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the contract, must have been at this time in New Amsterdam.

When the city magistrates began their sessions the danger
of war was, of course, the pressing concern. To the gov-
ernors of the English colonies Stuyvesant wrote amicable
letters informing them that their people might continue
unmolested to trade at Manhattan. In concert with the
magistrates he proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer,
ordered that all the inhabitants without exception should
work on the fortifications, and at last mustered and drilled
the burgher guard and detailed its members for constant
guard-duty. It included one hundred and fourteen men
divided into four squads commanded by the captain and the
lieutenant who were a burgomaster and a schepen of the
city, Arendt Van Hattem and Paulus Van der Grist, an
ensign and the senior sergeant. The fort, it was ordered,
should be repaired. As it was impossible to protect the set-
tlements where people lived at a distance from each other,
it was decided 'to concentrate the forces of New Nether-
land for the better protection of the place 7 ; and as Fort
Amsterdam could not hold all the inhabitants or defend
all the houses in the city,

... to surround the greater part of the City with a high stockade
and a small breastwork to draw in time of need all inhabitants behind
it and defend as much as possible their persons and goods against



This was the wall that gave its name to Wall Street. About
180 rods in length, it ran for a short distance along the East
River shore and crossed the island above the end of the
ditch or canal, following the line of Kieft's fence a little to
the north of the present line of Wall Street and cutting
through the southern part of the old Damen Farm. The
North River shore it left to the protection of a natural bluff
which was levelled in much later times. The committee
appointed to supervise the works of defence, La Montagne



334 HISTORY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [1650-

of the council and the schepens William Beekman and Paulus
Van der Grist, decided that the wall should be built of pali-
sades twelve feet high, sharpened at the upper end, supported
by posts, one to each rod of length, and reenforced on the
inner side by a sloping breastwork of earth four feet high,
behind which again should run a ditch. From these speci-
fications and a little explanatory sketch that accompanied
them have usually been compiled the descriptions and the
pictures of the wall in its original estate. But the city
records go on to say that the committee soon reported that,
having asked for proposals for constructing the wall in this
manner and finding nobody willing to do it except at a great
price, they had therefore decided to 'set off' the wall with
planks laid longitudinally and supported by three hundred
or more oaken posts, the planks to be fifteen feet long and
three or four inches thick and nine of them to form the height
of the wall. A notice asking for proposals to furnish the
lumber, to be paid for in 'good wampum,' was then 'publicly
cried out through the city'; and the contract was taken by
Thomas Baxter, an Englishman who had been living on
Manhattan since the time of Governor Kieft. The wall
was soon defended at its East River end, now the corner of
Wall and Pearl streets, by a blockhouse with a gate called
the Water Poort, and at the intersection of the path which
is now Broadway by another called the Landt Poort.

While the building of the wall was under discussion, in
March, the magistrates asked the government whether it
was not advisable to despatch, in addition to the letters
already sent, some delegates to the New England colonies
whose commissioners were to meet on April 1, to learn
how they were affected by the war in Europe and to offer
' good and binding conditions ' for the continuance of ' former
intercourse and commerce.' To this suggestion the governor
and council agreed, saying that when they had drawn up
proper credentials and instructions they would so notify the
magistrates; and a few days later the magistrates elected
two of their own number as 'delegates to New England.'



1653] "SUITABLE BURGHER GOVERNMENT' 335

It does not appear that the proposed mission was actually
sent; but the incident is interesting as showing how promi-
nent a part the city magistrates were at the very outset
permitted to play even in those intercolonial affairs with
which, according to modern ideas, a municipality could have
no concern.

At once the city incurred its first public debt. As there
was no money to meet the cost of the wall the richest citizens,
forty-three in number, lent the new corporation at ten per
cent interest 5050 guilders in sums varying from 50 to 200
guilders. The list of them the earliest extant list of resi-
dents of New Amsterdam begins with the Honorable
Cornelis Van Werckhoven who had recently brought out
a number of settlers, obtained the rights of a patroon, and
established colonies at Tappaen and at Navesink behind
Sandy Hook, and whom Stuyvesant had placed at his council
board. Another newcomer, also of good birth and worldly
substance, who figured on the list was Johannes De Paistre
or De Peyster. A native of Haerlem of French or Flem-
ish descent, who had come to New Amsterdam in 1645,
he founded a family which has always been prominent and
influential in New York. Among the other names are those
of all the city magistrates, of Jacobus Van Couwenhoven,
Hendrick Kip, Govert Lockermans, and Oloff Stevensen,
of Jacob Steendam, remembered for his poems in praise
of New Netherland, and of the eldest son of Manhattan,
Jan Vinje.

The Company had instructed Stuyvesant to try again
to form a league with his English neighbors so that the
'mischief-making barbarians' might be held in check, but
not to give them a preponderance in any general council
as that would be dangerous. It was not a time, however,
when any one on the spot could think of such a pact. Fear
of actual invasion by its much stronger rivals was growing
so keen on Manhattan that many persons, it was rumored,
thought of returning to Holland. The Hartford Treaty had



336 HISTORY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [1650-

not satisfied the New Englanders while the success of the
Commonwealth party had brought them into more friendly re-
lations with their mother-country, now at war with Holland,
and had freed them from all dread of interference with their
own policies or conduct. For a time they seemed to respect
the treaty, telling the Canadians, for example, when they
asked aid against the Mohawks that ' AuramV (Fort Orange)
was 'in the Dutch jurisdiction.' But while all that the Dutch
governor wanted and asked for, as Endicott wrote to Win-
throp in 1652 when he had just had a letter from Stuyvesant,
was a ' continuance of peace and trade/ the main result of
his persistent efforts to placate his neighbors was to convince
them that he himself, the West India Company, and the
States General were all alike doubtful of their strength.
So by the year 1653 the New Englanders were saying that
the Dutch called their territories New Netherland although
they were 'within that part or tract of America called New
England'; they were loudly complaining of Stuyvesant's
attitude on the Delaware; and they were ready to believe
the assertion of Connecticut that Stuyvesant and Van Tien-
hoven were exciting the eastern Indians 'to kill all the English.'
Meeting at Boston in April, 1653, to consider this last
charge the commissioners of the United Colonies were told
of 'probable rumors' that the Dutch had urged the savages
to cut them off then and there by poisoning the waters and
burning the buildings of the town. Writing to the govern-
ors of New Haven and Massachusetts Stuyvesant solemnly
asserted his innocence of all inimical schemes, and suggested
that he should come to Boston to prove it or that a com-
mittee of investigation should be sent to Manhattan. John
Underhill, who was now sheriff at Flushing, wrote to John
Winthrop that he believed the Connecticut story and to the
federal commissioners that he could produce evidence to
support it. The sachems of the Narragansett tribes, to
whom the commissioners put eleven specific questions,
denied all knowledge of it, demanding the names of their
accusers; and the chief among them, Ninigret, sachem of



1653] ' SUITABLE BURGHER GOVERNMENT' 337

the Niantics, said that they were loth to 'invent any false-
hood' of the Dutch governor to please the English though
these were their nearer neighbors. Stuyvesant, he said,
had never proposed 'any such things' and the Indians had
never heard of any plot. He himself had, indeed, gone to
Manhattan with a letter from Winthrop to be treated by
a French physician and had spent the winter there but
instead of being cajoled had been most unkindly ignored
by the governor.

In May the commissioners sent the committee for which
Stuyvesant had asked, a committee of three members one
of whom was Captain John Leverett, in later years governor
of Massachusetts. Stuyvesant, they said, ought to go to
New England to defend himself. His people, forgetting
their own grievances, stood loyally by him; and with some
of the chief among them, including Jan Baptist Van Rens-
selaer, he asked in writing for a full inquiry to be conducted
at New Amsterdam in presence of the envoys, of himself
and his council, and of three New Netherlanders versed in
the English and Indian tongues - - Dr. La Montagne, David
Provoost, and Govert Lockermans. The envoys refused,
saying that two of the indicated persons were not qualified
to serve in such a way. Lockermans and Provoost they
meant, for Provoost had been in command at Fort Good
Hope while the contentions with the Hartford people were
hot, both he and Lockermans had afterwards been accused
of selling firearms to the New England Indians, and for
this offence Lockermans had been convicted and punished
at New Haven. These facts, however, were used as an excuse
for avoiding a formal inquiry of any sort. The envoys went
to Long Island, to Underhill's house, and collected such
testimony as they could get from the English who were now
developing into Stuyvesant's most active enemies. They
secured no valid evidence to support the charge brought
by Connecticut. It seems to have been based wholly on
gossip and the statements of a few ill-intentioned savages,
chief among them the notorious Uncas, always a bitter foe

VOL. I. Z



338 HISTORY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [1650-

of the Narragansetts and an unscrupulous ally of the New
Englanders. Such charges were not infrequently brought
and believed in colonial times. On the Delaware River,
for example, an Englishman had recently been accused of
conspiring with the Indians to cut off the Swedes and Dutch
but exonerated after an inquiry conducted by Englishmen,
Swedes, and Dutchmen. Nothing that now exists on paper
gives the story about Stuyvesant a color of truth. The
only words that can be twisted toward its support are some
in a letter from the West India Company telling Stuyvesant
to secure the help of the natives if New England should take
part in the ' broils' of the time and injure his 'good inhabit-
ants/ and his own open assertion that he was preparing to
strengthen himself with Indian alliances if the English should
come against him; and these words expressed no more than
a policy which was always pursued not only by the French
in America but also by the English even as late as the time
of the War of 1812. In fact, Peter Stuyvesant showed at
his best in this episode, when he had a real danger to meet,
real enemies to deal with, and the New Englanders showed
at their worst.

Before the envoys left Long Island Stuyvesant again
asserted his innocence in a letter that Augustine Herrman
carried to Boston. The Dutch, he confessed, were not
guiltless of selling arms to the savages, but the English also
supplied them 'at second and third hand.' This was emi-
nently true. In its early days Massachusetts permitted
the arming of Indians employed by the whites. The laws
against the traffic which it afterwards enacted were relaxed
in 1642 and renewed only in times of special danger. Con-
necticut and New Haven, being in greater peril, tried to be
stricter but were as impotent to prevent transgressions as
was the government of New Netherland, as has been the
government of the United States in modern times. In 1649
the federal commissioners, when declaring the guilt of the
Dutch, confessed that 'some English are conceived to be
deeply guilty/ Roger Williams, writing to the general



1653] ' SUITABLE BURGHER GOVERNMENT' 339

court of Massachusetts in 1655, said that the Indians got
ammunition ' openly and horridly ' from the Dutch and ' from
all the English over the country by stealth.' To lamenta-
tions upon the same theme Governor Bradford devoted a
section of his versified account of New England saying,
in part, that he knew the nefarious traffic was

. . . laid upon the French and Dutch,

And freely grant that they do use it much,

And make thereof an execrable trade

Whereby these natives one another invade ;

By which also the Dutch and French do smart

Sometimes, for teaching them this wicked art;

But these both from us more remote do lie,

And ours from them can have no full supply.

In these quarters it is English guns we see,

For French and Dutch more slight and weak they be :


Fair fowling pieces and muskets they have,
All English, and keep them both neat and brave ;



And of the English so many are guilty

And deal underhand in such secrecy,

As very rare it is some one to catch,

Though you use all due means them for to watch.

John Underbill was active at this time in working against
the government to which he had sworn allegiance, and openly
accused Secretary Van Tienhoven in especial of plotting with
the Indians. Stuyvesant arrested and imprisoned him but
dismissed him without a trial, presumably because he did
not dare to provoke the English within or beyond the bor-
ders of his province. Underbill then hoisted the flag of the
parliament of England at Hempstead and at Flushing and
addressed to the commonalty of New Amsterdam a pompous
letter explaining that their rulers were too 'iniquitous' to
be tolerated any longer by any 'brave Englishman and good
Christian,' and declaring that the Dutch had no title to their
province as they held no patent from King James 'the right-
ful grantor thereof.' The Englishmen at Hempstead and



340 HISTORY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [1650-

at Newtown begged the commissioners of the United Colonies
to protect them, and Underhill, ordered to leave New Nether-
land, offered to assist the commissioners in coercing the
Dutch. Spurned in this quarter, in June he induced Providence
Plantations to undertake a campaign to relieve the English
Long Islanders from the ' cruel tyranny of the Dutch power
at the Manhathes' and to bring their Dutch neighbors 'to
conformity to the Commonwealth of England.' A com-
mission issued to Underhill and William Dyer empowered
them to go against the Dutch or any enemies of the crown
of England. Underhill, accordingly, sailed up the Con-
necticut River, seized the little old fort at Hartford which
by this time the Dutch garrison had vacated, and sold it
twice over, giving his personal deed. The Connecticut au-
thorities, resenting his intrusion, locked him up for a while.
At a later time he asserted in a letter to Winthrop that he
had been imprisoned simply because he would not suffer his
men to despoil the l well-affected ' Dutch farmers of the
neighborhood, and had sold the fort to avoid further trouble.
One useful thing, however, he had accomplished before leav-
ing New Netherland. Acting probably by virtue of his
Rhode Island commission he led an attack upon one of the
strongholds of the Long Island Indians, who had grown very
troublesome, and effectually chastised them. This so-called
battle at Fort Neck was the last fought between white men
and red men on Long Island.

Another adventurer with a Rhode Island commission
turned pirate and preyed impartially upon the vessels of
New Netherland and New England. This was the Thomas
Baxter (not to be confounded with his namesake George)
who had recently supplied New Amsterdam with the lumber
for its transinsular wall.

Meanwhile New Haven, Connecticut, and Plymouth were
longing to attack the Dutch province in proper form. The
Commonwealth of England had not actually authorized such
a move but had instructed the New Englanders to treat the
Hollanders as their enemies and had issued letters-of-marque



1653] "SUITABLE BURGHER GOVERNMENT' 341

for some of their ships. In May, while the investigation of
the alleged Dutch and Indian plot was under way, the federal
commissioners considered how many soldiers they would need
if ' God should call the colonies to make war against the Dutch.'
Five hundred, they decided, would suffice; and to command
them they appointed Captain John Leverett because he was
just then serving on the committee that had been sent to
New Amsterdam and therefore was enjoying a chance 'to
observe the situation and fortifications at the Monhatoes '
a singularly frank expression of a singular view of the duties
and obligations of an accredited envoy.

Massachusetts blocked these plans for war. One of its
representatives on the federal board of commissioners, Simon
Bradstreet who had been one of the 'umpires' that drew up
the Hartford Treaty, dissented from the corporate decision,
and the general court of the colony refused to abide by it
although the articles of union prescribed that the votes of any
six of the eight commissioners should be binding upon all.
While the ' proofs and presumptions' alleged, said the general
court, were of much weight in inducing it to believe in the
'reality of the plot of the Dutch and Indians' yet they were
not 'so fully conclusive' as to justify the drawing of the sword
now that the plot had been discovered and the peril prob-
ably averted. This occurrence holds a prominent place in
the annals of New England, for the independent action of the
strongest of the allied colonies put so hard a strain on the
bond between them that it was barely saved from rupture.

Connecticut and New Haven hoped that they might pro-
ceed without Massachusetts but, as the records of New Haven
say, instructed their commissioners to deal warily lest they
bring into nearer connection 'Rhode Island or any of that
stamp or frame.' Without the concurrence of Rhode Island
or of Massachusetts they appealed for aid to the Council of
State in England. In support of this request the Reverend
William Hooke of New Haven, Cromwell's cousin and in after
years his chaplain, wrote him a letter which gave a reason for
the reluctance of Massachusetts:



342 HISTORY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [1650-1653

The truth is the decliners fear their own swords more than Dutch
or natives or the displeasure of the Commonwealth of England, con-
ceiving that if the sword be once drawn it will bear rule no less in our
England than in yours.

Describing the New Netherlander as 'an earthly genera-
tion of men whose gain is their God/ Hooke also explained
to Cromwell that the ' intestine discontents ' then so hot among
the New Englanders had arisen chiefly from their 'not enter-
prising against these earthly-minded men.' Trade, said the
spiritually-minded minister, was obstructed in New England,
all commodities were scarce, 'mutiny and sedition' were rais-
ing their heads against the theocratic governments, and,

... it is strongly apprehended . . . that our case is desperate if
the Dutch be not removed, who lie close upon our borders westward,
as the French do on the east, interdicting the enlargement of our
borders any farther that way, so that we and our posterity, now almost
prepared to swarm forth plenteously, are confined and straightened, the
sea lying before us and a rocky rude desert unfit for culture and desti-
tute of commodity behind our backs, all convenient places for accom-
modation on the sea-coast already possessed and planted.

Although Massachusetts would not fight it forbade the
selling of provisions to Frenchmen or Dutchmen. Even the
smallest of the other colonies contained as many people as
New Netherland, Connecticut a much larger number, but
none ventured to move upon it. All thought best to delay
until Oliver Cromwell should send assistance.



REFERENCE NOTES

PRINCIPAL PUBLISHED DOCUMENTS: Col. Docs., I, II, XIII, XIV

(398) ; Records of New Amsterdam, I (360) ; Laws and Ordinances
of New Netherland (270) ; Hazard, Historical Collections (102) ;
Cal. Hist. MSS., Dutch (390).

GENERAL AUTHORITIES: O'Callaghan, Hist, of New Netherland, II
(382), and Register of New Netherland (386) ; Brodhead, Hist, of
New York, I (405) ; histories of Holland and of England.



MEGAPOLENSIS, BACKERUS : Col. Docs., XIV ; Ecc. Records t I (167) ;
Manual of Ref. Church (96) .

PROVISIONAL ORDER : see Reference Notes, Chap. IX.

CHARTER OF FREEDOMS AND EXEMPTIONS : in Col. Docs., I.

LETTERS FROM NEW AMSTERDAM TO HOLLAND : ibid.

GRAVESEND LETTERS : in Col. Docs., II.

THOMAS WILLETT : Mitchell, Willett of Rhode Island (543) ; Parsons,
The First Mayor of New York City (545) ; Carpenter, New York's
First Mayor (544) ; Savage, Genea. Diet. (200).

HARTFORD TREATY : Text and Correspondence in Hazard, Historical
Collections, and in extracts from Hazard in N. Y. Hist. Soc. Col-
lections, 1809 (214) ; text in Hutchinson, Hist, of Massachusetts-
Bay, I, Appendix (313), and in Acts of the Commissioners of New
England (364). Col. Docs., I ; Osgood, The American Colonies in
the Seventeenth Century, II (116). WILLETT AND BAXTER ABOUT
TREATY : in Col. Docs., II. LAW REGARDING FUGITIVES : Preface
to Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland.

VAN DER DONCK'S MEMORIAL ON BOUNDARIES : in Col. Docs., I.

VAN TIENHOVEN'S REPLY TO THE REMONSTRANCE : in Col. Docs., I,
and in O'Callaghan's translation of Van der Donck, Vertoogh
(423).

SWEDES ON THE DELAWARE : see Reference Notes, Chap. V. NEW
HAVEN AND THE DELAWARE : Hazard, Historical Collections.

TEMPLE (quoted) : his Observations on the United Provinces of the
Netherlands (353).

NAVIGATION ACT : see Reference Notes, Chap. XII.

343



344 HISTORY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

BOUNDARY OF NEW NETHERLAND : Col. Docs., I.

WEST INDIA COMPANY : see Reference Notes, Chap. I.

DRISIUS : Ecc. Records, I ; Manual of Ref. Church.

CITY GOVERNMENT : Col. Docs., XIV ; Records of New Amsterdam, I ;
Jameson, Origin . . . of the Municipal Government of New York
(327) ; Fowler, Constitutional . . . History of New York in the
Seventeenth Century (127) ; Elting, Dutch Village Communities on
the Hudson River (166) ; Werner, New York Civil List (129).

BEEKMAN : Brodhead, Hist, of New York, I, Appendix ; Allen, The
Beekman Family (65).

REMONSTRANCE (quoted) : Van der Donck, Vertoogh.

GORGEANA (AGAMENTICUS) : Hazard, Historical Collections; J. A.
Fairlie, Municipal Corporations in the Colonies, in Municipal Af-
fairs, 1898 [periodical] ; W. D. Williamson, Hist, of the State of
Maine, Hallowell, Me., 1832 ; G. Sewall, Topographical Description
of York, Maine, Appendix, in Mass. Hist. Soc. Collections, 1st
Series, III.

CITY COURT : Records of New Amsterdam, I ; Brooks, Court of Common
Pleas of the City and County of New York (144) ; Hoffman, Estate
and Rights of the Corporation of the City of New York (136) ; Daly,
Judicial Tribunals of New York (146) ; Street, New York Council
of Revision (143).

STADT Huis: Gerard, Old Stadt Huys of New Amsterdam (481) ; Earle,
Stadt Huys of New Amsterdam (482) ; Innes, New Amsterdam and
its People (357).

KUYTER CONTRACT: MS., State Library.

BURGHER GUARD : Scisco, The Burgher Guard of New Amsterdam (318).
- LIST OF MEMBERS, 1653, in O'Callaghan, Hist, of New Nether-
land, II, Appendix.

CITY WALL : Records of New Amsterdam, I.

FIRST PUBLIC DEBT : Records of New Amsterdam, I ; Col. Docs., XIV ;
Durand, Finances of New York (186), and City Chest of New Am-
sterdam (359) ; Valentine, Financial History of the City of New
York (187).

DE PEYSTER : Anon., De Peyster (152) ; Anon., The De Peyster Family
(153).

STEENDAM: see POETS in Reference Notes, Chap. XIV.

ENDICOTT TO WINTHROP : in Winthrop Papers in Mass. Hist. Soc.
Collections, 4th Series, VI.

ALLEGED PLOT WITH INDIANS: Correspondence in Hazard, Historical
Collections, and in extracts from Hazard in N. Y. Hist. Soc. Col-
lections, 1809.- -WALLER, Hist, of Flushing (295).

SALE OF ARMS TO INDIANS: Records of Massachusetts-Bay (312) ; Haz-



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