“that speed is required, if for nothing else, that we may prevent other nations, and principally our English neighbors, as we really apprehend that this identical spot has attracted their notice. When we reflect upon the insufferable proceedings of that nation not only by intruding themselves upon our possessions about the North, to which our title is indisputable, and when we consider the bold arrogance and faithlessness of those who are residing within our jurisdiction, we cannot expect any good from that quarter.”
In the autumn of this year a very momentous event occurred. Though it was but the death of a single individual, that individual was Oliver Cromwell. Under his powerful sway England had risen to a position of dignity and power such as the nation had never before attained. A terrible storm swept earth and sky during the night in which his tempestuous earthly life came to a close. The roar of the hurricane appalled all minds, as amid floods of rain trees were torn up by the roots, and houses were unroofed. The friends of the renowned Protector said that nature was weeping and mourning in her loudest accents over the great loss humanity was experiencing in the death of its most illustrious benefactor. The enemies of Cromwell affirmed that the Prince of the Power of the Air had come with all his shrieking demons, to seize the soul of the dying and bear it to its merited doom.
Scarce six months passed away ere the reins of government fell from the feeble hands of Richard, the eldest son and heir of Oliver Cromwell, and Monk marched across the Tweed and paved the way for the restoration of Charles the Second.
To add to the alarm of the Dutch, Massachusetts, taking the ground that the boundary established by the treaty of Hartford, extended only “so far as New Haven had jurisdiction,” claimed by virtue of royal grant all of the land north of the forty-second degree of latitude to the Merrimac river, and extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. The forty-second parallel of latitude crossed the Hudson near Red Hook and Saugerties. This boundary line transferred the whole of the upper Hudson and at least four-fifths of the State of New York to Massachusetts.
In accordance with this claim, Massachusetts granted a large section of land on the east side of the Hudson river, opposite the present site of Albany, to a number of her principal merchants to open energetically a trade with the Indians for their furs. An exploring party was also sent from Hartford to sail up the North river and examine its shores in reference to future settlements. The English could not enter the Hudson and pass fort Amsterdam with their vessels without permission of the Dutch. This permission Stuyvesant persistently refused.
“The Dutch,” said the inflexible governor,
“never have forbidden the natives to trade with other nations. They prohibit such trade only on their own streams and purchased lands. They cannot grant Massachusetts or any other government any title to such privilege or a free passage through their rivers, without the surrender of their honor, reputation, property and blood, their bodies and lives.”