Journal of Jasper Danckaerts, 1679-1680
by Jasper Danckaerts
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[Footnote 73: The southernmost point of Cornwall. Falmouth is about midway between it and Dodman Point.]

Sailing then out of this bay, around the west point, we saw at once the neck from which this point of land takes its name of Deadman's Head. It is shaped like a coffin or the mound of earth which peasants form over a grave, one end a little higher than the other, and going up sharp on either side; but it is on the top somewhat jagged. It is on the east side of the point, three or four cable lengths from the main land. We had a third mate (Titus), on board the ship who was to go on the other ship at Falmouth, and who was well acquainted here. He said he had passed through the opening between the rock and the main land, and that it was a mile wide and tolerably clear and deep enough. After having passed Deadman's Head and this rock, we came to a small pretty sand-bay, but it lies open. From Deadman's Head you can see, on the point of Falmouth Bay, a church with a small spire, and near it a stone windmill, which forms a good land-mark, for along the whole coast there are few or no steeples. As you sail along this point the castle comes into view standing upon the west point of the harbor of Falmouth, where also there is a stone windmill.[74] The easterly point should be avoided, for it runs out considerably. It is hard bottom, and at low tide there is three fathoms water always; and we sailed in with that depth. As soon as you perceive it is deeper, you have passed the east point. Then keep along this shore if the wind be fair, for there is a rock almost directly in the channel. You can go around it close enough, but this should not be done. As it was low water when we entered, it stuck up out of the water. At high tide it is covered. There is a spar or pole upon it, which cannot be seen far, but the breakers are sufficiently visible. When you sail in, in this manner, you see the other castle also, lying on the east side, on a point inside. After having passed the rock, keep a little again on the inside, and then to the west, so as to avoid the second point, upon which the east castle is situated. As soon as you have passed that, you have deeper water and softer bottom; and you must then look out that you do no damage to the shipping, for the roadstead commences there, and you can see the town or village of Falmouth lying upon the west side of the bay, and appearing somewhat prettier than it is in fact. When we arrived, we found a large number of vessels lying there; but being desirous of sailing high up, several ships received good thumps from us, in passing by them, and our endeavoring to keep off the shoals. It would have resulted much worse, if our sheet anchor, which was lying up forward, had not caught between the rails of a small vessel, whose mizzenmast we also came foul of, whereby our ship turned round, and at the same time our anchor fell, and we touched bottom in the mud, with fine weather and still water. We thanked our God again, with our whole hearts, for the double mercy shown us this morning, having not only in a fatherly manner preserved us from an apprehended danger, but delivered us from this one into which we had truly fallen, and had then caused us to arrive so well. To Him belongs all praise and glory, from all His children, and especially from us, to all eternity. Amen.

[Footnote 74: Falmouth, which had come into existence in 1613, numbered in 1679 some two hundred and fifty houses. The two castles alluded to as commanding the harbor were Pendennis castle on the west (southeast of the town), famous for its obstinate defence in 1646 by the royalists under Lord Arundell, and St. Mawes on the east.]

Our anchor had not yet touched bottom when the inspectors or tide-waiters all came on board to examine. Our captain and Margaret went immediately ashore; and after the cook had served the breakfast, almost all the passengers, both old and young, putting on their best clothes, did the same. My comrade also went to see if any letters had arrived for us, whilst I remained on board to look after things a little; for all our goods were in the berth, and otherwise within reach, and the ship was constantly full of strange people. My comrade soon returned, but brought no letters. This morning while we were launching the boat, I hurt myself in the loins, on my left side; the pain extended through the whole of that side of my body, to my left breast, and across the middle to the right breast. I was all bent up while standing, and had to sit down. I could scarcely draw a breath or move myself; but I felt it was my old complaint, forced upon me anew when I hurt myself. This pain continued for some days, when it gradually passed over. At high water we towed the ship higher up, to the warehouse, where we had to unload. The custom house officers, and Mr. Roggers,[75] came on board with some other persons, and when they left, they promised us the ship should be unladen by Tuesday, for which we were glad.

[Footnote 75: The custom house had lately been transferred to Falmouth from Penryn. Bryan Rogers was one of the chief merchants of the former.]

7th, Friday. They began early to break open the hatches and discharge the ship. My comrade and I went ashore to a place called Pe[n]ryn, a little further up the bay, where it ends and as far as they can go with any vessels. We went walking thence into the country, over and among the hills, for the purpose of recreating and recruiting ourselves, which refreshed us very much, after having been so long in an overburdened ship and with such wicked men.

We returned to Pe[n]ryn at noon in order to see if we could obtain some place or other to lodge and rest ourselves for a time. By chance we came to an inn in that place, called The English Ship, the landlord of which was named Maitre Jean, who spoke a little Dutch, but, as we afterwards discovered, better French, so well indeed that we could converse with him. We took dinner there, and agreed with him to lodge there for several days, with the privilege of a chamber to ourselves.

8th, Saturday. Having slept on board the ship we went in the morning to our new lodgings, where we breakfasted, and then rambled into the country to divert ourselves, and thence to Falmouth, and so returned by evening to our lodgings.

9th, Sunday. My companion being disposed to write, I went to their church, to wit the Episcopal,[76] where I was surprised to find in the church yard a great crowd of people sitting together, smoking tobacco and waiting for the last toll of the bell. On entering the church I was still more astonished at the ceremonies which indeed did not differ much from those of popery, and continued quite long enough. Then followed a sermon, if it may be called such, delivered in a white gown, as were the first services and other ceremonies in like vestments. The sermon was read out of a little book, without the addition of a single word. It began about ten o'clock, and was not very edifying. The text was from II Cor. xiii. 11; and all this continued till about half-past eleven, when church was over, and the burgomasters or mayors,[77] with two golden royal sceptres, were escorted home. In the afternoon I went out for a walk to the ship, which lay about a half-hour from here toward Falmouth, and nearly midway between the two places for the purpose of being unladen.

[Footnote 76: The new church at Falmouth, built by Sir Robert Killigrew. The sermon was probably from the Two Books of Homilies authorized by the Church.]

[Footnote 77: There was but one mayor.]

10th, Monday. We remained at our lodgings almost the whole day writing letters. Our ship was nearly discharged, which I went in the evening to ascertain.

11th, Tuesday. We continued still at our lodgings, but in the afternoon visited the ship in consequence of their telling us that our chest would be examined, as indeed took place. There were some passengers on shore whose chests were broken open, because they did not attend to them, and the inspectors would not wait. They cut to pieces the cords of their berth under which they found some things; but although there were more berths so arranged, and still better furnished than this one, they did nothing to them, as they well knew beforehand whose they were, and why they did what was done. When they examined our chest, they took almost all our goods out of it. However, they did not see our little box, or perhaps they thought it contained medicines, as they found in the other one. The two small pieces of linen were entered, and registered against my name. They went to our berth, but did nothing; nor was anything there.

12th, Wednesday. This whole day was a writing day, for the post would leave to-morrow. They began to reload the ship in the afternoon. I went on board once, and also went with another to see if there were any letters for us, which turned out to be the fact; for, on finding the captain, he gave me a letter for which I paid twenty-two pence postage. This was the first letter we had received from home. It is unnecessary for me to say that I was rejoiced, or that we thanked the Lord that He still thought of us. I went immediately with it to my companion, who was as glad as I was, and also because the letter came just in time to be answered, as we did with joy and tenderness of heart.

13th, Thursday. As the post was soon to leave, we took our letters to the post office at Penryn, next to The White Dolphin. The package was weighed, and was one ounce and a quarter in weight, for which we paid fifteen pence postage to London; and they informed us it would reach London on Monday. Our ship being almost laden again, we paid our landlord and returned on board ship. We could have easily remained a day or two longer at our lodgings, but our landlord had given us reasons for leaving. Coming on board the ship, we began to arrange our place a little for keeping house again. Meanwhile I helped fill the water casks. There was also some beef to be salted in barrels.

14th, Friday. Our ship was entirely laden, that is, with the goods she had to take, for there was a large quantity of them which had come out of her, remaining for the other ship which Margaret had bought there, and which was to be made ready there to go to the Isle of May,[78] and thence to Barbados. She was a large but very weak ship, short and high, small and meagre as regards bulk, not altogether old, but misbuilt. She sailed tolerably well, but was very lank. Two of our crew went with her, namely, Titus, who was to be boatswain, and one of our carpenters, named Herman, who was the best one we had. They went, from the first, to work upon her, for she was lying in winter quarters. Our ship being laden, our captain went on board the large one with an English lad, the cabin boy, and his, the captain's wife. This captain had obtained a Quaker for his mate, a young man and a very poor seaman, as I have been able to observe. Hereupon our English mate, named Robert, who also was a Quaker, became captain in the place of the other, and our Dutch mate, or rather New Netherland mate, named Evert van Duike—for he was a New Netherlander born, and his parents and relations were still there, though he had married at Amsterdam and had lived there a long time, but was now taking his wife and children with him to New Netherland—became mate in place of the other.[79] In return for the three persons and the boy who had gone from our crew, we obtained only one in their place, a poor creature, called Jan, the doctor, of Boston, who seemed more a charlatan in his behavior and gestures than a good seaman. Meanwhile we went walking, to see the country, and in the afternoon came to the east castle, where a soldier conducted us from the gate and took us before the governor,[80] who asked us who we were, where we came from, what flag our ship bore, when and with whom we had arrived, and for what purpose we had come to the castle. We answered him politely; but we could not make ourselves well understood by him, for he spoke nothing but English, which we could not do, or very little, though we could understand it pretty well. He finally ordered the soldier to conduct us around the castle, in order that we might look at it. Having satisfied the soldier, we left, and went down the hill. The beer brewed at the castle is very poor; there is little or no fresh water up there, and what there is, does not amount to much. The castle is otherwise strong and well provided, having over an hundred guns in different batteries, which command the harbor and the entire roadstead. When we reached the ship she was laden.

[Footnote 78: One of the Cape Verde islands.]

[Footnote 79: Evert Duyckinck was the son of a Westphalian painter and glazier of the same name who had come out to New Netherland early, in the service of the Dutch West India Company.]

[Footnote 80: Pendennis castle is meant. The governor was Richard, Lord Arundell of Trerice, son of the old governor who had commanded during the siege of 1646.]

15th, Saturday. As our ship was now full, and orders had come to haul the ship at high water from before the warehouse and off from the ground, they did so this morning. We went to Penryn to buy some butter, and when we returned the boat was sent for fresh water, which was brought on board, and the ship then towed to the roadstead below, where she arrived in the evening, somewhat late, and was moored at once.

16th, Sunday. The weather was misty and rainy. We went ashore with one of the passengers and one of the sailors, a young fellow, a Scotchman, by birth, from the Orkneys, and a Presbyterian by profession, named Robert,[81] who took us, at our request, to the Presbyterian meeting, which we left quite satisfied with the zeal of the preacher. Their mode of service is not different from that of the Reformed in Holland, but the common people sat there with very little reverence. At noon we went to dine at a very good inn, called The Golden Fleece, and in the afternoon we attended the meeting of the Episcopalians, of whose church service we have before spoken, and so in the evening returned on board the ship.

[Footnote 81: Robert Sinclair. Though he returned on the Charles, he came back to New York in 1682, married the sister of Evert Duyckinck, became a sea-captain, and died in 1704.]

17th, Monday. We went this morning again with some passengers to Penryn, where the yearly market day was held, with the intention of laying out a little money in some purchases, having rid ourselves of Mr. Jan, who had sought to get it out of our hands, and would by that means have cheated us. He promised us, if we would let him have the money, thirty per cent. interest payable in New York, or ducats[82] there at twelve guilders of zeewan each; but the Lord, who has care over the least of His children, saved us from this fox, and excited the attention of another passenger, namely, Jan Theuniesen, who lived on Long Island, and who advised us what to do.[83]

[Footnote 82: A gold coin of Holland, worth originally about two dollars and a half, but at this time less. It would apparently have been worth fifteen guilders of zeewan (wampum) in New Netherland.]

[Footnote 83: Jan Teunissen van Dykhuis, of Brooklyn.]

We bought several things on which we thought we could make a profit, because the peril of the sea was to be encountered. The Lord, who, as I have said, takes care of the least of His children, so ordered it that we not only did not lose any thing by our Dutch money, which commonly brings not more than five shillings for a ducat; but we received for almost all that we used, five shillings and six pence, that is 67 stivers.[84] The reason of this was, that the man who took our money was about going to Norway, for timber, where he could pay it out at a higher rate than English money. Having made our purchases, we went to Falmouth, but as we could not take our goods on board the ship without first declaring them, we had to take them to Mr. Roggers's, where one Mr. Jacobs lived, who had assisted in inspecting the ship's lading, and who would do the same with these. Thinking over the purchases we had made at Penryn, we discovered there was a mistake in the payment of a bill, arising from the counting of the money by our Dutch mate and Jan Theunissen. The difference amounted to one pound sterling. We, or our friends on our account, had paid the bill. We discovered the mistake at Falmouth, and immediately went back to Penryn, informed the merchant of the mistake, which he did not have much trouble in comprehending. He gave us back the money, for which we were glad, and returning, arrived by evening on board the ship.

[Footnote 84: Twenty stivers made one florin or guilder, and three guilders one ducat.]

18th, Tuesday. One Mr. Lucas, the most rigid of the inspectors and custom house officers, came on board this morning. We spoke to him, told him what we had bought, and requested him to examine them. We said we might buy something more and he could assess them all together. He replied he did not wish to examine our chest, or what we might have bought previously; but would go ashore with us and look at what we had there. He told us also that he had a small piece or two of stuffs, which, if we would buy, he would let us have at a bargain. We went to Mr. Jacobs's where he looked over what we had bought. He told us we had paid dear for them, although we thought we had bought them cheap. Mr. Jacobs said he had a remnant of tin which he would sell us for ten stivers a foot, and we had paid twelve for ours. We were directed to pay Mr. Jacobs three shillings English for duties upon the goods we had there, whenever we should have all our merchandise together. Mr. Lucas went with us to a shop over the door of Mr. Roggers, where he bought several things for us at a low price; he even compelled the merchant almost to give us the goods for what he chose, for the merchant did not dare to refuse or disoblige him. They were always good purchases. He also brought us something of his own which he sold us on favorable terms. I supposed these were confiscated goods, which they wanted to get rid of, and that this was the reason they were so accommodating to us.[85] Our purchases being completed, he took us to an inn where we regaled him for the trouble he had taken with the above-mentioned merchant. We were compelled this evening to eat and sleep ashore, which we did at the inn, The Golden Fleece.

[Footnote 85: Falmouth customs officers had the right, or opportunity by connivance of the government, to bring in some goods duty-free.]

We had heard a great deal said for some days past, and to-day, of great danger from the Turks, who had taken four Dutch ships. This caused no small apprehension in our ship, and especially in Mr. Jan.

19th, Wednesday. My companion wrote a letter home from on board the ship. We did our best this whole day to get our little merchandise on board, but without success, because it was not yet declared. However, every thing concerning the ship and the lading was finished to-day; and the passengers obtained the bills of their goods, and paid them. Having accomplished nothing the whole day, we returned on board the ship.

20th, Thursday. My comrade having finished the letters, we went on shore to Mr. Roggers's, in order to post them in time, and paid the postage to London. We bought also some brandy, vinegar and other articles, for we began to see it would go slim with us on the voyage. We were engaged the whole day in declaring our goods and carrying them on board, which was completed early in the evening, and the goods stowed away. We then paid Mr. Lucas a ducaton[86] for the duties on our goods. He told us what the duties on the whole of the ship's cargo amounted to, and gave us various other information, all very willingly, because, after he heard that I was somewhat acquainted with the wine business, he desired some particulars in regard to it from me, which I gave him in writing to his satisfaction. We were now all cleared....[87]

[Footnote 86: A Dutch silver coin, worth about $1.25.]

[Footnote 87: The Charles set sail from Falmouth the next day, July 21, 1679. The account of the voyage is here omitted. It is a somewhat interesting picture of the hardships, discomforts, and other incidents of an Atlantic voyage in the seventeenth century, but it is excessively long.]

[SEPTEMBER] 21st, Thursday. The hatches of the hold were all opened yesterday evening, and we began to make the cables fast to the anchors, which we finished this morning. As soon as the sun rose, every one climbed aloft in order to look for land and some of them immediately cried out "land," but they soon discovered they were mistaken. Our course was north, with the wind E.N.E. I said the land we would see was in front of us, and we could not see it yet because it was in latitude 40 deg. 20', and we had 39 deg., a difference of eighty miles, and as we had sailed only from twenty-four to twenty-eight miles at the most during the night, we were still fifty-two to fifty-six miles off, and if we continued to sail as we were doing, it would be noon or two o'clock before we would see it. I must say a word here in relation to our cat; how she was always sick and lame for some days before a storm, and could not walk, and when the storm was over, was lively and nimble again. She had now been very playful for several days, running here and there over the ship, but this morning she was unusually gay. She came running with a spring, leaping into the rigging and going far aloft, turning her head about and snuffing the land, as much as to say, there is the land you should look out for; and causing great laughter among the folks, who said the cat was on the lookout for land. When she came down she mewed. But a thick fog coming from the land, cut off all view and hopes of going inside, as we turned at once from the shore. I obtained, however, the latitude, to wit: 40 deg. 5'. The distance was reckoned to be sixty-four miles. In the mean time the deep lead was thrown many times, and 22, 21, 19, 17, 16, 14 fathoms of water found, at one time more and at another less, for the bottom is uneven. We did this in order not to run ashore during the fog. It, however, cleared away, and we wore over again, and immediately saw the land distinctly, which caused new rejoicing. We perceived clearly that we had been sailing, since yesterday, along the shore, although it was too far off to be seen. Rentselaer's Hook,[88] which adjoins Sandy Hook, was in front or north of us; and we had sailed N.N.E. and N. by E. It was about one o'clock when we first saw the land. It is not very high, but like a dome, only it is a little higher. Long Island is not very high; Rentselaer's Hook, which is the most westerly point of the bay, is the highest of all. Sandy Hook is low, and stretches out about three miles eastwardly from Rentselaer's Hook, and makes the channel. You must be close on Sandy Hook before you can see Long Island. We intended to run in, but could not well do so this evening, in consequence of the mist continually intercepting the sight of the land. As the weather was calm, and the sea smooth, we came to anchor, in thirteen fathoms of water, and lay there quietly all night.

[Footnote 88: Navesink.]

22d, Friday. When the day began to break, they were all in an uproar; but the weather continued misty, with a northeast wind, for which reason we judged we could not make the channel. All those who were so joyful and merry yesterday, were now more sober, as we were compelled to keep off land, so as not to be caught on a lee shore, from which it is very difficult to get away. The fog cleared up a little about ten o'clock, and we sailed again towards the shore, when we perceived we were approaching the west side. It rained a part of the time, and was misty, so that sometimes we could only see the land dimly, and for a moment, and Sandy Hook hardly at all. We durst not yet venture to run in, and wore off again. About noon we saw a ketch to the sea-ward of us, but we did not speak to her. She was laying her course to the west. This coast surely is not very easy to enter, especially in the autumn. Our captain had trouble enough, though our mate did not agree with him. Sailing onward, we had 13, 14, 15, 16 fathoms of water, but very uneven bottom as we approached the shore. We laid our course N.N.E. and N.E. by N. and from the shore, S.S.W. and S. At four o'clock in the afternoon we determined to run in, if it were possible. We could see the land a little better, and also Rentselaer's Hook. Everybody, therefore, was very industrious, some in looking after the sails, ropes and tackle, so as to be able to turn and tack ship quickly; others were constantly on the lookout for land and especially to discover Sandy Hook, in order to secure the best channel which is next to that point; for not far from it, on the other side, are the east banks, which are very dangerous. We did our best, first in a calm, then with a little breeze, to enter. We caught sight of Sandy Hook at last, but it was soon hid by the fog. We observed how the land lay by the compass, and so sailed accordingly, expecting a good flood tide which would begin to make at six o'clock. The deep lead was thrown constantly, and we found five and four fathoms in the shallowest places, near the channel. It was low water, and the wind was N.E. and E.N.E., which took us soon inside, short around the point of Sandy Hook, into the bay towards the highlands of Rentselaer's Hook. Upon passing the Hook which was now west of us, we found deeper water, 5, 6, 7 and 8 fathoms, and ran, as I have said, immediately for the highlands, and came to anchor in ten fathoms of water, praising the Lord again, and thankful for the many instances of His goodness towards us. This is a very fine bay, where many ships can lie, protected from all winds, except the S.E., which, however, cannot do much damage, because the east banks lie before it; and at the worst, the ship can only be driven in the wind. They determined this evening, to go up early in the morning, in the jolly-boat, to Staten Island or Long Island, for a pilot.

23d, Saturday. It rained the whole night. Our ship lay quiet as if she were made fast to the piles at Amsterdam, which was very unusual for us. The wind being west in the morning, they changed their resolution of going up for a pilot, and as the wind was so favorable determined to take her up themselves. The anchor was therefore raised, and we sailed on, for the purpose of passing between Staten Island and Long Island, where there are two high points of land, for that reason called the Hoofden.[89] We turned gradually from Sandy Hook to the right, in order to avoid the shoals of the east bank, and so sailed to the Hoofden. We had a good flood tide, and four to five fathoms of water at the shoalest part; but the wind shifted again to the north, and we were compelled to tack, which rendered our progress slow, for it was quite calm. Coming to the Hoofden, and between them, you have 10, 11, and 12 fathoms of water. As soon as you begin to approach the land, you see not only woods, hills, dales, green fields and plantations, but also the houses and dwellings of the inhabitants, which afford a cheerful and sweet prospect after having been so long upon the sea. When we came between the Hoofden, we saw some Indians on the beach with a canoe, and others coming down the hill. As we tacked about we came close to this shore, and called out to them to come on board the ship, for some of the passengers intended to go ashore with them; but the captain would not permit it, as he wished, he said, to carry them, according to his contract, to the Manathans, though we understood well why it was. The Indians came on board, and we looked upon them with wonder. They are dull of comprehension, slow of speech, bashful but otherwise bold of person, and red of skin. They wear something in front, over the thighs, and a piece of duffels, like a blanket, around the body, and this is all the clothing they have. Their hair hangs down from their heads in strings, well smeared with fat, and sometimes with quantities of little beads twisted in it out of pride. They have thick lips and thick noses, but not fallen in like the negroes, heavy eyebrows or eyelids, brown or black eyes, thick tongues, and all of them black hair. But we will speak of these things more particularly hereafter. After they had obtained some biscuit, and had amused themselves a little, climbing and looking here and there, they also received some brandy to taste, of which they drank excessively, and threw it up again. They then went ashore in their canoe, and we having a better breeze, sailed ahead handsomely. As soon as you are through the Hoofden, you begin to see the city, which presents a pretty sight. The fort, which lies upon the point between two rivers, is somewhat higher; and as soon as they see a ship coming up, they raise a flag on a high flag-staff, according to the colors of the sovereign to whom they are subject, as accordingly they now flew the flag of the king of England. We came up to the city about three o'clock, where our ship was quickly overrun with people who came from the shore in all sorts of craft, each one inquiring and searching after his own, and his own profit. No custom-house officers came on board, as in England, and the ship was all the time free of such persons. We came to anchor, then, before the city at three o'clock. Every one wanted to go ashore immediately. We let those most in a hurry go before us, when, leaving our property in charge of Robyn,[90] we also went in company with a passenger, named Gerrit,[91] who took us to the house of his father-in-law, where we lodged.

[Footnote 89: "Headlands," at the Narrows.]

[Footnote 90: Robert Sinclair.]

[Footnote 91: Gerrit Evertsen van Duyn, carpenter and wheelwright, emigrated in 1649 from Nieuwerkerk in Zeeland, married Jacomina, daughter of Jacob Swarts Hellekers, lived mostly in New Utrecht and Flatbush, and died in 1706. He had returned to the Netherlands in 1670, but was now coming out for good.]

It is not possible to describe how this bay swarms with fish, both large and small, whales, tunnies and porpoises, whole schools of innumerable other fish, which the eagles and other birds of prey swiftly seize in their talons when the fish come up to the surface, and hauling them out of the water, fly with them to the nearest woods or beach, as we saw.

We had finally arrived where we had so long wished to be, but from whence we were soon to depart, because we had come only to do the will of Him who watches over us, and who after our longest voyage, will cause us to arrive, by His favor, as it pleases Him. Meanwhile unto Him be given all honor, and praise and glory for what He does, to all eternity. Amen; yea, amen.

Leaving the ship on our arrival, it would seem proper that this narrative concerning the voyage should here be brought to an end; but as the sea over which we passed is wide and broad, and various things are to be noted, which could only be found out in process of time, I will here add them each by its kind.

Observations upon the Sea and the Voyage.

1. I have uniformly found it true, that the bottom causes the change in the color of the sea, and makes the color lighter or darker according as it may happen to be; as we experienced from the beginning to the end of our voyage. And this is the reason: the water of itself has no color, but, as it is transparent, the bottom shows itself, such as it is, through the clearness of the water, according to its depth; but something must be allowed for the sky, clouds and other bodies in the atmosphere, which, although they do not change the water, nevertheless shine in it, and throw a shadow or reflection.

2. The banks or shoals of Newfoundland extend further south than they are laid down on the charts, and as far as 36 deg. or less of latitude, as we observed from the color of the water, although it may be deeper there than about Newfoundland.

3. There is a stream running from the river Amazon, in fact from Cape ——, along the coast of Guiana, through the Gulf of Mexico and the channel of the Bahamas, along the coast of Florida, Virginia and New Netherland, to the banks of Newfoundland, where, uniting with another stream, coming from the north out of Davis's Strait and river St. Lawrence, it goes again south, and afterwards S.W., to the Bermudas, but mostly to the east of them, the particular causes and reasons of which we will notice in its proper place.

4. This stream has its course along the gulfs, capes and bays of the coast, the same as we experienced near or west of Cape Cod or Staten Hook, where for two days successively, without headway on the ship, and in a calm, we were carried by it a degree to the north. This should be kept in mind, and one should regulate himself accordingly.

5. The storm of the Bermudas has been mentioned in its place.[92]

[Footnote 92: The mate told him, September 1, off the Bermudas, that one never failed to have storms there; and that one dark night "it seemed as if the air was full of strange faces with wonderful eyes standing out of them" (cf. Shakespeare's Tempest); and then he remembered to have read the same, in his youth, in a little book called De Silver Poort-Klock (The Silver Gate-Bell).]

6. I have heretofore exposed mistakes on the large plane chart, and it is not material to enter further into that subject.

7. After we approached and passed the Bermudas the wind did not turn round the compass with the sun, which happened to us four or five times, and frequently does so, as is said by experienced persons.

8. Therefore, in navigating this passage for this place, it is best, when there are no reasons to the contrary arising from the Turks[93] or otherwise, to run just above or below the Azores, to latitude 34 and 33, and even to 32 and 31, in order to get into the stream, and yet I also consider it well to sail to the eastward of these islands; or if you avoid the Azores, then to sail from Newfoundland or its latitude, due south, or S.S.E., to the before mentioned latitude; but, in returning, it is best to follow the coast to Newfoundland, in order to fall into the stream and wind. The home voyage is almost always the shortest, inasmuch as the stream runs mostly along the coast.

[Footnote 93: Corsairs from North Africa, who at that time constantly infested the seas near England and concerning whom the narrative of the first part of the voyage shows frequent alarms.]

9. When a change occurs in the color of the water, and at other times, the deep lead should be much used. It should be of 25 or 30 pounds weight. The ship or vessel should lie as still as possible, or the jolly-boat should be used, whether the lead be thrown with a certainty as to where you may be, or for the discovery of other bottom.

10. In storms or hurricanes never be without stern-sails, however small, unless you can sail before the wind, but no longer than that; for it is too dangerous, and too uncomfortable, both for the ship and the persons in her.

Some other observations in regard to the art of navigation and the management of ships, of minor importance we will reserve for another occasion.

The Persons with whom we made our Voyage.

Although this is such a miserable subject, that I deliberated long whether it were worth while to take any notice of it, yet since one does not know when a matter can be serviceable, I will nevertheless say something.

The persons who belonged to the ship were:

The captain, Thomas Singelton, an Englishman, and a Quaker, from London, I believe. He had his wife with him, who was quite young, about 24 or 26 years old, and he was surely a person of 40 or 45. He was not the best or most experienced seaman by a long distance. He was proud and very assiduous or officious to please people, especially Margaret and her man; yet he had some amiable qualities, he was affable. He was stingy; for when many mackerel were caught, he would not give one to the poor sailors; they all hung there and spoiled. He was even displeased if the sailors came with their fish lines to fish too near the place where he was, because the fish might come to their lines instead of his. His wife was a young, worldly creature, who had not the least glimmer of Quakerism, of which nevertheless she made profession, but entirely resembled an English lady fashioned somewhat upon the Dutch model. She was so proud that she wore much silver and gold; and when Margaret once spoke to him about it, he said, "I did not give it to her." Whereupon Margaret asked, "Why did you give her money to buy them?" To which he replied, "She wanted it."

The English mate, who afterwards became captain, was a passionate person, inwardly still more than he showed outwardly, a great man-pleaser where his interest was to be promoted. He was very close, but was compelled to be much closer in order to please Margaret.

The Dutch mate, Evert, was a wicked, impious fellow, who also drank freely. He was very proud of his knowledge and experience, which were none of the greatest.

The boatswain, Abram, of Plymouth, was rough and wicked in his orders, but he was a strong and able seaman. Robyn was the best.

I cannot permit myself to go further; it is too unpleasant a subject.

The passengers and crew were a wretched set. There was no rest, night or day, especially among the wives—a rabble I cannot describe. Day and night without cessation it was as if one were in the fish market or apple market, where, indeed, some of them had obtained their living, or as if indeed one were in still worse places. There were nine or ten of them always together. Among the men there were some who drank like beasts, yes, drank themselves dead drunk, as you may judge from the fact that two or three of them drank 3-1/2 ankers[94] of brandy, from the time we left England or Holland, besides the wine which they had with them—it is too horrible. As to Margaret and Jan, it is not to be told what miserable people Margaret and Jan were, and especially their excessive covetousness. In fine, it was a Babel. I have never in my life heard of such a disorderly ship. It was confusion without end. I have never been in a ship where there was so much vermin, which were communicated to us, and especially not a few to me, because being in the cordage at night I particularly received them. There were those whose bunks and clothes were as full as if they had been sown. But I must forbear.

[Footnote 94: An anker was about ten gallons.]

When we first came on board the ship we ate where we were, and with those we found there, but afterwards the messes were regulated, and we were placed on deck with five or six uncouth youngsters; where, nevertheless, we continued. This so exercised the other passengers, seeing us submit so willingly, that they themselves could no longer endure it, and desired us to come with them, and make a mess of eight. We had been compelled to buy our stores in England, as what we had were spoiled, or not sufficient. There was not a bit of butter or vinegar on the food during the whole voyage, except what we had purchased at Falmouth. I do not know how long it was we had nothing to eat except heads of salt fish, and those spoiled for the most part. We had to eat them till they were thrown overboard. Most of the time we had white peas, which our cook was too lazy to clean, or were boiled in stinking water, and when they were brought on the table we had to throw them away. The meat was old and tainted; the pork passable, but enormously thick, as much as six inches; and the bread was mouldy or wormy. We had a ration of beer three times a day to drink at table. The water smelt very bad, which was the fault of the captain. When we left England they called us to eat in the cabin, but it was only a change of place and nothing more. Each meal was dished up three times in the cabin, first for the eight passengers, then for the captain, mate and wife, who sometimes did not have as good as we had, and lastly for Margaret and Mr. Jan, who had prepared for them hardly any thing else except poultry and the like. But this is enough.

After we left England, I took upon myself, out of love of the thing, and because there were so few persons to work the ship, namely, ten in all, including the captain, to watch and attend the rudder, as well as to make observations in navigation; but when I perceived the sailors, on this account, became lazy and depended upon me, I left the rudder-gang. Nevertheless, when an English ship came near running us down in the watch off Cape Cod, causing thereby much uproar and confusion in our ship, I did my best to unfasten a rope which they could not make loose, at which the mate raved and swore, and for which he would have almost struck or killed me. When my comrade heard of it he wished me not to do any thing more, and that was my opinion. I could not, however, refrain from helping to the last, but I abandoned the watch, and so caused the mate to feel that we were not insensible, for there was nothing else to be done to him. He, nevertheless, invited us daily more than any one else. Finally, when the voyage was completed, there was no one, either captain, or mate, or sailor, or Margaret, who said "We thank you," except our poor Robyn. We had a little package put in the ship at Falmouth, about a foot and a half square, on which the captain charged us four guilders freight, in the money of Holland. We represented to Margaret how we had managed with only one chest between us, although each passenger was entitled to have one of his own, but it was all to no purpose. Four guilders it must be. It was not that we had any difficulty in giving it, but it was only to be convinced of her unblushing avarice. The mate's wife was the least evil-inclined, and listened most to what was said to her, which we hope will bear fruit. We have truly conducted ourselves towards all in general and each one in particular, so that not only has every one reason to be edified and convinced, but, by the grace of God, every one renders us testimony that we have edified and convinced them as well by our lives as our conversation. Let Him alone who is the author of all grace, receive therefore all the glory, to all eternity. Amen.[95]

[Footnote 95: After this the original manuscript begins a new pagination. See introduction to this book.]


From the Time of our Arrival until our Departure for the Fatherland.

Having then fortunately arrived, by the blessing of the Lord, before the city of New York, on Saturday, the 23d day of September, we stepped ashore about four o'clock in the afternoon, in company with Gerrit, our fellow passenger, who would conduct us in this strange place. He had lived here a long time and had married his wife here, although she and his children were living at present at Zwol.[96] We went along with him, but as he met many of his old acquaintances on the way, we were constantly stopped. He first took us to the house of one of his friends, who welcomed him and us, and offered us some of the fruit of the country, very fine peaches and full grown apples, which filled our hearts with thankfulness to God. This fruit was exceedingly fair and good, and pleasant to the taste; much better than that in Holland or elsewhere, though I believe our long fasting and craving of food made it so agreeable. After taking a glass of Madeira, we proceeded on to Gerrit's father-in-law's, a very old man, half lame, and unable either to walk or stand, who fell upon the neck of his son-in-law, welcoming him with tears of joy. The old woman was also very glad. This good man was born in Vlissingen, and was named Jacob Swart.[97] He had been formerly a master carpenter at Amsterdam, but had lived in this country upwards of forty-five years. After we had been here a little while, we left our travelling bag, and went out to take a walk in the fields. It was strange to us to feel such stability under us, although it seemed as if the earth itself moved under our feet as the ship had done for three months past, and our body also still swayed after the manner of the rolling of the sea; but this sensation gradually passed off in the course of a few days. As we walked along we saw in different gardens trees full of apples of various kinds, and so laden with peaches and other fruit that one might doubt whether there were more leaves or fruit on them. I have never seen in Europe, in the best seasons, such an overflowing abundance. When we had finished our tour and given our guide several letters to deliver, we returned to his father-in-law's, who regaled us in the evening with milk, which refreshed us much. We had so many peaches set before us that we were timid about eating them, though we experienced no ill effects from them. We remained there to sleep, which was the first time in nine or ten weeks that we had lain down upon a bed undressed, and able to yield ourselves to sleep without apprehension of danger.

[Footnote 96: Zwolle in the Netherlands.]

[Footnote 97: I.e., "black Jacob." His name was Jacob Hellekers, and his house, in which the Labadists lodged while in New York, stood where now stands no. 255 Pearl Street, near Fulton Street.]

24th, Sunday. We rested well through the night. I was surprised on waking up to find my comrade had already dressed himself and breakfasted upon peaches. We walked out awhile in the fine, pure morning air, along the margin of the clear running water of the sea, which is driven up this river at every tide. As it was Sunday, in order to avoid scandal and for other reasons, we did not wish to absent ourselves from church. We therefore went, and found there truly a wild worldly world. I say wild, not only because the people are wild, as they call it in Europe, but because almost all the people who go there to live, or who are born there, partake somewhat of the nature of the country, that is, peculiar to the land where they live. We heard a minister preach, who had come from the up-river country, from Fort Orange, where his residence is, an old man, named Domine Schaets,[98] of Amsterdam. He was, it appears, a Voetian, and had come down for the purpose of approving, examining, ordaining and collating a student; to perform which office the neighboring ministers come here, as to the capital, and in order that the collation may be approved by the governor, who, at this time, was not at home, but was at Pemequick, in the northerly parts of New England.[99] This student, named Tessemaker, from Utrecht, I believe, was a Voetian, and had found some obstacles in his way, because the other ministers were all Cocceians, namely: Do. Niewenhuisen, of [New] Amsterdam, the one of Long Island, and Do. Gaesbeck, of Esopus, whose son is sheriff of this city. He was to minister at the South River, near the governor there, or in the principal place, as he himself told us. The governor was expected home every day, and then Tessemaker supposed he would be dispatched.

[Footnote 98: Rev. Gideon Schaets was settled as pastor at Rensselaerswyck in 1652, later at Beverwyck and Albany, continuing in service there till he died in 1694, aged 86. Peter Tesschenmaker had come up from Dutch Guiana, and had supplied the pulpits at Esopus and at Newcastle on the South River (Delaware River), for about a year in each place. The history of his formal call, examination, ordination in October, 1679, and appointment, is set forth in Ecclesiastical Records of New York, I. 724-735. The only three other Dutch Reformed ministers in the Province at this time were those named below: Rev. Wilhelmus van Nieuwenhuysen of New York (1672—d. 1681), Rev. Casparus van Zuuren of Flushing, Brooklyn, and Flatlands (1677-1685), and Rev. Laurentius Gaasbeeck of Esopus (1678—d. February, 1680).]

[Footnote 99: Pemaquid, on the coast of Maine, where this governor had built a fort in 1677, on territory embraced in the Duke of York's patent. The governor was Sir Edmund Andros (1674-1681). He visited Pemaquid in the autumn of 1679. He was of course nowise subordinate to the governor of Jamaica.]

The governor is the greatest man in New Netherland, and acknowledges no superior in all America, except the viceroy, who resides upon Jamaica.

This Schaets, then, preached. He had a defect in the left eye, and used such strange gestures and language that I think I never in all my life have heard any thing more miserable; indeed, I can compare him with no one better than with one D. van Ecke, lately the minister at Armuyden, in Zeeland, more in life, conversation and gestures than in person. As it is not strange in these countries to have men as ministers who drink, we could imagine nothing else than that he had been drinking a little this morning. His text was, "Come unto me all ye," etc., but he was so rough that even the roughest and most godless of our sailors were astonished.

The church being in the fort, we had an opportunity to look through the latter, as we had come too early for preaching. It is not large; it has four points or batteries; it has no moat outside, but is enclosed with a double row of palisades. It is built from the foundation with quarry stone. The parapet is of earth. It is well provided with cannon, for the most part of iron, though there were some small brass pieces, all bearing the mark or arms of the Netherlanders. The garrison is small. There is a well of fine water dug in the fort by the English, contrary to the opinion of the Dutch, who supposed the fort was built upon rock, and had therefore never attempted any such thing. There is, indeed, some indication of stone there, for along the edge of the water below the fort there is a very large rock extending apparently under the fort, which is built upon the point formed by the two rivers, namely, the East River, which is the water running between the Mahatans and Long Island, and the North River, which runs straight up to Fort Orange. In front of the fort, on the Long Island side, there is a small island called Noten Island (Nut Island),[100] around the point of which vessels must go in sailing out or in, whereby they are compelled to pass close by the point of the fort, where they can be flanked by several of the batteries. It has only one gate, and that is on the land side, opening upon a broad plain or street, called the Broadway or Beaverway. Over this gate are the arms of the Duke of York. During the time of the Dutch there were two gates, namely, another on the water side; but the English have closed it, and made a battery there, with a false gate. In front of the church is inscribed the name of Governor Kyft, who caused the same to be built in the year 1642.[101] It has a shingled roof, and upon the gable towards the water there is a small wooden tower, with a bell in it, but no clock. There is a sun-dial on three sides. The front of the fort stretches east and west, and consequently the sides run north and south.

[Footnote 100: Governor's Island.]

[Footnote 101: The inscription, on a stone extant till 1835, is here quoted almost literally. It ran, "Anno Domini 1642, W. Kieft, director general, has caused the commonalty to build this temple." Willem Kieft was director-general of New Netherland from 1638 to 1647. A plan of town and fort may be seen at p. 420 of Narratives of New Netherland, in this series.]

After we had returned to the house and dined, my comrade not wishing to go to church, sat about writing letters, as there was a ship, of which Andre Bon was master, about to leave in a few days for London; but in order that we should not be both absent from church, and as the usual minister[102] was to preach in the afternoon, I went alone to hear him. He was a thick, corpulent person with a red and bloated face, and of very slabbering speech. His text was, the elders who serve well, etc., because the elders and deacons were that day renewed, and I saw them admitted. After preaching, the good old people with whom we lodged, who, indeed, if they were not the best on all the Manathans, were at least among the best, especially the wife, begged we would go with their son Gerrit to one of their daughters, who lived in a delightful place, and kept a tavern, where we would be able to taste the beer of New Netherland, inasmuch as it was also a brewery.[103] Some of their friends passing by requested Gerrit and us to accompany them, and so we went for the purpose of seeing what was to be seen; but when we arrived there, we found ourselves much deceived. On account of its being to some extent a pleasant spot, it was resorted to on Sundays by all sorts of revellers, and was a low pot-house. Our company immediately found acquaintances there and joined them, but it being repugnant to our feelings to be there, we walked into the orchard to seek pleasure in contemplating the innocent objects of nature. Among other trees we observed a mulberry tree, the leaves of which were as large as a plate. The wife showed us pears larger than the fist, picked from a three year's graft which had borne forty of them. A great storm of rain coming up in the evening compelled us to go into the house, where we did not remain long with the others, but took our leave of them, against their wishes. We retraced our steps in the dark, exploring a way over which we had gone only once in our life, through a salt meadow and over water, upon the trunk of a tree. We nevertheless reached home, having left the others in their revels. While in their company we conversed with the first male born of Europeans in New Netherland, named Jean Vigne. His parents were from Valenciennes and he was now about sixty-five years of age. He was a brewer and a neighbor of our old people.[104] When we had come back we said to our old woman what it was fitting should be said to her, regarding her daughter and her employment, in order to free our minds, though she herself was quite innocent in respect to it.

[Footnote 102: Nieuwenhuysen. The text is in I Timothy v. 17, "Let the elders that rule well, be accounted worthy of double honor."]

[Footnote 103: Rebecca, daughter of Jacob Hellekers's wife by her former husband, was married to Arie or Adrian Corneliszen, who had a license to sell wines and other liquors, and lived a little out of town, beyond the Fresh Water.]

[Footnote 104: Jean Vigne had in previous years been four times one of the schepens, or municipal councillors, of New Amsterdam. If he was born in New Netherland in or about 1614, there must have been at least one European woman in the colony at an earlier date than has been supposed, namely, back in the years of the first Dutch trading along that coast. But many things concerning the earliest years of New Netherland must remain in uncertainty until the publication of a certain group of documents of that period, evidently important, which were sold in 1910 by Muller of Amsterdam and are now in private possession in New York, and withheld from public knowledge.]

A ketch came in from sea this evening, of which David Jochemsen was the master. She left England three weeks before us, and was the same one we saw the day we came in. The captain said he recollected to have seen us, but observing us tacking several times, he did not dare follow us, for fear of being misled.

25th, Monday. We went on board the ship this morning in order to obtain our travelling bag and clothes for the purpose of having them washed, but when we came on board we could not get ashore again, before the afternoon, when the passengers' goods were to be delivered. All our goods which were between decks, were taken ashore and carried to the public storehouse, where they had to be examined; but some time elapsed before it was done in consequence of the examiners being elsewhere. At length, however, one Abraham Lennoy,[105] a good fellow apparently, befriended us. He examined our chest only, without touching our bedding or any thing else. I showed him a list of the tin which we had in the upper part of our chest, and he examined it and also the tin, and turned up a little more what was in the chest, and with that left off, without looking at it closely. He demanded four English shillings for the tin, remarking at the same time, that he had observed some other small articles, but would not examine them closely, though he had not seen either the box or the pieces of linen. This being finished we sent our goods in a cart to our lodgings, paying for the two heavy chests and straw beds, and other goods from the public storehouse, to the Smit's Valey[106] (which is about as far as from the Elve to Wilken's house),[107] sixteen stuivers of zeawan, equal to three stuivers and a half in the money of Holland.[108] This finished the day and we retired to rest.

[Footnote 105: Abraham de la Noy was a schoolmaster. See post, p. 63, note 2. Probably the writer means Peter de la Noy, who was clerk under the collector of the port. Later he was one of the chief supporters of Leisler.]

[Footnote 106: The Smith's Flats, a tract of low-lying land along the East River, outside the palisade of the town, and extending from present Wall Street to Beekman.]

[Footnote 107: Perhaps a reminiscence from the days (1671-1675) when the Labadists lived on the Elbe, at Altona.]

[Footnote 108: The stiver of Holland money was equivalent to two cents. Six white beads of wampum to the stiver was the rate established by authority in 1673.]

26th, Tuesday. We remained at home for the purpose of writing, but in the afternoon finding that many goods had been discharged from the ship, we went to look after our little package, which also came. I declared it, and it was examined. I had to pay 24 guilders in zeawan or five guilders in the coin of Holland. I brought it to the house and looked the things all over, rejoicing that we were finally rid of that miserable set and the ship, the freight only remaining to be paid, which was fixed at four guilders in coin. We went first to Margaret in relation to the freight, who said she had nothing more to do with it, and that we must speak to her husband about it, which it was not convenient to do that evening, and we therefore let it go, waiting for an opportunity to speak to her and her husband with the captain and perhaps also Mr. Jan.

27th, Wednesday. Nothing occurred to-day except that I went to assist Gerrit in bringing his goods home, and declaring them, which we did. We heard that one of the wicked and godless sailors had broken his leg; and in this we saw and acknowledged the Lord and His righteousness. We visited Jean Vigne in order, as he was one of the oldest inhabitants, to obtain from him information on various matters relating to the country.

28th, Thursday. We remained at home to-day. I performed some little errands. Monsr. de La Grange[109] called upon us, dressed up like a great fop, as he was. My comrade did not fail to speak to him seriously on the subject. He requested us to go with him immediately to his house, as I at length did. His house was not far from our lodgings on the front of the city. He had a small shop, as almost all the people here have, who gain their living by trade, namely, in tobacco and liquors, thread and pins and other knick-knacks. His wife welcomed me, and instantly requested that we would come to their house and stay there as long as we were here, for which I thanked them. They had lost a child by the small pox, and they had been sick with the same disease. He said he intended to go to the South River[110] within three weeks, and hearing we were inclined to travel, he desired our company, being willing to take us everywhere and to give us every information. I thanked him, but gave him no assurances, telling him we would see what the Lord would will of us.

[Footnote 109: Arnoldus de la Grange and his wife Cornelia (Fonteyn), resident at this time in New York, removed soon after to Newcastle, on the Delaware River, where he had various tracts of land and where he in 1681 erected a windmill. In 1684-1685 he was concerned in the purchase from Augustine Herrman of land in Bohemia Manor for the Labadist settlement, and later is found as a member of their community.]

[Footnote 110: Delaware River.]

29th, Friday. We finished our letters, and intended to go to-day over to Long Island. At noon a person came to us in our chamber and requested that we would be pleased to go to their minister, who was in the next house, as he was desirous of seeing and conversing with us, having already heard much good of us. We excused ourselves on the ground that we were busy writing, endeavoring to finish our letters, in order, if it were possible, to go over to Long Island in the afternoon, with which he went away.

As soon as we had dined we sent off our letters; and this being all accomplished, we started at two o'clock for Long Island. This island is called Long Island, not so much because it is longer than it is broad, but particularly because it is the longest island in this region, or even along the whole coast of New Netherland, Virginia and New England. It is one hundred and forty-four miles in length, and from twenty-four to twenty-eight miles wide, though there are several bays and points along it, and, consequently, it is much broader in some places than others. On the west is Staten Island, from which it is separated about a mile, and the great bay over which you see the Nevesincke. With Staten Island it makes the passage through which all vessels pass in sailing from or to the Mahatans, although they can go through the Kil van Kol, which is on the other side of Staten Island. The ends of these islands opposite each other are quite high land, and they are, therefore, called the Hoofden (Headlands), from a comparison with the Hoofden of the channel between England and France, in Europe. On the north is the island of Mahatans and a part of the mainland. On the east is the sea, which shoots up to New England, and in which there are various islands. On the south is the great ocean. The outer shore of this island has before it several small islands and broken land, such as Coninen [Coney] Island, a low sandy island of about three hours' circuit, its westerly point forming with Sandy Hook, on the other side, the entrance from the sea. It is oblong in shape, and is grown over with bushes. Nobody lives upon it, but it is used in winter for keeping cattle, horses, oxen, hogs and others, which are able to obtain there sufficient to eat the whole winter, and to shelter themselves from the cold in the thickets. This island is not so cold as Long Island or the Mahatans, or others, like some other islands on the coast, in consequence of their having more sea breeze, and of the saltness of the sea breaking upon the shoals, rocks and reefs, with which the coast is beset. There is also the Bear's Island and others, separated from Long Island by creeks and marshes overflown at high water.[111] There are also on this sea coast various miry places, like the Vlaeck, and others as well as some sand bays and hard and rocky shores. Long Island stretches into the sea for the most part east by south and east-southeast. None of its land is very high, for you must be nearly opposite Sandy Hook before you can see it. There is a hill or ridge running lengthwise through the island, nearest the north side and west end of the island. The south side and east end are more flat. The water by which it is separated from the Mahatans, is improperly called the East River, for it is nothing else than an arm of the sea, beginning in the bay on the west and ending in the sea on the east. After forming in this passage several islands, this water is as broad before the city as the Y before Amsterdam, but the ebb and flood tides are stronger. There is a ferry for the purpose of crossing over it, which is farmed out by the year, and yields a good income, as it is a considerable thoroughfare, this island being one of the most populous places in this vicinity. A considerable number of Indians live upon it, who gain their subsistence by hunting and fishing, and they, as well as others, must carry their articles to market over this ferry, or boat them over, as it is free to every one to use his own boat, if he have one, or to borrow or hire one for the purpose. The fare over the ferry is three stuivers in zeewan[112] for each person.

[Footnote 111: Beeren Eylandt, afterward called Barren Island, lay east of Coney Island, between it and Jamaica Bay. Vlaeck means "the flat."]

[Footnote 112: Less than half a cent.]

Here we three crossed over, my comrade, Gerrit, our guide, and myself, in a row-boat, as it happened, which, in good weather and tide, carries a sail. When we came over we found there Jan Teunissen, our fellow passenger, who had promised us so much good. He was going over to the city, to deliver his letters and transact other business. He told us he would return home in the evening, and we would find him there. We went on, up the hill, along open roads and a little woods, through the first village, called Breukelen, which has a small and ugly little church standing in the middle of the road.[113] Having passed through here, we struck off to the right, in order to go to Gouanes. We went upon several plantations where Gerrit was acquainted with almost all of the people, who made us very welcome, sharing with us bountifully whatever they had, whether it was milk, cider, fruit or tobacco, and especially, and first and most of all, miserable rum or brandy which had been brought from Barbados and other islands, and which is called by the Dutch kill-devil. All these people are very fond of it, and most of them extravagantly so, although it is very dear and has a bad taste. It is impossible to tell how many peach trees we passed, all laden with fruit to breaking down, and many of them actually broken down. We came to a place surrounded with such trees from which so many had fallen off that the ground could not be discerned, and you could not put your foot down without trampling them; and, notwithstanding such large quantities had fallen off, the trees still were as full as they could bear. The hogs and other animals mostly feed on them. This place belongs to the oldest European woman in the country. We went immediately into her house, where she lived with her children. We found her sitting by the fire, smoking tobacco incessantly, one pipe after another. We enquired after her age, which the children told us was an hundred years. She was from Luyck [Liege], and still spoke good Wals.[114] She could reason very well sometimes, and at other times she could not. She showed us several large apples, as good fruit of that country, and different from that of Europe. She had been about fifty years now in the country, and had above seventy children and grandchildren. She saw the third generation after her. Her mother had attended women in child-bed in her one hundred and sixth year, and was one hundred and eleven or twelve years old when she died. We tasted here, for the first time, smoked twaelft [twelfth], a fish so called because it is caught in season next after the elft [eleventh].[115] It was salted a little and then smoked, and, although it was now a year old, it was still perfectly good, and in flavor not inferior to smoked salmon. We drank here, also, the first new cider, which was very fine.

[Footnote 113: The second church building in Brooklyn, erected in 1666, and standing till 1766. It stood in the middle of what is now Fulton Street, near Lawrence Street. Gowanus was a distinct hamlet to the southward from Breukelen.]

[Footnote 114: French of the Walloon variety. See p. 70, note 1, post.]

[Footnote 115: Striped bass and shad, respectively. In reality the word elft has nothing to do with eleven, for elft = Fr. alose or Eng. allice.]

We proceeded on to Gouanes, a place so called, where we arrived in the evening at one of the best friends of Gerrit, named Symon.[116] He was very glad to see us, and so was his wife. He took us into the house, and entertained us exceedingly well. We found a good fire, half-way up the chimney, of clear oak and hickory, which they made not the least scruple of burning profusely. We let it penetrate us thoroughly. There had been already thrown upon it, to be roasted, a pail-full of Gouanes oysters, which are the best in the country. They are fully as good as those of England, and better than those we ate at Falmouth. I had to try some of them raw. They are large and full, some of them not less than a foot long, and they grow sometimes ten, twelve and sixteen together, and are then like a piece of rock. Others are young and small. In consequence of the great quantities of them, everybody keeps the shells for the purpose of burning them into lime. They pickle the oysters in small casks, and send them to Barbados and the other islands. We had for supper a roasted haunch of venison, which he had bought of the Indians for three guilders and a half of seewant, that is, fifteen stivers of Dutch money,[117] and which weighed thirty pounds. The meat was exceedingly tender and good, and also quite fat. It had a slight spicy flavor. We were also served with wild turkey, which was also fat and of a good flavor; and a wild goose, but that was rather dry. Everything we had was the natural production of the country. We saw here, lying in a heap, a whole hill of water-melons, which were as large as pumpkins, and which Symon was going to take to the city to sell. They were very good, though there is a difference between them and those of the Caribbee Islands; but this may be owing to its being late in the season, and these were the last pulling. It was very late at night when we went to rest in a kermis bed, as it is called,[118] in the corner of the hearth, along side of a good fire.

[Footnote 116: This settler was Simon Aertsen De Hart, who came to New Netherland in 1664 and settled at Gowanus Cove. The house in which he entertained the travellers was till lately still standing, near Thirty-ninth Street, west of Third Avenue, Brooklyn, but was destroyed to make room for the terminal buildings of the Thirty-ninth Street ferry. A picture of it as it appeared in 1867 is plate XII. in Mr. Murphy's edition of this journal.]

[Footnote 117: Thirty cents.]

[Footnote 118: Shake-down, bed on the floor.]

30th, Saturday. Early this morning the husband and wife set off for the city with their marketing; and we, having explored the land in the vicinity, left after breakfast. We went a part of the way through a wood and fine, new made land, and so along the shore to the west end of the island called Najack.[119] As we proceeded along the shore, we found, among other curiosities, a highly marbled stone, very hard, in which we saw muscovy glass[120] lying in layers between the clefts, and how it was struck or cut out. We broke off a small piece with some difficulty, and picked out a little glass in the splits. Continuing onward from there, we came to the plantation of the Najack Indians, which was planted with maize, or Turkish wheat. We soon heard a noise of pounding, like thrashing, and went to the place whence it proceeded, and found there an old Indian woman busily employed beating Turkish beans out of the pods by means of a stick, which she did with astonishing force and dexterity. Gerrit inquired of her, in the Indian language, which he spoke perfectly well, how old she was, and she answered eighty years; at which we were still more astonished that so old a woman should still have so much strength and courage to work as she did. We went from thence to her habitation, where we found the whole troop together, consisting of seven or eight families, and twenty or twenty-two persons, I should think. Their house was low and long, about sixty feet long and fourteen or fifteen feet wide. The bottom was earth, the sides and roof were made of reed and the bark of chestnut trees; the posts, or columns, were limbs of trees stuck in the ground, and all fastened together. The top, or ridge of the roof was open about half a foot wide, from one end to the other, in order to let the smoke escape, in place of a chimney. On the sides, or walls, of the house, the roof was so low that you could hardly stand under it. The entrances, or doors, which were at both ends, were so small and low that they had to stoop down and squeeze themselves to get through them. The doors were made of reed or flat bark. In the whole building there was no lime, stone, iron or lead. They build their fire in the middle of the floor, according to the number of families which live in it, so that from one end to the other each of them boils its own pot, and eats when it likes, not only the families by themselves, but each Indian alone, according as he is hungry, at all hours, morning, noon and night. By each fire are the cooking utensils, consisting of a pot, a bowl, or calabash, and a spoon also made of a calabash. These are all that relate to cooking. They lie upon mats with their feet towards the fire, on each side of it. They do not sit much upon any thing raised up, but, for the most part, sit on the ground or squat on their ankles. Their other household articles consists of a calabash of water, out of which they drink, a small basket in which to carry and keep their maize and small beans, and a knife. The implements are, for tillage, a small, sharp stone, and nothing more; for hunting, a gun and pouch for powder and lead; for fishing, a canoe without mast or sail, and without a nail in any part of it, though it is sometimes full forty feet in length, fish hooks and lines, and scoops to paddle with in place of oars. I do not know whether there are not some others of a trifling nature. All who live in one house are generally of one stock or descent, as father and mother with their offspring. Their bread is maize, pounded in a block by a stone, but not fine. This is mixed with water, and made into a cake, which they bake under the hot ashes. They gave us a small piece when we entered, and although the grains were not ripe, and it was half baked and coarse grains, we nevertheless had to eat it, or, at least, not throw it away before them, which they would have regarded as a great sin, or a great affront. We chewed a little of it with long teeth, and managed to hide it so they did not see it. We had also to drink out of their calabashes the water which was their drink, and which was very good. We saw here the Indians who came on board the ship when we arrived. They were all very joyful at the visit of our Gerrit, who was an old acquaintance of theirs, and had heretofore long resided about there. We presented them with two jewsharps, which much pleased them, and they immediately commenced to play upon them, which they could do tolerably well. Some of their patroons (chiefs), some of whom spoke good Dutch, and are also their medicine-men and surgeons as well as their teachers, were busy making shoes of deer leather, which they understand how to make soft by continually working it in their hands. They had dogs, fowls and hogs, which they learn by degrees from the Europeans how to manage better. They had, also, peach trees, which were well laden. Towards the last, we asked them for some peaches, and they answered, "Go and pick them," which showed their politeness. However, in order not to offend them, we went off and pulled some. Although they are such a poor, miserable people, they are, nevertheless, licentious and proud, and given to knavery and scoffing. Seeing a very old woman among them, we inquired how old she was, when some young fellows, laughing and jeering, answered twenty years, while it was evident to us she was not less than an hundred. We observed here the manner in which they travel with their children, a woman having one which she carried on her back. The little thing clung tight around her neck like a cat, where it was kept secure by means of a piece of daffels, their usual garment. Its head, back and buttocks were entirely flat. How that happened to be so we will relate hereafter, as we now only make mention of what we saw.

[Footnote 119: Pronounced Nyack; the region around the present site of Fort Hamilton, on the eastern side of the Narrows. It was at that time largely surrounded by a marsh and hence is referred to in the text as an island.]

[Footnote 120: Mica.]

These Indians live on the land of Jaques ——, brother-in-law of Gerrit.[121] He bought the land from them in the first instance, and then let them have a small corner, for which they pay him twenty bushels of maize yearly, that is, ten bags. Jaques had first bought the whole of Najack from these Indians, who were the lords thereof, and lived upon the land, which is a large place, and afterwards bought it again, in parcels. He was unwilling to drive the Indians from the land, and has therefore left them a corner of it, keeping the best of it himself.[122] We arrived then upon the land of this Jaques, which is all good, and yields large crops of wheat and other grain. It is of a blackish color, but not clayey, and almost like the garden mould I have seen in Holland. At length we reached the house of this Jaques, where we found Monsr. de La Grange, who had come there in search of us, to inform us further concerning his departure for the South River, and to take us to his house. We spoke to him in regard to this and other matters, as was proper, and shortly afterwards he left. This Jaques —— is a man advanced in years. He was born in Utrecht, but of French parents, as we could readily discover from all his actions, looks and language. He had studied philosophy in his youth, and spoke Latin and good French. He was a mathematician and sworn land-surveyor. He had also formerly learned several sciences, and had some knowledge of medicine. But the worst of it was, he was a good Cartesian,[123] and not a good Christian, regulating himself, and all externals, by reason and justice only; nevertheless, he regulated all things better by these principles than most people in these parts do, who bear the name of Christians or pious persons. His brother-in-law and ourselves were welcomed by him and his wife. He treated us with every civility, although two of his sons being sick, and he very much confined in attending upon them, he was much interrupted in attending to us, since they more than we afflicted his head and that of his wife. We went looking around the country, and towards evening came to the village of New Utrecht, so named by him. This village was burned down some time ago, with every thing about it, including the house of this man, which was almost half an hour distant from it.[124] Many persons were impoverished by the fire. It was now almost all rebuilt, and many good stone houses were erected, of which Jaques's was one, where we returned by another road to spend the night. After supper, we went to sleep in the barn, upon some straw spread with sheep-skins, in the midst of the continual grunting of hogs, squealing of pigs, bleating and coughing of sheep, barking of dogs, crowing of cocks, cackling of hens, and, especially, a goodly quantity of fleas and vermin, of no small portion of which we were participants; and all with an open barn door, through which a fresh northwest wind was blowing. Though we could not sleep, we could not complain, inasmuch as we had the same quarters and kind of bed that their own son usually had, who had now on our arrival crept in the straw behind us.

[Footnote 121: Jacques Cortelyou. He came out from Utrecht as tutor to the children of Cornelis van Werckhoven, to whom this New Utrecht tract was first granted by the Dutch West India Company. He became the official surveyor of the province, made in 1660 a map of New Netherland, and founded New Utrecht, on Long island, and a settlement in New Jersey.]

[Footnote 122: There is probably here some confusion between the original grant to van Werckhoven and subsequent regrants to Cortelyou.]

[Footnote 123: Follower of Rene Descartes (1596-1650), the celebrated French philosopher and mathematician, founder of Cartesianism and of modern philosophy in general.]

[Footnote 124: See Governor Andros's recommendation to the constables and overseers of Brooklyn to contribute to the relief of Cortelyou and the other inhabitants of New Utrecht, on account of their losses by fire, 1675, in Stiles, History of Brooklyn, I. 198.]

OCTOBER 1st, Sunday. We went, this morning, on a tour of observation of the country and of the neighbors, some of whom were better situated than others, but all of them had more or less children sick with the small pox, which, next to the fever and ague, is the most prevalent disease in these parts, and of which many have died. We went into one house where there were two children lying dead and unburied, and three others sick, and where one had died the week before. This disease was more fatal this year than usual. We spoke to these afflicted people what was suitable and they could bear.

Finding myself afterwards alone upon a small eminence, I made a sketch, as well as I could, of the land surrounding the great bay, that is, Coney Island, the entrance from the sea, Rentselaer's Hook, and so further to the right, towards Kil van Kol.[125]

[Footnote 125: This sketch is still preserved, accompanying the manuscript of this journal in the possession of the Long Island Historical Society. It bears the legend, in Dutch, "Views of the land on the south side and southwest side of the great bay between the Nevesincks and Long Island, six [Dutch] miles from New York.... All as it appears from ... Jaques [blank]'s house at Najaq." It is reproduced as plate II. in Mr. Murphy's edition.]

After dinner we intended to leave for a place called the bay,[126] where Jan Theunissen, our fellow passenger, lived, who had made us great promises of friendship; besides, my companion was desirous, as they said there would be preaching, to hear the minister of the island,[127] who was very zealous and a great Cocceian, and, perhaps, a Cartesian. But Jaques persuaded us from it, because the house where Jan Theunissen lived with his father was so full of people on Sundays, who came from all directions to attend preaching, that you could scarcely get in or out. As the minister was not in the village where he dwelt, he remained over with many other persons; and he (Jaques) said he would accompany us there the next morning. So we let it pass, and took another walk to New Utrecht, where we drank some good beer a year old, and coming back again to the house, indulged in peaches on the road. I went along the shore to Coney Island, which is separated from Long Island only by a creek, and around the point, and came inside not far from a village called Gravesant,[128] and again home. We discovered on the road several kinds of grapes still on the vines, called speck (pork) grapes, which are not always good, and these were not; although they were sweet in the mouth at first, they made it disagreeable and stinking. The small blue grapes are better, and their vines grow in good form. Although they have several times attempted to plant vineyards, and have not immediately succeeded, they, nevertheless, have not abandoned the hope of doing so by and by, for there is always some encouragement, although they have not, as yet, discovered the cause of the failure.

[Footnote 126: Flatlands, where Elbert Elbertsen Stoothoff, father-in-law of Jan Theunissen, and a man of prominence, lived.]

[Footnote 127: Niewenhuisen.]

[Footnote 128: Gravesend, still farther down the south shore of Long Island.]

2d, Monday. Having slept the night again at Najack, we four went, after breakfast, to the bay, where we arrived about ten o'clock. We did not find Jan Theunissen at home, as he had driven to the city to bring his goods; but the father and mother bade us welcome, and took us around into their orchards to look at them. My comrade spoke to him as opportunity offered of godly things, but he seemed to be a little disposed to play the part of a religious and wise man, and he defended himself and the evil as much as he could, going to work somewhat coldly with us. We took the time, however, to go around and see every thing thoroughly, and found the land, in general, not so good as that at Najack. There is towards the sea a large piece of low flat land which is overflowed at every tide, like the schorr with us, miry and muddy at the bottom, and which produces a species of hard salt grass or reed grass. Such a place they call valey and mow it for hay, which cattle would rather eat than fresh hay or grass. It is so hard that they cannot mow it with a common scythe, like ours, but must have the English scythe for the purpose. Their adjoining corn lands are dry and barren for the most part. Some of them are now entirely covered with clover in blossom, which diffused a sweet odor in the air for a great distance, and which we discovered in the atmosphere, before we saw the fields. Behind the village, inland, are their meadows, but they also were now arid. All the land from the bay to the Vlacke Bos[129] is low and level, without the least elevation. There is also a tract which is somewhat large, of a kind of heath, on which sheep could graze, though we saw none upon it. This marsh, like all the others, is well provided with good creeks which are navigable and very serviceable for fisheries. There is here a grist-mill driven by the water which they dam up in the creek; and it is hereabouts they go mostly to shoot snipe and wild geese. In the middle of this meadow there is a grove into which we went, and within which there was a good vale cleared off and planted. On our return from this ramble we found Jan Theunissen had come back with his company. He welcomed us, but somewhat coldly, and so demeaned himself all the time we were there, as to astonish my comrade at the change, but not me entirely, for I had observed this falling off while we were yet at sea and were approaching the land and even before that, and had remarked it to my colleague, but he had more confidence in him. The day having been thus passed, we remained here for the night to sleep. In the evening we made the acquaintance of one Jan Poppe, formerly a skipper in the West Indies, whom I had known when I lived there.[130] He did not know me by name or by vocation, but only that I lived there, and had conversed with him there, but not much. He was tired of the sea, and not having accumulated much, he had come to settle down here, making his living out of the business of a turner, by which he could live bountifully.

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