A vessel entered the port, bringing the intelligence that a Dutch fleet had been seen off the coast of Virginia, sailing in the direction of New York. This created great commotion. A dispatch was sent, in the utmost haste, to the governor, summoning his return. He promptly mustered, for the defence, all the forces he could raise in the city and neighboring counties, and soon five hundred armed men were parading the streets of New York.
It proved a false dream. No enemy appeared. The troops were disbanded. They returned to their homes. The community was lulled into a very false sense of security. In July, the governor again was absent, on a visit to Connecticut. On the 29th of July the Dutch fleet appeared at Sandy Hook, and, learning from some of the inhabitants of Long Island, whose sympathies were still cordially with the fatherland, that the city was entirely defenceless and could easily be taken, ventured to try the experiment. They had not approached the bay with any such design. They had supposed their force entirely inadequate for so important a capture. The fleet quietly sailed up the bay and, as the English fleet had done but a few years before, anchored opposite the Battery, and turned their broadsides towards the city.
Colonel Manning sent a hurried despatch to the governor, who could by no possibility return for several days, and fluttered about in the attempt to beat up recruits. But no recruits were forthcoming. The sight of the flag of Holland, again triumphantly floating in the harbor, was joyful to many eyes.
The great majority of the people, in the city and in the country, were of Dutch descent. Consequently the recruiting parties which were raised, were in no mood to peril their lives in defence of the flag of England. Indeed it is said that one party of the recruits marched to the Battery and deliberately spiked several of the guns, opposite the City-hall.
It was a most singular revolution of the wheel of fortune. Captain Manning had but fifty soldiers within the fort. None of these were willing to fight. One-half of them were such raw recruits that captain Manning said that they had never put their heads over the ramparts. A few broadsides from the Dutch fleet would dismount every gun in the fort, and put to flight all the defenders who should survive the volley. This was alike obvious to the assailants and the assailed.
THE FINAL SURRENDER.
Bombardment.—Disembarkation of the Land
Force.—Indecision of Captain Manning.—The
Surrender.—Short Administration of the Dutch.—Social
Customs.—The Tea Party.—Testimony of Travellers.—Visit to
Long Island.—Fruitfulness of the Country.—Exploration of