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.

But hold, whither am I wandering?  By the mass, if I attempt to accompany the good Peter Stuyvesant on this voyage, I shall never make an end; for never was there a voyage so fraught with marvelous incidents, nor a river so abounding with transcendent beauties, worthy of being severally recorded.  Even now I have it on the point of my pen to relate how his crew were most horribly frightened, on going on shore above the Highlands, by a gang of merry roistering devils, frisking and curveting on a flat rock, which projected into the river, and which is called the Duyvel’s Dans-Kamer to this very day.  But no!  Diedrich Knickerbocker, it becomes thee not to idle thus in thy historic wayfaring.

Recollect, that while dwelling with the fond garrulity of age over these fairy scenes, endeared to thee by the recollections of thy youth, and the charms of a thousand legendary tales, which beguiled the simple ear of thy childhood—­recollect that thou art trifling with those fleeting moments which should be devoted to loftier themes.  Is not Time, relentless Time! shaking, with palsied hand, his almost exhausted hour-glass before thee?—­hasten then to pursue thy weary task, lest the last sands be run ere thou hast finished thy history of the Manhattoes.

Let us, then, commit the dauntless Peter, his brave galley, and his loyal crew, to the protection of the blessed St. Nicholas, who, I have no doubt, will prosper him in his voyage, while we await his return at the great city of New Amsterdam.


   [49] The learned Hans Megapolonsis, treating of the country about
        Albany, in a letter which was written some time after the
        settlement thereof, says, “There is in the river great plenty of
        sturgeon, which we Christians do not make use of, but the Indians
        eat them greedily.”


While thus the enterprising Peter was coasting, with flowing sail, up the shores of the lordly Hudson, and arousing all the phlegmatic little Dutch settlements upon its borders, a great and puissant concourse of warriors was assembling at the city of New Amsterdam.  And here that invaluable fragment of antiquity, the Stuyvesant manuscript, is more than commonly particular; by which means I am enabled to record the illustrious host that encamped itself in the public square in front of the fort, at present denominated the Bowling Green.

In the center, then, was pitched the tent of the men of battle of the manhattoes, who being the inmates of the metropolis, composed the lifeguards of the governor.  These were commanded by the valiant Stoffel Brinkerhoff, who whilom had acquired such immortal fame at Oyster Bay; they displayed as a standard a beaver rampant on a field of orange, being the arms of the province, and denoting the persevering industry and the amphibious origin of the Nederlanders.[50]

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