[Footnote 295: "The Liftings up of the Soul to God"; one of Labadie's publications (Dutch, Amsterdam, 1667), of which, however, Danckaerts evidently had with him only the original French, Elevations d'Esprit a Dieu (Montauban, 1651).]
[Footnote 296: Les Saintes Decades des Quatrains de Piete Chrestienne (Amsterdam, 1671), poems by Jean de Labadie.]
[Footnote 297: Passaic.]
11th, Sunday. We received letters from the South River, from Mr. Ephraim Hermans, and Heer Johan Moll, which consoled us as to their state, and gave us some hope at least of great progress, as appears by the same. We answered them, and dispatched our letters by the same person who brought theirs, and who was to return on the
14th, Wednesday, and with whom we sent the translation of the Verheffinge des Geestes with a small package of knitted baby-clothes. The ship Beaver came out of Deutel Bay, and was up for Europe and Holland immediately. Therefore, on the
15th, Thursday, we began writing to our friends in the Fatherland. The winter gradually passing away, the weather was during the last of February, and first of March, as pleasant as it were the month of May. I finished the translation of the Decades.
MARCH 2d, Saturday. M. de la Grange has chartered a yacht to go to the South River, with a lot of merchandise, and to take to his land there the boor, whom he had brought for that purpose from the Fatherland. This person came from near Sluis, and had done nothing here as yet, because De la Grange had not gone to Tinaconcq, as he had first intended. He designed to take him now to the land he had bought on Christina Kill, and have it put in order. He had obtained exemption from tax on his merchandise, and was the first one who had enjoyed this advantage, that is, from the second tax, he having paid the first tax when the goods were unladen here. All merchandise pays a second tax when it is sent to the South River, or Albany. I gave him Les Paroles de Salut for Heer Johan Moll, who had urgently requested us to send him some religious book or other, writing to him what was necessary on the subject.
[Footnote 298: Sluis in Staats-Vlanderen, now in Zeeland.]
[Footnote 299: What appears to be the Dutch version of this, Handboekje van Godsaligheid, by Labadie, was published at Amsterdam in 1680.]
We had waited till this time to go to Ackquekanon, either on account of the weather, or because it was not convenient for the persons on Long Island. We finally determined to go with Gerrit, who could speak very good Indian, and who had sent word to us from Long Island, that we must be at Simon's house in Gouanes for that purpose on Sunday morning in order to go in his boat. We accordingly prepared ourselves.
3d, Sunday. We both went over to Long Island, at eight o'clock; and as we were entering the ferry boat, Madame de la Grange came aboard with her nephew, Kasparus Reinderman, who, when they had landed, took a wagon and rode on to the bay. We went through Breukelen to Gouanes, where we arrived about ten o'clock, and found Gerrit was not yet there. Several families of Indians had erected their huts upon the beach, whereby Simon's house was very accessible. This was done with the consent of his wife, with whom he had left the profit from the Indians. While we were engaged in obtaining some oysters, Gerrit with Jaques and his son and daughter rode up in a wagon. Jaques had come for the purpose of attending to a sick horse of Simon, which had a certain disease, they call here the staggers, to which their horses are subject, and with which the creatures whether going or standing constantly stagger, and often fall; this increasing they fall down at last, and so continue till they die. It is cured sometimes by cutting the tip end of the tail, and letting the blood drip out; then opening a vein, giving the animal a warm drink and making a puncture in the forehead, from which a large quantity of matter runs out. The boat being leaky, and a right calculation not having been made as to the tide, we remained here to-day, intending to leave early in the morning, and, therefore, made every preparation. We had expected another person to go with us, but there were only us three.
4th, Monday. We left Gouanes Bay at high water, about eight o'clock, with a southerly wind, but calm, and rowed with the current to Gheele Hoeck, where we made sail, and crossed the bay to Achter Kol, where we knew there were some Indians lying behind Constables Hook. We sailed there in order to request one of them, named Hans, to go with us as a guide. Hans had long frequented among the Dutch, and spoke the Dutch language tolerably well. He was a great nitap, that is, friend of Gerrit. He refused at first to accompany us, saying he had just come from there; and when we urged it upon him, he said, "would you Christians do as much for us Indians? If you had just been there and had come back tired and weary, and some Indians should come and ask you in the midst of your children, in your own houses, while busied with your occupation, would you be ready immediately to go back with them?" We answered yes, upon proper terms. He said, "I do not think so, I know well what you would do." We told him, we would fully satisfy him. He wished to make a bargain beforehand, which we did not, as we wanted to see whether he would earn anything. He allowed himself to be persuaded; "but," he said, "I will lose so much time in making zeewant," which is their money and consists only of little beads. "I am very cold; you are all well clothed and do not feel the cold; I am an old man (as he was), and have nothing but a little worn-out blanket for my naked body." We must give him a blanket and then he would be willing to go with us. We said we had none with us. "Well," he replied, "I do not ask you to give it to me now, but when I come to the city." We told him he should be satisfied, and have no cause of complaint. After he had fitted himself out a little he went with us. We had some of the flood tide left; but before we reached Schutters Island the wind changed, and it was quite calm. We therefore struck our sails and went to rowing in order to strike the current. By scraping along we reached the Slangenbergh, on the west point of the Northwest Kill, where there is a very large piece of salt meadow, and where the tide ran so strong against us we could not proceed any further. We therefore lay to and went ashore, in order to walk about a little. This was the largest, cleanest, and most level piece of salt meadow that we had observed anywhere. After having been an hour or a little more on shore, a light breeze sprang up out of the east, when we took the boat again and putting off, came to Milfor, an English village, lying upon high land on the south side of the creek, having left Santfort on the right hand, which is an English village also, lying on the west side of Hackingsackse Kill. We then came to high land; and the wind falling, we rowed up against the ebb tide to a house on the northeast side belonging to one Captain Berry, where it being evening and commencing to rain, we stopped, made the boat fast, and took every thing out of her. We entered the house which was large enough, but poorly furnished. We found nobody there except a negro who could speak nothing but a little broken French. We warmed ourselves, and ate from what we had brought with us, Hans, the Indian, sharing with us. In the meanwhile we engaged in conversation with him, and he told us certain things which we had never heard any Indian or European mention, the opinion of the Indians in relation to the Godhead, the creation, and the preservation and government of all things.
[Footnote 300: Yellow Point.]
[Footnote 301: Passaic River.]
[Footnote 302: Milford, i.e., Newark, founded in 1666 by settlers from Milford, Connecticut, and other Connecticut towns. Opposite, between the Hackensack and Passaic rivers, lay Captain William Sandford's plantation (granted 1668), afterward called New Barbadoes. North of his grant lay that of Captain John Berry (1669), still higher that of Jacques Cortelyou and his partners.]
We acknowledge, he said, a supreme first power, some cause of all things, which is known by all the Indians of North America, hereabouts, whether Mahatans, Sinnekes, Maquaas, Minquaas, southern or northern Indians, not only by the name of Sackamacher or Sachamor (which the Dutch for the sake of convenience will pervert into Sackemacher), that is to say, lord, captain, or chief, which all persons bear who have any power or authority among them, especially any government or rule over other persons and affairs, and that name, it appeared to him, was used by others to express God, more than by themselves; but the true name by which they call this Supreme Being, the first and great beginning of all things, was Kickeron, who is the origin of all, who has not only once produced or made all things, but produces every day. All that we see daily that is good, is from him; and every thing he makes and does is good. He governs all things, and nothing is done without his aid and direction. "And," he continued, "I, who am a captain and Sakemaker among the Indians, and also a medicine-man (as was all true), and have performed many good cures among them, experience every day that all medicines do not cure, if it do not please him to cause them to work; that he will cure one and not another thereby; that sickness is bad, but he sends it upon whom he pleases, because those upon whom he visits it are bad; but we did not have so much sickness and death before the Christians came into the country, who have taught the people debauchery and excess; they are therefore much more miserable than they were before. The devil, who is wicked, instigates and urges them on, to all kinds of evil, drunkenness and excess, to fighting and war, and to strife and violence amongst themselves, by which many men are wounded and killed. He thus does all kind of evil to them." I told him I had conversed with Jasper or Tantaque, another old Indian, on the subject, from whence all things had come, and he had told me they came from a tortoise; that this tortoise had brought forth the world, or that all things had come from it; that from the middle of the tortoise there had sprung upon a tree, upon whose branches men had grown. That was true, he replied, but Kickeron made the tortoise, and the tortoise had a power and a nature to produce all things, such as earth, trees, and the like, which God wished through it to produce, or have produced.
[Footnote 303: Probably connected with Kitchi, great.]
[Footnote 304: See pp. 76-78, supra.]
It was now time to see if we could not take some rest in a place not very well protected against the cold, and where there was nothing to lie upon except the naked floor; but the negro wishing to favor my comrade and myself, showed us a bunk in which there was nothing save a few leaves of maize, and those thin enough. We lay down there, but suffered greatly from the cold. We slept very little, and lay shivering all night, and the slave sometimes shaking us and waking us up. We were so stiff we could not move; but the night passed on as well as it could, and we rose early. It had rained, and we started at daylight to the boat, and rowed into the stream. Gerrit grumbled very much. He was a coarse, ignorant man, and had not well calculated the tide. We went ashore about eight or half-past eight to breakfast, and had great difficulty in making a fire, for all the brush was wet through with the rain. We were fortunate enough, however, at last, to succeed. We took a walk for a short distance into the woods, which were not the poorest. In the meanwhile the ebb had ended; the water was calm, and taking a little of the flood, we rowed on until we arrived at Ackquekenon, about one o'clock in the afternoon. Ackquekenon is a tract of land of about twelve thousand morgen, which Jaques of Najack, with seven or eight associates, had purchased from the Indians, the deed of which we have seen, and the entire price of which amounted to one hundred or one hundred and fifty guilders in Holland money, at the most. It is a fine piece of land, the best tract of woodland that we have seen except one at the south. It is not very abundant in wood, but it has enough for building purposes and fuel. On one side of it is the Northwest Kill, which is navigable by large boats and yachts thus far, but not beyond. On the other side, there is a small creek by which it is almost entirely surrounded, affording water sufficient, both summer and winter, to drive several mills.
When we reached here, we took our provisions and whatever was loose out of the boat into a hut of the Indians, of whom there is only one family on this whole tract. We ate our dinner by their fire, and determined to go in the afternoon to the falls, although it had already begun to rain. We started off accordingly under the guidance of Hans, the Indian. The rain gradually increased, with snow, and did not hold up the whole day. After we had travelled good three hours over high hills, we came to a high rocky one, where we could hear the noise of the water, and clambering up to the top, saw the falls below us, a sight to be seen in order to observe the power and wonder of God. Behind this hill the land is much higher than on the other side, and continues so as far as is known. A kill or river runs through this high land between the hills, formed by several branches coming down from still higher land. This river, running along the valley to seek the sea, comes to this hill where it runs over a large blue rock, which is broken in two, obliquely with the river. One part is dry, which is the hill before mentioned; the other is where the river, running over a crevice or fissure between both, appears to be eight or ten feet wide, having on either side smooth precipices like walls, but some parts broken between them. The river finding this chasm pours all its water into it headlong from a height, according to guess, of about eighty feet; and all this pouring water must break upon the undermost piece of stone lying in the crevice, which causes a great roaring and foaming, so that persons standing there, side by side, have to call out loud before they can understand each other. By reason of the breaking of the water, and the wind which the falling water carries with it, there is constantly spray ascending like smoke, which scatters itself like rain. In this spray, when the sun shines, the figure of a rainbow is constantly to be seen trembling and shaking, and even appearing to move the rock. The water in this fissure runs out on the south; and there at the end of the rock or point it finds a basin, which is the beginning of the lower kill. This point is, I judge, about one hundred feet above the water, and is steep like an upright wall. When the fish come up the river, this basin is so full of all kinds of them, that you can catch them with your hands, because they are stopped there, and collect together, refreshing themselves, and sporting in and under the falling fresh water, which brings with it, from above, bushes, green leaves, earth, and mire, in which they find food. The water runs hence east and northeast to Ackquekenon. The Indians come up this river in canoes to fish, because it is one of the richest fisheries they have; but the river is not navigable by larger boats, though in case the country were settled the navigation could be improved. The falls lie among high hills, especially on the south, so that the sun does not penetrate there well except in summer. We found heavy ice there at this time, although it had all thawed away below. When I saw this ice at a distance, I supposed it was the foam. I took a sketch as well as I could, very hastily, for we had no time, and it rained and snowed very much. What I did is not very happily done. I regret I could not crayon it, for it is worth being portrayed. Night coming on, we had to leave. We were very wet and cold, especially in the feet. It was dark, and slippery walking on such precipices, and crossing little streams. Tired and weary, wet and dirty, we reached the place which we had started from, about eight o'clock in the evening, and went into the hut of the Indians, having to-day rowed constantly from early dawn until one or two o'clock, and then walked, through heavy weather, twenty-four to twenty-eight miles.
[Footnote 305: The falls of the Passaic, at Paterson, New Jersey.]
[Footnote 306: Not preserved.]
We endeavored to warm and dry ourselves in this cabin as best we could. We could not stand up on account of the smoke, and there were no means of sitting down unless flat on the ground, which was very bad for us, on account of our being so wet, but we did the best we could. We took our supper, and distributed some of our bread among the Indians, with which they were as much pleased as children with sweet cake. We gave each man four fish-hooks, and the women and children each two. We also gave them two small trumpets, and then they were great nitaps or friends. We had to lie down there, and at first, as long as it was warm, it went very well; but the fire being almost burned out, and the hut rather airy, and the wind being no longer kept out by the heat in the opening, through which the smoke escaped, we became stiff in the knees, so that I could not, through weariness and cold, move mine without great pain and difficulty. The longed-for day came, and we went out in the snow to look through the woods, and along the little stream, to see whether it would be worth the trouble to erect a saw-mill there for the purpose of sawing timber for sale, as Jaques had supposed. But although we found the stream suitable for mills, we did not discover proper wood sufficient for the purpose. The soil seemed to promise good, and the place is as well situated as it can be, to make a village or city. The land on both sides of the Northwest Kill is all taken up, and the prospect is that the whole region will soon be inhabited. It is already taken up on the south side as high up as the falls. Eating our breakfast about eight o'clock, we went on board of the boat, it being now the
6th, Wednesday. We set off with a westerly wind, though light and gusty. If the wind in this river do not come straight from behind, you cannot derive much benefit from it, in consequence of the land on both sides of it being so high, and the bay so winding. The river is the pleasantest we have yet seen. It is gratifying to look upon the continually changing views which present themselves in going either up or down, with its evergreens of pine and cedar, and other species, the names of which I do not know, and its clean bottom and clear fresh water. We rowed and sailed as well as we could, until the flood tide stopped us, when we went ashore to eat our dinner, and make a good fire to warm ourselves. When the ebb began to make, we proceeded on our way. Our poor Indian, who did nothing in the boat, sat all the time benumbed with cold in his poor little blanket. But as the day advanced it was better. The tide serving us, and the wind being stronger as we came below the high land, we reached Achter Kol before evening, and set the Indian ashore at his hut, who told us he would come and see us on Monday. It was calm, with the wind more and more favorable, and we crossed over the bay, and arrived Gouanes Bay about eight o'clock.
I had asked Hans, our Indian, what Christians they, the Indians, had first seen in these parts. He answered the first were Spaniards or Portuguese, from whom they obtained the maize or Spanish or Turkish wheat, but they did not remain here long. Afterwards the Dutch came into the South River and here, on Noten Island, a small island lying directly opposite the fort at New York, and to Fort Orange or Albany, and after them the English came for the first, who nevertheless always disputed the first possession. But since the country has been taken several times by the one and the other, the dispute is ended in regard to the right of ownership, as it is now a matter of conquest.
[Footnote 307: Governor's Island. The Spaniards spoken of may have been Verrazano's men.]
When we arrived at Gouanes, we heard a great noise, shouting and singing in the huts of the Indians, who as we mentioned before, were living there. They were all lustily drunk, raving, striking, shouting, jumping, fighting each other, and foaming at the mouth like raging wild beasts. Some who did not participate with them, had fled with their wives and children to Simon's house, where the drunken brutes followed, bawling in the house and before the door, which we finally closed. And this was caused by Christians. It makes me blush to call by that holy name those who live ten times worse than these most barbarous Indians and heathen, not only in the eyes of those who can discriminate, but according to the testimony of these poor Indians themselves. What do I say, the testimony of the Indians! Yes, I have not conversed with an European or a native born, the most godless and the best, who has not fully and roundly acknowledged it, but they have not acknowledged it salutarily, and much less desisted, disregarding all convictions external and internal, notwithstanding all the injury which springs therefrom, not only among the Indians, but others, as we will show in its proper place. How will they escape the terrible judgment of God; how evade the wrath and anger of the Lord and King, Jesus, whom they have so dishonored and defamed, and caused to be defamed among the heathen? Just judgment is their damnation. But I must restrain myself, giving God all judgment and wrath, and keeping only what he causes us to feel therefor. Such are the fruits of the cursed cupidity of those who call themselves Christians for the very little that these poor naked people have. Simon and his wife also do their best in the same way, although we spoke to them severely on the subject. They brought forward this excuse, that if they did not do it, others would, and then they would have the trouble and others the profit, but if they must have the trouble, they ought to have the profit; and so they all said, and for the most part falsely, for they all solicit the Indians as much as they can, and after begging their money from them, compel them to leave their blankets, leggings, and coverings of their bodies in pawn, yes, their guns and hatchets, the very instruments by which they obtain their subsistence. This subject is so painful and so abominable, that I will forbear saying anything more for the present.
These Indians had canticoyed there to-day, that is, conjured the devil, and liberated a woman among them, who was possessed by him, as they said; and indeed, as they told us, it had that appearance, but I have never seen it.
[Footnote 308: The canticoy of the Indians was wild dancing.]
We fared better this night than the last, and whether from fatigue or other reasons, slept soundly.
7th, Thursday. We had intended to go to Najacq, to Jaques's, and afterwards to Elbert's in the bay, in order to report to them how we had found their land, but Gerrit having promised his father-in-law some firewood, he had to take Simon's boat for the purpose, and Simon's wife also had some errands in the city. We, therefore, determined to go with them, as we did, leaving Gouanes at ten o'clock, and seeing the Indians putting up their huts which they had entirely thrown down during their intoxication, although it was not much trouble, as it was not much to make them. With a tolerably fair wind we reached the city at noon, where we gave ourselves up to rest.
We wished now to make a voyage to the Nevesinkx, Rentselaer's Hoeck, and Sant Hoek, but we could find no opportunity, for the reason that this route is very little navigated in the winter and spring, because it is somewhat dangerous. Meanwhile, the weather continued very variable; sometimes we had frost and severe cold, then rain and snow, wind and squalls, until the time of the sun's crossing the line, when it began to become warm, but continued still variable, though it improved daily.
20th, Wednesday. While my comrade sat writing, he observed a change in his vision, being able to see better than before, when he had to look extremely close in writing. It happened thus: writing as he was accustomed to do, his sight in an instant became entirely obscured, so that he had to stop, not being able to write any more. Not knowing what it was, he shut his eyes and rubbed them, as they usually do when anything obstructs the sight, and then undertook to write as he had done before, but yet he could not see well; when raising his head higher from the paper, he saw much clearer than when he had to look close to it. Had he kept his eyes up so high before, he would scarcely have been able to see at all. You could also perceive that his writing was different afterwards.
A yacht arrived down the river from the Hysopes, from which they learned that the navigation was open, though boats going up would have to tug through the ice. It brought news of the death of the minister, Domine Gaesbeck, a Cocceian, which had caused great sorrow. They had determined to call another minister from Holland, or Tessemaker from the south. They had built a new church in the Hysopus, of which the glass had been made and painted in the city, by the father of our mate, Evert Duiker, whose other son, Gerrit, did most of the work. This Gerrit Duiker had to take the glass to the Hysopes, and having heard we had a mind to go there, he requested our company, which we would not refuse him when the time came. He promised to teach me how to draw.
[Footnote 309: Esopus, founded in 1652. See pp. 220-221, post.]
[Footnote 310: Rev. Laurentius van Gaasbeeck, licentiate in theology and doctor of medicine (M.D., Leyden, 1674), had come to the Esopus in September, 1678, and had preached at its three villages of Kingston, Marbleton, and Hurley. He died in February, 1680. A letter from the church, asking for another minister, is in Ecclesiastical Records of New York, II. 748. Tesschenmaker had served the church temporarily before Gaasbeeck's arrival.]
[Footnote 311: Evert Duyckinck the elder and his son Gerrit were painters and glaziers; the father is also designated in the Dutch church records as "Schilder," maker of pictures.]
23d, Saturday. The first boat arrived from Fort Orange to-day, bringing scarcely any news except that a great number of Indians had died in the early part of the winter of small pox, and a large party of them had gone south to make war against the Indians of Carolina, beyond Virginia, for which reason the hunting of beaver had not been good, and there would be a great scarcity of peltries this year, which was the chief trade of New Netherland, especially in this quarter.
[Footnote 312: Albany.]
There was something published and posted by this government to-day against that of New Jersey or Achter Kol, but I do not know precisely what it was. We found to-day an opportunity to go to Nevesinck. An Englishman who had a little boat, and small enough, was going on Monday without fail, and he had, he said, about sixteen passengers.
[Footnote 313: Governor Andros's proclamation of March 13/23, 1680, against Governor Carteret's assuming to exercise powers of government in New Jersey. It may be found in New Jersey Archives, I. 293.]
24th, Sunday, and 25th, Monday. It stormed hard from the northwest, and he could not go, but he came to tell us he would give us notice when he would sail.
26th, Tuesday. He came and told us he would leave next day at sunrise, and in passing by the house, he would come in and call us.
27th, Wednesday. We waited for him from an early hour, but it was nearly ten o'clock before we saw him. We went to his boat which was poor enough, very small, light, and lank, though it had been repaired some; it had an old sail and piece of a foresail, and yet this captain was as stern and arrogant with his boat, as if it were a ship-of-war. We waited there for the passengers, but they had melted away to three, my comrade, myself and one other person. We started about eleven o'clock with a good wind and tide, though it was almost low water. When we reached the Narrows, the wind veered round to the southeast, which was against us. We discovered the boat to be so leaky that she had a foot or two of water in her, which he sought to excuse, but every word he said on the subject was untrue. The pump was stopped up, and we had to help him clear it out, which was accomplished after much trouble and bungling. We cleared it out, but we had that to do three times, because in repairing the boat they had left all the chips and pieces of wood lying in the hold between the planks, and when we pumped, this stuff would continually obstruct the pump, though we succeeded in getting out most of the water. Meanwhile the wind changed to the south and southwest, with which there was every prospect of getting outside. We tacked about and reached Coney Island, a low, sandy island, lying on the east side of the entrance from the sea. We came to anchor under its outermost point, when we should have gone inside of Sandy Hook, in a creek, as we were able yet to do; but he said, we must go outside of Sandy Hook, round by sea, and then make for a creek there. I began now to have other thoughts. To put to sea in such a light, low, decayed, and small boat, with rotten sails, and an inexperienced skipper, and that at night, did not suit me very well. The sea began already to roll round the point of Coney Island, and I apprehended bad weather from pain in my breast and other indications. He said the place where we were lying was entirely shoal, and he therefore dared not go near the shore, as there was only eight or ten feet water. But he was much mistaken, for when he let the anchor fall, it ran out six fathoms of rope before it struck the bottom. I had seated myself all the time at the helm, and observed he was a miserable person. It was then about half flood, and having put things somewhat in order, he asked us if we would go ashore with him. I said yes, and I did so for the purpose of ascertaining how the westerly point of this island was situated on the sea entrance. My comrade and the other passenger, having no wish to go, remained on board. Upon reaching the shore, we saw immediately a large ship coming up the bay from Sandy Hook, which we supposed to be Margaret's ship, which she had left to be repaired at Falmouth, as we have before mentioned. I wondered why our skipper did not return on board, but he not only remained ashore and left his boat with two inexperienced persons, but he had not hauled up on the beach his small canoe in which we came ashore, or made it fast. I went with him along the strand, on the sea side, and saw that, close by Coney Island, a strong flood tide was running, which was pressed between the east bank and the island, and that led us to think there was an opening there through which you could sail out and in, which is the fact, as I was afterwards informed by one who was very well acquainted with the place; but it is only deep enough for boats, yachts, and other small craft. This island, on the sea side, is a meadow or marsh intersected by several kills or creeks. It is not large, being about half an hour or three quarters long, and stretching nearly east and west. It is sandy and uninhabited. They generally let their horses run upon it to feed, as they cannot get off of it. We found good oysters in the creek inside, and ate some of them, but seeing his carelessness, I could not remain longer from the boat, as the canoe might be carried off, on the rise of the water, by the tide or the wind, and my comrade and the other passenger, who was sea-sick, not know what to do, the more so in view of the inexperience and carelessness of the captain. I therefore hurried to the boat, running across the island. On the inside of the island I found a sandy elevation like a dune or high dyke which became gradually lower towards Long Island, and that is all which shows itself here. This elevation is on the land side, and is mostly covered with hollies, which, according to my recollection, I have never seen growing in this region except on dry and very fine sand. When we reached the canoe it was not only afloat, but it had been thrown across the beach by the sea, and was full of water. If it had moved off, we certainly should have been at a loss. The water being high, the sea came rolling in heavily around the point into the bay, and caused the boat lying in the current, which ran strong here, to pitch greatly. We were even fearful about getting on board again, for the canoe could scarcely hold us both. I told him to go on board first, and bring the boat nearer the shore, and then he could take me aboard, but he would not do so, we must go on board together. We therefore both went into it, and reached the boat, though it was very dangerous. As soon as we came aboard, our skipper spoke about leaving there, as we could not lie there well. I asked him where he would go to. He said to the city, which I did not much oppose, and was secretly glad of, seeing it was from the Lord. We therefore had to abandon our design of going to the Nevesinckx at this time. The large ship which we had seen sailed before us; and we found that we had not been mistaken in our supposition, as it was the same vessel we had left in Falmouth. It commenced blowing hard in the evening, and we had as much as we could stand, but we reached the city while it was yet in the evening, very much rejoiced.
[Footnote 314: See p. 28, supra.]
28th, Thursday, and 29th, Friday. There was a severe storm, accompanied with much rain, from the southeast, it being about new moon. Certainly, if we did not see in this the continual care of the Lord, in His providence, we were worse than beasts, for it was too manifest not to be touched by it. He gives us grace only to lose ourselves more and more in Him, and to offer ourselves up to His service.
30th, Sunday [Saturday.] The storm continued the whole day.
31st, Monday [Sunday.] We determined to make a journey to Albany at the first opportunity, but this could not be done without the special permission of the governor. Though a regulation exists that no one shall go up there unless he has been three years in the country, that means for the purpose of carrying on trade; for a young man who came over with us from Holland proceeded at once to Albany, and continues to reside there. We went accordingly to request permission of the governor. After we had waited two or three hours, his Excellency came in and received us kindly. We made our request, which he neither refused nor granted, but said he would take it into consideration. Meanwhile we inquired after vessels, of which there were plenty going up at this time of year.
APRIL 2d [3d], Wednesday. We went again to the lord governor for permission, who received us after he had dined. He inquired for what purpose we wished to go above; to which we answered, we had come here to see the country, its nature and fertility; and that we had heard there were fine lands above, such as Schoonechten, Rentselaerswyck, and the Hysopus. "Those are all small places," he said, "and are all taken possession of; but I am ashamed I did not think of this." He then requested us to come some morning and dine with him, when he would talk with us. We thanked him, and took our leave, reflecting whether it would be advisable to trouble his Excellency any more about the matter, as it was not of such great importance to us, and he, perhaps, considered it of more moment than we did. We then felt inclined to leave the country the very first opportunity, as we had nothing more to do here, and it was the very best time of year to make a voyage. As we had some of our goods left after we were forbidden to sell any more, we went to see if we could get rid of what we had kept for Ephraim. As there was no prospect of seeing him, we proposed to do the best we could with one of our neighbors, named Cornelius van Kleif, to whom my comrade had spoken, and who was inclined to trade. He entered into negotiations, but was a little timorous. We offered to let him examine the bills of the persons from whom we had bought the goods, and also of the freight and custom-house duties, and he should give us an advance of thirty per cent. on their amount; or, he might see what they were worth, and could be sold for, and we would divide the profits equally with him. After he had looked at them, he did not dare to take them himself alone, but said he would bring another person, in order that with the two of them they might make it safe. He did not say he had no means of payment, though he did remark he had no peltries, which we would willingly have taken in payment. The other person had the means to pay. We told him we would wait until de La Grange returned from the South River; that I had spoken to his wife on the subject, and that he was expected back every day; at all events, that we would wait until we had spoken to some other person. Van Kleif's wife, however, took some fine thread, ribbons, pins, and what she wanted for herself.
[Footnote 315: Schenectady, Rensselaerswyck, Esopus.]
7th, Sunday. M. de La Grange arrived home from the South River, and came with his wife in the afternoon to visit us, both being under concern of mind. We addressed to them what we thought necessary. He stated he had agreed with his nephew to go in partnership with him, and could not withdraw therefrom, unless God did something special. They both hoped that God would have pity upon them.
We spoke of the remnant of our little stock, and of the time advancing when we must be rid of it, so as to be prepared to leave the country. He said as soon as the boat, which he had chartered, returned from the South River, in which he had some peltries, we would see what we could do with each other.
8th, Monday. Van Kleif came to examine the goods again. He had the disposition, but not the means to buy, and wished to bring still another person to make the purchase, whom he named, and who was one of the most miserly persons in the city, which was not agreeable to us. We, therefore, told him we had already spoken to M. de La Grange.
10th, Wednesday. The boat of de La Grange arrived from the South River, bringing a letter for us from Ephraim, in which he informed us of his intention to come and visit us the last of April or the first of May, which we much desired.
A certain governor from Harford [Hartford], a place situated to the north, arrived in the city from the West Indies. Our governor entertained him nobly, and parted with him with great civility.
[Footnote 316: William Leete was governor of Connecticut at this time, but there seems to be no evidence of his leaving his colony to go to the West Indies.]
Two vessels sailed for Boston, where we much desired to go, but we were not prepared. The governor investigated whether either of them had taken anything on board below the city.
We left a small piece of brown serge, which stood us in rather dear, but was very fine and strong, and which on account of its high price, we had not been able to dispose of, to be cut up for a coat, waistcoat, and breeches for both of us, with fur in front, so that almost the whole piece was used, De la Grange taking the remnant, with which he was much pleased, for a coat, because he did not know where to obtain such goods in this country. Meanwhile, the barter of our few goods was going on with him at the rate of fifty per cent. profit on the invoices, upon which condition he took almost all of them.
13th, Saturday. We called upon the governor, and requested permission to leave. He spoke to us kindly, and asked us to come the next day after preaching, thus preventing our request.
14th, Sunday. About five o'clock in the afternoon, we went to the lord governor, who was still engaged, at our arrival, in the Common Prayer; but as soon as it was finished, he came and spoke to us, even before we had spoken to him, and said of a person who was with him, "This is Captain Deyer, to whom I have given directions to write a permit or passport for you to go to Albany." He again asked us where we came from, and where we lived, which we told him. He also inquired something about the prince of Friesland, and the princess, and also about the differences of the people of Friesland and His Royal Highness and Their High Mightinesses, which we told him. We then thanked him for his favor, and said the object of our visit was not only to ask permission to go up the river, but also to leave the country. He thereupon stated that there would be no boat going to Boston for two or three weeks, but he intended to send one himself soon to Pennequicq, which was at our service, and we could easily get to Boston from there by a fishing boat or some other vessel. We thanked him for the honor and kindness he had shown us, and further inquired of him whether it would be necessary to have a passport at our departure. He replied no. We inquired also whether it would be necessary to post up our names, as there is an established regulation that it should be done six weeks before leaving. To this he replied, if we were merchants, and owed anybody, it would be proper to do so, and then asked if such was the case with either of us. We answered no; then, he continued, it is not necessary. For all which we thanked his Excellency, and took our leave.
[Footnote 317: William Dyer had been commissioned by the Duke of York in 1674 as collector of the port of New York, and was still acting as such. The next year, 1680-1681, he was mayor of the city.]
[Footnote 318: Since the revolution of 1672 in Holland, William III., Prince of Orange, afterward king of Great Britain, had been stadholder (governor) of that province, and of four others of the seven provinces of which the Dutch federal republic, the United Provinces, consisted. But the other two provinces, Friesland and Groningen, kept as their chief executive Count Henry Kasimir II. of Nassau-Dietz, a third cousin of the Prince of Orange. The stadholder of Friesland was not on good terms with his great relative, and under his lead Friesland stood somewhat aloof from the policies of the latter and of Their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Provinces. The title His Royal Highness would be given to the Prince of Orange by Andros because of his recent marriage (1677) to the Princess Mary, daughter of the Duke of York and niece of Charles II.]
[Footnote 319: Pemaquid.]
Reflecting upon this matter, we thought whether it would not be more respectful to make the voyage to Albany, than to leave, since we had several times requested permission to do so, and he had now granted it. Should we not go, it would perhaps not be well received by him, the more so as there would not be any vessel going to Boston for some weeks. Nevertheless, it was not bad that we had shown his Excellency it was not so important to us that we could not let it pass.
15th, Monday. We went in search of a boat to go to Albany, and found one ready to leave immediately. The name of the skipper was Meus Hooghboom, to whom we agreed to pay, for the passage up and down, one beaver, that is, twenty-five guilders in zeewant, for each of us, and find ourselves. We gave him our names, to have them inserted in the passport.
[Footnote 320: Meus for Bartholomaeus, Bartholomew.]
Meanwhile we disposed of all our goods to M. de La Grange, upon the terms before mentioned, and received in pay peltries of every description. But, as we were not experienced in merchandise, and much less in peltries, we deemed it proper to have what we received, examined and valued against the goods sold, by Van Kleif, before named. He valued some of the peltries much less than they had been charged to us. But as there are few merchants who do not hatchel each other a little, so standing near this merchant you could see he was not free from this feeling, and you would believe, if he had owned our goods and been free to receive payment for them, in such kind of pay, he would have valued them much higher. However, there were three beavers among them which were not current; these De la Grange cheerfully took back, as they were not his, but had been borrowed by him of his nephew, in consequence of his not having enough of his own.
He was about to return to the South River, in order to bring on more goods, which he had there. His wife was going with him, to see if she would live there; for she seemed to take the subject to heart of separating herself from the sinful attachments of the world, giving up trade, and going to live upon the land and out of the land. His nephew was also going with them, for a pleasure trip, and to see the country, and especially to learn the way of trading. They were to leave this evening, having already dispatched the boat on Monday last.
16th, Tuesday. Before we proceed any further, I must here insert a very remarkable circumstance, for the comfort and joy of God's children, who rejoice with the holy and blessed angels over the repentance of one poor great sinner, more than over ninety and nine just men, who need no repentance. The old man and his wife with whom we lodged had several children, the husband and wife each three by former marriages, and one between themselves. The husband's children by his former wife were two daughters and one son. One of the daughters was married to Gerrit, the wheelwright, who had married her in New Netherland, but upon the first change in the government she left for Holland, and he followed her there after a little time, and kept house at Swol [Zwolle]; but not being able, after several years, to succeed very well in the Netherlands, he came back in the same ship with us, leaving his wife and children behind at Zwolle. Finding matters go on here to his wishes, he sent for his family by Captain Jacob, of the ship Beaver. This is Gerrit the wheelwright, or carpenter, whom we have mentioned several times in our journal. Another daughter lived still at Amsterdam, for whom he has given us several messages and a letter to take when we leave. His son is a carpenter in the East Indies. The children of the old woman were a daughter named Geesie, married here in New York to one Peter Denis, weighmaster; another daughter, named Rebecca, was also married here with one Arie, who gained his livelihood by cultivating land and raising cattle, but kept a tavern, or drinking house, having a situation therefor, and living upon a delightful spot at the Vers Water (Fresh Water), a little out of town; and a son, named Theunis, who was married and had six children, and who supported himself by farming at Sapokanike. The old couple had one child between them, named Willem, now about twenty-three years old, a carpenter by trade, a little rough and coarse, but otherwise not an unjust kind of a person, according to the world. He lived at home with his parents, where we lodged. He was somewhat wronged in his inheritance, as the old people acknowledged, and we reproved them for it. They promised amendment.
[Footnote 321: When the English conquered New Netherland, in 1664. Zwolle is in the province of Overyssel. The old man was Jacob Hellekers, his daughter's husband Gerrit van Duyn. See p. 36, note 2. In fact, however, Gerrit had not gone back to Holland till 1670, nor his wife till 1671.]
[Footnote 322: See pp. 36, 43, 49, 68, 169, 171, 228.]
[Footnote 323: Jacob Hellekers's wife was Theuntje Theunis. She was thrice married: to Ide ——, to Jacob Hellekers, to Jan Strijker. Peter Denys of Emmerich was farmer of the weigh-house; for Arie or Adriaen Corneliszen, see p. 47, note 1; Theunis Idenszen, a man of forty-one at this time, was assessor of the out ward in 1687, was married to Jannetje Thyssen, and had six children; Willem Hellekers was constable of the east ward in 1691.]
Now the before named Theunis had led a very godless life, and had been wild and reckless, extraordinarily covetous, addicted to cursing and swearing, and despising all religious things; but he was not a drunkard, nor was he unchaste, though he previously had taken something that did not belong to him. In a word, he was ignorant of the truth and a godless man, yet his evil and wickedness were more in the spirit than in the flesh. Nevertheless, it appears that God had purposes of grace in regard to him, and the time was approaching when God would touch him and draw him to Him. He had long since felt his conscience gnawing him for his godless life, and that with a strength which very much increased his chagrin. He became meagre in body, his eyes were sunken in his head, he was sombre of speech, he sought solitude in order to fly from the evil, but found it was augmented manifold; and gradually began to long for deliverance and a better life. The devil had been assailing him for six years past, and he was therefore in a miserable state, of both soul and body. Thus he was when, by God's providence, we arrived in the country, and went to lodge at his mother's house, as we have related. We had been at the house only two or three days, when he also came there. I was writing in the front room, and my comrade was with me. He heard us talking together about God, and the Christian life in general, which so affected him that he said to himself, "O God! what men are these? Where did they come from? Are there such people still in the world?" This he told us afterwards. However, it took such hold of his heart, that he more earnestly resolved to reform his life, while the devil, being more displeased, assailed him the more violently. His wife was a very ill-natured woman, scolding, growling, cursing and swearing at him, as well as at their children, and constantly finding fault with him, through her avarice, because he did not do more work, although he wrought continually, and as much as three other men. Their children, collectively, were very bad and saucy, and cursed and swore at each other, except the oldest, a daughter, who appeared to be the best of them. This man being in such a state was pressed on all sides. He sometimes, but not often, came to our house, and as we knew nothing of his condition, we only addressed to him occasionally a general remark. However, his time and that of the Lord were approaching. He heard a sermon upon the requisites of communicants of the Lord's supper, which he had never as yet enjoyed; and was thrown very much aback, abhorring himself and many others, who went to it, yet pursued as wicked lives as he did. For himself, he saw no probability of his ever being able to partake of it, conscious as he was of his being wicked and unworthy. He saw no means of release, and found no help or consolation wherever he went or came. To go to his minister would, he thought, render him little good, as he knew by several examples. He kept his condition concealed from us, and did not dare speak to us, so that he was in distress for himself, his family, and his entire state, and often wishing to die. This caused him to live in continual variance and quarrelling with his neighbors. He lost several cows and other cattle, by which he suffered great damage. A little daughter, about fourteen years old, who lived with her grandmother, was so badly ruptured, that there was no probability of her being cured, or ever being fit to be married. He had bought a piece of land, in common with Arie, his brother-in-law, to make tillable land out of the rough woods. It was to him like dead fruit. He worked on it three times as much as the other did, in felling and chopping trees, and making the best of it into timber, which was carried to the city with little or no profit to him, but to the people to whom Arie was indebted. Differences arose between them as to the land and labor, and it was therefore proposed to divide it, and separate; but, as has been before mentioned, they had begun to clear off a part of it, and they could not agree which should have the cleared land, where he had bestowed so much labor. Great bitterness sprang out of it, when the mother and friends interposed, and settled the difficulty as well as they could. Theunis obtained the cleared land on condition he should make some indemnity to the other; and a part of the land, where he had worked like a mole, and bought and paid for, should be given up by him. He had a very large and beautiful canoe, which was worth much to him, and had been very serviceable to him; this was entirely dashed to pieces by a northwest storm, as Sapocanikke, where he resided and the canoe lay, makes with this wind a flat lee shore. Although his neighbors could have prevented the breaking of the canoe, if they had done as they ought to have done, they had not at least attempted to prevent it. He had a fine large negro, a slave, whom he had long possessed, and taught to work and speak good Dutch; who had done him great service, and he had much love for him. The negro was riding on horseback, when the horse ran away with him, and he fell and was injured internally in the breast. He became sick, supposing it was a cold, and died in a few days. This event caused great sorrow to him, his wife, and his whole family, as also to all his friends; for it was a severe blow and damage to him. He was once working in the field, and his wife was called to help one of the cows which was sick and in a bad condition. This happened eight or ten times at night as well as in the day, whereby he and his wife had no rest night or day. He was on one occasion attending her, when word came to them that one of their little daughters had fallen dead in the barn, and indeed they knew no better, for she lay in a swoon as if dead; at which they were all much frightened and out of their senses. Thus he had one blow after another. The child, who was about nine or ten years old, came to, when they thought her arm was broken, or at least her shoulder out of joint, for she had fallen from a great height. She was brought in that condition to her grandmother's, at our lodgings, to be cured, which was effected after some time. He has also had several mishaps in the woods in chopping and felling trees; and had about this time an accident which broke him down. Having felled a tree, it remained hanging with its branches in the limbs of another one, and in endeavoring to pull it out his whole hand was crushed so that all his fingers festered. This happened shortly after the others. All these misfortunes depressed this poor man very much, and daily increased his anguish. He could not sleep, and found rest nowhere. He did nothing but sigh and complain of inward trouble. When we heard all these things, we said several times to each other, the Lord has certainly some intention in regard to this man and this household: the Lord visits this man; although we did not doubt there was something of the evil one.
About this time he came to our house, and we embraced the opportunity to speak to him, which we did with great earnestness and affection, by which he was strengthened, and went home contented. But it did not continue long. He became very much disturbed and troubled. He went in the fields to plough, and the horses began to neigh and bellow, and would not stand still an instant, springing and jumping, entangling themselves together, foaming and fuming so that he did not know what course to pursue. As to himself, he became so frightened and perplexed, so confused that he did not knew what he did or where he was; he was bewildered, and his whole understanding lost; he was like one blind; he wanted to go to the house, and ran hither and thither, through water and everywhere, his hat off his head, and across the fields, and thus reached home. His wife and children were frightened because he looked so horrible and disfigured. He demanded a rope and wanted to harm himself, for he said he could live no longer. The wife and children cried; neighbors were sent for; one of the children brought the grandmother and Rebecca, his sister, from the city. This was on Tuesday, the 16th of April, in the afternoon. My comrade was in the front room when the news came, though there were no particulars. He came to me in the back room sorrowful, and said to me, "Vous ne savez que le malin a eu possession sur nostre pauvre homme." "What man?" I asked. "Our Theunis," he replied, "word came that he had hanged himself, and afterwards that they did not know whether he was alive." We were alarmed; the old woman, his mother, had gone to him; and after waiting a little time, we also determined to go, and as we were a little quicker on foot we reached Sapocanike almost as soon as she did. As we approached the house we heard the lamentations of the women and children; and on entering we found there no one except the mother, the sister Rebecca, and a female neighbor who was a faus pieuse. As soon as we came in, he stood up and came to meet us, holding out his hand, and calling out: "Friends, is there still grace with God, is there still grace for me with God?" We grasped his hand and said: "Yes, there is grace for you with God, and for all repentant sinners." He exclaimed, "What wickedness have I committed! how have I sinned! how have I stolen God's honor, His name profaned with vile oaths, his sabbaths violated, his word despised! how godless have I lived, and run from Him! But He has overtaken me. How has the devil troubled and tempted me, how has he for six years assailed me, seeing that I no longer wished to serve him! And now when God comes to touch me and draw me, he seeks to devour me; but he shall not have me. God who protects me is stronger than he," and much more of similar import. We then spoke to him according to his state and condition, which did him much good. This pieuse prated also after her manner, but we tempered her down a little. She had urged him very strongly to go and sit down and read I know not what kind of a book; for, she said, she had also been in such a state, and that reading had done her much good. She was much astonished at our saying he should not read, which could be done afterwards, and would benefit him when he should be well and quiet, and felt a desire and longing for it; that he should now, if he could, go to work at what had to be done or he had an inclination to do, whether in the barn among the grain or in the stalls among the cattle, or any other necessary work. We exhorted him to put his trust in God, to pray to Him and cleave to Him; the devil would then have no more power over him, as this perhaps was his last attack. He said, "I fear him no more, God will protect me; I feel more tranquil, I will not yield." We told him what he must do in future. He answered, "I hope and trust it will go well." He thanked us very much and added, "Friends, you are the cause that I still live and of my preservation." We told him it was God to whom he must give the honor and thank for His grace and mercy; and that we would perhaps call the next day, if we did not leave, at which he was glad. We wanted to give a strong admonition to his wife and children, for they had great need of it, and in order that a greater impression might be made upon them by this circumstance. Returning home, we were affected by the grace of God towards a poor sinner, who truly told us things from the bottom of his heart which were from God and His Spirit, according to His word and our experience. In leaving we told his wife how she must keep her eye on him, and conduct herself towards him.
[Footnote 324: "You do not know that the devil has taken possession of our poor man."]
[Footnote 325: "Woman of pretended piety."]
17th, Wednesday. We went to inquire whether the boat was going up the river to-day, but it could not be got ready. In the afternoon we went to visit Theunis again, whom we found at home quiet and calm. He received us kindly, and we asked him how he was. "Very well," he said, "I am as much relieved as if I had a great burden taken from my shoulders." He had rested well during the night. We praised God, and exhorted him to perseverance, and to trust in Him. "Trust in Him," he said. "I know as well that I am a child of God as that I stand here, and I have no fear of the devil any more. I know he can trouble me, but he shall no longer have power over me." We told him he must take care of his affairs, and work when he felt inclined. "Work," he said, "I have no more work. It is as if it were Sunday. I know that the cattle must be taken care of and other things must be done, but that concerns me not. I have no work, and will not work again as I have done before. God will take care of me." We admonished him that he himself and his whole family ought to go learn and be reformed. "That I will do," he replied, "if it please God, and if she will only listen and learn; but if she will not I cannot help it." We read to him some portions of scripture, as Matt. v. 6, John xvi. 17, Matt. vii. 8, of the carefulness of the world, by which he found himself comforted, and promised he would avoid the world as much as he could, and wished he could fulfill his inclination and go and live alone in the woods, away from wicked men, for it was impossible to live near them and not sin as they do. "Could I only go up the river," said he, "with you and everywhere you go! Oh, that I were a young man; I would not leave you." You could see that he spoke with earnestness and from the uprightness of his soul.
19th, Friday. We had been several times for our passport, which we supposed would be a special one granted by his Excellency to us, but in that we were mistaken. Our names were merely added to the common passport to go up and down the river, as the names of all the passengers were written on it. We left New York about three o'clock in the afternoon with a southerly wind, in company with about twenty passengers of all kinds, young and old, who made great noise and bustle in a boat not so large as a common ferry-boat in Holland; and as these people live in the interior of the country somewhat nearer the Indians, they are more wild and untamed, reckless, unrestrained, haughty, and more addicted to misusing the blessed name of God and to cursing and swearing. However there was no help for it; you have to go with those with whom you are shipped. We were scarcely in the North River when we saw a ship coming through the Narrows, but as it was so far off we could not discern what vessel it was. Each passenger had his own opinion on the subject. After we had sailed along for half an hour we heard five or six guns fired from the fort and otherwise, which was a proof that she was from sea. As we were sailing along a boat came up to us but lost her mast in boarding us. She was to the leeward and we were sailing before the wind with a good headway. She came too near our yard-arm, which carried away her mast, and it was lucky she was not upset. They put on board some tons of oysters, which are not to be found at Fort Albany or away from salt water. In passing Sapocanike we saw Theunis standing upon an eminence where he was busy ploughing, and observing us as long as he could. We made rapid progress, but with the night the wind slackened, and we were compelled to come to anchor in order to stem the tide.
20th, Saturday. When the day broke we saw how far we had advanced. We were at the entrance of the Highlands, which are high and rocky, and lie on both sides of the river. While waiting there for the tide and wind another boat came alongside of us. They had a very fine fish, a striped bass, as large as a codfish. The skipper was a son-in-law of D. Schaets, the minister at Albany, a drunken, worthless person who could not keep house with his wife, who was not much better than he, nor was his father-in-law. He had been away from his wife five or six years, and was now going after her. The wind coming out of the south about nine o'clock we weighed anchor, and got under sail. It gradually increased until we had drifted through the Highlands, which is regarded as no small advantage whenever they wish to sail up or down the river; because, if they do not have a fresh breeze aft, they cannot have much favorable wind, as in blowing crosswise over the Highlands it blows above the vessel, and sometimes comes down in whirlwinds which are dangerous. In the evening we sailed before the Hysopus, where some of the passengers desired to be put ashore, but it blew too hard and we had too much headway. It did not seem to be very important. In consequence of the river above the Hysopus being difficult to navigate, and beset with shoals and passages, and of the weather being rainy with no moon, we could not proceed without continual danger of running aground, and so came to anchor.
[Footnote 326: Domine Schaets's son-in-law was Thomas Davidtse Kekebel or Kieckebuls. His wife had been sent away from Albany by the magistrates. In 1681 she and her husband came into a final concord; Doc. Hist. N.Y., quarto ed., III. 534.]
21st, Easter Sunday. The wind was against us and calm, but we advanced as far as the Noorman's Kill, where we were compelled to come to anchor, on account of the strong current running down the river. We went ashore here to walk about a little. There are two high falls on this kill, where the beautiful green water comes falling over incessantly, in a manner wonderful to behold, when you consider the power, wisdom, and directions of God. The water was the greenest I had observed, not only on the South River, but in all New Netherland. Leaving the cause of it for further inquiry, I mention it merely in passing. At the falls on this river stands a fine saw-mill which has wood enough to saw. The man who lives there, although not the mildest, treated us nevertheless reasonably well. He set before us shad which had been caught the day before, and was very good, better, we thought, than the same fish in Fatherland. I observed along the shore, trees which they call in Holland the tree of life, such as we have in our garden, but they grow here beautiful and large, like firs. I picked up a small stone in which there was some crystal, and you could see how the crystal was formed in the stone.
[Footnote 327: Cats Kill. The falls alluded to are the Kaaterskill Falls.]
[Footnote 328: The garden of the Thetinga State, the manor-house at Wieuwert. The tree is the arbor-vitae.]
A breeze springing up from the south caused us to hurry on board the yacht, which we saw was making sail. We reached her after a good time of hard rowing, and were quite tired before we did so. The breeze did not continue a long time, and we came to anchor again. After several stoppages we proceeded to-day as far as Kinderhook.
22d, Monday. We had again this morning a southerly breeze, which carried us slowly along until noon, when we came to anchor before the Fuyck, and Fort Albany or Orange. Every one stepped ashore at once, but we did not know where to go. We first thought of taking lodgings with our skipper, but we had been warned that his house was unregulated and poorly kept. M. van Cleif, wishing to do us a kindness, had given us a letter of recommendation to Mr. Robert Sanders, and M. de la Grange had also presented us to the same friend. We went ashore just as preaching was over, to deliver our letter. This person, as soon as he saw us at his house, was pleased and received us with every attention, and so did all his family, giving us a chamber for our accommodation. We did not remain his debtors in heartily serving him in what was necessary, whether by instruction, admonition or reproof, which he always received kindly, as it seemed, promising himself as well as all his family to reform, which was quite necessary.
[Footnote 329: The fuyck is a hoop-net used for catching fish. Its shape is that of a truncated cone. The ground-plan of Albany (see p. 216, post, and the plan of 1695 in Rev. John Miller's Description of New York) had that shape.]
[Footnote 330: Robert Sanders of Albany was a prominent Indian trader, skilled in Indian languages.]
23d, Tuesday. Mr. Sanders having provided us with horses, we rode out about nine o'clock to visit the Cahoos, which is the falls of the great Maquaas Kill, which are the greatest falls, not only in New Netherland, but in North America, and perhaps, as far as is known, in the whole New World. We rode for two hours over beautiful, level, tillable land along the river, when we obtained a guide who was better acquainted with the road through the woods. He rode before us on horseback. In approaching the Cahoos from this direction, the roads are hilly, and in the course of half an hour you have steep hills, deep valleys, and narrow paths, which run round the precipices, where you must ride with care, in order to avoid the danger of falling over them, as sometimes happens. As you come near the falls, you can hear the roaring which makes everything tremble, but on reaching them and looking at them you see something wonderful, a great manifestation of God's power and sovereignty, of His wisdom and glory. We arrived there about noon. They are on one of the two branches into which the North River is divided up above, of almost equal size. This one turns to the west out of the high land, and coming here finds a blue rock which has a steep side, as long as the river is broad, which according to my calculation is two hundred paces or more, and rather more than less, and about one hundred feet high. The river has more water at one time than another; and was now about six or eight feet deep. All this volume of water coming on this side fell headlong upon a stony bottom, this distance of an hundred feet. Any one may judge whether that was not a spectacle, and whether it would not make a noise. There is a continual spray thrown up by the dashing of the water, and when the sun shines the figure of a rainbow may be seen through it. Sometimes there are two or three of them to be seen, one above the other, according to the brightness of the sun and its parallax. There was now more water than usual in consequence of its having rained hard for several days, and the snow water having begun to run down from the high land.
[Footnote 331: Mohawk River.]
[Footnote 332: The falls of Niagara had been mentioned by Cartier and by Champlain, but the first full description of them, that of Hennepin in his Description de la Louisiane, was not published till 1683.]
[Footnote 333: The falls at Cohoes are at present about 900 feet broad and 75 feet high.]
On our return we stopped at the house of our guide, whom we had taken on the way up, where there were some families of Indians living. Seeing us, they said to each other, "Look, these are certainly real Dutchmen, actual Hollanders." Robert Sanders asked them how they knew it. We see it, they said, in their faces and in their dress. "Yes," said one, "they have the clothes of real Hollanders; they look like brothers." They brought us some ground-nuts, but although the Dutch call them so, they were in fact potatoes, for of ground-nuts, or mice with tails, there are also plenty. They cooked them, and gave us some to eat, which we did. There was a canoe made of the bark of trees, and the Indians have many of them for the purpose of making their journeys. It was fifteen or sixteen feet or more in length. It was so light that two men could easily carry it, as the Indians do in going from one stream or lake to another. They come in such canoes from Canada, and from places so distant we know not where. Four or five of them stepped into this one and rowed lustily through the water with great speed, and when they came back with the current they seemed to fly. They did this to amuse us at the request of Mr. Sanders. Leaving there for home, we came again to the house of one Fredrick Pieters, where we had stopped in riding out. He is one of the principal men of Albany, and this was his farm; he possesses good information and judgment. My comrade had some conversation with him. He expected us, and now entertained us well. My comrade was in pain from eating the ground-nuts. On arriving home in the evening, the house was full of people, attracted there out of curiosity, as is usually the case in small towns, where every one in particular knows what happens in the whole place.
[Footnote 334: Peanuts.]
[Footnote 335: No Frederick Pieters seems to be known. It was perhaps Philip Pieterse Schuyler, progenitor of a distinguished family, who lived on a large farm at the flats below West Troy.]
24th, Wednesday. My comrade's pain continued through the night, although he had taken his usual medicine, and he thought he would become better by riding on horseback. The horses were got ready, and we left about eight o'clock for Schoonechtendeel, a place lying about twenty-four miles west or northwest of Albany towards the country of the Mohawks. We rode over a fine, sandy cart road through woods of nothing but beautiful evergreens or fir trees, but a light and barren soil. My companion grew worse instead of better. It was noon when we reached there, and arrived at the house of a good friend of Robert Sanders. As soon as we entered my comrade had to go and lie down. He had a high fever, and was covered up warm. I went with Sanders to one Adam, and to examine the flats which are exceedingly rich land. I spoke to several persons of the Christian life, each one according to his state and as it was fit.
[Footnote 336: Schenectady, of which Danckaerts tried to make Dutch words, quasi "beautiful section."]
[Footnote 337: Probably Adam Vrooman, who at the time of the general massacre by the Indians, 1690, defended his house with great courage and success.]
25th, Thursday. We had thought of riding a little further on, and so back to Albany; but my comrade was too sick, and had the chills and fever again. The weather, too, was windy and rainy. We concluded therefore to postpone it till the following day; and in the meantime I accompanied Sanders to the before mentioned Adam's. While we were there, a certain Indian woman, or half-breed, that is, from a European and an Indian woman, came with a little boy, her child, who was dumb, or whose tongue had grown fast. It was about four years old; she had heard we were there, and came to ask whether we knew of any advice for her child, or whether we could not do a little something to cure it. We informed her we were not doctors or surgeons, but we gave her our opinion, just as we thought. Sanders told me aside that she was a Christian, that is, had left the Indians, and had been taught by the Christians and baptized; that she had made profession of the reformed religion, and was not of the unjust. Not contenting myself with this account, and observing something in her that pleased me, I asked her to relate to me herself how it had gone with her from the first of her coming to Christendom, both outwardly and inwardly. Looking at me she said, "How glad am I that I am so fortunate; that God should permit me to behold such Christians, whom I have so long desired to see, and to whom I may speak from the bottom of my heart without fear; and that there are such Christians in the world. How often have I asked myself, are there no other Christians than those amongst whom we live, who are so godless and lead worse lives than the Indians, and yet have such a pure and holy religion? Now I see God thinks of us, and has sent you from the other end of the world to speak to us." She had heard me give reasons to the others, and address them generally, before I made this request of her. I answered, that all who professed the Christian religion did not live as that religion required, that such were false professors, and not Christians, bearing the name only, but denying the truth. She had said all this with a tender and affectionate heart, and with many tears, but tears which you felt proceeded from the heart, and from love towards God. I was surprised to find so far in the woods, and among Indians—but why say among Indians? among Christians ten times worse than Indians—a person who should address me with such affection and love of God; but I answered and comforted her. She then related to me from the beginning her case, that is, how she had embraced Christianity. She was born of a Christian father and an Indian mother, of the Mohawk tribes. Her mother remained in the country, and lived among the Mohawks, and she lived with her, the same as Indians live together. Her mother would never listen to anything about the Christians, or it was against her heart, from an inward, unfounded hate. She lived then with her mother and brothers and sisters; but sometimes she went with her mother among the Christians to trade and make purchases, or the Christians came among them, and thus it was that some Christians took a fancy to the girl, discovering in her more resemblance to the Christians than the Indians, but understand, more like the Dutch, and that she was not so wild as the other children. They therefore wished to take the girl and bring her up, which the mother would not hear to, and as this request was made repeatedly, she said she would rather kill her. The little daughter herself had no disposition at first to go; and the mother did nothing more with the daughter than express continually her detestation and abhorrence of the Christians. This happened several times, when the daughter began to mistrust that the Christians were not such as the mother told her; the more so, because she never went among them without being well treated, and obtaining something or other. She therefore began to hearken to them; but particularly she felt a great inclination and love in her heart towards those Christians who spoke to her about God, and of Christ Jesus and the Christian religion. Her mother observed it, and began to hate her and not treat her as well as she had done before. Her brothers and sisters despised and cursed her, threw stones at her, and did her all the wrong they could; but the more they abused and maltreated her, the more she felt something growing in her that attracted and impelled her towards the Christians and their doctrine, until her mother and the others could endure her no longer; while she, feeling her love of the Christians, and especially of their religion, which she called their doctrine, to increase more and more, could no longer live with the Indians. They ceased not seeking to wrong her, and compelled her to leave them, as she did, and went to those who had so long solicited her. They gave her the name of Eltie or Illetie. She lived a long time with a woman, with whom we conversed afterwards, who taught her to read and write and do various handiwork, in which she advanced so greatly that everybody was astonished. She had especially a great desire to learn to read, and applied herself to that end day and night, and asked others, who were near her, to the vexation and annoyance of the other maids, who lived with her, who could sometimes with difficulty keep her back. But that did not restrain her; she felt such an eagerness and desire to learn that she could not be withheld, particularly when she began to understand the Dutch language, and what was expressed in the New Testament, where her whole heart was. In a short time, therefore, she understood more about it than the other girls with whom she conversed, and who had first instructed her, and, particularly, was sensible in her heart of its truth. She had lived with different people, and had very much improved; she spoke of it with heart-felt delight. Finally, she made her profession, and was baptized. Since that time, she said, the love she felt in her heart had not diminished, but had increased, and she sighed to live near Christians, who were good and faithful, and lived up to their religion. Therefore it was that she was so glad to see us, and that God, who had so loved her before, still so loved her as to permit her to see and speak to us, "me," she said, "who have been such a heathen." I told her that God had showed her still more love, as she well knew. She believed it, she said, melting into tears, but she could not express her heart. "Might I only live with such people, how would my heart do good." "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied," I repeated to her, and further expressed what was necessary. "How many times," said she, "have I grieved over these Christians, not daring to speak out my heart to any one, for when I would sometimes rebuke them a little for their evil lives, drunkenness, and foul and godless language, they would immediately say: 'Well, how is this, there is a sow converted. Run, boys, to the brewer's, and bring some swill for a converted sow,' words which went through my heart, made me sorrowful and closed my mouth. But I see that God still thinks of me and loves me, now that he causes me to see and converse with such people as you." We told her she must so much the more receive with love and affection what we said to her, out of regard to God and her soul. "Oh!" said she, "what you have told me is as dear to me as my heart," and she spoke with such feeling and tenderness, such depth of love, that I cannot describe it, and it affected me. Yes, she expressed to me more reality of the truth of Christianity, through the emotions of her heart, although in language according to the genius of the person, which nevertheless was nothing but loving—more, I said, than any one, whether minister or other person, in all New Netherland. She had a brother who was also a half-breed, who had made profession of Christianity, and had been baptized, and who was not by far as good as she, but on the contrary very wicked; though, I believe, he has been better, and has been corrupted by the conversation of impious Hollanders; for this place is a godless one, being without a minister, and having only a homily read on Sundays. He was married, and so was she. She has some children; her husband is not as good as she is, though he is not one of the worst; she sets a good example before him, and knows how to direct him.
[Footnote 338: But it appears from the report of a physician and several surgeons, printed in Ecclesiastical Records of New York, II. 869-871, that in 1683 "Dr. Vorstman" (Peter Sluyter) attempted to practise medicine, and with disastrous results.]
[Footnote 339: Aletta.]
[Footnote 340: The record of baptisms of the Dutch church at Schenectady does not begin till 1694.]
[Footnote 341: There was a church, and Domine Gideon Schaets came over from Albany four times a year to administer the sacrament, but there was no settled minister till the call of Domine Petrus Tesschenmaker in 1684.]
She has a nephew, a full-blooded Mohawk, named Wouter. The Lord has also touched him, through her instrumentality. Wouter speaks no Dutch, or very little. He has abandoned all the Indians, and his Indian friends and relations, and lives with his uncle, the brother of Illetie. He has betaken himself entirely to the Christians and dresses like them. He has suffered much from the other Indians and his friends. He has such a love and comprehension of God, such reverence and humility towards Him and what is godly, that it is a joy to hear him speak. His thoughts are occupied night and day with God and Jesus Christ, wondering about God and His mercy, that he should cause him to know Him, to comprehend Him, and to serve Him. He is endeavoring to learn the Dutch language, so as to be instructed in Christianity, and to be among good Christians who live like Christians. That was all his desire, thinking all the time about it, speaking always with Illetie about it, who assisted and instructed him as much as she could, and always with love, with which God much blessed her. His uncle, with whom he lived, was covetous, and kept him only because he was profitable to him in hunting beaver. He therefore would hardly speak a word of Dutch to him, in order that he might not be able to leave him too soon, and go among the Christians and under Christianity. He sent him to the woods and among the Indians, for the sake of the devilish profit of the world—these are the words of Robert Sanders, and Illetie said not much less; yet this poor creature has, nevertheless, such a great inclination and longing after Christianity.
Besides this inward desire, propensity and feeling, God, the Lord, has given him outward proofs of His love and protection, and among other instances I will relate these two which I well remember. It happened once that his uncle went out a shooting with him in the woods, when the uncle began to sneer at him, saying that he, a mere stupid Indian, could not shoot, but a Christian was a different character and was expert and handy: that he, Wouter, would not shoot anything that day, but he himself would have a good hunt. To which Wouter replied, "It is well, I cannot help it; I will have whatever God sends me." Upon this they separated from each other in the woods, and each went where he thought best. "Now when I was tired out," said Wouter, for we heard it from himself, as well as from his aunt, "and had travelled and hunted the whole day without finding any game, with the evening approaching, grieved that I had shot nothing and troubled at the reproach of my uncle, my heart looked up to God; I fell upon my knees and prayed to Him, that although I was no Christian (he meant baptized), I loved God, and only longed to learn the language in order to be instructed in Christianity, and would receive it with my whole heart; that God would be pleased to send to me a wild animal to shoot, so that the slur, which my uncle had thrown upon me, might be wiped off." While thus down on his knees, with his hat hanging upon a bough which was bent down, his prayer not finished, there comes and stands before him a very young deer, not twenty paces off; it comes softly up to him; his gun rests alongside of him loaded; he takes aim, shoots, and hits the deer in the breast, and the creature drops before him on its two fore feet and there remains. Without going to the deer, he thanks God upon his knees that he had heard his prayer and had turned back the reproach. "Oh," said he, "now do I know there is a God, who is in the woods also, and hears, loves, and thinks of me there." He comes to the deer, which is a young buck two or three years old, as fat and beautiful as he had ever seen in his life, and takes it upon his shoulders and goes with joy to his uncle, whom he found, and asked where was his good hunt and the game he had shot. His uncle was angry and spoke angrily, saying he had been going the whole day, tired and weary, without seeing or shooting anything, and had come there to look after chestnuts. "That is well, that is good," said Wouter, "reproach the Indians no more for not being good shooters. Look at what God has given me upon my prayer;" for he was very glad at what had occurred. The uncle stood and looked, and knew not what to say, being ashamed at what he heard and saw, and of himself. Wouter said further, "I know there has been no wild animal round about here, for I have explored the whole place, far and near, without being able to discover any; and now in so short a time this one presented itself before me, and it is, therefore, certain that God placed it there or caused it to come there. I have no doubt of it." Although the uncle was ashamed, he was not much affected by the circumstance, and still less humiliated or improved. But Elletie had taken it strongly to heart, and when they both told it to us, we were affected by it ourselves, and saw God in it more than he had done.
[Footnote 342: Methinks he was moved by seeing this bended branch, to bend himself before God, and therefore hung his hat upon it; though I dare not so affirm certainly.—Note of the journalist.]
Another occasion was during the last harvest, in the year 1679, while he was out in the woods hunting beavers. He had then had a successful time and had killed some beavers, the flesh of which he used for food, and had nothing else to eat. The flesh of the beaver, although we never relished it, is esteemed by others a great delicacy. Nevertheless, as we have been told by those who are well acquainted with it, it is a kind of food with which they soon become satiated. He also became tired of it; and not having anything else became sad. He felt his heart boil—this is his own expression—and fell down upon his knees and prayed that God who had heard before, might be pleased now again to hear him and give him other food, not so much to satisfy him, as to show that he was God and loved him—a God whom the Indians did not know, but for whom he felt he had a greater hunger than his hunger for outward food, or for what the Indians usually were satisfied with, which is beaver and beaver meat, that is, to hunt successfully and trade the skins, which is all they go out hunting for; but that he felt something else, a hunger which could not be satisfied with this food and such like; that he felt more hunger after other food than what the Indians satisfied themselves with; and sought to be a Christian, and no longer to be an Indian.