal faction and commotion ! Ne- 
ver did historic pen record a page of more complicated 
distress, unless it be the strife that distracted the Israelites 
during the siege of Jerusalem, where discordant parties 
were cutting each other's throats, at the moment when 
the victorious legions of Titus had toppled down their 
bulwarks, and were carrying fire and sword into the very 
Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple. 

Governor Stuy vesant having triumphantly, as has been 
recorded, put his grand council to the rout, and thus de- 
livered himself from a multitude of impertinent advisers, 
despatched a categorical reply to the commanders of the 
invading squadron; wherein he asserted the right and 
title of their high mightinesses the lords states general 
to the province of New Netherlands, and trusting in the 
righteousness of his cause, set the whole British nation at 
defiance ! My anxiety to extricate my readers and my- 
self from these disastrous scenes, prevents me from giv- 
ing the whole of this gallant letter, which concluded in 
these manly and affectionate terms : 

" As touching the threats in your conclusion, we have 
nothing to answer, only that we fear nothing but what 
God (who is as just as merciful) shall lay upon us all 
things being in his gracious disposal and we may as well 
be preserved by Him with small forces, as by a great 
army; which makes us to wish you all happiness and 
prosperity, and recommend you to his protection. My 
lords, your thrice humble and affectionate servant and 


Thus having resolutely thrown his gauntlet, the brave 
Peter stuck a pair of horse-pistols in his belt girded an 
immense powder-horn on his side thrust his sound leg 


into a hesslan boot and, clapping his fierce little war- 
hat on the top of his head, paraded up and down in front 
of his house, determined to defend his beloved city to the 

While all these woful struggles and dissensions were 
prevailing in the unhappy city of New-Amsterdam, and 
while its worthy, but ill-starred governor was framing 
the above quoted letter, the English commanders did not 
remain idle. They had agents secretly employed to fo- 
ment the fears and clamours of the populace ; and more- 
over circulated far and wide, through the adjacent coun- 
try, a proclamation, repeating the terms they had already 
held out in their summons to surrender, and beguiling 
the simple Netherlanders with the most crafty and conci- 
liating professions. They promised that every man who 
Voluntarily submitted to the authority of his British ma- 
jesty, should retain peaceable possession of his house, his 
vrouw, and his cabbage garden. That he should be suf- 
fered to smoke his pipe, speak Dutch, wear as hiany 
breeches as he pleased, and import bricks, tiles, and stone 
jugs from Holland, instead of manufacturing them on the 
spot that he should on no account be compelled to learn 
the English language, or keep accounts in any other way 
than by casting them upon his fingers, and chalking them 
down upon the crown of his hat I as is still observed a- 
mong the Dutch yeomanry at the present day. That 
every man should be allowed quietly to inherit his father's 
hat, coat, shoe-buckles, pipe, and every other personal 
appendage ; and that nd man should be obliged to con- 
form to any improvements, inventions^ or any other mo- 
dern innovations ; but, on the contrary, should be per- 
mitted to build his house, follow his trade, manage his 
farm, rear his hogs, and educate his children, precisely 
as his ancestors did before him since time immemorial. 
Finally, that he should have all the benefits of free trade, 
and should not be required to acknowledge any othei* 

NEW-YORK. 357 

saint in the calendar than Saint Nicholas* who should 
thenceforward, as before, be considered the tutelar saint 
of the city. 

These terms, as may be supposed, appeared very satis- 
factory to the people, who had a great disposition to enjoy 
their property unmolested, and a most singular aversion 
to engage in a contest, where they could gain little more 
than honour and broken heads the first of which they 
held in philosophic indifference, the latter in utter detes- 
tation. By these insidious means, therefore, did the Eng- 
lish succeed in alienating the confidence and affections of 
the populace from their gallant old governor, whom they 
considered as obstinately bent upon running them into hi- 
deous misadventures ; and did not hesitate to speak their 
minds freely, and abuse him most heartily behind his 

Like As a mighty grampus, who though assailed and 
buffetted by roaring waves and brawling surges, still keeps 
oil an undeviating course ; and though overwhelmed by 
boisterous billows, still emerges from the troubled deep, 
spouting and blowing with tenfold violence so did the 
inflexible Peter pursue, unwavering, his determined career, 
and rise contemptuous above the clamours of the rabble. 

But when the British warriors found, by the tenor of 
his reply, that he set their power at defiance, they forth- 
with despatched recruiting officers to Jamaica, and Jericho, 
and Nineveh, and Quag, and Patchog, and all those towns 
on Long Island, which had been subdued of yore by the 
immortal Stoffel Brinkerhoff ; stirring up the valiant pro- 
geny of Preserved Fish, and Determined Cock, and those 
other illustrious squatters, to assail the city of New- Am- 
sterdam by land. In the mean while the hostile ships 
made awful preparation to commence an assault by water* 

The streets of New- Amsterdam now presented a scene 
of wild dismay and consternation. In vain did the sral- 


lant Stuyvesant order the citizens to arm and assemble in 


the public square or market-place. The whole party of 
short pipes in the course of a single night had changed 
into arrant old women a metamorphosis only to be par- 
alleled by the prodigies recorded by Livy as having hap- 
pened to Rome at the approach of Hannibal ; when statues 
sweated in pure affright, goats were converted into sheep, 
and cocks turning into hens ran cackling about the streets. 

The harassed Peter, thus menaced from without and 
tormented from within baited by the burgomasters and 
hooted at by the rabble chafed, and growled, and raged 
like a furious bear tied to a stake, and worried by a legion 
of scoundrel curs. Finding, however, that all further 
attempts to defend the city were vain, and hearing that an 
irruption of borderers and moss-troopers was ready to de- 
luge him from the east, he was at length compelled, in 
spite of his proud heart, which swelled in his throat until 
it had nearly choked him, to consent to a treaty of sur- 

Words cannot express the transports of the people, on 
receiving this agreeable intelligence ; had they obtained a 
conquest over their enemies, they could not have indulged 
greater delight. The streets resounded with their con- 
gratulations they extolled their governor as the father 
and deliverer of his country they crowded to his house 
to testify their gratitude, and were ten times more noisy 
in their plaudits, than when he returned, with victory 
perched upon his beaver, from the glorious capture of 
Fort Christina ; but the indignant Peter shut his doors 
and windows, and took refuge in the innermost recesses of 
his mansion, that he might not hear the ignoble rejoicings 
of the rabble. 

In consequence of this consent of the governor, a parley 
was demanded of the besieging forces to treat of the terms 
of surrender. Accordingly a deputation of six commis- 
sioners was appointed on both sides, and on the 27th 
August, 1664, a capitulation highly favourable to the pro- 

NEW-YORK. 359 

vince, and honourable to Peter Stuyvesant, was agreed to 
by the enemy, who had conceived a high opinion of the 
valour of the men of the Manhattoes, and the magnanimity 
and unbounded discretion of their governor. 

One thing alone remained, which was, that the articles 
of surrender should be ratified, and signed by the gover- 
nor. When the commissioners respectfully waited upon 
him for this purpose, they were received by the hardy old 
warrior with the most grim and bitter courtesy. His war- 
like accoutrements were laid aside an old India night- 
gown was wrapped around his rugged limbs, a red night 
cap overshadowed his frowning brow, and an iron gray 
beard, of three days' growth, gave additional grimness to 
his visage. Thrice did he seize a little worn-out stump of 
a pen, and essay to sign the loathsome paper thrice did 
he clinch his teeth, and make a most horrible countenance, 
as though a pestiferous dose of rhubarb, senna, and ipe- 
cacuanha, had been offered to his lips ; at length, dashing 
it from him, he seized his brass hilted sword, and jerking 
it from the scabbard, swore by St. Nicholas, he'd sooner 
die than yield to any power under heaven. 

In vain was every attempt to shake this sturdy resolu- 
tion menaces, remonstrances, revilings were exhausted 
to no purpose ; for two whole days was the house of the 
valiant Peter besieged by the clamorous rabble, and for 
two whole days did he betake himself to his arms, and per- 
sist in a magnanimous refusal to ratify the capitulation 
thus, like another Horatius Codes, bearing the whole 
brunt of war, and defending this modern Rome, with the 
prowess of his single arm ! 

At length the populace, finding that boisterous measures 
did but incense more determined opposition, bethought 
themselves of an humble expedient, by which, haply, the 
governor's lofty ire might be soothed, and his resolution 
undermined. And now a solemn and mournful procession, 
headed by the burgomasters and schepens, and followed 


by the populace, moves slowly to the governor's dwelling, 
bearing the capitulation. Here they found the stout old 
hero, drawn up like a giant into his castle, the doors 
strongly barricadoed, and himself in full regimentals, with 
his cocked hat on his head, firmly posted with a blunder- 
buss at the garret window. 

There was something in this formidable position that 
struck even the ignoble vulgar with awe and admiration. 
The brawling multitude could not but reflect with self- 
abasement, upon their own pusillanimous conduct, when 
they beheld their hardy but deserted old governor, thus 
faithful to his post, like a forlorn hope, and fully prepared 
to defend his ungrateful city to the last. These compunc- 
tions, however, were soon overwhelmed by the recurring 
tide of public apprehension. The populace arranged 
themselves before the house, taking off* their hats with 
most respectful humility Burgomaster Roerback, who 
was of that popular class of orators, described by old Sal- 
lust, as being talkative rather than eloquent," stepped 
forth and addressed the governor in a speech of three 
hours' length; detailing in the most pathetic terms the 
calamitous situation of the province, and urging him in a 
constant repetition of the same arguments and words, to 
sign the capitulation. 

The mighty Peter eyed him from his little garret win- 
dow in grim silence now and then his eye would glance 
over the surrounding rabble, and an indignant grin, like 
that of an angry mastiff, would mark his iron visage ; but 
though he was a man of most undaunted mettle though 
he had a heart as big as an ox, and a head that would have 
set adamant to scorn yet after all he was a mere mortal : 
wearied out by these repeated oppositions, and this 
eternal haranguing, and perceiving that unless he com- 
plied the inhabitants would follow their inclinations, or ra- 
ther their fears, without waiting for his consent, he testily 
ordered them to hand him up the paper. It was according- 

NEW-YORK. 361 

ly hoisted to him on the end of a pole, and having scrawled 
his name at the bottom of it he anathematized them all for 
a set of cowardly, mutinous, degenerate poltroons threw 
the capitulation at their heads, slammed down the window, 
and was heard stumping down stairs with the most vehe- 
ment indignation. The rabble incontinently took to their 
heels ; even the burgomasters were not slow in evacuating 
the premises, fearing lest the sturdy Peter might issue 
from his den, and greet them with some unwelcome testi- 
monial of his displeasure. 

Within three hours after the surrender, a legion of Bri- 
tish beef-fed warriors poured into New- Amsterdam, taking 
possession of the fort and batteries. And now might be 
heard, from all quarters, the sound of hammers made by 
the old Dutch burghers, who were busily employed, nail- 
ing up their doors and windows, to protect their vrouws 
from these fierce barbarians, whom they contemplated in 
silent sullenness from the garret windows, as they paraded 
through the streets. 

Thus did Col. Richard Nichols, the commander of the 
British forces, enter into quiet possession of the conquered 
realm as locum lenens for the Duke of York. The victory 
was attended with no other outrage than that of changing 
the name of the province and its metropolis, which thence- 
forth were denominated NEW- YORK, and so have contin- 
ued to be called unto the present day. The inhabitants, 
according to treaty, were allowed to maintain quiet posses- 
sion of their property ; but so inveterately did they retain 
their abhorrence to the British nation, that in a private 
meeting of the leading citizens, it was unanimously deter- 
mined, never to ask any of their conquerors to dinner. 



Containing the dignified retirement) and mortal surrender of 
Peter the Headstrong. 

THUS then have I concluded this great historical enter- 
prize ; but before I lay aside my weary pen, there yet re- 
mains to be performed one pious duty. If among the 
variety of readers that may peruse this book, there should 
haply be found any of those souls of true nobility, which 
glow with celestial fire, at the history of the generous and 
the brave, they will doubtless be anxious to know the fate 
of the gallant Peter Stuyvesant. To gratify one such ster- 
ling heart of gold I would go more lengths, than to instruct 
the cold-blooded curiosity of a whole fraternity of philo- 

No sooner had that high-mettled cavalier signed the ar- 
ticles of capitulation, than, determined not to witness the 
humiliation of his favourite city, he turned his back on 
its walls and made a growling retreat to his Bouwery, or 
country-seat, which was situated about two miles off; 
where he passed the remainder of his days in patriarchal 
retirement. There he enjoyed that tranquillity of mind, 
which he had never known amid the distracting cares of 
government; and tasted the sweets of absolute and uncon- 
trolled authority, which his factious subjects had so often 
dashed with the bitterness of opposition. 

No persuasions could ever induce him to revisit the city 
on the contrary, he would always have his great arm- 
chair placed with its back to the windows which looked 
in that direction ; until a thick grove of trees planted by 
his own hand grew up and formed a screen, that effectually 
excluded it from the prospect. He railed continually at 
the degenerate innovations and improvements introduced 

NEW-YORK. 363 

by the conquerors forbade a word of their detested lan- 
guage to be spoken in his family, a prohibition readily o- 
beyed, since none of the household could speak any thing 
but Dutch and even ordered a fine avenue to be cut 
down in front of his house, because it consisted of English 

The same incessant vigilance, that blazed forth when 
he had a vast province under his care, now showed itself 
with equal vigour, though in narrower limits. He patrol- 
led with unceasing watchfulness around the boundaries of 
his little territory; repelled every encroachment with in- 
trepid promptness; punished every vagrant depredation 
upon his orchard or his farm-yard with inflexible severity ; 
and conducted every stray hog or cow in triumph to the 
pound. But to the indigent neighbour, the friendless 
stranger, or the weary wanderer, his spacious door was 
ever open, and his capacious fire-place, that emblem of 
his own warm and generous heart, had always a corner to 
receive and cherish them. There was an exception to this, 
I must confess, in case the ill-starred applicant was an 
Englishman or a Yankee; to whom, though he might ex- 
tend the hand of assistance, he could never be brought to 
yield the rites of hospitality. Nay, if peradventure some 
straggling merchant of the east, should stop at his door, 
with his cart-load of tin-ware or wooden bowls, the fiery 
Peter would issue forth like a giant from his castle, and 
make such a furious clattering among his pots and kettles, 
that the vender of " notions' 9 was fain to betake himself to 
instant flight. 

His ancient suit of regimentals, worn threadbare by the 
brush, were carefully hung up in the state bed-chamber, 
and regularly aired the first fair day of every month ; and 
his cocked-hat and trusty sword were suspended in grim 
repose, over the parlour mantel-piece, forming supporters 
to a full length portrait of the renowned Admiral Von 
Tromp. In his domestic empire he maintained strict dis- 


cipline, and a well organized, despotic government; but 
though his own will was the supreme law, yet the good of 
his subjects was his constant object. He watched over, 
not merely their immediate comforts, but their morals, 
and their ultimate welfare; for he gave them abundance 
of excellent admonition, nor could any of them complain, 
that when occasion required, he was by any means nig- 
gardly in bestowing wholesome correction. 

The good old Dutch festivals, those periodical demon- 
strations of an overflowing heart and a thankful spirit, 
which are falling into sad disuse among my fellow-citizens, 
were faithfully observed in the mansion of Governor Stuy- 
vesant. New-year was truly a day of open-handed libe- 
rality, of jocund revelry, and warm-hearted congratulation 
when the bosom seemed to swell with genial good-fel- 
lowship; and the plenteous table was attended with an 
unceremonious freedom, and honest broad-mouthed mer- 
riment, unknown in these days of degeneracy and refine- 
ment. Paas and Pinxter were scrupulously observed 
throughout his dominions; nor was the day of St. Nicholas 
suffered to pass by, without making presents, hanging the 
stocking in the chimney, and complying with all its other 

Once a-year, on the first day of April, he used to array 
himself in full regimentals, being the anniversary of his 
triumphal entry into New- Amsterdam, after the conquest 
of New Sweden. This was always a kind of Saturnalia 
among the domestics, when they considered themselves at 
liberty in some measure, to say and do what they pleased; 
for on this day their master was always observed to un- 
bend, and become exceeding pleasant and jocose, sending 
the old gray-headed negroes on April fools' errands for 
pigeon's milk ; not one of whom but allowed himself to be 
taken in, and humoured his old master's jokes, as became 
a faithful and well disciplined dependant. Thus did he 
reign, happily and peacefully on his own land injuring 

NEW-YORK. 365 

no man envying no man molested by no outward strifes 
perplexed by no internal commotions ; and the mighty 
monarchs of the earth, who were vainly seeking to main- 
tain peace, and promote the welfare of mankind, by war 
and desolation, would have done well to have made a voy- 
age to the little island of Manna-hata, and learned a lesson 
in government from the domestic economy of Peter Stuy- 

In process of time, however, the old governor, like all 
other children of mortality, began to exhibit evident to- 
kens of decay. Like an aged oak, which, though it long 
has braved the fury of the elements, and still retains its 
gigantic proportions, yet begins to shake and groan with 
every blast so the gallant Peter, though he still bore the 
port and semblance of what he was in the days of his har- 
dihood and chivalry, yet did age and infirmity begin to 
sap the vigour of his frame ; but his heart, that most un- 
conquerable citadel, still triumphed unsubdued. With 
matchless avidity would he listen to every article of intel- 
ligence concerning the battles between the English and 
Dutch. Still would his pulse beat high, whenever he 
heard of the victories of De Ruyter ; and his countenance 
lower, and his eyebrows knit, when fortune turned in fa- 
vour of the English. At length, as on a certain day, he 
had just smoked his fifth pipe, and was napping after din- 
ner, in his arm-chair, conquering the whole British nation 
in his dreams, he was suddenly aroused by a fearful ring- 
ing of bells, rattling of drums, and roaring of cannon, that 
put all his blood in a ferment. But when he learnt, that 
these rejoicings were in honour of a great victory obtained 
by the combined English and French fleets, over the brave 
De Ruyter, and the younger Von Tromp, it went so much 
to his heart, that he took to his bed, and in less than three 
days, was brought to death's door, by a violent cholera 
morbus ! But even in this extremity, he still displayed 
the unconquerable spirit of Peter the Headstrong ; holding 


out, to the last gasp, with the most inflexible obstinacy, 
against a whole army of old women, who were bent upon 
driving the enemy out of his bowels, after a true Dutch 
mode of defence, by inundating the seat of war with cat- 
nip and pennyroyal. 

While he thus lay, lingering on the verge of dissolu- 
tion, news was brought him, that the brave Ruyter had 
suffered but little loss had made good his retreat and 
meant once more to meet the enemy in battle. The clos- 
ing eye of the old warrior kindled at the words he partly 
raised himself in bed a flash of martial fire beamed across 
his visage he clinched his withered hand, as if he felt 
within his gripe that sword which waved in triumph before 
the walls of Fort Chris tin a^ and giving a grim smile of 
exultation, sunk back upon his pillow, and expired. 

Thus died Peter Stuyvesant, a valiant soldier, a loyal 
subject, an upright governor, and an honest Dutchman 
who wanted only a few empires to desolate, to have been 
immortalized as a hero ! 

His funeral obsequies were celebrated with the utmost 
grandeur and solemnity. The town was perfectly emptied 
of its inhabitants, who crowded in throngs to pay the last 
sad honours to their good old governor. All his sterling 
qualities rushed in full tide upon their recollections, while 
the memory of his foibles, and his faults, had expired with 
him. The ancient burghers contended who should have 
the privilege of bearing the pall the populace strove who 
should walk nearest to the bier and the melancholy pro- 
cession was closed by a number of gray-headed negroes, 
who had wintered and summered in the household of their 
departed master, for the greater part of a century. 

With sad and gloomy countenances, the multitude ga- 
thered round the grave. They dwelt with mournful hearts 
on the sturdy virtues, the signal services, and the gallant 
exploits of the brave old worthy. They recalled, with se- 
cret upbraidings, their own factious oppositions to his go- 

NEW-YORK. 367 

vernment and many an ancient burgher, whose phleg- 
matic features had never been known to relax, nor his eyes 
to moisten, was now observed to puff a pensive pipe, and 
the big drop to steal down his cheek while he muttered, 
with affectionate accent, and melancholy shake of the head 
" Well den ! Hard-koppig Peter ben gone at last." 

His remains were deposited in the family vault, under 
a chapel, which he had piously erected on his estate, and 
dedicated to St. Nicholas and which stood on the iden- 
tical spot at present occupied by St. Mark's Church, where 
his tombstone is still to be seen. His estate, or Bouwery, 
as it was called, has ever continued in the possession of 
his descendants ; who, by the uniform integrity of their 
conduct, and their strict adherence to the customs and 
manners that prevailed in the " good old times," have prov- 
ed themselves worthy of their illustrious ancestor. Many 
a time and oft, has the farm been haunted at night by en- 
terprizing money-diggers, in quest of pots of gold, said to 
have been buried by the old governor though I cannot 
learn that any of them have ever been enriched by their 
researches and who is there, among my native-born 
fellow-citizens, that does not remember, when in the 
mischievous days of his boyhood, he conceived it a great 
exploit, to rob Stuyvesant's orchard " on a holiday af- 
ternoon ? 

At this strong hold of the family may still be seen cer- 
tain memorials of the immortal Peter. His full length 
portrait frowns in martial terrors from the parlour wall 
his cocked-hat and sword still hang up in the best bed- 
room. His brimstone-coloured breeches were for a long 
while suspended in the hall, until some years since they 
occasioned a dispute between a new married couple. And 
his silver mounted wooden-leg is still treasured up in the 
store-room, as an invaluable relique. 



The Author's reflections upon what has been said. 

AMONG the numerous events, which are each in their 
turn, the most direful and melancholy of all possible oc- 
currences, in your interesting and authentic history, there 
is none that occasions such deep and heart-rending griefj 
as the decline and fall of your renowned and mighty em- 
pires. Where is the reader who can contemplate without 
emotion, the disastrous events by which the great dynas- 
ties of the world have been extinguished ? While wan- 
dering, in imagination, among the gigantic ruins of states 
and empires, and marking the tremendous convulsions 
that wrought their overthrow, the bosom of the melan- 
choly inquirer swells with sympathy commensurate to the 
surrounding desolation. Kingdoms, principalities, and 
powers, have each had their rise, their progress, and their 
downfal each in its turn has swayed a potent sceptre 
each has returned to its primeval nothingness ; and thus 
did it fare with the empire of their high mightinesses, at 
the Manhattoes, under the peaceful reign of Walter the 
Doubter the fretful reign of William the Testy and 
the chivalric reign of Peter the Headstrong. 

Its history is fruitful of instruction, and worthy of being 
pondered over attentively ; for it is by thus raking among 
the ashes of departed greatness, that the sparks of true 
knowledge are found, and the lamp of wisdom illumined. 
Let then the reign of Walter the Doubter warn against 
yielding to that sleek, contented security, that overween- 
ing fondness for comfort and repose, that are produced by 
a state of prosperity and peace. These tend to unnerve 
a nation, to destroy its pride of character ; to render it 
patient of insult, deaf to the calls of honour and of justice; 

NEW-YORK. 369 

and cause it to cling to peace, like the sluggard to his 
pillow, at the expense of every valuable duty and conside- 
ration. Such supineness insures the very evil from which 
it shrinks. One right yielded up, produces the usurpa- 
tion of a second ; one encroachment passively suffered, 
makes way for another ; and the nation that thus, through 
a doting love of peace, has sacrificed honour and interest, 
will at length have to fight for existence. 

Let the disastrous reign of William the Testy serve as 
a salutary warning against that fitful, feverish mode of 
legislation, that acts without system ; depends on shifts 
and projects, and trusts to lucky contingencies ; that he- 
sitates, and wavers, and at length decides with the rash- 
ness of ignorance and imbecility. That stoops for popu- 
larity by courting the prejudices, and flattering the arro- 
gance, rather than commanding the respect of the rabble. 
That seeks safety in a multitude of counsellors, and dis- 
tracts itself by a variety of contradictory schemes and 
opinions. That mistakes procrastination for deliberate 
wariness hurry for decision starveling parsimony for 
wholesome economy bustle for business and vapouring 
for valour. That is violent in council, sanguine in ex~ 
pectation, precipitate in action, and feeble in execution. 
That undertakes enterprizes without forethought, enters 
upon them without preparation, conducts them without 
energy, and ends them in confusion and defeat. 

Let the reign of the good Stuyvesant show the effects 
of vigour and decision, even when destitute of cool judg- 
ment, and surrounded by perplexities. Let it show how 
frankness, probity, and high-souled courage will command 
respect, and secure honour, even where success is unat- 
tainable. But, at the same time, let it caution against a 
too ready reliance on the good faith of others, and a too 
honest confidence in the loving professions of powerful 
neighbours, who are most friendly when they most mean 
to betray. Let it teach a judicious attention to the opi- 

3 A 


nions and wishes of the many, who, in times of peril, 
must be soothed and led, or apprehension will overpower 
the deference to authority. 

Let the empty wordiness of his factious subjects their 
intemperate harangues their violent "resolutions" their 
hectorings against an absent enemy, and their pusillanimi- 
ty on his approach teach us to distrust and despise those 
clamorous patriots, whose courage dwells but in the tongue. 
Let them serve as a lesson to repress that insolence of 
speech, destitute of real force, which too often breaks 
forth in popular bodies, and bespeaks the vanity rather 
than the spirit of a nation. Let them caution us against 
vaunting too much of our own power and prowess, and 
reviling a noble enemy. True gallantry of soul would 
always lead us to treat a foe with courtesy and proud 
punctilio; a contrary conduct but takes from the merit 
of victory, and renders defeat doubly disgraceful. 

But I cease to dwell on the stores of excellent example 
to be drawn from the ancient chronicles of the Manhat- 
toes. He who reads attentively will discover the threads 
of gold, which run throughout the web of history, and are 
invisible to the dull eye of ignorance. But before I con- 
clude, let me point out a solemn warning, furnished in 
the subtle chain of events by which the capture of Fort 
Casirnir has produced the present convulsions of our globe. 

Attend then, gentle reader, to this plain deduction, 
which if thou art a king, an emperor, or other powerful 
potentate, I advise thee to treasure up in thy heart, though 
little expectation have I that my work will fall into such 
hands ; for well I know the care of crafty ministers, to 
keep all grave and edifying books of the kind out of the 
way of unhappy monarchs, lest, peradventure, they should 
read them and learn wisdom. 

By the treacherous surprisal of Fort Casimir then did 
the crafty Swedes enjoy a transient triumph ; but drew 
upon their heads the vengeance of Peter Stuyvesant, who 

NEW. YORK. 371 

wrested all New Sweden from their hands. By the con- 
quest of New Sweden, Peter Stuyvesant aroused the 
claims of Lord Baltimore ; who appealed to the cabinet 
of Great Britain; who subdued the whole province of 
New Netherlands. By this great achievement the whole 
extent of North America from Nova Scotia to the Flori- 
das, was rendered one entire dependency upon the British 
crown ; but mark the consequence. The hitherto scat- 
tered colonies being thus consolidated, and having no ri- 
val colonies to check or keep them in awe, waxed great 
and powerful ; and, finally, becoming too strong for the 
mother country, were enabled to shake off its bonds, and 
by a glorious revolution became an independent empire. 
But the chain of effects stopped not here ; the successful 
revolution in America produced the sanguinary revolution 
in France, which produced the puissant Bonaparte, who 
produced the French despotism, which has thrown the 
whole world in confusion ! Thus have these great powers 
been successively punished for their ill-starred conquests ; 
and thus, as I asserted, have all the present convulsions, 
revolutions, and disasters, that overwhelm mankind, ori- 
ginated in the capture of the little Fort Casimir, as re- 
corded in this eventful history. 

And now, worthy reader, ere I take a sad farewell 
which, alas ! must be for ever willingly would I part in 
cordial fellowship, and bespeak thy kind-hearted remem- 
brance. That I have not written a better history of the 
days of the patriarchs is not my fault had any other per- 
son written one as good, I should not have attempted it 
at all that many will hereafter spring up and surpass me 
in excellence, I have very little doubt, and still less care ; 
well knowing, that when the great Christovallo Colon 
(who is vulgarly called Columbus) had once stood his egg 
upon its end, every one at table could stand his up a 
thousand times more dexterously. Should any reader 
find matter of offence in this history, I should heartily 


grieve, though I would on no account question his pene- 
tration* by telling him he is mistaken his good nature, 
by telling him he is captious or his pure conscience, by 
telling him he is startled at a shadow. Surely if he is so 
ingenious in finding offence where none is intended, it 
were a thousand pities he should npt be suffered to enjoy 
the benefit of his discovery. 

I have too high an opinion of the understanding of my 
fellow-citizens, to think of yielding them any instruction, 
and I covet too much their good will, to forfeit it by giv- 
ing them good advice. I am none of those cynics who 
despise the world, because it despises them on the con- 
trary, though but low in its regard, I look up to it with 
the most perfect good nature, and my only sorrow is, that 
it does not prove itself more worthy of the unbounded 
love I bear it. 

If, however, in this my historic production the scanty 
fruit of a long and laborious life I have failed to gratify 
the dainty palate of the age, I can only lament my mis- 
fortune for it is too late in the season for me even to 
hope to repair it. Already has withering age showered 
his sterile snows upon my brow ; in a little while, and this 
genial warmth, which still lingers around my heart, and 
throbs worthy reader throbs kindly towards thyself, 
will be chilled for ever. Haply this frail compound of 
dust, which while alive may have given birth to nought 
but unprofitable weeds, may form an humble sod of the 
valley, from whence may spring many a sweet wild flower, 
to adorn my beloved island of Manna-hata ! 


Printed by R. Chapman, Glasgow, 


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