Govert Loockmans, brother in law of Jacob van Couwenhoven, came to New Netherland in the yacht St. Martin in the year 1633 as a cook's mate, and was taken by Wouter van Twyler into the service of the Company, in which service he profited somewhat. He became a freeman, and finally took charge of the trading business for Gilles Verbruggen and his company in New Netherland. This Loockmans ought to show gratitude to the Company, next to God, for his elevation, and not advise its removal from the country.
Hendrick Kip is a tailor, and has never suffered any injury in New Netherland to our knowledge.
Jan Evertsen-Bout, formerly an officer of the Company, came the last time in the year 1634, with the ship Eendracht [Union], in the service of the Honorable Michiel Paauw, and lived in Pavonia until the year 1643, and prospered tolerably. As the Honorable Company purchased the property of the Heer Paauw, the said Jan Evertsen succeeded well in the service of the Company, but as his house and barn at Pavonia were burnt down in the war, he appears to take that as a cause for complaint. It is here to be remarked, that the Honorable Company, having paid 26,000 guilders for the colony of the Heer Paauw, gave to the aforesaid Jan Evertsen, gratis, long after his house was burnt, the possession of the land upon which his house and farmstead are located, and which yielded good grain. The land and a poor unfinished house, with a few cattle, Michiel Jansen has bought for eight thousand guilders.
In brief, these people, to give their doings a gloss, say that they are bound by oath and compelled by conscience; but if that were the case they would not assail their benefactors, the Company and others, and endeavor to deprive them of this noble country, by advising their removal, now that it begins to be like something, and now that there is a prospect of the Company getting its own again. And now that many of the inhabitants are themselves in a better condition than ever, this is evidently the cause of the ambition of many, etc.
At the Hague, 29th November, 1650.
LETTER OF JOHANNES BOGAERT TO HANS BONTEMANTEL, 1655
Letter of Johannes Bogaert to Hans Bontemantel, 1655. In J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original Narratives of Early American History). NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909.
THE chief military exploit of Director Stuyvesant was the conquest in 1655 of the Swedish settlements on the Delaware River. New Sweden had been founded in 1638 by a party of settlers under Peter Minuit, sent out by the Swedish South Company, with private help from Dutch merchants. The history of this little colony belongs to another volume of this series, but some account of its absorption in New Netherland should find a place in this.
At first the Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware, the former with their Fort Nassau on the east side, the latter with their three forts, Nya Elfsborg on the east side, Christina and Nya Goteborg (New Gottenburg) on the west, dwelt together in amity. But competition for the Indian trade was keen, conflicting purchases of land from the Indians gave rise to disputes, and from the beginning of Stuyvesant's administration there was friction. This he greatly increased by proceeding to the South River with armed forces, in 1651, and building Fort Casimir on the west side of the river, near the present site of Newcastle, and uncomfortably near to Fort Christina. In 1654 a large reinforcement to the Swedish colony came out under Johan Rising, who seized Fort Casimir. But the serious efforts to strengthen the colony, made by Sweden in the last year of Queen Christina and the first year of King Charles X., were made too late. The Dutch West India Company ordered Director Stuyvesant not only to retake Fort Casimir but to expel the Swedish power from the whole river. He proceeded to organize in August, 1655, the largest military force which had yet been seen in the Atlantic colonies. The best Dutch account of what it achieved is presented in translation in the following pages; the Swedish side is told by Governor Rising in a report printed in the Collections of the New York Historical Society, second series, I. 443-448, and in Pennsylvania Archives, second series, V. 222-229.(1)
(1) Rising's dates are given according to Old Style, Swedish fashion, Bogaert's according to New Style, as customary in the province of Holland.
Of Johannes Bogaert, author of the following letter, we know only that he was a "writer," or clerk. Hans Bontemantel, to whom the letter was addressed, was a director in the Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company, and a schepen (magistrate) of Amsterdam from 1655 to 1672, in which last year he took a prominent part in bringing William III. The letter was first printed in 1858 in De Navorscher (the Dutch Notes and Queries), VIII. 185-186. A translation by Henry C. Murphy was published the same year in The Historical Magazine, II. 258-259, and this, carefully revised by the present editor, appears below. For a history of New Sweden, see Professor Gregory B. Keen's chapter in Winsor's Narrative and Critical History of America, IV. 443-488.
LETTER OF JOHANNES BOGAERT TO HANS BONTEMANTEL, 1655
Noble and Mighty Sir:
Mr. Schepen Bontemantel:
THIS is to advise your Honor of what has occurred since the 5th of September, 1655, when we sailed with our seven ships,(1) composed of two yachts called the Holanse Tuijn (Dutch Frontier), the Prinses Royael (Princess Royal,) a galiot called the Hoop (Hope), mounting four guns, the flyboat Liefde (Love), mounting four guns, the yacht Dolphijn (Dolphin), vice-admiral, with four guns, the yacht Abrams Offerhande (Abraham's Offering), as rear-admiral, mounting four guns; and on the 8th arrived before the Swedish fort, named Elsener.(2) This south fort had been abandoned. Our force consisted of 317 soldiers, besides a company of sailors.(3) The general's(4) company, of which Lieutenant Nuijtingh was captain, and Jan Hagel ensign-bearer, was ninety strong. The general's second company, of which Dirck Smit was captain, and Don Pouwel ensign-bearer, was sixty strong. Nicolaes de Silla the marshal's company, of which Lieutenant Pieter Ebel was captain, and William van Reijnevelt ensign-bearer, was fifty-five strong. The major's second company, which was composed of seamen and pilots, with Dirck Jansz Verstraten of Ossanen as their captain, boatswain's-mate Dirck Claesz of Munnikendam as ensign-bearer, and the sail-maker Jan Illisz of Honsum as lieutenant, consisted of fifty men; making altogether 317 men. The 10th, after breakfast, the fleet got under way, and ran close under the guns of Fort Casemier, and anchored about a cannon-shot's distance from it. The troops were landed immediately, and General Stuijvesant dispatched Lieutenant Dirck Smit with a drummer and a white flag to the commandant, named Swen Schoeten,(5) to summon the fort. In the meantime we occupied a guard-house about half a cannon-shot distant from the fort; and at night placed a company of soldiers in it, which had been previously used as a magazine. The 11th, the commander, Swen Schoeten, sent a flag requesting to speak with the General, who consented. They came together, and after a conference the said commander surrendered Fort Casemier to the general, upon the following conditions:
(1) Six are named below. The seventh (or first) was the "admiral" or flag-ship De Waegh ("The Balance"), on which the writer sailed. The Hoop was a French privateer, L'Esperance, which had just arrived at New Amsterdam and was engaged for the expedition.
(2) Nya Elfsborg.
(3) Rising states the total number of the force as 600 or 700.
(4) I.e., Stuyvesant's. In the military organization of that day, one or two companies were usually given a primary position as the "general's own" or "colonel's own." Of the persons mentioned below, Nicasius de Sille was a member of the Council, and De Koningh was the captain of De Waegh.
(5) Sven Schute.
First, The commander, whenever he pleases and shall have the opportunity, by the arrival of ships belonging to the crown, or private ships, shall be permitted to remove from Fort Casemier the guns of the crown, large and small: consisting, according to the statement of the commander, of four iron guns and five case-shot guns, of which four are small and one is large. Second, Twelve men shall march out as the body-guard of the commander, fully accoutred, with the flag of the crown; the others with their side-arms only. The guns and muskets which belong to the crown shall be and remain at the disposition of the commandant, to take or cause them to be taken from the fort whenever the commander shall have an opportunity to do so. Third, The commander shall have all his private personal effects uninjured, in order to take them with him or to have them taken away whenever he pleases, and also the effects of all the officers. Fourth, The commander shall this day restore into the hands of the General Fort Casemier and all the guns, ammunition, materials, and other property belonging to the General Chartered West India Company. Done, concluded and signed by the contracting parties the 11th September, 1655, on board the ship De Waegh, lying at Fort Casemier. (Signed) Petrus Stuijvesant, Swen Schuts.(1)
(1) This agrees with the official text in N.Y. Col. Doc., XII. 102.
The 13th, was taken prisoner the lieutenant of Fort Crist[ina], with a drummer, it being supposed that he had come as a spy upon the army, in consequence of the drummer's having no drum. The 14th, the small fleet was again under sail with the army for Verdrietige Point,(1) where they were landed. The 15th, we arrived at the west of Fort Christina, where we formed ourselves into three divisions; the major's company and his company of sailors were stationed on the south side of the creek, by the yacht Eendraght (Union), where the major constructed a battery of three guns, one eight-pounder and two six-pounders; the general's company and the field marshal's were divided into two. The marshal threw up a battery of two twelve-pounders, about northwest of the fort. The general placed a battery about north of the fort, opposite the land entrance, one hundred paces, by calculation, from the fort, and mounting one eighteen-pounder, one eight-pounder, one six-pounder, and one three-pounder.(2)
(1) On Augustin Herrman's excellent map of Maryland and Delaware, "Virdrietige Hoeck" (Tedious Point) appears as a name of a promontory about where Marcus Hook, Pa., now is. Rising, however, reports the Dutch as landing at Tridje Hoeck ("Third Point"), just north of Christina Creek.
(2) For a plan of the siege, derived from that made by the Swedish engineer Linstrom, see Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America, IV. 480.
The 17th, the flyboat Liefde returned to the Manhathans with the Swedish prisoners. From the 17th to the 23rd nothing particular happened. Then, when we had everything ready, the governor of the fort received a letter from our general, to which our general was to have an answer the next day. The same day an Indian, whom we had dispatched on the 13th to Menades, arrived, bringing news and letters to the effect that some Dutch people had been killed at Menades by the Indians;(1) which caused a feeling of horror through the army, so that the general sent a letter immediately to the fort, that he would give them no time the next morning. Then Then the general agreed wit the Swedish governor to come together in the morning and make an arrangement. The general had a tent erected between our quarter and their fort, and there an agreement was made, whereby the governor, Johan Risingh, surrendered the fort on the 24th of September, upon the conditions mentioned in the accompanying capitulation.(2) On the 28th of September the general left with the ships and yachts, and we were ordered to remain from eight to fourteen days, and let the men work daily at Fort Casemier, in the construction of ramparts.(3)
(1) A hundred were killed, a hundred and fifty taken prisoners.
(2) N.Y. Col. Doc., XII. 104-106.
(3) Fort Casimir was made the seat of Dutch administration on the South River. In 1657 it was named New Amstel, and the colony there was taken over by the city of Amsterdam.
The 11th of October, Governor Rijsingh and Factor Elswijck, with some Swedes, came on board, whom we carried with us to Menades. We ran out to sea for the Menades on the 12th, and on the 17th happily arrived within Sandy Hook. On the 21st we sailed for the North River, from Staten Island, by the watering-place, and saw that all the houses there, and about Molyn's house,(1) were burned up by the Indians; and we learned here that Johannes van Beeck, with his wife and some other people, and the captain of a slave-trader which was lying here at anchor with a vessel, having gone on a pleasure excursion, were attacked by the Indians, who murdered Van Beeck and the captain, and took captive his wife and sister. We found Van Beeck dead in a canoe, and buried him. His wife has got back. The general is doing all that lies in his power to redeem the captives and to make peace. Commending your Honor, with hearty salutations, to the protection of the Most High, that he will bless you and keep you in continued Health, I remain your Honor's
JOHANNES BOGAERT, Clerk.
Laus Deo, Ship De Waegh (The Balance), The 31st October, 1655. Hon. Mr. Schepen Bontemantel, Director of the Chartered West India Company, at Amsterdam.
(1) The house of Cornelis Melyn, on Staten Island.
LETTERS OF THE DUTCH MINISTERS TO THE CLASSIS OF AMSTERDAM, 1655-1664
Reference material and sources.
Johannes Megapolensis, Samuel Drisius, and Henricus Selyns, Letters of the Dutch Ministers to the Classis of Amsterdam, 1655-1664. In J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original Narratives of Early American History). NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909.
THE Dutch clergy of the Reformed Church, as has already been mentioned in a previous introduction, were men whose observations we must value because of their intelligence and their acquirements; and they also had a point of view which was to a large extent independent of the Director General and other civil officials. Hence the series of their reports to the Classis of Amsterdam is worthy of much attention. In the absence of a continuous narrative of high importance for the years from 1655 to 1664 it has been deemed best to make use for those years of certain of these clerical letters.
Of their authors, Domine Megapolensis has been already treated, in the introduction to his tract on the Mohawks. He remained at New Amsterdam through the period of the English conquest, and died there in 1669. The Reverend Samuel Drisius (Dries) was born about 1602, of Dutch parents, but was throughout his earlier life a pastor in England, until the troubles in that country caused him to return to the Netherlands. Since he was able to preach not only in Dutch but also in English and even in French, it was natural that the Classis should send him out to New Netherland in response to the urgent requests made for assistance to Megapolensis, especially in dealing with the non-Dutch population at New Amsterdam. He began his pastoral service there in 1653, and continued throughout the remainder of the period represented by this book. In 1669 he is reported as incapacitated by failing mental powers, and he died in 1673. Domine Henricus Selyns was examined as a candidate for the ministry in 1657, ordained by the Classis in 1660, called to Breukelen and inducted there in that year. He returned to Holland in 1664, before the surrender, but came back to New York in 1682 as minister of the Collegiate Church, and died there in 1701.
John Romeyn Brodhead, at the time of his remarkable mission to the Netherlands (1841), included in his endeavors a search for Dutch ecclesiastical papers bearing on New Netherland. The letters which follow were among those which he found in Amsterdam, in the archives of the Classis. In 1842 they were Lent, in 1846 given, by the Classis to the General Synod of the Reformed Dutch Church in America. To this material large Additions were made by a further search carried out in 1897-1898, by the Reverend Dr. Edward T. Corwin, acting as agent of that church, who is responsible for the translations which follow. An account of all this ecclesiastical material, under the title "The Amsterdam Correspondence," was printed by him in 1897 in the eight volume of the Papers of the American Society of Church History. He edited the material for publication in the first volume of the series called Ecclesiastical Records, State of New York, published by the state in 1901. The letters which follow are taken, with slight revision, from various pages (from page 334 to page 562) of that volume.
LETTERS OF THE DUTCH MINISTERS TO THE CLASSIS OF AMSTERDAM, 1655-1664
Rev. Johannes Megapolensis to the Classis of Amsterdam (March 18, 1655).
Reverendissimi Domini, Fratres in Christo, Synergi observandi:(1)
I FEEL it my duty, to answer the letter of your Reverences, dated the 11th of November, .(2)
We have cause to be grateful to the Messrs. Directors(3) and to your Reverences for the case and trouble taken to procure for the Dutch on Long Island a good clergyman, even though it has not yet resulted in anything. Meanwhile, God has led Domine Joannes Pelhemius(4) from Brazil, by way of the Caribbean Islands, to this place. He has for the present gone to Long Island, to a village called Midwout, which is somewhat the Meditullium(5) of the other villages, to wit, Breuckelen, Amersfoort and Gravesande. There he has preached for the accommodation of the inhabitants on Sundays during the winter, and has administered the sacraments, to the satisfaction of all, as Director Stuyvesant has undoubtedly informed the Messrs. Directors.
(1) Most Reverend Masters, Brethren in Christ, Venerable Fellow-Workers.
(2) Ecclesiastical Records, State of New York, I. 331.
(3) Of the West India Company.
(4) Reverend Johannes Theodorus Polhemus or Polhemius, born about 1598, was in early life a minister in the Palatinate. Driven thence by persecutions in 1635, he was sent to Brazil in 1636 by the Dutch West India Company, and remained there, minister at Itamarca, till the waning of the company's fortunes in that country and the loss of Pernambuco compelled his retirement. In 1654 he went thence to New Netherland, and became provisionally minister of Midwout, the first Dutch church on Long Island. From 1656 to 1660 he was minister of Midwout, Breukelen and Amersfoort, from 1660 to 1664 of Midwout and Amersfoort, from 1664 of all three churches again. He died in 1676.
(5) Middle point. Midwout is now Flatbush; Amersfoort is Flatlands.
As to William Vestiens, who has been schoolmaster and sexton here, I could neither do much, nor say much, in his favor, to the Council, because for some years past they were not satisfied or pleased with his services.(1) Thereupon when he asked for an increase of salary last year, he received the answer, that if the service did not suit him, he might ask for his discharge. Only lately I have been before the Council on his account, and spoken about it, in consequence of your letter, but they told me that he had fulfilled his duties only so-so(2) and that he did little enough for his salary.
(1) Willem Vestiens or Vestens, schoolmaster, of Haarlem, "a good, God-fearing man," was sent out in 1650 as schoolmaster, sexton, and "comforter of the sick." In 1655 he asked to be transferred to the East Indies, and was replaced at New Amsterdam by Harmanus van Hoboken.
(2) Taliter qualiter.
Some Jews came from Holland last summer, in order to trade. Later some Jews came upon the same ship as Dr. Polheymius;(1) they were healthy, but poor. It would have been proper, that they should have been supported by their own people, but they have been at our charge, so that we have had to spend several hundred guilders for their support. They came several times to my house, weeping and bemoaning their misery. When I directed them to the Jewish merchant,(2) they said, that he would not lend them a single stiver. Some more have come from Holland this spring. They report that many more of the same lot would follow, and then they would build here a synagogue. This causes among the congregation here a great deal of complaint and murmuring. These people have no other God than the Mammon of unrighteousness, and no other aim than to get possession of Christian property, and to overcome all other merchants by drawing all trade towards themselves. Therefore we request your Reverences to obtain from the Messrs. Directors, that these godless rascals, who are of no benefit to the country, but look at everything for their own profit, may be sent away from here. For as we have here Papists, Mennonites and Lutherans among the Dutch; also many Puritans or Independents, and many atheists and various other servants of Baal among the English under this Government, who conceal themselves under the name of Christians; it would create a still greater confusion, if the obstinate and immovable Jews came to settle here.
(1) Refugees from Brazil, who retired after the capture of Pernambuco by the Portugese, in January, 1654. The number of Jews who settled in New Amsterdam became considerable. The West India Company in 1655 repressed all attempts of Stuyvesant and his Council to expel or oppress them.
(2) Jacob Barsimson seems to have been the one Jewish merchant then there.
In closing I commend your Reverences with your families to the protection of God, who will bless us and all of you in the service of the divine word.
Amsterdam in New Netherland the 18th of March, 1655.
Addressed to the Reverend, Pious and very Learned Deputies ad res Ecclesiasticas Indicas, in the Classis of Amsterdam.
Revs. J. Megapolensis and S. Drisius to the Classis of Amsterdam (August 5, 1657).
Reverend, Pious and Learned Gentlemen, Fathers and Brethren in Christ Jesus:
The letters of your Reverences, of the 13th of June 1656, and of the 15th of October of the same year have been received. We were rejoiced to learn of the fatherly affection and care which you show for the welfare of this growing congregation. We also learned thereby of the trouble you have taken with the Messrs. Directors, to prevent the evils threatened to our congregation by the creeping in of erroneous spirits; and of your Reverences' desire, to be informed of the condition of the churches in this country.
We answered you in the autumn of the year 1656, and explained all things in detail. To this we have as yet received no reply, and are therefore in doubt, whether our letters reached you. This present letter must therefore serve the same end.
The Lutherans here pretended, last year, that they had obtained the consent of the Messrs. Directors, to call a Lutheran pastor from Holland.(1) They therefore requested the Hon. Director and the Council, that they should have permission, meanwhile, to hold their conventicles to prepare the way for their expected and coming pastor. Although they began to urge this rather saucily, we, nevertheless, animated and encourage by your letters, hoped for the best, yet feared the worst, which has indeed come to pass. For although we could not have believed that such permission had been given by the Directors, there nevertheless arrived here, with the ship Meulen(2) in July last, a Lutheran preacher Joannes Ernestus Goetwater,(3) to the great joy of the Lutherans, but to the special displeasure and uneasiness of the congregation in this place; yea, even the whole country, including the English, were displeased.
(1) There were Lutherans at Manhattan at the time of Father Jogue's visit (1643), and they are called a congregation in 1649. In 1653 they petitioned to have a minister of their own and freedom of public worship. Stuyvesant and the ministers were disposed to maintain the monopoly of the Reformed (Calvinistic) Church. In 1656 he forbade even Lutheran services in private houses; but the Company would not sustain this, though they upheld him in sending Gutwasser back to Holland in 1659.
(2) "The Mill."
(3) Johann Ernst Gutwasser.
We addressed ourselves, therefore, to his Honor the Director-General, the Burgomasters and Schepens of this place,(1) and presented the enclosed petition. As a result thereof, the Lutheran pastor was summoned before their Honors and asked with what intentions he had come here, and what commission and credentials he possessed. He answered that he had come to serve here as a Lutheran preacher, but that he had no other commission than a letter from the Lutheran Consistory at Amsterdam to the Lutheran congregation here. He was then informed by the Hon. authorities here, that he must abstain from all church services, and from the holding of any meetings, and not even deliver the letter which he brought from the Lutherans at Amsterdam without further orders; but that he must regulate himself by the edicts of this province against private conventicles. He promised to do this, adding however that with the next ships he expected further orders and his regular commission. In the meantime, however, we had the snake in our bosom. We should have been glad if the authorities here had opened that letter of the Lutheran Consistory, to learn therefrom the secret of his Mission, but as yet they have not been willing to do this.
(1) New Amsterdam had received a municipal constitution, of about the type usual in the Netherlands, though somewhat less liberal, in 1653.
We then demanded that our authorities here should send back the Lutheran preacher, who had come without the consent of the Messrs. Directors, in the same ship in which he had come, in order to put a stop to this work, which they evidently intended to prosecute with a hard Lutheran head, in spite of and against the will of our magistrates; for we suspect that this one has come over to see whether he can pass, and be allowed to remain here, and thus to lay the foundation for further efforts; but we do not yet know what we can accomplish.
Domine Gideon Schaats(1) wrote to you last year about the congregation at Rensselaerswyck or Beverwyck, as he intends to do again. We know nothing otherwise than that the congregation there is in a good condition; that it is growing vigorously, so that it is almost as strong as we are here at the Manhatans. They built last year a handsome parsonage. On the South River, matters relating to religion and the church have hitherto progressed very unsatisfactorily; first because we had there only one little fort, and in it a single commissary, with ten to twenty men, all in the Company's service, merely for trading with the Indians. Secondly: In the year 1651 Fort Nassau was abandoned and razed, and another, called Fort Casemier, was erected, lower down and nearer to the seaboard. This was provided with a stronger garrison, and was reinforced by several freemen, who lived near it.
(1) Minister at Rensselaerswyck since 1652.
But the Swedes, increasing there in numbers, troubled and annoyed our people daily. After they had taken Fort Casemier from us, they annoyed our countrymen so exceedingly, that the South River was abandoned by them. However in the year 1655 our people recovered Fort Casemier, and now it is held by a sufficiently strong garrison, including several freemen, who also have dwellings about. One was then appointed, to read to them on Sundays, from the Postilla.(1) This is continued to this day.(2) The Lutheran preacher who was sent there was returned to Sweden.
(1) Book of Homilies.
(2) Reverend Peter Hjort, pastor at Fort Trinity.
Two miles from Fort Casemier, up the river, is another fort, called Christina. This was also taken by our people, at the same time, and the preacher there(1) was sent away, with the Swedish garrison.
(1) Reverend Matthias Nertunius.
But because many Swedes and Finns, at least two hundred, live above Fort Christina, two or three leagues further up the river, the Swedish governor made a condition in his capitulation, that they might retain one Lutheran preacher,(1) to teach these people in their language. This was granted then the more easily, first, because new troubles had broken out at Manhattan with the Indians, and it was desirable to shorten proceedings here and return to the Manhattans to put things in order there; secondly, because there was no Reformed preacher here, nor any who understood their language, to be located there.
(1) Reverend Lars Lock or Lokenius, preacher at Tinicum from 1647 to 1688.
This Lutheran preacher is a man of impious and scandalous habits, a wild, drunken, unmannerly clown, more inclined to look into the wine can than into the Bible. He would prefer drinking brandy two hours to preaching one; and when the sap is in the wood his hands itch and he wants to fight whomsoever he meets. The commandant at Fort Casimir, Jean Paulus Jacqet, brother-in-law of Domine Casparus Carpentier,(1) told us that during last spring this preacher was tippling with a smith, and while yet over their brandy they came to fisticuffs, and beat each other's heads black and blue; yea, that the smith tore all the clothing from the preacher's body, so that this godly minister escaped in primitive nakedness, and although so poorly clothed, yet sought quarrels with others. Sed hoc parergicos.
(1) Carpentier was a Reformed minister whom the Dutch had established at Fort Casimir. Jacquet was vice-director on the South River, 1655-1657.
(2) But this incidentally.
On Long Island there are seven villages belonging to this province, of which three, Breuckelen, Amersfoort and Midwout,(1) are inhabited by Dutch people, who formerly used to come here(2) to communion and other services to their great inconvenience. Some had to travel for three hours to reach this place. Therefore, when Domine Polheymus arrived here from Brazil, they called him as preacher, which the Director-General and Council confirmed.
(1) Brooklyn, Flatlands and Flatbush.
(2) To New Amsterdam.
The four other villages on Long Island, viz., Gravensand, Middleburgh, Vlissingen, and Heemstede(1) are inhabited by Englishmen. The people of Gravensand are considered Mennonites. The majority of them reject the baptism of infants, the observance of the Sabbath, the office of preacher, and any teachers of God's word. They say that thereby all sorts of contentions have come into the world. Whenever they meet, one or the other reads something to them. At Vlissingen, they formerly had a Presbyterian minister(2) who was in agreement with our own church. But at present, many of them have become imbued with divers opinions and it is with them quot homines tot sententiae.(3) They began to absent themselves from the sermon and would not pay the preacher the salary promised to him. He was therefore obliged to leave the place and go to the English Virginias. They have now been without a preacher for several years. Last year a troublesome fellow, a cobbler from Rhode Island in New England,(4) came there saying, he had a commission from Christ. He began to preach at Vlissingen and then went with the people into the river and baptized them. When this became known here, the fiscaal went there, brought Him to this place, and he was banished from the province.
(1) Gravesend, Newtown, Flushing and Hempstead.
(2) Reverend Francis Doughty.
(3) As many opinions as men.
(4) William Wickenden. The schout of the village was fined fifty pounds for allowing him to preach in his house.
At Middleburgh, alias Newtown, they are mostly Independents and have a man called Johannes Moor,(1) of the same way of thinking, who preaches there, but does not serve the sacraments. He says he was licensed in New England to preach, but not authorized to administer the sacraments. He has thus continued for some years. Some of the inhabitants of this village are Presbyterians, but they cannot be supplied by a Presbyterian preacher. Indeed, we do not know that there are any preachers of this denomination to be found among any of the English of New England.
(1) John Moore, formerly minister at Hempstead; died this year, 1637.
At Heemstede, about seven leagues from here, there live some Independents. There are also many of our own church, and some Presbyterians. They have a Presbyterian preacher, Richard Denton,(1) a pious, godly and learned man, who is in agreement with our church in everything. The Independents of the place listen attentively to his sermons; but when he began to baptize the children of parents who are no members of the church, they rushed out of the church.
(1) Reverend Richard Denton (1586-1662), one of the pioneers of Presbyterianism in America, was a Cambridge man, who came over with Winthrop in 1630, and was settled successively at Watertown, Wethersfield and Stamford. His differences with the Congregational clergy of New England had led to his withdrawal, and since 1644 he had been at Hempstead.
On the west shore of the East River, about one miles beyond Hellgate, as we call it, and opposite Flushing, is another English village, called Oostdorp, which was begun two years ago. The inhabitants of this place are also Puritans or Independents. Neither have they a preacher, but they hold meetings on Sunday, and read a sermon of some English writer, and have a prayer.(1)
(1) Oost-dorp ("East Village") is the present Westchester. "After dinner [Sunday, December 31, 1656] Cornelis van Ruyven went to the house where they assemble on Sundays, to observe their mode of worship, as they have not as yet any clergyman. There I found a gathering of about fifteen men and ten or twelve women. Mr. Baly made a prayer, which being concluded, one Robert Basset read a sermon from a printed book composed and published by an English minister in England. After the reading Mr. Baly made another prayer and they sang a psalm and separated." (Journal of Brian Newton et als., to Oostdorp, Doc. Hist. N.Y., octavo, III. 923)
Such is the condition of the church in our province. To this we must add that, as far as we know, not one of all these places, Dutch or English, has a schoolmaster, except the Manhattans, Beverwyck, and now also Fort Casimir on the South River.(1) And although some parents try to give their children some instruction, the success if far from satisfactory, and we can expect nothing else than young men of foolish and undisciplined minds. We see at present no way of improving this state of affairs; first, because some of the villages are just starting, and have no means, the people having come half naked and poor from Holland, to pay a preacher and schoolmaster; secondly, because there are few qualified persons here who can or will teach.
(1) Harmanus van Hoboken at New Amsterdam, Adriaen Jansz at Beverwyck (Albany), and since April of this year Evert Pietersen at Fort Casimir. Two years later (1659) the company sent over Alexander Carolus Curtius, "late professor in Lithuania," to be master of a Latin school in New Amsterdam.
We can say but little of the conversion of the heathens or Indians here, and see no way to accomplish it, until they are subdued by the numbers and power of our people, and reduced to some sort of civilization; and also unless our people set them a better example, than they have done theretofore.
We have had an Indian here with us for about two years. He can read and write Dutch very well. We have instructed him in the fundamental principles of our religion, and he answers publicly in church, and can repeat the Commandments. We have given him a Bible, hoping he might do some good among the Indians, but it all resulted in nothing. He took to drinking brandy, he pawned the Bible, and turned into a regular beast, doing more harm than good among the Indians.
Closing we commend your Reverences to the gracious protection of the Almighty, whom we pray to bless you in the Sacred Ministry.
Vestri et officio et effectu,(1)
(1) Yours both officially and actually.
JOHANNES MEGPOLENSIS. SAMUEL DRISSIUS.
Amsterdam, in New Netherland, the 5th of August, 1657.
Revs. Megapolensis and Drisius to the Classis of Amsterdam (October 25, 1657).
Brethren in Christ:
Since our last letter, which we hope you are receiving about this time, we have sent in a petition in relation to the Lutheran minister, Joannes Ernestus Gutwasser. Having marked this on its margin, we have sent it to the Rev. Brethren of the Classis. We hope that the Classis will take care that, if possible, no other be sent over, as it is easier to send out an enemy than afterward to thrust him out. We have the promise that the magistrates here will compel him to leave with the ship De Wage. It is said that there has been collected for him at Fort Orange a hundred beaver skins, which are valued here at eight hundred guilders, and which is the surest pay in this country. What has been collected here, we cannot tell. Our magistrates have forbidden him to preach, as he has received no authority from the Directors at Amsterdam for that purpose. Yet we hear that the Hon. Directors at Amsterdam gave him permission to come over. We have stated in a previous letter the injurious tendency of this with reference to the prosperity of our church.
Lately we have been troubled by others. Some time since, a shoemaker,(1) leaving his wife and children, came here and preached in conventicles. He was fined, and not being able to pay, was sent away. Again a little while ago there arrived here a ship with Quakers, as they are called. They went away to New England, or more particularly, to Rhode Island, a place of errorists and enthusiasts. It is called by the English themselves the latrina(2) of New England. They left several behind them here, who labored to create excitement and tumult among the people—particularly two women, the one about twenty, and the other about twenty-eight.(3) These were quite outrageous. After being examined and placed in prison, they were sent away. Subsequently a young man at Hempstead, an English town under the government, aged about twenty-three or twenty-four years,(4) was arrested, and brought thence, seven leagues. He had pursued a similar course and brought several under his influence. The magistrate, in order to repress the evil in the beginning, after he had kept him in confinement for several days, adjudged that he should either pay one hundred guilders or work at the wheelbarrow two years with the negroes. This he obstinately refused to do, though whipped on his back. After two or three days he was whipped in private on his bare back, with threats that the whipping would be repeated again after two or three days, if he should refuse to labor. Upon this a letter was brought by an unknown messenger from a person unknown to the Director-General. The import of this, (written in English), was, Think, my Lord-Director, whether it be not best to send him to Rhode Island, as his labor is hardly worth the cost.
(1) William Wickenden, of Rhode Island.
(3) Dorothy Waugh, afterward whipped at Boston, and Mary Wetherhead.
(4) Robert Hodgson, who had come on the same ship with the preceding. A contemporary Quaker writer attributes his release to the intercession of Stuyvesant's sister, Mrs. Anna Bayard. Persecution of Quakers and other sectaries in New Netherland was continued by Stuyvesant, and finally culminated in the case of John Bowne, of Flushing, a Quaker, who has left us an interesting account of his suffering, printed in the American Historical Record I. 4-8. Banished from the province and transported to Holland, Bowne laid his case before the directors of the West India Company, who reproved Stuyvesant by a letter in which they said (April 16, 1663): "The consciences of men ought to remain free and unshackled,... This maxim of moderation has always been the guide of the magistrates in this city; and the consequence has been that people have flocked from every land to this asylum. Tread thus in their steps, and we doubt not you will be blessed."
Since the arrival of De Wage from the South River [the Director?] has again written to Joannes Ernestus Gutwasser to go away. On this he presented a petition, a copy of which herewith transmitted, as also a copy signed by several of the Lutheran denomination. We observe that it is signed by the least respectable of that body, and that the most influential among them were unwilling to trouble themselves with it. Some assert that he has brought with him authority from the West India Company to act as minister. Whether dismission and return will take place without trouble remains to be seen.
We are at this time in great want of English ministers. It is more than two years since Mr. Doughty, of Flushing which is a town here, went to Virginia, where he is now a preacher. He left because he was not well supported. On October 13, Mr. Moore, of Middelburg, which is another town here, died of a pestilential disease, which prevailed in several of our English towns and in New England. He left a widow with seven or eight children. A year before, being dissatisfied with the meagre and irregular payments from his hearers, he went to Barbadoes, to seek another place. Mr. Richard Denton, who is sound in faith, of a friendly disposition, and beloved by all, cannot be induced by us to remain, although we have earnestly tried to do this in various ways. He first went to Virginia to seek a situation, complaining of lack of salary, and that he was getting in debt, but he has returned thence. He is now fully resolved to go to old England, because his wife, who is sickly, will not go without him, and there is need of their going there, on account of a legacy of four hundred pounds sterling, lately left by a deceased friend, and which they cannot obtain except by their personal presence. At Gravesend there never has been a minister. Other settlements, yet in their infancy, as Aernem,(1) have no minister. It is therefore to be feared that errorists and fanatics may find opportunity to gain strength. We therefore request you, Rev. Brethren, to solicit the Hon. Directors of the West India Company, to send over one or two English preachers, and that directions may be given to the magistracy that the money paid by the English be paid to the magistrate, and not to the preacher, which gives rise to dissatisfaction, and that at the proper time any existing deficiency may be supplied by the Hon. Directors. Otherwise we do not see how the towns will be able to obtain ministers, or if they obtain them, how they will be able to retain them. Complaints continually reach us about the payment of ministers. Nevertheless in New England there are few places without a preacher, although there are many towns, stretching for more than one hundred leagues along the coast. Hoping that by God's blessing and your care something may be effected in this matter, we remain,
(1) Arnhem was a village begun on Smith's Island in Newton Creek.
Your friends and fellow laborers,
JOHANNES MEGAPOLENSIS. SAMUEL DRISIUS.
Manhattans, Oct. 22, 1657.
Since the writing of the above letter, and before sealing it, we have learned from the Hon. Directors and the fiscaal, that Joannes Ernestus Gutwasser is not to be found, that his bedding and books were two days ago removed, and that he has left our jurisdiction. Still it is our opinion that he remains concealed here, in order to write home, and make his appearance as if out of the Fatherland; and to persevere with the Lutherans in his efforts. We therefore hope and pray that you may, if possible, take measures to prevent this.
SAMUEL DRISIUS. Oct. 25, 1657.
To the Rev. Learned, etc. the Deputies ad res Indicas of the Classis of Amsterdam.
Rev. J. Megapolensis to the Classis of Amsterdam (September 28, 1658).
Rdi. Patres et Fratres in Christo:(1)
In a preceding letter of September 24, 1658,(2) mention was made of a Jesuit who came to this place, Manhattans, overland, from Canada. I shall now explain the matter more fully, for your better understanding of it. It happened in the year 1642, when I was minister in the colony of Rensselaerswyck, that our Indians in the neighborhood, who are generally called Maquaas, but who call themselves Kajingehaga, were at war with the Canadian or French Indians, who are called by our Indians Adyranthaka. Among the prisoners whom our Indians had taken from the French, was this Jesuit,(3) whom they according to their custom had handled severely. When he was brought to us, his left thumb and several fingers on both hands had been cut off, either wholly or in part, and the nails of the remaining fingers had been chewed off. As this Jesuit had been held in captivity by them for some time, they consented that he should go among the Dutch, but only when accompanied by some of them. At last the Indians resolved to burn him. Concerning this he came to me with grievous complaint. We advised him that next time the Indians were asleep, he should run away and come to us, and we would protect and secure him, and send him by ship to France. This was done. After concealing him and entertaining him for six weeks, we sent him to the Manhattans and thence to England and France, as he was a Frenchman, born at Paris.(4)
(1) Reverend Fathers and Brothers in Christ.
(2) Ecclesiastical Records, State of New York, I. 432-434.
(3) Father Jogues; see earlier entries.
(4) Father Jogues was born in Orleans.
Afterward this same Jesuit came again from France to Canada. As our Indians had made peace with the French, he again left Canada, and took up his residence among the Mohawks. He indulged in the largest expectations of converting them to popery, but the Mohawks with their hatchets put him to a violent death. They then brought and presented to me his missal and breviary together with his underclothing, shirts and coat. When I said to them that I would not have thought that they would have killed this Frenchman, they answered, that the Jesuits did not consider the fact, that their people (the French) were always planning to kill the Dutch.
In the year 1644 our Indians again took captive a Jesuit,(1) who had been treated in the same manner as to his hands and fingers as the above mentioned. The Jesuit was brought to us naked, with his maimed and bloody fingers. We clothed him, placed him under the care of our surgeon, and he almost daily fed at my table. This Jesuit, a native of Rouen,(2) was ransomed by us from the Indians, and we sent him by ship to France. He also returned again from France to Canada. He wrote me a letter, as the previously mentioned one had done, thanking me for the benefits I had conferred on him. He stated also that he had not argued, when with me, on the subject of religion, yet he had felt deeply interested in me on account of my soul, and admonished me to come again into the Papal Church from which I had separated myself. In each case I returned such a reply that a second letter was never sent me.
(1) Father Giuseppe Bressani (1612-1672).
(2) Of Rome, in fact.
The French have now for some time been at peace with our Indians. In consequence thereof, it has happened that several Jesuits have again gone among our Indians, who are located about four or five days' journey from Fort Orange. But they did not permanently locate themselves there. All returned to Canada except one, named Simon Le Moyne. He has several times accompanied the Indians out of their own country, and visited Fort Orange. At length he came here to the Manhattans, doubtless at the invitation of Papists living here, especially for the sake of the French privateers, who are Papists, and have arrived here with a good prize.
He represented that he had heard the other Jesuits speak much of me, who had also highly praised me for the favors and benefits I had shown them; that he therefore could not, while present here, neglect personally to pay his respects to me, and thank me for the kindness extended to their Society. 1. He told me that during his residence among our Indians he had discovered a salt spring, situated fully one hundred leagues from the sea; and the water was so salt that he had himself boiled excellent salt from it.(1) 2. There was also another spring which furnished oil. Oleaginous matter floated on its surface, with which the Indians anointed their heads. 3. There was another spring of hot sulphurous water. If paper and dry materials were thrown into it, they became ignited. Whether all this is true, or a mere Jesuit lie, I will not decide. I mention the whole on the responsibility and authority of the Jesuit.
(1) Father Le Moyne made this discovery while sojourning among the Onondagas in 1654.
He told me that he had lived about twenty years among the Indians. When he was asked what fruit had resulted from his labors, and whether he had taught the Indians anything more than to make the sign of the cross, and such like superstitions, he answered that he was not inclined to debate with me, but wanted only to chat. He spent eight days here, and examined everything in our midst. He then liberally dispensed his indulgences, for he said to the Papists (in the hearing of one of our people who understood French), that they need not go to Rome; that he had as full power from the Pope to forgive their sins, as if they were to go to Rome. He then returned and resided in the country of the Mohawks the whole winter. In the spring, however, troubles began to arise again between our Indians and the Canadians. He then packed up his baggage, and returned to Canada. On his journey, when at Fort Orange, he did not forget me, but sent me three documents: the first, on the succession of the Popes; the second, on the Councils; and the third was about heresies, all written out by himself. He sent with them also, a letter to me, in which he exhorted me to peruse carefully these documents, and meditate on them, and that Christ hanging on the Cross was still ready to receive me, if penitent. I answered him by the letter herewith forwarded, which was sent by a yacht going from here to the river St. Lawrence in New France.(1) I know not whether I shall receive an answer.
Valete, Domini Fratres, Vester ex officio,(2)
JOANNES MEGAPOLENSIS 1658, Sept. 28.
(1) One of the fruits of Father Le Moyne's visit to New Netherland was that the Dutch obtained from the governor of Canada permission to carry on trade, except the fur trade, on the St. Lawrence.
(2) Farewell, brethren; yours officially.
Rev. Henricus Selyns to the Classis of Amsterdam (October 4, 1660)
Reverend, Wise and Pious Teachers:
We cannot be so forgetful as to omit to inform you concerning our churches and services. While at sea, we did not neglect religious worship, but every morning and evening we besought God's guidance and protection, with prayer and the singing of a psalm. On Sundays and feast-days the Holy Gospel was read, when possible. The sacrament was not administered on shipboard, and we had no sick people during the voyage. God's favor brought us all here in safety and health. Arrived in New Netherland, we were first heard at the Manhattans; but the peace-negotiations at the Esopus,(1) where we also went, and the general business of the government necessarily delayed our installation until now. We have preached here at the Esopus, also at Fort Orange; during This time of waiting we were well provided with food and lodging. Esopus needs more people, but Breuckelen more money; wherefore I serve on Sundays, in the evenings only, at the General's bouwery,(2) at his expense. The installation at Brooklyn was made by the Honorable Nicasius de Sille, fiscaal,(3) and Martin Kriegers, burgomaster,(4) with an open commission from his Honor the Director-General.(5) I was cordially received by the magistrates and consistory, and greeted by Domine Polhemius. We do not preach in a church, but in a barn; next winter we shall by God's favor and the general assistance of the people erect a church.
(1) The Indians of Esopus had broken out in hostilities in the autumn of 1659. The next summer Stuyvesant went there, after some defeats of the tribe, and made peace formally, July 15, 1660. A congregation had lately been formed there, which called Domine Harmanus Blom to be its pastor.
(2) Stuyvesant's Bowery, or farm, acquired by him in 1651, lay in the present region of Third Avenue and Tenth Street. Near the present site of St. Mark's Church he built a chapel for his family, his negro slaves, some forty in number, and the other inhabitants of the neighborhood.
(3) Of New Netherland.
(4) Of New Amsterdam.
(5) For this letter of induction, see Ecclesiastical Records, I. 480.
The audience is passably large, coming from Middelwout, New Amersfort, and often Gravesande increases it; but most come from the Manhattans. The Ferry, the Walebacht, and Guyanes,(1) all belong to Breuckelen. The Ferry is about two thousand paces across the river, or to the Manhattans, from the Breuckelen Ferry. I found at Breuckelen one elder, two deacons, twenty four members, thirty one householders, and one hundred and thirty-four people. The consistory will remain for the present as it is. In due time we will have more material and we will know the congregation better. Cathechizing will not be held here before the winter; but we will begin it at the preaching service there. It will be most suitable to administer the Lord's Supper on Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and in September. On the day following these festivals-days a thanksgiving sermon will be preached. I might have taken up my residence at the Manhattans, because of its convenience; but my people, all of them evincing their love and affection for me, have provided me a dwelling of which I cannot complain. I preach at Breuckelen in the morning; but at the Bouwery at the end of the catechetical sermon. The Bouwery is a place of relaxation and pleasure, whither people go from the Manhattans, for the evening service. There are there forty negroes, from the region of the Negro Coast, besides the household families. There is here as yet no consistory, but the deacons from New Amsterdam provisionally receive the alms; and at least one deacon, if not an elder, ought to be chosen there. Besides myself, there are in New Netherland the Domines Joannes Megapolensis and Samuel Drisius at New Amsterdam; Domine Gideon Schaats at Fort Orange; Domine Joannes Polhemius at Middelwout and New Amersfort; and Domine Hermanus Blom at the Esopus. I have nothing more to add, except to express my sincere gratitude and to make my respectful acknowledgements. I commend your Reverences, wise and pious teachers, to God's protection, and am,
HENRICUS SELYNS, Minister of the Holy Gospel at Breuckelen.
From Amsterdam on the Manhattans, Oct. 4, 1660.
(1) Wallabout and Gowanus.
Rev. Henricus Selyns to the Classis of Amsterdam (June 9, 1664).
Very Reverend, Pious and Learned Brethren in Christ:
With Christian salutations of grace and peace, this is to inform you, that with proper submission, we take the liberty of reporting to the Very Rev. Classis the condition and welfare of the Church of Jesus Christ, to which your Reverences called me, as well as my request and friendly prayer for an honorable dismission.
As for me, your Rev. Assembly sent me to the congregation at Breuckelen to preach the Gospel there, and administer the sacraments. This we have done to the best of our ability; and according to the size of the place with a considerable increase of members. There were only a few members there on my arrival; but these have with God's help and grace increased fourfold.
Trusting that it would not displease your Reverences, and would also be very profitable to the Church of Christ, we found it easy to do what might seem troublesome; for we have also taken charge of the congregation at the General's Bouwery in the evening, as we have told you before. An exception to this arrangement is made in regard to the administration of the Lord's Supper. As it is not customary with your Reverences to administer it in the evening, we thought, after conference with our Reverend Brethren of the New Amsterdam congregation, and mature deliberation, that it would be more edifying to preach at the Bouwery, on such occasions, in the morning, and then have the Communion, after the Christian custom of our Fatherland.
As to baptisms, the negroes occasionally request that we should baptize their children, but we have refused to do so, partly on account of their lack of knowledge and of faith, and partly because of the worldly and perverse aims on the part of said negroes. They wanted nothing else than to deliver their children from bodily slavery, without striving for piety and Christian virtues. Nevertheless when it was seemly to do so, we have, to the best of our ability, taken much trouble in private and public catechizing. This has borne but little fruit among the elder people who have no faculty of comprehension; but there is some hope for the youth who have improved reasonably well. Not to administer baptism among them for the reasons given, is also the custom among our colleagues.(1) But the most important thing is, that the Father of Grace and God of Peace has blessed our two congregations with quietness and harmony, out of the treasury of his graciousness; so that we have had no reason to complain to the Rev. Classis, which takes such things, however, in good part; or to trouble you, as we might have anticipated.
(1) The enslaving of Africans having at first been justified on the ground of their heathenism, the nation that to baptize them would make it unlawful to hold them in bondage was frequent among owners in the seventeenth century, and operated to deter them from permitting the Christianizing of their slaves. "I may not forget a resolution which his Maty [James II.] made, and had a little before enter'd upon it at the Council Board, at Windsor or Whitehall, that the Negroes in the Plantations should all be baptiz'd, exceedingly declaiming against that impiety of their masters prohibiting it, out of a mistaken opinion that they would be ipso facto free; but his Maty persists in his resolution to have them chisten'd, wch piety the Bishop [Ken] blessed him for." Evelyn, Diary, II. 479 (1685).
Meanwhile, the stipulated number of years, pledged to the West India Company, is diminishing; although the obligation we owe to them who recommend us(1) naturally continues. Also, on account of their old age, we would love to see again our parents, and therefore we desire to return home. On revolving the matter in my mind, and not to be lacking in filial duty, I felt it to be proper to refer the subject to God and my greatly beloved parents who call for me, whether I should remain or return home at the expiration of my contract.
(1) The classis.
As we understand, they are, next to myself, most anxious for my return, and have received my discharge from the Hon. Directors, and have notified the Deputies ad Causas Indicas thereof, which has pleased us. We trust that we shall receive also from your Reverences a favorable reply, relying upon your usual kindness. Yet it is far from us to seem to pass by your Reverences, and give the least cause for dissatisfaction. I have endeavored to deserve the favor of the Rev. Classis by the most arduous services for the welfare of Christ's church, and am always ready to serve your Reverences.
It is my purpose when I return home, when my stipulated time is fulfilled, to give a verbal account of my ministry here, and the state of the church, that you may be assured that any omissions in duty have been through ignorance.
Domine Samuel Megapolensis(1) has safely arrived, but Domine Warnerus Hadson,(2) whom you had sent as preacher to the South River, died on the passage over. It is very necessary to supply his place, partly on account of the children who have not been baptized since the death of Domine Wely,(3) and partly on account of the abominable sentiments of various persons there, who speak very disrespectfully of the Holy Scriptures.
(1) Reverend Samuel Megapolensis, born in 1634, studied three years at Harvard College and three at the University of Utrecht. In 1662 he was called by the classis of Amsterdam to the ministry in New Netherland, and ordained by them. In 1664, having meanwhile studied medicine at Leyden, he went out to New Netherland, and was minister of Breukelen from that time to 1669, when he returned to Holland. He died in 1700 as pastor emeritus of the Scottish church at Dordrecht.
(2) Elsewhere called Hassingh.
(3) Reverend Everardus Welius, minister of New Amstel from 1657 to 1659, died in the latter year, leaving without pastor a church of sixty members.
In addition there is among the Swedes a certain Lutheran preacher, who does not lead a Christian life.(1) There is also another person, who has exchanged the Lutheran pulpit for a schoolmaster's place. This undoubtedly has done great damage among the sheep, who have so long wandered about without a shepherd except the forementioned pastor, who leads such an unchristian life. God grant that no damage be done to Christ's church, and that your Reverences may provide a blessed instrument for good.
(1) Lokenius's wife ran away from him, and he too hastily married another before obtaining his divorce. The person next alluded to is probably Abelius Selskoorn, a student, who for a time had conducted divine service at Sandhook (Fort Casimir).
In view of the deplorable condition of New Netherland, for the savages have killed, wounded and captured some of our people, and have burnt several houses at the Esopus, and the English, with flying banners, have declared our village and the whole of Long Island to belong to the King:(1) therefore the first Wednesday of each month since last July has been observed as a day of fasting and prayer, in order to ask God for his fatherly compassion and pity. The good God, praise be to him, has brought about everything for the best, by the arrival of the last ships. The English are quiet, the savages peaceful; our lamentations have been turned into songs of praise, and the monthly day of fasting into a day of thanksgiving. Thus we spent last Wednesday, the last of the days of prayer. Blessed be God who causes wars to cease to the ends of the earth, and breaks the bow and spear asunder. Herewith, Very Reverend, Pious, and Learned Brethren in Christ, be commend to God for the perfecting of the saints and the edification of the body of Christ. Vale.
Your Reverences' humble servant in Christ Jesus,
Breuckelen, in New Netherland, June 9, 1664.
(1) The boundaries between New England and New Netherland had always been in dispute. The English population on Long Island grew, an encroached upon the Dutch towns at the west end; and the towns in that region which were partly English, partly Dutch in population were of doubtful allegiance. The graceless Major John Scott, coming to the island with some royal authority, formed a combination of Hempstead, Gravesend, Flushing, Newtown, Jamaica and Oyster Bay, with himself as president, and then proceeded (January, 1664), at the head of 170 men, to reduce the neighboring Dutch villages. Some account of the affair, in the shape in which it reached the Dutch public, may be seen in the extract printed at the end of this letter.
[The following account of the English encroachments upon Long Island has not been previously translated. It may serve as a summary of the events, or at least of the version of them which came before the Dutch public soon after. It is derived from the Hollantze Mercurius of 1664 (Haerlem, 1665), being part 15 of the Mercurius, which was an annual of the type of the modern Annual Register or of Wassenaer's Historisch Verhael, which preceded it. The passage is at page 10.
In New Netherland the English made bold to come out of New England upon various villages and places belonging under the protection of Their High Mightinesses and the Dutch West India Company even upon Long Island, setting up the banner of Britain and proclaiming that they knew of no New Netherland but that that land belonged solely to the English nation. Finally their wisest conceded, since thus many troubles had arisen about the boundary, that representatives of both nations should come together upon that subject. This was carried out in November last. The Dutch commissioners went to Boston, where they were received by four companies of citizens and a hundred cavalrymen. There they were told that the commissioners on the English side could not arrive to treat of the matter for eight days.(1) Meanwhile the English incited three or four villages to revolt against their government. But all those that were of divided population, like those of Heemstede and Gravesande, refused to accept the English king but said that they had thus far been well ruled by Their High Mightinesses and would so remain, though they were English born. Afterward Heemstede was also subdued but Vlissingen held itself faithful, and some places remained neutral, while the commissioners were detained and finally came again to Amsterdam without having accomplished anything. Meanwhile also the savages of Esopus played their part, having made bold at a place on the river to attack two Dutchmen and cut off their heads.(2)]
(1) The journalist here confounds Stuyvesant's visit to Boston in September, 1663, to meet the Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England, with that which his envoys, Van Ruyven, Van Cortlandt and Lawrence, made to Hartford in October, to confer with the General Assembly of Connecticut. His date of November is wrong for both. The attempt to revolutionize the English villages on Long Island had taken place in September; their internal revolt occurred in November. Stuyvesant was obliged to acquiesce. The "Combination" of the English towns under the presidency of Major John Scott and his attempt to win the Dutch towns from their allegiance, took place in January and February, 1664. Stuyvesant was again unable to make effectual resistance, but made a truce with Scott for twelve months.
(2) After three years of peace at Esopus, the Indians again broke out in hostilities in June, 1663, resulting in the slaughter of twenty-one settlers and the captivity of forty- five others. Three successive expeditions, under Burgomaster Martin Kregier, in July, September and October, destroyed the forts of the Indians, broke down their resistance, and released most of the captives. Captain Kregier's journal of these expeditions is printed in O'Callaghan's Documentary History, IV. 45-98.
Rev. Samuel Drisius to the Classis of Amsterdam (August 5, 1664).
The Peace of Christ.
Reverend, Learned and Beloved Brethren in Christ Jesus:
I find a letter from the Rev. Classis, which I have not yet answered; and a good opportunity now offering itself by the departure of our colleague, Domine Henricus Selyns, I cannot omit to write a letter to your Reverences. We could have wished, that Domine Selyns had longer continued with us, both on account of his diligence and success in preaching and catechizing, and of his humble and edifying life. By this he has attracted a great many people, and even some of the negroes, so that many are sorry for his departure. But considering the fact that he owes filial obedience to his aged parents, it is God's will that he should leave us. We must be resigned, therefore, while we commit him to God and the word of His grace.
Concerning the places in which he has preached, especially the village called Breuckelen, and the Bouwerie, nothing has been decided yet; but I think that the son of Domine Megapolensis, who has recently come over, will take charge of them, as he has not been sent by the Directors to any particular place.
The French on Staten Island would also like to have a preacher, but as they number only a few families, are very poor, and cannot contribute much to a preacher's salary, and as our support here is slow and small, there is not much hope, that they will receive the light. In the meantime, that they may not be wholly destitute, Director Stuyvesant has, at their request, allowed me to go over there every two months, to preach and administer the Lord's Supper. This I have now done for about a year. In the winter this is very difficult, for it is a long stretch of water, and it is sometimes windy, with a heavy sea. We have, according to the decision of the Classis, admitted the Mennonist, who is quite unknown to us, to the communion, without rebaptism;(1) but last week he and his wife removed to Curacao in the West Indies, to live there. The preacher, sent to New Amstel on the South River, died on the way, as we are told. Ziperius left for Virginia long ago.(2) He behaved most shamefully here, drinking, cheating and forging other people's writings, so that he was forbidden not only to preach, but even to keep school. Closing herewith I commend the Rev. Brethren to God's protection and blessing in their work. This is the prayer of
Your Reverences' dutiful friend in Christ,
New Amsterdam, August 5, Anno 1664.
(1) In a letter of October 4, 1660, Drisius had consulted the classis on the question whether a well-behaved young man residing in New Amsterdam, formerly one of the Mennonites and baptized by them, might be admitted to the Lord's Supper without rebaptism. The classis, by letter of December 16, 1661, ruled that according to the practice of the Dutch churches, his Mennonite baptism was to be regarded as sufficient.
(2) Michael Ziperius and his wife came from Curacao in 1659, hoping to receive a call in New Netherland. The classis warned Drisius against him.
The Rev. Samuel Drisius to the Classis of Amsterdam (September 15, 1664).(1)
To the Reverend, Learned and Pious Brethren of the Rev. Classis of Amsterdam:
I cannot refrain from informing you of our present situation, namely, that we have been brought under the government of the King of England. On the 26th of August there arrived in the Bay of the North River, near Staten Island, four great men-of-war, or frigates, well manned with sailors and soldiers. They were provided with a patent or commission from the King of Great Britain to demand and take possession of this province, in the name of His Majesty. If this could not be done in an amicable way, they were to attack the place, and everything was to be thrown open for the English soldiers to plunder, rob and pillage. We were not a little troubled by the arrival of these frigates.
(1) There is another translation of this letter in N.Y. Col. Doc., XIII. 393-394.
Our Director-General and Council, with the municipal authorities of the city, took the matter much to heart and zealously sought, by messages between them and General Richard Nicolls, to delay the decision. They asked that the whole business should be referred to His Majesty of England, and the Lords States General of the Netherlands; but every effort was fruitless. They landed their soldiers about two leagues from here, at Gravezandt, and marched them over Long Island to the Ferry opposite this place. The frigates came up under full sail on the 4th of September with guns trained to one side. They had orders, and intended, if any resistance was shown to them, to give a full broadside on this open place, then take it by assault, and make it a scene of pillage and bloodshed.
Our Hon. Rulers of the Company, and the municipal authorities of the city, were inclined to defend the place, but found that it was impossible, for the city was not in a defensible condition.(1) And even if fortified, it could not have been defended, because every man posted on the circuit of it would have been four rods distant from his neighbor. Besides, the store of powder in the fort, as well as in the city, was small. No relief or assistance could be expected, while daily great numbers on foot and on horseback, from New England, joined the English, hotly bent upon plundering the place. Savages and privateers also offered their services against us. Six hundred Northern Indians with one hundred and fifty French privateers, had even an English commission. Therefore upon the earnest request of our citizens and other inhabitants, our authorities found themselves compelled to come to terms, for the sake of avoiding bloodshed and pillage. The negotiations were concluded on the 6th of September.(2) The English moved in on the 8th, according to agreement.
(1) See the remonstrance which the inhabitants addressed to Stuyvesant, N.Y. Col. Doc., II. 248.
(2) Articles of capitulation, ibid., 250-253, and Brodhead, History of New York, I. 762-763.
After the surrender of the place several Englishmen, who had lived here a long time and were our friends, came to us, and said that God had signally overruled matters, that the affair had been arranged by negotiations; else nothing but pillage, bloodshed ad general ruin would have followed. This was confirmed by several soldiers who said that they had come here from England hoping for booty; but that now, since the matter turned out so differently, they desired to return to England.
The Articles of Surrender stipulate that our religious services and doctrines, together with the preachers, shall remain and continue unchanged. Therefore we could not separate ourselves from our congregation and hearers, but consider it our duty to remain with them for some time yet, that they may not scatter and run wild.
The Hon. Company still owes me a considerable sum, which I hope and wish they would pay. Closing herewith, I recommend your Honors' persons and work to God's blessing and remain,
Your willing colleague,
Manhattan, September 15, 1664.