Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission.

Historical pageant : Hudson-Fulton celebration, September 25 to October 9, 1909 online

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very roughest idea of longitude, as the chronometer had not yet been invented, they
directed their course at sea to the latitude of their destination and then sailed east or
west until they made a landfall. It must be remembered that the charts in those
days were practically useless, and the mariner had no lighthouse to guide him. That
they ever succeeded in reaching their haven is remarkable.

IN 1626 Peter Minuit, the newly appointed Dutch governor, arrived on Manhat-
tan Island in the ship Sea Mew, commanded by Captain Joris. Governor
Minuit and his council were invested with legislative, judicial and executive
power, subject to the supervision and appellate jurisdiction of the Chamber of

Hitherto the Dutch had possession of Manhattan Island only by the dubious
right of first discovery and occupation. Minuit proceeded to place the right upon the
foundation of justice. He called together the representatives of the Indian owners
of the island and made a treaty as honorable, as important and as noteworthy as was
the famous treaty between William Penn and the Indians beyond the Delaware
under the broad Shackamaxon Elm, which has been immortalized by history, paint-
ing and poetry.

The price paid by the Hollanders for the territory, estimated at 22,000 acres in
extent, was not extravagant — about $24.

The scene depicted upon the float is hard to realize at the present day, when the
buildings cover the land and are growing upward story on story as fast as engineer-
ing can devise new methods of safe construction and facilities of elevator service.

Many people, without due consideration, wish they had been the fortunate pur-
chaser of the land, but if they calculated from actual figures, with payments added
for taxes and assessments and compound interest on the whole, they would find that
the purchase price was moderate. Few realize, until they sit down and actually
calculate the amount, how quickly the figures increase.


THIS scene depicted is the Treaty of Peace signed at the house of Jonas Bronck
on the 28th of March, 1642. Bronck gave his name to the Bronx River and
so to the Borough of The Bronx. The land which Jonas Bronck occupied
was acquired by him from the Indians in 1639. The Indian deed describes it as
" Lying between the Great Kill (Harlem River) and the Ahquahung" (Bronx River).

The governor of the Dutch colony at that time was William Kicft. His trouble
with the Wickquaskeck Indians resulted primarily from his effort to impose a tax on
them. An expedition was sent against the Indians and, although no encounter
occurred, the Indians were brought to a realization of their mistake, and this Treaty
of Peace was arranged.

The house in which the treaty was signed stood at about the present site of the
depot of the Harlem River branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford
Railroad. Here were gathered the parties to the treaty, namely:

Cornelius Van Tienhoven, who understood the Indian language and negotiated
the treaty. He is seated at the table, and in his dictatorial manner is showing the
Indian chiefs, Ranachqua and Tackamuch, where to make their totem marks.

Jonas Bronck is the scholarly Dane who is standing watching the signature.
Sitting by his side is the clerk. Immediately in the rear stands Dominie Everardus
Bogardus, who was the second husband of the famous Anneke Jans, whose descend-
ants have frequently laid claim to the lands owned by Trinity Church.

The soldier in the rear is Ensign Henrlrick \'an Dyck, whose bloodless expedition
against the Indians liad driven them into applying for the treaty.

IN 1647 Peter Stuyvesant, a Frieslander, a scholar and a brave soldier in the
service of the Dutch West India Company, and who had been wounded in the
leg in an attack upon the island of St. Martin, was at Amsterdam receiving
surgical treatment. He had been governor of the company's colony of Curacao, in
which capacity he had shown great vigor and wisdom. He was then forty-four
years of age, strong in physical constitution, fond of ofificial show, aristocratic and
haughty toward subordinates, a thorough disciplinarian, but a just and honest man.
Appointed governor of New Netherland he administered its affairs for nearly
seventeen years, and became the most renowned of the officials of the Dutch West
India Company.

The new director general was received at ^Manhattan with great joy. The
arrival was on a clear and warm May morning. The whole garrison turned out
under arms and escorted him to the Fort. In addressing the people he told them
he should govern them ''as a father his children, for the advantage of the chartered
Dutch West India Company and these burghers and their land," and declared that
every one should have justice done him.

Stuyvesant was too frank and honest to conceal his opinions and intentions.
At the very outset he asserted the prerogatives of the directorship, and frowned upon
every expression of republican sentiment. He regarded the people as his subjects,
to be obedient to his will. In this he was not a whit behind his predecessors. New
Netherland at that time had scarcely fifty boweries, or farms. Peter Stuyvesant is
buried in the familv vault in "St. Mark's, in the Bowerie."


THERE is no piece of land on Manhattan Island which has retained for a
longer period its distinctive name and at the same time fulfilled more thor-
oughly the purposes of its creation than the small park at the extreme south-
em end of Broadway, known as Bowling Green. It is the one historic spot which
has never lost its identity or been diverted from public use since its foundation.

The history of the city from the time when the good ship Sea Mew sailed into
the bay, May 6, 1626, bearing the doughty Dutch governor, Peter Minuit — with no
city and few people to govern — to the present might almost be written from what
has been seen and heard from this small plot of land.

In March, 1732, the city fathers

"Resolved, That this Corporation will lease a piece of land lying at the lower end
of Broadway, fronting the Fort, to some of the inhabitants of the said Broadway, in
order to be inclosed to make a Bowling Green thereof, with walks therein, for the
beauty and ornament of said street, as well as for the recreation and delight of the
inhabitants of the city. . . ."

Three public-spirited and sport-loving citizens — John Chambers, Peter Bayard
and Peter Jay — leased, in accordance with this resolution, this ground, first called
"The Plaine" and later "The Parade," for a term of eleven years, at the enormous
rental of one peppercorn j)er annum, and prej)ared its lawn for the s])ort of bowls.
The lease was renewed and the spot became famous as the central point for athletics
and outdoor meeting place of the period. In the float Dutchmen ape shown playing
their game of bowls, now called tenpins.


THE news of the revolution which placed William and Mary on the throne
of James II reached New York in February, 1689, but was concealed by
Governor Nicholson. When announced, two parties were formed; the
followers of James included the aristocrats, and those of William and Mary the
large majority of the citizens. Leisler became the leader of the citizens. On ac-
count of the popular hostility toward him Governor Nicholson withdrew from the
city and sailed for England. Leisler, invested with the powers of commander-in-
chief, took possession of the fort, and upon arrival of formal notice of the accession
of William and Mary he proclaimed them King and Queen. Those responsible
for the peace of the colony received a letter from the privy council, and Leisler,
regarding himself as invested with power by the spirit of this document, assumed
the title of lieutenant-governor, appointed councilors and made a new seal.

Upon the arrival of Governor Sloughter in 1691 Leisler tendered him the fort
and province, but through the influence of enemies he was arrested and tried for
high treason. Conviction followed, but Sloughter hesitated to sign the death war-
rant. At last, while intoxicated, he signed the document, and Leisler was executed
before Sloughter became sober. Stung with remorse Sloughter died a few weeks
later. Parliament later vindicated Leisler and restored his property.

Leisler owned six thousand acres of land at New Rochelle, and in 1690 sold
them to the Huguenot emigrants who settled there.

The float depicts the transfer of the deeds of the property to the Huguenots at
Fort James, now the Battery.


DURING the Dutch regime persons from cities of other colonies visiting
New Amsterdam were oftentimes astonished to see in the evening some
of the best families seated upon their front doorsteps and even receiving
visitors there. It was a survival of the old Dutch custom when at the close of the
day the family would gather around their front door and in quiet ease discuss
matters of moment. The master would be seen with his long clay pipe (called a
church warden), his wife with her knitting or mending and the children grouped
around enjoying the freshness of the evening.

It was a city of case and contentment and contained many happy homes where
people of cheerful dispositions and affectionate hearts lived. Life was enjoyed in a
dreamy, quiet blissfulness which is now quite unknown in these days of bustle
and noise.

Wry little active attention was given to political matters by the mass of the
people. It took too long, frequent!}- six months, to receive a reply from Holland,
and in that length of time the matter had been thrashed out at the front door
until the novelty was worn otT.

The Dutch left their impress for many years in the architecture of their simple
buildings, at first of necessity built of logs, the roof thatched with reeds and
straw, and light admitted through oiled paper or thin, transparent skins.
Later the better houses were built of brick imported from Holland, frequently as
ballast, until an enterprising citizen established a brickyard during the administra-
tion of Stuvvesant.



THE British Navigation Act was being continually evaded in the American
colonies, and it was with the Dutch of New Amsterdam that the illicit
trade was principally carried on. The conquest of New Netherland was
resolved upon. When the news of the gathering of the English fleet became
known at The Hague explanations were demanded. War was declared.

On July 23, 1664, the British fleet under Nicolls reached Boston, Mass. The
ships then sailed and anchored in Gravesend Bay, just outside of Coney Island,
made doubly historical as the landing place of Lord Howe's troops in 1776. Stuy-
vesant was at Fort Orange (Albany) when he heard the news and at once returned
to New Amsterdam. Totally unprepared for such an event the city was not
fortified, and the folly of resisting the demands for capitulation was apparent to all.

On the 29th of August, 1664, the articles of capitulation were ratified and the
city, which then had not more than fifteen hundred inhabitants, passed under
English rule. The first act of the new deputy governor, Richard Nicolls, was
to order the city of New Amsterdam to be known thereafter as New York, being
named after the heir to the crown, James, Duke of York, and the name- of the old
fort was changed to Fort James.

When Peter Stuyvesant was summoned to surrender the keys of the fort the
brave old soldier said: "I would much rather be carried out dead," but the die
was cast and New Amsterdam was surrendered. The Dutch troops filed out
and marched down Beaver Lane to the place of embarkment for Holland, the
English troops entered, and New Amsterdam became New York.


SAXTA CLAUS DAY was the best day of all in the estimation of the little folks.
It is notable, too, for having been the day sacred to St. Nicholas, the patron
saint of New York, who presided as the figurehead of the first emigrant ship
that touched her shores, who gave his name to the first church erected within her
walls, and who has ever since had especial charge of the destinies of his favorite city.
To the children he was a jolly, rosy-cheeked, little old man, with a low-crowned
hat and a pipe of immense length, who drove his reindeer sleigh loaded with gifts
over the roofs of New Amsterdam for the benefit of good children.

On Christmas Eve they hung their stockings, carefully labeled that the saint
might make no mistake, in the chimney corner, and went early to bed, chanting the
Santa Claus hymn, which we give as a curiosity. This was sung as late as 185 1 :

Sint Nicholaas, goed heilig man,
Trekt uw' besten Tabbard an,
En reist daarin naar Amsterdam,
Van Amsterdam naar Spanje,
Waar appelen van Oranje
En appelen van Granaten,
Rollen door de Stratcn
Sint Nicholaas, mvn goede Vriend
Ik heb u altyd wel gediend
Als gy my nu wat wilt geven,
Zal ik u dienen al mvn leven.


Saint Nicholas, good holy man,

Put your best Tabbard on you can,

And in it go to Amsterdam,

From Amsterdam to Hispanje

Where apples bright of Orange

And, likewise, those pomegranates named,

Roll through the streets all unclaimed.

Saint Nicholas, my dear good friend,

To serve you ever was my end ;

If you me now will something give,

Serve you I will as long as I live.

D. T. Valentine

The children of to-day are more familiar with the version of Clement C. Moore,
in his "Night Before Christmas."


THE Colonial Period introduced by this Title Car shows the period of ex-
pansion of the colony northward, and the internal disorders that led up to
the Revolution, finally culminating in the inauguration of the first President
on the balcony of Federal Hall, in Wall Street.

Two of Irving s legends of the Hudson River Valley, that of Rip Van Winkle
and the tale of Sleepy Hollow Church, are given to show the trend of the tales
of those times.

After the first scenes of the uprising of the people in New York previous to the
Revolution but Httle occurred that can be pictured on the floats until its close.
The reason for this is apparent. Endeavoring to divide the colonies physically
by military lines England concentrated her energies on the line of the Hudson
River. With a roomy and safe harbor for large transports and war vessels she had
a base of supplies at hand and was able to hold the region with an iron hand.
The opening of war around Boston does not concern us beyond the effect it had on
inflaming the people, as the endeavor has been to show New York history only.

The float depicts the might of Great Britain, shown by the lion resting on her
army and navy, represented by cannon. At the rear of the car is the cause of her
downfall — the chests of tea marked with the names of the two ships whose cargoes
were destroyed, the Dartmouth at Boston and the Peggy Stewart in Maryland.
Also the bales of the hated Stamp Act paper.


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Online LibraryHudson-Fulton Celebration CommissionHistorical pageant : Hudson-Fulton celebration, September 25 to October 9, 1909 → online text (page 3 of 5)