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.

Hartford and New Haven discussed the question if they were not strong enough without the aid of Massachusetts to subdue the Dutch.  Stamford and Fairfield commenced raising volunteers on their own account, and appointed one Ludlow as their leader.  A petition was sent to the home government, the Commonwealth over which Oliver Cromwell was then presiding, praying

“that the Dutch be either removed or, so far, at least, subjected that the colonies may be free from injurious affronts and secured against the dangers and mischievous effects which daily grow upon them by their plotting with the Indians and furnishing them with arms against the English.”

In conclusion they entreated that two or three frigates be sent out, and that Massachusetts be commanded to assist the other colonies to clear the coast “of a nation with which the English cannot either mingle or set under their government, nor so much as live near without danger of their lives and all their comforts in this world.”

To fan this rising flame of animosity against the Dutch, a rancorous pamphlet was published in London, entitled,

“The second part of the Amboyna Tragedy; or a faithful account of a bloody, treacherous and cruel plot of the Dutch in America, purporting the total ruin and murder of all the English colonists in New England; extracted from the various letters lately written from New England to different merchants in London.”

This was indeed an inflammatory pamphlet.  The most violent language was used.  The Dutch were accused of the “devilish project” of trying to rouse the savages to a simultaneous assault upon all the New England colonists.  The crime was to be perpetrated on Sunday morning, when they should be collected in their houses of worship.  Men, women and children were to be massacred, and the buildings laid in ashes.

The Amsterdam Directors had this “most infamous and lying libel,” translated into their own language and sent a copy to Governor Stuyvesant and his council, saying:  “We wish that your honors may see what stratagems that nation employs, not only to irritate the populace, but the whole world if possible and to stir it up against us.”

The position of Governor Stuyvesant had become exceedingly uncomfortable.  He was liable at any day to have from abroad war’s most terrible storm burst upon him.  And the enemy might come in such force that he would be utterly unable to make any effectual resistance.  On the other hand the Dutch settlements were composed of emigrants from all lands.  Many Englishmen, dissatisfied with the rigid rule of the New England colonies, had taken their residence in New Netherland.

The arbitrary rule of Stuyvesant was obnoxious to the majority of his subjects, and they were increasingly clamorous for a more liberal and popular government.  On the 16th of December, 1630, a very important popular convention was held at New Amsterdam, composed of delegates from eight towns.  There were nineteen delegates, ten of whom were Dutch and nine English.  Unanimously they avowed fealty to the government of Holland.  But they remonstrated against the establishment of an arbitrary government; and complained that laws had been enacted without the consent of the people.

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