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of the first fruits of the Reformation; wanderers from Palestine, who had worshipped on Zion's mount, and drank of Siloam's fountain ; the Wal. denses of Germany; farmers and laborers, foreigners and exiles, men inured to toil and penury, were, by the aid of Providence, conducted to milder districts and “ more genial climes.”* New-Amsterdam, we are told by its historian, in a short time “vied almost with Boston.” Its burgomasters, in writing home, observed : “ This happily situated prov. ince may become the granary of our fatherland. Should our Nether. lands be wasted by grievous wars, it will offer our countrymen a safe retreat. By God's blessing, we shall in a few years become a mighty people.” This prediction has since been verified, though under different auspices. A difficulty soon arose between the people and the governor. The power of the former was unknown. In the act of incorporation they were entirely overlooked. No concession of legislative power was given them. They met, however, in convention, and (feeling strong, as large bodies of men frequently do,) without instructions, became satisfied of their right to oppose the governor, especially in the levying and collecting of taxes. Town-meetings were thereupon prohibited, and discontents multiplied exceedingly. The governor had no faith in the wavering multitude ;” and even doubted their capacity for self-government. He, therefore, replied to the arguments of the convention by an act of power. « We," said the governor, “ derive our authority from God, and the West India company, not from the pleasure of a few ignorant subjects." He therefore dissolved the convention, commanding its members to sepa. rate on pain of imprisonment.
Intelligence of these proceedings soon reached the West India company in Holland; they immediately declared that resistance was “contrary to the maxims of every enlightened government,” and wrote to the governor to have “no regard to the consent of the people.” “Let them,” say the company, “no longer indulge the visionary dream that taxes can be imposed only with their consent.” The colonists, notwithstanding, dreamed on, and taxes were uncollected as before. The people of New England, in the meantime, claimed New-Netherlands, by virtue of a prior grant, and “ were steadily advancing toward the Hudson.” (The patents issued by the English sovereigns, it will be borne in mind, extended to the South Sea, or the Pacific Ocean.) In this dilemma, Governor Stuyvesant repaired to Boston. A discussion then ensued, (the Yankees, then as well as now, being always ready for discussion.) In the course of it, the Dutch negotiators asked, “Where then is New Netherlands? The Yankees replied: “We do not know.” The question, indeed, from its nature, was calculated to puzzle men more acute than the latter. The inquiry, notwithstanding its difficulty, was soon answered, as will appear in the sequel.
In New Netherlands, there was no popular freedom, and of course, no
Wass: T. Trojan had a right
public spirit. In New England, the people, in times of danger, rose as one man, and defended themselves; in New-Netherlands, they marched with reluctance, even to defend a neighboring village assailed by savages. “Let the West India company,” said they, “protect them : they claim to be their sovereigns.” .
Necessity at last wrung concession from the governor, and delegates, in the spring of 1664, met in convention. They first remonstrated against the acts of the governor ; in the next place they complained because the colony was without defence; and, foreseeing the necessity of submission to the English, demanded of the governor : “If you cannot protect us, to whom shall we apply for aid ?" . The governor proposed that every third man, as in Holland, should enlist. The people, however, were unwilling to expose their lives for the West India company, and the company refused to expend its means in their service. The island of Manhattan was, therefore, undefended. The governor had previously expressed his fears : “ To ask aid,” said he, “ of the English villages, would be to invite the • Trojan Horse,' within our walls. The inhabitants declare that the Dutch never had a right to this country.” Previous, however, to all this, half of Long Island had submitted ; the settlements on the Æsopas then wavered ; and “ the Connecticut men” had purchased of the Indians all the sea-board as far as the North River.
The King of England, (Charles II.) by letters patent, had granted New-Netherlands to his brother, the Duke of York, (afterward James II.,) and Richard Nichols, groom to the duke, had arrived with an English squadron, and without opposition, anchored in the bay. Having summoned the town, a committee of its citizens went on board, and inquired of him the cause of his presence. Winthrop, of Connecticut, a great lover of peace, who had accompanied Nichols thither, advised his personal friends, (and he had many such in New-Amsterdam,) to offer no resistance. The governor, however, was still unsatisfied. “The surrender," said he, “ will be reproved in the fatherland.” The burgomasters, how. ever, called a meeting of the principal inhabitants, at the public hall; and they, instead of resisting the invasion, drew up a protest against the governor; and a committee of their own members repairing to the fleet, asked the commander when they might visit him again. “On Thurs. day,'' said he, “ for to-morrow I will speak to you at Manhattan.” On the next day, September 8, 1664, a capitulation was effected. The Dutch power in New-Netherlands ceased to exist; the names of Manhattan and New-Amsterdam became at once merged in that of New York. A colonial assembly was convened. Avarice paid homage to freedom: the persons and property of the Dutch were secured; and the English and Dutch colonists, who had for many years been friends, “ like kindred drops were mingled into one.”
The league which had existed between the Six Nations and the Dutch was renewed, and peace and plenty apparently reigned.
In 1678, sixty-five years after its first settlement, the island of Man
hattan contained three thousand souls, and the whole colony about twenty thousand. A thousand pounds made a man opulent, and five hundred, rich. The frontiers of New York had then no available barrier against encroachments from Canada, except in the reputation and valor of the Iroquois. They had for a long time been allies of the Dutch. “The Dutch," said they, - are our brethren ; with them we keep but one council-fire. We are united by a covenant-chain.” No sooner had the Dutch power ceased in New York, than the Iroquois became allies of the English. The Iroquois at that time consisted of the Mohawks, the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. Of these, the Mohawks were the most numerous and powerful. Before Champlain founded Quebec, the Mohawks had extended their ravages from the St. Lawrence to Virginia ; and a Mohawk sachem was much respected, even in Massachusetts. When the French invaded New-York from the north, the Dutch at the south were their friends. “We have always," said their warriors, “ been as one flesh. If the Frenchmen come from Canada, we will join the Dutch nation, and live or die with them.” This declaration was confirmed by presents of wampum. The Iroquois having received, in violation of every principle, fire-arms from the Dutch, renewed their hereditary warfare with the Hurons. The Eries on the southern shore of the lake which commemorates their existence, were immediately defeated and almost extirpated. The Alleghanies near Pittsburgh next felt their vengeance; and the Miamies and the Illinois had no effectual barrier against their invasion, except an alliance with the French. The western tribes, taking sides generally with the latter, were in common parlance designated as French Indians, and the Iroquois, or Five Nations and their allies, as British Indians; and thenceforward became involved in the wars and struggles of Europe.
Previous to the surrender of New-Amsterdam, and as early as 1655, a Jesuit mission was established at Onondaga, and the savages in that vicinity became more or less susceptible of religious impressions. “A chapel sprang into existence, and by the zeal of the natives was finished in a day;" and the services of the Romish church were for some time chanted as securely as in any part of Christendom. The savage nature was, however, unchanged. When, therefore, a war of extermination against the Eries was waged, the hunting.grounds of the Onondagas became a scene of carnage, and men, women, and children were burnt at the stake, as before.' “Our lives," said one of the missionaries, “ are not safe." Border collisions thereafter ensued. Some Oneidas having murdered three Frenchmen, the French retaliated by seizing three Iroquois. A conspiracy having at length been formed against the missionaries, and the latter, having solicited reinforcements from Canada in vain, they abandoned their chapel, their cabins, their hearths, and the valley of the Oswego; and the French and the Five Nations were again at war.* A
few of the western tribes wavered occasionally in their faith ; but the surrender of New-Netherlands made them finally the dependents of the English. In 1684, the offending tribes (the Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas,) met the Governors of New York and Virginia, at Albany, and, in the language of a once celebrated chief, “ planted a tree whose top should touch the sun, and whose branches should be seen afar.” They also buried the tomahawk, and chanted the song of peace. Although England and France for many years thereafter, sought their friendship with various success, when the grand division of parties throughout Eu. rope was effected, the Bourbons found in the Iroquois implacable opponents; and in the struggle that afterward ensued between England and France, they became the allies of the former, and their hunting.grounds were transformed into battle-fields. Western New York, it would seem, then, was severed from Canada by the valor of the Mohawks. .
When France, in 1689, declared war against England, Count Fronte. nac (reappointed to the government of Canada,) was charged, among other things, to make a descent on New-York, to assist the French fleet in its conquest. So confident, indeed, was Louis XIV. of success, that De Calliers was in advance appointed its governor. Frontenac embarked with that view, but on reaching the St. Li ce, heard that Montreal had been taken and burnt by the Indians.
On the 26th of August in that year, fifteen hundred Iroquois warriors reached the island of Montreal at break of day, and finding the whole population of La Chine asleep, set fire to their houses, and commenced a general massacre. More than two hundred persons, in less than forty minutes, met their death in ways and forms too horrible for description. Marching immediately from thence to the town itself, they made two hun. dred prisoners, and after a severe skirmish, in which many were slain, became masters of the fort and town, and remained in possession of both till the October following. Denonville, who commanded, in a moment of consternation, ordered Fort Frontenac to be evacuated and razed ; and in less than one month, scarcely a French town or fort between Three Rivers and Mackinaw remained.
In September of that year, commissioners from New England held a conference at Albany with the Mohawks. A Mohawk chief there rose, and among other things, said: “ We have burned Montreal, we are allies of the English, we will keep the chain unbroken.”
Frontenac, in the meantime, (himself a host,) had reached Quebec. A new scene was immediately opened. French diplomacy, in a moment, pervaded the whole west. An alliance with all the tribes between Lake Ontario and the Mississippi followed, of course. Jesuit missionaries, Indian traders from the plains of the Sioux ; Tonti, the French comman. dant at Rock Fort, on the Illinois; Durantaye, the commander of Macki. naw; Ottaways, and Chippeways, Hurons, Miamies, and Pottawatomies, were present, and all in their order were called upon to unbury the hatchet-why, and wherefore, it would perhaps be difficult here to tell. A
war, however, between England and France was then raging. A British Parliament had elected a sovereign who was not of the royal line—that sovereign was at enmity with Louis XIV., at whose court James the Second then resided, and the Indians of the Far West, through the influ. ence of Jesuit missionaries, had become his allies.
In October, 1689, the Iroquois abandoned Montreal, and its possession was resumed by the French. Frontenac, having used every effort in his power to win the Five Nations to his friendship, and failed in the attempt ; supposed and believed, as he naturally would, that to gain their esteem, and to enable Durantaye, the commander of Mackinaw, to treat successfully with the Hurons, the Ottaways, and other savage tribes, much was required, resolved immediately to make several vigorous descents into the English settlements. Previous, however, to his doing so, he summoned a grand council of Indian warriors at Montreal, and accompanied by veteran officers from Europe, repaired thither in person. There, as a representative of the Gallic monarch, claiming to be the bulwark of Chris. tendom—Count Frontenac, himself a peer of France, now in his seventieth year, placed the murderous hatchet in the hands of his allies; and with the tomahawk in his own grasp, chanted the war-song, danced the war. dance, and listened, apparently with delight, to threats of savage vengeance. Immediately thereafter, a party of one hundred and ten French and Indians, with De Montet and Saint Helena, as their leaders, and De Ibber. ville, the hero of Hudson's Bay, afterward governor of Louisiana, (inclu. ding Illinois,) as a volunteer, left Montreal on a marauding expedition ; and wading through snows and morasses, through forests, deemed before impervious to white men, and across rivers bridged with frost; arrived on the 18th of February, 1690, twenty-two days after leaving Montreal, in sight of Schenectady, (then a small village,) upon the Mohawk river. Its inhabitants, unconscious of danger, were wrapt in sleep. Even its gates were left open and unguarded. About midnight the invaders entered, and the war-whoop was at once raised in their very midst. Their buildings were set on fire, and a general massacre commenced. Some fled naked through the snow to Albany—some fell victims to the scalp. ing-knife and tomahawk : sixty were immediately killed, of whom seventeen were children. The darkness of the night, the blaze of their dwellings, the ghastly looks of the dead, the groans of the dying, the shrieks of women and children, and the midnight yells of the exasperated savages, urged on to deeds of carnage by French auxiliaries, presented a scene of horror which sets description at defiance.
A party from Three Rivers, consisting of fifty-two persons only, commanded by Hertel, three of whom were his sons and two his nephews, on the 27th of March, 1690, fell upon an English settlement on the Piscataqua, and after a bloody engagement, burnt houses, barns, and cattle in their stalls, and captured fifty-four persons, chiefly women and children. The prisoners, laden with spoils rifled from their once peaceful dwellings, were compelled by their savage victors to carry burdens, in retreating,