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.

A clergyman was sent to Esopus and a church organized of sixteen members.  In September, 1660, Domine Selyus was installed as the clergyman of Brooklyn, where he found one elder, two deacons and twenty-four church members.  There were, at that time thirty-one families in Brooklyn, containing a population of one hundred and thirty-four persons.  They had no church but worshipped in a barn.  Governor Stuyvesant contributed nearly eighty dollars annually to the support of this minister, but upon condition that he should preach every Sunday afternoon, at his farm or bouwery upon Manhattan Island.

The last of May, Charles the Second, the fugitive King of England, was returning from his wanderings on the continent to ascend the throne of his ancestors.  He was a weak man, of imperturbable good nature.  On his way to London he stopped at the Hague, where he was magnificently entertained.  In taking leave of the States-General he was lavish of his expressions of friendship.  He declared that he should feel jealous should the Dutch prefer the friendship of any other state to that of Great Britain.

At that time Holland was in commercial enterprise, the most prosperous nation upon the globe; decidedly in advance of England.  The British parliament envied Holland her commercial supremacy.  “The Convention Parliament,” writes Mr. Brodhead,

“which had called home the king, took early steps to render still more obnoxious one of England’s most selfish measures.  The Navigation Act of 1651 was revised; and it was now enacted that after the first day of December, 1660, no merchandise should be imported into, or exported from any of his majesty’s plantations or territories in Asia, Africa or America, except in English vessels of which the master and three-fourths of the mariners at least are English.”

Immediately after this, Lord Baltimore demanded the surrender of New Amstel and all the lands on the west side of Delaware bay.  “All the country,” it was said by his envoy,

“up to the fortieth degree, was granted to Lord Baltimore.  The grant has been confirmed by the king and sanctioned by parliament.  You are weak, we are strong, you had better yield at once.”

A very earnest and prolonged discussion ensued.  The Dutch Company said,

“We hold our rights by the States-General.  We are resolved to defend those rights.  If Lord Baltimore will persevere and resort to violent measures, we shall use all the means which God and nature have given us to protect the inhabitants and preserve their possessions.”

This was indeed an alarming state of affairs for New Amstel.  Various disasters had befallen the colony, so that it now numbered but thirty families.  The garrison had been reduced, by desertion, to twenty-five men; and of these but eight or ten were in the principal fort.  The English were in such strength upon the Chesapeake, that they could easily send five hundred men to the Delaware.  Very earnest diplomatic intercourse was opened between the States-General and the British Parliament upon these questions.

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