Peter Stuyvesant, the Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about Peter Stuyvesant, the Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam.

De Vrees, having concluded his peace with the Indians, sailed up the South river, as they then called the Delaware, through the floating ice, to a trading post, which had been established some time before at a point about four miles below the present site of Philadelphia.  He thought he saw indications of treachery, and was constantly on his guard.  He found the post, which was called Fort Nassau, like a similar post on the Hudson, deserted.  The chiefs, however, of nine different tribes, came on board, bringing presents of beaver skins, avowing the most friendly feelings, and they entered into a formal treaty with the Dutch.  There did not, however, seem to be any encouragement again to attempt the establishment of a colony, or of any trading posts in that region.  He therefore abandoned the Delaware river, and for some time no further attempts were made to colonize its coasts.

In April, 1633, an English ship arrived at Manhattan.  The bluff captain, Jacob Elkins, who had formerly been in the Dutch employ, but had been dismissed from their service, refused to recognize the Dutch authorities, declaring that New Netherland was English territory, discovered by Hudson, an Englishman.  It was replied that though Hudson was an Englishman, he was in the service of the East India Company at Amsterdam; that no English colonists had ever settled in the region, and that the river itself was named Mauritius river, after the Prince of Orange.

Elkins was not to be thus dissuaded.  He had formerly spent four years at this post, and was thoroughly acquainted with the habits and language of the Indians.  His spirit was roused.  He declared that he would sail up the river if it cost him his life.  Van Twiller was equally firm in his refusal.  He ordered the Dutch flag to be run up at fort Amsterdam, and a salute to be fired in honor of the Prince of Orange.  Elkins, in retaliation, unfurled the English flag at his mast-head, and fired a salute in honor of King Charles.  After remaining a week at fort Amsterdam, and being refused a license to ascend the river, he defiantly spread his colors to the breeze, weighed anchor, and boldly sailed up the stream to fort Orange.  This was the first British vessel which ascended the North river.

The pusillanimous Van Twiller was in a great rage, but had no decision of character to guide him in such an emergency.  The merchant clerk, invested with gubernatorial powers, found himself in waters quite beyond his depth.  He collected all the people of the fort, broached a cask of wine, and railed valiantly at the intrepid Englishman, whose ship was fast disappearing beyond the palisades.  His conduct excited only the contempt and derision of those around.

DeVrees was a man of very different fibre.  He had, but a few days before, entered the port from Swaanendael.  He dined with the Governor that day, and said to him in very intelligible Dutch: 

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Peter Stuyvesant, the Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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