Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 422 pages of information about Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete.

Here he was encountered by a host of Yankee warriors, headed by Preserved Fish, and Habakkuk Nutter, and Return Strong, and Zerubbabel Fisk, and Determined Cock! at the sound of whose names Stoffel Brinkerhoff verily believed the whole parliament of Praise-God Barebones had been let loose upon him.  He soon found, however, that they were merely the “select men” of the settlement, armed with no weapon but the tongue, and disposed only to meet him on the field of argument.  Stoffel had but one mode of arguing—­that was with the cudgel; but he used it with such effect that he routed his antagonists, broke up the settlement, and would have driven the inhabitants into the sea, if they had not managed to escape across the Sound to the mainland by the Devil’s Stepping-stones, which remain to this day monuments of this great Dutch victory over the Yankees.

Stoffel Brinkerhoff made great spoil of oysters and clams, coined and uncoined, and then set out on his return to the Manhattoes.  A grand triumph, after the manner of the ancients, was prepared for him by William the Testy.  He entered New Amsterdam as a conqueror, mounted on a Narraganset pacer.  Five dried codfish on poles, standards taken from the enemy, were borne before him; and an immense store of oysters and clams, Weathersfield onions, and Yankee “notions” formed the spolia opima; while several coiners of oyster-shells were led captive to grace the hero’s triumph.

The procession was accompanied by a full band of boys and negroes, performing on the popular instruments of rattle-bones and clam-shells, while Anthony Van Corlear sounded his trumpet from the ramparts.

A great banquet was served up in the Stadthouse from the clams and oysters taken from the enemy, while the governor sent the shells privately to the mint, and had them coined into Indian money, with which he paid his troops.

It is moreover said that the governor, calling to mind the practice among the ancients to honor their victorious generals with public statues, passed a magnanimous decree, by which every tavern-keeper was permitted to paint the head of Stoffel Brinkerhoff upon his sign!


   [36] In a manuscript record of the province, dated 1659, Library
        of the New York Historical Society, is the following mention of
        Indian money:—­“Seawant, alias wampum.  Beads manufactured from
        the Quahang or whelk, a shell-fish formerly abounding on our
        coasts, but lately of more rare occurrence of two colors, black
        and white; the former twice the value of the latter.  Six beads of
        the white and three of the black for an English penny.  The
        seawant depreciates from time to time.  The New England people
        make use of it as a means of barter, not only to carry away the
        best cargoes which we send thither, but to accumulate a

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Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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