“Honored Lords; this is what we have, in the sorrow of our hearts, to complain of. We shall end here, and commit the matter wholly to our God, praying that he will move your lordships’ minds, so that a Governor may be speedily sent to us with a beloved peace, or that we may be permitted to return with our wives and children, to our dear fatherland. For it is impossible ever to settle this country until a different system be introduced here, and a new Governor sent out.”
In response to this appeal Kieft was recalled. Just before he received his summons peace was concluded with the Indians, on the 31st of August, 1645. The war had raged five years. It had filled the land with misery. All were alike weary of its carnage and woes. A new governor was appointed, Peter Stuyvesant. The preceding account of the origin of the Dutch colony and its progress thus far is essential to the understanding of the long and successful administration of the new governor, whose name is one of the most illustrious in the early annals of New York.
It may be worthy of brief remark that a few weeks after the arrival of Governor Stuyvesant, Kieft embarked in the ship Princess for Holland. The vessel was wrecked on the coast of Wales Kieft and eighty-one men, women and children sank into a watery grave. Kieft died unlamented. His death was generally regarded as an act of retributive justice.
New Netherland in 1646.—Early Years of Peter Stuyvesant.—Decay of New Amsterdam.—The Germs of a Representative Government.—Energetic Administration.—Death of Governor Winthrop.—Claims for Long Island.—Arrogance of the Governor.—Remonstrance of the Nine Men.—The Pastoral Office.—Boundary lines.—Increasing Discontent.—Division of Parties.—Dictatorial Measures.
It is estimated that the whole population of New Netherland, in the year 1646, amounted to about one thousand souls. In 1643, it numbered three thousand. Such was the ruin which the mal-administration of Kieft had brought upon the colony. The male adult population around Amsterdam was reduced to one hundred. At the same time the population of the flourishing New England colonies had increased to about sixty thousand.
On the 11th of May, 1647, Governor Stuyvesant arrived at Manhattan. He was appointed as “Redresser General,” of all colonial abuses. We have but little knowledge of the early life of Peter Stuyvesant. The West India Company had a colony upon the island of Curacoa, in the Caribbean Sea. For some time Stuyvesant had been its efficient Director. He was the son of a clergyman in Friesland, one of the northern provinces of the Netherlands.