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.

He fortified the city, too, with pickets and palisadoes, extending across the island from river to river; and above all cast up mud batteries or redoubts on the point of the island where it divided the beautiful bosom of the bay.

These latter redoubts, in process of time, came to be pleasantly overrun by a carpet of grass and clover, and overshadowed by wide-spreading elms and sycamores, among the branches of which the birds would build their nests and rejoice the ear with their melodious notes.  Under these trees, too, the old burghers would smoke their afternoon pipe, contemplating the golden sun as he sank in the west, an emblem of the tranquil end toward which they were declining.  Here, too, would the young men and maidens of the town take their evening stroll, watching the silver moon beams as they trembled along the calm bosom of the bay, or lit up the sail of some gliding bark, and peradventure interchanging the soft vows of honest affection; for to evening strolls in this favored spot were traced most of the marriages in New Amsterdam.

Such was the origin of that renowned promenade, The Battery, which, though ostensibly devoted to the stern purposes of war, has ever been consecrated to the sweet delights of peace.  The scene of many a gambol in happy childhood—­of many a tender assignation in riper years—­of many a soothing walk in declining age—­the healthful resort of the feeble invalid—­the Sunday refreshment of the dusty tradesman—­in fine, the ornament and delight of New York, and the pride of the lovely island of Manna-hata.


Having thus provided for the temporary security of New Amsterdam, and guarded it against any sudden surprise, the gallant Peter took a hearty pinch of snuff, and snapping his fingers, set the great council of Amphictyons and their champion, the redoubtable Alicxsander Partridg, at defiance.  In the meantime the moss-troopers of Connecticut, the warriors of New Haven and Hartford, and Pyquag—­otherwise called Weathersfield, famous for its onions and its witches—­and of all the other border towns, were in a prodigious turmoil, furbishing up their rusty weapons, shouting aloud for war, and anticipating easy conquests and glorious rummaging of the fat little Dutch villages.

In the midst of these warlike preparations, however, they received the chilling news that the colony of Massachusetts refused to back them in this righteous war.  It seems that the gallant conduct of Peter Stuyvesant, the generous warmth of his vindication, and the chivalrous spirit of his defiance, though lost upon the grand council of the league, had carried conviction to the general court of Massachusetts, which nobly refused to believe him guilty of the villainous plot laid at his door.[43]

The defection of so important a colony paralysed the councils of the league.  Some such dissension arose among its members as prevailed of yore in the camp of the brawling warriors of Greece, and in the end the crusade against the Manhattoes was abandoned.

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