Governor Stuyvesant, whose attention had been somewhat engrossed by the Indian difficulties, now renewed his persecution of the Quakers. Notwithstanding the law against private conventicles, Henry Townsend at Rustdorp, who had been already twice fined, persisted in holding private meetings in his house. He was arrested with two others, and carried to fort Amsterdam. Townsend and Tilton were banished from the colony. Two magistrates were appointed as spies to inform of any future meetings, and some soldiers were stationed in the village to suppress them. Whatever Governor Stuyvesant undertook to do he accomplished very thoroughly. The following paper was drawn up which the inhabitants were required to sign:
“If any meetings or conventicles of Quakers shall be held in this town of Rustdorp, that we know of, we will give information to the authority set up by the governor, and we will also give the authorities of the town such assistance against any such persons as needs may require.”
A few refused to sign this paper. They were punished by having the soldiers quartered upon them.
Fort Orange was, at this time, the extreme frontier post, in the north and west of New Netherland. Though the country along the Mohawk river had been explored for a considerable distance, there were no settlements there, though one or two huts had been reared in the vicinity of the Cohoes Falls. This whole region had abounded with beavers and wild deer. But the fur trade had been pushed with so much vigor that the country was now almost entirely destitute of peltries. The colonists wished to purchase the fertile lands in the valley of the Mohawk, and the Indians manifested a willingness to sell them.
THE DISASTROUS YEAR.
Purchase of Staten Island.—The
Restoration cf Charles
Second.—Emigration Invited.—Settlement of Bushwick.—The
Peculiar People.—Persecution of John Brown.—The Governor
Rebuked.—Cumulation of Disasters.—The Outbreak at
Esopus.—The Panic.—Measures of the Governor.—The Indian
Fort.—The expedition to Mamaket.—Capture of the
Fort.—Annihilation of the Esopus Indians.
In the year 1661, the Company purchased of Melyn, the patroon, for about five hundred dollars, all his rights to lands on Staten Island. Thus the whole island became the property of the Company. Grants of lands were immediately issued to individuals. The Waldenses, and the Huguenots from Rochelle in France, were invited to settle upon the island. A block-house was built which was armed with two cannon and garrisoned by ten soldiers. Fourteen families were soon gathered in a little settlement south of the Narrows.