Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 356 pages of information about Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete.

   [26] Pavonia, in the ancient maps, is given to a tract of country
        extending from about Hoboken to Amboy.

CHAPTER III.

Having in the trifling digression which concluded the last chapter discharged the filial duty which the city of New York owed to Communipaw, as being the mother settlement; and having given a faithful picture of it as it stands at present, I return with a soothing sentiment of self-approbation to dwell upon its early history.  The crew of the Goede Vrouw being soon reinforced by fresh importations from Holland, the settlement went jollily on increasing in magnitude and prosperity.  The neighboring Indians in a short time became accustomed to the uncouth sound of the Dutch language, and an intercourse gradually took place between them and the new comers.  The Indians were much given to long talks, and the Dutch to long silence; in this particular, therefore, they accommodated each other completely.  The chiefs would make long speeches about the big bull, the wabash, and the Great Spirit, to which the others would listen very attentively, smoke their pipes, and grunt yah, myn-her; whereat the poor savages were wondrously delighted.  They instructed the new settlers in the best art of curing and smoking tobacco, while the latter in return, made them drunk with true Hollands, and then taught them the art of making bargains.

A brisk trade for furs was soon opened.  The Dutch traders were scrupulously honest in their dealings, and purchased by weight, establishing it as an invariable table of avoirdupois that the hand of a Dutchman weighed one pound, and his foot two pounds.  It is true the simple Indians were often puzzled by the great disproportion between bulk and weight, for let them place a bundle of furs never so large in one scale, and a Dutchman put his hand or foot in the other, the bundle was sure to kick the beam; never was a package of furs known to weigh more than two pounds in the market of Communipaw!

This is a singular fact; but I have it direct from my great-great-grandfather, who had risen to considerable importance in the colony, being promoted to the office of weigh-master, on account of the uncommon heaviness of his foot.

The Dutch possessions in this part of the globe began now to assume a very thriving appearance, and were comprehended under the general title of Nieuw Nederlandts, on account, as the sage Vander Donck observes, of their great resemblance to the Dutch Netherlands, which indeed was truly remarkable, excepting that the former was rugged and mountainous, and the latter level and marshy.  About this time the tranquillity of the Dutch colonists was doomed to suffer a temporary interruption.  In 1614, Captain Sir Samuel Argal, sailing under a commission from Dale, Governor of Virginia, visited the Dutch settlements on Hudson River, and demanded their submission to the English crown and Virginian dominion.  To this arrogant demand, as they were in no condition to resist it, they submitted for the time, like discreet and reasonable men.

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