Peter Stuyvesant, the Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about Peter Stuyvesant, the Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam.



Action of the Patroons.—­Settlements on the Hudson.—­Alarm of the Home Government.—­Recall of Stuyvesant.—­His Escape from Humiliation.—­Difficulties between England and Holland.—­The Breaking out of War.—­Directions to Stuyvesant.—­The Relations of the Colonies.—­Charges against the Dutch Governor.—­Their Refutation.—­Efforts of Stuyvesant for Peace.—­Noble Conduct of the Massachusetts Government.—­The Advocates for War.

Governor Stuyvesant having removed the obnoxious vice-director, had another, Johannes Dyckman, who he thought would be more subservient to his wishes, appointed in his stead.  The commissary of the patroons, whom he had imprisoned at Manhattan, secreted himself on board a sloop and escaped up the river to Beaverwyck.  The enraged governor seized the skipper of the sloop on his return, and inflicted upon him a heavy fine.

The patroons were now fearful that the governor would fulfill his threat of extending his authority over the extensive territory whose jurisdiction the Charter of Privileges had entrusted exclusively to the patroons.  They therefore, on an appointed day assembled the freemen and householders who bound themselves, by an oath, “to maintain and support offensively and defensively the right and jurisdiction of the colony against every one.”

Among the persons who took this oath we find the name of John Baptist Van Rensselaer.  He was the younger half-brother of the patroon, and probably the first of the name who came to New Netherland.  It was now reported that Governor Stuyvesant himself was about to visit fort Orange, and that a new gallows was being prepared for those who should attempt to thwart his wishes.  The governor soon arrived and, with his customary explicitness, informed the authorities there, that the territory by the Exemptions, allowed to the patroon, was to extend sixteen miles on one side of the river, or eight miles if both banks were occupied.  He called upon them to define their boundaries, saying that he should recognize the patroons’ jurisdiction only to that extent.  These limits would include but a small portion of the territory which the patroons claimed by right of purchase from the Indians.

The authorities were not prepared to act upon this question without instructions from Holland.  Stuyvesant would admit of no delay.  He sent a party of fourteen soldiers, armed with muskets, to the patroon’s house, who entered the enclosure, fired a volley, and hauled down the flag of the patroon.  He then issued a decree that Beaverswyck, which included the region now occupied by the city of Albany, was independent of the patroon’s government, and was brought under the jurisdiction of the colony of fort Amsterdam.

Van Slechtenhorst, the patroon’s bold and efficient Commissary at Rensselaerswick, ordered the governor’s placards, announcing this change, to be torn down, and a counter proclamation, affirming the claims of the patroon to be posted in its stead.  The governor arrested him, imprisoned him for a time in fort Orange, and then removed him to New Amsterdam, where he was held in close custody, until his successor, John Baptist Van Rensselaer, was formally appointed in his place.

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